Video Blog Test Run

Hey Guys,

As promised,  here’s my first shot at a vid blog.  I just wanted to get something done quickly so I could get some feedback and ideas for future videos.  Please, please, please let me know what you like/dislike and what you’d like to see in the future.

I hand-picked a couple of the questions from the comments on my previous blogs.  In the future, I might go ahead and ask for questions, or give you an email address to send to or something.  Again though, I’m looking for any ideas/suggestions you have.

Thanks!

-Phil

 

 

Goodbye 2011, America, and Other Bad Things

Hey Guys,

It’s finally 2012!  By the way, it’s easier to type “2012” if you call it “twenty-twelve” rather than “two-thousand-twelve” in your head.  I always first type out “20012” before correcting it (which is actually neither, now that I think about it).

2011 was definitely the roughest year of my life to date, both professionally and personally (coincidence?  doubt it), so I’m extremely excited to be done with it and moving forward.  It was a rough year for all of us who call online poker our profession or even those who just love to play.   I’m frustrated enough that I had to leave my home, friends, and country to continue working.  When I think about some of the poker players who aren’t as fortunate as me, I get even more frustrated for them.  Those with families that they can’t simply uproot, those who don’t earn enough to be able to travel back and forth out of the country and cover the cost of two leases or mortgages, those who were playing part time while working another job or going to school.  All of those people had online poker completely taken away from them.

I don’t know any more than the rest of you guys in terms of when and how things will change for online poker in the US, but I’m very hopeful for it’s future.  It just seems like a no-brainer, win-win-win situation for the US to get I-Poker legalized and regulated (my uneducated opinion).

After Black Friday, I left New York and headed to Vegas early.  I normally head there right around the start of the WSOP.  I had just started renting an apartment in Vegas year round, which turned out to be great timing for me.  Compared to past summers, staying in hotels or in houses with huge groups of (awesome) guys, I really enjoyed living alone in my own space.  That’s something that’s extremely important to me, for my happiness and sanity.  It’s the reason I don’t travel the circuit, playing the EPTs, WPTs, NAPTs, WSOPEs, and all the other letters.

Some people love to travel.  They go crazy doing the same things day in and day out, and can’t wait for their next adventure.  I’m not one of those people.  Waking up in the same bed, sitting at the same desk, walking to the same grocery store… I need those things.

After leaving my comfortable NYC home and routine, I slowly settled into my Vegas home and routine.  The summer went, I don’t know, fine.  I won a little bit in the cash games, though not as much as I’d have liked given how good they were, and how much I was playing.  I probably played more hands of live poker this summer than the rest of my life combined.  I also played only a few tournaments, with no success (whatever).

At the end of the series, I left Vegas with a couple of friends and headed to Vancouver.  New home, new routine.  (All of a sudden, I find myself having three homes… wtf)  It’s been almost five months now (though I’ve been out of town for a good chunk of that), and I’ve finally gotten comfortable and used to it here.  I love the city.  Vancouver has most of the great things NYC has, but with friendlier people, cleaner streets, more nature, and better weather.  Sure, it rains a lot here, but I like the rain.  I actually think Vancouver is my favorite city I’ve spent time in.  (As a matter of fact, I’ve really liked everything Canada-related thus far in my life)

Since I moved here only knowing a few people, and poker people at that, I decided to make it a business trip of sorts.  I’ve been playing hard, working on my game, trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, I even started doing some writing in my “free time” (In reality, all of my time is free time).  I’ve played around 200k hands since August… pretty crazy for someone who has been playing under 50k hands a year.  I started off crushing, but have been hit the other side of variance lately.  I’m still very proud of how productive I’ve been over this time.

Online nosebleeds have disappeared with FTP, so I’ve mostly been playing 25/50 and 50/100.  Sure, some 100/200 and 200/400 mixed in, and some 500/1k limit games from time to time, but it’s mostly been just (regular) high stakes.  I’m actually loving it.  Since I’m comfortably rolled, I’m not nearly as stressed as I used to be when playing.  (Spending a week waiting for good 500/1k PLO games to run so that you can 2 table it is an awful career and lifestyle)

Due to this, I’ve completely fallen back in love with poker.  Almost every day, I wake up and can’t wait to play.  I walk to my desk praying that there will be 6+ tables running… 3 tables isn’t enough action for me.  I suppose some might call this a gambling addiction, but I like to pretend that it’s good work ethic.

Since I’m well rolled for the smaller games, there’s no PLO game I won’t play in.  I’ve always wanted to take on any and all comers, as I love HU PLO, and love challenging myself.   In the past, at $200/400+, I haven’t been able to afford playing any and every game, as the risk of a massive downswing was too high.  At 25/50 or 50/100, I get to challenge myself anytime someone will play.

