Today, I want to talk about a topic that I've never seen mentioned before in poker, and that's BANKROLL LEVERAGE. Having been a finance guy, you don't measure success JUST by the absolute dollars you make, or your ptbb. When it comes to money, it's all about the RETURN (and an adjustment for risk, but that's another can of worms). So if you take $100K and make $15K a month, that's a 15% a month return. Sexy! But not quite as impressive as having a $10K bankroll and making $15K a month. 150% return a month! I can take the other $90K of my money and use that to make money somewhere else. Next to 150% a month, 15% is NOT so sexy. I get better leverage (as well as better diversification). There's no reason why you can't apply finance saavy to something as "crude" as poker - a business is a business after all.
Since Black Friday hit us, you now have to factor in something else - a sizable risk of loss on your capital. If you play on a US site, you probably need to factor in a 5% a month risk that the DOJ comes in and shuts down your site, with your money on it. That makes it even more silly to keep a lot of money online... because the baseline goes from being a 0% return to a -5% return. It's fine to keep some money online when my return is going to be over 100% a month. But you have to be a retard to keep A LOT of money online when your baseline is -5% and you make 15% on top of that. Hmm... a 5% chance of losing up to 100% vs making 15%. You might as well just invest in your Uncle Cletus's Used Panties From Fat Chicks mail order business.
If you are going to play poker as a BUSINESS post-BF, you should figure out what kind of return you're making on your bankroll (including pending cashouts). And try to optimize that. Some things you can do include:
* playing with a minimal bankroll. Just think of it as an automatic stop out, when you run bad. If you need to redeposit, people will pay you a vig.
* moving down in stakes if your win rate is almost double what it is at the higher stake - similar winnings, half the bankroll.
* playing on sites with fast cashouts. A site taking only 3 weeks to cash out vs taking 6 means you have half as much cashout money online (on average).
* playing on sites with multiple cashout methods. For example, on Lock Poker, you can simultaneously have a cashout from their poker side and their casino side. I'm hearing similar rumors from sportsbook poker sites, but I don't know for sure.
Online poker is still profitable - you just have to be smart about money management to make the most of it.
I can't seem to stop blogging. Mrs. Fly could be buck-naked eating a porterhouse for two, G could have figured out how to get porn on streaming Netflix, and D could be walking towards a filthy public toilet, and all I want to do is blog. Mrs. Fly can't eat a steak that fast anyway. It's a nice relaxing "time to myself" from a busy day. And even tho I've told you guys a few times in the past that I was going to stop, you keep coming back. It's always nice nice when others appreciate your hobby.
Now that I realize I have an addiction, I think I should try and make the most out of it. I've had a bunch of offers to rent ad space on my blog in the past, but I've always declined. A few times, it's been because I had no idea who they were, and I thought they might put some weird virus/hacking software on everyone's machine. But lately, I've been getting offers from people representing actual poker companies. I suppose if they were randoms wanting to put some weird virus/hacking software on everyone's machine, that's exactly what they would say. Hmm....
But maybe it's something about the 15K hits the blog gets a month. At the end of the day, I hate giving up control of any part of the blog. So I came up with an idea...
Then he got an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch got a wonderful, *awful* idea!
Seriously tho, it's something that could benefit me, and something that COULD BENEFIT YOU (assuming you like to play online poker). (later post)
I can't believe I finally got my second friggin' Carbon check. I requested it 6/20, approved 7/26, and received today. I guess there was a very small part of me that was thinking I was never going to see the money again. I have no idea why I would think that, since they told me 4-6 weeks, and it's been... 4-6 weeks. Shocker. But it just goes to show you what reading 2+2 regularly will do to you. So now I've had SIX successful Merge cashouts in the last 2.5 months (all near the max). A SEVENTH is allegedly "approved" and "on the way." If you're nimble you can make post-BF your new BFf. (later post) Apparently, they have these gift cards now for transactions under $1,000 and these take less than 2 weeks. I have no idea - just something I heard.
But in these weird times, having any kind of poker money in limbo doesn't feel good. Especially since most of us have money still on FT that now looks like is under 35 cents on the dollar. Ouch. I had previously told you guys in my Post BF Money Management Tips not to play more on a skin than you can cash out (i.e. if you can only cash out $2,500 every 6 weeks, stop playing once your bankroll reached your base bankroll + $2,500). You should then play on another site or skin. What's the point of building up a massive bankroll when you can't cash out? And maybe this will give the skins even more incentive to improve communications and processing times.
