Friday, September 30, 2011

...the STRADDLE and SLEEPER bets...

In the game of poker the play is centered around the act of betting to generate a pot to win at the end of each hand. Each game has it's on variations of betting allowed and/or mandated. Some games require "antes", others mandate "blinds". 
 An "ante" is a forced bet required by all players in the game to generate a pot to play for, before the hand is dealt. After the cards are dealt each player has the option to check, increase the pot with a bet, call the additional bet, raise the initial bet or fold. In the game of Texas Hold'em though there is a required "blind" bet from only two players. The first two players to the left of the player who is the dealer are referred to as the "small blind" and the "big blind". A $1/$2 Hold'em cash game refers to the blind structure of the game. The $1 being the small blind and the $2 being the big blind.
In some games there is an additional blind bet that is allowed that is referred to as a "straddle" or a "sleeper" aka... Mississippi straddle bet. A straddle is an optional and voluntary raise of the big blind before the cards are dealt.  They are basically the same, just named from the position you might be making the bet from. The straddle is commonly used from the "UTG" (under the gun) position, which is the first person to act after the big blind. . When it is used in any other position it is referred to as a sleeper or a Mississippi straddle. The main reason for a straddle bet is to, in effect, "buy" the rights or privilege of acting last, which is normally the big blinds privilege, barring a raise before it gets back to the big blind. This isn't always the case for the implemented straddle either. There are re-straddle options and a raise of the straddle that will change the outcome of who actually acts last.
Now that you know about the straddle options, should you put this into your pre-flop arsenal!?!Whether or not you have in the past here are a few things to consider before you do so (again).

1. The only advantage to a straddle is that you get to act last during the pre-flop round of betting. You also have to consider that you have put in a raise with no information about your hand and if your straddle is raised you will need a very nive to a premium hand to be able to call, eventually resulting in a waste of money..... so, don't straddle.
2. If you are playing in a lower stakes game than you are accustomed to your straddles may be a way to double the blinds from the onset of the, straddle.
3. If you feel you can get opponents out of their comfort zones or it may force them to fold it may work out to your, straddle.

Some players will insist that the straddle will add more excitement to the game due to the increase of the pots generated (especially if there are antes and blinds). Some will say that it takes away from the game due to the changing of positions that occur. Others will say it's just a fool's bet and a dumb thing to do. But there are those who believe that if played correctly it can be very profitable and may be the answer to getting out of a slump.
Personally, I don't care to straddle. But I don't mind if others do, I get see my cards and still have the option to fold. Whatever the reason or by whatever reasoning you have convinced yourself to use a straddle....
good luck to ya! cause most of the time it's only gonna be a sweetener to the pot for someone who actually had info to decide upon.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Skill...The Great Poker Debate...Luck part2

Poker Players Alliance

Some of the responses and comments about this here debate HERE and in other forums with the same topic and discussion are pretty interesting. Here are a few I have found:

Mr. XXXX, I hope you are still reading comments posted here.

I am the Litigation Support Director for the Poker Player's Alliance and in that capacity I was a major force in seeking to have the Cigital study done.

Your basic criticism of the study is not invalid, but is actually beside the point. The study does not BY ITSELF prove that poker is a game of mostly skill. What is does is validate a key and very important part of the overall argument that poker is a game of mostly skill.

What is validates is that poker is most frequently resolved by decisions made by the players, not by the turning over of the cards. And even when the cards are turned over, 50% of the time decisions of the players have thwarted the result that would have occurred had the cards alone been the deciding factor.

Proving this was extremely important to the overall effort. Most folks unfamiliar with poker assume that turning over the best hand is how poker is decided most of the time. They therefore conclude that poker is mostly decided by what cards a player is dealt.

By showing these folks that the actual deal of the cards does NOT decide the outcome the vast majority of poker hands, we then force them to consider and think about how the game is played vs. how the game is dealt.

Once we have them thinking about how the game is played, we can then educate them on all the various factors BESIDES the cards a player holds that must be considered in making the decision to check, bet, call, raise or fold.

And that is where we ultimately prove that skill at making correct decisions is only partially based on the cards and, in fact, most often the actual cards are the least important factor in making that decision.

And thats when the light bulb goes off over their heads and we have convinced them, as we have in 3 courts so far, that the evidence that poker is game of mostly skill is "overwhelming."

