Posts Tagged ‘poker’

David “Doc” Sands retires from Poker

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

David “Doc” Sands has become the latest famed poker pro to retire from the game. But unlike other players, Sands isn’t retiring because he’s burnt out or doing badly on the tables. Instead, he’ll be working for a hedge fund, as he told Doyle Brunson via twitter. Here’s a quick look at their twitter exchange:

(Brunson) There is a rumor going around that you are retiring from poker. Surely it’s not true?

(Sands) I am, to an extent. I took a job at hedge fund – learning how to place some bigger bets 😉

Sands has been playing poker since the mid-2000s. He first gained fame after racking up some impressive online poker scores, even achieving the number one ranking on PocketFives for a while. He’s earned over $3 million in online tournament cashes, with most of this money coming at Full Tilt and PokerStars.

Both he and his then-girlfriend (now wife), Erika Moutinho, achieved some mainstream fame after they made deep runs in the 2011 WSOP Main Event. This was obviously a true love connection because Sands busted out in 30th ($242,636), with Moutinho shortly following him in 29th place (same payout).

After this breakthrough in the live circuit, Sands went on to take second in the 2011 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond $100k High Roller ($664,027), second in the 2012 L.A. Poker Classic Main Event ($806,370), second in the 2013 PCA $100k High Roller ($1,259,320), and first in the 2013 WPT Championship $100k Super High Roller ($1,023,750). Thanks to all of these huge scores, he has $5,738,008 in live tournament winnings.

Given the success that Sands has maintained in recent years, it’s interesting timing that he would choose now to step away from the game. But on the other hand, maybe Doc is looking at investing as a way to turn his poker profits into even more winnings. Whatever the case may be, we wish him luck in the future.

Should Poker really be covered like Winter Olympics?

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

It’s been about a week since Joe Hachem gave his interview on how WSOP Main Event champions need to step up their ambassadorship efforts. And the discussion hasn’t stopped, with Daniel Negreanu recently bringing up an interesting perspective on poker television coverage.

Negreanu thinks that ESPN and 411 Productions could learn a thing or two from how NBC presents the Winter Olympics. As KidPoker pointed out through twitter, casual viewers aren’t exactly on a first-name basis with winter sports athletes. So NBC does a good job of focusing on athletes’ backstories. Here’s a sample of what Negreanu tweeted:

Winter Olympics provide a great example. Public doesn’t know the people or the sports but with great story telling fans & stars are created.

Much of the poker boom should be credited to ESPN and 411 Productions who spent time developing stars of poker. We have gotten away from it.

There is something interesting about EVERYONE! It’s up to the production team to find out what that is, then sell it to the public.

I have ALWAYS believed the focus should never be on the game, but on the characters who play it. We waste time appeasing the wrong demo.

Global poker numbers don’t seem to suggest that the game’s popularity is immediately dying off. However, Negreanu and other pros don’t feel like this popularity is sustainable if personality and interesting backstories aren’t brought back into the fray.

But it’s worth mentioning that, over the past five years or so, tournament TV coverage has been catering to more of a hardcore audience. So to revert back to how WSOP coverage was presented in the mid-2000’s and earlier would be a huge change. And not everybody is a fan of this either. Isaac Haxton is one of them, as you can see from the following tweets:

@RealKidPoker Comparing poker to the Olympics is perfect… if you want poker to be like snowshoeing, which people only watch every 4 years

@RealKidPoker But for something that is on tv consistently every week like other popular sports, in-depth analysis is completely appropriate

@RealKidPoker Poker lends itself to serious analysis on TV even more so because so many fans of the game play poker competitively themselves

@RealKidPoker Furthermore it’s insulting to the viewers to assume that they can’t or don’t want to understand the real mechanics of the game

@RealKidPoker More serious doesn’t have to mean less fun. TV commentary can be sophisticated while still being lighthearted and entertaining

Haxton brings up a good point too. However, the question here is what’s more important to a long-term sustainable poker population? Serious pros who understand check-raise analysis, or casual observers who keep filtering into the game and mostly serving as fish?

But as Haxton stated, maybe there’s a good way to blend sophisticated strategy talk along with jokes and lighthearted content. If so, ESPN really needs to add more of the latter if they want poker to continue growing.

