Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pot Limit Omaha Ramblings, Erm, I Mean Strategy

Been a while since any Pot Limit Omaha featured on Plan3t Gong... some small ammends today.

Still love this game, as frustrating as it can be.... wrote an article on playing top 2 the other day which will go up next week on Omaha Planet. Basic premise is that this hand is dangerous, especially on drawy boards - yet can be really very profitable against an opponent that you know is overplaying aces (and if you play PLO for a while these opponents become very easy to spot (and stack!!)).

All good - except the poker gods decided it would be funny to take 3 buy-ins from me in exactly the aces vs 2-pair hands over the last week.... admittedly one of them had a nut flush draw to go with his aces so not exactly a suckout. To balance this 80% of the money went in on the turn in the last one! No bad beat stories here... just laughing at the irony of completing the article only to have it come back and bite you!

When I am very tired at the end of a day there it can be enjoyable to become my alter-alter-ego 'The Phantom Min-Raiser of Old London Town' at the Omaha Tables. While min-raising every hand pre-flop and min-betting every flop is primarily for fun only, it actually does have an educational aspect too (yes, really! Read on!)

This occurs in two ways.... firstly peoples reactions are interesting. You can quickly judge who is adjusting and who is not, you'll get 1 (or 2) 'table captains' who will try and show you who is boss - the question is are they reraising you from position? With premium hands? does the size of their reraise tell you about their hand?

More passive opponents and tricky fools (no need to be tricky in PLO... you can disguise your hands perfectly well by raising lots of combos and betting lots of flops!) will try and check-raise you for sure, but what with? Especially when you have 95 big blinds behind you what is a 10BB check-raise from out of position hoping to achieve...

Sure, min-raising is not really poker - but adjusting to your opponents is, and you'll be suprised how much fun it can be to react... and as a special bonus nobody will believe you when you flop that monster hand / draw - those times you double your stack more than make up for the mini-bet / fold routine.

Anyway, not advokating this as a strategy... just some educational fun!

Gl at the tables, Mark

Monday, April 27, 2009

Preparing For My First Poker Conference

Going to be a busy week, not only the day-to-day of running the global corporate monster that is Planet Corp Kft - but on Thursday Erika and I will fly out to Amsterdam for the 'Amsterdam Affiliate Conference'... our first industry event. Thats not all - today we are expecting to welcome Corina to the team and start training for our upcoming foray into the Romanian poker market!

Judging by the conference agenda and feeback from previous meet-ups we are in for a fantastic few days - and as a bonus it is the Netherlands biggest party of the year on Thursday too - the 'Queens Day' public holiday / dress in orange and have a good time day!

There will, of course, be a serious side to all this, want to meet with some affiliate managers and as many fellow affiliates / industry leaders as possible... since we plan on being a big player within the next year or two this is a great opportunity to lay the groundwork for the future by meeting the current movers and shakers... and hopefully meet with some really great people, raise some glasses and have a good time.

So, any affiliates reading this Erika and I will be in the 'Hub Pub' (the Player's Bar in 'Dam square) this Thursday (early, the sponsorship ends at 8) and on Friday too... drop me a mail or comment and we can share a frosty beer and say hello.

The next conference is planned for September and will be right here in Budapest - great!

Gl at the tables, Mark

PS: Follow me and the Planet Poker sites over on Twitter at

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Poker Bankroll Management For The Recreational Player

Time to carry on my theme about poker strategy not really gelling with the perspective of the majority of poker players... the idea is that a recreational player looks at an article on Bankroll Management (for todays example) and can not fathom how it applies to them. So, instead of thinking about the subject they just assume that this is something for the pros (or geeks or whatever) and miss out on valuable adjustments to their play.

Lets be honest here, a player who works hard and enjoys a game of poker now and again putting $200 into their favorite poker site is not going to think... 'Hmmm, due to the effects of variance on this game of skill I'd better stick to an average MTT buy-in of $2...'

