Poker Ramblings of cmitch

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I want to play in the WSOP!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Simple enough. I want to play in the Main Event of the 2006 World Series of Poker. Now for the hard part - How do I get there? I don't want to deplete my bankroll by playing satellite after satellite.

I am open to suggestions.

I will probably put $x aside to use exclusively for WSOP sats. If I don't win my way in online before the Main Event, I will probably play one of the live $1k Super Sats in Vegas the day before the Main Event.

Every site out there seems to have satellites running. There are so many that my head spins just thinking about it. I need to have a clearly defined plan to follow or I will probably just jump into a satellite if it looks good.

The following look like the best bang for you buck (based on # of seats awarded/player)

1. Full Tilt Poker $1k on Monday nights

pros - one seat for every 12 players; they pay you additional if you make the final table/win the main event; will probably be treated 1st class if win through them.
cons - they only seem to offer $24+$2 satellites during the times that I can play, which usually only award one seat. The $69+$6 sats all seem to be at 11:30 PM; SNGs sats are $150 and could get expensive.

2. UB Bi-Monthly $1k sat on Saturday Nights

pros - high number of seats awarded because sats into the super sat run for a few weeks; awesome structure in super sat (a lot of starting chips and slow levels)
cons - very few sats into super sat; the few that they have usually draw small fields and award 1 seat.

3. Pokerstars $650 weekly Super Sat on Sundays

pros - Pokerstars does everything right. Free Hotel if you win your way in and agree to wear their gear; a ton of sats into the super sat.
cons - one seat awarded/18 players; the super sat is on Sunday afternoon and I have kids so I can't always play then.

4. Pokers $160 Double Shootouts

pros - same as above plus they are available several times a day.
cons - easier said than done; it sounds easy to just win 2 SNGs in a row but it is not that easy - especially when the 2nd SNG is full a winners.

These are just a few of my options. I am really just now trying to figure out a plan and follow it. Let's say I set aside $500 to try and win my way in, what would be the best route?

My intial thinking is put some money on Stars, UB, and FTP, use play money to play satellites to the super sats and see how things go. I will probably put X$ into each one and schedule my satellite play around specific times.


Poker and a Positive Attitude

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I have discussed this briefly before, but I can't stress enough how important it is to have a positive attitude when playing. I have been playing very well as of late and think a lot of it has to do with keeping focused and maintaining a positive attitude.

A negative attitude towards poker can make things go from bad to worse. We have all been there before. Everything seems to be going against us. The horrible players are knocking down our AA with 94. You think you are setting a trap with the nut flush only to be beaten by a straight flush. It all starts with a few hands horrible beats in a row and from there you seem to feel like the poker gods are against you.

You say, "I can't believe what ridiculously horrible luck I am having!" "I can't catch a f$*&ing break!" "I keep getting outdrawn - WTF?" etc. etc....

..Eeeeerrrrkkkkkkk (imagine a scratching record sound - I know pretty weak)...

STOP!!! Don't start thinking like that. Once your brain turns that corner and you start thinking like that you are finished.

When you start to play differently, you are more predictable to others. Your aces just got cracked and there is no way that you are letting that happen again. You overbet when you get aces and pick up a small pot. Now you are even more upset. You didn't lose with AA but you picked up a miniscule pot. Would you have played them different if you were running good? Almost definitely. It almost because a no-win situation. You aren't happy that you won a pot with Aces and you aren't happy that you didn't lose with Aces. You start to try way too hard to win pots when you would normally fold. Your play becomes so much more forced.

It happens to us all at times.

Bottom line... You can't play your best game when you are expecting to get sucked out on. Poker is like life, more good things seem to happen to positive people. It isn't that they are luckier. They put themselves in more positions where good things will happen.

The reason I am writing this is because a friend of mine is on a horrible run and he very frustrated with poker. I think his head isn't into the game right now (I might be in the same frame of mind if I had his bad luck as of late.) Hopefully, things will turn around for him with a few days or a week away from the tables.


Talk about an "oops".

Full Tilt Poker sends out regular "Tips from the Pros" by email from the "pros" that are affiliated with their site. Last week a "Tip from the Pros" was sent out by Clonie Gowen. It was a tip concerning Re-buy strategy titled, "Clonie Gowen Presents: 'How Many Re-Buys?'" dated April 10, 2006.

