Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Poker New Years Resolutions

Everybody else is doing it - so now my turn, hey can't write something to provoke thoughts every day.

These will focus on my approach to the game and overall goal of enjoying poker, rather than stating any monetary aim (those are all tied up with my affiliate business anyway). Breaks will be initiated any time poker becomes a grind or a chore in 09!

1) Drop Down When Tired: Often find myself playing at the end of a day spent writing when 'winding down'. This play is usually half-assed to be honest, at best on auto-pilot and at worst as an 'aside' while surfing etc. Problem with saying 'don't do it' here is that I actually enjoy these periods... my relaxation (especially since I never watch TV!). So instead of denying myself something enjoyable... I'll resolve to drop down... maybe $6.50 SNGs or $10 cash games, where losing a couple of buy-ins would not make me grumpy just before bed!

2) Cash / SNGs >> MTTs: Enjoy larger tournaments but find them frustrating too... thing is my 'expectation' is much bigger in SNGs and lower level cash game tables. Cardrunners has already given me some great cash-game insights into lines and ranges that I am looking forward to putting to good use... SNGs are as soft as they ever were once you move away from the sites / hours where the grinders swarm! Going to play MTTs but this will be my liesure outlet, maybe one evening per week for them will be good... though see below.

3) Playing == Improving: In order to move up stakes / make $$$ I resolve to balance playing and studying the game in at least equal portions... PxF / Cardrunners are one thing but I really should spend some more time reviewing my hand histories too.

4) Qualify For Stuff! Yeah, would be great to play the occasional FTOPs / ECOOP event or just a Sunday Million... who knows, with a bit of effort I might even qualify for an outside event - going to take an occasional shot at this as time permits, actually believe I'm fairly +ev in satellite tournaments so this could be profitable as well as enjoyable as long as I take the T$ now and again to re-invest.

5) Enjoy Poker: Sure, the resolutions above all concern this but for me this is the most important of all - and so deserves a spot of its own... if I stop enjoying the game I'll stop playing for a couple of weeks... I see so many people start playing because they love poker, get seduced by the profit aspect - and then forget why they loved poker in the first place... I will not be one of those people.

Happy new year to all - and GL at the tables for 2009!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Maybe This Describes Me? Or Maybe You?

Back to blogging!

Love Christmas and all that, but its really nice when finished... actually got a couple of presents this year (actually specify zero presents for me and have done for 15-odd years - but you just try convincing a Hungarian not to buy you anything...!). A webcam - which will be put to use shortly for some affiliate projects, and a massage chair-cover thing which is very nice indeed.

Anyway... onto poker.

Click the link below to read a thought provoking article by Tony Guerrera entitled 'Are You A TAG Fish'... a well thought through and constructed piece which shows just how the old adage that 'Tight Is Right' can be taken to fishy extremes.


If you are one of those people who play 'correctly' but are continually frustrated by the suckouts by 'the donks' then you need to check out this piece. While there is no single attribute which I am 100% guilty of in the list - there are some tendencies towards those things...

Gl at the tables, Mark

Friday, December 26, 2008

Festive Chat Tell Anecdote

Enjoying a fantastic xmas at the in-laws... so much eating and drinking that I have lost count! Just a quicky post concerning a small tournament on Party that I busted out of before the money... this one concerns a 'chat tell'...

Here is what happened... I was moved to a new table and saw the end of a hand in which someone got busted. A 'table professor' then started a long and boring lecture about how Ace-Jack was not a great hand and should not have been played that way blah blah blah

Couple of hands later the blinds go up and I find myself with only 9 or so BBs in the hijack... with Mr $10 tournament 'expert' still chatting as if he was Phil fucking Ivey. I get dealt - yep, you guessed it - two cards! Since our expert in the BB will now find it impossible to call with anything ace-jack or worse I have a simple, yet effective, stealing opportunity.

His chat came home to roost...

Only, this time he had AQ, called and that was the end of me... ah well, maybe next time!

GL at the tables, Mark

Monday, December 22, 2008

Omaha Planet Upgrade Completed!

Always really happy announcing the cumultation of tons of hard work and effort - for both Erika and Myself.

Today is no exception, we are pleased to bring the first major update of Omaha Planet all year - co-incidentally marking the 1st birthday of the site. The look is smarter and easier to follow (no long lists of articles, now several shorter ones). There is a bunch of new material and many updates to the existing articles too... what is more we are in the process of building up a pipeline of new material for the site.

Omaha Planet was 'useful but dormant' for far too long, this upgrade and content additions will give us a platform to really move forward with this one - to become the leading strategy site in its area as we move into 09, I'm looking forward to the challenge already!!

Oh - a link - of course... Omaha Poker

Your feedback is not only welcome, it is much appreciated to help us better understand what is good / bad / ugly etc - drop me a comment or send a mail via the address on the site.

Going down south to stay with the in-laws for a Hungarian xmas this year (we swap each year between the UK and HU), looking forward to some damn good eating and drinking... will have access to the net so will update here should anything interesting happen.

Gl at the tables, Mark

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Poker Affiliate Business Update - Winding Down 08 And Looking Forward To 2009

2008 has been a great year affiliate-business wise, we have built a business to the point where it now beats the income I used to earn in corporate life... and also laid some foundations for moving to the next level as the new year begins.

Just one more project to complete at the moment... Omaha Planet is getting a long over-due revamp and a bunch of new content. This site was bugging me for a while for lack of direction, what I decided in the end was that the content (aimed at beginners and those transitioning from Holdem) is excellent and some more of the same, along with clearer organisation was really the key. We hope to 'launch' the new version by the end of Monday (in fact it will go up then whether completed or not!).

More sites are in plan for next year, we have taken the decision to employ someone to help us build them which should allow the pace to pick up fast. The 'plan' is actually fluid, though based on strict financial targets... since I am an 'ideas man' something new could come up at any time... here is a flavour of what 2009 could bring:

- SNG Planet: More languages for sure, going to bring attention to the MTTs, Satellites and Deposit Methods sections soon (will continue with the SNG stuff though)... An 'archive' will be built to thin out the 100's of articles listed on each page too... later in the year we hope to start videos and some more interactive elements too... widgets are also possible... want to take this one to the next level, we already get 700ish visitors each day (and many pageviews each).. no reason why this can not be 2000 / day by the end of 2009.

- Melted Felt: This is more of a fun one... in 2009 it is 'officially' going to go corrupt (can't wait!!)

- Omaha Planet: Covered this one, just to say we have some targets in terms of visitors and conversions and hope to get this translated at some point too.

- Rakeback-Planet: Dropped the ball with this, letting it get out of date and never really pushed it... whole new approach in 2009, hopefully starting by Feb... going to make this personal, yes all of my rakeback players will be personally looked after by me! More than just dispute resolution, I hope to be able to arrange coaching, sort out better deals on tools, insights and previews from my industry contacts and a whole lot more (for those who play resonable high volume in return of course... this will not be a 'deposit $20 and Mark will solve your dispute' game... ).

- Killer-Holdem.net: Have been aging this one for a while, it will get its turn in the spring - want to make it a mini-strategy portal upon which the other sites can be fed traffic. We will see but there is no reason why this can not contain a couple of hundred Holdem articles and generate a nice income by the end of 09.

- Poker Bonusz Klub: Our Hungarian language portal - This is half way through a revamp, really pleased with the new look and extra calls-to-action... new cpntent is being translated at the moment too. Going to work on this one some more in terms of links / SEO and making it into a 'club', capuring e-mails and finding the best possible offers for them. Would also like to have versions of this in several languages by the end of next year.

- Plan3t Gong... not to forget the trusty old blog... still not exactly sure where this one is going, do enjoy writing it though and according to Google a lot of people enjoy reading it! Will continue with a mix of strategy, psychology and business for the time being and make a decision on it later... at some point I'll probably let it retire gracefully - but not for the next few months at least.

Well, those are the current sites and plans for each - will have to save the plans for more sites for another post. It is my Birthday tomorrow (still cant believe where all those years went... only 5 minutes ago I was 18 and in a bar with a beautiful Brunette *boom* 20 years litterally fly-by and I'm about to turn 38 engaged to a beautiful Blonde) so, no posting. Might well have a quick flick through on Monday and see how many 'part #2's' are still not completed!!

GL at the tables, Mark

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Poker Meme Pool - New Series For 2009

Was going to post the DON Magnifying glass part #2 today - but then came up with another idea instead!

This came from a conversation yesterday with a lady who believed (sincerely believed) that Tea contains as much - if not more - caffiene than coffee. This is actually incorrect, well mostly at least* What it does is demonstrate nicely how ideas (memes) can enter our collective minds and stick there and grow into 'common knowledge' or 'agreed wisdom'.

*Factually speaking an 'average' cup of coffee contains 2 to 3 times more caffeine than an 'average' cup of tea... the difficulty is in collecting those averages, with so many types of both beverage available. So, while in theory you can compare a strong, well brewed fresh tea to a weak instant coffee - and find more caffeine in the former - on a day-to-day basis the coffee wins by a huge margin.

So, the next question is what areas of poker 'knowledge' could we look at for similar memes?

Here is an example: (totally made up to illustrate a point, I am not suggesting this strategy is actually wrong in any way!). The perceived wisdom is that if you wish to open a hand for a raise in no-limit holdem, then your usual raising range would be from 2.5 to 4 times the big blind - with a very heavy bias towards 3 times opening.

Sure, there are mathematical reasons why this is considered correct... but, just for a moment, imagine this was a 'coffee vs tea' type error. Since everyone does this, everyone else learns to do the same, since it is so common the strategy ideas and books all assume that this is 'correct' (thus implicitly backing the idea) and so on....

