Sunday, May 08, 2011

Poker Lessons and Poker Coaching with Dr. M

Over the years I've tried to help friends and family get the most out of their time spent playing poker. It's not always easy. Learning how to play poker is like learning anything else that has deep complexity. It takes time, it takes effort and it takes practice. Most beginners are looking for the secret code that's going to let them win like I do so they can dive into the deep end and try to swim.

At least a dozen times I've been faced with a situation where someone who has almost no poker knowledge beyond what beats what, wanting to know how to play because we are at a casino or they've decided to play online after watching me play. I could talk for days about just starting hands and now I have to condense 10 years of knowledge into 10 minutes?

On the other end of the spectrum is my only current student (I'll call him Dr. M). Dr. M is actually a doctor which is great because he can afford to pay me $50 an hour to help him and because it means he's spent a huge chunk of his life learning. Dr. M has read just about every poker book out there so if I tell him that with an M of 10 the implied odds are not there to limp in the hijack he knows what I mean without having to think about it.

I've found it interesting that what Dr. M needs is not lessons, but rather coaching. What's the different between lessons and coaching? You get golf lessons when you're shooting 110, take 3 shots to get out of a sand trap and couldn't read a putt if it was in neon block letters. You get coaching when you're shooting 75 and want to get it down to 72. With Dr. M all the pieces are there, the just need to be put in the right place.

At this point I've been coaching Dr. M for almost a year and a half, talking to him about every 3 weeks on average. In the past two months he's had 3 or 4 solid tournament scores so we've been talking more often (he's got the fever). Since I don't get to the tables much these days, I'm hoping to start sharing pieces of my conversations with Dr. M on this blog in the coming weeks and months.

Or I might totally forget and never share a single hand! That's sort of how I work. We'll see...

If you're interested in lessons, coaching or poker consulting please send me an e-mail at

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Which U.S. Friendly Poker Site Will Be the New #1? is where I've always gotten my rakeback (I'll have to talk to them about ads since I'm always giving them free press) and also where I've gone to discover new reliable poker sites. Your money isn't 100% safe on any site since you never know when they'll go under, but at least if you choose one of the sites listed on RBN you know they've been thoroughly checked out.

Right now they have 7 U.S. friendly poker sites listed, all of which were barely an afterthought two weeks ago. Interestingly enough those 7 sites are under only two umbrellas: Merge and Cake.

It's fairly common for sites to join forces and start a network. In those situations both sites feature the same cash games, but if you log in from site A, site A gets any rake you pay even if you're playing against some players from site B. Usually sites in these networks run their own tournaments and sit-n-gos, but lumping cash game players together makes it easier to create the critical mass required to have games running regularly.

Apparently the Merge Network is currently the most trafficked in the US with Carbon Poker as it's flagship room and RPM coming in second. The Cake Network, made up of Cake Poker, Doyle's Room and a few smaller sites is the other major player in U.S. online poker today.

If you ask me it won't take long for Cake and Doyle to overtake Merge and get out to a large lead. In a business with choices brand recognition is huge. Doyle's Room and Cake have been blasting me in the face with images of Doyle's road worn mug and massive cakes for years now. Every time I turn my head Doyle Brunson is spitting out some stolen quote about champions and Cake is telling me to eat more cake or scarf more chips.

Their competition is not nearly as entrenched and while I've played on Carbon Poker it was only to target a specific promotion and while doing so I often asked myself "What they hell are you doing playing on this bullshit site!?"

Sometime next weekend I'm going to poke around on the remaining U.S. options and evaluate the possibilities. Be sure to check back for that report and if you don't want to forget, sign up for e-mail alerts on the right side of this page.

Who do you think will win in the end?

I've Updated My Blog Design!

After a few months in the website business I realized that my blog was an outdated eyesore! I've made a few adjustments, to give my blog a more modern feel and I'm going to try to start posting regularly again about all things poker.

In the right sidebar I've added a place to get notified every time I post and I'd encourage you all to enter your e-mail there so you don't miss any of my sometimes informative, slightly entertaining and occasionally obscene poker posts.

If you have any negative feed back please go stuff yourself and I hope you start losing all of your pocket aces to one outers. Actually I take that back. I hope you get hit in the face with an errant golf ball which is actually much more pleasant (I don't want to wish one outters on anyone).

My WSOP 2023 Plans and Missions

After four and a half years working for StubHub I wrapped up my time there in March. I've been at the poker tables 3-4 days a week since...