Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tentatively Back in the Game

Funny how the human mind (or at least my human mind) operates. While on my vacation from poker, I decided to start dabbling with the $200+15's on Party. 1 and then 2 tabling them for one or two sets a night. No plan, just fun. If I lost, whatever. Don't need the money to pay bills, this is recreational money. So of couse I start winning. Even winning both tournes of a two tourney set once. Bad players here just like at the lower levels, but the good players are very good.

So ya I've purchased PokerAce HUD finally. I've got my PokerTracker up and running and I'm swapping HH's with other respected players. Bleh. Looks like I'm back.

Goal, to play on my roughly 30 buy-in bankroll at the 215's (mostly won money since I've been toying with them...former poker roll is now earning interest) until it is gone, I am certain I have a negative expectation OR I have made enough to buy my new most wanted poker toy and have a 100 Buy-In bankroll. Then I'll stick around until I run like crap over 1,000 tourneys and want to hang myself again. What a life. Don't you want to be a professional poker player? lol

Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!

Fickle Bill

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Glad I'm Not This Cool

I put my AIM name on 2+2 for some hand histories and somebody with the handle justinbonomo AIM's me tonite and starts shooting the breeze. Ok a little wierd that one of the best SNG/Online MTTers out there just randomly IM's me in the middle of the night in the US, but ok. Then it gets around to his mission, can I do a funds exchange with him. I send him money on Stars and he sends it to me on Party, blah blah blah. I've done this 100 times with fellow 2+2ers and have no problem with it at all, but I've never interacted with ZJ (Zee Justin for anybody living under a rock the last year) so its a bit odd. I tell him to PM me on 2+2 and he tells me to send an email to zeejustin@inbox.com. lol SCAMMER! I PM ZJ to warn him and just as I hit submit the scammer gives me a link to ZJ's site where he talks about this douche bag.

Scary. Sorry man.

Anywho ZJ is a badass poker player and will likely be a TV celebrity once he turns 21 and can play in Vegas legally. Check out his site which I've linked to above and added to the list on the right.

Wild Bill

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Announcing Two Very Cool Blogs

Two of the best known 2+2 MTTers have started up blogs and should be exciting to follow. MLG just started his recently and Sirio11's has been around a little longer. Both play a lot of the big buy-in events and if they share even a tiny bit of what they know about the game on their blogs, reading should be a massively +EV endeavor.

Thanks for starting them up gentleman and I hope all of my readers will check them out.



Thursday, January 26, 2006

Playing Poker For a Living

As many of you know, six months ago I decided to put my company on hold and play poker for a living. I am now taking a break from poker and have had a little time to reflect on the last six months and thought I'd do a post on my prognosis for what the life has to offer, at least from my perspective:

As the now cliché saying goes, it is a hard way to make an easy living. Playing poker for a living has been the most emotionally and mentally taxing thing I have ever done. It has also been the most financially rewarding endeavor I have ever undertaken, especially from a $/hour perspective.

There are giant perks and sometimes even greater drawbacks. These perks I think I have done my best to take advantage of, namely that the job can be done on any schedule you select and from any geographic location, provided a stable internet connection. The financial rewards can also allow you to live your life to the fullest as you may not need to work too many hours to make a strong income.

There are some personality traits that you either must have, or must work very hard to improve upon, or you are almost surely destined for failure. You must be good with money. This means at saving it at regular intervals, managing your bankroll as well as your personal money and never ever going on tilt and jeopardizing your poker bankroll. You must be emotionally stable and be able to handle the swings of the game. It has been pointed out to me by a few people that I may not be fully up to par in this respect, and when I do return to playing full-time I think I will definitely need to monitor this more. Losing and winning thousands of dollars per day can do some weird things to your emotions and internal compass, no matter how stable you previously were.

You must have a true passion and love for this game, and be after more than just money. It takes a constant desire to learn more and improve your game to succeed in the long run. You must also have a good support system in place and an acceptance of your trade from those close to you. The friends I've made through online poker have been amazing in this capacity and I consider myself truly blessed.