Again, this is a made up example and not something I am advocating that you change.... that I do advocate is that we look through the 'set ideas' in poker and find out whether there are any which have snuck into the meme pool without a solid basis!

Finally, the example I used concerned game-play - just to add that there are a ton of meta-game concepts and ideas which are equally applicable.

GL at the tables, Mark

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Poker And A Balanced Life

Well, my break from the tables until the end of the year can not be a total break from the game - fortunately my business now relies on poker... a double-edged sword to be sure, but mostly this self-enforced break is an opportunity to reflect positively on how poker is just so much better when part of a balanced life.

I actually have loads of other interests in this life which I may not have mentioned in this blog... here is a selection:

- Economics, love the markets, their psychology and the logical yet crazy systems within systems that hold it all together. Consider myself smart enough to know that I'm not smart enough to time the markets... sold out of UK property in 2005 (too early but at least I saw the mass delusion that was the property bubble in time), and sold my last share fund, along with commodities in Jan of this year bringing my savings into cash... the majority is in British Pounds which is a shame, but hey 2 out of 3 aint bad!

- Astronomy, no telescope but enjoy the web stuff and plan to have my own 'scope when I do not live smack in the middle of a major city! Part of my breakfast routine is the 'astronomy picture of the day'... and my screens background an attractive shot of some far-off galaxies. Are we alone? Doubt it though I dont have any 'alien conspriracy theory' in me... would be nice to see proof of some sort that there is life elsewhere before my time here is up - oh, and also plan a holiday in space one day soon (might be 20 years but will one day be possible!)

- Photography, a new one for me, always told I have an eye for a photo but never had the technical knowledge before, now on a course to redress this. Have bought a tripod too... already have a decent enough camera an EOS 350 (think they were named 'Rebel' in the US, though to be honest I do not see what is so rebellious about it). Looking forward to getting more into this one in the coming weeks. Might post some pics here, might not.

- Music, no longer an actiev musician alas but still have a couple of bass guitars including a beautiful Surine (Pic Of My Esprit II here) and my trusty fender Jazz, plan on warming up the old fingers again one day soon, can not be bothered with all that lugging amps around of my youth any more, but would be great to set up a jam / band of some sort on an informal basis. Also love watching live music and have seen more live bands than I care to remember, 100's and 100's ... note to self: must do more of that.

- Writing, seem to spend days on end doing this now, and when I sell the planet Corp for a cool million a few years down the line I'll do it for liesure and extra cash... starting with the sequel to the 'day of the triffids'. Love other peoples books too, IMHO nobody has come close to the gentle irony, ideas and creative yarns of the recently deceased Kurt Vonnegut... if you have never read 'Galapagos', 'The Sirens Of Titan' or 'Cats Cradle' then you have missed out on some special works. If you have then maybe you are part of my Karass all along? (don't even do there, I'm not spiritual!)

- Running, does this count as an interest? Not sure, but after quitting smoking in Feb of this year and getting fit I have now reached the point where I get upset if something prevents me running. Just 5 minutes from our office is the Margrit Island which has a dedicated 'slightly squidgy' running track around it, this is 5.36 KM long which makes it a popular destination... took me 37 years to believe that fitness was a positive, now wish I'd discovered it years before!

Could go on by adding women (or rather a woman!), drinking fine whiskey and wines, travel (big fan!), diving, philosphy and psychology, arguing (in the healthy debate sense) and looking at the world through well humored yet extremely cynical eyes... but hey, want to sum it up with this point...

Poker alone is great... Poker as part of a balanced and varied life is simply fantastic!

GL at the tables, Mark

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cardrunners + Politics + Blogrolls

A 3-barrelled title no less today... but only snippets.

Firstly, I joined Cardrunners... have been considering it for a while and finally took the plunge, bought a whole years membership which 'saved' a few notes. So far so good, they have over 1000 vids already there so plenty to watch. When i come back from my poker break in the new year the plan will involve fewer tables at higher stakes (was fed up with grinding!) so hopefully some useful insights will come from my membership there.

Politics next, not something I talk about often - either in writing or in person. Always been a centre-right 'small government' type, have plenty of views on individual 'issues' - but not overtly party political. While I never voted for Tony Blair he was not all that bad a PM... bit slimy perhaps - but hey, the UK did ok. Now that has changed, for the first time since they booted Thatcher I actually feel 'angry' in a political sense... and embarrassed too - in an abstract 'international pride' sense of the word.

The reason is a megolomaniac buffoon called Brown, who is bankrupting the UK even as he spins himself as a 'saviour'... the man who built-up the countries defecit through the good years is now gambling with the future of generations to come in order to save his own credibility.

Will not go on at length here for now - after all, this is primarily a poker blog - however just to mention to my readers around the world that when Gordon Brown speaks the population of the UK cringe... he only represents the views of a tiny tiny minority and will be gone as soon as we can get an election!

Phew they all say (glad thats over!).

Anyway, blogrolls... time rolls on and blogs come and go... time then for an intermittent call for anyone who wants to be added to my 'blogs of distinction' list... the only criteria is an interesting blog with some poker content. Drop me a comment and we'll see what we can do!

GL at the tables, Mark

Friday, December 12, 2008

The DON Magnifying Glass - Part #1 - The Poker Economy On Crack!

Well, a bit of a convoluted title - but hopefully this post will give you something to think about, the Double or Nothing SNGs on Stars have only been around a few months, they have been immensely popular - and just when you thought it was time to grind them for a living *pop* the profits disappear... the question is why?? This is actually the first of 2 posts on this topic... later I will look again through the magnifying glass and show how and why in-game errors are exaggerated in the DON games.

To my mind these have shown us a fast motion version of how the wider poker economy and poker games work. Take the normal SNGs by comparision... when the UIGEA first came around every grinder and his dog found themselves on Stars. The forums at the time proclaimed that this form of poker was dead, since everyone was a grinder and no fish - my view is that the games did suddenly get more difficult. Then over the next year or so some grinders moved up, some gave up, some went broke, some switched to MTTs, cash or found other sites to play for more profits... and the balance returned, a balance that enabled those who studied the game and worked on their leaks and the maths to make a profit once again.

Now we see the same thing happening with the Double or nothings much faster... in the space of a few months these have gone from being almost literally ATMs to the point where you have 8 regs all push-folding close to correctly at BB250! What happened??

The short answer is that word got around, strategy got discussed and enough people who at least vaugely knew what they were doing started playing 12, 18 or even 24 tables to make them less profitable for the recreationally based grinder who was able to make a profit by simply refusing to do anything stupid.

They reached the same point that the Stars SNGs reached 6 months after the UIGEA within 3 months... and IMO will come out of the other end of the process - by reaching an equlibirium - faster too.

Those players like me who do not have the time to play (or the inclination until Jan 1st!!) will step out, some of those grinders who moved over from the 'normal' SNGs will realise that with 2 less grinders per game the normal SNGs are now a more profitable use of their time... those who were able to make a profit only because they make slightly less errors than the fish will find themselves unprofitable against more thinking players and so on.

In other words over the coming month or so the ratio will switch back so that the games are profitable again - they will never be as profitable as when they were new, too many 'potential grinders' will be keeping an eye on the tables (or at least the forums) for that... the big errors will not be make quite so often, since selfish people like me have drawn up strategy guides... and so on.

I went through these examples in terms of games... there is a lot of inertia between sites (especially in the US where moving money around is that much more difficult) but this happens on a site level too - this is one reason I believe that we will see a new leader replacing Stars within 5 years... we will see.

GL at the tables, Mark

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Couple Of Plan3t Gong Plugs!

Couple more sites to plug today... as usual these are just projects in the poker world that I feel are worthy of a plug - Plan3t Gong does not accept paid posts or anything like that - so don't ask!

First up today is a new forum created by Scott from the 'Ace Filled Dreams' blog - this is named 'Tilted Dreams' and has several categories up already for poker discussion... Scott is trying to create his own friendly but useful poker community - so why not sign-up and be one of the first to get this going!

Tilted Dreams Forum

Second is a link to the blog / site of a fellow poker affiliate - a gentleman by the name of Kevin from Canada. While we do not work directly together on any projects he is an active member of the affiliate forums and has some great affiliate sites running. A bunch of affiliate tips and information and his blog can be found via the link below:

Poker Affiliate

Got something worth plugging? Let me know!

GL at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Guest Pro Article: Analysing SNG Hands, By Carl 'The Dean' Sampson

** Very pleased to have a top quality SNG article from online pro and prolific writer Carl Sampson today - this one looks at some early game situations in SNGs and is thus, spot on with the philosophy of Plan3t Gong - giving readers something to think about **

In this article I will be taking a look at several hands that I have played recently in SNG’s and looking at the philosophy of how to play these hands at various stages of the competition. I believe that this is a far better way to learn than merely looking at a hand and then telling someone how to play it.


Blinds: 10-20

Your Stack: 1470

Situation: 10 handed SNG (top 3 get paid)

Hand: 6h-6d UTG

In a full table situation like this very early in the tournament then folding is clearly the correct play. I see many players limp in with hands like this trying to hit a set and double through very quickly. They reason that the almost trivial T20 in tournament chips that they are expending means very little when compared to the possibility of actually doubling through.

On the surface there doesn’t seem too much wrong with this line of play but what it does reveal is a faulty understanding of the strategic nature of SNG’s. The fact is that when a player open limps like this with a hand like pocket sixes then they will more than likely open limp with other hands as well from all sorts of positions merely because it is cheap and the hand is speculative.

