Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Aggression Not Working at $25NLHE

As they say, "You can't bluff a donkey" and I guess there's more at 25NL than I first thought.

$0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 7 Players
Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details
Replay This Hand With Audio

BTN: $14.40 (57.6 bb)
SB: $18.05 (72.2 bb)
BB: $25 (100 bb)
MP1: $27.10 (108.4 bb)
STICK (MP2): $23.65 (94.6 bb)
MP3: $65.95 (263.8 bb)
CO: $47.50 (190 bb)

Pre-Flop: STICK is MP2 with As Kd
MP1 folds, STICK raises to $1, 3 folds, SB calls $0.90, BB folds

Flop: ($2.25) 4s 4d 5c (2 players)
SB checks, STICK bets $2, SB calls $2

Turn: ($6.25) Td (2 players)
SB checks, STICK bets $4.75, SB calls $4.75

River: ($15.75) 7c (2 players)
SB checks, STICK bets $11, SB calls $10.30 and is all-in

Results: $36.35 pot ($1.75 rake)
Final Board: 4s 4d 5c Td 7c
SB showed 3d 3h (two pairs, Fours and Threes) and won $34.60 ($16.55 net)
STICK showed As Kd (a pair of Fours) and won $0.00 (-$18.05 net)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stick's Quest for Fitness: End Month 5

07/20/09 = 243 lbs. (start)
08/20/09 = 235 lbs. (-8)
09/20/09 = 231 lbs. (-4)
10/20/09 = 223 lbs. (-8)
11/20/09 = 222 lbs. (-1)
12/20/09 = 222 lbs. (-0)

Now it's getting a bit disturbing. No weight lost this month and only lost 1 pound in 2 months.

Key events this month:
- 1st time hitting the gym for a 6-days-in-a-row stretch
- ... followed shortly thereafter by a 3-day layoff due to common-cold-like symptoms
- Successfully kept my Thanksgiving Day meal size low
- ... but failed with the leftover cheesecake
- Managed my alcohol consumption fairly well, considering I usually increase it in colder months
- ... but it also causes the late night "munchies", which I seem to have failed at managing

IMO, the best beers of the year come out around this time. Snow Cap & Celebration are my faves. I also like stouts better in the winter. But the carbs in beer cause a rise in insulin, which causes the carb cravings. I either have to fight the cravings or stop the beer. So since life IS beer ;), I'll have to padlock the fridge after 6pm or something.

In the first sentence of this post, I used the word "disturbing" since I think my willpower is weakening. But I didn't use the word "discouraging" because I still love the gym and I am still seeing improvements in my fitness. I'm working with more weight and doing longer cardio. I guess it comes down to more research in the diet department. Fine tune what and when I eat, plus work with my beer consumption. I think intervals, timing, and amount control are what I can work with. Beer abstention is NOT an option. I'll apply that to cookies, etc.

Goal is still 199 lbs. No time frame. Keepin' it rockin'.

(PS: R.I.P Brittany Murphy)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Status Update 12/13/09

I don't feel so guilty for not posting here so often since I post on Twitter every day. Check me out: You can see Twitter stuff in the right margin of my blog, but the real thing is better. In my person Twitter setup, I get news updates and celeb gossip before the media gets them. I knew about a fire in town before the papers did and I read about Danica's latest NASCAR plans earlier than most. I also get fitness tips, discount and coupon alerts, and personal comments from some cool celebs themselves. Try it. You don't even have to post. Just to follow people. Good stuff.

Lots of stuff going on in our world, huh? Danica to NASCAR's Nationwide series, Tiger Woods and his 13 + skanks, etc. And to top it off, my local Wishing Well store closed! They are like Michael's craft store, but smaller, more specialized in the crafts/party supplies business, and they've been around longer. Now their other stores are 10+ miles away, I think. Oh well! I guess I'll have to battle it out at my local Michael's to find my traditional chintzy Xmas crap.

And poker. Ah yes. Same story. Fair to middling and not enough hands. Still in "tune up" mode at 25NL and I'm playing a few more SNG's than usual. Tiny profit is better than none.

Plus my fitness plan is going well. Just came off working out 6 days in a row at the gym. Felt good. Not losing as much weight as I want, but I can still feel my body getting into better shape. Next full fitness update on Dec. 20th.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

November 2009 Results

-$216 for Nov. 09. Again, not pretty. I dropped down to 25NL and thought I had it figured out by being just a bit more passive (42.6% PFR-to-VPIP ratio). But that only lasted a short time. I began staying with bad kickers and chasing overly optimistic implied odds to the river and folding. I think I need to work on adjusting to each table. I gotta pick my spots better instead of trying to force things.

Anyway, here's the damage. Note the "All-in EV" line. I thought I hit more suckouts than that. Looks like I was actually on the lucky side.

I'm doing OK in SNG's, so I might try more of those. I think they might fit my style of play better than cash at the moment. Maybe I'll make a video, too.

Been all over Twitter and Facebook lately. Good stuff on there. Cheers.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Stick's Quest for Fitness: End Month 4

07/20/09 = 243 lbs. (start)
08/20/09 = 235 lbs. (-8)
09/20/09 = 231 lbs. (-4)
10/20/09 = 223 lbs. (-8)
11/20/09 = 222 lbs. (-1)

Only lost 1 pound this month. But to coin a poker term: I think I "found my leak" this month. I guess it was that 12-piece pizza binge I went on that didn't do me much good. From what I have researched, 1 piece of a large-sized pizzeria pizza is 270-350 calories. So my pizza intake that day was around 300 x 12 = 3600 calories!! Also, regular crust is loaded carbs. I blame my binge that day on skipping lunch since I was cleaning up the garage all day. Bad boy!

But I feel like my fitness level didn't suffer. Seems like I'm still advancing in that department. I pulled another notch through my belt, too. I started reading "The Abs Diet" book by Men's Health magazine since that's where I think I need help. It's not so much a "diet" as it is a program or a plan. Seems pretty good so far.

The good thing is that I'm actually having fun at the gym AND having fun creatively putting together healthy meals in the kitchen. Now I'm in the kitchen more than my wife for the first time in 20 years. So only losing 1 pound doesn't discourage me. My fitness has still progressed and that matters most.

I'm 6' 3" and my goal is still 199 lbs. No timeline for that, so no pressure. Steady as she goes.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Passive Poker Works?

As I moved down to 25NL for "tuning" near the end of last month, I found myself somewhat adjusting to the style of play I ran across. I noticed that there was a lot of cold calling going on and not much respect shown to c-bets. In fact, I could read fake c-bettors really well. So I had to dial way back on my aggression and see more flops in position by over-limping or cold calling. Then there was often draw chasers or 2nd pair/underpair callers who would pay off TPGK or better.

That meant I had to revert back to a more passive overall style. Post-flop play became more important than preflop aggression, stealing, & squeezing. And it has worked so far! Here are my stats for the 1st 13 days of the month:

The stats that stick out to me here are the low 34.1% ratio between my VPIP & PF raises AND my high 68.2% Flop Fold vs C-bet at 25NL compared to my negative W$w/oSD at 25NL. But my showdowns are hugely positive, which is a big change from how I was running at 50NL.

I'm not sure if this style will work at 50NL so I think I'll just ride the wave at 25NL for a while. Besides an anemic amount of hands played this month, everything else is going better than planned. Fingers crossed, knock on wood, etc.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stick's Pick: Greatest Rock Song of All Time

Having been a radio DJ in the past and still having a very diverse & eclectic taste in music with some widely varied past musical experiences, I feel slightly qualified to bestow the title of "Greatest Rock Song of All Time" upon a worthy suitor. Of course, everyone's taste is different. Everyone's view is different. And everyone's opinion is different. Everyone has different criteria for what makes something the "greatest" to them. This all means that many people will most certainly disagree with my choice here. And that's fine. Free country.

