Poker Road Warrior: February 2006
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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Poker Cheaters/Colluders Beware!

If you cheat when playing online Poker you are a loser and a theif. Plain and simple.

Last week 16 year old JJProdigy got caught playing 2 accounts in one Tourney. His explaination "damit granny" didn't fly. Party sucked up 140,000 of cheater profit.

This week they caught a bigger cheat. ZeeJustin, online sit n go and Tourney pro was caught playing at least 6 different accounts. Often in sit n gos! He later admitted to having more then 1 entry in a one table sit n go! This is unbelievable. His lame and sad semi apology is below.

This is a good thing for online poker. The cheats are finally getting the smack down they deserve. Hitting guys in the wallet will be a huge eye opener for other cheats.

Can you imagine what would happen to these punks if caught cheating in a live game? My guess is that several players that faced ZEE in $500 sit n gos (or $5000, he plays both) have some plans brewing for the kid when things cool off. He probably cheated several strong sit n go players out of thousands of dollars. You cheat the wrong guy you might lose more then just money.

I hear his friends say "hey, hes just a kid, he made a mistake". That statement might have smoothed things over with some guys (mostly ones that didnt lose huge chunks of their BR's). But then, came this horrible rant from the boy with his private parts caught in his zipper.

Zeeee responds to his being caught cheating players, and PartyPoker.


Here is the email I got from PartyPoker yesterday morning:


Dear Mr Bonomo,

This communication is to inform you of the findings of an investigation launched internally by into six accounts originating from your own location and computer.

These are the accounts in question:


These accounts have been systematically used to enter the same Multi Table Tournaments as a ýteamý, in a deception that is in direct violation of our Terms and Conditions.

Although registered in different names, these accounts have been created with the sole intention of playing as multiple accounts in the same tournaments. All six accounts were consistently logged into at the same time from the same IP/System and show a consistent pattern of being played by the same person.

A decision has been made, in consultation with the Poker Room Manager, Legal and Management, to close these accounts permanently and confiscate all funds. I would ask that you do not attempt to open any further accounts with our company, as these will be closed and any monies therein will be deemed forfeited.

Furthermore, please be informed that we have withdrawn your PPMV Cruise Package and you will no longer appear on the passenger list.

Steve Winter
Manager, Investigations Team


Yes, it’s true. I did use these accounts to enter multiple accounts in the same multi table tournaments. I have never done this in a tournament with less than 1,000 players.

I have been at the same table as myself. For what it’s worth, my standard protocol has been to increase my number of tables when this happens. As most of you know, I will very rarely be playing fewer than six tables at a time. If I had 6 tables open and two of my accounts were brought to the same table, I would simply open up 4-6 more SNGs. I felt that this would negate my unethical advantage. With 10 tables open, I just play tight and solid. I can’t even remember the hole cards one account folded after the flop, and I’m certainly unable to pay special attention to that table. After talking to Curtains, I realize my standard play should have been to sit one account out when this happens, but I want to make it clear that I never used collusion to my advantage, never chip dumped, or did anything of the sort.

However, what Party emailed me is wrong on several subjects.
First of all, the accounts were NOT created solely for MTT use. They were originally created for SNG play. It got to the point where everyone knew that ZeeJustin would steal the blinds often, and everyone called him liberally. I created these accounts to erase this loose image. Everyone would be readless against me, and it was a huge advantage. These accounts all did very well in the big SNGs on PartyPoker.

N82 referred to a hack that let you open multiple Party clients. I have no clue how no one has mentioned this yet, but no such hack was necessary. This is important, so listen up.

All you had to do was click the PartyPoker icon on your desktop very rapidly. If you did that, multiple clients would open up.

Using this bug, I was able to play multiple accounts on the same computer at the same time. I would be in a step 5 on one name, while playing a mini step 5 on another, and no one would ever suspect that it was me.

All of the money that was seized from me was from sit’n’go play where nothing unethical was done. I never entered multiple accounts into the same sit’n’go, never colluded with anyone, never soft played anyone and never chip dumped with anyone.

The other accounts I used never had any big MTT scores. Combined, I am pretty sure they were all long-term losers in the few MTT’s they played. Despite this, almost $100,000 was seized from my accounts.

For those of you that feel safe because my money was taken, open up your eyes. This money will not be returned to the players in any way. PartyPoker is keeping it because they can, just like they did with JJProdigy’s $40,000, and just like they will do to you when you get caught.

I know what you’re thinking right now, “I won’t get caught, because I didn’t do anything wrong.”

First of all, that doesn’t matter. PartyPoker reserves the right to take your money for any reason at any time (although I should point out that this does not make it legal).

Secondly, almost all of you have broken the rules at some point. How many of you have created a second account for rakeback? Neither creating a second account nor receiving rakeback is allowed. Both are expressly forbidden. Maybe you’ll see things my way once all your money is seized for doing that. If I’m a cheater, so are you.

If you are a saint like CSC claims to be, kudos to you. You are in the minority, and are certainly upstanding citizens. I commend you on following Party’s rules and not receiving rakeback. Most of us are too greedy to pass up money that easy.

Furthermore, I would like to point out, that I did NOT break the rules.


5. True Identity and One Account.

The name on your Account must match your true and legal name and identity and the name on your Account registration must match the name on the credit card(s) or other payment accounts used to deposit or receive monies in your Account. You are prohibited from holding more than one Account. If you have more than one (1) Account or Accounts in different names, then you must contact us immediately to have your Accounts managed so that you only have one (1). If you have lost your Account name or password, please contact us for a replacement.


I have one account. That account is named ZeeJustin. My brother also has an account named Bernard61 (formerly jwilson55), and I have used that account quite often. No where in Party’s rules does it say you cannot use someone else’s account. I’m sure many of you have used friends’ accounts before, and there is nothing wrong with this. People will often take over MTT’s for friends that have unforeseen obligations.

I do think what I’ve done is unethical, and I certainly regret doing it, however, I need to point out that no where in Party’s rules is it stated that you cannot enter multiple accounts into the same tournament. Not only do they not forbid it, but to open multiple clients on the same PC, all you have to do is click the icon a bit more rapidly than normal. Great work PartyPoker.

To further show how corrupt PartyPoker is, here is an email I got today from my affiliate manager.


Dear Justin,
We hereby give you notice that we are terminating our Standard Affiliate Agreement (the “Agreement”) with you. Clause 5.3 of the Agreement states that we are entitled to terminate our Agreement without cause immediately upon this written notice to you. We will also be exercising our right under clause 5.3 to terminate all trackers that you have with us.
We ask that you familiarize yourself with clause 5.5 of the Agreement which sets out the effects of termination. We require you to stop promoting our Site and you are no longer entitled to use our Marketing Materials. We also remind you that the obligation of confidentiality and non-disclosure shall, amongst other things, survive the termination of the Agreement.
Yours sincerely
Sarah Hunter
Affiliate Relations
PartyGaming Marketing (UK)
London Office +44 (0) 20 7337 0100
18 King William Street, London, EC4N 7BP
This email is sent by PartyGaming Marketing (UK), a provider of services to PartyGaming Marketing (Gibraltar). The contents of this email may be subject to approval by an authorized representative of PartyGaming Marketing (Gibraltar).
The information contained in this email, and any attachments hereto, is strictly confidential and solely intended for use by the individual(s) and/or entity(s) to which it is addressed. If you have received this email in error, please notify the System Manager at as soon as possible


I have not broken the affiliate agreement in any way shape or form, so PartyPoker is using good old clause 5.3 to stop paying me simply because they can. If this makes you feel safe, you are being completely illogical. It can and will happen to more people, this I guarantee. You’re not safe at all.

