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?