On a related note, I helped another person cash out of Carbon Poker. It was someone who signed up through me, so I felt a responsibility to cash him out of his original deposit with NO vig. At the time, the RakeTheRake's Carbon Poker Monster race was the best value out there for US players, so that's why I became an affiliate. Now that Merge has scaled back its promotions, the waters are a little murkier. I would definitely recommend a DIFFERENT skin now (later post).
But I'm glad I got a bunch of you to sign up for Merge rakeback accounts (even if it was on Carbon) before they took that away. The rewards on Merge (on any skin) look like they are going to suck unless you put in a moderate amount of volume (over $1,000 a month in rake). Thanks to that new rakeback account you opened before deadline (you listened to me, right?), you can play as little as you want and still get your 35% (plus a $10K rake race). And it cost you nothing to get that FREE OPTION FOR LIFE! (Well, you may need some minimal amount of play to keep the account open, but whatever).
I'm not going to lead you guys wrong... well, most of the time. Eh hem.
Congrats to Jade Lane for "winning" the $800+K bad beat jackpot last week - his quad tens was worth a cool $286K. And M/TClark was also at the table, and got $29K. Since then, I think the BBJ got hit two more times, so it got to about $10K. That got me to thinking about the BBJ's effect on the games.
Someone on 2+2 had estimated the average BBJ jackpot before it hits is going to be around $250K. Empirically, that seems about right, but I'll ask the Merge folks at some point for some more BBJ data (whenever I get around to sending the email and whenever they get around to answering it). So when the BBJ is around $500K, you are getting about a 50% reduction in rake paid (after factoring in your ev of the BBJ). Considering you can get almost 50% of your rake back, that's like playing RAKE FREE! That just makes it super-enticing for a high volume reg to play.
Unfortunately, now, the opposite is true, so not only will this be unattractive to fish, it will also drive out all the meh regs (who know that they are meh regs). Because the rake structure on the small stakes games are really hard to beat if there are few fish or many regs. The rake alone at NL100 is around 20ptbb for a full ring table, and add another 9ptbb for the BBJ. If you are sitting at a table full of regs, you have to be pretty delusional to think that your awesome poker skill is going to make up the 29ptbb the table has to pay to the casino.
For me, it's not like I had ever seen a red cent off of the BBJ in the past, and I was still able to make money. So it's not like I *NEED* the BBJ to play. It just makes it less exciting and more of a "grind" because of the huge cost structure involved. But don't despair. It seems to me that a majority of the 6max games are non-BBJ. And I think any well-rounded poker player needs to know how to play both games. So give that a try when the BBJ is super-low.
This past weekend, we went to our first Texas Rangers baseball game. Someone had given us tickets, so it was an opportunity to experience yet another "Dallas" attraction. I had always thought Arlington wasn't a great part of town, but I was pleasantly surprised at how clean and pretty the area was. Cowboy Stadium is next door, and the Six Flags park and Hurricane Harbor are a few blocks away. It's a pretty nice old-fashioned ballpark. It looks nice by itself, but looks a little strange right next to the glass and steel Cowboys Stadium.
The day didn't start off well... it was Josh Hamilton jersey day, so the first 10K kids 12 and under got a replica jersey. Hey! We have TWO of those! ka-ching! Unfortunately a very active morning in the pool caused the whole family to wake up late from our naps. Mrs. Fly didn't care about getting the free jersey (since we would have to show up at the ballpark 2 hours early), so we didn't set any alarms. But that just meant we didn't have to sit in the 100 degree sun for two hours. It only took like 15 minutes and the whole family was sweating. The box office lady said these were "nice seats" (for busto seats - but hey! they were free!), but the seats were exposed to the sun for about the first hour of the game. After the sun went down, it was actually very cool with the breeze (even tho it was still in the mid-90s).
The ballpark has a very nice family feel to it. The only stadiums I had ever been to were Shea Stadium (a hovel), old Yankee Stadium (less of a hovel) and new Yankee Stadium (pretty sweet). As you may imagine, Yankee Stadium has more of a commercial feel. I was surprised that you were actually allowed to bring soft-sided coolers into Rangers Stadium. Before the Rangers took the field, they had a bunch of local little league kids stand on the field and get an autographed ball from the players at each position. It seems that if you are not the New York Yankees, you actually have to do more community outreach to get people in the stands. And most nights, they seem to have some sort of giveaway or promotion or entertainment (like fireworks). Even with the giveaway, the stadium was not full. At Yankee Stadium, the ticket just says, "get in and sit your ass down."