There was one major problem with the article - the first paragraph was plagarized from an article by Josh Supsak (aka JSup) that was written for and posted on on 10/6/2005.

Listed below is the first paragraph of her tip:

"Re-buy tournaments are my favorite types of tournaments to play. I am not much of a gambler away from poker; I rarely play table games like craps or blackjack, and I never bet on sports. My tournament style, and overall poker style for that matter, is generally tight-aggressive, but during re-buy tournaments, I use a different strategy that is fun to play and has given me a great deal of success in the past."

Now for the first paragraph from JSup's article:

"Rebuy tournaments are my favorite types of tournaments to play. I am not much of a gambler away from poker; I rarely play table games like craps or blackjack and I never bet on sports. My tournament style, and overall poker style for that matter is more of a tight aggressive style, but during rebuy tournaments I use a different strategy that is fun to play and has given me a great deal of success in the past. "


Pocketfives like always was on top of the problem. They contacted FTP which in turn contacted Clonie Gowen and she issued a formal apology on the forum.

You can view the thread at this link. Her apology is posted below:


From: Clonie Gowen

First, let me begin by apologizing to the Pocket Fives online community. Simply put, this is the most foolish thing that I have ever done and I am sincerely sorry. This is the type of action that you might expect from a teenager, but certainly not from a Full Tilt Poker Pro.

There is definitely no excuse for my actions, but I want to add a slight bit of clarification. It is important that you know that I employ an editor/collaborator, as many pros do. Rick Fuller edits most of my writing, which is something I will definitely reconsider moving forward. In a moment of very poor judgment, when editing this tip he added some copy that was obviously taken from another source - an action that goes totally against my professional ethics. In so doing, he created a tip that under no circumstance I would have submitted knowingly. He executed extremely poor judgment, as did I by not proofing the final version.

There is no excuse for this and ultimately the end product is my responsibility; a responsibility I fully accept. I will make the necessary changes to ensure that this never occurs again.

I hope this does not reflect poorly on my fellow Full Tilt Pros, all who take great pride in creating entertaining, informative and original tips for your enjoyment

With immense regret,

Clonie Gowen"

Her collaborator Rick Fuller responded in the thread with the following:

"To Jsup -

I wanted to take a moment and issue my own apology to you. Clonie hires me to edit and collaborate on the articles that she writes. In this instance she gave me her thoughts on re-buy tournaments and I wrote the actual words behind the pro-tip. Clonie reviewed what I wrote, made changes where necessary, and submitted the article to Full Tilt for publication. This is a very common situation in poker, many if not most pros are not writers and if they tried to put their thoughts into words it would be horrible reading for most of us.

I had a copy of the article written by you and copied and pasted the first paragraph of your article onto the article I was writing for Clonie, switching out my opening paragraph for yours. I basically thought two of the lines in that paragraph really matched Clonie's thoughts and I intended to change the wording around so that it wasn't the same as the wording you wrote. I got busy and did not come back to the article for a couple of days at which point I forgot that I had pasted that paragraph from your article. It was submitted to Clonie and forwarded to Full Tilt. It was by no means deliberate, nor was any of the real meat of the article anything but original thought. It was a gross and negligent error on my part and I can only offer my humblest apologies.

To those of you who play on Full Tilt or enjoy the tips from the pros, I will say this. This tip from Clonie and every other tip or article from her, are her thoughts and her ideas put into words by me. Every point made in the tip was her point, I just filled around the lines with wording to make it read and flow easier. I would hope that you could understand the need for the vast majority of poker pros to employ someone who could transform their thoughts into words that are easy to read and understand. For those of you who think this is shady or underhanded.... well, too bad. What could possibly be wrong with someone saying, "Hey, here are my thoughts and ideas, can you help me put them into words that everyone will understand?" I assure you all that Clonie has a vast amount of input into everything that is submitted with her name.

Jsup - I used your words without permission. I screwed up. I offer my humblest apologies and assure you it will not happen again.