Another nice thing about this is that my schedule isn’t at the mercy of the games.  No game is good enough that I need to miss out on sleep, and no game is bad enough that I have to sit it out.  I can play whenever I want to.  This leads to such a healthier and happier life, I’ve found.  If and when nosebleeds are back, I’m going to attempt to make some changes in order to keep a better schedule, even if it costs me some money.

I’ve even been taking on many of the regs at 500/1k 2-7 triple draw when there’s no PLO action.  I’m not anywhere close to as strong a player there as I am at PLO, but I love the game so much.  I would honestly play it every day if I could, but now oogee is the only person sitting and waiting who will play, and though I’ve tried many times to play with him, I know I’m very outclassed.  I will give him (or anyone else) another shot soon (for fun and practice), but I need to climb out of my recent downswing first.  I really feel as though I can get good enough to seriously compete at that game by the end of the year.

Though I’m loving Vancouver and loving poker, my life is a bit one dimensional lately.  I miss my friends in NYC (and elsewhere) a tonnnn.  I may make more of an effort to make some friends in Vancouver (non poker people), as I think it’s important to get away from poker once in a while.  That will be easier said than done though… not like I run into lots of interesting people while sitting at my computer desk all day.

Anyways, that’s my life since April.  This ended up being a little bit longer than I meant for it to, so thanks for those of you who are still with me!

I’m very much looking forward to the rest of 2012.  I’ll be playing hard and keeping you guys posted.  I already have more to say, but I’m trying to keep these at a manageable length.  Please post any feedback or questions you have.  I’ll do my best to get to them (though they’re piling up fast!  Thanks guys).

Take care.

-Phil

New Year, New Blog

Hey Guys,

I’d like to wish you all a belated Happy New Year, and to welcome you to my new blog!  I just threw this together quickly.  I might have someone make it look prettier in the future.

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions personally.  That said, my New Year’s Resolution this year was to put more effort into, well, this?  Basically, I decided to try and make a concerted effort to be more accessible and communicative with the poker community.   Though I’ve never hidden from anything, I’ve definitely been fairly private.  For as much as you guys all know about my approach to the game, strategy, and my daily wins and losses, I don’t talk much about my everyday life, mindset, opinions, etc.  I’ve actually already written a post (that was going to be part of this one, but got too long), that I’ll post in a little while.

Poker, and the people who play it, have been looking not so great as of late.  All of the scandals and stories of people being unethical or just generally crappy people have been bumming me out.  I love poker, and I know a TON of poker players who are first class, honorable, amazing people.  Many of the most trustworthy and good hearted people I know, actually, are poker players.  It’s a shame that it’s not as interesting for the poker media or 2+2ers to talk about positives nearly as much as it is to talk about the negatives.

A lot of the pre-internet pros have told me about how it used to be… how telling someone you were a poker player got a much different reaction than it does now.  Because of the poker boom in the early 2000s, it’s now cool, and even respectable, to be a pro poker player.  I’d hate for it to ever go back to being something you’d be embarrassed to tell people.

I’ve always had a lot of respect for the way that Daniel Negreanu has been an ambassador for the game.  The first live event I ever played, I was at the same table with him – I was star-struck, actually.  What was crazy to me was how comfortable he made everyone at the table.  He talked to me- like, had actual conversations with me, and I was an absolute nobody.   Daniel is the first to stand up for something he believes in, to criticize someone who he thinks is in the wrong and to praise someone who deserves it.  He’s extremely accessible to the public, he’s outspoken, he’s likeable, and he’s respectable.  Daniel gives poker players a good name.

I don’t have any delusions about being like Daniel.  I’ll never be as outgoing, talkative, or as bold as he is.  I’ll never be as well-known or liked by the general public (nor do I think I’d want to… it seems hard).  I’ll also never have the tournament success Daniel has.   I just will try to put a little more of myself out there and hope that I can set a good example for some of the young online pros (now that I’m an online dinosaur), and try to play my part in giving online poker players, and all poker players, a better name.

I still plan on maintaining a certain level of privacy, of course, but hopefully you’ll be hearing a lot more from me from now on.  I’ll be putting some more effort into twitter as well (here) and I’m thinking about maybe trying to work on some video blogs or other videos sometime.  It sounds nice in theory, but I don’t really know what I’d talk about or do that wouldn’t get very repetitive (‘Hi, I lost $50k today.’  ‘Hi, I played this interesting hand’).  Any ideas?

Thanks for reading, guys.  I’ll do my best not to disappoint with this blog.  Good luck this year, at and away from the tables.

Take care.

-Phil