In conclusion, I want to make it clear that I regret what I did, and have done somethings that were unethical. Despite this, PartyPoker’s actions are unreasonable, and their power to take the same actions against you should not be taken lightly. This rampage that PartyPoker is on will certainly not end with me. So whatever you do, be careful.


Shark: My favorite part is here:

I have been at the same table as myself. For what it’s worth, my standard protocol has been to increase my number of tables when this happens. As most of you know, I will very rarely be playing fewer than six tables at a time. If I had 6 tables open and two of my accounts were brought to the same table, I would simply open up 4-6 more SNGs. I felt that this would negate my unethical advantage. With 10 tables open, I just play tight and solid. I can’t even remember the hole cards one account folded after the flop, and I’m certainly unable to pay special attention to that table. After talking to Curtains, I realize my standard play should have been to sit one account out when this happens, but I want to make it clear that I never used collusion to my advantage, never chip dumped, or did anything of the sort.

Shark: I felt that this would negate my unethical advantage

haha! He should take this act on the road. What a clown. Cheating other players blatantly (probably even friends of his) then explaining how he "tried to do the right thing".

Of course he doesn't just cheat at PartyPoker, PartyPoker....

Pokerstars opened up their investigation and he goes 0-2 with his robbing of fellow Playas.

Lee Jones, Poker Mgr.
Pokerstars wrote this on 2+2:

Hi folks -

We did our own review of ZeeJustin and unfortunately, found that he'd been playing multiple accounts in several tournaments at PokerStars.

* We confiscated the money that he won illicitly.

* We closed his accounts and banned him from PokerStars.

* We are returning the money he won illicitly to players who were harmed by his actions in those same tournaments.

Obviously, we don't like doing this, but the evidence was incontrovertible. We will do whatever it takes to keep our games and tournaments clean.

Best regards,
Lee Jones

PokerStars Poker Room Manager

Good Post from Pro "Shaniac"
Am I the only won who thinks the MOST remarkable aspect of this is not that he won these tournaments (the big scores on PP and PS) while he was engaged in illicit activities....but that he was able to write about these victories as great accomplishments, with a straight face, on his blog?

I'll post more of this later......

Strugglin' Poker Player? Variance Gods Attack....

I received an email from one of my best players today. He got wacked by the Poker Gods this week and dropped a geezer ($1000) multi tablin 3/6. If he wasn't a student this might be just a flesh wound, but he is a student and it isn't much fun when you get punished. Most real money players have been here and its never a picnic.

But he is a winning player. Below are a few ideas I had for him. I hope you might get a thing or two outa this to help you when the Poker gods torture you. Or maybe you will get smart and switch to golf.

My friend is so bummed (and busy with school) that he decided to take a 3 month break. I have felt the same way (need a 3 month break) and lasted about a week before I went back to clubbin all the baby seals that call themselves poker playas. He feels bad since he won't be earning rake for me (and him). My dog is a lil fat anyhoo and the kids can go to work in the coal mine.

Shark wrote:

Not a problem. Remember if you lost 1000 but picked up 600 in Rakeback and 200 in bonus money you only really lost 200.

Also, this is a very small swing of variance. I have had much worse. I suggest tightening up. Its easy to get loosy goosey with everyone else doing it.

Quit calling raises with A10o. Quit playing KJo out of position when you know it will be raised once or twice to you. Quit playing Axo. When I struggle, then tighten up the first thing you notice is you get in way less tuff situations. You also improve your image so you can steal more since you are in fewer pots. Way more respect for your bets and raises.

You don't use PT right? I wouldnt play without it. If its 3 bet pre by a tight pre flop rayzor I can safely muck AQ or even 10 10 or JJ. Really. This is unheard of in a low limit game but not at 10/20 or above. Why not play like a 10/20 player if you are strugglin?

If a guy is showing 4.6 % rayz pre and he 3 bets pre or caps get the hell outa the way. He only does this with AA KK QQ or maybe AKs.

If you don't have this setup let me know. You gotta have it. If the guy is a 30% pre rayzor (many of these on ap) I will play those hands (not muck) and probably be ahead.

Just some ideas bro. I'm playing a ton so I won't miss yer play as much. I think you should fight thru it and get better (not bail) but its yer decision.

The donks/fish/atms/call station/leaks/lopasses must have good weeks or there wouldnt be enough to go around. You need to improve (PT, tighten up, whatever else you can think of) so next time you only lose 500 when the variance gods hit yer ass in the face.

Man hugs, Sharkmasta


Online Play this week (Absolute Poker). Played 5350 hands of 3/6 and 5/10 limit, 6 max. Happy with play (a little rusty multi tablin) and got rivered a bunch in huge pots and couldnt make a flush draw all week. It happens. Had my 4th or 5th Royal Flush last night.

Lost $620.

Rakeback +380

Bonus +200

Net -40.

Notice how a tough week turns into break even when you use bonus and rakeback. Then when the cards turn you play more, win more and have huge weeks. These ho hum weeks are part of the game. Its a marathon not a sprint.

Having a blast with my new software (PA HUD, AP hand grabber, previous post) and will be posting some huge wins soon with the high volume of horrible players, chasers and mental deficients. cha ching....

With proper table selection a good player will be a very consistent earner at this site and these levels. The games at 5/10 are often much better then the 3/6 (more pro grinders at 3/6). I have noticed weak stats at 10/20 as well. I will be in that game when the BR is ready.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

PokerTracker Strategy Session

I worked hard on this stat breakdown for identifying a loose, passive player using Pokertracker. Click this link, I think you will enjoy it.

PokerTracker Strategy Session #1, Mister Lopass

While you are at our Shark Forum, give ole Sharky sum love and register, check out some good strategy articles, read about my check raisin loonies and eventually post sumthin. I would appreciate your support in our Forum!

I'm skipping the Tulalip Tourney tonight and Saturday. I have a goal of 1500 hands per day the next 4 days and thats hard to do at a Casino (35-40 hands per hr.). I'm getting sick of the fast structure of these Tourneys and need a little break.

Can't wait to start playing the Caesars Palace (and others) 40 min. blind structure in Vegas.

Don't miss our Absolute Poker $5 buyin! Every Thursday 9PM EST with your host, Shark "cleaner" Bornsupreme. Knock out Born for an additional $20. Yer hero (me) will be entered tonight (no bounty, but avail. for put downs and hair loss jokes). See you at AP! Password is shark2

New to AP? clik here

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rough Day!

Saturday Mornin' 10am. I wake up and realize I gotta play in the 11am Tulalip $90 buyin cause its full of dead money, lopasses and $100 buyin NL players with no clue. Usually when I wake up this early, I look at clock, readjust me pillow and whistle for dog (wife gone early usually, so I need body heat). His big rump throws off a large amount of heat and I enjoy that. Me and Cody snore till I have had 7-8 hrs sleep (he needs about 18)and then I make the Baileys and add sum coffee and start tendin to Shark bidness.