Patrick Fleming
PPA Litigation Support Director

I respect the data. I also respect your questioning of the data. And I believe, also being a card carrying member of the PPA, that this matter of skill versus luck cannot be answered simply. The reason for this is the elements of choice, will, endurance, deception and determination. Your examination of the study and I believe the study itself does not take into account the specific skill level of the participants and the opponents nor the amount of hours they had played continuously, whether they were simultaneously playing multiple tables or even multiple sites and if they normally played at these higher stakes, the strategies they were employing.

Taken these other factors into account is important for resolving the way a person plays certain hands, certain games, certain stakes and even on certain days. One of your photos begs the question, "If there's so much skill why cant Phil win them all?" There are a lot of answers for this. First of all that question assumes that Phil is the most skilled poker player. Let's say, "he is the most skilled player." There are other factors (most of which I mentioned above) besides luck and chance that can destroy his bids for victory. You can also make this same argument in the game of golf. If it's all skill then why can't Tiger Woods win them all? I think you can give me a great number of reasons and they would probably have parallels to the reasons Phil Hellmuth has troubles.

I suppose I am trying to say that each player takes a different mindset or psychology into each and every game he plays just as a golfer or boxer would. None of us play the same every day or every hand. Poker relies on your ability to adapt to an ever changing landscape of situations that data alone cannot predict or examine.

The data and the ensuing arguments show that the game of poker is complex and does require a good measure of skill. That is becoming more and more obvious as we progress to an inevitable "day in court".

Poker Players Alliance


SKILL...The Great Poker Debate...LUCK part1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Poker is a game of high-risk AND chance. So, luck IS a necessary part of the game, but skill is required to  eventually win out!?!
I've heard both sides of the story/argument. "Poker is all luck, it's the luck of the draw/cards!" or even, "Poker is a game of skill, luck has no bearing... a game of skill I say!"

The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines Skill (noun) as:
a. the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance.
b. dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned tasks.
c. a learned power of doing something competently; a developed aptitude or ability.

The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines Luck as:
a. a force that brings good fortune or adversity.
b. the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual.
c. favoring chance.

  Skill in poker requires having a proficient ability for reading one's opponent, a developed aptitude of/in making the right decisions, and the dexterity to adapt to the given (and ever-changing) environment. Being lucky or unlucky in poker depends on whether you or your opponents are catching fortunate or adverse cards at fortunate or adverse times. A winning player (at the time) will likely classify the game as one of skill in order to draw attention to his/her skillful talent. The losing player (at the time) may suggest that the play in question was luck of the draw in order to save face of their own abilities.
 In a single hand of poker luck is going to prevail more often than skill. But in a tournament or a long session of play the advantage that a skilled player has from hand to hand may be minimal to begin the session but it will increase throughout the session. In any single session though it is possible for the worst player at the table to walk away a winner and the best player to lose. 
Personally, I feel the skill in poker is dependent upon the player(s) involved in the game. In other words, Poker is a game of luck that is manipulated by the skill of the player(s). 
  Skilled poker players are going to do one of two things when it comes to allowing luck to be involved into the equation in any given hand. One: they are going to put themselves in a position to get lucky at the expense of their competitor and/ or two: they are going to avoid situations where luck has too much of an influence on the outcome. 
I do know that there is enough luck involved in poker to keep horrible players thinking they are great and it's convincing those same players that others are just lucky. As far as answering the question, "how much of poker is luck and how much is skill?" I doubt there will ever be a logical answer or explanation.
 Thanks to the internet games there have been some recent studies and in depth research about poker over the past few years. Until the internet play there were not many players who were open to allowing people to record, study and then report on their play, so it was difficult to get the information necessary to even have a study. Two reports from a recent study have atrracted a great deal of attention. The first was a large scale examination of over 1 million hands played. This study was carried out by the Cigital Group, a consullting firm in Washington, DC. The two main findings were:

