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 , 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

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Time Off + Books

Enjoying my trip to the UK, no time for poker really... actually seeing this as a positive - a welcome break from the tables.

Have made a start on the 5 poker books waiting for me when I arrived. Almost through a 'speed read' of 'The Poker Mindset', very interesting read with some thought provoking posts thus far - particularly enjoyed the 'Wooly Thinking' references and the 'Dealing With Downswings' chapter... will go through slower when I get back home (erm, and move flat and office!). Should generate some interesting ideas for psychology posts here.

Off to see some friends further along the south coast of England this evening, then Mum's wedding Saturday.... should be a great visit!

GL at the tables, Mark

Monday, October 06, 2008

Double Or Nothing SNG Strategy + Off To The UK

Edit: Actually wrote them myself in the end! In 2-parts, the first being an introduction and the second a strategy overview... links are below - feedback always welcome, not only do I enjoy disagreements (!), there are actually several ways to skin a double or nothing cat (run, here come the metaphor police!)

Poker Stars Double Or Nothing SNGs Gudie

Double Or Nothing SNG Strategy

A few thoughts on strategy for the 'Double or Nothing' SNGs on Stars today... some good news is that a friend, SNG grinder and previously published writer for SNG Planet is putting together a strategy article on this subject, hope to have it up during this week.

Before my own thoughts, a UK trip starts this afternoon - visiting for my Mothers Wedding next weekend and really looking forward to catching up with friends and family alike. Will endeavour to keep Plan3t Gong updated but do not want to feel tied to this. Do have some Melted Felt entries already in the can, so that one should stay (mostly) daily.

Right, a few random thoughts on the double of nothing sitngoes... well, the bubble at least.

- $ equity... with 6 players left and equal stacks in a $10 game each player has a $ equity of $16.66c, the maximum equity possible is $20... this leaves a very small margin when it comes to risk / reward in 2 situations:

1) Calling pushes. Just don't do it as long as you have fold equity after the hand, you need to be 80%-odd favourite just to break even.

2) Pushing into others with wider calling ranges: This one is equally important, if you push 'correctly' with any-2 and get donk-called by some ace-rag it is you who will suffer (in equity terms)... taking responsibility to assess who calls light is a key factor, you can only control your own behaviour after all.

- $ev Fold is bigger than you think... since there are 6 players at the bubble (5 get paid) the chance of 2 opponents going to war in any single hand is bigger, so take this into account when making a decision. If you have a loose table then folding some marginally +$ev spots may be better in the long run, if the table is tight then take those same spots.

- Stack Sizes are very important at any bubble, here they are critical. If you are small then put the pressure on before you lose your ability to make opponents fold - or they will spot this and wait you out. If you are large then the mid-stacks are the ideal ones to pick on.

- Steal from the regulars... one last thought, if you spot someone 20-tabling then steal from them every chance you get, they are more likely than average to understand ICM and will rarely fight back (and if they do you can safely fold knowing they have a monster!).

Anyway - just a collection of thoughts for now - GL at the tables, Mark

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Intellipoker Avatars Gone?

Baffled, playing Stars a little over the weekend and the lack of Intellipoker icons / avatars hit me... anyone have any ideas what happened?


EDIT (Several Hours Later!)

- Thinking about it, what happened to all those Cashman Brian avatars too? And what about the rash of autumn-2006 usernames along the lines of fck-fisk... where are they now??


Friday, October 03, 2008

A Hand On Plan3t Gong?!??!

Only post the occasional hand here - really prefer to challenge the old brain cells in slightly different ways! Well, last night this hand came up, actually happy with my play - which was to fold!

What I thought was interesting was the critical role that stack sizes play in this decision, and more importantly, how the fact that many opponents are more interested in their cards only and are not taking stack-size dynamics into account affects decision making here...

Anyway, the Party nightly 18k gtd $5o+$5, started with 420ish and are now down to 18 players. I am in the small blind with a stack of XYZ (!) and am dealt AcKc... the blinds are 6000 / 3000 with a smallish ante (200?), here is the action ahead of me:

UTG+1 (average to tight) with around 30,000 chips open shoves.... folds to
C/O (fairly loose but not crazy) with around 80,000 chips who doubles the raise to 60k
Next Button (tight with raises, will limp) with around 110,000 chips shoves over the top...

... so it is me to act in the SB with my lovely AcKc and XYZ chips. Here is my thought process at the time, range for UTG+1 = 66+ A10+ KQ... range for CO is tighter 1010+ AQs+... for the button to see all this action and still shove he needs to beat COs range - I'm giving him AA, KK or AK here with a very small % chance of QQ.

