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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hectic Weeks and Coaching

Hi All,
Man these last few weeks have been hectic. We closed on our new home in Alabama on Tuesday then headed out to Texas to finish packing. Been here a few days and the house is starting to look like we're ready to move. Funny how when it's time to move you always find more and more stuff that you forgot you had. I think I spent 30 minutes today reading Christmas/Birthday/Easter/Valentines cards from my wife and my parents that I had apparently saved from the past 3 years. The movers come Monday morning to pack up the house, and then load up on Monday evening. After that it's back to Alabama to meet them and unload the truck. We also ordered all kinds of stuff online that should arrive mid next week as well. We're super excited and can't wait to finally move in to our new home.

As far as poker goes, I've barely played any lately. When I have it's been a few sessions at the Dog Track in Pensacola, FL and one session at the Amelia Belle in south Louisiana when I went home to visit my parents. Pretty much broke even over the 3 sessions due to an ugly run in Pensacola during my last session. It was just one of those where I lost with AA once, lost with QQ twice, and won the blinds only when I had KK. Sometimes thats the breaks of the game. It is unbelievable how much I am missing the online grind and can't wait to get back to 9 tabling across all the limits at FeltStars. We may have company next weekend if my wifes parents come in from Houston, so my ultimate goal poker wise is to be playing full time again by mid August. Hopefully I can add some more poker content to this blog then and even post some hands for analysis.

I've been sort of "coaching" a friend of mine for a while now. He's a very good guy and I normally stay at his place for weeks at a time when I go to Las Vegas. He's nearing retirement and has a goal of beating 9 handed no limit online for 1BB/100 plus make his rakeback so that he can supplement his retirement. We talked poker a bit through the years, but I haven't really helped him much until recently. After about 250k hands over the past 3 years he is close to break even counting his rakeback. I think we've finally hit a turning point where he is starting to "get it" and I hope to see results from his effort soon. The biggest thing that I wanted to mention, not just for his sake but for anyone who is reading this, deals with being results oriented. I truely believe this is what is holding his and many other peoples games back from really excelling. He thinks just because he runs KK into AA that Kings should be folded 100 big blinds deep. He thinks just because he gets all in preflop with AK vs TT and doesnt win that he should just flat call and play fit or fold. He thinks just because he gets it in with the nut flush draw and middle pair on the flop out of position and runs into a set that he should just check call and see if he turns the flush. And it's not just him! Many of us do this all the tiume and this type of thinking is wrong. I agree that there are times that you don't want to become machine like, making the same plays over and over, but in general playing passive when aggression is obviously the better line is a losing proposition. If you ever feel like you may be falling into that passive rut and want to shake yourself out before you compound your losses with more mistakes, ask yourself this question: Will I even remember losing this hand next week? Next month? Next year? If the answer is no, then play the hand correctly and forget about the short term results. If the answer is Yes, then you are probably playing above and beyond the limitations of your bankroll. In general, one hand should never define your month or year. Back to my friend, I think that if he can learn to let go of individual hand results, that he will see his 1BB/100 winrate become a reality in the very near future. I respect him very much and plan on doing my best to help him achieve his goal.

Guess I'm going to keep this short as I have a ton to do tomorrow before the movers come on Monday. As always, join me at the tables on FeltStars. Click on any banner to create an account, and use bonus code BootnTee when registering for a 300% deposit bonus up to $3k. Awesome promos going now and even better ones are ahead in the near future. Hope to see you on the virtual felt there soon.

Til Next Time....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 100K Pro Bounty Tourney Madness