The primary strategic reason why you should play tightly during the early stages of an SNG is to do with the fact that you actually gain equity by folding. This statement may sound odd and it probably does sound odd and especially to cash game players. But your equity in an SNG will increase with each player that gets eliminated.

Open limping with the pocket sixes is not a huge error but don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is the only type of hand that you will ever make this play with because if you are open limping with sixes then you may be doing so with suited connectors and other types of hands. One factor that you need to consider is that chips equals time in an SNG and the chips that you preserve now will not only increase your overall equity but also create more time for you to see a couple of extra hands during the high blind phase of the tournament.

Having extra chips during the high blind stages will also give you more fold equity as well as you will be making your moves with a bigger stack and stealing the blinds when they are far more meaningful.

Hand 2:

Blinds: 200-400

Your stack: 1500

Situation: Four handed play (top three get paid)

Hand: 7c-4h on the button

The UTG player folds and you are on the button with what is essentially a junk hand. In this situation then it would be a mistake to even look at your hand. You have less than 4BB in your stack and you need to make a move now while you still have a stack that is big enough to create fold equity.

Many players would fold this hand looking to get one of the other players involved in a big confrontation so they can slip into a money placing without much trouble. Of course, one of the dynamics that I must also mention here is the size of the other stacks. If there is another stack that is comparable in size to yours then it changes the dynamic somewhat.

Bu even then it is usually a mistake to go into your shell here as you stack is large enough to exploit bubble passivity. With the blinds at 200-400 then a successful blind steal represents an increase in your stack of a colossal 40%. But as I have just said, if you have another player who is almost down to the felt with a stack of say T500 then you have a reason to fold if doing so will not only increase the pressure on them but will also increase your chances of making the money.

Quite often when getting down to the latter stages of an SNG, carefully selecting your targets can make the difference between cashing and not cashing. For example, your level of fold equity in this four handed situation will vary wildly depending on your stack size and the stack size of the players who you are attacking and specifically the big blind.

If you have a T1500 stack and you are attacking the big blind of a player who has T7000 in chips then expect to get called with a much greater frequency than you would against a player who has T4000. The big stack can afford to call and put you all-in and should they win that confrontation then they automatically make the money.

Also it pays to remember that small stacks are also likely to call you as well because they instinctively know that should they call and win that they too would also be in the money and also that they cannot afford to sit back and be blinded away. Therefore the best size stack to attack in bubble situations if you have the option to be able to choose are the intermediate stacks as they have the stack to not only sit and wait for a while but can also be seriously hurt by getting involved in a confrontation with you.

Carl “The Dean” Sampson is sponsored by Cake Poker and can be seen at


Monday, December 08, 2008

Is Online Poker Becoming Nastier? + (Yet Another) Busy Week Ahead!

Here is a question that has been popping into mind regularly over recent months. Is the chat that accompanies online poker games more hostile, patronising of those with less experience and, on occasion, downright nasty than before?

My perception is yes, at least on stars - moderation notwithstanding I am really starting to get the impression that an average fish making an average fishes error is now far more likely to be given a nasty time than a couple of years ago. Sure, it happens on Titan and some of the other sites too - but noticably more so on Stars and Tilt.

Anyway - my opinion on those who patronise or otherwise insult fish is well documented in many posts here. Smart players realise instinctively that keeping the fish happy is good for the bankroll - those who think that they are smart but are actually not are the ones who give fish a hard time!

Going to force myself to have the most productive week possible this week, really planning on breaking some records... watch this space for more announcements soon...

BTW - I am still looking for a Polish translator, ideal candidate would be a smart and poker-aware student, would like to have 100 pages on SNG Planet in Polish in a 2 to 3 month timeframe (price negotible but no agencies need apply)... just drop me a comment with your contact details - I will not publish them publically!

GL at the tables, Mark

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Poker And Productivity - The Pendulum Swings

Listened to 2 great internet Radio shows last week aimed at Poker Affiliates. One of them featured a fellow affiliate by the name of Giorgio - from the Netherlands. Do not know him personally though we have IMed once or twice... anyway Giorgio said something that has been gnawing away at me all week as a guest on the show.

Can not recall the exact words used but the gyst was that playing poker was the biggest enemy of the poker affiliate... and in many cases the difference between success and failure.

You know what, he hit the nail on the head.

And that is not all either. I have found myself recently using poker as a 'gap filler' in life instead of the enjoyable pursuit that it once was...

All in all it is time for a break, just a shorty - for the rest of 2008. During this break I'll focus on many of the tasks promised to myself (and readers in some cases!) recently and get a few more small sites up and running so they will add to the bottom line in 2009.

If nothing else I am a man on actions... so this morning I went through the poker sites and withdrew my last $3k or so that is used as my 'float'. The best thing of all is that I stop on a (minor!) high - having taken 2nd of 400-odd in the last tourney I played (shame it was only a $3 entry but hey!!)

Anyway, I'll still be blogging - have far too much to say on far too many subjects (and according to stats too many loyal readers!) to stop now.

GL at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Business Update Time!

That time of the month for a blog update on my ever growing affiliate business. A great month in November... more new players than ever before + a strong showing from the software side too. If that sounds familiar then, yes, each month is seeing growth - not as fast as I'd like, but then I am far too driven to be so easily satisfied!

But numbers is not what I am writing to share. It is a quick look back at some of the November's highlights and then a look forward to this month - will save the wider 2009 plans for a little later in the month.

So: Nov Highlights...

- Managed to get the new 'Comedy Of Errors' out right at the end of Oct, a highlight for me was that feedback has been great on the new version, appreciate all those who took the time to write (can be a 'lonely' in the sense of little feedback one way or another task being a writer sometimes!)

- The meta game section of SNG Planet is out, this is just the start plan on adding 1 article per week for the next 12 weeks or so.

- Customised banners + international navigation sorted also for SNG Planet, looking great too. We also rolled out the banners to Omaha Planet (more to go!)

- Poker Bonusz Klub, our Hungarian portal had a mini-makeover, loads still to do to get this one looking professional... however at least the orange backgrounds which made the text hard to read are gone.

- We kicked off some more translations, Comedy of Errors is on its way in Russian, and after losing our Romanian translator we are now working with another one and hope to have the translation done by the end of the year (so Jan by the time it is up on the site / checked etc)

- Finally, we have a template that will be used for new sites... this ties in with plans for next year more than anything else. Erika created a template which looks fantastic, will try it with the Cereus site to be launched next week.

So, that was all backwards - we have been working hard as ever! Just a couple of quick bullets on what to expect from your work-o-holic host during December.

- Roooooooooms, we have got a little behind with keeping up with the new software, bonuses and network changes for our rooms across a couple of sites. PokerRoom are out (no affiliate scheme - looking to replace with Bwin if they return my mail fast, otherwise another ongame skin who are more responsive!), UB / AP have finally merged into Cereus so loads of updates there (todays task actually!), Mansion are out (moved to iPoker) to be replaced with Cake and I still need to get to Red Poker for the Russian market and Unibet for the Hungarian.... sigh, so much to do. Plan on covering Everest and PKR by the end of the month too!

- Cereus Site, just a mini-site using the new template, will be 10 or so pages specialised in UB / AP traffic. Already written histories of the scandals etc. Will finish the writing this week and hope to have it up early next week.

- Omaha Planet, this one is becoming a chip on my shoulder, almost put it up for sale this week and have now decided not to (am open to the right offer though!!). So much potential with a hugely popular (and growing) game... just not sure where to take this site - direction-wise. After the rooms and Cereus project I plan to focus on this one, at the very least we need to add a weekly article + start a 'blog', need to have a proper 'brainstorm'.

- Reusable Room Reviews, this was referred to as a 'mystery project' previously, intend to offer reviews as both PLR and unique (respun) content from next week... anticipate 1 day a week on this project for the next couple of months. Will announce here when ready.

- Link Focus, finally for December... going to focus on links, exchanging with quality sites, writing some articles to get backlinks etc etc

So the conclusion is.... best stop writing this blog and get on with it Mark!

GL at the tables, Mark

Monday, December 01, 2008

Frustrating Weekend At The Tables + Showing

Very frustrating weekend of poker... the old 2 steps forward 3 steps back routine. Only managed to regain some lost bankroll (well, a little!) at the last minute when no less than 2 players decided that it was a good time to stack off on an A-8-8-6-10 board with 8's full of 6's in 25c / 50c PLO... and fortunately I had the top full. Might sound good but only lessened the damage!!

So, on to more cheerful subjects.

Noticed a lot of 'showing' this weekend, tons of it in fact. Maybe it was my heightened sensitivity to it after thinking over the why's and wherefores... or maybe there really was more.

Some of it was just absurd. Imagine a double or nothing SNG with a really bad big stack, the kind who folds 2 orbits then decides to double up the smally with ace-rag (euuuchhh). Now shoves and shows kings. Why? Does he not realise that his stack is the important factor? That the cards are almost meaningless once a couple of micro-stacks have folded? Why show us that you do not understand this?

Anyway, I find the showers frustrating and funny in equal measure... so here is my they think / you think tounge-in-cheek guide to some common showing situations.

BB=30 in a deep stacked MTT... folds around to the big blind (he gets a walk) who shows you that he had 9/4 off.

He Thinks: Haahaaha - that showed them what a bunch of fools they were when I had nothing at all.

You Think: Not very experienced, better steal his blind every orbit from now on until he gets p1ssed off an plays back with A6 off in about an hours time... at which point we bust him with AK.

