Posts Tagged ‘online poker sites’

Where have the Poker Fish gone…to your Local Casino

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Wondering where all of the online poker fish have gone over the past few years? A great place to check would be your local casino, at least according to The Atlantic, which wrote a great piece on the matter this week.

The article follows a poker pro, who goes by the alias “John Calvin,” around the Maryland Live! poker room. The article also adds some details about 2012 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Merson, who happens to be present when the writer is there. Here’s one excerpt from the story:

John Calvin (not his real name) swims somewhere in the middle. He is a grinder, a cautious type who doesn’t bluff that often or do anything hair-raisingly spectacular in tight situations, and who makes his living by doggedly adhering to the odds against lesser players. He got his start making a few dollars a hand on the Web site PartyPoker, then graduated to long weekends of live play at the Borgata before taking up residence at a casino poker room in Charles Town, West Virginia. These days, he commutes from his home, in Washington, D.C., to Maryland Live, where he feeds on fish who are happy to lose a few hundred dollars an hour playing No Limit Texas Hold ’Em.

The Atlantic piece also describes some of the other players at the Maryland Live! poker room – both sharks and fish. If you read it, you’ll get an in-depth look at how somebody like John Calvin spots the weaker players and takes advantage of the situation.

Anybody who plays online poker these days would certainly appreciate reading the article. The internet game seems to have fewer and fewer fish every day, making skilled players wonder if the pool is drying up. But it’s nice to see that there are still places where bad players are donating enough money that good pros can earn “$300 to $400 an hour.”

The only problem is that you’re going to have to visit your local casino to find a large population of fish. And this can be a problem for those who are short on time and/or really shy. But we have to say that this is preferable to grinding 12 tables of $0.05/$0.10 Hold’em just to make profits.

Deadspin explains “Why You’ll Never make A Living playing Live Poker Tournaments”

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Many people are familiar with the website, which covers major sports gossip. Given the focus of their site, Deadspin doesn’t exactly do a lot of poker features. That said, the piece they turned out on Why You’ll Never Make a Living Playing Poker Tournaments was quite impressive.

The article takes off on a Bryan Devonshire CardPlayer article about how difficult it is to be a tournament pro in the US. And Deadspin breaks down the math on this subject, providing some very interesting statistics and analysis along the way. The post begins by discussing online poker star Chris Moorman, who, over the course of 39,000 online tournaments, had a median ROI of 26.5%. So if Moorman spends $1,000 on a poker tourney, he’s making $265 in profit on average.

Of course, hardly anybody is as good as Moorman at online tournaments. What’s more is that Americans can’t play at Full Tilt or PokerStars like Moorman, unless they move outside of the US. So many Americans are forced to grind at smaller online poker sites and US-based tourneys.

This creates a huge problem because, as Deadspin points out, even a gambling capital like Las Vegas doesn’t offer many weekly tournaments with $1,000-plus buy-ins. So outside of the WSOP, many grinders are left playing in $150-$300 buy-in events where it’s hard to capitalize on a good ROI.

For this reason, many US pros try to make as much money as they can during the WSOP. Unfortunately, the high level of competition leaves many players with a much smaller ROI. Deadspin gives several statistics leading to the conclusion that two-thirds of the best WSOP players are losing money each year.

The Deadspin article certainly creates a grim, but accurate portrayal of what many American pros face today. So do players give up? The problem isn’t quite this drastic, at least for semi-pros, who can still make a good deal of money on non-regulated, US-friendly internet sites. However, the big-time pros will probably keep living outside of the Untied States until the regulated online market includes far more states than just Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey.

PokerScout goes Offline – Bodog to Blame?

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Throughout most of yesterday and part of today, went offline. This popular site provides traffic figures on internet poker sites and also sells player data to their clientele. However, people were denied the ability to visit PokerScout after it was down for a 24-hour period.