When he was a pup (yellow lab), I taught him to fetch the paper. I just had to open the front door, he would run out grab it for me and get a bone. Until one day when he was about 10 months old and a bird flew over his head as he reached for the paper. He came home about 3 hrs later. Wife said no more paper fetchin'. I may have mentioned i'm not even in charge of my own dreams now. In fact, when I was single I always dreamt in color, now its black and white baybee.

So, I jump outa bed, wash whats left of my hair and hit the road. Its about 25 min. and I get a light tongue lashing from usually nice tourney director lady (3 min. late).

We got 137 players (I use that word loosely) and I quickly add 2000 to my stack (start with 3500) when my limp with A7o sees a sweet floppage of 7 K 7. oh boy!

Checked around to me, light bet (1/2 pot and we got someone with a KING,very nice). She calls. Turn Queen. I bet 1200 and she quickly calls. River blank and I decide that she might call 800 more with just a king. I bet it, she quickly calls and shows KQ. Rats, coulda had her whole stackage.

Now with a little room to play I can be more aggressive. About 20 min later I get AA, raise to 300 (blinds 50/100) 1 call to see flop 5 2 8 rainbow. He checks, I bet pot, he calls. turn J. He leads out and bets big, I put him on something like KJ, AJ. He only has 600 left so I put him all in. He quickly calls and shows 55 for a nice set. Now i'm back to where I started. Just a flesh wound.

I built it back up and tripled up with AA about an hr later. 3 hrs in we have 11 left, they pay only top 10 (10th is 300, 1st 3000). I'm short stacked with T15K and 2 others have about the same (at other table). With 2 huge stacks at each table and blinds now 5K/10K every hand is an all in pre for someone.

I'm watching the other table (we are hand for hand) but i'm also not playing for 10th. I look down and see 55 in middle position. My bet will be called by at least 1 big stack but I like it and push. One caller with KJo, and flop was a durty J 2 J. nh gg, mfer.

Bubble boy got a complimentary umbrella and a radio/flashlite (batteries not included)combo that you couldn't get $2 for at a flea market.

I like my all in and after being short stacked (25 chips left) friday night in a UB Aruba Qualifier then coming back to win the $200+15 seat I was feelin like I could roll to a nice cash here as well.

I may have to put my partner "Mike the Beer Man" on retainer. He was sweating me in the $10 qualifier and saw me take a knarly beat early (guy called off all chips needing a club on riv) CLUB comes. Leaves me with 25 chips and blinds are 10/20. I go all in a couple times, catch a hand or 3 and about 90 min. later i'm sittin with 15K. You have all heard this before but i'll say it again. Never give up.

At the final table still some work to do as 1st thru 3rd get the $200 aruba seats, 4th gets $5 and 5th gets the shitty flashlite.

Only recognize one killer (SailorLobell to left) and 2 big stacks are across the table. The big stacks did their job and gave 6 guys the complimentary rail pass as its now just 4 of us. Good players, and its a fun fight for the 3 seats. I put a few nice bluffs on Sailor as I read him as real tight on the short stack. This hand was fun. Pre flop folded to me in SB. I just call, knowing that he will rayz me just on principle. Most good players will punish you for limpin on their blinds. He does a small raise and I pop him back quick about 3 times his raise. He folds, I show K5off, lol.

We eventually get Sailor to fall and we have a seat for Saturdays Aruba $200. I'm tired of typing so i'll just give a quick recap on that event. Played well early (90 players, 1- 10K aruba package), then ran into quad 5's with an overpair (poket QQ) and it was see ya lata sharkmasta.

I shoulda layed it down but he played it well and got all my chippies. Next case.

Online Ring Update: Playing lots of 5/10 short limit on Absolute. Serious donkfest. Doing well and enjying my new PA HUD (works with Pokertracker) until last night (10PM till 4am Sunday) when the chasers got a much needed win. I was down $700 at one point (playing 2 tables) and lost pots of 247, 180, 170 in one hr. all to riv beats (2 outer, 2 outer, 4 outer). These guys have stats like 66VPIP/32% PRE Rayz in a 6 man game. Just horrible players that know one thing. Build a big pot, get lucky and you go home rich.

Most nights this is a flawed strategy. I got it back to -260 about 4am and shut er down. I highly recommend Late Fri, Sat. A HUGE one night win is very possible playing these chasers and unskilled Poker savants. Of course, some nights they will beat ya. They gotta have a reason to come back, right?

I got a little tilty and am gonna work on that. Besides that I played well, my Pokertracker stats looked great (except the 44BB loss)and I love my new software (HUD, I think it stands for heads up display).

Totals for 6 hr session. 1300 hands, -$440/-44BB, rakeback +120, Bonus money +60 Net -260. Happy about the nice comeback and continue to destroy when its ultra short (3 man) or heads up. I don't win every night, and am going to play hard tonight and may put in 2000 hands. I'll book a strong win and have a nice report with hand histories tommorrow. DON"T beat yourself up over losses. Don't feel like the poker gods are against you. What can you do to improve? How can you exploit bad players? Patience, trap them, read PT! These guys are betting with nuttin or raisin with nuttin. Pop em back. Make them pay every bet for their chase. Value bet river!

Check out PT "folds to riv bet". A high number here (sumtymes 40% or more) means they fold when the chase is over. Make sure you are not missing bets against these laggs. Its hard to do that when they are 2 outin ya, but keep firin!

Shark Tour News. HUGE sit outs in our FREEROLL today at Titan. I'm really disappointed in all the players that could care less about our Tour and continually register then "no show". NRG70 said there were only 2 players at his table.

I'll go back to announcing Freerolls right before since many don't follow directions and unregister if something comes up. If you are a fuck up and can't be a good Shark member please just find another Freeroll site. Hit OPT OUT at the bottom of our next bulk mail.

Announcing late is tougher on me because I can't set tourneys up early. There are hundreds of players that just enter every freeroll all week then don't make it to most of them. Get some ADD meds, a calendar and tell yer MOM that you need the computer when we have a tourney.

I have been asking nice in every email, on all of our 5 sites and it doesnt help. Please unregister, please don't sign up if you can't play. I'm tired of asking nice.

Maybe this info above will work? If it doesnt next week I will start blocking players that "sit out". These will be lifetime bans from our Tour.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Update On Player Caught Cheating

PartyPokers Investigation

This is what I thought would happen. Party sends out a clear message that cheating will not be allowed. I'm not going to get into a long post about this subject. Its cheating, plain and simple. I heard several players say "hey, its wrong but how can ya regulate it". Party did a 140K regulating job today.

Last night, Tulalip Casino $110 buyin, 100 players built a prize pot $10,100 ($100 added) and played for a 1st prize of 3K.

Talked my Dad into playing and he played well until getting in with KK with about 40 players left. Ran into AA, nh gg. He has only played a few tourneys and I think he could be a really great player.

I busted out about 24th. Had a nice stack early (12K an hour in, we start with 3K) and tried to bluff into a made hand. I fired on the flop turn and riv, callcallcall. I could tell he was afraid of his hand but the bad play was on me. Coulda found a better spot. Now I have 3K, build it back up to 11K but know the blinds are 1K/2K and I need chips. With about 8K left I get it all in with KJo, big stack calls with A10o and its good nite sharkmasta.