... my AK is well behind this range and potentially in worse shape as aces are somewhat likely to be in the hands of my opponents. On the other hand the odds are great and the winner of this pot will be in great shape going into the final table.

Anyhow, I'm a self-proclaimed nit and folded my hand.... my mid-to-small stack being the main reason.

What I'd like to get readers thinking about here is how small a stack (in terms of blinds) would I need to make this a call? On the other side of the coin would this be a call with a large stack of say 200k or 250k chips... thinking about the chances of knocking out a competitor with a decent stack just in time to own the final table bubble!

Will be pondering this one myself today.

The tournament? 16th, bah... maybe next time.

GL at the tables, Mark

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Poker's Other Gap Concept...

The phrase 'Gap Concept' in poker-speak was coined by David Sklansky to describe the phenominon that you need a better hand to call a raise than to open a pot for a raise yourself in poker tournaments.

For todays 'make you think' piece I'd like to introduce a second poker Gap Concept that most of us experience to some extent.

This is the gap between what you plan to do and what you actually do in the wider sense of the word. Breaking it down into several possibilities all relating to the higher level viewpoint on the game:

- The gap between the hand histories you plan to review and the number that you do.

- The gap between the improvement that joining a training site will give you and watching those vids with half-an eye while playing / surfing.

- The gap between your intention to specialise / grind / build that bankroll and your real bahaviour at the tables which involves taking shots, changing games frequently or even playing 3 different kinds of poker at the same time.

- The gap between your self-belief that Tilt is something that affects 'other people' and the facts of the matter... that you lose a bunch of chips after a bad beat.

- The gap between your intentions when it comes to sound bankroll management and your actual buy-in levels.

- The gap between your assumption that you are skilled just 'unlucky' and the reality at the tables (particularly for those who do not actively try and improve their game through study etc)

Had a few more of these but that should be enough to clarify my point.

Intentions and reality do not always match in the world of poker... what are you going to do about making sure that the reality of your success has come from your initial plan??

GL at the tables, Mark

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Poker Affiliate Business - End Of Month Update September

Another busy month has passed in the poker business - a 'doh!' moment hit me too during September. More on that in a moment, first some highlights from last month.

- Got the Fish-O-Meter launched on SNG Planet, the combo of newsletter, press release and blog posts got 1200ish eyeballs on the new tool on day #1... great result and traffic to the site growing all the time!

- Completed the new 'Mixed Games' strategy section over at Omaha Planet.

- Redesigned the layout of Poker Bonusz Klub (our Hungarian portal) to be a little less orange, needs more de-organing still... trouble is that suggesting this to E is the equivalent of insulting her entire family, friends and pets (past and future). Oh we added a bunch more content here too.

- Great progress with the Russian version of SNG Planet with the translation 80% done now and the pages going up in dreamweaver at the moment (on holiday in the UK from Monday so a small delay to the launch of this one)... also have a solid start to the Romanian translation.

... the rest is just the day-to-day running and organic growth stuff... new content, links and optimisation all takes time.

Ok, the 'doh!' moment.

My calls to action are too polite.
Yes, I'm a Brit (although this is the only site where I write in my native language - the rest are all in that simplified US version of English!!). being a Brit comes with a certain level of politeness... and this was the problem with my calls to action.

For example I write a strategy article which would work well with Pokerstars offerings. As an affiliate I am hoping that a percentage of readers click the banner at the bottom of the article. Now, the request was there in many of the articles, but in such a shy way - 'PokerStars is the largest online poker site and offers a great selection of games at a variety of buy-in levels' kind of thing.

What is required is not this British politeness but something direct.

My challenge is to be direct without being spammy or over-commercial sounding (after all the sites are build on the premise of quality). So, we have a project underway at the moment to review and improve the calls to action (in addition to enouraging people to visit certain articles).

The calls to action try to balance a 'do this!' with a reason which does not insult any readers intelligence.... so:

Click the banner below now to find out just what makes Poker Stars the most popular online poker room by a huge margin... use Marketing / Bonus code PAWSUB35 / FIRST2008 to claim your free 100% match bonus to $50.

Some start with the bonus and then say 'check them out for yourself now by... ' and still others focus on a specific area of the site in question.

I have been too polite with my calls to action - time to shake off this Britishness and be far more forward!!

GL at the tables, Mark