My original plan was to stay for 5 innings. The game started at 7:05PM, which was a little late for D to stay thru the whole game. I knew I was in for a long day when after the second batter D said he wanted to go home. And two innings later, G said he wanted to go home. And of course, because of the heat, D drank all of his large beverage. Not sure if you remember about his small bladder. So about 30 minutes into the game, he says he has to go to the potty and of course I'm cringing because if I had to rank the top GROSSEST public bathrooms, "ballpark" would have to be right up there.
The first two stalls were a complete disaster, so I walk to the handicapped stall (so that the two of us can fit comfortably), and there was a guy waiting in front. Just as I get there his young DAUGHTER walks out from just having used the toilet. A GIRL! YES!!! She HAD TO have sat down, so I'm in the clear! It feels like I just won the Bad Beat Jackpot. I gleefully walk D into the stall, look at the toilet, and all I can think is, "dude, how the f*ck could you let your baby girl sit on that!?!" I'm pretty sure that girl is going to end up on the pole. So I had to revert to my unofficial part-time job and start cleaning. This is what it must feel like to be the lowest of Indian castes, except without the benefit of being able to sell your kids.
The game was a brisk pitchers' duel thru 5 innings and then the Blue Jays scored a run. Mrs. Fly got so excited that someone finally scored (did something - anything!) that she started cheering. Loudly. That's when I knew we had to leave. Fast. I didn't want to find out first-hand if it's true that people in Texas all carry.
But overall, the family had a good time, and at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
About a month ago, my eyes felt particularly tired, and I think it was from having to dart them from table to table for long stretches of time on my 30" monitor. I like tiling the tables because I like to know what is happening at particular tables... in particular the higher stakes tables I play. So after a few days of this, I decided to look into an additional piece of software. Something that might help me reduce the amount of sudden eye movement.
The last few weeks, I had been tinkering with a new piece of software called StackAndTile. Basically the concept is that you have a main stack you put all your tables in. And once you click "check" or "raise," the table automatically gets moved into a predefined grid (that you determine). So your main stack are all your hands for preflop play, and any hands that see a flop get moved into the grid, so that you can watch those tables more carefully. That's just how I set mine up - you can also have tables go into the grid whenever you get dealt hole cards. But considering my VPIP is between 15 and 18 for FR, it means most of the time, I can keep my eye on one place. You can move a "must watch" table permanently into the grid by pressing a hotkey. This program works over multiple sites... so if you want to play 4 Bodog tables, 4 Merge and 4 Party tables, the software manages the tables.
Now, I'm not saying this product is perfect. I guess some combination of the various pieces of software I use... sometimes causes the tables not to pop up correctly. So it's very important you have a way of cycling thru the tables (you can do this several ways). I can do it either thru MergeKeys or StackAndTile. It actually took me about 3 weeks to get the playability feeling *somewhat* close to the way I want it. The two main things I'm missing is that I wish I had a "betpot" script that worked 100% on Merge (I have yet to find it on 2+2), and on the StackAndTile side, it would be nice if a table in the grid returned to the stack automatically once the hand is over. Right now, the table returns to the stack only when I click "fold." But I guess around half the hands the other guy folds, so every so often, I need to click the "stack all tables" hotkey to put everything back in place. But these are minor details.
The pricing is a little steep... $17.95 a MONTH for the full version and $8.95 a MONTH for the small stakes version. You get 3 months free by buying a year. The writer (Greg Nice on 2+2) is very helpful, but we have a difference of opinion on the pricing. We had been having this back-and-forth about how only a small subset of the population is going to be interested in this product at this price level. But at the end of the day, I just made $15K last month grinding, part of which was due to my new increased efficiency. More importantly, my eyes feel less tired. I think I can afford to ship him $17.
All I'm getting out of this is 6 months free (and I guess the 10% off once I use my own coupon code). But I write about new things I find useful anyway, so Greg throwing in those 6 months is just gravy. As with most industries, it's very important to keep up with technology, lest you get left behind.
Speaking of which, HoldEm Manager 2 is finally open for beta testing... Ruh Oh! (later post)
I forgot to write about my road trip to the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma. It's supposed to have the best poker room in the area, and it's about 1 hour away so I thought I would check it out. I wasn't expecting much, and that was what I got.
I guess having grown up in the Northeast (Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Atlantic City) and gone to Vegas once a year, I got accustomed to a certain type of casino: large and bright with a variety of restaurants and shops. I just assumed the Winstar would be the same, since it looked like their entertainment line-up was about as good as Foxwoods or Atlantic City. I mean they have Yes & Styx and even Dylan! And then I read that the Winstar was the THIRD LARGEST CASINO IN THE WORLD! And it was designed by the same guy who did the Venetian, MGM Grand and Atlantis. Oh boy!