I'm killing 3/6 to 5/10 limit short online lately and looking to add tables and hours now that the Shark sites are pretty much built and runnin smooth. I'm also getting a ton of help from Doug (connjure) my Marketing Mgr and Michelle (chippies) our forum moderator, staked playa, mom, biz owner, and all around great helper/friend. I hope to meet you both in Vegas (May 23rd, SharkFest!).

If anyone would like to meet a few of our members, Raisin and yer hero (me) check out details to our first Shark Convention. My guess is it will be very small but will grow in coming years. I'm hoping for 20-30 players. I'm buying a nice dinner for all, paying for a glitzy Vegas show (Mirage Volcano Show)and we will have private sit n gos and large fun. I'll be there all week, come anytime during the week (or weekend) whatever works for you. If you have any questions post them in our Forum.

SharkFest STARTs May 23rd!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I'm not playin' 2 Poker accounts!

My Grandmother plays the $500 buyin at PartyPoker every week also!

If you haven't heard Tourney animal "JJProdigy" won $140,000 in the PartyPoker $500 buyin this week.

Someone at Stars found out 2 players were playing from his IP addie. Here is his response: Damit Granny!

This link below gives new insight into the growing force of online multi-tablin senior citizens.

Funny Linkage

Some players are actually defending playing 2 entries in one event. This is nuts. I don't believe the granny story for 1 second. Its cheating. I hope they don't release his winnings to show others this won't fly.


Shark Tour and Absolute Poker, Every Thursday Night @ 9PM EST $5 buyin, $100 added

Launch Sharks right hand man and "cleaner" Bornsupreme for a $20 launch BONUS each Thursday (when Born is entered).

Passwords will be listed here.
Password for this week shark1 (enter now)

New to Absolute? Click Here

Monday, February 13, 2006

Mrs Shark on a Heater

Long Time Shark Veteran, Goran "BlueLynx" from Surannhammar, Sweden (on right). I couldn't communicate with my pal Goran 1 year ago. Now, his IM's are in perfect english and he spells better then me. His play has improved as well and I won't let Raisin play against him at AP. They both pound the ATM's there pretty hard. I hope to meet Goran and his family some day soon. It would save me $$ not having to mail packages to Sweden also! (ha!)


Poker Coach Tommy Angelo on Folding FOLDING

Time to go check on RaisinHavoks (Mrs Shark) parents in Port Orchard, WA. We head for the Edmonds ferry for the 90 min trip to the in-laws. Its Saturday mornin and we are almost blinded by the sunshine since we have not seen any in 2 months. It's a rain forest here. You need new wipers in yer truck every couple a weeks here. Rain gear becomes "casual attire". 16 more months and we move to Vegas. Yes baaaybee.

I always let Raisin drive because I hate to drive. We finally make it to their nice 3 acre spread and Grampa Bill is burning a fire on the property as usual. Hes 80 and loves his yard and especially a good fire. Raisin is going to fix a bunch of things around the house since Bills hands aren't working as well as they once did. Shes great at fixing everything and I don't even have to fix door knobs around our home now. Thats a big plus because I can't fix much of anything. I can screw in light bulbs like nobodies business but thats about it.

She can knock out walls, do light electrical, does great tile work and plumbing.

Her mom (Pat)is the sweetest lady ever and makes world class Pecan pie. I take a nappy on the couch and wait for repairs to be complete.

Big hugs and we are off to our good friends (hikerbiker, rogerthat) for the night. They live in a nice home on a hill with a great view of the sound. It's only about a 20 min. drive.

They make a sweet RIBEYE dinner (shark fav steak,rare please)and its off to the local Casino. Hiker and Rogerthat are PaiGow players (when not playing online tourneys)and Raisin wants to play the new game called Texas holdem. I figure they will only have 3/6 so I will probably just watch them play and catch the Olympics on the tube. I have very little interest in 4/8 now and will not play 3/6.

The All Star Casino and bowling alley is a nice little casino with horrible TV reception and 2, 3/6 games. Oh well. I put my name up for 4/8, grab a Miller lite and start watching the Olympics.

I met a nice guy at the bar "Terry" who is a dealer there. He is interested in online Poker so I signed up another recruit for my Army. He sounds like a good player and asked good questions about my fav game (short limit). As with most LIVE players he has not played much "short" or seen a game as aggressive as online short. After a nice chat I go to check on the troops. Hiker has just completed his second 4 of a kind and is rollin with a profit of $100. Roger is down a lil and Raisin is torturing the 3/6 table that appears to be donkified in seat 1 thru 8 (shes in 9). 2 hrs in shes got $330 in front of her after a buyin of $100. cha ching.

She said the whole table would call her all the way to the river with bottom pair, a naked ace or less. Huge pots for 3/6. Shes had 1 beer to many (5?) so I talk her into a cash out. They are having a $110 buyin in the morning so we both plunk down the $110 for Sundays Tourney.

Sunday morning, time for breakfast and a lil NL Tourney action. 34 lopasses started. Not a great structure, 15 min. blinds start at 50/100. They are staggered blinds so they don't always double and you do receive 5000 chippies. Raisin was out early (hangover) and it was down to about 18 players when I hit this flop. A 2 4. I got the 3 and a 5. Even NRG70 coulda doubled up with this flop and I slow played it for a complimentary double. The big guy next to me said "why did it take you so long to get it all in, you had a str8?" Uhh..lessons aren't free fat boy.

I then won 2 all ins when behind (I have not had any key suckouts in a month, I was due) and had a decent stack going to the final table. Pretty strong final table play as I proceeded to not see a PAINTED card for the next 45 min. I stole a few blinds with my rags and was in push or fold mode when this hand sent me to my Grand Cherokee. I'm in the BB, folded around to the small blind (agg. good player)who does what I expected and raised to 7000. Blinds are 1500/3000 and I have about 9K. I look down at a monster (best I had seen at final) A4o. I take a long think and decide to push. I expect (and hope) to see QJ to KQ. She calls, has me covered and flips over KJo. I like it. Its 57% to 42% and i'll take that in this situation.

Jack flops and its gg, nh. 8th place was good for $100 (first was 1200) so I broke even this weekend and Raisin was +120.

Recruited a very nice young man for the Army at the Tourney break. Strong, aggressive play from my new friend, Jason. Hes a hard workin (Naval shipyards) Poker player who could moonlight as a bouncer. He final tabled also and I was impressed by his aggressive raisin and fearless play.

I was very proud of my brides ring play and am sure she is ready for bigger games. +230 in 2 hrs at 3/6. Thats only 19.16 BB per hour.

Minus about $20 for beers (ha!).

Next Tourney for Sharkmasta is Tulalip $110 buyin on Thurs. Hopefully it won't be another "bad beat" knockout early. I am going to play 10/20 this weekend also either at Tulalip or Muckleshoot Tribal money printing machines.

Note on bad players: I may pick on the huge number of bad players at times but i'm really trying to report the truth (as I see it). I admit that I have a ton to learn (especially live) and many of the beats I have been taking lately could be avoidable if I was building a bigger stack early.

I have goals to be playing the $500 to 1000 buyins (with good structures!) when we move to Vegas in 16 months. So these 100 buyins are a good start to get where I need to be.

Many of the $100 buyin players are people that a $100 entry is not a big outlay. Many more are players that are WPT TV nuts. You see the huge overbets often. Thats what they see on TV (they don't correlate the blinds/stack size). Some seem so proud when their big pair get the blinds with a 10X BB rayz.

