Monday, January 31, 2011


I installed the game, "Atlantica Online" on my pc. I couldn't get it to run properly, and I am now uninstalling it. This is synchronicity telling me to stick with poker and media management when working--otherwise, take a break.



Except for an hour or so in the morning, I did not play much today. Today is a holiday here in Auckland. I think it's Auckland day--forgot what the actual name of the holiday is. Wife and kids were home. Incidentally, the first day of the first term for the 2011 school year starts tomorrow.

Wife wanted to go to the mall and get stuff for the kids. After breakfast, I purged my observed hand history on holdem manager. After that, I ran defragment to take this pc run smooth again. Finally before leaving, I ran F-secure antivirus.

I do not have any antivirus program installed on my pc other than the standard windows firewall and windows defender. This used to have norton antivirus when it was brand new. When the trial period expired, I installed avira and a few other free antivirus programs. Eventually, I removed all 3rd party antivirus programs on my pc. These were slowing down my pc big time.

Some people might gasp at the thought of not having antivirus on their pc. Really, it's like the security guard issue in manila. There's too many of them and you really can't tell if they really are stopping the terrorists from bombing public places.

To scan my unit, I just go to a free online scanning service. The one I frequent is F-secure. Their antivirus is java-based, so no install is necessary--it wouldn't slow down my pc in any way. I connect to fsecure at least once a week and run antivirus. It takes at least two hours to finish a full scan.

It has been more than a year that I am doing this. The worst issue I have (now and then) is getting spyware. Other free online antivirus sites, like bitdefender sometimes fail to detect spyware on my pc. Not with fsecure. Trendmicro also has a free scan, but sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

I'll play tomorrow. In the meantime, I am installing 'Atlantica Online' on my pc.

Finally--an easier way to share information on the web~

When I find an item of interest that I want to share, I just click on the amplify app icon on my chrome browser. I can then highlight, share, clip, and comment on that item and post them on my blog, facebook page and other media that I have running out there.

Amplify’d from
  1. How can I use Amplify to curate and share information I find on the web?

  1. Is Amplify free?

    • Yes, Amplify is free.

  1. Can I use Amplify to share videos I find on the web?

    • Yes. With the Amplify bookmarklet, you can Amplify online video from sites including Youtube, CNN, WSJ, Reuters, CBSNews, The Daily Show, CNet,,, Vimeo and many others.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

gettin' focused

I just withdrew $69 from my full tilt poker account. I am moving them to pokerstars, and focus play on this one site from here on. Reasons why I am doing this (in case full tilt poker mgt is reading my blog):

- pokerstars game platform is more stable
- loads faster
- plays well with tableninja (good for multi-tabling)
- stable with holdem manager
- more fish per table (FR NLHE cash) 24/7
- pokerstars rewards its loyal customers better

When the funds are transferred, I am within striking distance to take shots at 10NL. I'll be keeping my ears close to the ground though, in case there are improvements with full tilt poker. From here on in--hello pokerstars!

Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile

When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I got tired of playing around with camtasia after lunch that I decided to play poker again. And look what I got...


I can make a video using camtasia showing how that one particular hand went down. I'll post it here when it's done.


I found this on the internet:
“Obtaining a degree today does not guarantee getting a job,” states El Universal newspaper of Mexico City. A recent study conducted in Mexico revealed that “between 1991 and 2000, 40 percent of professionals had to take jobs unrelated to their degree course.” This means that some 750,000 university graduates are performing jobs that do not require a degree, such as those of “telephone operators, drivers, magicians, clowns, [and] bartenders.” The report estimated that by 2006, in Mexico there will be 131,000 more administrators, 100,000 more accountants, 92,000 more computer engineers, 92,000 more elementary-school teachers, and 87,000 more lawyers than there are jobs available in these professions."

I am a good example of this. I took up BS Pharmacy, chose not to finish it and be an entrepreneur. I went to college because my parents expected me to do so, and everyone else was doing it.

In today's world, If my kids want to stop going to school, so be it. I won't force them to go get an "education" but instead encourage them to learn whatever interests them at any given time.

If you wish to learn more about an alternative to the existing status quo, click here.

TechSmith | Camtasia Screen Recorder Software, Home

TechSmith | Camtasia Screen Recorder Software, Home

I just got me a camtasia! Like a kid on christmas morning, you will find me playing with this for the rest of the day. So no poker until I say so.

Enjoy your day!

Friday, January 28, 2011


I took a shot at 5NL early this afternoon. It went OK. There was a lot of floating happening that time. I lost a big pot early in the session, but won a big pot some time later. At the end of the session, I was down less than a buy-in. As per bankroll management, I moved back down to 2NL in the after-dinner session. I am playing at this level until I bring back my bankroll to where it was before I played the 5NL session.

There was a lot of anxiety in me playing 5NL. I was seeing the bet value and my mind would react--TOO MUCH! But then I'd see it in terms of big blinds and that brings me back to reality. I can play at this level.

It is 8.22pm. Too early to call it a day and I have just finished the after dinner session. I'll take a half hour off then fire off one more session before calling it a day.

end of month update

pokerstars jan 2011

There's still a few more days before the end of January, but I am posting this to establish cut-off for the month. It has been a good month for me, second in a row. November was the month where I paid tuition and made big investments in my metagame. December and January is where the investments paid off.

For the month of January, I made 70% ROI. Best return so far? I'm not sure, but it's a big number I've seen thus far. I think I made +100%  in one month from 2010, but I need to confirm that.

I added more funds to my pokerstars account today. To set a baseline for profit computations for next month, here is a screencapture image to remind myself later.

pokerstars beginning bankroll for Feb 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011


10.07pm. I am calling it  a day. I did not get to play much today. In the morning before breakfast, I played around with the procaster software and made some test broadcasts on my channel. After breakfast, I continued making more test broadcasts. I was able to test if I'd be able to livestream my poker games--it is not possible.

The procaster software runs optimally on windows vista basic theme. Tableninja is optimal with the aero theme. I multi-tabled (4 tables) while doing the test broadcast, and the lag time was not good. I'd get timed out every time if I livestreamed my games. Maybe a different screencast software will work better with tableninja on aero theme (like java based screencast-o-matic), but for now livestreaming is out of the equation.

So that leaves me with the question--what am I going to talk about on my broadcast? Surely, I don't want to talk about poker strategy. What comes to mind is to talk about my opinion on poker theory and how to run this as a business. There's a storyline in there somewhere in my head. I'm not going to force my mind to come up with the idea now. I'd sleep on it and see what comes up in the coming days.

I was able to do two sessions today. Not much. It's the end of the month anyway. I am thinking I can base my initial broadcast on how I fared for January.

zeitgeist 3

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Aggression personified. The only difference is that everyone on the table doesn't have cards in their hands.