At this point, there’s no word on if the big interruption was due to server problems or Bodog. The Bodog brand has a long-running feud with PokerScout over the latter’s willingness to sell player data. Through their “Recreational Player Model,” Bodog has made it a mission to protect amateur grinders at all costs. The idea here is to block third-party data mining sites and eliminate the use of “heads-up display software,” which provides stats and tendencies on opponents.

PokerScout’s insistence on selling stats on players undercuts the Recreational Player Model by giving pros the upperhand. For this reason, Bodog has launched an anti-PokerScout campaign and tried to get them booted offline. But again, it’s tough to say whether Bodog had a hand in actually getting PokerScout kicked offline, or if this was some kind of technical problem.

There are still a fair amount of online poker sites that do allow heads-up display software and third-party data mining. But with online poker traffic slowly declining across the board, many rooms are seeing the value in keeping recreational players around.

After all, amateur players bring new money into the industry with their deposits. And if these players are getting beaten badly by pros right away, it discourages them from sticking around. So poker rooms like Bodog, Party Poker and Lock Poker have recently made efforts to help amateurs while limiting the resources that professionals can use to beat their opponents.

Ben Mezrich on Absolute Poker – “They were Days away from being like Mark Zuckerberg”

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Ben Mezrich continues to receive mainstream coverage on his book Straight Flush. The Accidental Billionaires author’s newest work dives into the story of how six University of Montana frat brothers founded Absolute Poker. As many know, Absolute would become one of the world’s largest online poker sites, pulling in $1 million in profit a day at one point.

Mezrich’s depiction of the Absolute Poker story is generating quite a bit of press. He recently appeared on CNBC to discuss Straight Flush (interview in link) and had some very interesting things to say about it.

One of the more intriguing subjects that Mezrich discussed was how Absolute Poker owners were just days away from launching an initial public offering. However, the multi-billion dollar company’s 2006 IPO was derailed when US President George W. Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) into effect in 2006.

“These guys were the first people and these guys are paying the price for being too early,” Mezrich stated. “They were days away from being like Mark Zuckerberg.” But as fate would have it, Absolute’s owners, Scott Tom and Brent Beckley, essentially lost their poker site after Black Friday (April 15th, 2011), when the US Department of Justice busted AP.

During the interview, Mezrich also went into detail on the UIGEA and legalized gambling today. “The (US) government, in my opinion, passed some hypocritical bill that went after online poker for reasons unexplained,” he said. “And now it’s starting to come back – now online poker is starting to be legalized. But these guys (AP founders) were kind of the first people, and now they’re kind of paying the price for being too early.”

Mezrich also mentions how he hopes Straight Flush will eventually become a movie. Kevin Spacey was brought up during the interview since he starred in 21 – the film adaptation of Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House. Assuming Straight Flush does get turned into a movie, watch for Spacey to grace the screen in a prominent role.

Famed Author Ben Mezrich ready to release Absolute Poker Book

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Ben Mezrich, who wrote the world-famous books Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions and The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding Of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal, has announced that he’s getting close to releasing his latest work, Straight Flush.

This book, which deals heavily with Absolute Poker, is due out on May 28th and can be pre-ordered now. Mezrich has said in plenty of interviews that this story will cover how six University of Montana frat brothers created one of the biggest online poker sites in the world. Judging from the clip seen here, it looks as if the author will also go into detail on the Black Friday indictment and legal matters involving the Absolute owners too.

At this point, it’s difficult to know what else will be included in Straight Flush. However, one angle that may not be included is all of the scandals at Absolute Poker – the biggest of which involved a superuser scandal where AP management were able to see the hole cards of their players. This cost a number of players millions of dollars, and the perpetrators went largely unpunished.

Of course, when looking at Mezrich’s past works, it may make sense that he’s avoiding the cheating issue. Both Bringing Down the House and The Accidental Millionaires deal with young people who stumbled into very lucrative professions. Telling the story of frat boys who went from cash-strapped college students to multi-millionaires would definitely be in the same vein as the aforementioned works.

But this isn’t so say that Mezrich will completely avoid the scandals that plagued AP. After all, the book won’t even be released for another month and a half, so a lot could change.

