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