Wanna see the movie?


I did not get to post end of day updates last night. I was posting a video on youtbe. From production to publishing, it must have taken me an hour. When I shut down my pc, it was past 11pm and youtube still had to process the video before I can see the finished product.

(What's the URL for the video? I am not giving it out right now. That is part of the creative process. It needs time to grow.)

This gave me an insight into video publishing. It's not as spontaneous as blogging where you write, click post and you are done. With videos, I spend more time editing and production. It's not as spontaneous as I expected it to be. I think there is a lot of room to improve on this in the industry in the coming days. It'll be good if the production side were faster. It'll get there. Imagine me making a video and posting that in a media that has a 15 million audience. That wasn't even possible ten years ago--at least for me. Looking at it this way, I am assured that technology will improve tremendously in the coming days.

So what was the video about? Nothing. It was me writing on a word document anything that comes to mind. This is how my creative process works. My interest led me to screecasting and I had an insight last night to just write, create a screencast and publish. To just go through the process without expectations. I think the process is for me to get used to screencasting and publishing, to get me moving in that direction. I don't know how things will turn out. I just follow that thread of interest. It's like little bread crumbs laid in front of me by higher mind that I feel I want to follow because it interests me.

It's the same with this poker business. There was a time when not much was happening in my life and I was seeing a lot of poker around me. One thing led to another and now, here I am; and it has been a great adventure for me getting here. One interest led to another. Just follow that thread no matter where it leads. Without expectation, without judgement and just being open to what is.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I was listening to itunes while playing poker on the night shift. I had a great time I played just a bit longer than I usually do. How many hands played today? God, I have no idea. Probably about 500 hands, more or less.

I did not get to run today. Wife got home early and kids were busy watching tv, so...


I'll run tomorrow.

razer switchblade


pokerstars - jan 2011

Weekends are choppy for me. And now I understand why. I play in a level where you find a lot of newbies, and such players, they tend to look you up with top pair. They call almost every hand they get, when they get one pair, they go to showdown with it--no matter what.

It is great when they go with you to value town, but it frustrates me on sessions where I get nothing. I get sessions where I find myself with 3 or 4 fish on the table, and all that time, I flop middle pair at best and my cbets get called; or I get top set and everyone else folds. Worse, I go all in with made hands on the flop, fish calls and makes a bigger hand on the river. 


I have learned to accept that now. Times like these, I just close all tables and do something else. When I feel better, I come back.

One other thing I learned over the weekend is table selection. My method works best on tight tables. See those areas on the chart where it goes sideways? That's when I am experimenting on loose, big stack tables. Sometimes I do good, most of the time, it goes nowhere.

I know I am supposed to experiment and go outside of my comfort zone with my game. I'm taking it one concept at a time. When I feel comfortable with one concept, then I will pick the next easier one. Right now, I am perfecting my floats.

You'll notice that I have been posting performance on pokerstars a lot lately. Path of least resistance--their game platform is more stable.

It has been raining the last few days, and to think that it's summer. Compared to last year, January is when it really gets hot and humid. Not this year, I suppose. Kids start the new school year on the first week of February. That's good for me. It's back to peace and quiet around here--and I can go out while they are away.

All summer (december to january in nz) the few times I get to go out is when we go out as a family, or when I take a quick workout around the park. When these kids are in school, I take trips! I am thinking of increasing mileage on my training runs. I'm thinking I'll take the bus going to this particular place, then run back home, or vice versa. And I can do that every other day on my training days. Imagine that.

In the meantime, I am learning how to make screencast videos (again) from my pc. You have probably seen the one I made using GoAnimate's tools. I also have a screencast from screencast-o-matic and camstudio. I'm thinking I'll do a series that's related to my poker business, and another series for things of interest.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Paid tuition at the tables today, and this is what I learned:

There never is any "losing session" when I play poker. It is only that today:
- I made an investment on my metagame (this insight came to me while running);
- I paid tuition to improve my game.
- I found out where my edge is, and will focus on, and improve on that edge from hereon.

I can choose to get upset that I lost money, but that will affect how I play this game, short term and long term. I'd rather see things in a way that is more positive. We all know that there is always two sides to every coin or there wouldn't be a coin at all. If there is a negative, there will always be a positive.

It is 10.31pm. I'm not sleepy yet, but I want to take a break from playing. I had coke lite after dinner. That'll keep me up past my usual bedtime. I have been having hives for about a week now. When I feel them coming up, I take anti-histamines. It usually takes an hour for the drowsiness to kick in. I took them after dinner with coke lite, so I don't know when the drowsiness will kick in. I don't want to lie in bed waiting to fall asleep. I'd just scratch everything that itches and that will cause anxiety, which will keep me up all night.

The wife wants me to jog with her tomorrow at 7am. I had my run late in the afternoon today. There was light rain when I ran. It was rather cool and had a great time running. Forecast for the next two days is rain. I suppose we'll have more light showers tomorrow then.

I never considered myself a writer growing up. I thought it was boring and that I did not have the talent for it. I love to read though, and somewhere along the way, I cam across Julia Cameron's book, "The Artist's Way." I followed the exercises from that book, writing three pages of morning pages every morning and doing one artist's date each week. That is how I got started writing.

I have two blogs where I post my morning pages. I probably have written thousands of morning pages since 2001. Some on notebooks (in the early days) and later more on the computer where I post them somewhere. It is because of morning pages that I improved my typing speed.

Another book that helped spark my creative writing was Natalie Goldberg's "Writing down the bones." I don't know how it is related, or how to explain it, but creativity is somehow related to poker. Creative writing is that ability to tap into your higher self. Playing poker, where I am lost into the now moment, is also, in a way, connecting with that higher self. When my local mind stops trying to control everything, trying to figure out everything, the cards fall into place. I find myself enjoying the process, the game when the local mind is occupied just screening which hands to play or not. It doesn't have to figure out what villain is doing or will probably do--it seems to come naturally and I know what to do.

This is why, when I watch instructional videos, I find myself in a dry spell, even a downswing. The ego mind tries very hard to do everything that was shown in the video. When the ego mind takes over, I lose that flow, I find myself outside of the zone.

Good night everyone!

Friday, January 21, 2011


pokerstars jan 2011

Good day at the tables today. I started the day off playing patient, tight and on my a-game. Sometime around noon time, I was tired, wanting to make things happened and lost a stack. Good thing it was a small hiccup for the day. I took a break, had lunch with the kids, then had a two hour nap. 

I woke up refreshed, made something to eat then resumed play. It is 8.56pm. I am about to do yoga now. Depending on how I feel after yoga, I might do one more session before calling it a day, or just laze around.