WSOP Champ Greg Merson – A Tale of Drugs and Redemption

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

By now pretty much the whole poker world has heard of Greg Merson’s 2012 WSOP Main Event victory. Following a 103-day break before final table play began, Merson dispatched his last eight opponents this week en route to the $8,531,853 first place prize. Thanks to his Main Event victory, the 24-year-old was also able to grab the 2012 WSOP Player of the Year award too.

But what many people may not know about Merson is that there’s more to this story than just some young poker player winning a big tournament. The Laurel, Maryland native was actually addicted to drugs just a short time ago before getting his life on track.

How to cope

As for how it all happened, Black Friday struck and hampered Merson’s ability to play on the biggest online poker sites. What ensued was a severe depression that had him wondering how he was going to continue making a living with the game. Merson eventually coped with his problems by turning to drugs, which is when he finally hit rock bottom.


Luckily, Merson wouldn’t stay mired in this downward spiral forever. He turned to live poker tournaments in hopes of replacing the loss of online poker revenue. And he certainly accomplished this goal after winning the 2012 WSOP Event #57 (6-max Hold’em) tournament along with $1,136,197.

Of course, this was only a warm-up of what was yet to come since we now know that Merson also captured the Main Event title along with another $8.53 million. Thanks to these latest victories, he now has an impressive $9,851,557 in live tournament cashes. More importantly, he’s overcame the drug problems that he dealt with last year and looks on track to continue having an excellent poker career.

Online Poker Satellite Tips

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

One of the great things about online poker is that it gives you the chance to win prize packages for major land-based tournaments. For example, if you wanted to play in the WSOP Main Event, you could play for a prize package that would cover your travel expenses and $10k Main Event seat.

Most online poker sites run various “satellites,” which are tournaments that see players try to play their way towards prize packages. Assuming you’re interested in winning a package deal for a major land-based tournament, here are a few online poker satellite tips that will help you out.

Tip #1: Base your Play on the Satellite Structure

One of the first things that you need to do when playing online satellites is think about the structure. Is there one prize package offered? Or are there multiple prize packages given out? Assuming there is only one prize package available, your strategy needs to be extremely aggressive because second place doesn’t mean a thing. So any time you feel that you have an edge, don’t be afraid to shove your stack in to take an opponent’s stack.

When multiple packages are offered, you simply need to survive the bubble and collect your prize. Multiple prize satellites still require a lot of aggressive play, but also realize that you don’t have to take coin flips all of the time just to meet the end goal.

Tip #2: Look to steal often

In the later stages of satellites, you need to look to steal as much as possible. Blind levels usually increase pretty fast in satellites, so you don’t have time to wait around for 20 orbits before playing a hand. When you’re in the cut-off or on the button, you need to consider stealing whenever the opportunity arises. It always helps to have weak-passive players in the blinds when trying to the blinds. But if you don’t have this luxury, just make sure that you attempt to steal with a semi-decent hand in case you’re called.

Tip #3: Realize that Satellites involve lots of Variance

Online poker satellites are quite tough to beat – even for highly-skilled players. The reason why is because the amount of prize packages is very small in relation to the number of players involved. This being the case, keep your expectations realistic, and don’t play overly-tight while hoping to sneak into a package. Instead, take risks when you think you’ve got the advantage, and hope that luck helps you with the rest.

Joe Hachem: From PokerStars to AsianLogic

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem definitely raised some eyebrows when he chose not to renew his sponsorship/endorsement contract with PokerStars. Seeing as how PokerStars is the world’s biggest poker site, one would think he’d have stayed put here.

Then came the rumors that the Aussie had signed on with a little known Merge Gaming Network site known as HahaPoker. This definitely got people talking because of the disparity of the move from PokerStars to HahaPoker. However, this has definitely been proven as a rumor following Hachem’s announcement that he will be signing with the AsianLogic Group.