                                              1. Three quarter of all hands played never made it to a showdown.
2. Only 12% of those hands were won by the best hand.

So, during this study 88% of the time a  player was able to bet, raise or re-raise his/her opponent and suggest/convince that opponent that they should just lay it down (the best hand). That my friends is where the skill comes into play in poker! That doesn't mean that 88% of the time you bet, raise or re-raise someone they are going to lay it down. Luck plays a role, of course, in the impact of the random turn of a card, the flukiness of the flop, the unlikely river card. That's not only the nature of the game; it's an inherent feature of every interesting thing that people do. But what it does suggest is that the players that held these winning hands that never made it to a showdown could have done just as well holding two blank pieces of paper in place of their cards. It was their strategy (skill) that took it down.
The definitive study will not be one that tracks hands, it will track players. The really convincing data would be those that followed individuals in a variety of games over an extended period of time and found that some had consistently better results than others.
Unfortunately, it isn't going to be easy to do this, as another study of online poker by Ingo Fielder and Jan-Philipp Rock at the University of Hamburg discovered.
They examined the results of over 51,000 online players and found, to their (and my) surprise, that the majority of them play fewer than 100 hands, lose their bankroll and quit. They conclude, if you're concerned, that poker is overwhelmingly a game of skill.
In my next post I will provide responses to some studies that have been provided over the past few years.

chapelout for now.....GetSome.GIVEBACK.GetHome

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

...Full Tilt Ponzhi...

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara calls Full Tilt Poker a 'Ponzi Scheme'
     Manhattan’s U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claimed on Tuesday that Full Tilt Poker and its board of directors operated the company “as a massive Ponzi scheme against its own players.”
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said on Tuesday they were filing legal papers as part of a civil money laundering complaint that alleged Full Tilt Poker improperly used funds of online poker players to pay members of its board of directors, including famous poker players Howard Lederer and Christopher “Jesus” Ferguson, $440 million since April 2007.
File:Howard Lederer.jpg
    Bharara announced the filing of a motion to amend a forfeiture and civil money laundering complaint that was filed in April, alleging that Full Tilt and board members Lederer, Ferguson and Rafael Furst, together with Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar, defrauded poker players out of some $300 million by not maintaining funds at the company sufficient to repay players.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"C"ontinuation betting is a bet that is made after the flop by a player who initially raised pre-flop. Most aggressive players are going to follow-up their pre-flop raises with a "C" bet in just about any situation the board may present them on the flop.
The first, easiest, and most obvious situation to "C" bet is when you have a premium hand and hit the flop and now have a strong-dominant hand. By making a pre-flop raise you have already suggested that you have a strong hand so you should continue that aggression with a bet of at least half to two thirds the size of the pot.
Here is an example to help out:
You are in a $1/$2 holdem game. You have QJ suited in late position. It folds around to you and you raise to $8. Small blind folds and the big blind calls your raise. The flop comes out Q76. The big blind checks to you. This is a classic position for you to bet out with a "C" bet of at least $12-$14. At this point the "C" bet continues your aggressive play, serves to protect your top pair and forces drawing and mid pair hands to have to invest more to see the hand play out which is building the pot for you! In a cash game and one that has a straight flush jackpot you should be cautious when the board comes with suited connectors or connecting cards as this one did, but the aggressive play only forces the opponent deeper into his/her stack to see it play out.
Another area that will come into play for a "C" bet is when you have flopped an open ended straight opportunity. You raise pre-flop with with KQ, the flop comes 10 J 8. Even though you have not actually hit the flop you have made a connection and have several outs that may come. An A or 9 which gives you 6 opportunities or a K or Q adds even more. Making a "C" bet is in your best interest here, by checking you jeopardize your aggressive table presence you've established.

Another spot when you should consider making a continuation bet is when you miss the flop completely after showing aggression preflop. Although you don't have a solid hand at this point, you still most likely have outs on your opponent, and you might be able to take down the pot right away. Here's a good example:
You're playing $1/$2 , and have AK suited in the cutoff. It folds to you, you raise to $9, and the big blind calls. The flop comes down 4-8-10 with one card of your suit. Although you really don't have much of a hand here, I'd bet out if the big blind checks to you. By checking they show that they don't have much either, so you should fire out $12 here to see if you can take the pot. Worst case scenario, he/she calls and you most likely have six outs (any ace or king) to win plus the backdoor flush draw.
Next up... the double barrell.


some data source provided from


One of the most profitable plays in No Limit Holdem is the value bet, when applied corectly! A value bet is a bet you want to make when you feel you are ahead in a hand and can entice a caller(s) that would lead to a nicer payoff at showdown.

