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.


72 Replies to “New Year, New Blog”

  1. I read on your “well” that you played high school football. Have you ever played racquetball? It’s a good game for cardio exercise that provides an element of competition. I’m from MD and will be in Vegas 1/27-1/31. Let me know if you have any interest in playing for an hour. (I won’t ask for pics, autographs, or poker advice-just some exercise!)

    Otherwise, best of luck!


    1. Yeah, I actually tried playing… Unfortunately, I have one long lasting injury, and it’s my right shoulder. Can’t really swing 🙁

  2. Phil,

    You are a great ambassador to the game of poker, don’t sell yourself short! I wish you all the success in 2012!

  3. maybe you should browse the internet and give your opinions on the thing that its going on, like legislation, the change of rake at pokerstars, stuff like that, always nice to read your opinions on things, glgl

  4. Hey man,

    Much respect for your stream-of-consciousness approach to blogging. That’s super sweet!

    Throwing some ideas out for you:
    You could talk about the kind of stuff you did before poker? First job, first car, what you liked about it, what you didn’t. What were you going to school for? What kind of stuff interests you that isn’t poker related? A good way to be an ambassador would be to help “us” understand the parallels you see between poker and other things. I’ve heard football described as a game of controlled aggression and I think that absolutely applies to poker as well. I’m your disciple though, I know nothing about the game that you haven’t already mastered… Just some random thoughts.

    Take care and stay classy


  5. Nice opening post! Since you’ve asked for ideas:

    This kind of follows on from the issues that you’ve brought up in this post but I’d like to hear specifically what you think can be done (should be done?) to prevent poker from being seen as something disreputable.

    It’s unavoidable when discussing how to correct something that is awry that there will be negative talk. This could be balanced by highlighting the people or organisations that are improving the situation that poker is in – you’ve mentioned DN above but I’m sure there are more. Who are the other ‘heros of poker’ in your eyes… and why?

  6. stuff i’d personally be interested in:

    1. do a simple Q&A, collecting questions from comments here or on your twitter. your well thread on 2p2 was super popular and i would imagine the same thing would continue to be.
    2. in that line, one of the questions i have is – you said somewhere you would probably be more happy having not played poker full time, or that you wouldn’t recommend it to most people (this may have been from some old interview so sorry if it’s not your actual thoughts). in the case that it is though, do you think this is simply a grass is greener mindset? don’t you enjoy the freedom poker has provided you? how do you imagine your life going over the next 5, 10, 30 years?
    3. what does your family think about all your success? i haven’t seen you talk about any of their perspective on your life.

  7. Playing or conducting business in the poker world is most definitely under a lot of scrutiny.

    You are correct Phil, there are a lot more people representing the game as honest, respectable and friendly individuals, bit sadly it is the small group of not so honest, respectable and friendly people that keep the game from truly evolving into a worldwide acclaimed game.
    We are kind of like celebrities and the paparazzi are not interested in the happy go lucky players or businesses. The want to find the crap in all of us and it is our job each and every day to make sure that if we want to be on top of the world with our game, we need to make sure the poker paparazzi have nothing to write about.
    We are all bummed out by Black Friday, the FT affair and many other negatives issues in the game, but we need to look beyond that or we will fall back to the old days.
    Stay positive and all I can ask is that you donyour part to represent the game in a highly positive light.


  8. Hi Phil,

    if the quality of your upcoming posts would be like this, you will be a very popular blogger for the poker community! I’m pretty sure you dont have to be that bold as Daniel 🙂

    Good luck to you and cheers from Hungary!


    1. Thanks, CJ!

      I’ll try to keep the quality up. I know that times will get busy, and I’ll fall behind, but I’ll try to stockpile ideas at times like this when I’m motivated to.

      Good luck to you too.


  9. Well written article Phil.It’s good to get an online pro’s perspective on what’s happening lately with poker and not many online guys would write something like this as usually they are more introverted(I think that’s the word I want).I would love to see some video blogs and even if they did get repetitive,that’s poker right? Its the different things we do that make it interesting every time the scenario/hand appears.To get your analysis on any level of poker would be brilliant or even on your day to day life.Your an inspiration to a young online player like me,hopefully I can be as good as you one day but until then i’ll just keep up the grind.Good luck to your new years resolution and may the run good be with you!

    1. Hey Sean,

      Thank you. Excellent feedback. I agree that a lot of us are introverted and on the private side (myself included). That’s why I’ll have to put a lot of effort into this. I’m ready to, though.

      Good luck!


  10. Hi, just a quick shout out from Denmark.

    You’re probably the best ambassador for the online poker players through the last couple of years. It feels like you’re always genuine and yourself. Really hope your blogs and stuff will stay that way, because it’s really rare to see someone who’s had so much success in a specific area stay true to who he was.