It's a friday. In a different time, I looked forward to fridays as gimmick nights--going out with some friends for beer and a good time. These days, fridays means I get up early in the day to bring out the garbage. I'm not complaining. Doing a night out on a friday with friends still excites me. The thing is, I don't have much friends here. 

I don't get out that often, and those rare times I do get out, it's with the family, or I have things to do--never to socialize. I should do that more often. I'm thinking of joining a running club, or probably the local toastmasters club. Something where I go out and interact with real people (not through the internet). I'll put that on my to-do list.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

end of day update

start of the day was tumultuous. I was calling on spots where I should have folded, hoping to get lucky somehow. This is fish behavior for me. I got lucky a few times now and then, but to implement that as my game plan--not a winning situation. Short term, it is going to be high variance. My win-rate is going to be choppy.

After my afternoon nap, I sobered up. I tightened up and the chips slowly came back. This is why they call it grinding. You grind out small profits here and there, playing as many hands in a day. Over time, these small profits add up.

If I were to play a high variance game, i'd get lucky now and then, but those times when I don't, I am not going to enjoy the process. I'd rather get small wins, but consistent over time. This will steadily increase my confidence in the game, and my bankroll.

I went out for a run around 8pm. With the summer solstice, the sun doesn't set until after 9pm. When I went out at 8pm, it was like the 5pm sun back in manila. I could have gone out to run earlier, but the sun was too hot and I might have to bring water. I ran for 53 minutes for 5km. Since my commitment to finish the marathon on october, i have been running consistently every other day (yoga still everyday). When march comes around, I'd have a good fitness base that I'd start adding km's or increase tempo.

I have been playing more on pokerstars. I try to play on full tilt, but I don't enjoy my setup here. As mentioed in an earlier post, the ftp platform loads slower, and feels slow when used together with HEM and TNFT.

I choose to play on ftp when I need to practice a concept, or to while away the one-hour limit for ratholing. If the software feels slow, I just take a break.

Good night everyone!


Time to tighten up.

not calling

If you call, your downswings will be greater than if you fold. The more low-variance decisions you make, the higher takes you can play with a less bankroll.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

i tilt?

pokerstars jan 2011

full tilt poker jan 2011

Looking at these charts, I guess I do. You can't change what you don't own. How does it come about?

Looking over my database, I get these retracements when I get set over set, or when villain gets lucky on the river over a big pot. I see these as a setback and I am off my game. So what can I do about it?

I have two options:
A. I can stop playing right then and there. Take one hour off.
B. I can take five minutes off, sit out next hand all tables and just catch my breath, observe thoughts and emotions.
C. Switch poker sites.

If I had been playing more than an hour, then I'll choose option A. I'd take a break for an hour, do something else and let my mind cool off. On the other hand, if I am fresh on the session, I'll take option B. I think it's good practice that I continue playing under these circumstances.

What I did just now, after losing three big pots playing pokerstars, was close ps and fired up ftp. It was right on happy hour and I was playing more conscious of my self. The bankroll is still off from recent highs, but at least it is slowly inching itself up again.

I'm taking a break now, let the kids take over the PC. 

PS (4 hours later...)

Since I paid tuition in that session, what was the lesson? Using my "expertise" in computer programming, I decided to make changes on the pokerstars game platform on my pc to make sure the issue will never happen again. 

Take a look!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I am done playing today--9.19pm. Except for one session in the morning (played ftp), I practically played on pokerstars exclusively. I like how tableninja works well with the pokerstars game platform. There is hardly any lag on both interface. Opening and closing tables is easy. When I do not have position on a player, I hit button number 2 on my logitech gamepad, and in the blink of an eye, that table is closed.

It is not quite the same with tableninjaFT and the full tilt poker game interface; and I am not even going to go into details on that.

Tableninja + pokerstars + joy2key + logitech gamepad = easy multi-tabling.

If only there was software that will automatically open a new table for me when I close one, I can play 24 tables on ps. Optimally, I am good with 12 tables. Opening a new table takes away attention and when I play more than 12, my game suffers. I'll look into 2p2 one of these days and see if such a software exists.

Play on pokerstars today was quite profitable. I broke past the month's recent high. Soon as I have $75 on my bankroll, I start taking shots at 5NL. I am not that concerned about making silver star at the moment. If I get there, I get there. At 2NL, that's an awful lot of tables to play. It would be better if I concentrate on my a-game, win big pots and grow my bankroll. When I am playing higher stakes, it'll be easier to move up the VIP levels.

I am not even going to post end of day charts now. If you have been following this blog, you have an idea of where my winrate is. I have been watching youtube on my break time. I posted a few good ones earlier.

I ran this afternoon. There was light rain while I was running. Wife said there was a cyclone off NZ and that we'd be having rains in the coming days. Rainy days here are not like rainy days back in manila. Here, when we get cyclones, we only get light rain showers. There was only one time when there was a lot of strong winds, but even so, light rain showers.

Back in manila, when rain is forecast, I'd get drenched into my underwear when I go running. I like running in the rain. I feel like I can run farther, and it just feels good to splash around in the puddles that form on the streets.

Earlier today, I found me a bunch of poker videos from blue fire poker. It's about to finish downloading anytime soon. I don't get much watching videos. I'd rather look up a concept on the 2p2 forums, practice that on the tables, then review hand history. Watching videos feels like I'm watching a rerun and don't pay much attention, unless the concept being discussed is new to me. On those times, I look it up on 2p2, practice on the felt, the do hh review (you get the picture).

I also have a number of videos from deuces cracked lined up. I don't think I'll have time to watch that until after March this year.

google poker

the micros

young guns

finally !

pokerstars jan 2011

Breakout from congestion!

Some might think that 2NL is easy to beat, well it is, but not as easy as you'd think. Imagine regs who want to add a new strategy to their game, they do so at the lowest levels to minimize risk. Add to that maniacs who do not care going all in (with very little money) as long as they win and calling stations who'd call to river with one pair--2NL could well be a good testing ground for newbies to make it in higher stake levels.

I have a theory that I am about to test when I move up stakes. It's that players are the same no matter what stake levels they play. My opinion is that poker is a game about perception and motivation. more to come....

Phil Baxter: Poker Pro

Monday, January 17, 2011

pokerstars bulls are back

pokerstars -- all hands filtered

I guess training for the Auckland marathon helped (reference: this post and this).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

tilt or variance?

ftp - jan 2011

Tilt? Now look at the chart below from pokerstars:

ps jan 2011

I alternate playing between the two accounts: one session on ftp, the next one on pokerstars. What happened on ftp was more about me going all in with made hands on the flop and villain catching theirs on the river. I'd probably be worried if the pokerstars chart were showing the same downswing, but it isn't. I'm assuming it's variance what I am going through on ftp--for now.