Hey guys/gals, I just finished playing in the monthly FeltStars 100k Pro Bounty Challenge Tourney, and it was a big success. This was our first post WSOP tourney and we drew a strong field of about 150 players for this $5 tourney. The way it works is there are 4 Team FeltStars Pros who play in it as "bounty" pros. Knock 1 of us out and get $100. Knock out 2 of the 4 and get $1000! Knock out 3 of the 4 and get a cool $10k, and knock all 4 of us out for a whopping $100k..yes, thats right, $100,000 for a $5 buy in with only 150 people. Seems almost impossible, but tonight when we were down to 18 players, 3 of the 4 pros were still in as well as the player who knocked out the 1st pro. After I busted in 12th, 2 of our pros "HotAusChick2" and "DrCheckRaise" (Click their names to redirect to their blogs/websites) went on to make the final 5 along with the player who knocked me out. That meant that the player who knocked me out had the chance of winning $10k for his $5 buy in if he was able to knock the both of them out. Eventually he won the tourney but didn't knock out any other pros besides me. On the other hand, his opponent knocked out both the remaining FeltStars Pros and collected $1000 in bounty money for his $5 buy in! Thats a pretty sweet deal if you're trying to build a bankroll.

Bottom line is that if you don't have an account at FeltStars now's the time to sign up. Click on any of the banners on my blog page or go to and use Bonus Code BootnTee to get a huge sign up bonus as well as rakeback. Feel free to email questions about signing up at to

Normally I just dedicate one paragraph per blog to endorse my deal with, but I really thought that this deal is too good to pass up for players looking for great value! If you are unfamiliar with FeltStars, we are on the Merge network. You can read more about the Merge Network at their website, We are currently the fastest growing skin on the network and have big plans for further growth in the near future. The games on the network are super soft and there is a lot of no limit action to enable higher volume players the capability of multi tabling. During peak hours we have 15+ $0.50-$1NL tables, 10+ $1-$2NL tables, 8+ $2-$4NL tables, several $3-$6NL tables, and 3-5 $5-$10NL tables running. There are also many daily guaranteed tourneys as well as the weekly 50k guaranteed tourney ($109 buy in) every Sunday. Hope to see you on the tables soon!

Til Next Time....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Live vs Online Part 2!

OK, so after thinking more and more about my last blog, and after playing another live no limit session, I have decided to continue on with the theme and go way more in depth of why I think online games have better players and are tougher to beat than live games on average.

One major reason I feel online players are better than live players is that online players understand the concept of balancing their range better than live players do. For those that aren't familiar with this concept, balancing has to do with varying your play. A player who is capable of 3 betting preflop with AA, KK, QQ, AK but can also 3 bet hands like K5ss, 87o, J7cc, etc. is going to be much more balanced when he 3bets preflop than a player who only 3bets AA, KK, QQ, and AK. Which player would you rather play against? I know I would be much happier having the player who 3bets only the premiums to my left than a player who 3bets a more balanced range which leaves me guessing at the strength of his hand all the time. On the surface it would seem like a balanced range would be less important online since you play with so many different people that you don't need to mix up your play, but I think that's not true. Due to so many tracking devices such as PokerTracker and Hold Em Manager, balancing becomes crucial in order to get any action. If you 3bet only premiums then your 3bet stat will be so low that the times you do 3bet you might as well play your hand face up! As far as live games go I think keeping a balanced range is very imortant, but I see very few players doing this. The remarkable part is that a few of these players still get action even after they 3bet preflop. I laugh sometimes when people call them with hands that play terrible verse big pairs, like hands that can flop top pair top kicker and lose a lot of money to an overpair.

The second point that I can think of is that online players bluff/pick off bluffs better than live players. I think the main reason for this is that online players have less references to go on when trying to spot a bluff, but they think very in depth about the ones that they do have. I think that when online players bluff, they tend to pick better spots where they can tell a believable story, which in essence is exactly what a bluff should be. I think live players tend to just bluff because they feel like they need to every now and again, but don't take into account the texture of the board and their opponents tendencies to call down enough. When it comes to picking off bluffs, online players tend to rely more on betting patterns which are very reliable, as well as the story their opponent is telling. Live players seem to call often to "keep people honest". You don't know how many times I've heard at the table, "This kids an internet player and all they do is bluff, so I just gotta call him down when I make a pair." Guys, thats not the definition of a "hero call." Thats actually the definition of "eventually this kid's gonna bust me" call. A hero call in my opinion is when a player has thought through a hand in its entirety, calculated a feasible range of hands for his opponents, and decides to call based on the info he has gathered, not just "to keep him honest."