    Good luck in the future!

    1. Hey Lasse and Denmark!

      Thank you very much for the kind words. It really does mean a lot to me, and is great motivation for me to work hard at this.

      Take care, and best of luck.


  11. Hey Phil,

    Could you maybe shine your light on your future. Do you see yourself clicking buttons or shuffling chips in a cardroom in ten, twenty years from now? How about your dreams and goals, things that you’d really like to achieve. I’m not talking about monetary goals or the best way to play king effin queen but stuff outside poker. IMO a lot of the online grinders are sitting behind their desk, clicking away without a real plan for the future. Black Friday hit so many people in the face because they suddenly realized that they might need to get a job afterall. Obviously you’re more financially secure then the average 1/2 rakeback grinder but I was wondering if you had some kind of (backup) plan? That might be something to write about.

    Greetings from Amsterdam

  12. PhilGalfond Phil Galfond
    @ All: @RealIsildur1 is actually the toughest I’ve played w/

    ^WOW didnt expect that

    i started playing poker because i had always been considering how much lady Luck is involved in achieving things. I often hear that best poker plrs can min loses n max profits.

    i would love to read any thoughts about the Luck factor unless this has nothing to do with your game 🙂

    gl with the blog man!

  13. Hi Phil good to see you blogging again, i enjoy hearing what you have to say.

    Some ideas to blog about:

    Why dont you play say 1000 hands at all the games and levels of online poker available.

    play say 100 STT. and a number of differing levels of MTT’s and talk about how you see it and how its different to when you used to play at lower levels. can you still beat low mid stakes? and why.(maybe throw some live play discussion into the mix)

    mix this in with some current thoughts and news and you have a blog i for one would look forward to reading.

    I have an idea for some videos from low level live games in a small town in the UK which id love to make just for laughs but dont know where to start. PM if your interested.

    Anyway a the risk of this becoming longer than your blog ill go


  14. Great to see you blogging. In terms of what would be good to read, I’d personally like to see a bit of detail about how you deal with the emotional aspects of playing highstakes PLO. Gota be some sick swings! And as for respectable players your definitely one of the good guys in the online world, everyone respects you and your game, even if you are a “dinosaur” Look forward to reading the updates Phil!


  15. Hello, Phil, i’d just like to say that you’re for sure one of the most respectable and cool guys i can think of in poker. We never met, but i became a huge fan after watching you play and seeing your attitude on and off the felt.
    Wish you all the best in 2012, and may you win another bracelet at the WSOP.
    Best regards,

  16. You are an extremely well liked poker pro. you do have fans all over the world ( i am from germany ) and anything you give to the poker community (everything, starting with the well and ending with this blog) is and should be a reason to respect and admire you.

    1. btw also watched your short video and now i can say i have the same computer background as my favorite poker player 😉

  17. Sweet, cool blog look forward to reading it. Your game is top notch and I like how competitive and cut-throat you are at the poker table. Away from it you are definitely the most humble and nicest dude pretty much ever. Good luck in 2012; not just in poker but in life, if anyone deserves it…its you.

  18. i totally agree with your take on kid poker. and i did run into you at the WSOP and you took a minute out of your schedule to talk to me and even take a picture. so you are also one of the more articulate and genuine players around imo.

  19. Thanks Phil for letting us in. Looking forward to future blogs and videos. Keep twitter coming, more twitter pics in the future please. I follow kid poker and love the way he keeps us updated. He is definitely one of the good ones. Have a great 2012!

  20. Hey Phil, I’ve followed your career for a couple of years now, and was hoping you would continue to post blogs after you parted ways with bluefire, all the best. Vish

  21. very nice words! btw: as u behave on pokertables (especially as u can loose and never tick out or fuzz around thats someting i deeply respect cause i’m never ever manage it to be that rational .. and if u get sucked u sometimes smile and say “nice hand” ..and somehow it sounds often really as if u mean that very ernest). and how u talking about ur friends like here about daniel showing him ur loyalty makes u as least as likable as daniel. best wishes from germany°°°! i always enjoy seeing u gambling! always good healthy and good friends in this new year! best wishes from germany

  22. Hey Phil,

    You’re a GREAT ambassador to poker IMO. Seen how much you have gave back in the 2p2 forums and sharing tips and strategies with us is just the nuts. Thanks Phil and hope you stay awesome like you always are!

  23. Really glad you are going to be blogging more and recognize that your opinions and thoughts do actually matter to other people

    You’re a very respected member of the poker community and have a chance to shine a better light on poker players in general.

    Too much in poker now is “look what I just bought” or stories about scandals and id like to think that only represents a small fraction of players.