Tour NEWS, Great turnout for our $1 REBUY on Saturday (Absolute). 88 laggs entered and it was a hoot I heard. AP forgot to add $100 as promised and I am working on them today. Thx to all that supported the cause and played! We will be doing more of these as requested.

Omaha at Stars 2/9! Huge turnout (over 500) for Omaha! We will be adding Omaha to the regular schedule. Good pushing and prodding by "ConnJure" on the Omaha gig.

Bonus Coverage: (lol) Played the late shift last night (midnight to 4am) 3 tabled AP (1 table) and UB (2), $3/6 short. Was getting almost 500 hands an hour (1 table was 3 handed). Was down $330 early and a lil tilty with runner runner beats the norm when I finally caught fire and dismantled 2 tables and posted a nice win on the third one (AP). +360 at 4:20AM and shut er down. I have been getting a few requests for hand histories so heres a link to my 2 favorites from last night.

Crazy Hands Linkage

UB's software is so fast, still the best. I'm working on a rakeback deal there so I can 5 table UB more often. The players are tougher then average but the speed, cool graphics and Pokertracker work well there. You must request UB support to allow you to play more then 3 tables at once, but they will accomodate. Email me if you need help adding tables at UB.

This week.....Please Bet, Rayz or checkin or callin in this Army!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Variance for a Strong Shark Player

This question was posted on our Shark Forum. To see the whole thread go here click here ya leak

GUMBY wrote:
I consider myself a good limit player and a good NL tourney player. I usually don't commit myself to the time it takes to play in tourneys so I've been playing mostly 3/6 limit. Now I've built my bankroll up and it has begun to take a hit. I'm not playing bad, so I think, but I've been getting murdered by luck, bad players, and missing draws. Is this normal? Does everybody take swings like this once in a while? I'm still doing fine, but it seems like if this continues I'll bleed my roll dry.


Variance is the nasty bitch you are talkin bout Gumbeee. I got 2 months of it when I started playing full time. My 36% to hit flush draws ran at 20%. Pocket pairs hit trips 1 in ten instead of 1 in 7 on flop and AKo can't win. Open ender? Ya right. Got to the point where I knew it couldnt hit.

Are you starting to play cautious since you know they are going to riv ya or you won't hit a draw? Tightening up a lil is okay but are you playing "back on yer heals" a little? You have to play aggressive and plan to win every session.

Try one or two of these:

Drop down a level (or 2). Playing for less $$ will help you stay aggressive.

Switch sites. A change of venue might be good.

I know you have a nice rakeback deal with me. Try to move to a site with a better "deal". That will cover some bad sessions and keep your head "in the game". Email me for a great new site with instant rakeback.

Analyze your game. 2 of my leaks when I struggled were taking AKo or AKs to far (its a drawing hand) and not being aggressive with hands that were not great but most likely ahead (playin scared I call it). Like middle pairs or top pr weak kicker. Pokertracker helps here.

You need to constantly value bet the riv. Don't be afraid of being beat. Many donks will fold after missing draws. "Chase over".

Here is a HUGE one. Don't plant yerself in a seat and refuse to move. Change seats, tables, sites. Yer gettin cold decked, or are playing with a table of pros that are 6 tablin. Find a new chair. You need a RUSH, find a chair that starts dealin ya what you deserve. Raisin never moves! She can have the coldest seat ever and just will not change tables. It works, move yer ass.

There are a ton of very good players sitting at 2/4 or 3/6, 6-12 tablin and making a very good living at these lower limits. With bonus, rake and profit you can make big $$. You don't need to play these guys. Can you identify them in Pokertracker? Let me know if you need help. After playing 80-150 hands you should tag the killers. Know how many good players are at your table. As you move up table selection becomes more important. Plenty of ATM's, find them. (check out the animal above, this guy plays sit n gos 12 to 16 at a time, and makes about 150-200K per year).

$3/6 might sound like "low limit poker" but at 3 times the hands of live you are playing for the same stakes as 10/20 live, times how many tables? If you play short like me, even more hands and more variance.

Also, the players in an online 3/6 game are much better then live 6/12. (maybe 10/20 in some rooms). I think 4/8 live is similar to 1/2 at a donk Poker site. UB 1/2 short players would kill 4/8 live players, IMO.

You are playing many good players now at 3/6 and 5/10. You must improve, track their play (and yours) and battle thru adversity.

I'll add more to this later cause I know how it stings to watch your BR take a beating. I have the added BR problem of having to pay bills with mine (every month). Its frustrating that I have not been able to take shots at bigger games or watch my BR get fat on a good month. The mortgage (11 more years!) top ramen/peanut butter (teens), and alpo (Cody) is more important. Plus, I like not having a real job.

Me bud Connjure has the same problem. Paying bills each month in a high variance "job" is not easy. But we are tough, work on our game and will make it. I don't think you need this money to pay bills (not sure), but if you have a follow up question on any of this fire away.

Let me know how you do this week. Maybe I can sit in for a session. We can IM if ya want while you play.

I sent you a Shark logo hat for the good post buddee...


Thursday Night Live play recap. $110 buyin, 120 entered, $3500 for first. Not much of a story here. The 20 min blind structures force you to play fast.

We had the "pre-overbet" table. All ins with blinds at 50/100. 10X the BB raises. New players scared of their hands (usually AK or AQ but who knows, they are newbs). I saw my first flop about 30 min in with AKo when seat 5 (young lady) raised 3X BB to 300. I was in seat 10 and raised to 600 to isolate her. The limpers folded and she said to me "How much ya got left?". I immediately thought to self, this grrr has watched too many Hellmuth TV tables. You have seen them. He acts like he is gonna put his opponent all in then weakly just calls. Hes trying to gain info I guess but it just makes him look weak, IMO. Everyone has seen this move many times, they never answer him and he always calls.

This question is particurly funny since I only have 1600 left and its only about 6 chips. Can ya count, Phil? I say nuttin to this TV pro wannabe grrrrrl and 2 other players do the obvious and count my massive stackage. She has me covered by about 500 and just calls (pot is 1500). Floppage 2 8 A w/2 diamonds. I don't have a diamond but I like the flop and push my 1600 in quickly.

She goes in the tank for about 2 min. and finally pushes. AQ with only 1 diamond. Shes a 4-1 doggie which is what i'm lookin for. She says "I thought you had that". uhhh, ok. Her 17% to win brings the Queen on the turn and i'm done. nh gg.

If you are considering playing tourneys this kind of fun stuff can happen for months (especially in fast structured events). You can make the correct decision and be feeling good and get kicked in the toof. I review my play and try to improve. Usually I am pleased with my play. I can lay AQo down there. She can't. On to the next one.

Off to live 4/8 and 12 hours later +160 for a net of $50 for a 13 hr shift. Yuk. I was up $400 at one point and horrific riv beats just kept arriving. It was a night to forget and many bad players lined their pockets. I got a lil tilty after several horrible players were rewarded with a complimentary 2 outer. Enough on that.

Thats 6 str8 winning sessions live (the smallest win last night in the 6 weeks)and i'm ready for bigger games but they never seem to get rolling here. I may start going south (long drive to Muckleshoot Casino) to play higher. I could play higher here on the weekends but thats family time. I'm getting tired of playing the 4/8 chaser game. It seems brainless, even though I can beat it easily most nights.

I hate to drive but I think its time for a change of scenery and a bigger live game.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Poker Player?

