Posts Tagged ‘poker players’

Study says Poker Players are Skinny Drunks

Monday, October 13th, 2014

If you’re a poker player, then we have good news and bad news: you are most likely skinny and a drunk.

This finding comes courtesy of a study from, which undertook the task of finding out which type of gamblers were the healthiest. We can tell you right now that it wasn’t slots players because they topped out at 31 on the BMI scale – well above the UK national average of 27.

Poker players, on the other hand, fared much better with a BMI of 25. A good reason why is because 58% of the rounders said they exercise at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week. One more healthy habit of poker players is that they’re less likely to smoke than the average Brit.

But on the downside, they did rate pretty high in the drinking category. Of course this shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, given that many poker players hang out in bars.

So what is it that makes poker players largely healthier than their slots counterparts. Well a big factor is age since the average poker player/survey-taker was 38, while the average slots player was 45. People tend to gain more weight as they get older, which explains that it’s not just watching reels spin that makes slots aficionados fat.

The relative youthfulness of poker players may also explain why 23% of them drink more than the UK’s recommended weekly amount. Many players spend time traveling to tournaments and hang out at bars or clubs when they’re away. Likewise, many young internet grinders like to socialize at bars since they don’t meet many people at work.

In any case, it’s good to hear that the study of 2,131 gamblers found that poker players rank low on the BMI scale.

Why Open Freerolls should be avoided

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

A common starting point for many poker players is open freerolls. As the name suggests, open freerolls don’t feature any requirements at all. Instead, anybody can register and play as long as they’re a member of the poker site.

It seems like open freerolls are perfect for beginners because you can compete for real money without having to risk anything. But these free tournaments certainly aren’t the best route towards steady poker profits and we’ll explain why.

Not Enough to Go Around

The biggest problem that open freerolls present is the prize money-to-player ratio. For instance, these freebies might offer a $50 prize pool, but 2,000-4,000 players will likely register for the event. After all, there are no restrictions, so why wouldn’t a crowd of players enter?

But here’s where the big problem comes into play since these large, crowded fields make cashing much harder. Using a $50 freeroll with 4,000 players as an example, the average player would only earn 1.25 cents per tournament (5,000 cents/4,000 players). And nobody is going to consider 1.25 cents as being proper payment for a lengthy freeroll.

Still Useful

While open freeroll tournaments may not be profitable over the long-term, they aren’t entirely useless. This is especially the case for beginning players who are merely looking to sharpen their game against other players without risking money.

However, the key is to avoid getting overly wrapped up in open freerolls and relying on them to build a bankroll. Sure these are fun to play and can earn you a little pocket change. However, the best way to make serious poker profits is by playing in real money games and studying poker strategy. With enough hard work, you can eventually move up in stakes and make some nice profits.

Father says Black Friday led to Poker-Playing Son’s Death

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Black Friday affected the lives of numerous US online poker players since they could no longer play at the world’s biggest sites or access their bankroll. Matthew “notnmyhouse” Roth was one of these players, and he unfortunately took his own life yesterday.

Roth, who suffered from depression and anxiety, shot himself in the head while sitting in his car outside Las Vegas’ Wild Wild West Gambling Hall. The 26-year-old had just been in his hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska two days earlier and had his dad, Bill, drive him to the airport.

Speaking of Bill, he blames Black Friday for the death of his son. The 45-year-old told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, ““The federal government two years ago shut down his site, took his money, and with that – they didn’t know it – but they took my son.”

He added, “They took his livelihood, self-esteem, drive. They took his focus. “Imagine all of a sudden your job is just not there. All of a sudden, your money is taken away and you’re struggling to find work.”

As Bill Roth alluded to, his son fell into a deeper depression when he couldn’t play poker at the largest sites like Full Tilt and PokerStars. Matt had previously been a very talented player who made a living through mid-stakes Full Tilt cash games.

His friend from Alaska, Josh Norum, attested to Roth’s impressive poker abilities. “He worked extremely hard to be the best at everything he pursued, but cards were his true passion,” said Norum. “He could read the cards and people’s playing ability unlike anyone else I know.”