You absolutely positively must have rakeback! This can pay all of your bills at months end when you have had a losing or break even month, and prevent you from having to dip into savings or your bankroll, or worse...GET A JOB!

I'd also recommend getting at least one or two other streams of income. I've been lucky to have a few of these before and during poker and they are what I am now focusing my time on. Poker has gotten to be a drag on my psyche and I really need this vacation from the game I love. If I didn't have my side work I'd be lost for how to spend my time and energy now.

And the single biggest piece of advice I can give to any prospective professional player is to keep a balanced life! The first couple of weeks were miserable because I was either playing or studying for like 90% of my waking hours. Go out with friends! Get a girlfriend! Get some other hobbies! Once I started doing these things I really began to enjoy all of the things that the life has to offer. It is not for everybody, but done right it can be a truly amazing and rewarding job.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading,

Wild Bill

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The History of Gigabet

Please checkout my two websites: RakeAid.com for great rakeback deals and PSMoney.com to exchange PokerStars T$ and W$

Gigabet (AKA Darrell Dicken) posted this recently in the STT forum on 2+2. Its a history of his life with poker and an amazing read. The original post can be found here

I cannot remember a time where I didn't know how to play the game. I think I was taught by my stepdad, but I am not sure, I was very young. I remember when I was very young, my mother and my stepdad religously went to a restaurant for breakfast every single morning, almost without exception. I can remember sitting in the restaurant, probably 7 or 8 years old, playing 5 card draw with my brothers and my stepdad while my mother finished the paper, coffee, whatever it was grownups did when I was 8 years old.

We would play with pennies, I don't think I understood the concept of money yet, but I remember enjoying it when I got to keep the pennies. Most mornings I would go with them to breakfast, if I wasn't in school, that is. Every morning we would play 5 card draw, some weird variation of blackjack that i cannot remember how it went, and gin rummy. Or solitaire, if my stepdad wanted to read the paper and david or doug(my brothers) didn't come with. I went with them to breakfast every morning until I was high school age.

In high school, I remember getting kicked out of biology class at least once a week for playing poker during class. Me and a friend would play $1-$3 stud(alot of money for a kid just starting high school) and crazy games with wild cards. I never got in real trouble for getting kicked out, cause my brother was good friends with the vice principal, so I just went to his office everytime she sent me out, and took a nap on his couch in his office.

David and Mr. Blau was his name, both were incredibly idiotic baseball freaks. Apparently 30 years in age difference is small potatoes for a cubs fan. Being tortured for almost 100 years takes away all concept of age.

While in high school, I got a job at a hotel as a desk clerk, and one of my long time friends also worked there, and my uncle worked there(who is my age, and more like a very good friend than a relative.)

After working there for a few weeks, I discovered that the owners of the hotel didn't care what we did while we worked. Hell, no one ever came and checked in, so I guess, why would they care, as long as they could keep paying minimum wage. The hotel has like 100 rooms, and 95% of the year, it would be less than 10% occupied.

Anyway, once I discovered the owners didn't care what I did while I worked, I started inviting friends over while I was working. There is an apartment in the backroom, so it isn't like they were all hanging out in the lobby, but eventually we decided to play sick gambling games(in between the sheets, man or mouse....omg, I think I still owe a friend of mine 7 or 8 thousand from back then, when I never had more than 200 in possession in one time). Eventually we stopped those games, cause someone always went broke, no matter how much they brought, it is the nature of the game to bust someone, just sick.

So we all started playing poker, I played poker in that hotel, every single night, with the same 3 people, various others came and went every night, but David(my brother), Danny(my uncle), Jeremy(my friend) and myself(me)were seriously in that back apartment of that hotel every single night for 2 years straight. We played 7stud, 5card draw, some lowball games, and a couple goofy games for, what was to us, relatively high stakes. We could win or lose 2 or 3k in a single night.

