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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