    Though I’ve never met you or played with you it seems like you “get it” and I’ve never heard anyone say a cross word about you and I appreciate that you will be taking the time to put more of yourself out there

    GL with this and everything else in 2012 and beyond

  24. Phil You are a real class act and have done nothing but shed a positive light on the poker world. I would really appreciate your honest opinion on one question.

    If you had only 5,000 and wanted to run up a bank roll playing live poker. What game and what stakes would you start at? La or Vegas?

    Thank you for your time Phil

  25. Great article Phil,

    Miss watching you on the TV shows, I have to agree I was part of the poker Boom than watching all the online scamming and demise of Full Tilt it brought poker back 30 years !!!! Thinking guys like Ivey and Fergesun scammed anyone is pretty pathetic. Than take guys like Daniel N and he is everything that is right about poker as are you Phil……
    You dont seam like the kind of guy that would choose a side but sticking up for the integrity of the game (Exactly like Daniele) would be something I would like to see…… Your opinion on the FT scandal I would enjoy reading as well.
    So much has changed in the past 24 months what do you envision the next 2 yrs are looking like ? Good Luck Phil have a great new year !!!

  26. don’t forget that your well on twoplustwo is possibly the most popular thread in the history of the forum – i think everyone would be interested to hear your thoughts on pretty much anything poker related.

    personally i loved your philosophy videos on bluefire and would love to read more of your thoughts on how to approach learning and improving – you wouldn’t have to give too much about your game away either if you were talking about somewhat abstract things that still require a lot of thought and hard work to apply.

    aside from that, your reputation is such that if you were to weigh in on the various ethical problems facing poker, relating to both players and sites/casinos, your voice would certainly be heard.

    either way, gl with the new blog, looking forward to reading it.

  27. Phil you may not be real open about your personal life, though your honesty has always made up for that. The face of poker desperately needs more people like you.

  28. Hi Phill, have been flowing Daniel’s tweet’s over the w’end, he is a gentleman and such a positive person(as you also sound). Nice blog mate, really look forward to hearing more. Good luck for 2012!!

  29. Hey Phil,

    I will certainly follow this blog. And the reason that you appeal negranu is because you have exactly the same radiation as Negranu. Keep it up like that! This has most to do with respect towards your opponent or future opponents 😉 I have played poker for fun the previous years on pstars. But it always cost money nowadays. My New Year’s Resolutions is to become a breakeven/winning player. Today tools are necessary to become a winning player. Therefore I would like to know what tools are you using and what stats are the most important. So more focus on the tools.. and how you use them in your decisions.

    Good luck with your blog and best wishes for 2012!

  30. Hi Phil,

    I am Dieter from Belgium and i wish you all the best with your new blog. As a job i am a pro webdesigner/programmer so if you need some help with the design of your website or anything like that just let me know!

    Keep up the good work!



  31. Phil good read and it is good to see some of the good guys standing up for the game. The poker community as a whole needs to kind of police itself and weed out some of the people who have caused such a black eye for the game recently. Whatever you decide to put out there people will eat it up. I have become a poker junkie in recent years and although I have chosen not to play professionally I still play as a semi-pro and love to follow you and the other top pros. Whatever material you choose to put out will be read and well received I have no doubt you don’t have to worry about this. People love success stories especially when they come from good people who care. Thanks for sharing some of your personal experiences and insights and continues success in the future.

  32. A good Idea would be to talk about a PLO hand of ur fans/students that they sent you.
    I know you dont want to talk about own hands in the games you play so that would be very intresting.
    Only one Hand a week that you talk about would be really great and you would have a lot of regular visitors.

  33. personally I would like to hear more “general poker discussion”, e.g. explaining about famous hands or what should we look for when railing, stuff like that…
    gl [my jewish] bro!

  34. If Ipoker gets legalized in Califoria before the US a whole, do you think you’ll move from Canada to Cali and buy yet another house? I’m sure the player pool will be big enough for my games. Think it will be big enough for yours? I imagine if you like NYC and Vancouver, you’d like SF.

  35. Very honest Blog. Would agree totally about Daniel, from what i’ve seen on Tv. Top guy for poker in general.

    What’s your ambitions for this year Phil?

  36. Hey Phil,

    Great blog – I think you are a great player that is respected by most, if not all, other poker players and it’s good that you’re recognizing this and using it to be another positive role model for the game. I’d love to chat with you sometime about possible video ideas, I actually majored in media production communications so together I feel like we may be able to come up with some interesting ideas that the poker player, as well as fans of the game, would find interesting, while at the same time conveying a positive message for the game of poker.

    Good luck in 2012.