Friday, January 14, 2011

i love pokerstars

are there really less fish out there?

6. The real problem with the games is not that strat is widely available. It is the barriers to entry that limit the number of the new fish, and create an environment in which everybody in the U.S., and a few other countries who deposits is, on average, more highly motivated than in 2005/6. If you are in the U.S.complaining about strat being posted but are not politically active trying to get the law changed, then your thinking on the subject is pretty poor, imo. (1)

Are posts such as the CoWs turning the games into a shark tank? Yes, but its been like that for a while. Anyone who doesn't know what they are doing is going to get cut up real fast, fact. Its been like that for a while and we aren't going back to the "good ol' days". (2)

You have probably seen these issues brought up in 2p2--that the pond is getting smaller and it is getting hard to find fish anymore. Typically, the ones who post these are the old time regs who have been playing poker from the good old days prior to UIGEA

My opinion here is that it could be true that it is getting hard for new players from the US to play poker. Poker is very popular in the US, and the majority of players I see on the table, 1/3 are from the US. The other 2/3 of the players on the table, and the whole poker economy in general, comes from the rest of the world.

This is probably the reason why there are more fish in the micros is because the new fish are just learning how to play poker. It is only natural that they start on the lowest level.

One other thing that the "pond-is-getting-small" advocates are missing is the state of the economy. Back in their good old days prior to UIGEA, the US economy was on the tail end of a bullish economy. Any tom, dick and harry has money to burn. These days, this is no longer true. The economy has turned sour. Tom, dick and harry has either been downsized, their mortgages foreclosed, or they are not earning as much as they used to. It is only natural that their poker playing days are affected.

Now, let us look at the other side of the coin.

Russians are playing more poker. There is a growing presence of chinese on the tables as well. I won't even mention the rest of Europe, south America and Asia--but you get the picture. You will find almost every country in the world that has a decent broadband connection is represented in the tables. That's good news for all of us.

The pond may have grown smaller in the US, but there are plenty of fish on ponds from different parts of the world as well. Soon as the economy on their part of the world picks up, these uNL fish are going to move upstream.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

compare these

pokerstars - all hands

After 265,341 hands, my winrate stands at +3.17bb/100. Compare this chart with the one below from (copy-paste today):

Notice the number of hands they have on my profile is pretty much the same, but the chart and stats tell a different story. Here is my latest report card from PTR:

I don't think all players at uNL will take the time to spy on other's stats on PTR (except the regulars, maybe), but if they did, this is probably why I am getting called when I go all-in.

And why am I making an issue out of this? Well, wouldn't it be nice to land in this list for once?

bond issue

I posted this question today on 2p2. See if you can give your opinion on this subject:

In finance, a bond is a debt security, in which the authorized issuer owes the holders a debt and, depending on the terms of the bond, is obliged to pay interest (the coupon) and/or to repay the principal at a later date, termed maturity. A bond is a formal contract to repay borrowed money with interest at fixed intervals.

Thus a bond is like a loan: the issuer is the borrower (debtor), the holder is the lender (creditor), and the coupon is the interest. Bonds provide the borrower with external funds to finance long-term investments, or, in the case of government bonds, to finance current expenditure. Certificates of deposit (CDs) or commercial paper are considered to be money market instruments and not bonds. Bonds must be repaid at fixed intervals over a period of time.


My question is:

As a cash games player, instead of getting a stake, is it possible to issue bonds? Is this allowed within the poker community?

For example, the cash game player is +4bb/100 over a good sample of hands and wants to move up from 2NL to 5NL (and is a long time member of good standing at 2p2). He doesn't want to get a stake for some reason of his own. This cash game player only needs to raise $100 just so he will have enough cushion on his bankroll. 

So this player starts a thread on the staking(?) forum giving details of the bond issue, like how much capital he is raising with the bonds, the price for each bond, that the term for the bond would be, say, 90 days, interest is 10%. Interested parties may then PM the bond issuer as to how many bonds they wish to subscribe to. 

At the end of the term (90 days), the bond issuer pays back the subscribers the principal plus interest, the subscribers then give feedback about their experience on that same thread. Over time, regular bond issuers will get ratings as to how consistent they are on paying back debt (pretty much like bond ratings in finance).

Has anyone done this before? Is this allowed in the poker community? at 2p2? If so, what is the best way to do this?

Thank you for your replies.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Opening Up Your Eyes and Your Game


Recently I have had some interesting discussions with a few regulars, and some interesting points were brought up from which I learned quite a bit, and I figured it might benefit players on here if I shared a little of what I learned and observed.

A lot of players seem to be stuck in a mode, whatever that mode may be. They have gotten to midstakes playing a particular way, and even though they may have somewhat adjusted to the different dynamic of this game, they are still unwilling to open their game up whether they recognize it or not, and/or its simply hard for them to do certain things differently as it has all become routine. This generalization encompasses a lot of solid midstakes players, and it is whom I am directing this post towards.

These players may have pretty big leaks in their game (that may very well be unknown to them, and really not that big of a deal to them at this point in time as far as the games they are playing in go) and still be winning players or even be doing very well, simply because the vast majority of their opponents are not exploiting their leaks, and also have much bigger leaks themselves. As these solid players move up, they encounter more players that are capable of exploiting their leaks and that also possess fewer themselves. Just as the solid grinder is preying on the fish to pay off his big hand, the 30/20 in the 10/20 Party game is preying on the solid grinder's leaks. I don't think people realize how crazy the dynamic at a game like the 10/20 6max on party can be, and after all, midstakes are (hopefully) only a gateway for you, getting you ready for the next level. I will touch on this game dynamic within the next few parts.

1) Reraising Preflop

Many midstakes players have a very tight reraising range. They will reraise their big hands, and even though their range is so slim, they still make far more money on these hands than they should be making, given how well defined their hands tend to be in certain spots. These same players are content to just call preflop with certain hands, and even though their decision to call may be +EV, they don't even consider their third option, which is to reraise. In certain spots calling may even be your worst option. When you are on the SB facing a button raise or even button facing a CO raise, what do you accomplish cold calling a raise with the majority of your hands?

Sure, calling may be +EV in some of those situations but many don't even consider the +EV situation a reraise would set up for them and how much greater that EV would be than that of calling (the same thing often applies in many spots as far as raising vs overlimping, where both may be +EV but raising may be a much better option). You likely have a +EV situation right there preflop, and if you get called you will often have another +EV situation postflop, even disregarding your actual hand. By reraising you gain momentum, you overrepresent your hand and force them to make a hand, and your reraising range obviously increases, both decreasing the implied odds of your opponents calling and trying to crack your big hand, and increasing your action on your big hands as observant players will realize that you are capable of reraising light. The higher up in stakes you go, the more observant players you encounter.