Good hands only come around ever so often, so it is necessary to extract as much of a return on your investment as possible when you have that opportunity!
Here is an example of value betting when you are ahead:
You are in a $1/$2  NL Holdem game and get dealt AK under the gun. You raise to $9 and get one caller from late position. The flop comes A73. At this point you have top pair/top kicker and probably feel confident that you have the best hand. A medium size bet, half the value of the pot, is probably what you want to bet. This looks (and actually is) a continuation bet, but it is also a value bet to entice an affordable call from the other player. It doesn't show dominant strength and as mentioned may just reak continuation bet enough to get the call. The turn comes K. Now you have top two. You may be inclined to check, hoping for an opportunity to check/raise but it is more profitable in the long run to bet out again with a medium size bet. If you check and get a check in return you just lost the opportunity to increase the value of your ROI in a favorable position with the strength of your hand. The river comes 2. The board is now A73K2. At this point you want to make a bet about one third of the pot. If your opponent calls, with top pair or a lower valued two pair, you have gotten paid off from each bet and take down a nice pot!
A value bet can also be used as a river bet when there is a question as to where your hand stands. And here is an example for that situation:
Again you are in a $1/$2 game. You have 10,8 suited and call from late position. You, the blinds and the button are all in the hand with no pre-flop raise. The flop comes 10,7,6. You bet out a "feeler"/"protector" bet of $5 (into an $8 pot) to see where your top pair stands. You get one caller. Now you are heads up. The turn is a 2. Again you bet out, $10 this time and get called. The river comes an 8. This makes for a scary board with any 9 making a straight. What to do now.... theVALUEbet! 
 If you check on the river there are two things that can happen. The first is that he checks as well, and shows down an inferior hand. In this case, you'll win no extra money. The second is that he fires out a medium sized bet, and you have to call with your top two pair. He then shows down the straight, and you lose the medium sized bet.
Now, if you do bet out, there are three things that can happen:
    The first is that your opponent folds if they have a poor hand. In this case you earn no extra money, and it's the same outcome whether you check or bet.
    The second situation is that you bet out, and your opponent calls with a worse two pair, or top pair. In this case you win an extra bet on the end, because if you had checked they would have checked behind.
    The third case is that you bet out, and your opponent has the straight and raises. In this case you can simply fold your hand, and lose the medium sized bet.

    As you can see, in situations #1 and #3 it's a wash regardless if you bet or check, but in situation #2, you actually earn an extra bet on the end. Because of this, you should always fire out in these situations, because it is actually more profitable to bet than it is to check.

Ok, so if you we look at each case:
  1. Your opponent has nothing. Regardless if you check or bet, you're still winning the same sized pot.
  2. Your opponent has a decent hand, but not the straight. In this case, if you check, you win nothing extra, but if you bet out, he'll call and show down the worse hand. In this case, betting wins you extra money.
  3. Your opponent has the straight. If you check, they'll bet, and you'll lose a medium sized bet. If you bet, they'll raise, you'll fold, and you lose a medium sized bet. So once again, no difference.


some data status provided from

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Canada Trip... Part II

    As I made my travel and stay arrangements for my trip I was able to arrive earlier than the plans for the tournament and stay longer than expected due to the awesome deals I aquired by flying out on a certain day and time and departing on a certain day and time. The original plan was to be there from Sunday through Wednesday, the days of the tournament. Because of the deals I was able to leave the Thursday before the event and come back the following Friday which gave me extra time to enjoy the trip and actually get to see the sites throughout the area.
Jeff Burnett    As a bonus to being able to participate in the Montrea Open Charity Event I also had the opportunity to finally meet the man who introduced me to the opportunity to play in the event and actually invited and sponsored my initial entry into the event.  I actually met him,  Jeff Burnett, online during a video contest to become Victory Pokers next Poker Pro. Jeff is the founder of a poker team called the BombSquad. He is also known as the "AceTenBomber".  If you would like to know more about Jeff I have already featured him in one of my earlier published posts.
    Back to the trip... another bonus to the trip was the opportunity to visit an awesome poker club in Kahnawake, Quebec. We spent about four and a half days at The Playground Poker Club. It was awesome! Jeff had made arrangements with Playground to expect the team to be coming in quite a bit while we were in the area. I cannot begin to tell you how nice the club, the staff, the restaurant and the food was during or visits there. 

Here are some photos of some of the characters you might see at the Playground on any given night!