Going back to Bill Roth, the LVRJ reported that he wonders if his son would still be alive had Black Friday not came. After all, Matt was a huge poker fanatic and became very distraught when the game he loved was essentially taken away.

Whatever the case may be, it’s definitely a tragedy that Matthew Roth took his own life, and may he rest in peace.

Forgetting Poker Strategy Basics at the Table

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Many poker players strive to improve their game by reading articles, books and blogs, watching training videos, and even investing in coaching. But no matter how much time you put into learning poker strategy, it’s a given that you’re going to forget or overlook a basic concept at some point.

One of the easiest strategy aspects to accidentally overlook is table position. Sure this is one of the first and most important things you’ll learn through poker strategy. However, it’s safe to say that there’s not a poker player alive who hasn’t forgotten to consider their table position when making a bet.

Another basic that players commonly forget involves thinking about their opponents’ potential hand strength. By the time you think about your own hand strength, table position, your table image and bet sizing, it’s not unfathomable to occasionally ignore the people sitting across from you.

So how do we rectify these brain slips that have us suddenly forgetting how we like to play J-T from middle position? Well there’s no magic cure since even the best players have an off-hand where they leave out some basic thought. However, just being aware of the potential problem is a good start. By constantly doing a mental rundown of what you need to consider with each hand, you’ll make fewer careless mistakes.

Another way to stop forgetting poker basics involves continually playing and learning strategy. Through repetition and thinking about the game on a normal basis, remembering poker strategy basics is a much easier process. Eventually, knowing what to do in each situation will almost become automatic.

Leaning and practicing fundamentals is the quickest way towards becoming a successful poker player. Of course, you also need to remember to apply these fundamentals on the table for your hard work to pay off. So always make a conscious effort to go through the basics in every hand.

Popular Online Poker Currency Bitcoin watched by US Govt.

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Bitcoin (a.k.a. bitcoins) has become a very popular currency in the online poker world. Bitcoin isn’t backed by a central bank or country, and it can be sent across the internet anonymously through “wallets.” This allows poker players to easily make deposits and withdrawals from poker rooms without worrying about huge delays and hassles.

Unfortunately, it looks like the ease of use aspect could be gone because the US government has been focusing on bitcoins. Furthermore, the American government has applied money laundering laws to virtual currency in a move designed to target Bitcoin.

The Wall Street Journal discussed the money laundering laws by writing, “online cash will now be regulated in a similar manner as traditional money-order providers such as Western Union. They would have new bookkeeping requirements and mandatory reporting for transactions of more than $10,000.”

At first, this may seem like another selfish move by the US government to hurt the online poker industry since they’re not drawing tax revenue from it. However, applying money laundering laws to Bitcoin and other virtual currencies is more about eliminating drug-based crimes. The WSJ discussed both the legal and illegal side of bitcoins with the following:

Bitcoins can be used in a host of legitimate transactions—for example, website Reddit allows users to upgrade services using bitcoins and blog service’s store accepts them as a form of payment. also lets bitcoin savers pay for deliveries through Domino’s and other pizzerias.

On the other hand, at least one online service takes bitcoins as payment for illegal drugs, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report last year. Bitcoin’s backers point out that criminals will use any currency for money laundering or illegal purchases.

After the new stipulations placed on virtual currencies, the value of bitcoins has already fallen from $60 a unit to $49. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the currency will suddenly become obsolete. However, its use among US online poker players may drop significantly. Seeing as how many US-friendly poker sites are relegated to paper checks, which can take weeks to process/send, this definitely isn’t good for the game.

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.

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.

Sweden’s Tax Authority cracking down on Poker Pros

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Skatteverket, which is Sweden’s tax authority, has suddenly taken a keen interest in their country’s poker players. Going further, the group is demanding that professional grinders pay taxes on money made “outside the European Economic Area” between the years of 2008 and 2011. The beginning of the letter sent to suspected pro players reads as follows:

(We have) obtained information that you have played poker in one or more Internet sites based outside the European Economic Area (EEA) for the period 2008-2011. Please submit bank statements or similar documents from any internet site where you had the bankroll for the period 2008-2011.