I was 16 when I started working there, and I guess you could say that was my first real taste of a poker game. Everything else I had played was for pretty low stakes, and always on the fly, and short handed. I think I won my first session there, and I remember consistently going over a week without having a losing session. I almost never lost. None of the 4 regulars lost very often, but even when it was just us 4, and no one else, we always would play games with a ton of wild cards, or lowball, cause I never would lose to them.

After playing in the hotel for about a year, we started going to this casino that was about 45 minutes from us. I got myself a fake id, I was only 17, but i don't really look much different then than now. Anyway, this was before the poker boom, in fact, this was the poker depression, all the casinos were predicting that all the pokerrooms were going to be shut down because of lack of business.

Holdem wasn't very widespread at that point in time, in the midwest you couldn't even find a holdem game on the weekends. It was all 7stud, and omaha had just gotten started too. But at the casino I went to, no one ever played the omaha game, except on saturday where a $5 blind single blind plo game would go off. It played like a 10/25 game though. These people were insane, avg pot on the turn card was 500.

I was stuck with 7stud, which I played regurlarly until holdem started getting spread again. Which was like 5 years later. Fast forward to me being 24 years old.

When I was 17, I got very interested in pool, and began playing that everyday. By the time I was 24, I was able to compete with everyone in the midwest, except for the players that were known professionals. So I started to travel around to play pool. Eventually, it got to the point where I couldn't really make any money in it. The only people who would gamble with me, were people who could beat me. My name had become fairly well known in the pool world, so players who actually stood a fair chance to beat me, wouldn't play me, cause they knew that I was a name player. It was a very frustrating time for me. Fortunately, there was usually a poker game in whatever pool hall i happened to be in, although small stakes. Occasionally, I would get some rich farmer, or a local bookie to play hu with me at higher limit. I remember once, I was in Sterling, Ill. for a pool tournament, and there was a card game going on during the tournament. It was like a 2/4 omaha 8/b game. Anyway, one of the guys in the game asked if anyone wanted to raise the limit. I was the only one who said yes. So it didn't happen. But the guy offers me a HU game, I say sure, what stakes. He said 500/1000....I said ok(I had maybe 2500 with me, 500/1000 was wayyyyyyyy over my head at that point in time.) Fortunately, I had friends who saw me win every time I played, so i was able to get 50k from 3 different people. Lol, i have 50bb for this game, not Big Bets, big blinds.....how ridiculous is this bankroll for this game. Fortunately, the people putting the money up had no idea that 50k was not even in the realm of reality in the world of 500/1000 limit holdem.

We get to his room, and he offers the cut, and he deals out 4 cards....?

I look confused, he says, I thought we agreed we were going to play limit omaha all high. What?

I didn't want to lose the game, so I said whatever. But, I had never played all high omaha before, i had seen it played, but that was plo, not limit. I'll figure it out, I say to myself.

Immediately I see that I have no chance at not losing this 50k, unless I just call call call and get lucky. I have absolutely no clue as to what would constitute a good showdown hand in that game.

For the first 3 hours we played, I nevere bet, or raised, unless I had the pure nuts. I did get lucky, i had a string where I won 12 consecutive hands. (most hands went ck ck ck)

I eventually got to the point where I felt I had a handle on the relative showdown value of certain holdings based on the texture of the board. Long story short, I ended getting stuck 43k, then being up 400k, and then being stuck again. It was unreal. We quit after playing for 14 hours, and we dead even, down to the last 100 dollars, it was unreal.

Fast forward, online pokerrooms just became public knowledge, and I get an account at PartyPoker. here comes Gigabet.

Play low limit for awhile, never spend enough time at home to really play, always on the road, it seemed. Didn't really get into it, the site basically sucked, it kept freezing up, all the time, it would freeze up for no apparent reason, and then not come back online for a day or so. This was PartyPoker, i remember once looking at the application, and seeing that there were 1700 players online playing, and thinking to myself that the site would crash cause they usually are only getting 1200. And, they crashed.