BB=50, A multi-way pot has become heads-up by the rivered 10... your opponent bets big while 1st to act with a board of A-3-Q-7-10 with no flushes available. You pause and fold your A-J sooted... only to see your opponent show you K-J for the nuts.

He Thinks: I outplayed him there, and wanted to show that I am not a bluffer so that my raises get more respect on future hands.

You Think: Humm, limped KJo from early position, called a 4bb raise out of position before the flop, and a 3/4ths pot raise on the flop. Overbet the pot when he hit on the river. This idiot overvalues big cards, is not aware of position and has no idea about the relationship between the chances of making his hand and the size of the bet he should call.

BB=100, you raise and get 3-bet by an extra-aggressive opponent with position on you for the 6th time in the last hour... you fold your small pair and he shows you aces.

He Thinks: The guy thinks I am 3-betting him light, so I will show the aces to let him know that I'm not bluffing.

You Think: Looks like conclusive proof that the last five 3-bets were with air or at the very least nothing strong.... look forward to 4 betting him next time!

Exaggerations for sure, but not as far from the truth as you might think!!

GL at those tables, Mark

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Meta-Game Section At SNG Planet

Rust, so they say, never sleeps - and neither do Mark and Erika in a bid to make SNG Planet the best (or something equally cheesy anyway).

A quick post to say we started a new section today - called 'Meta-Game'. The idea is to move away from the details of the SNGs, MTTs and Satellites we have been focused on, and look at the wider game.

There are already a bunch of new articles, and plently more to follow covering Poker Psychology, Personal Poker Development and Becoming A Pro... your feedback of course more than welcome.

New Poker Meta-Game Section

GL Those Tables, Mark

Online Poker In 2013 + ECOOP Main Event Freeroll

Reading the lastest in John Maudlin's newsletters this morning. These concern finance, economics and investing. While I rarely agree with him 100% (a little too right-wing for my right-wing tastes!), the letters are always thought-provoking and so make a great read (just like Plan3t gong I hear you all say?!?).

One of the topics of the latest letter was the increasing pace of paradigm shifts. The fact that new technology is appearing (and changing our lives) faster than ever before - yet people still look at the future in terms of projecting current trends outwards and adding a few 'bells and whistles'.

Could draw a parallel with 'The Black Swan' here - everyone knows that things keep coming along that totally change the way we work / communicate / enjoy liesure time etc, yet instead of accounting for the 'inevitable changes' and admitting that we do not know exactly what the next big change will be... we simply bumble along assuming that things will be pretty much the same but faster / prettier / more life-like (or whatever).

So, on to poker in 2013.

Well, I'm not going to stick my neck out and make any big bold predictions about holographic poker client or avatars which express realistic emotions. Instead I want to ask some questions.

- Are you assuming that things will be similar to now, only better? (computers are getting faster, people are being untied from their desks - think about how many laptops now compared to 5 years ago... will all of our computing be mobile in 2013? What about innovations with poker software, could you have predicted PKR??)

- Are you assuming that Stars dominance of the market will continue indefinitely? (Full Tilt did not exist in 2003, Titan was a baby and PKR was not even a twinkle in a designers eye! Will it be one of the current contenders or a brand new site at number #1?)

- And that no-limit holdem will be the game of choice in 2013? (in 2003 the main game was Limit Holdem after all!)

- That the US will still be the dominant market / country of the best players? (They had several years head start so far but there is no practical reason why Asians, Europeans, Russians, South Americans or any others can not surpass them - and soon)

- That rakeback will still exist? (assuming that every room eventually offers such similarly valued player incentives - effectively nullifying the advantage of this at some point down the line)

- That bots will outwhit the software and make the lower-limit grinders an extinct species? (if this came to pass would we need to play against opponents who had been 'certified' as Human beings?)

Anyway, just throwing some ideas out there really - would be great to see your thoughts on this subject!

*** A Quick Note For Non-US Readers ***

The ECOOP3 is now underway... actually tried to qualify for event #1 but was out close to the bubble (the satellite has an overlay (free money!) of alomost $2,000 too!).

This ECOOP has a guaranteed prize pool of more than $4 million, and of course the infamous Titan fish all over the tables. The main reason for this note was a chat with my Titan affiliate manager Chris yesterday... he has offered an extra incentive of a qualifier ticket for the ECOOP main event on Dec 7th (thats a $1000 entry tournament) for players signing up with my bonus code - SNGPLANET on top of the extra bonus (standard = $250, I can offer 100% to $500 + $20 in free cash) already available.

This token comes in the form of a freeroll entry in which the top 5 players all get the $1000 main event tickets - and is of course in addition to the new player and new depositor freerolls.

For those who have not checked out Titan for themselves we highly recommend this site as one of the fishiest (and thus most profitable) around.

Click Here Now To Check Out Titan For Yourself - Rememeber Bonus Code SNGPLANET for the massively improved bonus package!

Gl at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cereus Finally Launch + Advance Tickets

Guess readers have noticed that the '+' sign keeps making an appearance in my blog titles recently... thought this one up as a way to add colour to the poker stories here, after all it can be a bit of a dry subject at times!

Feel that this reflects the fact that poker is actually a whole lot more enjoyable when part of a balanced lifestyle...

Anyway - Cereus.

Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker finally pool their players, and with a somewhat mixed reaction... my personal view is that this is an excellent turn of events and allows the potential for a US Network which could even mount a challenge to Tilt for 2nd place at some point along the road (maybe by 2010? Stars being a little too far off for now IMO). Competition = great for the industry and hopefully this will trigger innovations from the Cake Network too.

The haters have their last chance to rattle on about ethics and so on, which is nice. I maintain my stance on this which is the fact that these very same people think that millions of children dying every year from easily preventable disease in Africa is just "one of those things", yet feel that someone playing on / affiliating for UB is the devil incarnate... in other words some pespective is required.

Anyway, those guys will have a week or two to rattle on once more before it all dies down, so up to them!

Funny thought, according to available industry statistics something like half the players who were involved in online poker when the UB scandal broke will not even be playing any more... either bored or bust.

My view is that there is only one question to ask from a business perspective - is the site currently safe for players (relative to the other online poker sites) ? For me the answer is a clear yes... from here the argument is a moot point.

Vested interest notice: I have a nifty little domain on this subject which is in the queue for development just as soon as the psychology section of SNG Planet is completed.


Bought some concert tickets yesterday, for the 23rd June 2009 - a personal record for the longest in advance I have ever bought tickets, and its only a band I sort of like...

There is one band that, for reasons unknown, are adored by Hungarians - they were big enough in their native UK, popular in the US and had a following worldwide... but here they are on a different level. Fan clubs hold regular nights all over Budapest playing their music and videos. Tours which slowly sell elsewhere are sold out in 3 days flat here, even in the biggest stadium around... I'm talking about a band with some instantly recognisable songs, many of us will happily tap a foot along to their tunes... yep of all bands to be obsessed with, the Hungarians love Depeche Mode!

So, we got the tickets... should be, erm, fun!

Gl at the tables, Mark

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quiet Weekend Poker-Wise + Poker Graphics

Played a couple of tournaments over at Titan last night, was only half motivated to be honest and got exactly what I deserved... nothing! (well, ok a couple of small cashes, but minus at the end of the day). Tiredness from a long day / night Friday was no excuse for the surf / drink / half-heartedly play routine - ah well, not even the greats can win every time!

Seems the poker world is busy launching new ventures at the moment... so another interesting link today (no commercial interest myself etc). This one is the brain-child of Jason - aka the Good Karma Kid - who I was involved with in the poker strategy forums project for a while. The site supplies high quality poker photos and graphics and is aimed at bloggers and webmasters - I have had a look and the site looks great... it is in 'beta / soft launch' mode at the moment... so check it out before the competition does.

Poker Pics

Back to my own projects, have been doing a bad job of completing the poker psychology section of SNG Planet due to a list of 1,000,001 other things to do... promise to get to it first thing Monday morning!!

Gl at the tables, Mark

Friday, November 21, 2008

3 Of Of 100 Ain't Bad + Translators Required!

Like the number 12 bus on a foggy morning, it seems things come in 3's!

A site called Fusion Poker run by a prominent member of the poker affiliate community by the name of Randy has compiled a comprehensive list of worthy poker sites - link below (and it is recommended reading as well as excellent linkbait!!)

100 Poker Sites You Should Check Out

Some old favourites (and actually a couple of past-it dogs!) feature in this list - and I am included 3 times for my own sites and no less than 5 more sites I have written for (a few extensively) are there too... got to be good.

My inclusions are - Melted Felt (my satire poker news blog), SNG Planet (my biggest site) and Plan3t Gong (right here!).

Thanks to Randy and Fusion poker for the accolades - always nice to be noticed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Can you translate??

Doing a piece of research today on the potential size and scope of various poker markets... plan is to get a decent schedule for next years translations.

Unfortunately we lost our Romanian transator at the half way stage... with just 50 of the 100 articles completed, it is also getting towards the time for the next language to begin - have decided to go with Polish next... big country with the potential to become a major European player in the years to come.

So. If you would be willing to transate 100 poker articles into Polish or 50 into Romanian (potentially ongoing for both) at a reasonable rate then drop me a comment with your e-mail address and details on pricing (average 850 words per article). I am aiming this at poker enthusiasts with good language skills - no need for the pro transation agencies to quote me 5 times the cost of getting the article written, thanks.

Will be looking for German / Dutch in the new year too!