As far as calling, with clunkier hands like KQ/AJ you will often be folding the best hand when you miss (which will be most of the time), and even when you do get a favorable top pair flop, you will often be unsure of your hand if you are facing a lot of pressure in certain spots. Your hand carries reverse implied odds. With more deceptive hands your actual implied odds to call the LP preflop raise are generally very poor, as LP's raising ranges tend to be very wide. You are also going to be missing the majority of the time, or getting forced off of your more marginal hands (which will often be the best hand) by aggressive players. In both cases you also lack initiative. You have to ask yourself what you are really accomplishing by calling with some these hands.

Just about all of the biggest winners in the 10/20 game on Party have a very "opened up" game. To be even more specific, I believe 4 of the top 5 have close to 30/20 stats, and one is an amazing 47/29. They are awesome post-flop players, and their analysis of situations is dead-on the majority of the time. One other thing that they are very good at doing is spotting and setting up profitable situations preflop. Over and over and over and over. The reraising ranges of some of these top players are astounding. These players are squeezing each other left and right, and have absolutely no problem reraising/rereraising light. You will see full stacks go in with relative garbage. If you didn't know any better, you may chock it up as donk-on-donk violence, when the hand may have just went down between the 2 biggest winners in that game. And believe me, fireworks do fly when they are at the table together. And they aren't the only ones you will see this kind of action from, either. Their preflop game is so much different than what the average midstakes player is used to that it can really be amazing. Their variance shoots up, but the number of +EV situations they are involved in does too, and of course their profits do as well.

2) Firing the Second Barrel

Everyone knows and loves the continuation bet. Far fewer people fully appreciate the value of his big brother, the second barrel. They make use of him from time to time, but far less than they should. The continuation bet is a transparent play that tends to work often enough on its own merit, even though everyone is fully expecting you to bet at almost any flop with any hand you came in raising with. If you are raising a fairly wide range of hands, and betting at a lot of flops, someone might actually put 2 and 2 together (!!!) and realize//exploit the fact that you don't have anything on the flop a good amount of the time you are betting. If you run into a player that is playing back at you light, and you simply give up on the turn the majority of the time when you get called on the flop and you don't have anything, you are begging him to keep running you over and you are throwing money away if you yourself are coming in light and then playing bad postflop. If you would be giving up the pot by checking, but you realize that firing the turn will probably get him to fold often enough to be +EV disregarding any outs you may or may not have, there really isn't a decision to be made as far as what your play should be.

Not only is the situation itself +EV, but future implications are there as well. When your opponent realizes that he has to expect a turn bet from you a high percent of the time and you aren't just giving up whenever he calls you and you don't have a very good hand, he is going to be much less inclined to contest pots against you with weak holdings. Now your continuation bets are going to be getting more respect from this player, and you are further bettering your overall situation. This also leads to forcing your opponents into making mistakes, and also leads to you getting more overall information in various subsequent situations and reading hands better. Everything leads to you making more money, though.

That being said, I am not advocating players to fire the second barrel without considering all of the important factors, and firing again will be lightning money on fire in many spots (as their hand will already be well defined as unfavorable for you after their flop call in a particular spot and/or the situation is not a profitable one for other reasons). I am simply pointing out that this is a very common spot in which players are passing up on clearly profitable situations and are really hurting themselves in the long run. They can become much stronger players by utilizing these situations.

Going back to the discussion of higher stakes games, the top high stakes players are generally firing that second barrel at a drastically higher rate than the solid regulars at mid stakes, and there isn't any hesitation. That isn't to say they are just brainlessly firing away, although some spots are so clear that it really doesn't require much thought. They simply play very well postflop, and playing very well postflop indicates that they are good at spotting +EV situations, which the turn brings very often. The second barrel is really just the tip of the iceberg, though.

3) Giving Yourself a Bigger Cushion

I have observed the bankroll discussions on this forum and have a few comments on the subject. If you asked me a couple months ago whether I could have a 10 buyin downswing playing my normal game without any real tilt in there, I really doubt I could foresee it happening. Now 10 buyin downswings are not only a possibility, but they are expected/inevitable, as are long breakeven stretches. Poker is very good at painting an illusion because of how deceptive and subtle variance in poker can be, and how many small things go into running bad and running good that you do not pay attention to. Swings are inevitable over the long run. This is obvious and everyone thinks they realize this, but people don't fully grasp it. Swings become exponentially more violent as you move up and your winrate drops.

Some people are perfectly fine with giving themselves a small cushion, and have no problem hopping up and down in limits at a crazy pace on the whim of their latest upswing or downswing. Others give themselves a small cushion without knowing what can possibly happen. A 2p2 regular who is a consistent winner at 5/10NL moves up to 10/20 with 30-40 buyins, and gets crunched for 10 buyins. That can seriously be devastating to that person. To give a point of reference, the biggest winner in one particular game was apparently recorded as to having TWO 25 buyin downswings last month alone. More than one very good player has been known to run at almost breakeven for 100k hands.

Some posters have said that your "move up" shouldn't be a big event. You should gradually move up, and be willing to play multiple levels as your bankroll allows whenever you spot a good game. You can't really argue with that, but most people do have a "regular" limit for them where they put in the bulk of their hands. When they make the next level their "regular" game, some people do not give themselves enough cushion because they do not realize that a big downswing near the beginning of their move up is very well within the realm of possibility. The players who were moving up from 100NL to 200NL and from 200NL to 400NL very quickly as soon as they attained 25 buyins for the next level probably have never experienced a decent sized downswing, and they think that if they drop 5 buyins at 5/10NL it will prove to them that they are not ready for that level. As I have been pointing out, they can lose far more than that and still have evidence of absolutely nothing if they do not analyze their situation properly.

What it comes down to is realizing what goes into variance and what it is capable of, and adjusting according to what you are willing to accept. If you like the rollercoaster thats up to you and its your choice. But if your goal is a nice steady ride up the money hill with a few bumps that aren't going to wreck your ride in more ways than one, then you may want to consider giving yourself a bigger cushion.

4) Conclusion

Hopefully this post helps people realize whats in store for them at the higher limits, helps some people become more willing to open their game up and attempt changing their thinking a little and getting better, as its really going to be necessary if they want to continue moving up in stakes and doing well in the higher games, and hopefully those players that aren't trying to ride a rollercoaster both emotionally and bankroll-wise have a slightly better grasp of the capabilities of variance. I also want to add that I am nowhere near the skill/experience level of some of the players discussed here at this point in time. I am simply relaying my thoughts and observations.


Are the pokerstars bulls are back?