But what makes something the "greatest" for me is difference. It has to be different from it's peers. Why is Muhammad Ali considered "the Greatest"? Because he was different. Michael Jordan? Different. I'm not going to run down all the little reasons why these guys were different. You just know. To the observant, it's obvious. Just as it is with other things like music. And in some of these areas, there is no clear cut "greatest". How different can food be and still be palatable? How can art be "great" when the human taste varies so widely?

So I'm not going to say that this should be everyone's "Greatest Rock Song of All Time". Tastes vary too much for that. But I'm pretty sure there are quite a few folks that would agree with my pick, even though this song was not a hit and didn't get a ton of play. Back when U2's "One" was released, Axl Rose actually called it "The Greatest Rock-n-Roll Song of All Time". Not too many people outwardly disagreed and I think it was because it was a pretty worthy contender at the time.

So now for my pick. It pretty much sums up what being "punk rock" is all about. It's not about the music or the clothes or the makeup or hair. It's a state of mind. It's about doubting the norm and being sick of the mainstream. Clones need not apply. It's not about being poor or abused, either. The video for my pick is it's own story that has more to do with Green Day's album "American Idiot" than with my song pick itself. There's plenty of punks who's parents are still together and/or are well off. But if you listen to the song (the video has subtitles to help you out), it's pretty much from the point of view of someone who has found out that there really are no white picket fences out there for most people. They inevitably have to find their own path and live & learn the hard way.

If you've ever wondered why punks are punks, listen to this song. The whole song. It's about 9 1/2 minutes long (video has an extra 30 seconds of dialog) and has 4 parts. With most TV shows being 30 minutes long (with breaks), consider this a shorter 10-minute audio documentary. And remember, the video action is really different from the song's meaning. The song is the key.

So now I present Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia". Enjoy:

For those interested in the video also, this version is a bit different with some more story on how St. Jimmy breaks up with his girlfriend at about the 6:10 mark:

Monday, November 2, 2009

October 2009 Results

Simply put: My post-flop play sucks right now.

It didn't used to. I used to have a tight overall game that I could tweek when I had to. But then I started to increase my pre-flop aggression and steal %. This seemed to result in my perceiving opponents playing back at me more and pulling off aggro bluffs since they don't believe me. At 50NL, I was getting 3-bet more often than usual and it led me to think they were bluffing since they thought I was bluffing first.

So I'd either get my money in bad preflop/flop OR I'd get committed on the turn. I even took off a total of 13 out of 31 days, sprinkled in between bad sessions to make sure I wasn't tilting or something. The only thing that seemed to help was moving back down to 25NL the last couple of days of the month and playing a bit more passively there.

I did win $9 at a Halloween party home game, though. So the total end result was a -$364 loss for the month.

I even tried a few FT points SnGs and sucked at those.

So I've started to play a few more SnGs this month in hopes I can work on my post-flop play more. Since tournament chips are more valuable, maybe I'll be less inclined to get committed. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sad Day: Sacramento Brewing Co. Closes

Sad news that Sacramento Brewing Company closed today and joined the number of recent closures of on-site Sacramento Area breweries.

First report I saw is here:

From the brewmaster, here:

Personally, I always thought of SBC as Sacramento's main craft brewery and every place else was just a part of the category. Not sure why I did. Maybe it was because it had the word "Sacramento" in its name. Or maybe it was because they had a bigger reputation than most, especially after they started bottling. Sure, it's not the oldest in Sacto. But to me, it always seemed to do well in carrying the weight of having the city's name in it's own name. Whether I planned to buy some or not, I always noticed the SBC packaging when I browsed any particular craft brew isle. "Oh look. They have Sac Brew here." In my mind, I guess it gave the store more credibility.

So away goes the beer with the city's name. A craft brewery making stellar beers, but apparently the victim of a less than stellar frontside restaurant in our less than stellar economy in which only the "stellar" seem survive. I know the beer could still live up to carrying the name. It just can't carry the restaurant any longer. I've celebrated a few Father's Days & birthdays there and the frontside seemed fine. Just not award-winning to me like the beer. Too bad they can't just close the dining room and keep brewing.

But it seems we in the Sac area will still be blessed by having SBC's brewmaster, Peter, brewing in Sacramento. More on that here:

So let's not forget to support our local Sac area on-site brewers. Our local culture can't afford to lose any others, imo. Here's a link list of those I know of or have learned of:

Rubicon Brewing Co.

River City Brewing Co.

Brew It Up

Hoppy Brewing Co.

Mary's Pizza Shack (in Roseville)

Sudwerk (in Davis)

Let me know if I've missed any. I'd surely want to try them all.

Cheers to Sac Brewing. You will be missed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Moving Down For Tuning, not BRM

A surprising thing happened today. I had been struggling at 50NL this month, so I decided to try 25NL for a couple days. I am still rolled for 50NL, but I just needed a confidence boost. So I played a 25NL session today and my 25NL stats miraculously appeared right where I want them to be at 50NL. Hmmm.

Is it the type of play or the players at 25NL that suit me better and at 50NL they're tougher? Or is it just me being more confident skill-wise at 25NL? Or even roll-wise? Hmmm. I think I'll spend a few days at 25NL and find out. I've never really "crushed" 25NL. I just moved up when I had the right bankroll.

We'll see how it goes...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Book Review: "Practical Poker Math" by Pat Dittmar

A while back, I had read a book on poker odds & probabilities and was a bit lost on the subject. The book by Matthew Hilger seemed thorough enough but was a ways over my head, I guess. So when I saw this book, "Practical Poker Math" by Pat Dittmar, in the book store and thumbed through it, it looked a bit simpler and more my style. (Not that I'm stupid or anything. Just that it takes a bit longer for new concepts to sink in with me and simpler explanations help with this.) So I thought that maybe this book could help me build a base for my poker math knowledge so I can understand the more complicated stuff later.

Well, I was right in a way. It was simpler, but not in the way I thought. This book is nothing more that an over-explanation of what most average players already know. Every non-beginning poker player worth his salt should know that the odds of flopping a set or boat with a pocket pair is 7.5-1 and the odds of being dealt Aces is 220-1, etc., etc. So all this book does is tell the reader how to calculate those figures. Every... single... one of them.

(NOTE: I skipped reading the Omaha parts of the book since I am concentrating on learning Hold'em for now.)

The sections of the book address odds of hitting certain hands on each street including preflop. Each section begins with some barely useful poker tips and a very useful table of odds pertaining to an array of different hands for that section's situation. Then it goes on to explain how to calculate each and every one of those odds in the table. And the author shows how to calculate each results, not 1 but 2 different ways. Here's an example of the calculation for a pocket pair flopping a set or boat:

(48 * 47)
(1 * 2) = 1128

1128 * 2 = 2256

(4 * 3 * 2)
(1 * 2 * 3) * 12 = 48

2256 + 48 = 2304

19600 - 2304 = 17296

17296 : 2304
17296/2304 : 2304/2304
7.5 : 1

OK, so I left out some words in there. But why does the reader need to know how to get an answer when he is given the answer first? This isn't studying for a college exam. This is poker. All I need to do is memorize the odds (the answer) for a situation and apply it to my current implied odds, etc. Tell me how to apply and calculate that next step. I don't need this overkill, imo.

Anyway, the author is in the "trading" industry so it figures he'd be caught up in calculations. The tables at the beginning of each section and towards the back of the book are great. But I bet you could find most of them searching the internet. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm missing something here. But this still just seems like overkill. It's like showing me how to slaughter a cow when I'm just going to McDonald's. Not necessary, imo. And to top it off, the retail on this book is about $30. On the high end compared to other more popular poker books on the market.