The next point I'll touch on tonight is value betting. I think that online players are MUCH better at getting max value out of hands. Online players have learned the art of the thin river value bet. An instance of this is having top pair good kicker on a flop in which your opponent can also have top pair and be outkicked. Your opponent calls your turn bet and the river completes a backdoor straight draw. After your opponent checks you should be value betting here in most cases. Internet players have come to master this, yet I still see people checking back hands that make me cringe in live poker, hands that any competent internet player would be value betting even at small stakes like 50cent-$1 NL. Because live players miss this bet so often they aren't getting nearly the maximum value that their hand affords them. The reverse is that internet players oftne "valuetown" themselves by betting too thin for value on the river. I see this as a good thing overall though, because it means that that player understands the true value there is in the thin river value bet, and over a long period of time will see a higher win rate because of it.

Lastly, bet sizing. I think internet players size their bets in a better way to both maximize profits and disguise the strength of their hand. This may be partly due to the "bet pot" button online, as well as the size of the pot always displayed in the center of the table. Still, this isn't an excuse for bad bet sizing in live games. A good player should always know approximately whats in the middle. So often I see a $20 raise preflop, 3 callers ($80 pot), a $50 flop bet which is fine with 1 caller ($180 pot), a $70 turn bet (ummmm......ok, $320 pot now), then a $75 river bet. OK, I'll agree there are times when this line is appropriate, but in general this isn't good bet sizing. Would you bet this way with a bluff to make it cheaper? Maybe. Would you bet this small with the nuts? I doubt it. This takes us almost full circle from where we started with balancing our range, to now balancing our bets. If you can't learn to balance your bets then good players will pick you apart. I think this is one of the HUGE differences between online and live players, and also a big difference that seperates small winners from big winners.

As a disclaimer, there are many live players who can do all these things that I wrote about, and do them well if not better than many good internet players. I'm speaking through my experience as a whole when I make these generalizations. Take them all for what they are worth, my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. Also keep in mind that when talking about live games I am basing this on many hours at mostly $2-$5 No Limit, but I think it holds true for some $5-$10 NL games, and almost all $1-$2 NL games I'd imagine. When you start talking about $10-$20 NL and above live, many of those players play very well and practice the concepts that I wrote about in this blog.

As always, if you don't have an account yet at, click on any one of the banners on my blog to create one. Use sign up code BootnTee for a massive 300% deposit bonus up to $3000. Join us for great promos including leaderboard promotions, guaranteed tourneys, a bad beat jackpot, the 50k guarantee on Sundays, and the $100k Pro Bounty tourney the 3rd Sunday of every month. Knock out the Team FeltStars pros and win up to 100k! See you at the tables.

Til Next Time....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Live Poker vs. Online Poker

Since moving into the coprporate apartment in Alabama, I have definitely not been playing online as much as I'd like to. I have some kind of mental block about grinding hours on end on my laptop rather than my nice office setup that I had in Houston. I fully plan to get back to playing 60,000+ hands a month as soon as we move into the new house (which will be in less than a month!) and I can set up my office. I am actually starting to miss the online grind and can't wait to get back to the juicy cash games on FeltStars.

To keep busy when not running around getting things ready for the new house, I have been trying to make a few trips to the Beau Rivage to play some cash games. I really like the 2-5NL game there because it has no max buy in so I can play pretty deep which I enjoy. I find the swings are similar to a 5-10 game which I'm OK with. It's really funny that I started as a brick and mortar player, but now consider myself more of an online player than live player. When I started playing poker seriously in 2001 I didn't even know online poker existed. In fact, I didn't own my first computer until December of 2003! Yeah, I know I was way behind the times.

I'm gonna keep this post short but just wanted ot outline some pros and cons of Live cash games vs Online cash games. I do want to say that I really enjoy both, and also wouldn't want to do only one for a living. I couldn't fathom having to go to the casino everyday, wait on waiting lists, and see only 30 or 40 hands an hour. I also couldn't imagine just sitting in front of the computer every single day and not getting to go to the casino and shuffle chips, and converse with other characters at the table. I think personally, for me, about an 80% online to 20% live mix is the correct way to go. Financially, playing online 100% of the time would be best for me, as my hourly rate online when seeing about 1,000 hands/hr is much better than live at 35 hands/hr, but for sanity's sake I need to play some live poker. I think the bottom line is that live games are softer in general, but with the increased number of hands per hour, plus bonuses and rakeback, that online poker is more profitable. As far as talent is concerned, I think most winning 1-2NL players online could hold their own in 5-10NL live games, and most winning 1-2NL live players would be very disappointed to learn that they would get their souls crushed when playing 6 max 1-2NL online. Just my opinion...