  37. Hi Phil:) Hope you have an awesome new year and kill it at the poker tables 😀 Good luck in 2012!!! excited to here from you more^.^

  38. like everyone who reads your words, i am impressed and inspired by the sincerity, kindness, and thoughtfulness you seem to exude in all areas of your life. i think the main reason that you resonate so well with poker community is because you aren’t larger than life. even though you have made millions, your temperament has remained grounded, which is remarkable for any young male who has achieved swift success.

    one idea i had is for you maybe to discuss other games or have video of you and your friends playing other games. when you and tom have tweeted about your intense peggle matches, it seemed natural to create a little 10 minute video/documentary about it. a lot of it would be in jest, but you could have player interviews, side bets, trash talk, etc.

    just something that popped into my head. oh and you should take a weekend trip to whistler. that place is beautiful. going on a ski trip is also a good way to meet some new friends, especially if it’s through a group.

  39. Phil good to see you hit the blog circuit!! You can see great ‘improvement’ in how comfortable you are in live poker/public since ther first couple of spots I saw on TV. I don’t know enough about your game other than Poker after Dark, but not sure if I could handle the swings that we have seen in your ‘public’ poker stats. I am sure the ‘old guard’ has the same swings, but we just don’t get to see them 5 minutes after they happen!! I play with too many bingo players to make some of the moves that you use in your game against poker players. Good luck with 2012.

  40. Hi Phil,

    Awesome blog.

    Like DN is a great ambassador for the game at the circuit and on TV, you could be one for the online PLO games. You allready earned a ton of respect from the community so that should be achievable imo.

    The PLO games are booming on pokerstars and that is great, but I’m afraid they will end up like Limit Holdem if nothing is done about the super high rake at micros and small stakes. Players pay on average 20bb/100 at the micros and 15bb/100 at small stakes. Also because of low vip levels people get hardly anything back (20% rb at best I’m guessing).

    So a lot of players who try the game will not be able to win and move up through the stakes and many will stop which is a shame. With lower rake at the bottom levels there would be more successtory’s like you and Tom 5 years ago and fresh blood at the higher stakes and overall much healthier games long into the future I think.

    If you could look into this and maybe write about it that would be really cool! Raising awareness is an important first step.

    Also so there will be negotiations about rake/viprewards between 5 players from twoplustwo and pokerstars.
    So I think it is a good time to adress this.

    Take care!


  41. Hi Phil, nice to see you blogging. You have discussed strategy a lot of times and I have seen some great vids. As we all know: poker is not only about strategy its also a mind game. As we approach poker as a sport, Jared Tendler writes in his book ‘The Mental Game of Poker’, we should also do some kind of warming up before starting playing. If you are willing to write about it, I’m curious about your method of preparation before you hit the tables. If you use some kind of preparation. Good luck to you and your loved ones. Have a great 2012!

  42. Hi Phil

    I think you are a great ambassador (sp?) for the game. You’re the new(ish) breed of player where you’ve not come from the pit and walked into the poker room (i.e. not just a gambler).

    A Phil Galfond podcast would be the nuts, I’m sure you could monetize it easily with a small sponsor (heck you’re allowed to get paid for free content), and it doesnt have to be strategy, but more based on the philosophy of being a poker professional in todays climate.

  43. You’re either very modest or really underestimate how big of a name you are.

    I PM’ed you a chart once either on 2+2 or BFP comparing your reach on to another big poker celebrity. Never got a reply. If you didn’t get it let me know I could send it again.

    I’ve been a big fan of yours for a long time. Best of luck this year!

  44. Hey Phil, just watched the latest High Stakes Poker (Seas 7) and man was very impressed with how you played. I’d love to hear more of the reality stories of poker that only poker pros can talk about. I.e. Pros going broke and what they have done to fix things and how many are actually making profits. Of course I dont expect names 😉 but yeah it would be good to hear how hard it really is to make it as a poker pro. Thanks Phil, keep up the good work!

  45. great first blog post in the new year!
    I think it would be totally cool if you make video Blogs (and if so post em on Youtube too pls…).
    topics could be:
    – mindset(motivation, dealing with downswings, and so on…)
    – Hand of the day/week/moth… whatever
    – equipment u use
    – showing ur crib
    – winnings/looses
    – videos of u playing maybe?
    – bla bla bla
    i would be pretty happy about it
    if you r out of topics im gonna write u some more 😉
    btw i think it is great that we have people like u in poker, making poker having a good image, and realy care about the community and talking so nice about others.
    U r a very nice and kind person and i wish good new year and the best luck….

  46. Bonsoir … bonne annee … the best critic is included in your work, a work that you do beautifully ……. about ideas in order to avoid to be repetive i would suggest the same thing, goes on what you do so well, if hundreds time you feel like sayin ” i lost 50 k ” say it, just tell it with your all mind, heart, whatever, it wont be repetive, the details is everything, as you know, and if ever you dont find something to say then dont … but remember that everytime you talk about poker it’s a gem for ( most ) us, i mean it … and if ever you wanna contact you dont have to find someone who knows me, you have my name, my mail … take care … gerard.

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