So I can't really recommend this book for any purpose other than math/stats geeks getting their fix with a poker flavor. Not useful for anyone wanting to improve their game. I can't even recommend this book for beginning poker players. I think it could do some damage by muddying the basics that they need.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September 2009 Results

Another "good news/bad news" month.

Good News: I ended up the month +$114 profit. Tuned my aggression some more and had another flat NSD Winnings red line.

Bad News: The +$114 was only possible due bonuses totalling $208. I would have ended up -$94 without them. Still getting crushed at showdown, too. I think my PF & flop aggression has still been getting me committed on the turn. But I also have been running into some killer suckouts. I included my "All-in EV" line in the graph as proof.

(Only played 1 MTT all month.)

During the last few days, I brought back just a smidgen of my old passivity and it seemed to pay off some. Maybe in a "changing gears" respect. Still kept up my Steal % and 3-bet %, though. I think I'm getting a feel for a good balance. Yay!

Still gotta play more hands. Averaged 600 per day. Would be nice to double that. But I still played enough to clear my Take 2 goal on FTP and I made Goldstar on Stars. So not too bad, I guess.

I've been spending a decent amount of time on Twitter and Facebook as of late. Might be worth tuning into (Twitter, at least) as I talk about my new bicycle, my weight loss progress, and a feature/series I call "My Gym Observations". Up to part 5 now.

I'm reading another poker book right now and should have a review very soon. I know I've said this before, but this book seems to be a breeze ...and that's actually a bad thing in this case. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cool IM/Social Site App Called Yoono

I just discovered the coolest little desktop app called "Yoono" that ties all your social sites (like Facebook and Twitter) and your instant messaging (like AIM and MSN) together. No more having to check the sites or IM client separately.

So when any of the accounts you linked to Yoono gets updated or receives a message, it gets listed in the app. You can also turn on these little pop-up notifications that pop up and down in the bottom right corner of your screen as updates happen. The settings are easy.

So far, it doesn't seem to slow down my computer. Plus, I like how you can adjust how much or how little you see in the update window and/or pop-ups. Thumbs up!

It's FREE, so download Yoono here:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sept 2009 Mid-Month Update

Good news & bad news this month so far.

Good news: My NSD winnings are steady (flat or slight up-curve) for the first time since I can remember.

Bad news: I'm getting crushed at showdown. My SD winnings (or lack of) are killing me.

I'm playing 11/7/1.8 and loving it, but W$SD% is 42 and I'm -$209 for the month. I have made quite a few bad calldowns and stack-offs when I have felt either committed or disbelieving. Plus it would be nice to get my AF over 2.

Time to work on post-flop play, I guess.

Friday, September 4, 2009

How to Make & Install a Custom Full Tilt Poker Avatar

I'd seen the question come up a few times in the past about if there was a way to make your own avatars on Full Tilt Poker. I had know that there was, but that the custom avatars can only be seen on the player's computer on which the custom files are installed (meaning no one else can see them because they aren't installed on anyone's computer but yours). But people still wondered and I never really took the time to find out how to do it.

So the most recent time I saw the question come up, people showed interest and one guy said it was easy. So I asked him to design a tutorial similar to my background instructions for folks to try.

So here it is. Special thanks to "DogzBestFrnd" on the forum for putting the following together:

This tutorial assumes you have a photo editing program, like Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop Elements, and some basic knowledge of it.

1) You need to decide which stock avatar you want to use as a base for your custom avatar. This is what you will look like to the rest of Full Tilt, but you will be changing how you see it. To find these files, go to your Full Tilt Poker folder and navigate to "Graphics/Table/Avatars/Public". Ignore the "private" and "pro" files. Find the view tab near the top left of your window and sort the public folder by large icons so you can kinda see which one is which without having to open each one.

2) Once you find the one you want to use, copy (not "cut" or "move") the entire folder for that avatar and paste it somewhere safe in case you want to change back to the original look later.

3) Now it's time to make your avatar. Select the picture that has the element in it that you want to use and open it in your picture editor. You can crop the image so you are very close to the part you want to use.

4) Now resize the resulting pic to 114x164 pixels. Then use your freehand selection tool to trace just the part you will want in the avatar. See pic:

5) Right-click and copy the cutout element. Then open a new canvas while still leaving the other pic open. Right-click on the new canvas and select paste the element as "New Selection". You want "new selection" so you can move it around a bit to get it centered nicely, etc. Your new picture should be 114x164 with a transparent background. See pic:

6) First, save your cutout element as a file that is native for your editor and put it in your safe folder. This will make it easier to tweek it if you need to make changes later. Then you can save your new avatar as a PNG file (portable network graphics). If it asks to merge it, click "OK". Name it anything you like but try not to name it "0","1","2" or "3" for now. Save it in your safe folder, also (maybe next to the originals you copied).

7) Now to put it in your Full Tilt files. Make sure your Full Tilt software is closed. Go back to your Full Tilt Poker folder and find your "Graphics/Table/Avatars/Public/#" again. The "#" is the folder with the stock avatar you chose as your base before. (The example below is 9.) Pick one of the emotion poses inside that folder (0,1,2,or 3). Delete the one you want to replace and then paste your new avatar in there. The rename it to the proper #. Mine is 3. See pic:

Now open your Full Tilt software and sit at any table. You may have to change your avatar's emotions to see you new avatar. If you like it, cool! But if it needs changes, just open your picture editor again and bring up the native version of the element. Edit and save 2 versions like before and re-install the changed avatar.

NOTE: You have to close the entire Full Tilt software and reopen it for any changes to reload & be seen.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

August 2009 Results

Started off the month kinda up & down. Made a video and got some help to plug some leaks in my game. Felt like I was doing well the last part of the month until the last 2 days. Still ended up with +$243 profit. Still feel good about that.

This is the flattest my NSDW line has been in years:

Disappointed that I didn't even get in 10K cash hands. Also, have to be smarter when going to showdown. That's the leak I have to work on this month. It would be nice to get in 20K cash hands this month, too.

I'm currently reading a book called "Practical Poker Math" to try to help me better recognize my calling strength. But it might take me another while to finish since I'm also reading a diet book AND a back fitness book. Ironic for a guy with reading problems.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

FTP Mods: NEW Installation Instructions (update 7/09)

So Full Tilt instituted their lovely update in July 2009, but made it a bit more difficult for folks like us to install our favorite custom tables & backgrounds. Well, it turns out that the first part is the similar to the old software, but then there's an extra procedure having to do with XML programming. Now that may sound complicated, but for even the semi-computer savvy it should be fairly simple.

NOTE: This procedure can be done with the “Classic” FTP oval tables. In the instructions below, just look for the “Graphics/NewTable/Classic” folder instead of the “Graphics/NewTable/Racetrack” folder. (But right now, all my FTP mods are of the “Racetrack” type.)

ALSO: Make sure not to have the FTP software running and I suggest you read the whole thing first to make sure you understand everything. Then read it again when you want to start.

1) Pick the correctly formatted JPG file (AKA mod) you want to use for your Full Tilt table. Right click on its full-sized view and “Save Picture As” to save it to some folder on your hard drive where you can find the file easily.

2) Find the Full Tilt Poker folder on your hard drive and open it. Take the path “Graphics>NewTable>Racetrack>Backgrounds” by clicking the folders in order as you see them.

3) Make a new folder in the "Backgrounds" folder view. Rename the new folder something that will identify the table theme and that you can recognize & remember.

4) Go back to your mod in your familiar folder and use “Copy to” to copy it to the newly created FTP folder. Rename the new mod file in the new folder “table.jpg” in XP or just "table" in Vista.

5) Navigate back one level to the “Backgrounds” folder view. You should see your new folder along with all the other FTP theme folders (Green Carpet, Stainless, etc.). You should also see a .ini file called "Backgrounds". Open it with Notepad or WordPad (Vista users must open these “…Pad” programs “As Admin” to be able to edit this file).