Rick Fuller"

Adam, one of the admins from Pocket Fives, had the following reply to Rick's post:

"....You apologized for using jsup's words without permission, but that's not even the issue--you don't need someone else's permission to use their words. It's simple just to give someone else credit if they said it first and you want to use it in your own publication. "

An extremely valid point!! Are they just taking the credit for other people's articles by simply re-wording articles written by others. I think we all learned in elementary school that you have to quote sources.

Rick Fuller posted a final apology and it sounds like he made a mistake and is truely sorry:

"Pocketfives forum members -

I had no intention of posting anything further on this subject, I gave my public apology to Jsup and I apparently also owe an apology to Pocketfives and possibly to and I give those their due apologies now.

I am making this final post because some of the comments and accusations on here are ludicrous and absurd. There also appears to be a great deal of misunderstanding about what actually happened.

For those of you who have dissected both Clonie's and my apologies to find differences and contradictions, I assure you they are not there. We are both apologizing for our respective roles in this incident, if you want to find semantical differences and claim there is some conspiracy there or that we can't get our stories straight than knock yourselves out. We told you all what happened and apologized for it, that's all we can do.

As far as what actually happened... What was copied did not have anything to do with the actual content of the article. It was an introductory paragraph, that was all. The tips, the ideas, the strategies, etc., were all completely original thought. I copied that paragraph onto the article specifically because, like I said, I thought these two lines were similar to Clonie's own thoughts;

"Rebuy tournaments are my favorite types of tournaments to play. I am not much of a gambler away from poker; I rarely play table games like craps or blackjack and I never bet on sports."

These two lines are not original thoughts. They are not unique to Jsup. They do apply to thousands of players out there. Re-buy tournaments are in fact Clonie's favorite types of tournaments to play and she is in fact not much of a gambler away from poker. The fact that I wanted to change the wording of these two lines and use them in Clonie's article does not make me a plagiarizer. The fact that I mistakenly used them, and the other two lines in that paragraph, without changing them does make me a plagiarizer, but an inadvertant one.

Research the rest of the article and tell me if you can find any of that anywhere else. Research my name and any of the numerous articles I have written under my own name for 3 different poker publications and many online sites and tell me if you can find anything that even hints of plagiarism. You will not.

To Aaron Bartley/GambleAB - Just because you write your own material and you know of five others that do does not mean that my statement is false. It is a fact that a vast number of poker players employ others to write material for them. I will tell you that I know that for a fact, if you are too ignorant to believe it then too bad.

To Sheets and the others who said Clonie was throwing me under the bus and dodging the responsibility here. Clonie fought with me to keep my name out of this and take all the blame herself and I wouldn't have anything to do with it. I insisted that my name be put in her letter. I actually tried to get her to put all of the blame on me which is where it all belongs. Clonie insisted on taking responsiblity for this, not because she had any, but because she is a completely classy lady with high ethical and moral values who insists on always doing the right thing. Anybody who knows Clonie in a personal way will back that statement up.

To those of you who think I or anybody else should be sued, arrested, imprisoned, hanged until dead, or otherwise punished for this, please do whatever you think is necessary to bring those actions forward. Nobody profited from this mistake and nobody was truly hurt by it. Some people were wronged and wrongs of this nature and scope should be correctable with an apology. I have lost great faith in the poker community when a simple and innocent mistake can not be rectified by a heartfelt and sincere apology.

To those of you who think that these letters of apology were not sincere or that a few differences in wording means we are lying or covering up and that we don't respect you because of it, well again, too bad. I don't care to earn your respect or your belief in my intentions, I care simply to make a public apology to Jsup and pocketfives and that is what I have done.

These will be my last comments on this situation. If Cal, Adam, Riley, or Jsup wish to discuss this with me further I will be happy to do so with them in person or in private.

All my best,

Rick Fuller"

Whew!! It sounds like this is all going to be resolved with a big / promotion.

The whole situation makes you think - Be careful what you write, copy all sources, and provide all the facts on an explosive situation ASAP.

I think what Rick Fuller and Clonie Gowen did was wrong, but I also think it was a mistake. He should have noted and as sources for Clonie's tip. I am sure this will lead to more scrutiny by FTP and the pros on future tips.

Good luck at the tables and look for my next post on re-buy tourneys. I have the first couple of sentences drafted:

"Re-buy tournaments are my favorite types of tournaments to play. I am not much of a gambler away from poker..."

