Archive for the 'General Poker' Category

Poker Players and Retirement

When comparing pro poker players to the general population, you wouldn’t exactly say that they are tight with their money.  In fact, many pro poker players are as loose with their money away from the table as they are on it.  However, just like everyone else, poker players are going to get old some day and are also going to want to stop (or at least cut down) on their work.  And whether that line of work is still poker or something else, they need to set themselves up for retirement no matter how much money they’re making.

One great way for a professional grinder to set them self up for retirement is through a SEP IRA or Keogh plan.  These are both great ways for poker players to begin collecting retirement because these plans are set up specifically for the self employed.  Plus a person can put up to $40,000 a year in SEP IRA’s and $46,000 in Keogh plans which is another plus for poker players that really rake in cash.

CD’s are an excellent way for poker players to make some short-term money to add to their retirement fund.  With a CD, people can invest in 3-12 month plans which will provide around a 3-4% return and they’re excellent to combine with long-term retirement plans.

One more great choice for a poker player’s retirement plan is municipal bonds because these make tax-free interest and that’s a huge plus in the stock market.  Municipal bonds are also a very safe investment - especially when the stock market isn’t doing so well.

The bottom line is that even poker players need to have something put away for when they’re older and it’s never too late to start up some kind of retirement plan.

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Relevancy of Doyle Brunson’s Super System

The other day I was at a friend’s apartment who happens to play online poker professionally and noticed that he was trying to balance his chair with a book.  The chair had lost one of its wheels so it was off-centered, but my friend had placed a Doyle Brunson’s Super System book underneath the missing wheel to keep it on track.  As you can imagine, the Super System book wasn’t exactly in the best shape since it was being used to balance the chair.

I asked him why he was using Doyle Brunson’s Super System to balance the chair and he said, “That’s about all it’s good for.”  Next I asked him if he found anything useful in it still to which he replied, “It’s got some decent basic stuff.”  This whole conversation and episode got me thinking about whether or not Super System still has much relevancy in today’s poker game.

When Super System came out in 1979, it was monumental to poker players since no decent poker strategy books had been written at that time.  Sure there were books, but the knowledge contained in them was so bad that it was laughable.  High profile poker personalities such as Mike Caro, Chip Reese, Bobby Baldwin, Joey Hawthorne, and David Sklansky all collaborated with Brunson to make the book the masterpiece it turned out to be.

And while it may be a masterpiece, I feel that the poker world has definitely passed by the information contained in Super System.  Sure you can read through all of Super System and learn more than 60% of the other poker players out there (since most of them can’t finish any strategy book), but you’d be hard-pressed to beat the players that actually make money today.

Poker has evolved in such a way that advice from the late 1970’s is not going to get you by the young player of today that shove constantly and play very aggressively.  And while it may be a classic, maybe Super System is better suited for holding up broken chairs.

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Facebook lures People with Hold’em

It’s no secret that Texas Hold’em is the most popular card game in the world.  People love the fact that you can win quick money and beat the game over a long period of time.  And it appears as if the social networking giant Facebook has recognized the power of Texas Hold’em since they are using the game to bolster their membership base.

Facebook already has over 200 million people that have signed up for their site.  But by using Texas Hold’em, Facebook has been able to draw several million other people into its database and keep existing members entertained.  Currently, 11 million users play Texas Hold’em on Facebook and that number is growing more and more by the day.

Facebook Texas Hold’em outranks other games on the networking site by millions since the closest competitor is Pet Society with 9 million users.  On Pet Society, people log in every day to take care of a fictional pet that the user creates them self.

I find it really interesting that Texas Hold’em would be so big on Facebook since there are hundreds of online poker sites out there offering free rooms.  I personally have never tried Facebook’s version of Texas Hold’em, but I assume there must be something special about it if 11 million people are playing it.  It could be that Texas Hold’em on Facebook allows users to interact with each other differently or more personably than traditional online poker rooms.  Maybe some day I’ll get on Facebook and download the software for Texas Hold’em.

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High Stakes Poker Season 5: Episode 6

I believe that I have already publicly declared my love for this show on many occasions as this is about as close to perfect as poker gets to me on the small screen.

There really is everything, tale talk, history, bluffing, prop bets, huge suck outs and some really creative ways to play hands.

There are only a few people in the world that play this kind of deep stack poker really, with blinds of $500/$1,000 you really need to have your game together to pull up a chair and start stacking chips. The 20 buyin rule would suggest you have around a $4 million dollar poker bankroll to properly sit in a game this big. That alone would keep even a lot of the best players in the world away from the game.

 The other limiting factor is cohones. Yeah I said it, you need a big set of brass ones to get into a game this big. Not everyone can do it, even if you have the cash.

When you talk to the top pros they will tell you that you need to think in terms of chips and not money to play at stakes like that. I wonder if they felt the same way I did as they moved up levels. I certainly have had a hard time adjusting to the stakes as they get higher in both the home game and online. I played like a little girl the other day as I moved up to the next level online even though I have way above the bankroll to play at the game. I guess it is just that I am so used to seeing a certain dollar value that I always think that the best are so more imposing at the new level.

The brings us to the hand of the night from Episode 6, which was so dubbed the durrrrstein war by Gabe and AJ.

If you have been following along at home you will know that earlier in the season durrrr had his aces cracked by Barry when Greenstein picked the wrong time to push back at Dwan and got lucky to hit his two pair, then go on to make a kind of goofy speech that “math is idiotic” for all the “kids on the Internet” gee thanks Barry.

So the table is set, the appetizer is served and here comes the main course.

It starts with Peter Eastgate picking up AK and raising it to $3,500

Barry picks up AA and pops it up to $15,000

Dwan has KQ of spades and calls, and so does Peter making the pot $47,500

Flop comes 42Q with the 42 of spades, giving Dwan top pair and a flush draw, thats a pretty good flop for durrrr and he makes it $28,700 to see if anyone else likes the flop.

Eastgate folds and Barry raises it up to $100,000 all day.

Dwan thinks for a while and pops that up to $244,600

Barry come over the top to $436,100 and durrrr calls making the pot $919,600

Now the odds of each player winning here are 50/50 a coin toss really, I have a hard enough time shipping my money in the middle when I know I am ahead for fear of getting sucked out, can you imagine doing it with almost half a million dollars?

Anyways, I won’t spoil the ending for you because it doesn’t really matter for this story, the real point is that you have to play the odds and play the hands like you only had a Starbucks coffee worth of money in front of you or you are never going to be a winner in this game. You need respect for money, but you can’t play scared.

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