6) At the top of the Backgrounds.ini file in the Notepad/Wordpad view, you will notice some lines like Sys7="Stainless" , etc. Go to the line just after the last "Sys" line and type in Sys9="whatever your new folder was called". The format of this line must look like the others above it and be the consecutive “Sys” number. (NOTE: You can type whatever you want for the "Sys9=", but it is just easier to use the same name you used for your new folder.)

7) Go to the very last line of the Backgrounds file and type in the following:

[the same name you typed after “Sys9=” above]
MenuName="the name you want to see in your Full Tilt software dropdown menu"
Folder="the name of the folder containing your new mod"

The format of this entry must look like the others above it in the text, but have its own unique labels.

8) Save and close the “Backgrounds” file.

NOTE: To add another mod later, just duplicate these steps. However, make it “Sys10=” and so on. I’ve found that the FTP software will take up to “Sys16=”. After that, you will have to replace the stock FTP Sys lines with your own. Be careful with “Sys8=”Final””. It is the final table.


9) We must edit a bit of XML, so an XML editor is necessary. If you know how to use one that your computer already has, great. Use it. But if you are like most folks who either don't have one, can't find theirs, or hate using the one they have, then download the one that I use. It's called "XML Marker" and it is very easy to install use. It's free, I know it works with both Window XP & Vista, and it even checks for errors in syntax. Download it here and run the installer.

10) Now get back to your "Full Tilt Poker/Graphics" folder and open the "NewTable" folder. Then open the "Racetrack" folder.

11) Then right-click the "Layout" file and choose "Edit with XML Marker". The editor should open up and the lines of XML language should appear in the main window of the editor.

12) Now we need to save the unedited code so we can use it again if we mess up. In the top left of XML Marker, click "File", then "Save As". Then choose a different folder to store this untouched copy so you'll know where to find it if you need it. Name it something like "LayoutOrigCopy" or such.

13) Now we are ready to edit the real thing, so click "File" again and choose the file named just "Layout" from the list near the bottom of that dropdown box. So now at the very top left corner of the editor, the name of the file should say "Layout.xml".

14) Scroll (or drag the little block down the right side) down the lines of code untill you get to the first group of longer lines. You'll notice familiar words like "Backgrounds" and "RaceTrack" in them. See pic:

You'll see one line that ends with "Final Table". Don't mess with that one unless you know what you are doing.

15) Make a blank line between the "Stainless Steel" line and the "Final Table" line. Next, copy the "Stainless Steel" line and paste it in the space you made. See pic:

16) Now, change the spot where it says just "Stainless" to the name of the new folder you made that contains your new table. Then change the spot after that to the name you want to see in your table choices in the FTP software. (In my example, mine are both called "Chi Bears".) See pic:

EDIT: 16.5) Since I've discovered that each new FTP update replaces your XML changes with the default, I would suggest copy/pasting your changed/added lines of XML to a text file with Notepad and save that text file in a folder where you can find it easily. Especially if you have more than a just a couple extra mods like I do. After a new FTP update, all I do is open my saved text file that has my custom lines of XML in it, copy the lines, and paste them back into my "layout.xml" file and save. That way, I don't have to type each change again (I have about 10 custom lines).

17) Now you're done, so make sure you save the XML file.

Now open the Full Tilt software and open any table to observe. Near the top right corner of the window, click “Layout>Change Table View” to make sure you are in the same style as your new mod. Then click “Options” in the top left corner of the table window. If you did everything correctly, you should now have a new table option in your “Backgrounds” dropdown box. Choose it to see your new table!

**** If FTP’s actual table blocks out the center of the image, there is a way to get rid of that so you can see your entire new mod. Those instructions can be found here.

FTP Mods: NEW Removal of Full Tilt Poker Felt Table (update 7/09)

FTP's latest software upgrade actually made it easier to remove the table felt than before.

For those who don't know, my raw JPEG Full Tilt table mod files are just backgrounds with a nice table outline and custom graphics on them. So Full Tilt's overlay file resembling table felt blocks the customized center portions of my table backgrounds. In order to remove this "green monster", follow this procedure:

NOTE: My mod files are racetrack tables. If you want to do this for your "classic" tables also, just navigate to the "NewTable>Classic>Backgrounds" folder instead of the "NewTable>Racetrack>Backgrounds" folder.

ALSO: I suggest you read the whole thing first and to make sure you understand everything. Then read it again when you want to start.

1) Find your Full Tilt Poker software folder and navigate to "Full Tilt Poker>Graphics>NewTable>Racetrack>Backgrounds" folder.

2) Locate the "table.svg" file and right-click it. Select "Cut" and now navigate to a personal folder where you can keep this file in case you ever want to put it back.

3) In your keeper folder, right-click a blank spot in the folder view and select "Paste". Now the FTP felt table file is saved for future desired re-use.

4) Start your FTP software and the table felt should be gone and your beautiful table center should appear in all its glory.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Worm is Turning

After making this embarrassing video and getting some serious help with my game, it seems I am finally getting it. My 50NL cash game aggression is clicking and I went from a 15/6 to a 12/9 in a matter of days. Now if I can only get in some longer sessions, I'd be golden. I'm trying not to get too excited until I have a bigger sample to look at, but things look good so far. More to come!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stick's Video: 4-tabling 50NL 08/09/09

38 mins, 38 secs. Feel free to post comments & critiques here or on the forum.

*** Click the little TV icon to go full screen. ***

Not a good session. I think I need help:

Lotsa $$ lost w/o showdown. WTF?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

July 2009 Results

Another crappy month. Ended up -$211. Began the month wanting to switch to SNGs, but gave that up after a couple of bad runs lasting a couple of days each. So much time invested and very, very difficult to make a comeback. I don't know how SNG/MTT players do it.

Anyway, here's the ugliness:

I've decided to switch back to cash games and really work on my game. I've got to find my leaks and start crushing. I have a StoxPoker membership that's paid up 'til November, so I think it's time to stop effing around and start using it. Duh!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Looking For a Simpler Way to Mod The New FTP

Since the new (horrible) Full Tilt Poker update, all these great FTP table mods (right margin of the blog) are a lot tougher to implement. There is a way to do it by modifying the software's XML coding, but that is way too difficult for most of the public. Getting rid of the table felt is now super simple (cards, too), but I'm looking for a simple way to install table mods.

If anyone has a solid & simple way to install custom tables to the new FTP software or a link to one, please add a comment to this post. The first person to do so, and I find their method to fit what I'm looking for (simplicity), will be the recipient of their own custom FTP table designed by Stick.

Hurry! Contest void if I find my own method first! Cheers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The "It's Just the Internet" Concept

(Definitely an opinion piece here. Your opinion may differ and that's... OK.)

During the course of my online experience beginning in 1996 and spanning to the present, I had heard the phrase "it's just the internet" many, many times. I had trouble grasping that concept. It took me a while to realize that actually WAS a concept and not just a phrase. I would get offended at things I would read in chat rooms, forum posts, blog comments, etc. Especially if they were about me. I was wrapped up in this internet thingy but good!

But then an online friend recently hammered it into me and helped me discover exactly what the "It's just the internet" concept was. It is that the internet community overall is not a "professional" type of place. It isn't strict. It isn't serious. That part is saved for the news and commerce sites. Entertainment sites are free form. They are loose. They are privately-owned, for the most part. The rules vary and change at what seems like every click we make.

Now I realize that if someone says something about me online or passes an online judgement on me, it doesn't hold much water since they don't know the real "me". They just know my online "persona". That also works in a somewhat reverse way in that an online "friend" also only knows one's online persona. In both cases even if they meet someone in person for a brief period or 2, they still need to get to know that real person in order to make a sound judgement of him/her. Trust me. I've learned that one the hard way.