Joe Sebok claims Nude Photos Extortion Plot ruined his Career

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Once a solid tournament pro with almost $1.9 million in winnings, Joe Sebok has been off the poker radar for the past few years. In fact, he’s gotten more attention for his blue collar job of crushing grapes than he has for playing poker. And now Sebok is blaming an extortion plot involving nude photos for his rapid drop-off in the poker world.

Two California men named Tyler Schrier and Keith James Hudson, and a Philadelphia man named Ryder Finney were the perpetrators in the crime. Schrier and Hudson were recently sentenced to 42 months and 24 months in prison, respectively, for charges including hacking into a protected computer, stealing naked photos, extortion and hacking into an email account. Finney has yet to be sentenced since he’s in a different state.

Sebok and a number of other people were victimized by the trio in 2010. According to the Los Angeles Times, the hackers got into Sebok and others’ computers to steal sensitive information and emails. They then used this info to extort thousands of dollars out of the victims. When Sebok refused, they sent his naked pictures to an estimated 100 people.

The 36-year-old told U.S. District Court Judge James Otero that this incident had an extremely negative impact on his career and “instantly damaged my ability to sustain my livelihood doing what I had been since 2005.”

He continued by saying, “In short, I was no longer able to maintain my then-current level of participation in the poker industry, representing the brands that I had been previously, as well as greatly destroying my ability to do so with new companies moving forward.” Sebok added, “Without belaboring the point too much, it was a nightmare, and one that I was forced to live through with millions of people watching.”

Since 2010, when the extortion plot took place, Sebok has only earned $24,792 in live tournaments, thus indicating some truth to his courtroom statements. Furthermore, Sebok hasn’t been sponsored by a poker site since his controversial signing with Ultimate Bet in 2009. Many people labeled him a sellout for joining UB Poker based on the room’s previous scandals. To this day, many people continue to loath Sebok for representing UB.

Daniel Negreanu picks well on Millionaire Matchmaker

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

A few weeks ago, we discussed how Daniel Negreanu was set to appear on the popular Bravo reality show “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” Well that day finally came as KidPoker sought out the advice of show host Patti Stangler in hopes of finding true love.

In the video introduction that he sent to Patti, Negreanu let her know that he’d dated a woman for four years, only to find out that “she’d been getting around” with other men. Because he was still hurt from this relationship, Stangler nicknamed him “Wounded Wally.”

Next up was an interesting trip to an astrologist, where the four-time WSOP champ learned that he wasn’t supposed to find his soulmate until at least 40 years old. The cosmic alignments must have been right in this case because Negreanu is 38 and still looking for that special lady.

After visiting the astrologist, Daniel went to a mixer that was set up by Stangler. The goal here was for Negreanu to meet a number of gorgeous women and find the one with an “Anna Farris” type of personality. He was eventually able to find one girl that met this ideal, and he took her on a date to Las Vegas.

The two seemed to hit it off right away as they checked out the set of a Vegas show and played blackjack. The latter actually led to the couple’s first kiss, and they only become more enamored with each other from here. Negreanu and his new blonde lover ended up spending a sexless night (at Patti’s request)  together at his Vegas house – thus sealing their perfect match. If you’re interested in seeing a few scenes from the episode, you can check out the video below:

Shoving with a Flush Draw

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

One very risky cash game move that you’ll see experienced poker players make involves shoving on the flop with a flush draw. The obvious goal here is to force a fold because your flush is only going to connect 35% of the time (from the flop). This being said, it’s definitely worth further examining why somebody would shove in these situations.

Fold Equity

The main reason for shoving with a flush draw is that you’re looking for fold equity – a.k.a. what percentage of the time you think an opponent will fold. For example, if you go all-in with Ks-Qs on a flop of Jh-8s-4s and think your opponent will fold 75% of the time, this is probably a +EV move (based on pot sizes). So the tighter your opponent is, the more likely you are to gain fold equity from shoving with flush draws.

Other Outs

Many people fail to account for all of their outs when deciding whether or not to shove. For example, let’s say that you hold Ad-Kd on a flop of Td-6d-2h; assuming your opponent calls and shows Q-Q, you actually have a 54.44% chance to win the hand. You’ve got 9 outs with the flush and another eight outs with your two overcards. Combine this with good fold equity and shoving on the flop is definitely a +EV move.