What did I do differently this time?
- table selection. When I notice a short stack controlling the table, I close it. If there be more than two short stacks on the table, I close it.
- whales, I mark the table and pay attention to how they bet and showdown their hands.
- I was more patient.

taking shots at 5NL FTP

After reaching $75 in my ftp bankroll yesterday, I decided to take a shot at 5NL on my first session today. $75 is 15 buy ins for 5NL. I played 10 tables instead of my usual 12.

I got off at a bumpy start, going all in with AKo preflop--which I never do. I misread villain was a short stack player and made him/her happy when I called his/her AI bet. Villain showed AA, winning unimproved by the river.

Eventually, I won back that tuition paid, and won a little bit for myself. I had to cut the session short as I need to run to the grocery for our lunch.

staking terms and conditions

The following are the terms and conditions for the stake. I am open to making changes to these as long as it's a win-win situation for both parties for the long term:

1) 50/50 sharing of all winnings calculated at the end of the stake period as:
- end of period stake amount - initial stake amount = winnings
- winnings divided by 2 = 50% share
- half goes to backer, the other half stays in the bankroll where i have the option to withdraw, transfer or keep in the bankroll.

2) 50/50 sharing of all rakeback (if stake was made on my full tilt poker account), bonus, and promotions;

3) stake period is the time or number of hands that the agreement between backer and stakee will last. This can vary from a minimum of one week, 50,000 hands, or one month. The stake period can then be renewed on a regular basis as agreed upon by both backer and stakee. The stake period that I prefer is one month, where I send you your share and we both have the option to make changes to the stake agreement if needed.

4) stake amount. I always play with the maximum buy in allowed on the table. On full tilt poker, the maximum buy in is 100bb; on pokerstars, this varies depending on the stake level. If the agreed stake is going to be on full tilt poker (ftp) then the expected stake amount is 25 buy ins of 100bb each ($125 for 5NL). If the stake is going to be in pokerstars (ps), then the expected stake amount is going to be 25 buy ins of the maximum buy in for the agreed stake level that I am to play ($312.50 for 5NL).

5) stake level. The purpose of the stake is for the stakee to be able to play higher stake levels. I am currently playing 2NL, taking shots at 5NL when possible. It would be best that the stake start at the 5NL level.

6) make-up. This issue depends from backer to backer. The last backer did not have makeup. This means that if I did not make any profits for the given stake period, then backer will not provide any more funds, get whatever is remaining of the initial stake amount, plus his share of rakeback, bonus and promotions, and cancels the agreement. The first backer, the makeup was, if i did not make profit playing 5NL, i should move down to 2NL and play for an agreed upon period of time. If at the end of this extended period I am still not able to produce any profit, then I will ship back to backer the remaining stake amount, plus any bonus/promotion amount earned.

7) cash-out is at the end of each month.

8) FPP's. At the stake level where I am playing the fpp's have very little dollar amount, and there is no means possible to transfer fpp's to other players at the moment. I propose that I keep the fpp's while playing uNL. If the stake level where I am playing moves up higher where the fpp's will have a bigger dollar amount (low stakes and higher), then sharing fpp's is 50/50 or depending on what we can agree on.

9) You can choose whether to stake me on ftp where i have a rakeback account, or ps where the VIP bonus is higher as I earn higher VIP levels (i am currently playing on bronze level). Or both. Looking at my blog, you will find that I play both accounts alternately everyday. This helps as a check and balance if I am playing my a-game or just going through variance.

10) moving up stakes. For my own bankroll, I will move up the next higher stake level when I have 15 buy ins for that next level. When the bankroll goes below that level, I move back down to the previous stake level and grind it back up again. This means that when I move up, you will then only provide an additional 10 bi for that stake level instead of the initial 25bi.

Let's say I am playing 5NL on ftp with $125 and the bankroll grows to $250 within three days. I will notify you that I am moving up to 10NL. You then have the option to continue the stake and provide the remaining 10bi within a week (that the total bi in the bankroll is 25 bi), or choose to cancel the agreement and i will ship you your share plus the initial stake amount. The benchmark will always be 15bi whether to move up or down a stake level regardless of the fact that you just sent me an additional 10bi for the higher level.

Now, let's say I am playing 10NL and the very next day I tilt and lose $50 on my first playing session. $50 is 5 bi for 10NL. Even though I have 20bi remaining in the bankroll (15bi to move in plus 10bi that you sent minus the 5bi I just lost), i see my bankroll as below my required level and still move down a level. I will not count the additional 10bi that you sent, but see my bankroll as below the 15bi required to stay on that level. I then move back to 5NL (notifying you right then and there) and grind it back up. In a way, the 10bi that you sent when I move up to 10NL serves as a psychological buffer.


I am looking for a long term business partner, someone who understands the variance of the game. Some days, I run hot, most of the time, variance happens. As everyone knows, it is easy to move up stake levels when you have a credit card. I have plans for the long term and will need investor capital and expertise as the business grows over time.

I think I have covered everything here. I am open to make any changes to these, in such a way that the agreement is a long term win-win situation for the both of us. Let me know if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.

These terms and conditions can and will change over time. I will post changes to this blog as they are made.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bot Ring Discovered On Poker Stars

July 2010

After being tipped off by this thread on 2+2, PTR has used its bot detection technology to find overwhelming evidence that 10 accounts on PokerStars are being run by computer programs (and not humans). Collectively, they have played at least 8,320,121 hands at the $.25/$.50, $.5/$1 and $1/$2 NL levels, generated $186,572 in rake, and made $57,839 in profit (not including VIP benefits). These accounts are still active and have been observed playing on PokerStars today.

We urge PokerStars to freeze their accounts immediately.

The following 10 accounts stand accused:

7emenov bakabar craizer
mvra nakseon kozzin
demidou koldan Daergy

UPDATE: All 10 of these accounts have been frozen by Poker Stars and are no longer active.

To see the complete article, click here.

jan 2011 month-to-date


full tilt poker

Monday, January 10, 2011

stake me

I am about to put myself on the 2p2 stake market. I play uNL, FR NLHE cash games exclusively, averaging 30k hands each month. On pokerstars, which as you know is my main account, I am running +2.99bb/100 in 262,480 hands. On FT, I am -1.44bb/100 over 87,486 hands.


full tilt poker--

I am looking for 50/50 share of profits, bonus and rakeback (on FT). If you are interested, kindly send me an email, or we can chat thru skype (SN:

Sunday, January 9, 2011



Who is Isildur1, Where Did He Come From, and How Did He Get Here?