Many online users tend to use the word "friend" very loosely. They throw it around in a way that tends to diminish its true definition. But IMO, the true test of the word "friend" is when the chips are down and the going gets tough. A true friend will help, understand, accept, tolerate, and reach out to their friend in nearly any sticky situation . A friend will put their friendship in a position of importance. The test is whether anything else seems more important in a situation to a so-called 'friend" than that friendship.

But there are many people who seem to take the internet very, very seriously (as I used to). They put internet events ahead of real life friendships. In the online world, most words written in posts or chat cannot be taken back or apologized for right away, and there are many people who seem to accentuate that fact by escalating the seriousness of those words. Real life words are spoken with inflections & tones and can be shaped or even retracted much easier (in most cases). Many people in the online world seem to forget that. We must remember to apply the "It's just the internet" concept to them as well, no matter how hard it may be. Even though they get serious, we must remain aware of our concept.

We must also remember the point that most online communities like forums, chat rooms, blog hosting sites, and even ISP's themselves are privately owned and have rules dictated by their owners. These rules and ruling decisions can be as conventional as the banning of pornography or as shallow as the owner not liking your username because it reminds him of an ex-girlfriend. It's his business and his rules. Whether we agree with these rules & decisions or not, we must live with them if we want to stay in that particular online venue. If we don't like it, we can leave for another venue or we can start our own and make our own rules. No one can force us to stay where we don't want to stay.

Such is "internet freedom". Freedom to go on the internet where we want to go and freedom to experience the internet as intensely as we want to experience it. But in the end, it's still...

Just the internet.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book Review: "No Limit Hold'em Theory and Practice" by D. Sklansky & E. Miller

Well, I finally finished this darned book. I have been playing a lot over the past year and always seemed to choose playing over reading. I apologize for that.

As I have tried to do with my past few book reviews, I will reveal my verdict first (I hate when reviewers bury their recommendation near the end so you have to hunt for it). I FULLY RECOMMEND this book to any intermediate NLHE poker player who wants to take the next step in their poker progress or to any advanced player who wants to explore concepts that they may want to add to their arsenal. However, this is NOT a beginner book. I would say it would be best suited for those players with 1 year of experience or so.

Also, this book is for deep stack cash players. I'd say 98% of the book relates to cash games (2% tourneys). It's about 55% math (Sklansky) and 45% strategy (Miller). And like the title says: It's 100% no-limit hold'em and only mentions limit hold'em in comparisons.

I like the fact that most sections of the book have a "Final Thoughts" ending to bring things together. It seems as though the authors really wanted to make sure they are understood. The reader can detect Miller's influence in these as Sklansky's "Summary" sections of his previous books seemed to fail as good section "wrap-ups", IMO. In this book, this also makes for a definite end to a section instead of allowing confusing bleedover as some poker books tend to do.

Unlike some books that have left me still asking "Why?" after reading a concept, this book seems to really get to "nitty gritty" of its concepts. The only question you may ask yourself after reading certain strategies or concepts is "Am I going to have enough time to calculate all this during a hand?" They do say that one can't possibly do a completely thorough job of calculating all situations. But they also say in effect that it's more of developing habits and introducing new routines to your current thinking progression during a hand. I've already adopted some of the things they layout here and they still help me even though I don't have time to be complete. Even the first "Fundamentals" section could change the way the reader looks at things that they thought were second nature to a non-beginner as it did for me.

There are even a few things in this book that I have found to contradict common online poker wisdom. Things like "open limping" from late position and "shoving the river" with the nuts are things I know don't really fly with most online hotshots these days, but the book explains exactly why the authors believe in their concepts (much of it has to do with stack sizes).

Many of the books concepts can be easily found in the table of contents for future reference, but I think the most important part of the book is the last section called "Concepts and Weapons". It starts out by saying it is "fast-paced" and could repeat a few prior concepts, but the quick hits are gold. There are 60 brief concepts in this section and range in 1/2 page to 2 pages in length. Future reference city! This makes it easy to write on a book mark the name and number of some important concepts in this section and to come back to them for easy study. Pure excellence.

In summary, I enjoyed this book so much that I believe it should be considered the "New Bible of NLHE Poker". I've read "Theory of Poker" and didn't get much out of it due to it's complexity. "NLHE Theory and Practice" is part simple, part complex, and all usable for NLHE players looking to step up their game. No beginner filler here. I'll be going back to this one for years.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wow! My SnG's Took a Dump

In SnG play this month, I'm down $55 with an ROI of -6.7% after 90 games. Hmmm. So much for a change from cash games.

I play mostly $6 STT turbos. Maybe change to regular speed? Multi-table? Back to cash?

"Jeez, Stick. It's only been 13 days." Yeah, but I've been playing these for a long time. I should be doing better. Maybe there was a reason I switched to cash a while back. Frigging confused.

I used to have a routine where I played SnG's only in the morning and cash only at nigh. Maybe I'll go back to that. I AM +$12 in cash for the month. w/e

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bad Week For Full Tilt Poker

Things aren't going too well for good ole' the Full Tilt Poker company this week.

First: The respected gambling watchdog website, Casinomeister, gives them a "rogue" rating due to poor customer service and payout problems.

Next: Their best and most recognizable player, Phil Ivey, refuses to let his table at the WSOP be featured on ESPN, to the disdain of his fellow table mates.

Then: They release the most ill-conceived, troublesome software update since UB's in 2006.

They had better hope it doesn't get much worse as they struggle to stay the #2 poker site in the world. Let alone, catch PokerStars for #1.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June 2009 Results

Ended the month at +$230 only because of another Stars bonus I bought with FPPs.

My cash stats sucked. My SNG stats ruled. Now I'm switching to SNG's. Simple.

Here's something that stuck out at me, though. Big negative W$woSD at 50NL:

Hmmm. Getting bluffed or getting caught bluffing too much (IE double barreling)? Dunno and almost don't care since I'm switching to SNG's.

My SNG $/hr should go up now that I'll be playing more $10-$16 buy-ins.

Did I mention that I'm switching to SNG's?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Perfect Example of Why I'm Switching Back to SNGs

Maybe around 2 years ago, I was playing mostly SNG's, a few MTT's, and ring games sporadically. Then I saw guys on the forum making real good progress at multi-tabling ring games and I decided to switch. I really got into the study of ring games an grinded (ground?) my way up from 10NL to 25NL and then to 50NL. I had pretty good sucess at the lower 2 levels and learned a lot on my way up. But at 50NL, I seem to be at a standstill. Since my results fluctuate so much, I don't feel like I'm learning at the rate I should be. At 50NL, it seems like there are enough dumb, fearless players sprinkled throughout the ranks to take my good runs right into the toilet. I'll have a couple of good days and then have a bad day drag it all back down below where I was.