Every night party crashed, for a long time. I still dealt with it, and played there a little. I didn't set anything structured to play, I would just hop into whatevere, usually limit holdem or a relatively low buy in mtt. Like 20, or 30. I think my peak online bankroll was around $150 at this time.

Anyway, they eventually, starting getting more and more players, and more and more servers. Finally, when their peak hour player number avged about 17,000 during the week, their servers caught up to the constant influx of new players. This was when I started playing alot online.

I lived with a very good friend of mine, and his wife, probably still my two best friends, if you can exclude my brothers(my brothers, are without a doubt, my two best friends). We shared a pretty decent sized house, and I basically moved out of my room into the office, lol, so i could play the second I woke up.

I obviously have a psychotic case of obsessive compulsive disorder. I started playing stts, the highest limit was 100 at that time, but i wasn't playing those often. I was playing the 33s and the 55s, but only the limit stts, not the NL, I had never played NL holdem up to that point, and i didn't feel comfortable playing them. At that time, the limit stts, filled only slightly slower than the nl stts, so it wasn't a that big of a deal.

I started as a winner on party, and I continued to win, but i didn't work, and pool wasn't making me money, so i always had to withdraw money to pay bills, eat, whatever. Eventually, I had built my account up to around 600 or 700, and I decided to try the 109 tourneys. Of course, the 109s back then only had NL, they didn't even offer 109 limit stts at that time.

I already decided to play a higher limit, so I wasn't going to back off now, just cause I had to play a game I was completely unfamiliar with. Poker is poker, right? Wrong, first time I can remember, in my entire life, that I was completely drawing dead in this game. I just didn't even know where to begin. Someone would come in for a raise, i would call with 99 or something. Board would come 7 high, they would bet the pot, I would call, thinking, it isn't that much, and I probably have the best hand anyway. Now the turn card brings a 2, or some disconnected offsuit card like that. I still like my hand, but I don't feel the need to be real aggressive with it. Of course, the guy bets a little over half the pot now. I incorrectly guessed that meant that he wanted me to fold(cause the bet was so high, in my limit world, in NL, I should have been able to see that it was a bet designed to get called.) I knew poker very well, and I knew that when I thought someone wants me to fold, I try to get as much money in as possible. So I minraise, which obviously commits me all the way to the hand. Of course, he is going to read that bet as a big hand, where I thought I was being cleverly deceptive in hiding the fact that I liked my hand(cause I thought he hated his). So he shoves the rest of his chips in, and I happily call. We all know what happened next.

After that, I studied NL holdem nonstop. I read everything that was written about the game, including everything on the internet. I started playing NL exclusively, and it took me all of 2 days to get to a point where it was obvious to me that the 109 players were basically the same as the 33 and 55 dollars players, just a little less lost.

Anyway, Doug hits a couple big mtt scores, and he offers to start a regular bankroll for me and like 5 other people who live in our town. With the idea that once we get to 40,000, we finish the stake and he gets 20,000. Party had started offering 215s by this time.

We all start playing off of dougs stake, and doug was very good stt player by this time, so every day and every night one of us, and usually 3 or 4 of us would be at his house so he could make certain that we were playing the best way to beat the party stts. Not really play poker, play party poker. Doug was probably the best stt player at party at that time, and no one knew it, including him. I know it now, because some of things I remember him saying to me, while I would be playing, still aren't posted on 2+2 or any other site for that matter.

It took me 2 weeks of pretty solid play to get to a point where I could keep my account over the break even point.

Once I stayed over the even mark for a week. Hovering just over even, I won 7600 in a span of one 24 hour period. That was amazing for me. Took me another couple days to get over 10k, and then I guess whatever clicked, stayed clicked, cause I was making money faster than I knew how to withdraw it from my account.