But this was like the shackiest huge casino I've ever been in. It kind of looked like a bad movie prop set, where there was a facade and an empty warehouse behind.
Apparently in Oklahoma, people don't believe in breathing clean air. I really wish they saved some money on the "fancy exterior" and spent the money on a decent ventilation system. The interior looks like a warehouse anyway - just run some extra ducting. I made the mistake of taking the family. So we couldn't stay long because the family has this survival instinct called "breathing."
We walked the length of the casino, but we didn't stay for a bunch of reasons. I mentioned the breathing, but apparently not even the rednecks and hillbillies bring their kids. So between us bringing our kids, being one of the few Asians in the building and Mrs. Fly looking like she doesn't shop at Lane Bryant (a store for fat chicks), everyone was staring at us. But the final straw was ... No free alcohol. WTF?!? Isn't Oklahoma supposed to be Injun country? There's no liquor tax on an Indian reservation for crying out loud! Aren't those guys getting plastered all the time because we took all their land and shoved them all in the most useless parts of the country? (In before racist ban)
But the poker room looked decent. We went on a weekday and they had TWO 5/10 games going. And the TABLE VPIP was around 40%. Yum. I love sushi. I'll take 3 orders of salmon, 2 yellowtail, and 2 toro please. TY. Overall, it looked like an okay place to play - breathing aside. Breathing is a double whammy because a few of those guys kind of looked like the over under on time between their showers is about 7 days. Mole people?
I think at some point, Mrs. Fly and I will try and do dinner and a show or something (not any time soon tho). And if I ever get that itch to play live or play in a decent sized donkament, the facility is there.
Fresh off my ass-raping post from the other day, I still owe you #3 and #1 on my list of TOP 3 EVERYDAY PEOPLE WHO NEED TO BE SAVAGELY BEATEN:
3. People who drive under the speed limit on the left-hand lane. Why? Just stay to the right with all the other driving cripples. I'm not a "road rage" kind of guy, but if you are going to drive as "fast" as the car next to you, why the hell would you effectively block both lanes?!? Yeah - we all like driving with clear road ahead of us. If you just move aside, we can all do that!!!
1. People who piss on public toilet toilet seats. Why? Why?!? Having a 3 year old with a microscopic bladder, I have to take him to public bathrooms all the time. Why the hell do people have to piss all over the toilet rims?!? I mean the f*cking urinals are almost always closer to the door and a lot more convenient to pee in. It's like people are intentionally trying to make me go on a psychopathic killing spree. So now, I have to clean up duck crap at home and I have to clean public toilets away from home. What kind of f*cking existence is this?!? If Dante had a tenth level of hell, I'm pretty sure cleaning duck crap and human urine all day must be the punishment.
The common theme? Be considerate to your fellow man - lest you piss off the wrong person and get ass raped with an oak branch when you least expect it. Consideration.
Having lived most of my life in one of the most expensive areas in the US (outside of maybe Alaska, Hawaii and parts of California) most of my life, I'm blown away by how cheap stuff is here in Texas. Many things are literally HALF the price of the Northeast. I think the average might be like 20-25% less. I mentioned my experience at the Lexus dealership a few weeks ago, bu here are some other examples:
* A gallon of milk is only $2. In CT, it was $4 - at least. Two pints of strawberries were $1 last month and peaches are like 79cents a pound this month. It must suck to be a farmer.
* D's preschool is 50% less than in CT AND they serve him two snacks and drinks AND lunch every day, AND it's a nicer school!!! I think the class sizes are a little bigger tho
* We just went to a second run movie theater and it cost 75 cents per person. No - I did not leave off a zero. Yes - there were somewhat comfortable seats and had air conditioning. It was a real movie theater (slightly run-down, but clean). And they had reasonably popular movies like Thor and Fast Five. We saw Rio with the kids - it was a meh to slighly above-meh movie, but for 75 cents who is going to complain?!? It probably costs me more to rent a DVD and watch it in my own house.
* We went to a local pizza buffet chain and the whole family ate all the salad, pizza and dessert we could, and the total bill came out to UNDER $16, including BEVERAGE! WAT?!? The pizza was actually decent. Not great tho - but c'mon! I'm a lifelong new Yorker. Most places in NY, you can't even get a cheese pie for under $16.