Guess thats all for now. Planning a weekend trip to my parents house and then maybe some live poker with a little internet poker mixed in next week. We are scheduled to close on our house on the 28th of this month and can't wait! Hopefully I'll be back in full online grind mode by mid August. I also plan on going to the Beau Rivage in late Aug/early September for the Gulf Coast Poker Championship and to the IP in October for the WSOP Circuit event there. Hopefully I'll be able to make a few final tables and represent Team FeltStars well.

If you don't have an account at yet, just click on any one of the banners on my page and create an account. We have an amazing deposit bonus of 300% up to $3k going right now if you use bonus code BootnTee. We are also running great promos which include bounty tourneys, gauntlet style heads up tourneys versus Team FeltStars Pros, leaderboard races, and a bad beat jackpot thats currently over 100k! Come bust me in the bounty tourney every third Sunday of the month, or win your way to play me in the heads up gauntlet freeroll for a chance at a progressive prize pool. Come check us out and let me know what you think.

Til Next Time....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vegas Trip Report

Sorry about the lack of updates recently. I had every intention on blogging from Las Vegas but couldn't log in to blogspot from my friends computer. Every time I attempted to log in it said that the security settings needed to be changed, and I wasn't about to start messing with his security settings.

Anyway, I am back in Alabama after an 8 day trip to Las Vegas, and then a long weekend visiting my parents for the 4th of July.

Overall my trip to Las Vegas was very successful. I did absolutely nothing in the tourneys, but played well and won in every cash game session except for one (which was a PLO session). I played one event at the Venetian and busted pretty early, a HORSE tourney at the Golden Nugget in which I lasted nearly 8 hours but still didn't sniff the money, a WSOP event which I will describe in a bit, and an OFC (Online Forum Challenge) event at the Golden Nugget that was sponsored by This event was fun because as a FeltStars pro I had a bounty on my head and was placed at the feature table which was streamed live over the internet at I came close to the money in this one but ultimately busted with AQ vs AK about 10 spots short of the money. All the players at my table seemed to have a great time and I think FeltStars received some good buzz from this event.

