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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Climbing the Ladder

So after having very solid months in February and March, I decided that April would be my time to start transitioning to higher stakes games online. When I first started playing for a living back in 2004, it was nothing for me to put 10% or more of my bankroll on the table at any given time and not think twice about it. After riding the bankroll rollercoaster for several years I finally took a step back and realized that there is no need to put myself through those kinds of emotional swings. I told myself after I won the Sunday 200k on UB in August of 2008 that I would never put my bankroll in jeopardy again. The best way that I would rectify this situation was set a strict guideline for my online bankroll and play based on that set of rules. From the time that I returned to cash games in July of 2009, I have played mostly 1/2 no limit online while refining my game under the guidence of a few very successful players.

This month, and after 250k hands of 1/2, I decided to try make make a full transisiton to 2/4. Previously I have taken shots in the 2/4, 3/6, 5/10, and even 10/20 games when they are good, but I haven't tried to sustain at these levels. After being a 5bb/100 winner over 250k hands at 1/2, I am still finding it hard to "climb the ladder." I have been playing 2/4 on both FullTilt and FeltStars with not a lot of success this month. I am up less than 1k so far and we're already 1/3 of the way through the month. For the most part, I really don't find the players to be that much better, although there definitely are some very good regulars. I'm not going to bemoan my luck as an excuse, but it does seem that every time I try to move up in stakes that I run a good bit below EV based on my Hold Em Manager graph. This is of course short term luck and variance at work considering I have only put in about 15k hands this month, about half of what I normally play.

This also brings up a good point about whether playing double the stakes but only playing half the hands is worth it? I think all it does is increase variance in the short term, but I truly believe that in the big picture it will be worth it because I am getting better faster playing against better regulars. Eventually I will be able to successfully 9-12 table the higher limits and get back to playing 1k hands an hour comfortably, which should increase my hourly earn. I think my plan for the immediate future is to not put so much pressure on myelf to move up and to just let it come naturally. I will continue playing a lot of 1/2 NL Rush poker on FullTilt, but I will also play 1 or 2 games of 2/4 NL, probably on FeltStars at the same time. 4 tabling rush poker is equivalent to the hands you'd see while 12 tabling, so essentially the 12 tables of 1/2 should compensate for the variance that I will have playing only 1 or 2 tables of 2/4 NL. As an aside, I find it humorous that I have trouble sticking at the 2/4 level online, when 2/5 live almost seems like a small game. I much prefer playing 5/10 live and feel completely comfortable with the buy in, and know that I am properly bankrolled for the game. Just seems funny how I struggle with the online transition.

Kim and I are really starting to get excited about the wedding. Its just over 1 month away, and we're doing a destination wedding at the Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas. Last week my best friend told me that he just finalized his plans to come to the wedding. We were in the same fraternity (Theta Xi) at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, LA, and then he moved to Las Vegas a year after I had moved there. We were roomates in Vegas for a few years until Kim and I moved in together. Now I rarely get to see him because he also left Las Vegas last year and moved to Orange County, CA. to be near his girlfriend and for a new job opportunity. He and his girlfriend are arriving in Nassau the day after Kim and I arrive, and they will be spending the whole week before the wedding with us. It's gonna be a blast hanging out with them and having another couple to do activities with. It will also be nice that when Ben and I want to do some water sports, the girls can go to the spa or shopping together and we won't need to worry about them.

I was considering going to Lake Charles in a week and a half to play the last 3 events of the Louisiana State Poker Championship but I think I will have to cancel my room and pass on this trip. Kim and I have a lot to do before the wedding, and I also would like to make a quick trip to Thibodaux to see my parents. Kim is also in the middle of a possible job move to Mobile, Alabama. If this happens we will really be busy and poker will be the furthest thing from my mind for a while. I really hope she does get this job though because I think I would rather living in Mobile than Houston. Mobile is only 3.5 hours away from my parents rather than the 5.5 hour drive that I currently have. Another huge draw is that I will be a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, which means that when I get tired of staring at the computer screen I can take a quick drive down the road and play some live poker (yeah, I can do that in Houston in underground rooms, but I'm not fond of the $40/hand rake!). Also, I would just be happy to be back on the Gulf Coast, as it was all I knew for the first 21 years fo my life before moving to Vegas. I guess only time will tell what will happen, but hopefully she'll find out more about the job by the end of next week.

Lastly, if you haven't checked out, you really should. Big things are happening there as well as with the Merge network in general. FeltStars is part of the ever growing Merge Network, which houses other skins such as CarbonPoker, VIP Poker, PokerNordica, etc. On April 15th, 3 big skins from the Cake Network (, Players, and Lock Poker) will be migrating away from Cake and joining the Merge network. What's this mean? Well, for starters it means that the Merge network should more than double it's current active player pool! This is huge news. Game selction will be much better. I anticipate there being 20+ .50/1 NL games, 10+ 1/2 NL games, and 5 or more 2/4 NL games, as well as a few 5/10 and maybe a 10/20 running on a regular basis. Also, with the addition of, I think we will see a higher surge of gamblers on the site, as they will both be betting sports and playing poker through the same bankroll. We will also have some great promotions coming soon at FeltStars, including Sit n Go challenges, MTT challenges, and even cash game challenges. The SnG and MTT challenges will also feature free rolls where you have a chance at free money by beating all 4 Team FeltStars pros (Myself, Tyler Smith, Jason Lipscomb, and Ken "DrCheckRaise" Callis). Lastly, we will be introducing a bounty tournament, where each pro will have a bounty on their head, as well as progressive bounties if a player knocks out multiple pros during the course of the tournament. These are all reasons to be excited about playing at FeltStars, so come join us. Use bonus code Boot n Tee to sign up and receive 30% rakeback daily, and a 300% deposit bonus up to 3k! Also you'll be enrolled in a VIP program where you can use your points for cash back or tourney buy ins. Email me at with any comments questions about FeltStars.

Guess that's all for now. Hopefully April turns around and I can report a solid graph by the end of the month.

Til Next Time....

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