Of course not, they want to play, take a shot at some big prizes, have a little fun.

Cash is the same, someone parting with $100 on a Friday night is not thinking to themselves.... "so, I'll play 20,000 hands of 2c / 5c no limit to ensure I'm a winner and then move up to 5c / 10c after that.." - of course they are not, they want to have a good time, not set-mine the micros!

So, having established the background I'm going to ask the question of what a bankroll management article which would be useful to recreational players might look like?

It is not as easy as you'd think.

Make it to strict and the counter will be 'does not apply to me, governor' - make it too loose and it will not really have any value as far as our objective is concerned (to provide thought-provoking information on preventing yourself going broke for those who would prefer not to lose all their money - if someone does not actually care then all of this is irrelevant anyway!)

Here is what I'd suggest:

SNGs: Start at 10 buy-ins, move down a level at 5 and up a level when you have 20 buy-ins for the next level up. When you win 5 more buy-ins (same as your original roll), put this aside as a reserve for those times variance bites. From here you should try and build a nice buffer before moving up too much further.

So, with $55 , you can start at the $5.50s (on Stars in this example), if you lose $25 then you go down to the $3.30cs if you get to $220 then you can move up to the $11's... from here you build to $275 before putting $55 aside as your 'fall back' and enjoying the rest...

Cash: Starting with 6 buy-ins, move down when you get to 3 and up when you get to 8 for the next level. After moving up you should aim to keep the 8 + grind enough to put an amount equal to your original deposit to one side... after this you try and get 12 to 15 buy-ins for the next level before moving up again - going back down any time you get < 8.

So, starting with $150 you have 6 buy-ins for NL25, if you go down to $75 then move down to NL10 to regroup. If you manage to get to $400 then it is time to go up to the NL50, with the idea that the next $150 won gets put aside for a backup. You are then aiming to get that $400 up to $1200 before hitting the NL 100... any slips back to $150 then move back to NL25.

My guess is that 'seasoned pros' will be tearing their hair out at the thought of such 'dangerous' bankroll management. I'm going to suggest that even the guidelines above will seem 'very strict' to many recreational players reasonably new to the game... that having a guideline which gells with the reality of the common man (or woman!) player there is a bigger chance that the subject being raised will at least be considered.

Well, long post - hopefully one that has fullfilled the Plan3t Gong objective of giving readers something to think about though.

Will continue this theme intermittently... maybe Table Selection for the common man next!?!?

Gl at the tables, Mark

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In Search Of Pokerius Averagus

Been thinking about all that Poker Strategy Stuff... actually, since I spend so much time writing about it for my network of sites I probably think about it too much (ah well). Anyway, bankroll management, variance, long term profits, site and table selection, hand ranges and so on - sure we can find great information on all of these... the thing is does it really apply to your average poker player??

Well, let us start by thinking about what an average poker player might look like!

The internet is not a very good place to find evidence of pokerius averagus - because this creature does not post on forums or blogs or websites or social networking groups (though they may read some of them)... those people are part of another species pokerius serious - and we can subdivide this species too (another post for another day!).

To my mind Pokerius Averagus is not the kind of person who sees poker as a source of income, though winning cash is always nice. They are not the kind of person who cares whether a blocking bet or a check-call will extract the most value on the river... bluffing is much more fun anyway. They are not the kind of person who will only play with 1/20th of their bankroll at the table at any one time to avoid the effects of variance - since going broke is kind of expected and there is always a bunch more cash comining in next months pay. They do not get excited about the WCOOP, FTOPS and so on either, nor care about whether they have rakeback or just VIP points... nope, to my mind Pokerius Averagus is a normal person with a job, a social life and a nicely balanced life who plays (and mostly loses) at online poker because it is fun.

Now back to the strategy stuff - the internet is full of strategy, ranging from hand rankings through to maximizing your ev against light 4-bettors and so on... but pretty much all of it is aimed at Pokerius Serious - those of us who have decided to forsake the fun of poker (though many will not realize it yet) in pursuit of the money.