GL at those tables, Mark

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thinking About Tilt + Photography

Re-reading 'The Poker Mindset' at the moment, an excellent book all round from the writing to the points made. I'd be happy to recommend it as a fine use for your Stars FPPs!

Got to the chapter on Tilt, arguably the 2nd most important area of poker (more on ranking the poker skills later in the week). Hilger and Taylor nicely sum-up the different types of Tilt and its varied effects on your play, moving beyond the familiar 'angry tilt'.

What I find difficult is that they divide the forms of tilt by there very specific effects on peoples play 'tight tilt', 'FPS tilt' and 'loose tilt' etc. Now, this is useful for the purposes of discussion and (imprortantly) identification... but I personally still prefer a catergorisation into 'emotional categories' - largely since the effects on play at an individual level tend to stick to broad patterns - for example:

- State 1: Anger --> Loose / Over-aggressive etc
- State 2: Resigned: Passive, timid play since you are 'sure' that your opponents will outdraw you (can include tight / loose / FPS etc too)
- State 3: Frustrated: Revenge on an idividual opponent, fancy play (again) looseness and all that.

Guess what I am getting at is that the cause of these plays is the emotional state you are in, since it is sometimes hard to objectively judge whether you are playing 'too timidly' (for example) I feel more comfortable assessing my own emotions and dealing that way.

Not to say that Taylor and Hilger are wrong, their chapter is both thought provoking and insightful - instead I wanted to suggest that there is more than one way to look at this subject, and of course provide Plan3t Gong readers with something to think about.

On a completely different subject, going to start a photography course this evening... just a short one (10 weeks) to go through the technical / theoretical side. Apparently my old eyes can spot a good pic at 100 paces - so will be interesting to see whether knowing how to do it 'properly' improves the results in any significant way.

GL at the tables, Mark

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some Satellite Relief - Cooperation Plays

Well well, just as the weekend's poker was looking like a washout... I managed to bag a $535 FTOPS Main event ticket in a $24+$2 Satty on Tilt. Did not play the event, it started at midnight CET and with deep stacks - just too late really. Actually used the Full Tilt T$ system in the end to swap it for $508 in cash... not too bad considering the rake required to play it through on SNGs would have been more - at the lower levels at least.

Anyway, cooperation plays... an important part of any satellite (and similar principles to the double or nothing SNGs too). Yet people get them wrong again and again!

Before getting into the specifics I'd like to address the premise for cooperating at the bubble of a satellite, since 'conventional wisdom' suggests selfish behaviour to be optimal. Cooperating to eliminate a short-stack when you are in the comfort-zone works because, on average, you will have a comfortable stack more often than a short one!

So, in the satty I played yesterday, 24 left and 23 get paid - the distribution was 2 desperate stacks (<3bbs),>20bbs) ... pretty standard right... notice that if this is a 'pretty standard' distribution then you will be in the mid-zone or better 80% of the time...

Will start with a couple of pretty standard hands and then move on to something a smidgen more advanced (initiating the cooperation play from EP).

Hand #1: Someone with 20bbs raises the hijack to 3x - a smally in the Small blind shoves 6bbs, the big blind is a huge stack and (correctly) flat calls... adding his cards to the attempt to knock out the smally. Now the hijack folds - even though he would have stayed in the comfort zone by calling and adding his cards (not even to mention the odds)... this is horrible, what hand raises there that now folds??!?!? ugh! Key factor = risk, with 14BBs left even those times the SB wins the comfort + odds + situation make this the world's easiest call.

Hand #2: This was the last hand, and I was involved with my (by then) shortish stack... again the hijack, but this time with less than one BB 'shoves' (or should that be limps??!), I call - fully expecting the largeish stacks behind me to do the same in order to get some lower / middle cards involved (if nothing else)... doh! both the button and the small blind, both with >20bbs fold and the BB and I check it down, I won the hand and we all got a seat... with other short-stacks around could these guys not see that the risk / reward was soo squewed that at least completing the SB was a must.

Anyway, wanted to mention initiating a cooperation play from EP with a big stack... central to this idea is that the blinds are all-in or damn close to it and that there are other shorties around in case you inadvertantly quadruple up this shorty.

Here with a big (comfortably big) in EP i like to limp, enouraging others to limp along, this can be done with a wide range of hands where you think that the other big stacks understand what you are trying to achieve, when the blind throws in those last chips you can all call, maximising the chances of elimination. Don't leave it to the medium-stacks in later position - they have enough worry about losing chips to make the 'right' play (for them) to give a shorty a walk - and that is bad for everyone!

Again, the circumstances are specific for these plays and will change with whether you think that your opponents understand the dynamic. Selfish behaviour is sometimes optimal (for medium-stacks in particular)... but next time you are comfortable and decide that eliminating the short-stack is 'someone elses problem', just remember that statistically speaking you'll be a big / mid stack far more often than you'll be the shorty... there are simply more of them.

For quite a few articles on satellite strategy you can check out the dedicated section over at SNG Planet via this link Poker Satellites , any suggestions for additions to that section are welcome too.

Anyway, quite a long post for 9am, off to the office now absolutely full up with motivation to have a productive week.

GL at the tables, Mark

Sunday, November 16, 2008

General Update - Lack of DoN SNGs + Good Book

General update today, no big ideas on a lazy Sunday afternoon (got no time for worries...).

Productivity has been great over the last week, Insomnia project is all but completed, my xyzxyz project is about 65% there (will launch that this coming week and tell you about it then!), and I am raring to get going with the articles for the new Psychology section of SNG Planet next week (in fact we hope to have it ready in around a week's time) - as well as getting 1 or 2 more balls rolling... oh and our customised banners are looking great over there too, these will now be rolled out in different languages and sites.

So, with all that work I have been taking it somewhat easy this weekend, out Saturday but with the rest free... judging on past performance I really should be returning to those Double or Nothing SNGs and filling my boots with ready cash.... well, guess what? I keep almost doing just that! Even getting as far as the login screen once or twice. Then, well, just can not do it - so it is back to Titan for some fishy PLO (2nd in a small-field $5+r PLO tourney on Friday in fact, whooo-hooo!). Proves that there is not much of a grinder in me at the end of the day!

And finally, as they say. I have been a fan of Richard Dawkins since 'The Selfish Gene', (wow must have read that one 20 years ago now (scary how time flies!)). Anyway, reading one of his latest at the moment - 'The God Delusion' - and my god it is thought provoking (erm, 'pun' intended). Confident, readable and straightforward style too...

Have mentioned before here that I have zero belief in anything 'supernatural' ranging from gods to ghosts to UFOs, well Dawkins has shown me that my 'distanced respect' for the power of religion -the 'I will never believe but have no problem with anyone who does' routine - is actually a little weak. There are billions of us non-believers in the world... yet the 'hardcore' deity worshippers get their opinions heard first and loudest... particularly in the US, ah well.

Anyway... check out www.richarddawkins.net for more, after all - this is primarily a poker blog!

Gl at the tables, Mark

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Limp / Trap In PLO... Is There No Longer A Place For Post Flop Play??


Pot Limit Omaha is growing in popularity seemingly every week... at the lowest (recreational) levels I am really starting to notice a disturbing phenomnenon - the limpy weak table syndrome.

In full ring games at 50c / $1 and below it seems like every flop is limped, seen by 5, 6 or even 7 players with a variety of holdings ranging from top quality to uncoordinated junk. The game of 'trap me trap you trap me' then starts in earnest with those individuals who flopped great (and with that many players someone will) trying to disguise their monster by checking / calling.

The result is that a beautiful 'big bet' poker game has turned into a calling-stationesque, wait to trap then win a small pot, forget hand selection and 'looking crafty better than winning cash' game, which is quite frankly ugly.

So, a quick reminder that there are tons of good reasons to raise in any poker game... my thought for today for the weak PLO limpers is that you are only ever going to make money from even weaker players (who will stack with horrible holdings). If you ever want to move up then you'd better stop relying on this as your sole source of income!

So, 5 reasons that raising is good in PLO Cash games... feel free to drop me a comment with any more (or just your thoughts!).

1) You have a decent hand with coordinated cards. Think of it this way, if you played a poker game where every bad hand you were dealt was played at 10c / $25c blinds and every good hand was played at 50c / $1 blinds, you'd make a killing (given time). Now think about how you might achieve this situation quite easily....

2) You have position... the button (or slightly before with weakies to act after you) is a fantastic asset in a pot-limit game, the majority money that you win in any poker game comes from when you act last... this is the same message from every pro, winning player, training site instructor et etc. Do these limpers think that everyone just says it because they like how it sounds! Wake up and raise a wider variety of hands on the button folks!

3) Stops The Limpers... This one should have been first in the list, since it is the big one. If pots are not being raised (or even worse only raised by players with A-A-x-x) it allows people to limp with a wide variety of holdings... that is to say that if no raisers are around every pot will be 7 handed and revert to the 'trapping you - trapping me' post-flop play. By raising your better hands you are putting doubt into the minds of those weakies... sure you can beat them after the flop... but you really want to play an unraised pot against 6 opponents??!?

4) Punishes Bad Hand Selection... understanding PLO comes down to the dynamics of draws and redraws. The best hands are those with the potential to flop great hands with great re-draws. Your opponents may play J-J-2-7 with no suits in the hope of that miracle flop, but you do not - since this is the classic 'win a small pot or lose a big one' type hand. Now, think about the profit dynamic against one or two opponents who overvalue uncoordinated hands in a big pot... one in which you hold the nut straight with the nut flush redraw on the turn... lovely!