Heres what I suggest:

1) State specific questions in our Shark Forum Strategy area. Help us out and register to become part of our great Forum group.

What game are you working on? Limit ring, Sit n gos, tourneys, No limit ring?

2) I think the best game to learn first is limit ring holdem. Here's how I suggest new players start.

A. Read Lee Jones "low limit holdem"

B. Set up neteller and start playing .10/.20 or ,05/.10 (play chips are bad for your game)

C. Subscribe to In referral box clik Shark Poker. Study the videos there. You will learn sit n gos, ring, tourneys,low limit, hi limit, all the games. This is the most fun you will have learning the game.

D. Read Ed Millers "Small Stakes Holdem"

E. Continue asking questions in our Forum.

F. Move up in levels as you start to crush the players that are not reading and learning the game. Most never take the time to read or learn strategy. You should be up to $1/2 in about a month. Then move up as you have 300-400 BB (big bets) in your BR (bankroll). So to play 2/4 you should have at least $1200.

G. Add more tables for add'l. profit as you move up. If you are playing 3 tables of 1/2 go with the 400 BB rule since you will have down weeks (variance) even if you are better then your opponents.

H. Read more books. My favs are posted here down the right side of this column.

I. Subscribe to Real Poker Training. Continue to use profits from your play to learn different styles and ideas. Watch pro Tourney player Todd Arnold play and describe the action.

J. Get a Personal Coach. There are many good ones out there. Email me for suggestions.

K. This kinda looks like i'm shooting my own foot but don't play too many freerolls. Its not the best thing for your game. Sure, ours are better then most but the money is in ring. I play 6 man (or less) ring limit. I play many more hands then tourney players and 4 tables are no problem. Thats 400-500 hands per hour of which I play about 100 hands each hr. Thats a ton of experience each hr. In a 6 hour tourney I will play about 45 hands. Tourneys are not a good way to gain experience. They also are much higher variance for your BR when you start playing tourneys with buyins.

A new 1 tabling, 6 man ring player will play more hands in 75 minutes then they would play in the 6 hour tourney. Who is going to improve faster? Who is going to get in more tough situations?

When I suggest the above to my friends they often say "hey, I don't want to spend a bunch of money!" "Why do that when I can play for FREE!" Yes, there are a ton of freerolls and play chips available.

You will not become a great player playing freerolls and play chips. Play free long enough and you may never become a good player. It's not real poker until you (and your opponents) cash is in the middle. Thats when you start becoming a player.

After a month or 3 purchase Pokertracker software. Do this before too many bad habits have set in. You can dissect your game and fix leaks with PT. Get it here. Free to try (1000 hands) but don't mess around. Spend $55 and get the full version. We discuss PT often here. Check out some of the old articles and ask questions as they come up.

Great Strategy Thread going on in our Forum here "Tournament Strategy: Play to win or fold for $?"

Online Coach Todd Arnold Interview Part 1

Part 2

#1 Online Tourney Player in World JohnnyBax Interview

The Circuit Podcasts. Interviews with many top pros


Big Freeroll Weekend Upcoming!

3 Freerolls, $300 added PLUS 7 Satellite Seats are up for grabs! Here is the Calendar Go Here Shark Tour or here Online Shark Satellite Tour

We have 25 Events scheduled this month including Omaha 8/b on 3/26, Ladies Only Nite 3/29, and our road game every Thursday at Absolute Poker 9PM EST.

Support your Tour and enter a low buyin event this weekend also.

What are you doing to improve your game? Do you have a plan? Post in our Forum for help and ideas.

Poker and Alcohol

These guys can't even spell POKER! - Phil Hellmuth

Drunk Man Confusing Online Poker With Real Poker

TUNICA, MS — Floor managers, dealers and players present in the Grand's poker room last Thursday all confirm that a severely intoxicated hold'em player experienced great difficulty separating the similar yet distinct realities of online and physical poker.

The drunk, identified by casino staff as Michigan tourist Evelio Alderdice, first drew attention to himself by asking players to stop "hiding their numbers". When pressed, Alderdice explained "I should be able to see their numbers, their chip numbers. They're hiding them, that's cheating. Waitress!"

Other players were at first confused, and allowed the comment to pass as Alderdice sunk back into inebriated silence. After the next outburst however, player Justin Lowry put two and two together. "He started going off, very loudly and like, out of fucking nowhere, about how he had 'clicked post' before he went to the bathroom and so he should've be dealt in," recalled Lowry. "It didn't really hit me until he said something about having a time bank and how he could totally piss in under 2 minutes. Then I was like, damn, this guy thinks he's playing online."

As the evening progressed, Alderdice displayed even clearer signs of his inability to distinguish between the online and physical versions of the game, including yelling 'raise any', 'call any', and 'fold to any bet' before action was anywhere near him; becoming frustrated when his chips did not move themselves to the center; not tipping the dealer and constantly wandering over to the cage to see how much money he had left in his 'account'.

"On one hand, I felt kind of bad for the guy," said player Mike Hutton, "but on the other hand, it was pretty friggin' funny. I mean, here's this guy who just keeps poking the rail like there are buttons there, who keeps talking out loud to himself and gets shocked when other people can hear him ... man."

"I've been pretty drunk before at a poker table," Hutton continued, "and like sometimes I'll forget what game I'm playing, like I'll confuse limit with no limit or forget I'm in a tournament. But I've never been so drunk that I tried to intentionally disconnect to activate all in protection in a live game."

Saturday, February 04, 2006

All Nighter, Tourney Results (lack of)

“I can dodge bullets baby!” – Phil Hellmuth.

Thursday Night $110 buyin at Tulalip Tribes money machine. Played bad. In fact the worst performance at a tourney ever for the sharkmasta. I bluffed into calling stations, folded poket 3's to a 300 raise early (blinds 25/50) of course a 3 hit flop and I woulda tripled up. I know ya gotta gamble early in these, had a perfect chance to gamble with the 3's and I muck, yuck.....

I got what I deserved (a complimentary pass to the 4/8 kill game). nuff said. 100 lopass entered I was about 75th. 6 entries in this event (last 6 weeks str8)and only 1 cash ($700 for 5th) so I can't be happy with my efforts in this dead money filled extravaganza. No excuses, just gotta get better, analyze my play each night and get ready for the move to Vegas. There I can enter events with better structure whenever I want and can drink premium beers while wandering the streets! Boooyah! 17 more months and we are outa this rain forest! We will keep our home here near Seattle for spring and summer.

Ok, on to the 4/8 game which as usual is biggest game in the room (non weekend). I sit in the 5 seat so I don't need my glasses and the player in the 4 reads my mind and requests a kill. Then the funny lil dance goes on (this always happens) while the newbs are explained how a kill works. Almost no one ever complains or says no since 6 or 7 always say cool (no one wants to act weak) and the newbs don't know any better and say okay.

The first time they get raised and have to call 16 buckers you can see them shake as they have to toss a whole stack in the middle. I love that part.

I quickly drop about $170 in the first 90 min. and rebuy. This use to bother me but I realize its just part of the chaser 4/8 game now. Before I would watch a table of bad players (7 outa 9 anyhoo) and think to self: How can I lose money here?