So what would a strategy article aimed at Pokerius Averagus look like? What would this fun player want to know about poker while avoiding all the dry and serious stuff aimed at others...

Well I have a bunch of ideas - but you'll have to tune in next time to start reading them... will start with 'Bankroll Management for Pokerious Averagus' which aims to bridge the gap between all the boring pro-level bankroll management articles and the perspective of the most prevalent group of players of all... the common man (or woman!).

GL at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WSOP Step #6 Structure Questioned

Well, Stars have finally started their WSOP qualifiers... a month or so after their main rivals due to waiting for the SCOOP to finish first.

Already there are some big concerns over the Steps qualifiers, mostly the ones at the very top. Unlike last year these are 6-max, with either 1 table / 1 package or 2 /2 on offer. The concern is that the total entry fees add up to the $12.5k package for one player - meaning that there are no 'try again' step tickets or smaller cash payouts for the runners-up.

Secondly, there is concern that the ability to win multiple seats means that those same old 'high stakes grinders' of previous years will sit waiting in the step 6's for unwitting qualifiers to fleece... will save this for another post though!

My view is that the players have a great point - imagine someone with a limited bankroll who worked their ass off to get to step 6... and now can end up empty handed. A 9-handed game could give a couple of step 6 try again tickets and a step 5 for 4th place too - a huge improvement in the eyes of the 'average' recreational player who fancies a shot.

There is an exit-point in the steps - you can use a step 4 ticket ($215) for the double shootout qualifiers directly (same tickets work for any $215 buy-in event, such as the Sunday Million). Also, the idea of making the Step 5 tickets useable for the $650 direct qualifiers has been floated - an idea which I also support.

So Stars, listen to your customers please... and get those 9 player Step 6's organised!

GL at the tables, Mark

Monday, April 20, 2009

First Polish Poker Site Hits The Interweb!

2nd post in one day... must be something in the spring air.

Just pleased thats all, pleased to be announcing that we have another site to add to the growing collection... this one is part of what we are referring to as the 'Poker Bonus Club' brand, and joins a Hungarian, Russian and Romanian version... this time in Polish!

What is more we already started the mammoth task of creating a 100+ page version of SNG Planet in Polish too... what is even more more this is Anna's first site from scratch, with everything from organising the translation to creation of the template to breaking the matricies in firefox all her own work.

The address? Well, only useful if you happen to speak Polish, but here it is: Poker Bonuses

Gl at those tables, Mark

Monday Morning Has Changed...

Hectic weekend searching for a car (no joy yet, some close but nothing ideal!) and visiting the in-laws... but this post concerns Monday Mornings.

Used to hate them.

Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday always meant a being awake late on Sunday evening - which in turn lead to the alarm seeming to be just a couple of hours too early on Monday. No choices back then, up shave, suited and off to work for the corporation... actually enjoyed my job, but the end of the weekend was always a depressing moment!

How things are different now.

Now I work for myself, on the poker websites (if you have not seen them then there are some adverts top right)... Mondays have changed completely. I actually wake up super-motivated on a Monday, looking forward to getting into the office and driving things forward... my mind racing about which projects to start and which will be completed, new ideas fight with improvements and virtual lists of possible new content.

Sure, running your own business is hard work - but that feeling of drive on a Monday morning sure is a good sign that I chose the right path.

Plan on posting several times this week, after all, Plan3t Gong has a role to make its 1000's of readers think!

Gl at the tables, Mark

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Catching Up With The Times - You Can Now Follow Me On Twitter

Well, if even I noticed that it exists it is no longer the 'latest thing' (thats something else which the cool kids are using)... yes, finally got around to creating a Twitter account yesterday.

You can follow me here

Will use it for various business and blog related tweets (though not this one, obv), and will be happy to follow you all back!