Here is a perfect example of how a great week can be nearly wiped out in 20 minutes for me at 50NL ring games:

71% fav PF, 81% Flop, 23% Turn
***** Hand History for Game 29967186384 ***** (Poker Stars)
$50.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Tuesday, June 30, 10:48:15 ET 2009
Table Algenib VI (Real Money)
Seat 8 is the button
Seat 1: TubbyWon ( $55.00 USD )
Seat 3: moonface111 ( $27.75 USD )
Seat 4: Flyboys007 ( $78.20 USD )
Seat 5: MrSticker66 ( $52.00 USD )
Seat 6: myriddin ( $50.35 USD )
Seat 7: fer1961 ( $83.20 USD )
Seat 8: tradingbsas ( $40.90 USD )
Seat 9: Truchonazo ( $52.55 USD )
Truchonazo posts small blind [$0.25 USD].
TubbyWon posts big blind [$0.50 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to MrSticker66 [ 4d 4c ]
moonface111 folds
Flyboys007 folds
MrSticker66 calls [$0.50 USD]
myriddin folds
fer1961 folds
tradingbsas folds
Truchonazo folds
TubbyWon checks
** Dealing Flop ** [ Js, Ad, 3d ]
TubbyWon checks
MrSticker66 checks
** Dealing Turn ** [ 4h ]
TubbyWon bets [$1.00 USD]
MrSticker66 raises [$4.00 USD]
TubbyWon raises [$13.00 USD]
MrSticker66 raises [$47.50 USD]
TubbyWon calls [$37.50 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ Qc ]
TubbyWon shows [5c, 2h ]
TubbyWon wins $101.25 USD from main pot
MrSticker66 doesn't show [4d, 4c ]

80% fav PF, 9% Flop, 5% Turn, 0% River
***** Hand History for Game 29966759275 ***** (Poker Stars)
$50.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Tuesday, June 30, 10:32:04 ET 2009
Table Nikko (Real Money)
Seat 3 is the button
Seat 1: olijugon ( $91.80 USD )
Seat 2: n@ch0_666 ( $30.00 USD )
Seat 3: jfgodtheg ( $50.80 USD )
Seat 5: DrPappy13 ( $50.00 USD )
Seat 6: 1Konstantin1 ( $8.25 USD )
Seat 7: de captain ( $51.25 USD )
Seat 8: RichHol ( $23.70 USD )
Seat 9: MrSticker66 ( $49.25 USD )
DrPappy13 posts small blind [$0.25 USD].
1Konstantin1 posts big blind [$0.50 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to MrSticker66 [ Kh Ks ]
de captain folds
RichHol folds
MrSticker66 raises [$1.50 USD]
olijugon folds
n@ch0_666 folds
jfgodtheg calls [$1.50 USD]
DrPappy13 folds
1Konstantin1 folds
** Dealing Flop ** [ 3c, Jh, 6s ]
MrSticker66 bets [$3.00 USD]
jfgodtheg calls [$3.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 8c ]
MrSticker66 bets [$7.00 USD]
jfgodtheg calls [$7.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ 3h ]
MrSticker66 bets [$17.00 USD]
jfgodtheg raises [$34.00 USD]
MrSticker66 raises [$20.75 USD]
jfgodtheg calls [$3.75 USD]
MrSticker66 shows [Kh, Ks ]
jfgodtheg shows [6c, 6d ]
jfgodtheg wins $96.25 USD from main pot

28% fav PF, 81% Flop, 5% Turn
***** Hand History for Game 29966695738 ***** (Poker Stars)
$50.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Tuesday, June 30, 10:29:41 ET 2009
Table Aksnes V (Real Money)
Seat 9 is the button
Seat 1: Evilrulz ( $49.50 USD )
Seat 2: MrSticker66 ( $50.00 USD )
Seat 3: THEE LORD ( $23.90 USD )
Seat 4: SLiMBaLLin20 ( $16.20 USD )
Seat 5: TheEminent ( $51.20 USD )
Seat 6: xPokerZombie ( $29.50 USD )
Seat 7: fourstroke ( $33.75 USD )
Seat 8: Beasternugs ( $35.25 USD )
Seat 9: vV-Freak-Zz ( $29.00 USD )
Evilrulz posts small blind [$0.25 USD].
MrSticker66 posts big blind [$0.50 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to MrSticker66 [ 3h As ]
THEE LORD calls [$0.50 USD]
SLiMBaLLin20 calls [$0.50 USD]
TheEminent folds
xPokerZombie folds
fourstroke folds
Beasternugs folds
vV-Freak-Zz calls [$0.50 USD]
Evilrulz folds
MrSticker66 checks
** Dealing Flop ** [ Ad, 3c, 2s ]
MrSticker66 bets [$2.00 USD]
SLiMBaLLin20 folds
vV-Freak-Zz raises [$4.50 USD]
MrSticker66 calls [$2.50 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Jh ]
MrSticker66 checks
vV-Freak-Zz bets [$7.00 USD]
MrSticker66 raises [$45.00 USD]
vV-Freak-Zz calls [$17.00 USD]
MrSticker66 wins $21.00 USD
** Dealing River ** [ 2d ]
MrSticker66 shows [3h, As ]
vV-Freak-Zz shows [Ac, Jd ]
vV-Freak-Zz wins $56.35 USD from main pot

46% fav PF, 27% Flop, 16% Turn, 0% River
***** Hand History for Game 29966918923 ***** (Poker Stars)
$50.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Tuesday, June 30, 10:38:10 ET 2009
Table Chaldene III (Real Money)
Seat 5 is the button
Seat 1: ksiegel714 ( $58.25 USD )
Seat 2: topherA8 ( $18.55 USD )
Seat 3: FaBluffy ( $15.60 USD )
Seat 4: drusnak29 ( $17.45 USD )
Seat 5: LindaZich ( $30.15 USD )
Seat 6: slks ( $15.50 USD )
Seat 7: Plus_Jun ( $83.30 USD )
Seat 8: gconco ( $39.15 USD )
Seat 9: MrSticker66 ( $48.25 USD )
slks posts small blind [$0.25 USD].
Plus_Jun posts big blind [$0.50 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to MrSticker66 [ Ah 7h ]
gconco folds
MrSticker66 calls [$0.50 USD]
ksiegel714 raises [$2.00 USD]
topherA8 folds
FaBluffy folds
drusnak29 calls [$2.00 USD]
LindaZich folds
slks folds
Plus_Jun folds
MrSticker66 calls [$1.50 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 6h, 9s, 3h ]
MrSticker66 checks
ksiegel714 bets [$3.50 USD]
drusnak29 raises [$15.45 USD]
MrSticker66 calls [$15.45 USD]
ksiegel714 folds
** Dealing Turn ** [ Jc ]
** Dealing River ** [ Jh ]
MrSticker66 shows [Ah, 7h ]
drusnak29 shows [6d, 6c ]
drusnak29 wins $39.15 USD from main pot

51% fav PF, 91% Flop, 18% Turn, 0% River
***** Hand History for Game 29967252215 ***** (Poker Stars)
$50.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Tuesday, June 30, 10:50:46 ET 2009
Table Melusina IV (Real Money)
Seat 9 is the button
Seat 1: trout2020 ( $60.40 USD )
Seat 2: MrSticker66 ( $48.25 USD )
Seat 3: Comarre ( $49.20 USD )
Seat 4: ksiegel714 ( $57.15 USD )
Seat 5: laprenti ( $9.25 USD )
Seat 6: loatus ( $50.00 USD )
Seat 7: mind4mind ( $50.00 USD )
Seat 9: BigJimJones ( $53.30 USD )
trout2020 posts small blind [$0.25 USD].
MrSticker66 posts big blind [$0.50 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to MrSticker66 [ Qh 8h ]
Comarre calls [$0.50 USD]
ksiegel714 folds
laprenti folds
loatus folds
mind4mind folds
BigJimJones folds
trout2020 calls [$0.25 USD]
MrSticker66 checks
** Dealing Flop ** [ Kh, Jd, Qs ]
trout2020 checks
MrSticker66 checks
Comarre checks
** Dealing Turn ** [ 2h ]
trout2020 checks
MrSticker66 checks
Comarre bets [$1.00 USD]
trout2020 folds
MrSticker66 calls [$1.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ Qc ]
MrSticker66 checks
Comarre bets [$3.00 USD]
MrSticker66 raises [$13.00 USD]
Comarre calls [$10.00 USD]
MrSticker66 shows [Qh, 8h ]
Comarre shows [2s, 2d ]
Comarre wins $28.05 USD from main pot

2 1/2 buy-ins lost in 20 minutes. As the stats show in 4 out of 5 of those hands, I was way ahead at one point. In the other one, I made a bad read and then got committed. Not 5 perfect plays, but not terrible either imo.