I'm not losing. Thats backwards thinking. Now i'm patient, rebuy and wait for my spot to punish the table for their lack of knowledge and skill. That not a put down. It's amazing to me how many players have no clue and just leak chips like crazy. Call $32 preflop with 85o? Sure! Had a guy call $32 pre with AJo early, I had AKs and was the raisor. He hit 2 pr on flop and scooped a nice pot from me. Nice kid, I said man callin $32 cold with 4 way action you didnt think maybe 1 (or 2) players had you dominated? (which 2 did). His answer (standard answer from monkeys) "hey its 4/8 right"! I hate that line. Why dont they just say "I play bad". Don't blame it on the game. Don't you wanna move up? Don't you wanna play well and build your BR and be a force at the table? Cold cappin with AJo means you suck. Nuttin personal. Play bad, please continue. I need all the help I can get so I can play 40/80 w/kill (spread friday afternoon).

In my last 4 sessions at Tulalip I have come back from at least one rebuy and posted a win. Tonight will be #5. As usual my big starting hands start holding up and I start hitting flushes and str8's like all the chasers have been doing. Huge pots with no one ever laying down preflop to 1 (or 3) pre raises.

I was up almost $500 about 12 hours in (7am now) and lost 2 massive pots. Heres the first one which is a great example of the typical horrible player that you find in these 4/8 games. I have QQ, and get her to call my cap $16 preflop. We get 2 others out on flop with another cap and its heads up with floppage of Q47 rainbow. Turn J.

This lady has been punishing table with her flush chases for an hour catching miracles and scooping huge pots. Time to get a lil back. She bets the turn, I raise she calls. Riv is a 6. I look over at her and she seems a lil to happy. She checks and I check. She throws her 85o down with glee as I was correct she was going to check raise me on the river after hitting her 4 outer gutshot. Huge pot.

You want this weak player in your game all night. All month. They cannot win long term against skill. Can they win one night? Sure. Smile, dig in and punish them for never learning strategy.

The other huge pot was just a cold deck where I had QJo on a rainbow flop of J28. Turn was a J and i'm sure i'm good. Nice regular "Ray" had AJ and did what he does well (call down) to the riv. Good for him.

About 10am a drunk guy sits close to our table and starts a running commentary like hes John Madden or sumthin and I get tired of it and prepare to leave (15 hr session). I tell the dealer i'm leavin if ya don't lose the drunk and another cool regular (Mike) says same. Floor is told and does nuttin. Then drunk sloppy takes my advise and joins game. Okay, we will take yer money and send you home. He buys in for $40, lol. Then falls asleep as action comes to him for the first time. CHECK! I'm done, say goodbye to Pat, Ray, Mike and post an okay session.

Pat (60 yr old regular) and Mike are on a marathon session (Pat 49 hrs, Mike 43 I think). I'm not sure why they are doing it but they are both good guys and a little rummy. I have never done more then 17 hrs and have no idea why anyone would, but you see it alot in poker. I start missing my toofbrush and clean clothes after 15 hrs. I mention this to Pat and he says he has those items in his car except the clothes are all dirty now. lol.

Many of the regulars will be gentle with each other and not bet the riv with monsters or will just call instead of raisin with the nuts. I won't do this (ever) and I think they are all okay with that since they know thats how I play. I don't recommend playing soft with friends. Don't start bad habits. Extract all you can. Expect same back at ya.

This room has more strong players then most. But its still only about 10% of all players approximately. I can't wait to start playing the late night tourists in Lost Wages baybeee.

Shark Ledger: Thurs 7PM Tourney -$110., 4/8 short, 4/8 kill full ring +$280.

+$170 (15 hrs) 11.33 per hr (yuck) or 1.41 BB per hr. 2 big (well played) pots late killed me from a nice cash here (happens) and a nice comeback from a horrible tourney and bad first 2 hrs of ring showed good patience.

What can I improve on today? It's not Poker related but i'm not happy with how much I spent in this session. 3 Baileys and coffees, 3 beers and 2 stoli tonics+dinner= $60. I cut this to $20 and my net profit is $210. $20 is dinner and 3 beers.

The baileys alone are $21 with tip and I can just drink free coffee with cream. I play to pay bills. I don't want to go back to the #*&^ing car business. I like not having a schedule and getting on a plane when I want and coming home when I want. It's a great schedule.

I have a plan to rent a home in Maui for a month soon. I can run the websites and play poker on my 2 laptops while watching whales breach off Kapalua. My family can visit and friends too. I wanna get so brown I look like a homeless dude in Florida. My ruptured disc and 24/7 sore back likes Hawaii. No live casinos (entire islands) but probably a home game on every block. Just need to ask around when you are at the golf course. I'll bet every golf pro can give you directions to a great home game.

Back to online Poker now. Going to play some 6 man sit n gos and maybe 5 or 6 tourneys today. Tommorrow, Shark goon "BORN" and I are playing in the Absolute Affiliate WSOP event for a WSOP seat. I cashed in this last month and look to take it down tommorrow at noon EST. Stop in and sweat _SHARKY_ or bornsupreme tommorrow. Curently only 42 entries so its a great chance for 1 of us to win a nice trip. Last month I think it was only about 80 laggs.

We both feel the same about the WSOP and its 2006, 10K? entries. We could care less about a lottery ticket. We both would attempt to cash in our seat for 4-6 WSOP prelim events. Born may even enter the ladies event if we can schedule his surgery in time.

I want (and need) experience. Thats how I will improve and move up to bigger events and strong ROI (return on investment).

Aloha, Shark

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Small Pot Poker, Shark Vet NRG Takes it Down!

Tourneys Shark will be reporting on this week;

Tulalip Casino, Thurs. $110 buyin (100-120 entries)

Tulalip Casino, Sat. $90 buyin (100 entries)

Sunday Affiliate Freeroll, noon EST Absolute Poker
First grabs a WSOP 12K Package. Screen name _SHARKEY_

Small Pot Poker Strategies, by Gavin Smith

You'll be seeing a lot of me on next year's World Poker Tour broadcasts. So far in the 2005-2006 schedule, I've made three final tables. I won the Mirage event, finished third at the Bellagio and fourth in Tunica. When you see a broadcast that features my play, you may be left scratching your head, asking, "Why the heck is that guy playing those cards?"

There's no question that I do play an unconventional game. But, there is a method to my madness.

I play a style that's usually referred to as "small-pot poker." Using this approach, I'm looking to pick up a lot of small pots by applying a constant level of pressure to my opponents. Pre-flop, I raise frequently, especially in position. My raises are small, usually around two-and-a-half times the big blind, as opposed to the customary three or four times the big blind. I'll raise with a huge variety of hands - everything from big pocket pairs to "junk" hands, like 6d-4d, or 5c-8c.

Usually, I'll miss the flop when I raise with junk. In fact, two-thirds of the time, I won't make as much as a pair. But here's the thing: If someone called my pre-flop raise, he's also going to miss the flop most of the time. When we both miss, I have a distinct advantage. As the pre-flop aggressor, I have control of the hand. Most of the time (as much as 90 percent of the time), I'll follow up my pre-flop aggression by betting roughly half to two-thirds of the pot on the flop. A good percentage of the time, this bet will be enough to take down the small pot.

Let me give you an example. Imagine that you're playing in the big blind and you hold Ks-Qs. I raise in late position to two-and-a-half. K-Q suited is a pretty decent hand against someone like me, who has been raising constantly. Still, it's not necessarily a hand you want to risk your whole tournament on. So you call.