Multiple Players

So far we’ve discussed how shoving with a flush draw on the flop can be a very good move in certain situations – against one player that is. However, if you have a feeling that two or more players could call you, it’s rarely ever a good decision to shove with flush draws. In most cases, you won’t run into this problem. However, if you’re on a table full of calling stations, you could very well be looking at a -EV situation.

One more point worth making in all of this is that you should usually be chasing a nut flush (or at least king-high) when shoving. After all, you’d hate to push your chips in with Qd-Jd, only to be called with Ad-Kd.

Why Poker Freerolls can be more Frustrating than Real Money Play

Monday, December 17th, 2012

A lot of online poker players initially get their start by playing freerolls. After all, if you’re leery about putting money on the line, open-entry freerolls (no entry requirements) are a great way to build a bankroll from scratch. But there’s also a big downside to starting out with open-entry freerolls. In fact, they can be very frustrating and we’ll explain why below.

Heavy Competition

The main problem with most freerolls is that the proportion between players and the prize money is badly skewed. For example, there might be 2,000 players competing for a $100 prize pool; this works out to $0.05 of expected value for the average player.

Taking the heavy amount of competition into account, it gets really frustrating trying to make money in freerolls. There are going to be tons of times when you make deep runs in freeroll tournaments, only to bust out close to the money. Considering how only around 1.5-2% of the field cashes, it’s really heart-breaking to just miss a cash.


Compounding the stress of an open-entry freeroll is the fact that you’ll be getting very little money out of your time. Going further, you might only earn a few cents per hour when everything is averaged out. This being said, many players are simply better off making a small deposit and grinding their way up from the lower stakes.

A Good Practice

While most freerolls aren’t exactly money-generators, players shouldn’t totally discount them – especially beginners. Anybody who’s new to online poker can get a lot of benefit out of playing these free tournaments. There’s no money to risk, and you get to compete against other opponents for a prize pool.

But the main thing to understand here is that it’s tough making any serious money from freerolls. So if profit is your entire poker goal, make a deposit, keep learning strategy, and grind your way up the stakes.

Theo Jorgensen is Latest Robbery in Poker Community

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

One topic that we’ve discussed a few times in the past is how more and more poker players seem to be getting robbed these days. And the trend culminated last year with the grisly beating/robbery of 2010 WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel.

Unfortunately, we witnessed another robbery that was just as grisly as Duhamel’s over the weekend. This time the victim was well-liked Danish grinder Theo Jorgensen, who had three masked criminals break into his Greve, Denmark home. They demanded money and the Dane forked over what amounted to $6,215 USD. However, the robbers were unhappy with this amount and one of them shot Jorgensen in the leg three times.

His wife, who’d witnessed the entire scene, called police immediately after the robbers took off. They arrived too late to catch the criminals, but Jorgensen was quickly driven to the hospital. He’s now recovering from the leg wounds and released the following Facebook message about the ordeal:

I know that the outsiders may have a mistaken idea of how much cash I have in my home. I have alarm systems installed, always so get cash lying as possible and generally taken my precautions. It has unfortunately proved not to be enough. I have it under (control) well, and right now I want to focus on taking care of my family, so we can get through this.

This is yet another unfortunate and scary robbery incident in the poker world. And we’d like to think that this would be the last poker robbery for a while. However, with the fame and perceived wealth that players like Jorgensen have, other grinders will likely be targeted in the future too.

Speaking of Jorgensen’s wealth, he’s collected $3,239,763 in live poker tournament cashes and has earned both WSOP and WPT titles. The Dane has also made millions of dollars playing both live and online cash games as well.

French Rapper Kool Shen joins Winamax Poker

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Bruno “Kool Shen” Lopes, who’s released a number of hit rap albums and songs, has just signed a deal to represent Winamax Poker. Winamax is the largest poker site in France, and they already have Gaelle Baumann, Davidi Kitai, Ludovic Lacay, Patrick Bruel and Nicolas Levi on their pro team. The poker room was thrilled to have Lopes join their brand as they released this statement:

For over twenty years, the suburban Parisien has been one of the major figures of French rap..and now Kool Shen is one of the most respected poker players on the tournament circuit. Kool Shen joined Team Winamax in autumn 2012.