Much has been typed, spoke, and cursed or praised about the online phenom known simply as "Isildur1" since his explosion onto the online felt in September of 2009. It was then that Isildur1 took his first shots at the nosebleed high stakes games on Full Tilt Poker. He had been constantly building his bankroll since early 2009, and had finally accumulated a roll he deemed worthy enough to take a shot at the likes of Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, and Patrik Antonius. Antonius had said in an interview with Full Tilt that Isildur1 had built his bankroll up to $1.4 million in September 2009, from $2,000 in early 2009, which was what he started with when he first played on Full Tilt against Haseeb Qureshi at the $100/$200 stakes.

During a roughly 24 hour session, Isildur1 had accumulated a profit of a staggering half million dollars, putting up a ridiculous 2,500 big blinds or 12.5 buy-ins at one of the higher stakes no limit games on the Internet. After this initial crushing of Qureshi, Isildur laid low for a month, participating in no games until playing the trio of Patrik Antonius, Brian Townsend, and Cole South at stakes ranging from $200/$400 to $500/$1,000 no limit hold'em. Unfortunately for Isildur1, the second session did not go as well as the first, and by the time he had finally cashed out, he had dropped more than a million dollars to the trio. His super aggressive style had backfired on him, and some of the leading high stakes analysts on the web doubted the techniques that had rushed him up to his million dollar bankroll; his aggression was actually a determent to him against similarly aggressive, creative players such as Townsend and Antonius, who were able to combat his aggression with calculated plays and even more furious aggression.

In the waning days of October, Isildur1 took another crack at Townsend and South at the same stakes, and came out ahead this time; way ahead. He made back $2 million in those sessions, pulling his overall profit on the site up to a tidy and even one million dollars. Spurred by this windfall, he sat at 6 $500/$1,000 tables simultaneously, issuing an open challenge to anyone that wanted to spar with him.

Someone did; Tom "Durrrr" Dwan played six tables with Isildur1 for over a week, with over a million dollars sitting on the tables multiple times throughout the course of the sessions, but in the end, the online bet was crushed to the tune of $5 million. Dwan wanted another shot at Isildur1, but instead, Antonius had his chance, and he too felt the sting of Isildur1, dropping $1.6 million in a single day, putting Isildur1's profits at a remarkable $5.98 million over the course of three months; a spectacular windfall by anyone's standards.

Isildur1 was at the top of the nosebleed cash game world in November, 2009; he had completely destroyed two of the top cash game players in the world, Patrik Antonius and Tom Dwan, and had accumulated a profit of almost $6 million dollars on Full Tilt Poker over a period of three months; it seemed as though the wild and aggressive Isildur1 was meant to change the game and crush all comers at Full Tilt Poker. But, tides can turn, and luck can change, and players began to figure out the aggressive style that Isildur1 employed, which came back to quickly haunt the online enigma.

The next player that Isildur1 chose to challenge was none other than the new legend of poker himself, Phil Ivey. He chose to play Ivey at three tables of heads up $500/$1,000 no limit hold'em, while still playing some of the other top pros at side games while in the matches with Ivey. The Ivey challenge proved to be a terrible disaster for Isildur1, as he ended up dropping a total of $3.2 million dollars over the course of the week, wiping out half of the profits he had made in a single week. In later interviews, Isildur1 stated (while keeping his identity a secret) that Phil Ivey was the toughest of any of the prior opponents he had played, which was certainly evident in the large chunk of change he had dropped to Mr. Ivey.

The big loss certainly made an impact in the willingness of other high stakes pros to play Isildur1 again. After Ivey's dominant performance, Antonius agreed to play Isildur1 in omaha, a game that Isildur1 had not played a large amount of, and as such, turned out to be another terrible financial decision for Isildur, as he set a record for the biggest single day loss in online poker history, dropping a staggering $3 million in just 24 hours. In retrospect, the decision to play omaha was probably one born out of tilt and his previous big wins against Antonius, fueling his intent to crush him at any game, which opened the door for Antonius to let his experience at omaha take him to the big win.

The following day, Isildur1 agreed to play Antonius in a rematch, again in omaha. This time, Isildur1 got the better of Antonius, winning back $2 million of the $3 million he had lost the day before. The two day loss for the mystery pro was still over a million, dropping Isildur1's profits on Full Tilt Poker back down to just $2 million dollars from the peak of $6 million a few months earlier. This continued to stay at the same watermark until December of 2009, when Isildur1 decided to take on Brian Hastings in a 5 hour session that would set off one of the biggest firestorms and the biggest single day loss in online poker history.

Isildur1 had many swings throughout the course of his play period on Full Tilt Poker, but none were of the extreme nature like his bout with Brian Hastings. On December 8th, 2009, Isildur1 came out of the woodwork to take on Hastings, after dispatching Daniel Cates and Brian Townsend to the tune of nearly $1.2 million. In just five hours, Hastings completely dismantled Isildur1 for a staggering loss of $4.2 million.

It looked as thought Isildur1 had finally made the blowup that everyone had expected, but a closer look at the numbers show that Hastings ran incredibly well during the session, running a total of $3 million above expected value when in all-in situations. Even still, this would still mean that Isildur1 should've lost over a million to Hastings, so obviously something he was doing was going awry; but what, and how did Hastings, a player that hadn't taken many high profile cracks at Isildur1 during his forays online, figure these kinks in the armor out so quickly?

Almost immediately after the win, Hastings had an interview on ESPN in which he thanked Brian Townsend for his help in figuring Isildur1's strategy out. It turned out that the duo, along with Cole South, had compiled a database of 30,000 hands plus 20,000 of his own hands played and used it as a program in beating Isildur1's aggression. The problem? This is clearly a violation of Full Tilt Poker's rules and regulations, and it was a red name pro caught in the middle of the storm. In fact, Townsend had been suspended from his status as a pro once before for multi-accounting, so the latest blow to Townsend's rep was one of a "less serious" nature by FTP's standards, but a far, far more expensive one for Isildur1 to take. Between the three pros, the trio took $5.6 million from Isildur1, effectively crippling him to the point of semi-retirement.

After the torching, Isildur1 made a few interviews voicing his displeasure over the Townsend revelation, and made comments about "seeking repayment" for the money he had lost due to the possible cheating Townsend had performed. Unfortunately, little was released publicly about whether or not he had gotten anything back from FTP, and based on comments from FTP security saying the infraction in question was a "relatively minor" one, it's unlikely that Isildur1 received anything back from them, which may be a reason for his disappearance from the site for an excessive period of time. He had also completely drained his bankroll, and it was unknown if he had backers or anyone rolling him for any of the amount he was playing for, so he may have very well wiped his entire bankroll out in that single 5 hour session with Hastings. In any case, Isildur1 expressed a desire to stay away from FTP until the matter was resolved, and he did just that; staying far away from the site for many months after the incident.