Yep, That's Erik Cajelais. Had the opportunity to meet and play some cash game sessions with him, until he made his way into the high stakes games that is! Super nice guy though! I also had the opportunity to meet Gavin Smith, Andy Bloch and Marc Karam. And at the Monreal Open got to play on the same table as Huck Seed, Greg Mueller, Andy Bloch and Gavin Smith as well!
You cannot beat the food that comes out of the kitchen at the restaurant, The Rail, inside the club. We were treated like royalty with the food that was brought out to us throughout our entire visit. There was always something going on there. Cash games from noon til 6am, daily tournament schedules and special events that bring out even the big guns! I can't wait to get back out there again, and again! 
Here's a few shots of the BombSquad invading the Playground Poker Club.

And some photos of the team back in Montreal during the Montreal Open!

Montreal Open 2011img_2329

Well I guess that's it for tonight. Maybe soon I can get some info together on some of the squad and feature them here as well. Great bunch of guys and gals that came out for the event. And one that we will never forget but will NOT discuss, at least here in this forum!
chapel out for now...GetSome.GIVEBACK.GetHome
some photos provided by and various facebook accounts

My Trip to Canada... Part I

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to take a trip to the Canada. I was there primarily for the opportunity to play in a charity poker tournament. The tournament was The Montreal Open, the major sponsor was FullTilt and the venue was the LeWindsor Hotel. 

 The Miriam Foundation was chartered in 1910 as Miriam No. 17, a local chapter of the national organization United Order True Sisters, Inc. (UOTS). On its property in Webster Groves, Missouri, Miriam founded and operated the Rosa Bry Convalescent Home and Rehabilitation Program from 1914 until 1956, when the program merged with Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

In 1954, Miriam began providing assistance to cancer patients and cancer-related organizations throughout the St. Louis community through Miriam Cancer Services.

Miriam School was established in 1956 to serve children with developmental disabilities. Following the establishment of Special School District and other public school special education programs, the Miriam School's focus changed in 1962 to serve children with multiple learning disabilities.
Miriam school
The mission of the Miriam School is to encourage children with multiple learning disabilities to recognize and successfully meet their potential. 

The Miriam School serves 96 children, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade in small, ungraded classrooms with a ratio of ten students per teacher. Children come to the Miriam School with unique academic, social and personal challenges and the professional faculty provides an individualized education plan and curriculum designed to meet each child’s needs.

Contact Information
Miriam Foundation501 Bacon Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63119-1512
phone: 314.962.6059
fax: 314.962.0482
Please contact Andrew Thorp or Sarah Scott in the Miriam Foundation office for more information regarding giving opportunities.

The site for the event was the Le Windsor Hotel.  

Historically it was Canada's first Grand Hotel.
Le Windsor, formerly the Windsor Hotel, is one of downtown Montreal’s most prestigious and historic landmarks, boasting two breathtaking ballrooms and Peacock Alley. Built in 1878, the Windsor Hotel was considered the palace of Canada. Its breathtaking ballrooms and the Peacock Alley have been, throughout its history, host to world dignitaries such as Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Her Royal Highness, then Princess Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and Sarah Bernhardt and more recently, Tony Blair, to name but a few.


    Some of the attractions and sites throughout the area were breathtaking. The historical architecture, the nightlife views and the overall experience of the visit was awesome! Here are a few of the images of Montreal I had the pleasure of seeing and experience while there. 

This was my first trip to Canada and I have to say I am anxious to get back to see more!
I hope to be able to get back again soon and have the opportunity to take my family with me the next visit. When I left the states I think it was about 78 degrees. When I arrived in Montreal it was 9 degrees. This was at the end of March and through the first week of April.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Integrity and Authenticity of Online Poker... Part III

Okay Kenny, here we go! This is going to be a tough topic to discuss because of all the angles that you can look at it from. But I will start with your question, or suggestion for this topic:

"I would love to hear your views on the integrity and authenticity of todays online poker, can a good player win or is it just for the donks?"