If you’re unfamiliar with AsianLogic, they are best known for operating the Asian Poker Tour, and they also provide software services for online poker sites and other gaming entities. As for Hachem’s role within this company, he shed a little light on the subject by saying, “I am delighted to announce that I have decided to partner with a consortium comprising the AsianLogic Group and some of their contemporaries.” He added, “I will be working with the group in several areas, initially as a new ambassador for the Asian Poker Tour to further the growth of poker and to assist them with several strategic opportunities in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.”

AsianLogic’s chairman, Tom Hall, expanded on Hachem’s role with his company by saying, “Joe brings much more to the table than just his poker playing skills. His knowledge and understanding of the gaming industry both domestically and internationally will be invaluable to us going forwards.” He also said, “The Asian Poker Tour is already widely recognized as Asia’s only independent tour and we feel Joe will be able to help us expand this business. AsianLogic and its partners are also involved in a number of poker and gaming projects and Joe is helping us with some of these, particularly those in Australia and New Zealand.”

It’s no surprise that Joe Hachem would sign a sponsorship deal so quickly since he’s not only the 2005 WSOP Main Event winner, but also ninth in career poker tournament winnings with $11,342,508. Considering that almost $3.9 million of this has come away from the Main Event winnings, Hachem is definitely one of the most successful ME winners of all-time.

Does Phil Hellmuth know about Online Poker Legalization?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

2011 has been a very good year for Phil Hellmuth since he managed to finish second in three WSOP tournaments, and earn over $1.5 million with these three cashes alone. The only thing that seems to be missing from Hellmuth’s life right now is a good sponsorship deal. However, according to a recent Hellmuth interview, that may change along with the landscape of online poker in the United States.

Beginning with the latter, Hellmuth revealed his thoughts on online poker legalization to Short Stacked Radio by saying, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it passed before Feb. 1. I think there’s going to be the biggest explosion in poker history the minute (online poker) is legalized.”

These are certainly interesting thoughts on the matter since many people are still in the dark on how online poker legalization is faring in the US. Assuming the American government does legalize and regulate internet poker in the near future, plenty of people stand to benefit, including Hellmuth as he stated, “I happen to be in a pretty lucky position where we have had more than one discussion recently, you know, there’s some very big companies and some very big people that are starting to get ready for the legalization of online poker.”

The Poker Brat also hinted that it won’t be long before he picks up a new sponsorship deal by saying, “You may find me signing something in the next two weeks. You may find me signing with a company that no one’s ever heard of. Don’t be surprised if that happens.”

The last comment definitely raises some eyebrows because there are a number of companies that could offer Hellmuth a lucrative deal provided internet poker does happen in America. Assuming it does, you can guarantee that a number of online poker sites will be clamoring for the services of an 11-time WSOP gold bracelet winner.

Poker Sites aligning with Casinos

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

One of the most interesting trends that’s developing in poker right now is all of the online poker sites that are aligning with casinos to create websites. 888Poker and Caesars Entertainment were the first two major companies to form a pact, and this deal will see 888 and Caesars eventually running a website when/if online poker is regulated in the US. In addition to this pact, PokerStars recently made a deal with the Wynn, while Full Tilt Poker is said to be working with Station Casinos on a potential site.

What’s interesting about all of these sudden alliances is that land-based casinos were vehemently opposed to internet poker in the early and mid-2000’s. So why the change of heart now?

As you probably guessed, it’s not because land-based casino owners are suddenly more interested in playing online poker themselves. Instead, it all has to do with money since land-based casinos suddenly see the light, and are willing to embrace internet poker rather than fighting against it.

Besides realizing they can earn all kinds of extra revenue with online poker, other benefits of joining the online poker craze for land-based casinos is that they can funnel lots of new visitors to their poker events. For example, a new site between 888Poker and Caesars can run lots of promotions that would bring players to Caesars’ tournaments. Suddenly, their dinky WSOP Circuit events would attract a lot of new potential players.

Of course, this all hinges on whether or not online poker is ever legalized within the US. After all, these deals between online poker rooms and land-based casinos are merely writing on paper until the UIGEA gets lifted. And for the first time in a while, land-based casinos are on board with the rest of us in hoping that this actually happens.