5) Disguises Those Aces... Nothing is funnier than the old limp-limp-limp-limp-limp-limp- RAISE!!! routine among bad players... they might as well type 'I have aces and will stack-off whether or not I hit the flop' into the chat box. Of course, anyone with Omaha experience is already aware of this and will happily call that raise with a huge variety of hands, often getting the money in on the flop as 70% favourite... so the final reason to raise plenty of hands in PLO is that you would like to raise those aces without giving away half of your hand. Coordinated cards, high pairs with loads of help and double suited (rundowns in particular) are all raising candidates... so raise 'em.

Hope it did not come off as too much of a rant - I actually love PLO and hate to see the wonderful game turn into a limpy 'trapfest' when there is just so much more to it.

GL at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quick Link - 2+2 Article Analysing Stars VIP Club

Just a quick link in the plan3t gong tradition of pointing out worthy stuff now and again.

This one is in the November edition of the 2+2 monthly magazine and is a frighteningly good in-depth analysis of the Poker Stars VIP club....




Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Poker + New Income Streams

A quiet weekend of poker, very happy with my disciline to be honest -a had a new project on the boil and so worked instead... managing a few small late night tournaments only.

Starting positively - a 5th in a $15 MTT on UB prevented this weekend being a wash-out, though to be honest it only really cut my losses under the $100 mark! Horrible standard of play over there... people getting in with litterally any 2 suited throughout.

The poker highlight was actually in a $20 MTT at Titan... spiked a set early in this one (bb was 30) and managed to get all in against a donk with an overcard (ace) + a gutshot straight draw. He hit his straight on the river... taking me down to 300 chips. So I went into grind / steal / ninja mode and a couple of hours later caught up with the average of 4500ish chips... a great result! I actually bubbled in the end (i was the aggressor pre with AK and called by JJ then lost) but hey, not the point... those comebacks matter!

Anyway... a busy week ahead as ever.

The project at the weekend was insomnia - and I really hit it hard, domain + keyword research + 20 quality articles (all researched fully totalling 13,000-odd words) + affiliate setups for the product we are selling (some noise - more on this when we launch) + a design for the site... really intense weekend to be honest and with plently still to do.

Today will see Erika start to build a site, I will then upload all the pages and start the marketing side of things (hopefully Wednesday / Thursday) all being well we will see visitors coming through next week and hopefully a non-poker passive income stream to add to the portfolio.

Will also start another project later this week, and have some new custom banners to begin using on the sites (starting with a Titan / SNG Planet combo). These look really good - actually beating my expectations - and hopefully will generate a few clicks.

So, more on the 2nd project later in the week.

Until then - GL at the tables, Mark

Friday, November 07, 2008

How Good Is Your Pot Limit Omaha + Seal Clubbed

Finished up Stuart Reuben's 'How Good Is Your Pot Limit Omaha'... was reading a few hands at a time before bed so it took a while. An interesting book set in the live arena and in a hand quiz format... one thing that stands out - Reuben is loose and very aggressive!

While it was a pleasure to read and gave insights into lots of marginal situations, the crazy hand selection often lead me to answer 'fold pre / fold flop / fold to reraise on flop / oh - we got to the turn with just $10 left in a $5000 pot? Might As well call then'

Actually scored pretty reasonably with that logic. Another error was the lack of information about stack depth during the early stages of a hand... knowing who is able to make that last bet with fold equity from a long way out is an essential PLO skill. Still, a fun read and interesting to hear the logic of a truly great Omaha player - while it would not make my 'top 10' this is definitely worthy of a read.

Now, strange happenings at Pocket 5's - one of the forums I keep a close eye on for both business and liesure.

It started with long time writer for the site 'Seal' making a seemingly innocuous article about using his wife's account and the benefit of playing 'incognito' (without his well known name and RPT logo).... here it is.... Link this got some of the 'dogs' of P5's barking like crazy and chasing their tails.... Seal then comes in to say it was all made up - simply fiction...

Then a twist.

Someone did some investigating in this tread... Here and found that the facts lined up - that Seal was both cheating (in the going against TOC of Stars sense) and lying to the community there - ugly.

My thoughts are that this was a horrible error of judgement on Seals part... and the fact that P5's did not pull the article is a sign of weak leadership. Multi-accounting gives players a huge edge at the higher limits, where they play as 'unknowns' but have all the information on their opponents.

By not pulling the article / issuing an apology for something which appeared (however light heartedly) to support cheating in this way has tarred the reputation of Pocket 5's by association. With the 'good name' of the brand at risk a strong management team would have pulled the article, issued a short apology and then move on... their failure to do this is (IMO at least) a bigger shame than the mis-judgement of Seal in the first place.

What do you think??

GL at the tables, Mark

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Backup Internet Connection... Maybe Not Just For The Online Pros

The worst thing that can happen in online poker (well, other than getting 2-outered on the final table bubble!) is the 'Lost Connection' message... especially when playing several tournaments or SNGs.

Was down to 4 SNGs in a set last night on Party... when pop... my connection goes for an hour. Thinking about it I had reasonable stacks in 3 of them (was from a set of 6) so my equity was probably a lot more than the $44 including fees lost.

This got me thinking.

How often would this need to happen to make it +ev for me to invest in a 2nd internet connection. $50 a month covers it nicely here in Budapest, and here the lack of competition (only 2 main suppliers) keeps prices relatively high.

Several scenarios could come about - such as disconnecting during an MTT final table - which could easily pay for a whole year in one go... then again, the net is actually pretty reliable here - which means it may not pay for itself at all.

As with many things gambling related - it is all about your attitude to risk.

Does the small chance of a big loss motivate you to insure yourself with regular payments for a backup?

Is this just a hazzard of the game and something we should just take on the chin those rare times it happens?

What about alternatives, those wireless sticks which attach to the mobile phone networks... can they be bought on a pay-per-use basis and used only in emergencies?

Something I'll be thinking about more... how about you??

GL at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Very Last Poker Commandment

Started looking at Reuben And Ciaffone's '10 Commandments of Poker' (there are really 11) back in August... well well - as the mighty Subhumans once put it 'Time Flies But Aeroplanes Crash'.

Anyway... here is a link to the first post


Since then there have been 10 more - each debating a particular commandment. While none are particularly controversial, there is certainly some thought provoking material involved. All the more salient is the fact that the original list was put together before internet poker... yes indeed the 'internet generation' did not invent strategy after all!

So, the final 'Commandment' is number 11... and its a shorty: Vary Your Play

For me this is one of those poker 'givens' that is easily understood, acknowledged by almost everyone and kind of brushed aside in an 'of course!' kind of a way... yet rarely acted upon. Similar to both bankroll management and ideas behind dealing with tilt really, you know it, but do not do it!

The question then becomes why not?

Is it because you feel you do not need to vary your play... perhaps due to the level at which you play or the fact that you can 'ABC' over 12 tables to grind a decent profit?

Is it because you feel that your opponents in the mid-stakes are so bad that it really makes no difference?

Is it because you feel you know how to play each hand so 'optimally' that changing it up, even marginally, would result in an unacceptable loss of profit.

I am sure there are more reasons... the idea (as always) here is to stimulate thoughts rather than spell things out. The next question that people might ask is how to successfully vary play... my answer here is that if you do not yet understand pot control, bet sizing, position, flop texture and all of that great stuff then you probably need to spend some time learning and working on your game at the lower limits... once you understand some of the basics then changing it up once in a while will become second nature.

12th and final post over... whew (though I did promise to link them all from the first one.... when I have the time!)

GL at the tables, Mark

Monday, November 03, 2008

Forwards And Not Back!

Changed my mind about having an October review... great a month as it was, it has passed.

Instead, we can focus on November. Going to be a great month - and in fact has already started reasonably well with a 2nd in a small (300ish) player MTT on Party for $500 (and a couple more from a few DON SNG sessions).

Working at home today while the new office gets a coat of paint and have some big plans for November... here are some of the highlights!

- Diversify: By the end of this month we will have our first non-poker affiliate site, the subject will be insomnia... a facinating and keyword rich subject (not something I suffer from often, in fact I can kip anywhere). Will be great to set up a new income stream though and to test the idea that the skills we learn promoting poker will be more successful in less competative niches.

- Salesify: This week will see us release our own custom banners for use on the main sites... these will be moving (though not too flashy) gifs which include words like 'Omaha Planet Recommends' and our bonus codes, along with some highlights of each site. We have large gaps on all the sites which could be filled with banners.... we will keep it reasonable though, do not want to compromise on the quality.

- Translations: Must chase up the Romanian translation which seems to have stalled at the half-way mark... towards the end of the month I will start a new one too. Also planning to have 'A Comedy Of Errors' in Russian... really feel this is the market of the future.

- Contentify: What use are the tricks and adjustments without the core... the backbone of the sites is and will always be the content, and I have some great stuff in plan (some already written in fact).

- SEOify: Internal linking, backlinks and continual focus on this area - staying still in the poker SEO game is the equivalent of going firmly backwards.

Tell you what, tomorrow I'll knock the '10 commandments' thread on the head, the one started about 100 years ago.

Good Luck At Those Tables, Mark

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Relaxing After A Hectic October + PokerBank's Forum

Wow, what a month, moved house and office and went to the UK and completed the Russian SNG Planet and re-wrote a comedy of errors and broke the record for the most ands in one sentence... and well, did tons of other things too.

Has been an excellent month all round, will do a write-up either tomorrow or Sunday.

In the meantime an announcement! Fellow poker affiliate Greg has started up a forum on his quality strategy site http://www.thepokerbank.com/ . I have signed up to post a few posts + answer some questions- it would be great to see a few plan3t gong readers over there. The PokerBank has some excellent quality articles too - mainly aimed at cash game players.... Greg has also stumped up $100 for the best poster in November contest.