Cheers, Mark

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quality Omaha Poker Website For Sale

Decided the time has come to part with my Omaha-focused site - broad outline of what is on offer below - the reason for the sale is to fund an ever more aggressive international expansion of my wider network. Sale is via an 'offers over' auction, full support during and after the transfer and use of Escrow are a 100% non-negotiable (so, any scammers reading this, dont waste your time and mine!)


With over 100 pages of indexed Omaha strategy articles covering all the main variations I believe that Omaha Planet is the largest single quality Omaha strategy resource out there. The articles are all written by me in my usual straight-forward + easy to read style... Omaha specific room reviews and comparisons also included.

The site was created in Dreamweaver and is simple to update, can offer practical support to get the buyer going with the template as part of the sale. Currently the main pages are PR2 and many inners PR1, have not really focused on the internal linking strategy - so tons of potential in this area. Domain is 16 or so months old and registered at 1&1.


Growing consistantly, last 30 days showing 3876 visits with 14,386 pageviews (a very respectable average of 3.71 pages per visit with 4:59 mins on the site, reflecting the quality!) 70% of visits are unique. Half of the visits from the US and UK, with the other half spread through Europe, Russia and the world.

Google + Yahoo supply the vast majority of visitors - with 80% coming via search engines. This is hardly surprising when you consider some excellent SERPS terms... big G highlights include:

Pot Limit Omaha - 5th
PLO Poker - 2nd
PLO Strategy - 3rd
Omaha Poker - 10th
Omaha Strategy - 9th
Omaha Poker Strategy - 7th
8-Game Poker - 4th

Yahoo is actually even better, with a slightly different mix of the same terms.

There are tons more on the first page and 2nd pages, and while a site should not be sold on potential alone I have not actually focused on the SERPS too hard with this site... anyone making a small effort to build links should be able to quickly take these up a level!


No 100% clear numbers to share here, more down to my poor tracking of where my signups are coming from than anything else. Will do my best to put some figures based on the percentage of visits in my network, while I will answer any questions pre-sale as fully and openly as possible I will not be providing earnings screenshots to anyone... since we can not separate this site alone and my income is nobodys business but my own!

So, my best estimate based on traffic is 6 to 10 RMPs a month to Titan, Stars and Tilt mostly with a couple to UB and the odd one to the other sites we feature. The sites where I do have code visibility seem to back this up, with around 10% to 15% of revenue coming from my Omaha sign-ups (the accounts themselves are not for sale, since these are all mixed up with my other accounts).

Looking through the site now as I prepare for this offer I feel that the 'sales level' is actually set too low, there is again a ton of potential (that word again!) with more calls to action and more links / banners etc to improve on this level (which may even be a conservative estimate to start with!).

The Sales Process:

Going to try an informal type of auction starting any bids at $7,000... while I do not have a BIN (don't ask... your offers first please!) a nice high offer could well convince me to close the bidding immediately. Will keep this open for a week after posting and update the latest offers as and when they come in... if we keep all bids via PM at Poker Affiliate Listings --> Via This Thread <-- span=""> then we can end with screen-shots to ensure that increments are honest etc (with names smudged over of course and happy to verify with a mod if required!).

I do have a 'reserve' in mind and reserve the right to change my mind if only low bids are received (!)... after all, there is a ton of potential - and other than wanting to re-invest I will not be starving without the money!!

So, any questions let me know... late here now so will answer in the morning.

Just remembered, this one is listed in DMOZ too.

GL at those tables, Mark

Monday, April 13, 2009

Working Weekend Update

Random update today... no plan, just going to blog!

Cars are on my mind at the moment - not actually had a car since I handed back the keys to my lovely big black Saab turbo go-faster monster when leaving IBM back at the start of '06... handing back the laptop / badge etc was a pleasure - the car still brings the odd sentimental sigh.