The letter eventually names specific sites like Absolute Poker, Full Tilt, Bodog and PokerStars as places where grinders might have played. Furthermore, Skatteverket asks that players reveal their poker room screen names, bank statements, and online banking (Moneybookers, NETeller, PayPal) information so the matter can be investigated more thoroughly.

The back taxes announcement and investigations come on the heels of raids that have been conducted on Swedish poker players’ homes. An unidentified pro player had his laptop taken for evidence and was told that he raised suspicion after online tournament-tracking websites were checked.

As you can see, it’s definitely not good that Skatteverket is monitoring poker players so closely. And what’s particularly bad is that the tax authority isn’t exactly known for dealing with poker taxes in a rational way. They used to judge taxes based on individual hands; however, they’ve since changed this to wins/losses on a per-site basis. But even this isn’t ideal because a grinder could win $30,000 on one site, lose $20,000 on another, and still be paying taxes on the $30k in winnings on the first site.

We hope that Swedish grinders can make it through this tough back taxes debacle without too many headaches.

Are Freerolls worth your Time?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

By far, one of the most popular concepts in poker is no doubt the freeroll tournament. You don’t have to pay anything to enter freerolls, and many poker players see these as a risk-free way to make money. But even if there’s not a buy-in for freerolls, you need to realize that you’re paying for these tourneys with time. That said, it’s important to ask yourself if certain freerolls are worth the cost of your time.

Prize Pool

The first thing to look at in this discussion involves the freeroll payout structure. In other words, does the prize money and amount of entrants make the tournament worthwhile? A $200 freeroll with 300 people entered is much better than a $50 free poker tournament where 2,000 players are registered. Expanding on the latter tourney, you have almost no chance to cash – regardless of skill – when the prize pool and number of players are considered.

Your Goals

As we just mentioned, you probably want to avoid freerolls where the prize pool is small, yet the field size is giant. However, you may not care if you simply enjoy playing poker no matter the outcome. But if you’re somebody who wants to earn money fast and move up the stakes, open-entry freerolls aren’t the best place to start out.

Finding the Best Freerolls

Much of what we’ve talked about up to this point involves open-entry freerolls (no entry requirements). But your goal should be to find restricted free tournaments because the field sizes will be much smaller. Your best chance of finding restricted freerolls is by either signing up through a certain affiliate/forum that offers these deals, or by attaining a specific VIP status.

Players of a certain VIP status must play real money tournaments/cash games to get here though, so keep this in mind. But if you are able to get into exclusive free tournaments, the prize pools are usually much bigger and there are less entrants too.

Why Tournament Players have Trouble with Cash Games

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Most great poker players are able to go back and forth between cash games and tournaments without much difficulty. But the majority of tourney players aren’t great, which means they struggle when making the switch to ring games. And there are a host of reasons why certain grinders struggle to make money in cash play. That said, here are a few things poker tournament players need to realize when making the transition.

Pressure from Blinds

Unless you’re playing cash games with a severely-limited bankroll – which we definitely preach against – the blinds aren’t going to provide any pressure. They stay the same throughout play and don’t increase like in tournaments. But in tourneys, blinds increase in levels, which forces you to make aggressive moves to accumulate chips and stay alive. In short, you don’t have to play with as much urgency in cash play.

Deep Stacks

When you get into the middle and late stages of poker tournaments, having 100 big blinds is a gift and will give you a huge advantage. But in cash games, nearly everybody is going to be playing with 100 big blinds since players can reload whenever they want to. Much like the blinds, you aren’t pressured by stack sizes, which generally makes a tighter approach necessary.

No Limit

One thing players really need to be aware of when they play poker cash games is that there’s no limit to losses. Unlike a tourney, where the most you can lose is a buy-in, cash games see no cap on the amount of money that can be lost. This being said, you need to constantly review sessions and study poker strategy to improve. Also, make sure that you’re studying strategy appropriate to the states you play.