* We took a neighborhood kid to dinner at one of the better local chain restaurants and dinner for 5 was $32 (after I left a 20% tip). I had a very good chicken friend chicken with two sides. A meal for 4 for the family at McDonald's probably runs us close to $30. McDonald's prices are about the same as in the Northeast tho... maybe only a touch less in Texas.
What kind of bizarre-ass time warp am I in?!? I feel like I'm paying prices from when I was a kid... and that was a looong time ago. Not Norman Rockwell long, but pretty long.
The only thing so far that is more expensive is the health care. Like 35% more expensive. After living here a few months, I suspect it's because of all the illegal immigrants and large numbers of uninsured here. So I'm probably subsidizing part of the "free" care that the hospitals have to give around here. This is just wild-assed conjecture on my part.
But when I pay like $5 an hour to have a group of Mexican ladies to clean my house, I figure I'm getting that back in the end. Not... getting it in the back end, like Arnold the governator.
Hmm... I wonder how much *that* costs? Como se dice "rear guard action" en espanol?
As much as I want the US to win in every competition... Olympics, World Baseball Classic, Miss Universe, World of Warcraft, etc... I just have to say a heart-felt "Congratulations" to the Japanese women's soccer team on winning the Women's World Cup.
I guess I have TWO reasons for wanting the US to win... I'm a extremely proud to be a US citizen. I suppose there are tons of moronic things about this country, but at the end of the day, there's no other country I would even remotely want to live in (online poker aside). Even tho I'm an Asian, I don't care that they were the first Asian country to win a World Cup. I'm of Korean descent, so I'm only ONE generation removed from all of Japan's war atrocities towards Koreans (and most of Asia).
But when you can find a way to beat a bigger, faster, stronger team and come back TWICE to do it, you just have to tip you hat. Sure, I just couldn't believe how lucky they were not to lose like 4-1, but hey! life's all about making the most of your situation.
And most importantly, they had to overcome all the tragedy from earlier in the year. I lived in NYC during the 9/11 tragedy. So I just can't imagine what it would be like to go thru a tragedy that took like ten times more lives, and devastated an entire region. And it's still not over... aftershocks, nuclear beef, etc. Hopefully, this will give the Japanese people a little sunshine in these stormy times.
You guys are probably wondering how the kids are, since I hadn't really mentioned them in a while. C'mon! Humor me while I whip out the slide projector of all of my kids' pictures...
D really likes it here in Texas. What's not to like? He has everything he had in CT, except he now has a bright big sunroom to play in, and he hangs out in the pool a few days a week with his daddy. That's me! (I think)
He also seems to like his new school. Except one of his classmates likes to call him a "baby." Oh, I dunno... maybe cause he cries like a little b*tch when he doesn't get what he wants?!? So here is the conversation I had with Mrs. Fly:
Mrs. Fly: I took care of Andrew calling D a baby.
Me: Really? What did you do?
Mrs. Fly: I told D to tell Andrew, "I'm not a baby. I'm a good boy."
How does that even make sense logically? That's like something only a mom could come up with. Every so often, I'll hear D repeating the phrase "I'm not a baby. I'm a good boy" and I have to give myself the ol' facepalm. Having grown up as a NYC latchkey kid, I would have gone with the trusty, "let's take this outside so I can smash your f*cking face into the top of that fire hydrant. And then I'll ass-rape you with a branch off of that oak tree. When you're eating all your meals thru your sippy cup and having to wear diapers to control all the ass hemorrhaging and anal leakage, we'll see who the baby is. C'mon... let's go.. I don't want to miss nap time." But D couldn't pronounce "hemorrhaging," so I gave up. I suppose it's for the best - I'm pretty sure the preschool (and local law enforcement and the Texas Department of Social Services) would frown upon my methods, so I'll defer to Mrs. Fly.
He's a super happy and affectionate kid most of the time. But we're still working on the occasional fake crying. I think he must've picked it up from some 'tard in his class. And since he's pretty smart, he probably picked up on the fact that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I'm actually shocked at how many parents do whatever their kid wants when they cry. Apparently, they've never heard of Pavlov - reinforcing the crying by rewarding that behavior. When kids are infants and can't speak, crying is their main source of communication. So okay. But D's three and a half years old and perfectly capable of more emotional control. If he were older, I could just say what I'm really thinking, which is "go cry in front of someone who gives a sh*t, you f*cking baby!" But I stick to the more politically correct, "D, stop fake crying" in my sternest voice. Then the crying stops... like stopping water by turning a faucet handle. One day, he's going to win an Academy award. And the Oscar goes to...
Oh snap! I just realized I was in Dallas. I hope the above isn't considered heresy. I ran out of space for G. I'll save that for a future post.