Isildur1 was one of the driving forces in poker news in 2009; pushing the nosebleed poker games on Full Tilt Poker to dizzying heights, swinging millions of dollars from day to day, and even finding himself mired in controversy between himself and another red name pro on Full Tilt, Brian Townsend. All of these things were good for generating buzz behind Isildur1, but not for keeping his bankroll afloat; he had decimated the profits made in the early parts of 2009 and was actually a losing player for the year now on FTP. What was Isildur1 to do in 2010?

Tony G had something to say about Isildur1; he almost outed his persona as none other than Viktor Blom, he of the legendary 3 bet shove with king high in the 2009 WSOPE Main Event, running smack into three aces and quickly nuking off a 200k plus stack in a single hand. Tony G quickly retracted the statement however, and simply said that he would be staking Isildur1 in 2010 in big cash games in the future. It took until February for Isildur1 to revive himself online, playing smaller stakes at first, swinging "only" $100k at a time in both directions. It wasn't until February 16th that Isildur1 regained his form of old, bouncing Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo for a half million dollars in a single session. He also tagged Durrrr, Ziigmund, and Brian Hastings in this period, collecting a cool $1.8 million in profits over the two week session, a nice recovery on his prior losses.

Isildur1 doesn't like to give up when he's on a rush, though, and the loss that plagued him his last turnout came up and smacked him again in the form of Bonomo, Hastings, and OMGClayAiken all three throttling him for $1.6 million of the profit he had earned in the previous weeks. At the end of February, Isildur1 had a profit of just $200,000 left; a profit nonetheless, but a extremely small one for a player capable of $5 million dollar swings in a single session. March, therefore, was representative of the Isildur1 style of swings; huge swings. He would win a million off Ziigmund, then donate it back to Hastings, then earn some back from Cole South and Hastings, then dump all of that plus some to OMGClayAiken, and so on, for the entirety of March.

By the time the smoke cleared at the end of the month, Isildur1 was back to even overall since he return; not the kind of result Tony G allegedly hoped for from his young horse, but better than the million dollar plus loss he had incurred earlier in his career. After March, he had just two significant sightings on FTP; both in losing efforts. But the Isildur1 legend was only beginning to manifest itself; it just took a different site, a rebuilt bankroll, and the marathon sessions in the "Durrrr Challenge" as inspiration to spark Isildur1 back in the spotlight months later.

Isildur1 had swung up and down an impressive amount of times throughout his career on Full Tilt Poker, but after getting burned by one of their red pros and running out his entire bankroll to the point of requiring a backer, whispers began sprouting up that Isildur1 was broke, finished, a sad story about what happens when good players get that twinkle in their eye to try to go for broke and win every dollar on the planet, only to have it all go horribly wrong and wind up penniless and out of the big games.

But in December of 2010, the whispers were less about his apparent zeroed out bankroll and more about him leaving FTP for another major poker site. It was revealed that he had signed with an online poker site that wasn’t FTP in the beginning of December, and on December 7th, Isildur1 had announced his new home, and in a shocker, he chose the leading competition to FTP;

This came as shock to many in the high stakes world, who had not found PokerStars to be a big haven for the high stakes realm; the biggest pots in the world were all found on FTP, all of the money that Isildur1 had left on FTP would be tricky to reclaim from players that were contractually bound to stay on FTP, like Phil Ivey and Durrrr. So, a bold move by PS indeed, but what did all of this spell out for the young gun?

The first big shocker of the announcement came when PS announced that, eventually, the identity of the pro would finally be revealed. It had been rumored for a long time that the player behind Isildur1 was none other than Viktor Blom; Tony G had even stated in an interview that Blom was in fact the online phenom. But, the G retracted the statement, and now we’ll have a chance, soon enough, to actually determine the identity of Isildur1 during his stay with PS.

His signing has also sparked up the high stakes cash games on PS. Before, Daniel’s Room and its attempts to bolster the nosebleed cash games on PS were met with little fanfare, as Daniel struggled to make the time to play in the rooms on a regular basis. With Isildur1 joining PS, he has been a constant fixture in the high stakes rooms on PS, winning and losing six figure sums on a regular basis, and attracting the likes of OMGClayAiken (MrSweets28 on PS) and Issac Haxton (luvthewnba on FTP) into playing him at the highest stakes PS offers.

Along with signing up to take over the promotion of High Stakes Poker and buying out the rights to the previous seasons (a move that caused FTP to eliminate allowing players from participating in the game) the Isildur1 signing is a sign that PS has decided to take a crack at being the new place for nosebleed cash games on the Internet. It has worked for FTP before; will it work for PS now?

Now, Isildur1 has made his mark on the online world, and is the headlining talent in the PokerStars line of cash game players; but what are they going to do to roll the young phenom out? To get a better idea of what PS has decided to do with their new star, we have to go back to Full Tilt Poker and Tom Dwan, and his own series of challenges with other high stakes players.

Durrrr has a series of challenges (The “Durrrr Challenge”) in which he plays a single opponent, over 4 tables at a time, in a predetermined stake and for a predetermined amount of time, until the hand limit is reached or the opponent is broke. Dwan also offered a bonus sum of money to an opponent that could beat him, three times the amount that he would win on the side if he won ($1.5 million to $500,000) that would go along with the profits won in the match. The challenges have generated a fair amount of buzz among boards on high stakes forums; and apparently PS has kept an eye on these boards as well, because nearly the same format is used in running the “Superstar Showdown” that PS is using as its primary showcase for Isildur1.

The Superstar Showdown uses some of the elements of this challenge geared more to a single session; each player that choose to play Isildur1 in the challenge will play 4 tables simultaneously of $50/$100 no limit hold’em, until either 2,500 hands or a stop/loss of $150,000 is hit, which ever comes first. There is no bonus for winning the challenge, though the ability to play on a national stage, in front of a load of raving, loud poker geeks is a good way to get some notoriety and publicity that some of the high stakes regulars haven’t earned yet; the first player to accept the challenge, Issac Haxton, has had his opportunities in the PS spotlight with his 2nd place performance in the PCA and a spot on the PS “Big Game” to his credit, but has never really came to the forefront of cash game lore; the Superstar Showdown is his chance to get the recognition and buzz he’s earned after his long journey in cash games and tournaments.

Isildur1 also gets some huge image rebuilding by getting to play on the big stage; even though the stakes are lower than he’s accustomed to at FTP, he’s still the main show here on PS, as far as cash games go, he’s even upstaged the almighty Kid Poker himself as far as generating any sort of buzz over PS cash game is concerned. Isildur1 is the future for the hopes of PS controlling the cash games in the online community. Can he pull off the unthinkable and get PS to the top of the nosebleed cash game sections? Only time will tell.


(chart for Jan 2011)

FT bulls are back!