Category Archives: Poker

My “First” Time – Poker Edition

I learned how to play poker in January of 2012. By the time I joined the party, online poker had long seen its blackest day. It was a very confusing time for me, because I was too shy to go into a casino and sit at a table, and all the poker sites would tell me I could only play for fake money since I was located in the US.

It was only after some roundabout research that I realized there was a huge crack down the year before and I was going to be stuck playing Zynga Poker until I got up the guts to play live. Continue reading


Poker Banter: The Vortex of Despair and Dealing With Losses

I’ve been on a huge losing streak for the past 6-8 weeks. Honestly it’s been so long since I came home really happy with my performance that I don’t even remember what it feels like to take a cab home because you have too much cash in your wallet.

I wrote the quote above on May 13, 2013 and my losing streak continued until about a month later, when I definitively decided to go on a break to get my mind right.

I’ve begun to call the period between April 1st and June 30 The Vortex of Despair. I imagine that it feels a little like going through a Stargate wormhole before the SGC compensated for interstellar shift. Dark, cold, and like the feeling of being ripped apart is never going to end. You come out on the other side shivering and barfy. Continue reading

Ego is a Poker Player’s Worst Enemy

From the time I started playing poker full-time in January, till the time I started working on Beyond Tells full-time in July, I pretty much watched nothing but poker. Whether it was recorded episodes on my TiVo or YouTube videos, I ate poker for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (I still do, just in a different form.)

At some point I started watching a poker show called, The PokerStars Big Game. The premise of this show is that they invite an amateur (termed, “The Loose Cannon”) to play a high stakes game with famous pros and sometimes a couple of experienced non-pros. Continue reading

5 Things That Tilt the Hell Out of Me

…but probably won’t ever have bearing at a poker table.

The list:

  1. When people look at their cards one at a time.
  2. When people take forever to make a trivial decision. (“Should I call this $5 bet with 72o?”)
  3. When people choose Jeopardy! clues out of order.
  4. When people buy vowels on Wheel of Fortune.
  5. When you ask someone for a time and they respond with, “in the morning,” or something similar.

Continue reading

Why is Poker After Dark so damn BORING?

Previous posts on this blog have mentioned the fact that I spend a lot of time watching poker shows on TV and YouTube. My TiVo is actually automatically set to record all episodes of WSOP, WPT and Poker After Dark. I tried to record some HPT stuff too but I don’t get those channels so it was a bust.

Just last week I checked my recorded shows and saw some episodes of Poker After Dark available for me to watch. I’ve been trying to watch things on a regular basis because I’m running out of space, so I pressed play while I had some free time. Continue reading

Poker Banter: Talk Too Much Disease

I tend to be a very quiet person at the poker table. There are times when people see me suddenly enter a pot and exclaim that they hadn’t seen me there before. I like this. I’m not there to make friends or have conversations, although this does happen from time to time organically. When I sit down at the poker table I’m there to take other people’s money, and it’s much easier to do that if I’m not getting chummy with them.

Poker is a game of incomplete information. We all know this. Many repeat it like a mantra. One of the most important characteristics of a good player is that they work to prevent their opponent from gathering more information than absolutely necessary to make a decision. You see, poker is also a game of precarious decision-making. Winning players make more correct decisions than losing players. This is the most basic level of separation between good players and bad players. Consistent good decision-making is what makes someone a winner over the long run. Continue reading