Anyway, not had one since, borrowed when visiting the UK, hired them on holiday and all that, but not owned one - especially since we live smack in the city centre here in Budapest where there is really not the need day-to-day. But alas, I have succumed to arguments that we can get away for more weekends, more often and enjoy this region better - and go to fvcking Ikea tons no doubt. So, going to be the reluctant owner of a car next weekend. Something along the lines of a 2005 / 2006 Polo or Punto by the sound of it... hey, I'm just the one spending the money - what has the choice of model / age got to do with me??

Not played too much (busy adding the Polish version of SNG Planet into Dreamweaver!) but did manage to bag a Step 4 ticket on Stars, these can be used for any of the $215 tournaments - plan is to save it for when I'm in the mood for a shot at the warm-up / million... or maybe a WSOP qualifier.

Speaking of WSOP qualifier I mailed Stars about this and they said the schedule would be up by the end of the 13th... thats today. With the SCOOP over the forum buzz should be World Series seat focused now.

Finally some good news, the latest recruitment project was a success and Planet Corp will soon be back to its full quota of 4.

GL at the tables - will be back with a less rambling post real soon!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

63% More Profit Project - #10 - The Final Installment

Time to wrap up the series on improving poker profits 5% at a time today. For new readers this is the last of 10 posts on ways in which you can incrementally improve your earn from the beautiful game - which add up tp a 63% gain overall due to the wonders of compounding.

Only one problem with number #10... there are several ideas as to what this could be... in fact I have enough to make this a 15 part series (but will not do this). So here are the ideas that did not (quite) make the cut for 5% idea number 10.

- Leave Your Ego Out Of Decisions (yes, you!)
- Stop calling junk in the blinds because you have 'good odds'
- Take better notes, individuals work in patterns, note them!
- Add Another Table... just one... repeat.

But number 10 that I'll suggest today is in fact: Focus on one format at a time.

Well, never said any of these 5% ideas would be difficult did I??

Anyway, how many times have you started a few MTTs, busted out of some and started a SNG, become short-stacked and decided to fill that gap to the right of your screen with a cash game, or heads-up... can't win at Holdem tonight? why not pull up an Omaha table alongside to see if your fortune changes...

I've been there, sometimes not that intensely - sometimes over the course of a week flitting between DON sngs, turbos and PLO cash games, not really studying any of them... not really improving in any of them.

Now, poker need not become a drag, after all variety is the spice of life - but surely focusing on a single game and working on your edges, your opponents weaknesses and your strategy for combating common situations can give you that extra 5%... once you have built that SNG bankroll then is the time to move over to cash and relearn from the ground up - trying to do a bit of everything is hurting many players bankrolls.

Something to think about!

Anyway, going to do a little cut-n-paste for you all now, get all 10 posts linked from the one 'kick off' which I will then pop into the side menu under 'List Of Plan3t Gong Strategy Articles' (towards the top).

GL at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Start Of Second Quarter - Poker Business Update

Well, the first thing to mention is that the separate business blog is still on the big list of things to do - will probably be a few more business updates here at Plan3t Gong before that one gets going. Has been another hectic month during March and April sees lots of projects on the boil and a conference at the end... will start with a recap of March

- Poker Bonus Clubs for Romania and Russia completed and Rakeback-Planet revamped
- Lanuched the 'Comedy of Errors' eBook in Russian.
- Finally Got our Limited Company running here in Hungary (what a task that was, hmmmm!), we are now 'officially' trading as Planet Corporation Kft
- Significant increases in traffic and more quality content across the network
- Player sign-ups holding up nicely and a surprise boost from software tools
- Tons more material translated... to be put to use this month.

Plans for April are actually quite varied... here are just the main highlights...

- SNG Planet: Should have the Polish version done, at least the SNG section which we plan on launching with (50-odd pages so no small task here). Also hoping to (finally) get a large number of the articles archived... they will still be available, it is just the list is so long that I have a feeling people do not know where to start. If there is time we will also revamp a couple of the main sections and do a better job of letting visitors know about the translations by interlinking key articles. Oh, more content too... in all of the languages!