What do you think?


My Congressman Sucks (Poker Related!)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I joined the Poker Players Alliance when all the recent hoopla around the Goodlatte Internet Gambling ban was proposed. They emailed me a form letter to pass on to my congressman along with a link to his email address. I emailed my congressman even though I know he is a Right Wing Puppet that would never oppose this bill. (I think both Bush and Cheney visited Orlando when he was running for the House seat.)

To my surprise he responded to my email. I wasn't surprised by the content though.

Response from Ric Keller (R) - Orlando:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

As you may know, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (H.R. 4777) was introduced by Congressman Bob Goodlatte on February 16, 2006. H.R. 4777 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it awaits further action.

While I understand your concerns regarding this issue, I must inform you that I support HR 4777. I believe internet gambling serves no legitimate purpose in our society, but instead is a danger to our society and families. Internet gambling is a growing cause of debt collection problems for banks and the consumer credit industry. This cost is ultimately passed on to the American citizens since banks are federally insured and the credit industry can pass its costs on to consumers. Unregulated gambling websites are a direct pipeline of dollars out of the United States into virtually unknown hands, making the financial services industry susceptible to criminal and terrorist activity and U.S. citizens vulnerable to identify theft and other personal scams.

Again, thank you for contacting my office. Please do not hesitate to contact me again at any time should you have any additional comments about this or any other legislative issue. Also, please visit my Web site at for regular updates.


Ric Keller

Member of Congress

What a crock!!

Ric - How is censoring Poker sites not comparable to China censoring any websites that speak out against the Chinese government?

Where do we stop? Can I no longer send personal emails with pcitures/content that Ric or Goodlatte find offensive? Will Yahoo and Google start showing results where we can only click 50% of the links because we are located in the US?

Write your Congressman and let him know what you think about this bill!! You can go to Poker Players Alliance for more information.


I am extremely busy at work today, so I will make this quick.

I was skimming through one of my old poker books, Poker Nation, this weekend and came across a story that was a great reminder of what separate winning sessions from losing sessions. I'll para-phrase it below.

Setting is a live NL Cash game. The author bets his 33 and is called by 2 players - one of which is eating his dinner at the table. The flop comes JJ4. 33 bets, Player 2 raises and the guy eating his dinner makes a large re-raise. 33 folds and Player 2 folds J10 face up. Everyone at the table is stunned. No one can believe that he made that lay down. The guy eating his dinner reluctantly shows KJ and that Player 2 was way behind in the hand. Player 2 says he laid the hand down because the guy eating his dinner must have had a great hand to take his mind off his dinner and make a big raise. He was right and saved his entire stack.

The author goes on to say - Sometimes a winning session is not about how many big pots you win that night, but how many big pots that you don't lose.

This couldn't be truer, especially in the context of the person you are playing against. I always find myself asking why a guy is going all in. If he/she is a very tight player and makes a huge re-raise, I will lay down some hands that I may not against others. There are plenty more hands to come and bigger pots to be won.


3 for 3 in Tourneys

Friday, April 07, 2006

I decided to take a few days off from cash games and played a few tourneys this week for a change of pace. I focused on playing very tight aggressive (TAG), my old style, and it seemed to work very well. I cashed in the three tourneys that I played.

I think this is just what I needed to get me out of my slump of the past week. See results below:

$50+$5 90 person tourney on pokerstars - 6th place $292.50

$30+$3 6 players/table on pokerstars - 305 entries - 18th place $128 (top 3 for most of tourney and ran into some trouble late or I could have finished higher.)

$100+$9 $20k Guaranteed on UB - 206 entries - 5th place $1339 (UB has a great structure. The tourney started at 8 PM and I busted out at 1 AM - pretty long online tourney for 200 entries)

It feels good to do well in a few tourneys. I have been focusing so much on cash games that my tourney play was suffering. I am amazed by how many differences there are between tourneys and cash games.

Good luck at the tables this weekend.


Finally a post again

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I have had a couple of crazy weeks following my vacation. I think I have worked more extra hours than I took off when we went to the beach. My blog posting has suffered because of this. I'll try to put a lot of information into this post to catch everything up to date.


Wooooo Hooooooooo!!!!!! We won!! We Won!! Now the Gators have National Champsionships in Football and Basketball.

