Full circle

November 19, 2007


Svcmgr has been busy on his blog this month and it has been such a relief to see some new material. He was, and still is having the same problem as most of the skype crew, me included – A total disinterest in playing poker.

Every poker player will go through this and it can be caused by several things. From personal reasons outwith poker to being sick of being sucked out by monkey players to just being ‘pokered out’. Or in lamens terms, playing too much.

Everyone will have their own reasons, and they can comment on it for themselves. But before commenting, see if you connect with what I’m going to tell you. Reading Dave’s blog really made me think about my game and what is wrong with it. The thing is, there was nothing in the blogs that struck a chord, as such. Just reading them made me think.

So here goes…. why I have lost interest in poker, in nice little bullet points! 

  1. I’m sick of losing out to monkeys who suckout in the most horendous ways possible
  2. In recent times I’ve played way too much poker leading to poker overload
  3. I’m on a losing run (again) at most of the sites I play at

Do these reasons seem familiar to you? They most likely will. They are probably the top 3 in your list why you have trodden down the path of poker obscurity.

You are probably wondering why I have basically repeated what I said in the opening paragraphs. Well the answer is simple…. they are not reasons. They are EXCUSES! At the end of the day, we are looking for excuses because we are not winning.

All along, I think we have been looking for excuses to why we have lost interest in poker instead of analysing the real reasons. Yes, we get constantly sucked out by monkeys. Yes, we may be on a losing run. Yes we may be playing too many games. But when do we draw the line and realise that we ourselves are the problem.

We all know that skill will overcome luck in the long run. Taking myself as the example, this is not happenening and hasn’t been happening for months. Only in the very odd game do I do well. I have played a helluva lot of poker this year but have not played well for the majority of it.

At the weekends, when on with the skype crew, we chat, we drink, we smoke and generally have a laugh, with the odd game of poker thrown in for good measure. But I’ve noticed that none of us has really made any inroads to consistantly cashing in the games we play – and it never used to be like that. A few months ago we were all cashing in sit and gos on a nightly basis. Very rarely would we come away from the tables without being at least even. More often than not we would all be in profit. So where does the problem lie?

For me personally, I’ve came full circle. You may remember the posts I wrote way back in March and April describing the exact same apathy that has gripped me now. You can click on the archives for a reminder. Basically, I need to re-evaluate why I’m playing poker. I need to re-focus on a goal and most importantly, I have to go back to basics!

I’ve came full circle from when I first posted about losing interest in poker way back in March and April. I’ve gone from a disinterested player to winning player with a goal, to playing avarage, but still making profit to the cocky player winning very little and losing confidence in my own game. And now I’m back to being the disinterested player again.

I said in those early posts that you have to evaluate your play on a constant basis. If you go on a losing streak, examine why it’s happening. Is it just variance or are you not focusing enough? Are you not trying hard enough? Have you lost focus of your goal? Have you become ignorant or arogant enough to think you are a much better player than most and should be winning, or at least cashing in any game you play?

As far as I’m concerned, it’s time for me to go ‘Back to Basics’ again. I know it will be tedious. I know what I’m going to see when I read through the archives of all the blogs. I know what the problems are, and I think I know most of the answers. But I still have to do it. There will always be something in these archives that I will have forgotton, no matter how many times I go back to them. My brain needs a refresher course in the basics of playing poker – the parts you need to look at before a card is dealt. Playing the cards will take care of themselves after that.

I have done the one thing I warned others about – I’ve became a little overconfident, or even arogant in my own ability, and I didn’t even realise it until I read Daves blog. I’ve probably known it all along, but it just needed that extra ‘push’ to make me realise it was definately going on and I need to do something about it.

So, in closing this rather long post, ask yourself – if you are in the same position as me – what are the real reasons you have lost interest in poker. Then look at them again. You may just find that your reasons are in fact excuses. Maybe you have came Full Circle too, and if so I hope this post has helped you to realise that. But in any case it does no harm to go Back to Basics to re-affirm your poker values and start to act on them again.


The Jury is out…..

November 16, 2007


I have questioned the integrity of poker sites in the past, but not for the reason I will talk about in a moment. My main problem with some sites was their software. I feel their Random Number Generators (RNG) are not good enough. (The RNG is in place to give the online cards a random shuffle). I have played many sites, but there are some that you can practically predict the cards – especially on the turn and river. When giving this some serious thought though, I came to the comclusion that it wasn’t any kind of ‘cheat’ in the software or the RNG, but was in fact just the way the software acted. And remember, we see way more hands on the virtual tables than at a live game, so you are bound to see more ‘bad beats’ or suckouts. For the sites I questioned, I realised that you just have to work with the software and exploit the weaknesses as best you can.

But, in the last few weeks, two sites have had their integrity questioned. Pokerstars has suspended a players account after he won one of their biggest tournaments – the WCOOP main event. The player in question – thought to be a British poker pro who has since been banned from pokerstars – played under several different accounts at the same time during this tournament, and more likely any tournament he participated in at pokerstars. Luckily, he was caught and lost his $1.2m for winning this tournament as Pokerstars have an indepth review of any players’ activities when they win such a large amount.

But what about all those others who paid their money and may have been put out by this guy or any of his aliases? Should they not be re-imbursed? I would certainly want my money back!

The 2nd site – Absolute Poker – is a site that I play at quite regularly. This scam is a lot more worrying than the pokerstars incident. An insider at Absolute made thousands of dollars at higher limit tables, but obviously underestimated his oponents. He played virtually every hand and won the majority of them. And why?? Because he could see ALL the other players hole cards! His opponents cottoned on that something was amiss and requested the hand histories for their game. Absolute, sent the histories and to the complainants amazement they included the hole cards for every player for every game, along with all the betting history.

After analysis and discussion in poker forums Absolute were contacted but they denied any wrong doing. Only when the games had been re-created using special software, and Absolute given the evidence, did they start to look into it. By this time the media had cottoned on to the problem, which is probably why Absolute decided to investigate.

It turned out that one of their own staff was the culprit, although he hadn’t withdrawn any of his illicit wnings. He may now face criminal charges for fraud. Absolute has since admitted cheating by one of their own staff members had taken place and all monies lost by the other players has since been reimbursed.

But the main questions coming from these two incidents is this….. Are online poker rooms safe? Can they guarentee integrity. Will our money be safe? Can we expect an immediate investigation if suspicion of cheating has been observed?

For Pokerstars part, they investigated only because it was standard paractice to do so when concerning such  a large amount of money. But what about when smaller amounts of money are involved? Would they conduct an investigation if someone complained to them? Or would they dismiss it like Absolute did?

When we are spending money at these sites we should be assured that any complaint we make should be taken seriously. Absolute, in particular sems to dismiss any notions of cheating without any investigation (if this incident is anything to go by).

I just hope that every poker site out there has taken note of these incidents and have stepped up their security. More importantly, I hope they act on concerns made by their customers instead of instantly dismissing them. It may save them from ‘shooting themselves in the foot’ in the future.