First, I will begin with my experience as an online player. I have been a live on the felt poker tournament competitor since 1999. I was introduced to the internet forums of online poker by my brother. I had some reservations about the whole deposit my money into an account which I have no idea where it's going and what might happen to it syndrome. But after railing a few tournaments with my bro and checking out some of the payouts he had recieved I finally decided to make my first deposit and play for real money.
I quickly realized that the majority of the so-called poker players on the internet were more or less just a room full of gambling idiots! Yes I said it... a bunch of gambling IDIOTS! But that's before I had learned any of the poker lingo and realized that I was speaking pokeretiquettely wrong. I should be calling them Donkeys! Okay, idiot...donkey... whatever!?! They are NOT poker players though! They are gamblers, and there is a huge difference between the two.
I have won countless low/mid-level entry sit and go's. I have won two freerolls with over 14 thousand players involved in each, one with just over 11 thousand, and I won the $100 US Online Poker Championship that consisted of  4,644 players who qualified for the event. Oh yea, you want to know if a good poker player can win online! My bad.
  Finding a person that has the traits of becoming AND maintaing the status of being a successful online poker player... IS RARE! Extremely rare! As mentioned before I have had some success playing online poker, but... I did not have the consistent and continued success that I thought I was capable of. Many...  most.... actually, the majority of good poker players will never reach or even realize their potential when it comes to online play. There is really no one reason why though, there are many, many reasons why! Collusion, manipulation of the programming, ghosting, selling off seats have already been discussed, and many other opportunities to cheat will always play against the online hopefuls. Outside of the factors that a player cannot control are the factors that one must possess, control and maintain in order to be successful. 
These are the traits that I feel are necessary for a good poker player to be successful, whether it is online or on the felt:
1.   Patience  2.   Discipline  3.   Reasonable Intelligence  4.   Attitude  5.  Experience
6.  Strategic Aggression  7. Confidence
But not necessarily in that order. The order of importance is going change from game to game, and event to event depending upon the venue, the players and many other circumstances!

*Reasonable Intelligence will be the foundation of a successful poker player. I'm not saying you have to be good in school, make good grades, have a degree or anything like that. I'm just saying that a successful player will be one who knows and understands the basics of the games and has the ability to understand and apply the mathmatics and variances applicable in order to make sound and solid decisions based on the variables that apply at any given time within the hand or the understanding of your opponents. You must be able to think, absorb and make critical decisions quickly. And these decisions are, for the most part... not based on factual information ... but on the understanding of the who, why and possible probabilty of circumstances that would allow, require or mandate the decision to be made. You can't just leave all your decisions up to a feeling or gut instinct you know!
*Discipline is going to incorporate most of the traits that have been mentioned and more. A successful player is going to be disciplined enough to be patient for the right cards to play, have the right attitude to hadle a string of bad luck and even shaking off the unfortunate collection of bad beats. Another area to have great disciplne with is managing your bankroll. I have already published a post about that area if you want to go back and read it as well.
*Confidence is also a necessary trait. And you have to be disciplined enough not to allow that confidence to emerge as anything other than that. Becoming cocky and developing an unwanted asshole rep is not something you want. I understand developing a table presence and not allowing someone or certain situations to push you or roll you over, but that again goes back to discipline! Confidence ultimately comes down to how a player feels, responds to, and adjusts to the decisions they have made. Whether it is pertaining to bluffing, applying strategic aggression or just accepting that the right thing to do is to lay it down or walk away. Being confident as to when, where and how to apply these staategies is crucial and requires total commitment and confidence in those decisions, and that confidence must be evident to those at the table. The tougher the decision requires the utmost of confidence and discipline.
*Experience! In order to develop the traits that I have dicussed it is obvious that you are gonna have to get out there, get in the game and gain as much experience you can in order to understand why you are gonna be doing what you are doing. We can sit here and discuss poker, poker strategy, the influences, variables and variances of the game until we are shriveled up and blue! Keep in mind though, the rules and objectives of the games don't change, just new concepts and applications of these concepts to the game so keep an open mind about the opportunity to learn something new any and every chance you can get!
 Finding a person that possessses and has been able to maintain these traits is a difficult find. Thus the reason you will always see the number of players within the poker community continue to rise and the reference to successful poker players remain at a minimal percentage of the total community. Those who are able to balance an intelligent foundation with discipline and confidence are most likely those who are going to become a long term profitable player!