- Omaha Planet: No significant plans here, just add some more articles to keep it fresh.

- Killer Holdem: Just written a couple more for this site, really not fulfilling it's potential at the moment but happy just to keep it ticking over for now.

- Rakeback-Planet: Just had a big revamp, need to add some more content here too... will write some this week in fact. Going to move forward with getting this one translated into Russian next... will involve finding a new partner to manage the back-end.

- Poker Bonus Clubs: New Polish version will be completed this month, at the moment we are working on revamping the 3 current sites in this group to make them more 'immediate' for visitors. Idea is that we use the Russian one as a template then cascade the changes through HU, RO and eventually Polish. Again more content on the way for this little network, will also decide on the next language and kick this off... maybe Slovak this time!

- Melted Felt: Hopefully my old brain keeps coming up with twists on the poker news - guest contributions welcome as long as they are funny!

- Durrrr Challenge Blog: Quietly pleased with how this one started, going to have a custom header made too.

- Plan3t Gong: Custom header in plan... if these look good we might start offering them to others.

Thats all for now... lots of things under consideration, just a matter of managing time properly, we might be looking to start our first casino site this month, but then again I have been saying that for at least 2 months now. At the end of April Erika and I will travel to Amsterdam to our first poker affiliate conference - really looking forward to this one and will post more about preparations closer to the time. Finally I am slowly (but surely) getting my head around all the new fangled Web 2.0 stuff and hope to have a page up on the portal and an annoucement soon!

As usual I am happy to answer any business related questions / comments (either publicly or privately... just say).

GL at those tables, Mark

Monday, April 06, 2009

63% More Profit Project - Idea #9 - A Tilt Contingency Plan

Almost there now, this being idea number 9 of 10 in my series on ways to increase your poker profits by 5% each time... with the wonder of compound interest these could see your weekly or monthly take go up by a healthy 63% if you implement them all!

So, todays tip is all about the enemy of all poker players - Tilt.

I have written at length on Tilt here before (and at SNG Planet too), with the many and often subtle forms this can take and potential damage to your bankroll. Here we will just use a simple definition of getting angry after a bad beat / cold deck or long losing run.

5% improvement in profits should be relatively easy here right, we don't need anything too special - just to have thought about the subject and created a simple plan for what we can do next time that Tilt rears it's ugly head.

This could take several forms depending on the game you play and your individual style. Stopping play completely is often difficult, especially for tournament and SNG players, yet taking even a short break can save you a lot of ev over time. If you really really feel anger then why not load up a play money or penny poker table and vent there - losing $2 rather than $200 could make a big difference... having a different screen name could help separate things even more.

Really the key to grabbing 5% from Tilt really stems from awareness, since this is at its most dangerous when you are suffering the effects and yet not aware of them. Depersonalising any anger towards an individual who bad beat you can be as simple as switching off the chat. Have a think about what you plan on doing now, and next time you feel tilt coming along you can feel good about implementing your plan... and adding yet another 5% to your profits!

Gl at the tables, Mark

Saturday, April 04, 2009

63% More Poker Profit Project - 5% idea #8 - Hand vs Ranges

Onwards with the 8th idea which could improve your poker profits by 5% today, the idea being to implement 10 of them, giving us a compound 63% improvement in poker profits... today back to something a little dry, but actually very important.

Beginning poker players learn about hand matchups fairly early, after what-beats-what, bet sizes and position. After this comes the hand vs draw combinations with 2 and 1 card to come. Next we get to ranges. Now this is not a lecture on how to define and play against different opponent ranges. In fact most of us could grab the 5% required here a lot faster than the work it would take to do this just by making and memorising a chart on how each hand fares against 3 possible opponent ranges... I'll even help you out by naming the 3 you need.

Loose, Average and Tight.