All I can say is awesome, awesome!! The Gators never had much of a Basketball program until the early 1990s. They unexpectedly made the Final Four for the first time while I was in college. They faced the powerhouse Duke and lost but everyone was just excited that they made the Final Four.

Fast forward to this year and things couldn't have gone more perfectly. They started the season on fire. Just when they were poised to take over the number #1 ranking they went on a losing streak. Towards the end of the season, they started to pick it up a little. Then at the SEC Tourney everything started clicking again and they never looked back.

The Gators totally dominated and in my very biased opinion the BEST TEAM IN THE NATION won the tourney.

Go Gators!!


Uncapped Live Cash Games

There is a game in town that Loopy and I went to about a week and half ago. We played a tourney at one game (see my previous chop post) and then headed over to a live 2/5 NL cash game with no max buy-in.

Normally, the cap for online games is 100xBB - so $500 for this game. Some live games vary but most of the games with caps have max buy-ins in of 100xBB or less.

When we arrived at the game there were several people with stacks over $2,000. Both Loopy and I bought in for $500. The bigger stacks around the table and the loose play got me to thinking a lot about the optimal buy-in for that game. I have always said that you should have everyone at the table covered, but the biggest stack at the table was probably around $3k+. I had $1,000 on me.

So I guess the question that I have is - Should I either buy-in for $2k or not play the game? I am at a disadvantage with my $500 buy-in, but I think the loose play at the game and the large buy-ins by very loose rich players still make it a profitable game.

I would be interested to hear thoughts on this.


$50K Challenge - CRASH AND BURN!!

Now onto the depressing news. I had the worst week and a half of poker of my life.

$50K Challenge Status - $5,240
Loss since last update - ($7,592) - OUCH!!

I'm sure you are looking at this very poor performance from me and wondering WTF happened. It really boils down to a couple of things.

1. Playing over my bankroll - I started experimenting with 5/10NL at Party Poker and had some success. I had days where I won a lot andd other days where I lost a lot - overall I was beating 5/10NL. I was playing 4 tables at one time and the wins and losses added up extremely fast. One bad day and things started to fall apart. Below is a list of how quickly you can lose a lot if you are playing over your bankroll.

- AK vs KQ all-in on a K high flop against very aggressive player. Turn comes a Q. River no help. Loss of $1,500.
- Flop a straight and all the money goes in on the flop. The other guy has two pair and make a full house on the river. Loss of $1,000
- AA vs KK all in preflop. King hits the board and my AA loses to KK. Loss of $1,200.
- Ran KK into AA all-in two times (one preflop against very aggressive player; the other on all low card flop) Loss of $2,000

Loss from above hands (all on same day) - $5,700

2. Playing 4 tables - I started playing four tables on Party Poker at one time. Even before the bad run, I was only averaging around 1.5PTBB/100. This sounds good, but my hourly rate was actually lower than playing two tables of 3/6 and pretty close to my hourly rate of 2 tables at 2/4. I play short handed no limit cash games and so much of my game is based on my "feel" for the table and my opponent's tendancies. I was losing a lot of my "reads" by playing so many tables.

3. $109+Rebuys - Loss of $609. I Played a $109+rebuys on Pokerstars and was in for $600 and wound up busting out about 7-8 spots before the money.

Moral to the story - Don't play over your bankroll, because a bad run will hit your bankroll hard. Only play as many tables as you can comfortably play your "A" game.

Things I will change.

1. I am going to play 2/4 NL (I know still over the current bankroll, but will drop down to 1/2 if I fall below $4,000) until I hit $25,000. According to PokerTracker I am cleaning up at 2/4NL. There are always a lot of tables with bad players running.

2. I am not going to play more than 2 tables at a time for the remainder of April.

3. No more $109 rebuys until the end of April unless I have over $500 Pokerstars tourney dollars.

I do not plan on updating my $50k Challenge status again until the end of April. I think this will allow me to "just play poker" and not worry about what stats I am putting up for the week. I am convinced that I will be back on track by the end of April and this horrible run will be out of my mind. I will still post on the blog regularly - just no $50K challenge updates until May 1.

OK - Feel free to rip into me now - just remember I am well aware that I shouldn't have been playing over my bankroll.