Another angle to consider is what you deem to be successful. There are are athletes, scholars, business owners and poker players who have never been recognized for their long and enduring careers that have been profitable without ever winning the big game, being crowned the cream of the crop or was ever established as the leader of the industry.
Now days there are sooo many gamblers that call themselves poker players! Among the millions of players there are only gonna be a handful of players that are recognized as successful. But it really just depends on your comfort level of success. Personally, If I am able to continue to maintain a profitable return on my investments I consider myself a winner.
Well Kenny, I don't know if I was able to answer your question!?! Here is how I have come to visualize my chances at winning games and tournaments online. Imagine a white line drawn in the middle of the desert. On one side of the line you see a crowd of people who are casually intermingling while drinking and sharing the water they were able to obtain. They have plenty of room to allow each other their personal space also allowing the possibilty to even recognize some of them and even get a reasonable estimate of  the number of  people on that side. On the other side of the line is a mass of people that are unable to raise their arms above their heads without hitting someone and the crowd fades out into the horizon. The first group mentioned are the poker players you may run across in your future online adventures. The other group that faded into the horizon, well that's the mass of idiot gamblers, I mean donkeys, no I do mean idiot gamblers that will eventually thirst to death from lack of water they will never find in order to sustain the lifestyle they so desire but refuse to approach in a reasonably intelligent, disciplined and confident manner.

Ash Grey T-Shirt



The Integrity and Authenticity of Online Poker... Part II

In any game, competition or business transaction there is always a sense of honor, ethics and integrity established between the competitors and/or the associates involved. No other game is going to test the limits of the honor system more than the game of poker though. While the game has been established to bluff and out smart your opponents, the landscape of the poker community is held together by an expected moral code, a high standard of ethical play and a shared and expected desire to maintain the overall integrity of the game. 
A moral code in Poker!?! Absolutely!
A moral code is established by one's choice to weigh the options available and choosing right over wrong.  While playing in a live forum with players, dealers, floor managers and those on the rail surrounding you it may be easy to make these decisions. Most people with good sound morals are going to be able to make these decisions on the felt or while playing in the virtual world of online poker. Those who are lacking the ethical committment are going to have a harder time doing so, especially in the comfort of their own home while competing online and considering whether or not they would even get caught or weighing out the severity of the penalty if they did get caught.
Online poker is now a multi-billion dollar industry. And when there is money involved, especially the money involved in highstakes games and highroller tournaments on these online sites it is going to be tempting to waver a bit from the morals and ethical decisions one might general be inclined to choose while at a live event. 
One of the issues with the cheating within the online community is not necessarily how or why players are cheating. For the most part the how and why are obvious. It's the "who" that has created a lot of concern over te past few years. 
Aaron Angerman from PokerPages reports that some of the high profiled players and operational owners, board members and  network/site staff within the online community have become who they are due to the immoral and unethical decisions they made to acquire their money and status.

Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo, Josh "JJProdigy" Field, and Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi were just a few of the highest profiled online players who were reported, investigated and ultimately charged with violating the player rules and regulations and were suspended, funds withdrawn from and some even banned from certain sites. 
    Josh "JJProdigy" Field was the first high profile player to be investigated and subsequently suspended and banned from online sites PartyPoker, PokerStars and FullTilt for multi-accounting tournament events and cash games. Josh started his online play with PartyPoker at the age of 14. Within a few months he had increased his $100 starting deposit well into the six figure range. It wasn't until the teenager was 16 that he made his mistake. Josh had entered the $500k Guaranteed Tournament on PartyPoker and managed to outlast the field to take down $140k for top prize. The only problem was, "JJProdigy" had been eliminated from the field early on and the winner of the event was "ABlackCar". After boasting of his credentials as the winner of the event an investgation was started and quickly concluded that Josh had indeed won the event but by means that were against the rules, regulations and policies of the site, multi-accounting the event.Nearly $200k was recovered from his account and he was banned from the site.
Another case involving the same issues of multi-accounting came not long after the Josh incident and it involved 20 year old Justin Bonomo. Circumstances were different with Justin as he was reported and outed by his peers and other players who were sucspicious of his play. He too was investigated, lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and was banned from PartyPoker and PokerStars as well. Both of these players have apologized to the online poker community but have a long way to go to restore any respect from their peers. Both have blamed their bad decisions on their youthful ages and experience with proper and ethical decisions, (and greed!).
There are sooo many ways to cheat when it comes to playing on the online sites. "Ghosting" is when you are being informed by phone, instant message, texts, or inperson of cards, bets and upcoming intentions in the hand by other players at the same table. "Multi-Accounting"  events and cash games that gives a player obvious advantages, especially in cash games at the same table. "Seat-Selling" is another way some high profile players have been able to take down games and events as of late. An arrangement is made between the parties involved that would allow the better, more experienced and higher profiled player to buy a seat in a tournament late in the final stages of the event. This allows the player to by-pass the long grueling hours of getting to the point of the game where the poker playing skills of playing position, betting, bluffing and table/hand experience and strategic aggression to prevail for such a player. Especially when such player who is known as a higher profile player to have the opportunity to hide behind anothers screen name. 
The ultimate cheat(ers) though would be a group of players back in 2007 that were dominating events and games with astonishing success rates and practically no losing records. This group was using what is now known as a "Super-User" account. During a particular tournament on the Absolute Poker site several suspicious players in the tournament requested that the tournament transcript be investigated due to suspicious play from a player named "POTRIPPER". During the investigation it was discovered that the account was a "super-account" and had the capabilities of seeing ALL the hole cards from ALL the players in the tournament. The account was traced bak to Allan Grimmard aka AJ Green, the IP address was traced back to Scott Tom. Green was once Absolute Poker's Vice President of Operations and Tom was part owner of the company!