When you opt to just call, I put you in a position where you really need to hit the flop. If the flop is all rags, you need to be worried that I made two-pair with 4-7. Or, if there's an Ace on the flop, you need to be concerned, since I could be holding a real hand. Most of the time, you'll end up surrendering the hand to my bet on the flop.

If you do hit a hand - say the flop comes K-Q-4 - that's fine. With my playing style, I'm accustomed to getting check-raised a lot. But that's okay, too. I didn't risk a whole lot with my bets, so I can just surrender the hand and look for better spots down the line.

There are a couple of other advantages that come with playing this style. One is that no one ever puts me on a big hand pre-flop. So, when I do pick up pocket Aces or Kings, my hand is well disguised. My opponents are willing to call with marginal hands (like the aforementioned K-Q) and maybe get themselves in a lot of trouble. If someone does flop top pair when I hold an overpair, it's likely I'm going to get a big portion of his stack.

The other great benefit comes when I hold junk and hit the flop hard. When I raise with 5-7 and flop a straight, an opponent holding pocket Jacks is going to be in a lot of trouble.

Some of the best tournament players around - Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen and Phil Hellmuth among them - employ some version of the small pot approach. Is it the right method for you? That's something you'll have to find out for yourself.

I do, however, caution beginners from trying this style as it requires a lot of difficult decisions (what do you do with top-pair bad-kicker on an 8-high flop, for example). These are answers that sometimes come easier to more experienced players who have developed a feel for the game.

Still, you can give small-pot poker a shot. Register for a low buy-in tournament online and mix up your game. If the tournament doesn't go so well, you'll only be out a small buy-in.


This Tourney Report is by one of my best Shark players. Andrew "NRG70" is a full time Poker pro and lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada. NRG also has 3 Shark Tour wins!

$25 NL Freezout Win (28 people)

Its Thursday the best night in Renfrew to play poker, Bennyz Bar and Grill has the most people playing and the least amount of donkeys. I do my usual routine of the evening to prepare for Thursday night, always wearing a red shirt and my obsidian (volcanic glass) arrowhead for a chip protector.... Who said superstitions were bad?

After a 20 min walk, I am 30 min early, and buy my dinner, eat and get relaxed; perfect, a full belly and mentally prepared to take this thing down! We get our 2500 stating chips and seating, perfect Table 1, Seat 1.blinds start at 25/50 and are 20 min long "shuffle up and deal," is called and we're ready to go.... I deal myself Qs10s 3 limpers to me, I raise to 200, both blinds fold and 2 callers; flop come 4c8d9h, they check to me I bet 500, they fold and I take it down. 6 hands later I’m UTG and I get AsQd; I raise to 200, 2 callers, flop comes Qs10s4d; I quickly bet $400, cut-off folds, button raises to 800; knowing he likes to semi-bluff flush draws alot I quickly push without hesitation and he folds, showing his 6s7s. So my stack is up to 4625 in the first blind period...well off already.

At about mid-way through the 3rd blind period, our table is broke down so we move to table 3. The blinds are now up to 75/150 and I have cold cards for about 15 hands, practicing my folding method I call a 450 bet with Kh10h, everyone else folds; I love to see flops :). Flop comes 4c9c10d, She isn’t that great of a player so I know I cant outplay her if she has a higher PP. She bets 500.... I tentatively call turn comes 10s.... I’m thinking SWEET! She bets 500 again...only thing I can put her on, that can beat me is A10 or full house so I call; river Kc, BLAMO! She bets another 500 and I put on a little acting job, knowing the only hand that can beat me is KK; I raise 1000 and she calls, I turn over my K 10 and she shows me her JJ. So I’m up to about 7000 in chips at this point.

At the first break the blinds are up to 100/200, I pick up AA UTG+1 I bet it up to 600; I get re-raised as he goes all-in for 2400 more, everyone else folds and he turns over QQ; after neither of our hands get better, I knock another person out sending my stack up to 12,450; the clear chip leader with 18 people left. 40 min uneventful min pass till 2nd break and my stack is still about the 12,000 mark.

After the break the blinds go up to 200/400; the tournament director takes all the 25 and 50 chips off the table. There is 2 tables left I do a few loose calls to knock some people out Kc5d for 1600 chips, vs. 99.... I spike a K on the turn, and 7s9s vs. AdQd for 2100, I river a straight. With 10 people left and the blinds are 400/800 my stack is up to 16,500, a player from the other table gets eliminated and we move to the final table.

Taking care of some short stacks I get my first hard hit of the night, with the blinds still at 400/800 I have 8s4s in the BB, UTG goes all in for 1800, shortstack on the button calls, SB folds and I call as well. The flop comes 8d5s6s; I go to just check it down but he didn’t want to, he goes all in for 3000 more. I call with the top pair and str8 flush draw; he turns over Kd4c and the shortstack turns over Ad10h; so I was ahead and in good position to take out 2 people turn. Blank.... River K.! $! %! #! @ So it took me to 10800 and the big stack was to my left.

Blinding off to about 8400 chips and the blinds up to 600/1200 I get QQ UTG +1. I raise to 3000, bigstack just calls and everyone else folds. Flop comes 4d7sKc, I go all in for the 5400... he calls; I cringe for a bit till he turns over JJ and he doubles me up to 18600 when his hand doesn’t improve. The next hand I look down, I have QQ again, I bit shaking I just go all in cause I didn’t want anyone to see a flop, big mistake, it takes a guy, (we will call him suckout king) about 3 min to call with about 9300 chips, and he really didn’t want to; he turns over JJ; which is weird cause I just beat JJ with my QQ. Flop blank, turn blank, river...a fricken J!! (Boys and girls, this is why we don’t go all in with big PP when we don’t need to)

We get down to 4 people with the blinds at 800/1600. I get rockets twice in a row, but only get paid some blinds. Suckout king takes out the short stacks AK with AQ, after he spikes a Q on the river; now down to 3 I bully about 4 pots in a row to get to 20,000 then suckout king does it again, with 18,000 chips he goes all in with AT and gets called by AK...the Big stack flops his king but there is also a J in that flop. The turn is a Q and shortstack is drawing to an A which misses and the Blinds go up next hand to 1000/2000. After about 15 min later the Suckout king takes out the other guy with J8 vs. KJ after spiking his 8 on the flop. Heads up time Baybee!!!

As I often do, I always offer to split the top 2 places, which would of been $265/$260, but as he was chip leader at 55,000 to 15,000 chips he said "lets play it out", I reply "good". First hand I get caught making a play and he takes 5000 chips so I went down to 10,000 right away. The blinds go up to and are capped at 1500/3000 as I don’t stop making plays and I work my way back up to 16,500 when I flop 2 pair; I bet out just like when I got caught making the play earlier and he goes over the top and put me all in. he had K-high no draws and doubles me up to 33,000. Next hand, I flop top pair and he doubles me up again when he goes over the top with 2nd pair and doesn’t get better. He comes back a bit taking the blinds of the next 4 pots and then doubles up when he was severely dominated; my A9 putting him all in vs. his Q9. blamo Q on the river. He gets up to 25,000 to my 35,000 when I get AsKs... I bet out my usual position bet and he goes all in with Ad10s.... Flop 5 8 9 turn J... I cringe; feeling another bad beat coming... river 3! I win! $350 bucks for me and $175 for him.