Gl at those tables, Mark

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Comedy Of Errors - The 2nd Edition Is Here!!!

A second post today - and one about a second edition... yes after distributing more than 4000 copies of my SNG Strategy Guide 'A Comedy of Errors' the time finally came to update it, add some new sections, brush up the examples and generally make an all-new version #2.

Though very pleased with the result I'm actually rather relieved it is done, while readers know I am not exactly the 'work-shy' type - this was an addition to a ton of other tasks... and even the 2nd proof read ended up being half a day!!

Enough, the new version has just been sent to those on the SNG Planet News list - I will not send it to those who received it via Planet Gong originally though, since this is going back almost 2-years now, hopefully those still into poker will learn of it soon enough.

Anyone who wants one needs to go via my sign-up on http://www.sitandgoplanet.com/ , we will send out 1 short newsletter each month (even this can be unsubscribed with a click)... so hop on over and grab your copy now - feedback for the original was excellent, and I am actually proud to be offering something that is considered better than many of the expensive 'cl1ck-bank' efforts completely free.

GL at those tables, Mark

Quick Post - The Poker Version Of The Button On My New Microwave!

Extra busy day (again) today, so just a quick post... though hopefully a thought provoking analogy!

We have a new microwave in our lives - a pretty standard white thing with a couple of features added. The other day I made some coffee with my espresso machine and, as is usual, microwaved some milk to go with it... in went the milk, twisted the timer to around 45 seconds and let go - nothing happened.

Now, there are no obvious buttons on this micro, only the twister for the timer looked even vaugely button like... so I pushed it and - bing - the process of milk warming begins. Being a coffee addict the process was repeated several times since.

A couple of days later I'm back in the kitchen, warming a cup of tea which inadvertently went too cool (blame it on concentrating on writing poker articles!). Same process, tea into micro, set the time, push the button...

Only this time Erika laughs at me.


Well, it turns out that the timer dial is not a button. In fact there is no button. All you need to do after setting the timer is to wait a couple of seconds - and the microwave starts all by itself... I was dilligently pressing a non-button all the time.

Of course I laughed at the time. But then it got me thinking, the association between the machine starting and pressing the 'non-button' was pretty firm, after the first time I never questioned it... but are there any similar situations in my (and your!) poker games... times when we are making a play or behaving in a particular way because we have mistakenly associated this with a positive outcome??

To my mind the answer is 'almost certainly'... the issue is how to identify and correct them.

For now I will leave you to ponder this thought - plan to come up with examples when I have a couple less projects close to being completed!

GL at the tables, Mark

Monday, October 27, 2008

General Update - The Secret, Russian And Moving

Another crazy week looking me square in the eyes... should be a fun one though.

We should have the Russian version of SNG Planet finally completed by the end of the week, its almost ready for the checking / proof reading stage and press releases await. I genuinely think this will make a huge difference to our business 2 ot 3 months down the line (time to get some good rankings).

Moving office is scheduled for Friday, the builders are into our old flat tomorrow and plan on being finished by Thursday... Fri is actually the last day for this office (nothing like building a little contingency into a project eh Mark??!?)

I am about 80% through a long-planned re-write of A Comedy Of Errors. Need to find a way of distributing this to the 4000-odd people who have the original, should be able to do it via my mailing list company subscription... well overdue updates and hopefully useful to the readers too.

Finally some more articles written last week are due to go up on the sites - I am planning a brand new 'Poker Psychology' section for SNG Planet too (this will probably take at least a few weeks while getting the material together etc)

So, mentioned The Secret in the title... saw the film over the weekend. Erika has been into this for a while, even to the point of having a 'wishes board' with pics of everything to be manifested. The law of attraction has some merits, while I have issues with the more esoteric side of this ('manifesting' seems like utter boll0x to me)... I can definitely relate to the positive thinking aspects and the imagining of success driving you towards those goals... any readers have any thoughts on this one??

Finally, the weekends poker was my best in ages... netting a final total of $800 towards the Thailand fund (must tot that up, shoud be $2k by now). Far too much to do to be playing poker this week though - which actually feels good... even though I'd like to contine my winning streak immediately life has moved on, life is one long poker game after all - and those tables will be waiting for me next time a gap appears in my busy schedule.

GL at the tables, Mark

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Double Or Nothing Craziness... But Will It Last?

Having some fun with those Double or Nothing SNGs this weekend, they are totally crazy inventions really, played maybe 200 of them at the $10+40c level and have just reached the $500 mark in profits, not bad and testament to opponents almost trying to give away their cash more than any particular skills of mine!

Of course, I have looked the life of a 'SNG Grinder' in the eye before and decided that it was not for me. No reason to change my mind about this... while many see the 'poker pro' lifestyle as some glamorous goal - the reality is that it is a glorified and very lonely data entry job for most who take that path.

My Double or Nothing strategy articles are already up at SNG Planet (click the banner on the right - they are linked from the front page). There is one more concept which, after these 200 games, has really hit home. It was first expanded upon by PxF trainer Inissint and goes by the name of 'necessity'.

Unlike regular SNGs there are many situations in a DoN in which you can turn down a positive expectation push or call... since many others are in worse shape than you. The most common is when you have an average-plus hand with an above average but not huge stack and there are 2 (or more) small stacks at the table. My strategy here is to fold A-Q (for example) where one or more opponents yet to act could put me to the same level of the smallies, I ask myself whether I need those extra chips - or whether the situation is comfortable enough to avoid any extra risk.

Guess you could put this in terms of $ equity... those extra chips are incrementally worth less and less as you go from 'big' to 'very big' stack status.

Neccessity gets you the other way too... you consider a hand marginal, yet profitable, at the 6-person bubble with some shorties left in the game you can pass.... at the 7-person bubble where there is only 1 more short-stack you are forced to act. It was Collin Moshman who estolled the virtues of pushing 'blind' UTG rather than losing your fold equity - a concept which I would advocate when blinding away would trigger opponents to 'wait you out'.

Anyway, Poker Stars is the place to be for Double or Nothings - solid SNG Play should easily see you with a 20% ROI in the lower level games... please don't steal my blinds though! Marketing Code PAWSUB35 when you sign-up and Bonus Code FIRST2008 when you deposit will get you your $50 bonus to start with (100%).

Click Now To Visit Stars And Profit From Double Or Nothing SNGs Today!

Gl at those tables, Mark

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shifting Sands In The Poker Industry

Seem to be some interesting developments in the poker site landscape at the moment. As an affiliate I view these with mixed emotions. On one hand change is something positive and creates opportunities for newer affiliates to fight with the long established guys on a more level playing field... on the other hand it becomes a pain in the a55 re-writing yet another set of reviews every damn week!

So, what has been happening?

The battle is for the podium places - with Stars already a lap ahead we need to look a little further down the ranks to find the interesting battles.

Firstly, William Hill are joining iPoker, along with Mansion Poker (2nd move for Mansion recently). This will give a boost to the iPoker Network in its battle with Party for the 3rd largest poker site spot...

But now rumors are around that Party will be 'merging' with Crypto (where Will Hill were based). In this case 'merging' can be thought of as a desert 'merging' with a smallish bucket of sand... of course, there are issues to sort out here - Crypto survives by offering Rakeback, something which Party (nor iPoker) have nothing to do with... so will the Crypto players move at all?? personally doubt it... they'll end up at Cake or Tilt (or another RB-friendly network),

To make things more interesting still we have Microgaming about to enforce the '13 States' Gaming ban (+ Kentucky) by blocking IP addresses. And after much fanfare the Cereus network of UB and AP is still not with us...

Phew, can not keep up... best go have a nice cup of tea.

GL at the tables, Mark

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Interesting PLO Situation...

Got the internet connection in the new flat yesterday - and celebrated with a nice cup of tea and quick PLO sessions at Party and Titan.

About half an hour in when this one came up, even as I write this post I am not really sure why I played the hand to start with - there were too many aces in it! Really my final decision came down to a read... read on!

So, $25 PLO Full Ring on Party... 3 limpers to me in the c/o with the dubious A-A-A-3 (well, at least the 3 was suited with one of the aces!)... I limp behind. 1 more limp, the SB completes and then the BB pots it for $2.25ish... 1 fold and full stacked player re-pots to $8ish leaving himself $16... folds to me.

Now my reads, the BB was a maniac, potting and repotting with any highish pair, any suited high cards and most connected hands... half of starting hands would be about right.... after his bet he had another $10 behind.

The limp-reraiser seemed tight enough, the normal passive limpy type that seem to spread like fungus through the lower buy-in PLO games paying $$$ to flop the nuts, then slowplaying so badly when they finally hit that they win sweet f/a (sure you get the type).

Now, if he was rational there is no hand he should be folding if I reraise and the BB calls right... by then we have $50-odd in the pot and it costs his last $16 to call, so even KKxx should call knowing I had AAxx... but these guys are not rational, in fact they are horribly weak... in addition I know that he can not have a pair of aces (after all, I have 3 of them!) and that my re-re-pot looks like that hand...

In the actual hand I did re-re-pot virtually all-in, the BB called with some horrible semi-connected junk and the limp re-raiser folded... the pot came my way.

But hang on a minute.

Gave myself a difficult decision here by limping a hand with very few redeeming features, lets have a retrospective look at the odds vs both one and two opponents...