So I get it up to 40k, and everyone else in the original starting group is still hovering around even, and they are still playing everyday. I am getting ready to give doug the 20k and he only takes 10k(which, if i remember, i had to force him to take). He feels guilty that everyone else is working so hard and not getting rewarded, so he tells them that they don't have to pay him the 20k, hoping that will ease whatever mental block was keeping them from becoming as successful as I was.

It didn't though, they continued to play for months, and I continued to win at a similar pace that I was before. Now, our friends were coming to my house, when doug wasn't home, so i could help them. Everyday, someone would come over and play, and watch me play, and listen to me, and play more, but they still just couldn't get over the hump.

I still hadn't stopped studying NL, but it came to a point where new ideas, and new material ran out. So I was forced to really think about the game on my own. All day, everyday, I was playing, I was writing my thoughts about different situations, I was teaching my friends, and i was playing again. I was absolutely consumed by poker, I was making an amount of money that was absolutely ridiculous to my standards before this rush.

Finally, I got to the point where I realized that the reason alot of the concepts that I came up with weren't working in the stts, because there aren't enough chips in play. I'd have this revelation, about something relative to poker, and I would try it out, and it wouldn't work. I couldn't figure it out. The ideas made perfect sense in my head, I just didn't get it. Finally, I figured out that the edges I was thinking about required that there be more to "go after."

So I started playing multi table events. I was still playing the 215s, but I would take a few games off what I was usually playing at that time, and play a mtt instead. I started playing the party weeknight specials. I found out immediately, that the concepts I had come up with, worked, and they worked very well.

I was making a final table 2 or 3 times a day, that was when they ran 109 mtts every other hour starting at 7:00am est. 7am,9am,11am,1pm(limit),3pm,5pm,7:10pm,(no 9pm) 11pm, and 3am.

The name Gigabet became originally known from the stts, but the name became famous after the sickest weekend I have heard about or seen since.

The prelude to the "weekend" was actually the week before. The friday special had changed from limit to NL for that week. Well, I played it and won, I got HU with EL_Tahur, who now calls himself Tera_Bet.

A week later, the friday special is back to limit holdem(wed and fri used to always be limit holdem). I win the friday special again, albeit for about a 3rd of the prize money from the week before. The following day, Party was offering a tournament that was 345 buyin, rather than the normal 250k guaranteed(I think it was actually 150k guaranteed at that time though). They advertised it well, so it had a boat load of people. I can't remember how many, but I know first was 140k. At any rate, I am the chipleader with 13 players, with a 3 to 1 chip lead over the next person closest to my stack.....except for one guy. Who I had covered by only by around a few thousand, 3bbs I think. Anyway, of course we are on the same table, I am in the small blind and get dealt KK, he is utg, and he just pushes.....which was a huge overbet, but still an understandable bet, since everyone in the field was in push fold mode, except for the two of us, and a couple others on the other table(the other two who weren't in push fold mode, we had a 3 to 1 lead on, to give you an idea of how many chips we had). So of course, I call with KK, and he opens AQ, and the flop comes QQx, lol, he didn't even hit the ace. In retrospect, I prolly should have folded. Anyway, I play the 11:00pm 109mtt and win that, can't remember the number of players, but it was 13k, so you figure it out.

On Sunday am, I play the 6am limit 109, and win that. I got HU with Danny Alaei, if anyone knows him. Good friend of mine. Then I play the big sunday event, and get 4th in that, can't remember how many were in that field, but first was around 80k. I am including monday in my weekend also, so no one gets confused. Monday, I play the party special, and win that, but even more impressive I think is that I made the final table of every single 109 mtt that ran that day starting with the 11am and finishing with the 11pm one. And I won 3 of those. I was playing as SwiftSteal in the 109 mtts, and Gigabet in the special.

After that, I was sure online poker was rigged....but who cares, since it was obviously rigged for me.

Then the Steps come....Party just can't be satisfied until I have 849704509768905760295 billion dollars.