It seems like my patience is more of an asset to me when I play SNG's lately. My reads have been better, my confidence has been higher, and my results show it. I think I'd be better off right now grinding SNG's and cutting back on my cash games. I'll still play cash, but just not nearly as much. I was playing mostly 11 cash tables since I got my 24" monitor. Sometimes 9 and sometimes 12, but mostly 11. Now I guess I'll have a really good view of 4 SNG's at a time. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Doesn't the Public Believe?

I've been getting a bit disgusted at all the forum posts and twittings about how people still think Michael Jackson wasn't innocent of molestation charges even though a jury acquitted him. Some say they can't muster up any sympathy for him after his death and even a few say "Good Riddance." The actual reactions don't disgust me as much as how the public chooses to believe media reports/spins more than the ruling of a jury made up of the accused's peers in a respected US court of law. We all have our suspicions, hunches, and feelings about the cases we see on TV and read about on the internet. But it is a guarantee that we don't get to see as much evidence as the jurors in these cases do.

Do I think that it is possible that anyone who is found innocent of a crime in court may still be partially guilty? Yes, it could be possible. Sure, I can have my hunches based on what I see on TV. But I'll never be gullible enough to fully buy into the media's spin on these cases.

Yes, I think Michael Jackson was weird based on how he presented himself and his proven actions. And yes, I think he was capable of doing certain things that most people wouldn't do. But I'll never know if he ever committed a crime because I wasn't there.

I read an article on what he went through during his last trial. It disgusts me how people piled onto him based on his appearance, lifestyle habits, and the word of a habitual mother-son scam team. Read for yourselves.

EDIT: Just to clarify my point - I think if we can be skeptical of the courts, we should also be skeptical of media reports. I've never been in trouble with the law. But I hope if I ever am and get acquitted, that the public will make its judgement of me based more on facts and less on reports. That's all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Uhhh, Maybe I'm an SNGer

Been struggling with my cash game a just flirting with break-even. Been playing more SNG's and have actually been doing well this month. I am seriously considering playing more SNG's, a few MTT's, and playing less cash games. I'll still try to improve my cash game through study and play, but I'll just be grinding less. Seems like I've even been feeling good about most of my SNG losses.

I'll see how it goes. Almost done with NLHE:T&P, so maybe I'll pick a tourney book next.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My New Favorite Song

And a cool video, too. The HD looks great if you go full screen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New FTP Mod: Redfish

Here's my latest Full Tilt Poker racetrack table mod I just finished by request. From what I gather, "inshore" fishing enthusiasts might like it:

Install instructions here.

To remove FTP's center felt, click here.

For more free FTP table mods, see the right side margin of the blog.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stick's Poker Library v.4

Here's the latest version of my poker book library. A couple of changes since I last posted the list in November. Saved almost 60% off the total cover prices mostly by trading in non-poker books or buying used.

Monday, June 1, 2009

May 2009 Results

Made a profit of $121, but it was due to a Stars bonus. I actually made a profit at cash games:

It's at SnG's is where I messed up. First time in a while. I could usually count on SnG's being a "pick me up" during bad months. But not this time:

Since joining Stoxpoker, I've been a little more aware of the state of my game. Able to see leaks after watching training videos. I highly recommend it at $28 a month for those who can't afford a coach. Plus you can pay for further months with Full Tilt points. I extended 3 months with mine. Plus they do have coaches for hire, if you can afford them.

Anyway, I really, really need to play more. Didn't even make Goldstar again this month. Trying to get into shape physically. After a friend told me he lost 40 lbs. in 3 months, I'm hoping it lights a fire under me. I've already lost 3 lbs. by riding my stationary bike a few times and cutting back my food portions. I'm thoroughly convinced that my lack of conditioning is preventing me from getting good sleep, which then prevents me from putting in longer poker sessions. Not to mention other things in life.

So I promise I'll finish my book and post a review this month. And here's to a good month in poker.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Stick's Update: Slackin'

I've been playing, but not as much as I should. Been studying on Stox, but not as much as I should. My cash game is still very swingy and very frustrating right now. I'll have 3 pretty good days, then one bad day to wipe those 3 good ones out. Seems I am a slave to the showdown. I do well preflop, but get committed if I go past the flop. My Ace-high c-bets get lots of callers with 2nd pair. Then there's always the suckout or the overpair. I think I better start studying my post-flop play.

Anyway. I've been tuned into Twitter and playing too much games. Dumb distractions, but I guess it could be worse.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trump's Ties to Rivers' Charity?

As heard in this RawVegas clip on Wicked Chops, Trump's sister-in-law is on the board of "God's Love We Deliver". See for yourself (specifically at the 3:30 mark):

If this is true, as I've said before... GG Annie. Trump and NBC are rigged.

EDIT: Yes, it's true. Gambling911 has proof:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Annie Duke Told The Truth, Not Rivers

Through all of Joan Rivers' berating and viciously insulting Annie Duke and people who also participate in Annie's profession (poker players, including me and most of my readers), there were also Rivers' numerous accusations of lying by Annie Duke which were never, ever proven.

However, Rivers committed a hugely blatant lie on national TV for all to see (by saying that the designer didn't quit because of her) and she still got rewarded with the Apprentice title. Ironically, the basis of this lie (insulting the design company owner and causing him to pull all design help from the show at the 11th hour) is what many believe tipped the scales in Rivers' favor in winning the final task.

Read more about Rivers' lie here:

Also, many believe Trump clearly chose Rivers' for her star power and US-based charity ties, even though Annie Duke outplayed everyone throughout the entire game and kept things on a professional level without getting personal. If Trump actually had to hire one of these 2 as an employee he had to directly deal with and he had to trust them with important professional decisions, who do you think he would REALLY choose? The answer is painfully obvious.

GG Annie. Trump and NBC are rigged.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New FTP Mod: Stoxpoker

I just upgraded to premium at Stoxpoker, so I figured I'd make a cool Full Tilt Poker racetrack mod to commemorate the occasion.

For FTP mod install instructions, click here.

For FTP center felt removal instructions, click here.

For more cool Full Tilt table backgrounds, look in the right side margin of the blog.

Friday, May 1, 2009

April 2009 Results

A month of lots of little upswings and a few big downswings results in a -$213 total:

I thought that increasing my 50NL PFR/VPIP ratio from around 33 to around 41 would bring good results. But it seems like it only gets me committed more postflop and more susceptible to poor showdowns. I don't know if my play is predictable to most of the regs I play or if I'm reading them wrong. I used to get better reads when I played more passively. Not sure what to do now. I think I'll try some coaching and maybe make a video.

My tourney stats weren't too bad:

I play mostly $6 6-player turbo SNG's, but there were a few other types mixed in there. I wouldn't mind playing more SNG's, but I need to keep my FPP's up on PokerStars and cash games are the only way to do that. BTW, I didn't make Goldstar this month. I think I let my focus drift and I got lazy. Still battling energy/sleep issues. Must find a cure.

I've been neglecting my reading. Trying to finish "NLHE: Theory & Practice", but been lazy with that, too. I'm on the last portion of the book where it gives short tips. Great stuff there, if I can only finish it. I swear a book review is coming.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stick's Update: Blah

In a poker funk right now. Still working on aggression and still getting crushed by bad showdowns. Probably won't break even this month and won't make Goldstar. Oh well... again.

Not much else, but damn those Sharks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wow! Crazy Day Yesterday!

Check out my poker day yesterday:

Down 2 buy-ins at 50NL early. Then up 2+ B-I's late. And my NSD$ stayed relatively flat. The reason this graph made me take notice is because I had lost 5 B-I's a day earlier without recovering. I made a good comeback yesterday, but why do I get down so far to begin with?