Me: A-A-A-3 single suited (38.59%)
BB: K-10-8-4 single suited (yep, it really was that horiffic!) (27.42%)
Limp / Reraiser: Q-Q-J-9 single suited (we do not know his hand, but this kind of thing is my best guess for the limp + reraise + fold) (33.96%)

So, after the limp-reraiser folded.

Me: 56.81%
BB: 43.19%

And in the final scenario that the BB folds and the Limper calls.

Me: 60.56%
Limper: 39.44%

Well, at the end of the day I am not sure why I initially limped... with all that dead money in the pot it seems that the re-raise all-in was the right move. While we will never know what the limp=reraiser really had this play was horrific - that, dear readers, is todays pause for poker thought.... if you are going to fold getting more than 3/1 pre-flop in PLO then you really should consider another game instead!!

GL at those tables, Mark

Monday, October 20, 2008

Its The Economy, Stupid + Quick General Update

Back in the office for the first time in 2 weeks and getting stuck in to some serious content creation for several of my sites... E is still sorting out unpacking in the new place so tomorrow is the earliest time for uploads.

Next phase of moving will begin shortly - with the builders arriving at our old flat to fix the damp wall and turn the place into our office... we have 10 days left here but no biggy if not completed - we can always work at home.

Thinking about it this is going to be one extra busy week - hope to have the Russian version of SNG Planet ready to go shortly and that will involve lots more of the dreaded cut-and-paste + dreamweaver page creating... ugh.

Anyway, the economy thing... do not usually mention it here, but I am fascinated with Economics and particularly the psychology of the markets. The great wealth / debt delusion of the past few years is now over and the effects far reaching - so what does this mean for online poker??

Will try and do this subject justice in a future post... until then a quick quote from John Maudlin's latest letter (recommend the letters BTW - While I do not always agree with the detail of his views, Maudlin sends some fantastic thought provoking material each week and presents it clearly as well!).

From the newsletter of Oct 18th.

We are becoming a morose nation, staying at home to drown our sorrows - even bar sales are down, almost 1%. While I am sure this audience is doing its part to help out the bartenders of the world, our clients are not.

Sounds good to me, lets hope that some of those stay-at-homes are playing poker instead.

GL at the tables, Mark

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reuben And Ciaffone's '10 Commandments Of Poker'... Almost There - Here Is Number 10!

Slowly but surely getting through Reuben and Ciaffone's 10 commandments of big bet poker over the last couple of months... there are actually 11 of them. Here is a link to the original post - keep meaning to link back to the posts which take each one in turn... for now you can see them listed in the blog archive on the right hand side menu.


So, on with number 10... again the beauty of this 'commandment' is the dual goals of being utterly simple - yet having far reaching ramifications. If you do not think that it applies to you then please at least take a quiet minute to reconsider.

Commandment 10: Don't Play In A Game Unless You Figure To Win

Smart one eh?

The first thought that this one brings for me is that you need to be able to quantify your edge... that is to say that you should be able to clearly state where your profit will come from and have an estimate of the amount (over time) and the expected variance... this does not need to be complicated, at the low to mid levels your profit will come from opponents making mistakes, it is thus up to you to identify which players make the most / biggest errors and profit from them.

My second thought is how much this refers to discipline. For example, you join a game and the fish leave - but you can not be bothered to move. You get bored or tired and your edge disappears would be another example of the same concept. Keep asking whether you figure to win, if the answer is uncertain then time to take a short break to re-assess.

Finally, to me this relates to table selection. Jumping in to the first table with a spare seat is a horrible way to play poker - you are giving up a potentially huge edge by not taking the time to seek out the most profitable opponents for your style... will not go into the details of table selection here but really!

Anyway - as usual at Plan3t Gong the idea is to provoke thinking for readers rather than lecture!! Will leave it here and hope that many of you will bring your own ideas to the 10 commandments.

GL at the tables, Mark

Quick PS: The Double or Nothing SNG Articles mentioned in a previous post are now up over at SNG planet.... Stars Double or Nothing SNGs Guide

Friday, October 17, 2008

Link: Best Of Jennifear... SNG Strategy

Move starts today so just a quick link while I enjoy my morning coffee.

This is to a P5's blog post by SNG Coach and strategy expert Jennifear... contains many further links to threads / articles by Jen - many of which make excellent reading (actually almost mandatory reading for those starting their SNG careers!).

Jennifear Vol 1


Right, time to warm up those fingers, plenty of furniture to put together today.

GL at the tables, Mark

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Move Underway + Tired Tournaments + Overcalls

It was inevitable - any move of house involves a trip to Ikea... and the flat we move into at the weekend requiresa bed.... Now, a bed is an important thing right? After all I'll be spending somewhere between 1/4th and 1/3rd of my time there! Well I bought a very nice one - a set in fact with matching cabinets. - Now all I need to do is forget about the 600 quid ($1200) it cost me (its an investment Mark, an investment, investment, ment, nt, t)...

Enough of that, the move is underway and I have some poker thinking to do.

Played a couple more tournaments last night, best finish was 12th of 300-odd in an $11 on Party for just short of $50 (only cash but paid for the others). Some ugly beats and all that usual stuff will not be mentioned here... what I will bring up was the 2 things that stuck me:

1) Playing tired... up at 6:30 am, long drive to London, flight then sorting everything out had left me tired, and to be honest not in the mood to make poker decisions. Yet I played anyway. Bad idea right, and something which I am very aware of too. So, no excuses here - just no repeats. From here on in I'll be more disciplined about playing when tired / not in the mood - thats a promise firstly to myself and secondly to the rest of the world!

2) Overcalls with big hands... I mean legitimate ones here. A common situation came up yesterday. I isolated a small stack's all in by shoving my 10 BBs with 9-9, and I was right too - he showed K-6 or something horrible. Yet the BB in this hand overcalled with QQ... poof - out! Now, this is disappointing and felt 'unlucky', but hey - there is always a chance of this and another time it may be me with the QQ in this situation. My thought here is to work out the card distributions and chances of this happening and commit the main numbers for 2-3-4-5 etc opponents to memory - after all, any useful info that gives us an edge is worth having... if only things were not so busy at the moment I'd do it now....

GL at the tables, Mark

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back In Budapest - And Hwang's PLO Book

My 3rd favourite game is ruined... yes after poker and a 'free form' driving-game called 'Sheep!' I have always delighted in telling anyone who will listen that my airport luggage will be first out onto the conveyer belt - no question about it, not a shred of doubt in my mind... I'll be number #1.

Of course it never actually happened, causing wry smiles and complaints of the luggage game being rigged by yours truly with reminders of how I once got a 3rd place - which must count for something, right??

Until Today.

Today we touched down in Budapest after a 10 day visit to my home country (the UK) and as usual I started to assure Erika that we'd soon be on our way as our cases were bound to come out first... and you know what? They bloody well did, mine first too.

Well, apart from making a mental note to get out more that'll be the end of that game then. New 3rd favourite game required for Mark please....

Anyway, back to poker. I finished my first read of Jeff Hwang's PLO book - the 'speed read'. Got to say that the recommendation from a while back was a very good one, this is one excellent poker book... my first comment is that it really does show that Hwang is a writer (financial journalist I believe) by trade. Good quality writing alone is not enough in the poker sphere. When it is combined with logical, thought provoking and usable strategy content you have a real winning combo.

From my first impression it is the structure of the book which impresses. For example instead of the usual 'choose starting hands which work together' we get a reductionist pattern... so:

- What hands win PLO Pots?
(answer = very strong hands, usually the nuts)
- So, what are the qualities of starting hands which can go on to produce nut hands?
(answer = various, to be broken into straight, flush and full house potential)
- Within each category which are premium, speculative and trash... and so on

Will save my specific comments and some analysis of whether his strategies work in loose / passive lower level online games for after I read again a little slower. Already started 'Kill Everyone' for a speed-read and (not sure if it was really an appropriate title to read on the plane, but hey!) and have the mathematics of poker and 'how good is your PLO' to come.

Time to get back in the routine of updating PG and Melted Felt too...

GL at the tables, Mark

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Refeshing Week Away From Poker - And A Final Table!

As always my trip to the UK left less time between activities than anticipated... as usual my intentions of keeping everything updated have not been fulfilled - but as it happens my unscheduled week away from the tables has felt great.

The primary reason for this trip was my mothers wedding, which managed to meet and even beat all expectations with the smoothness of events and general happy vibes. Great to catch up with a ton of relatives and family friends not seen in years, best of all was to see mum move forward from what has been a rough few years into a very bright future...

Also managed to catch up with my Dad who made me jealous by taking an apartment in an Art Deco block (I love Art Deco architecture (but not the inside decoration so much)). Some friends in Southsea were also on the visited list... great to see that time has well and truly stood still over there guys and gals!!

Anyway, last night it had all settled down and I was able to play a little poker for the first time in over a week. After coming up 3 buy-ins at 25c / 50c PLO at Party I joined a few multis there and at Titan. Cashed in 2 of them including a 6th place of 500-odd in a $10 rebuy at Titan for almost $600. Always a shame to go out, but the stacks were sooo shallow from 5 tables out (even the chip leaders with <20bbs and the average <10) that it was a great achievement to get that far. Doubt I will have much more time to play this week, at least until Wednesday when back in BP.

This increases the 'Thailand Fund' past the $1k mark, though I will not update the figure yet as this only 'counts' when the money is withdrawn and safely stored away (for new readers I am aiming to save up $5k from poker bonuses - and half(ish) of any winnings - by the end of Jan 2009 in order to fund a few weeks island hopping in Thailand... my favourite country in the world!!)

GL at the tables, Mark