The one World Series of Poker event that I played was a 1k event that drew like 3500 players or so. We started at noon with 3k chips playing 25-25 blinds and 1 hour levels. I chipped up slowly, very slowly in fact, but took 8200 chips or so to the dinner break. I was never all in for my tourney life before dinner and mostly won a lot of small pots with preflop raising and continuation betting. Eventually my table broke and I got moved to a much tougher table with 3 good players who had lots of chips to my immediate left. I was card dead at this table for an hour or so before we broke for dinner break. I had a nice dinner with my friend JK (read his blog at and we talked a little tourney strategy while enjoying Vietnamese food at a restaurant on Spring Mountain Blvd. Promptly after dinner break ended, his table broke and he was moved to my table. Really, 50+ tables still going and he gets moved to my table?!?!?! Anyway, my streak of bad cards kept up for the next 3 hours. I preflop raised twice, got 3bet, and had to fold both times. Eventually I was in the cut off with 2 paint cards (I didn't know which 2 as I just side-sweated them) with about 3500k chips left at 200-400(50) when the hi jack open limped. I decided that based on his decent chip stack that he most likely didn't have a strong hand here and would hopefully fold to my shove. I went ahead and shoved in. When the button snap shoved I knew I was in trouble. The blinds and the limper folded and I revealed the paltry QJo. The button rolled over about what I expected..KK. Oops. Well, you know the rest, I flopped two Jacks and doubled up. Yeah, I know I run well, don't bother telling me. I blinded down a few rounds then limped in from the small blind with KK after it folded to me. The big blind who had me covered then put me all in for my last 14 or so big blinds with the legit 77. I faded his outs and doubled up to 12k at 200-400(50). I open raised 1 more hand this level and folded to a 3bet from the small blind and took 11k chips to the 300-600(75) level. During the break between levels I was telling JK how I haven't bagged chips for the night since the WSOP Main Event in 2006 and how I'd really like to make day 2. We knew that we were about 30 minutes from the night ending, as we were playing down to 270 players and currently were about 295 left. This left me in a dilemma. I could play really tight and try to make it to day 2 with about 10 big blinds, or I could try to put my chips in the pot in what I thought to be a good spot and risk going broke in an effort to accumulate chips to make a real run at the tourney, not just a min cash. Ultimately I chose route number 2. About 20 minutes before days end, I shoved with AQo from the small blind verse an early position raiser. He had JJ and called, and I lost this crucial race. After 11 hours of playing I was headed home with no money to show for my efforts. I was less than an hour away from cashing in this WSOP event, but I do not regret my play. Yes, I could have folded this hand to an early position raise, but I felt that my tight image, coupled with the fact that winning without a showdown was worth a 35% increase in my chip stack made the risk worth the reward. I stand by my decision, and after speaking to a few players whos opinions I really respect they confirmed my thinking that my play was totally justified. I can say that this is only the 5th WSOP event that I have ever played but I felt so much more confident this time than ever before, and had very minimal butterflies which all disappeared about 1 minute after the first hand was dealt. I think this confidence stemmed from the fact that I am very confident in my cash game play lately, and feel that I am playing the best poker of my life. Hopefully this isn't coming off as overconfidence, but instead I just am very proud of the work that I have put in since the last WSOP and the results it has produced. Most of this is due to a great circle of poker friends who have spent countless hours helping me with my thought process, and then countless hours of me putting these thoughts into action.

Outside of the few tournaments I played, most of my time at the tables was dedicated to cash games. There isn't much to discuss from the NL cash games. I mostly got it in good and held, and made a few hero calls that were right. The few interesting things that happened were 1) I didn't have any losing cash sessions at No Limit, 2) I played for a few hours with Amarillo Slim in the 5-10 NL game at the Bellagio, and 3) I was NEVER dealt pocket Aces the entire trip while playing NL Hold Em. This is pretty interesting as I played about 55 hours of No Limit Hold Em, saw an estimated 1800 or so hands, meaning I should have gotten exactly AA about 8 times, but was never dealt AA. Pretty interesting I think. As far as playing cash games with Amarillo Slim, he actually was very quiet at the table, preflop raised very few if any hands, and overall was very very passive. I would have to gather that his age has caught up to him and the game has long passed him by, but he is still a legend at the table. He took his small $200 or so loss and quietly walked away from the table.

I did play one Pot Limit Omaha cash session at the Rio and it was my only losing cash session of the trip. The game was $5-$5 blinds with a mandatory $10 button straddle. I was dealt AQT9 with the AT of spades and Q9 of hearts. We saw the flop 3 ways for $40 a person. The flop came down J-8-4 with the J and 4 of spades, and the 8 of hearts. Long story short is that one player potted, I re-potted with my semi-wrap and nut flush draw, and we eventually got it all in heads up. We decided to run the turn and river twice for half the pot each time. He held JJxx in his hand for top set making me about 50/50. I whiffed both boards! I decided that I'd rather play No Limit Hold Em after this hand, so I took my leave from the table, sweated a friend for an hour to cool off, then hopped in a NL game and crushed it for more than double my PLO loss. I played online one night and won a few buy ins while a friend watched. I also watched him play several online sessions and I think he's improving and I have no doubt that he will soon be turning a decent profit in the $1-$2 9 handed NL games online.

The house is coming along nicely and we're looking forward to moving in hopefully the first week of August. I can't wait to get my office set up and really start grinding again. I have no doubt that I can put in 75k hands or so a month on I will also be making trips to the poker room in Pensacola and the Beau Rivage in Biloxi to play some live cash games as well. It's so nice to be close to casinos again!

Lastly, click on any of the banners on my page and create an account at Come join in the fun with bounty tourneys and other great promos. Hope to see you on the tables soon.

Til Next Time....