I've been picking up my aggression lately, but I keep getting stung at showdown and I'm still not sure why. Am I getting pot-commited by the turn? Too much C-betting? Preflop hand quality? Bad position play? Since my $900+ month in February, I've kinda lost the handle. Very inconsistant. I might try to get some more coaching and I might make another video for folks to critique. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mid-Month April 2009 Update

Sitting at -$100 for the first half. Very swingy runs. Lacking consistency. It seems that if I play aggressively, I'm more susceptible to showdown beats. But if I play passively, my profit stays flattish. Need to try something new, I guess. I think I'm playing well overall, though.

Still have sleep issues, but I'm developing a plan to get healthier. I'm pretty sure that getting healthier = better sleep, so I gotta get crackin'.

Doesn't look like Vegas is in the plans this year. Might have to make it to Reno instead. Dunno.

I'm liking this Twitter thing, too. Reading tweets from other folks and celebs is just as fun as posting, imo.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stick's Update: 1st Week of April 2009

Still having sleep problems. Affecting my energy while playing poker. I really want to play 1000 hands a day, but I only have 2800 cash hands over the 1st 6 days of April. I did play 6 SnG's for 378 hands, though. Gotta start exercising and getting healthier to help out in the sleep/energy department. And BTW, I'm +$12 so far this month.

I also wanna increase my overall physical stamina before the end of June since I'm about 80% sure I'm going to meet the CC folks in Las Vegas. It'll be hot and we'll have to do some walking, so I wanna be in shape and not lagging/sleeping most of the time. I also don't want to have to rely on 5-hour Energy too much. I love that stuff, but too much can be tough on a person. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March 2009 Results

Ended the month -$430. I feel like I played well, but I guess my stats say I didn't. Very swingy. Dunno if I had some mild bouts of tilt or just a few clusters of tough beats. Or maybe a bit of both. LOL.

I've been told I need to raise more preflop. But when I do, it seems like I get into more trouble post-flop. As can be seen in my graph above, my showdowns seem to dictate my winnings. Also, I seem to run into loose tables where taking the lead doesn't seem optimal. So I play passively and my PFR% lowers. If I could flatten out my "Non-Showdown Winnings", I think I'd be OK. Hmmmm. Some consistency, please.

Only played a few SNG's. Made a little in those.

I just upgraded my HEM from 1.07 to beta 1.08.22. Seems nice so far. Still a few minor bugs, but thankfully nothing major. Still getting used to the Tourney section. Importing my old tourney hands from PT2 was easy enough. Only had 10 errors out of 22,230 hands imported.

Haven't been reading much. Been trying to work on my game more, I guess. Finally did our taxes and I guess I'm officially a "professional" poker player now since I seem to fit the guidelines in how poker fits my life. It's my only "job", so it fits. Now to step it up so I can see some real income. My family would like that, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stick's Update: Near Month-end & Twitter

About breaking even since my last poker update. Still around -$200 for the month. Tough to stay aggressive at 50NL when I run into so many loose players. The only way to capitalize is to PF limp and let them bet when I hit the flop. A very passive approach by me. C-bets are usually trouble vs loose donkeys. Oh well. I guess it's good to be able to adapt.

I've had a Twitter account for a couple years, but I just now started really getting into it. It's just as fun to follow other people and celebs as it is to post things about myself. I've added my Twitter feed in the right side margin of the blog. My Twitter ID is Stick66.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

R.I.P. Natasha Richardson: 1963-2009

Acclaimed actress Natasha Richardson died yesterday from a brain injury after falling on a ski slope. She was 45.

So sad. I loved her in "Nell" and in "Waking Up in Reno". I plan on renting a few of her other movies as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mid-March 2009 Update

During the first week of March, I went on a $500 slide over a few days. But I've been slowly crawling back and I'm only -$211 now. I think I tilted a little in there, but most were coolers against huge donks. A good amount of 4-1 suckouts against me, but I'll live. I'm still shamefully stacking overpairs VS sets & 2 pairs, but a bit less now. My aggression is slowly rising at 50NL and I'm pretty happy with how I've been playing over the last 10 days or so.

Since Stars lowered their requirements for their VIP levels, it looks like I'll make Goldstar quite easily this month. Too bad I won't have a dramatic climb to reach it like I did last month. I guess I'll have to try for Platinum Star soon then. Maybe in a couple months.

I left the Loyaler group at Cardschat a few days ago for sanity reasons. I figured I was too tempted to inject my opinion into all the controversial stuff that goes on in there. Since I have mixed it up so much in past discussions, it seems there was an overall over-sensitivity to my comments as a whole (which for the most part I thought were polite and acceptable). I concluded that I didn't think I could avoid the temptation of clicking those links and posting anymore, so I decided to remove the temptation altogether. Kinda like a crack addict avoiding his old hangouts to stay clean. I think I lost a few friends in there and I don't want to lose any more of them. So far, I feel great since I left and I think I made the correct decision. I'm still staying active in the regular sections there because I still <3 Cardschat.

I'm still reading "NLHE: Theory & Practice", though it hasn't been as often. I've been having sleeping problems and I've been putting all my energy into playing solid poker sessions. I've been neglecting doing my taxes, too. Bad boy, I am.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stick's Video: 4-tabling 50NL, Stars 3/9/09

EDIT: Thanks to "BigJoker66" for turning me onto Blip.TV and uploading my video for me. Now no need for download. Just use the player in full screen mode here:

Haven't done one of these in a while. It's a 177 MB AVI file, 33 minutes long. Any critiques are welcome on the forum or on here. Either is fine.

I'm trying out a new host for my videos called "Z-Share". Lemme know what you think of it, also.
(Their player is pretty bad, so click the download link right above it.)

Now if that doesn't work out, I also uploaded it to MegaUpload as well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

February 2009 Results

Pretty good month, actually:

The last part of the month sort of leveled off, but February was a good month overall. I made a total profit of $917. That includes $608 on cash games, a $285 FPP-purchased bonus, and a tiny bit of SnG's. I made Goldstar at the last moment and I even raised my PFR/VPIP Ratio from the mid-30's to the low 40's. I've also finally figured out how to get myself locked into longer sessions. That bodes well for the future.

As of this writing, March hasn't started out too well. I'm down 6 buy-ins in 2.5 days, but I have plenty of time to fix that. I already recognized some mistakes I made and I think I tilted some. All easy fixes.

I got put on the wait list for jury duty in my county and I don't mind serving if needed. I just hope I'll still have time to keep up my poker. We'll see.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goldstar Quest - OMG! I Did It!!!!

With only 20 minutes to spare:

Last night, my wife and kid went to bed at 11:30 and I wasn't tired. So I started a poker session and just got into a mental zone. My sessions usually only last for 45 - 85 minutes, but last night I was locked in and went for 3.5 hours. Even though I ended down 1.5 buy-ins, I felt I only made a couple mistakes and ended up earning over 500 VPP's. So today I was only 410 VPP's short of Goldstar and I decided to go for it. I waited until the last minute too, since I watched my Sharks lose to the Habs. I played tonight for 3.25 hours and hit Goldstar only 20 minutes before the PokerStars deadline.

Even though I lost a little bit of profit, it still feels great to hit this goal. It's especially nice after I had given up nearly all hope in a previous post. I also think I learned a bit about myself and how to get myself locked in for a long session. Before now, I never thought I could play for more than 2 hours at a time without getting restless and losing concentration. Now with this new development, I'm hoping my poker progress will shift into a higher gear.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Goldstar Quest - 3 Days Left; Oh Well

Status this morning 2/26/09:

With 3 days left, it would take a miracle to be able to get 355 VPP's each day. But no biggie. My game is improving and I'm seeing good results. I'm finally getting used to the subtle difference between 25NL and 50NL. And yes, there is a difference.

Had a coaching/sweat session with Zachvac a couple days ago and I'm pretty sure it helped. I took notes and he identified a few leaks he saw that I never thought about before. He just raised his coaching prices, but I still might hit him up again soon for reinforcement.