I absolutely crushed the step tournaments when they first came out as two table events , and I played every single one of them that ran in december. I was winning every other one of them, it seemed. Party was still rigged in my favor, yes! There was one night, I had 4 two table step 5s running, and a cash game at UB. Danny Alaei and I chatted everyday(he thinks about poker the same way that I do)and in this particular session, he was watching me play the step 5s, and asking for my hole cards through aim, cause he wanted to start playing them, but he didn't feel comfortable enough at the time. Danny is chipdaddy37 on party, if anyone remembers that name.

So we are talking about how the hands are being played out, and going over my thoughts as i play through a hand, when he tells me that prahlad(spiritrock) just lost a 70k pot on the prima network. Prahlad is in my game at ub, we are playing 25/50, and we both have around 40k behind us. I am in the big blind, and prahlad has the button, and just like clockwork he raises. I have JJ(perfect timing for a hand, though i would have played anything, thinking he may be on tilt.) Long story short, I stack him, he bluffs his entire stack with absolutely nothing, and I flop top set. Meanwhile, I win all four step 5 two tables I am in. This is when Danny and I decide to go to vegas, and just stay through the world series.

My next big win was win the 15k stt tourneys, most of that info has been posted, but I played as evenkeal, played two, and won them both. they paid 100k to win.

thats about it online, now i am playing live, and that has all been posted before as well.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

'As Long As Is Financially Possible'

A great quote over a beer last night. Thats how long Brandon wants to stay in Thailand. I'd have to agree. Poker sucks bad right now. I'm up over the last month but its not much fun. I'm getting into coaching and backing more and more but still don't have much of a drive to pound out 500+ SNG's a month. I'm seriously considering putting playing on a back burner to finish up some of my side projects. All of them are poker related and have the potential for long term passive income, which I'm a big fan of. I feel like I've been leaving half finished stuff all over the place for the entire time I've been pro. We'll see but life is definately grand right now, no matter how you slice it. I'll keep you posted.

Wild Bill

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Not much eventful lately, got a nice pad in Bangkok and will be here with Brandon for awhile looking for some deep MTT cashes and drinking Gin & Tonics, sporting a perma-grin.

Big up's to my buddy Danny (Danny's Blog), he took down the Party Super Monday this week for a cool $39k. He's been final tabling left and right for pretty much the past year. Nice work sir.

My hourly as a full-time MTTer is very strong though I'm finding it a bit hard to get enough hours in as all the good tourneys are at hours I'm usually sleeping at. I've been hitting the $30+3 Rebuy/Add-on and a $100+9 nightly on Party. Best finish so far was a 2nd in the R/A for a bit over $4500.

That I am playing amazing poker and starting to enjoy it thoroughly again is the best news I can report.

Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!

Wild Bill

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bangkok New Years

New Years is quite the holiday here. Two friends from the states flew in and my buddy Brandon up in Chiang Mai came to Bangkok and we all went out and had a blast. Brandon and I signed a lease on an amazing apartment in Bangkok. We're paying about the same as an average place in America but we have a furnished palace in an awesome location in downtown Bangkok. Maids quarters (we're interviewing), massive TV included etc etc. After spending so much time with substandard internet, infrequent warm showers and the like, thought it'd be +EV to have a stable pad for awhile.

The switch to MTT has gone as expected. Massive variance, mostly of the negative variety. The number of sickening beats late tourney is piliing up but I just keep remembering how this whole adverture started. I sucked out 3-handed for an extra $5k in that Party Super, if I had not done that this life may never have happened. I can take some viscious beats I guess.

Enjoy the pictures, should have some of the pad up soon.

May it be a prosperous New Year!

Me, Devin, Les and Brandon. 12:15 am. Destroyed.

Guy or girl? Find a lot of these in Thailand...

Authentic Thai people.

MBK Plaza

Fireworks at the World Trade Center

Me with some Beer Chang

For any of our friends reading this, Brandon has a bunch of pictures hosted at brandoncuff.com from New Years and other random stuff.

Thanks for reading, now get back to the tables!

Wild Bill