There, easy. Now answer me this, you have a pair of sevens, how does this do against a loose range for an opponent in your particular game at your buy-in level??

Again most of us will have an idea here... but here is the key: Those players who have a much better idea than you have the potential to win a little more here and lose a little less there. In other words they have the edge which you are looking for...

Some good news: there is a free tool which will help you to compile such a chart in no time at all, and doing this (including defining ranges for your main game) will help you a lot more than simply reading a chart which someone else has made. It is called Poker Stove and you can find it via this link:

This is as easy a 5% as you'll find, and one that is freely available.

Number #9 coming up soon - so don't forget to bookmark Plan3t Gong today.

Gl at the tables, Mark

Thursday, April 02, 2009

63% More Poker Profit Project - 5% Idea #7 - Drunk, Tired Or Ugly

We reach number #7 today in what seems to have been an epic number of posts on how to improve your poker results by 5% each time...

For those reading Plan3t Gong for the first time, this is a series of 10 posts on how to improve your profits by 5%, which (due to the fantastic thing which is compounding) will give you a healthy 63% improvement in your profit over time.

Today we cover something which many of us are guilty of... playing poker when drunk, tired or 'ugly' (by which I mean pissed off / depressed / worried about something unrelated and so on). Now, you really do not need me to tell you that this is minus ev, sure we all have stories about how we won a big pot (not proud of it but I have made a final table after half a bottle of JD before now!)... but hey, time to be honest with ourselves - this costs money over time. Possibly a lot of money.

This tip could be difficult to stop for the same reason as the 'concentration' one before - that part of the fun of playing poker is that it is there whenever you want it to be... however, we can all improve our profits by 5% with this, by stopping when tired once in a while, by doing something else when feeling down once in a while, or by resticting ourselves to freerolls or penny games after coming back home drunk... and hey, it can be fun in those games!

Well, if you implemented all seven ideas you could easily be at a 40% improvement in profits by now... but stay with me #8, #9 and #10 are just around the corner.

Gl at those tables, Mark

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

63% More Poker Profit Project - 5% Idea #6 - Tool Up Your Game

The 6th in this series of 10 improvements which add 5% to your game involves poker software tools, some are free and others cost you money (or at least a sign-up and points-collect). The idea here is that each 5% improvement compounds, adding up to a 63% rise in your profits overall, and the key to this post is a shift in your thinking.

In business we can divide money that leaves our bank accounts into two broad categories, expenses and investments. Expenses are a cost, this is necessary to run the business, but itself provides no return. An investment is money spent today to bring in more money tomorrow, to grow your business or improve your profit margins on those existing projects...

People look at the price tag of poker tools (most are in the $80 to $100 range) and think, 'well my poker bankroll is only a couple of hundred, I can not justify this expense'.

Well, I look at this differently - choose the right tools (not difficult with the amount of information available on forums / blogs / sites today) and you are making an investment, not meeting an expense. If you are a SNG player then buying Wizz (and using it!) will add many more percentage points to your profits than the 5% we are claiming here. If you are a cash game player not keeping a hands database with something like Poker Tracker and using a heads-up stats display then you are almost flushing money down the drain in this day and age.

Some people claim 'purity' of the game is compromised here. My view is that the sites have strict rules as to what is fair and what is not, and serious opponents are using these against you - time to level the playing field folks - the key here is investment and not expense!

For those who would like to test the waters with poker software then Poker Stove is a must have (calculates equity against ranges). Other possibilities include SNG Wiz, Poker Office or Texas Calculatum (calculates odds for cash games and is actually the World's best selling tool). I will not include any affiliate links here - if anybody would like to find out more then we have a section at SNG Planet called Best Poker Tools which reviews many of the leading ones.

Tool yourself up soon and reclaim a lot more than 5%.

Tomorrow I'll continue with another meta-game tip to move even closer to that magic 63% profit.

Gl at the tables, Mark