As for the 45-year-old hip-hop star’s poker background, he first started playing home games when he was 13. But his interests eventually led to the music world where Kool Shen has become one of France’s most successful rappers ever. But in the mid-2000s, he began watching Texas Hold’em on TV and got involved with poker again.

In 2008, Lopes picked up his first live tournament cash and collected some more small money finishes along the way. However, his biggest successes have come this year after winning both the Diamond Championships Euro Finals of Poker ($127,514) and WPT National Series in Cannes ($135,294), finishing fourth at EPT Madrid ($183,660), and grabbing 468th place at the 2012 WSOP Main Event ($24,808). Thanks to the $523k he’s made this year, Lopes now has $745,691 in career tournament winnings.

As for how Kool Shen made the successful transition from rap to poker, a lot of it has to do with his willingness to learn. He discussed this by saying, “I love poker and I’ve been very lucky to meet lots of good people who play great poker. I’m good friends with Stephane Albertini who finished 47th in the Main Event and he’s taught me a lot of what I know.”

Now that he’s signed by a major online poker site, it’ll be fun to see Bruno Lopes at a lot more tournaments. If you’d like to see one of his old videos, you can check it out below:

Why Most People don’t succeed in Poker

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Pretty much everybody starts out in poker with aspirations of being a successful player who makes lots of money. Interestingly enough, most people don’t even get close to this vision, and they can’t seem to figure out why either. The truth is that there are actually plenty of reasons why one doesn’t experience the level of success that they’re hoping for in poker. And here’s a look at some of the most common factors that prevent one from poker success.

Not putting enough work into Poker Strategy

The most obvious reason for not doing well in poker involves putting little time into studying strategy. Now quite a few players will at least study some strategy; however, with the way that poker has evolved today, it takes lots of hard work. If you have the time, spend at least 45 minutes a day learning strategy and/or watching training videos.

Playing Sporadically and Infrequently

As with anything, poker takes time and practice before you’re good. Unfortunately, too many people take huge breaks in between when they play the game. So if you grind for one week and take two weeks off, it’s going to be pretty hard to be successful. A much better idea is to play as consistently as possible and hope to improve over time.

Not using the Resources at your Disposal

There are a lot of ways to get better at poker including forums, coaches, poker training videos, books and articles. Not we’re not saying you have to use every one of these resources; however, it’s important that you at least use some of them to get better. Many players benefit from training videos and coaching, but cheaper/free options like books, articles and forums can also be really helpful.

All in all, the biggest aspect you need to consider when trying to improve in poker is putting some time into the matter. The more you care about getting better, the more likely you are to experience success.

Staying focused during Live Poker Games

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Many grinders these days like to play online poker because of the convenience and ability to get more hands in per hour. But that’s not to say the live poker scene is dead because many players feel they still have a big edge here. The only problem involves keeping this edge since it’s harder to stay focused during the lengthy process of playing live hands.

First the dealer has to deal cards to everybody. Then players decide how much they want to bet, which involves lots of chip counting. Finally, there’s no official timer in live games like with online poker, and this can sometimes lead to people abusing decision-making time.

Taking all of this into account, it’s not always easy staying focused during live poker sessions. However, there are a few tips that can help you with this process, and here’s a look at some of the best ones.

Use some Motion in between Hands – One way to keep yourself into the live action is to have some sort of motion in between each hand. For example, you could move your chip stacks around or count chips while waiting. No matter what the motion is, you’ll be able to reset your brain following each hand.

Don’t stop thinking when Hands end – When we’ve folded, most of us like to enter La-La land and stop concentrating on the game. However, you can keep your focus better by sticking with hands after folding your cards. This could involve either thinking about what you’d do as an opponent in each situation, or acting like you are still playing a hand.

Constantly analyze Opponents – One very simple way to stay in the game is by mentally documenting each move your opponents make. Sure you might not pick up on everything this way, but as long as you are trying to figure out what each opponent is doing, you’ll rarely get bored with live poker.