to be continued! okay Kenny, I'm finally gonna get to the topic you requested. hang in there and I will do my best to cover it from all the angles!

data source provided from pokerpages 

The Integrity and Authenticity of Online Poker... Part I

There is NO DOUBT that this topic will be discussed through multiple posts and discussions.
So let's get this discussion started with a bit of history.

Online poker is the game of poker played via the internet. In late 1997 Randy Blumer decided to create and launch a forum for poker players to play for free on the internet. The intention was to gather the interest of the general public, advertise the opportunity to play online and then capitalize on the interest of playing for real money! After only a brief stint of the free play with play money and advertising in Card Player Magazine Randy introduced and launched "Planet Poker". It was January 1st, 1998 when Planet decided to provide the first real money game, and the game was a $3/$6 cash game. By the early summer of 1998 Planet Poker had a huge following and was only getting bigger. At that time nearly all the internet players were on dial-up connects. The "www" itself was still trying to work through it's problems and it was common that some connection problems took two, three hours and sometimes up to three and four days to correct. Can you imagine that happening now!?!
Technical problems were common and Planet Poker desperately needed to upgrade the enhancements of more features, a wider variety of games and most importantly a customer service and technical support team. As these issues were being discussed, planning, hiring and training put into place there was a crash within the system that required several days of "downtime" to correct and maintain before re-launch. Unfortunately for them though a new site Paradise Poker launced during their downtime and was able to scoop up a majority of the established players they had. Within ninety days Paradise was able to accumulate about 1500 players. It took Planet twice as long to establish their first four hundred. It wasn't long that Planet realized that the competition was now off the tables and now into the behind the scenes of the daily operations and options available to provide to the customers. 

Once the competition was established Planet Poker began to invest their income and resources into new capabilites for the site. But the gap between the two cardrooms in reference to number of players, game options for the players, graphic enhancements and player registration and deposits was pretty much insurmountable for Planet vs. Paradise. It wasn't until 2004 that Planet was able to establish a full and complete staff and provide the upgrades that were already available... not only at Paradise,  but now there were multiple sites available! At this particular time though a recent newcommer had taken a hold on the market and was averaging about 100,00 players a day, compared to the 1,200 at Planet, and about 10,000 at Paradise.


As time goes by online sites begin popping up as commonly as local Wal-Marts  and as quickly as your vacation from work comes to an end. 
As of March 2008, there are fewer than forty stand-alone cardrooms and poker networks with detectable levels of traffic. There are however more than 600 independent doorways or 'skins' into the group of network sites. As of January 2009, the majority of online poker traffic occurs on just a few major networks, among them PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and the iPoker Network.
By February 2010, there are approximately 545 online poker websites. Within the 545 active sites, about two dozen are stand-alone sites (down from 40 in March 2008), while the remaining sites are called “skins” and operate on 21 different shared networks, the largest network being iPoker which has dozens of skins operating on its network. Of all the online poker rooms is deemed the world’s largest poker site by number of players on site at any one time.

Million Dollar Challenge

Okay, now that we have established the online poker community os sites, let's get into the controversy that has developed over the years about the integrity of the play on these online sites.

to be continued... chapelout

date source provided from wikipedia and pokerpages