Not sure what present to buy a poker player this holiday season ?
Don't worry or cry or FREAK OUT
Because I've compiled a list of ideas for you!
I know, you love me now
***Disclaimer: The specific items I listed are things that I own, use and love. I'm not benefiting in any way from promoting these items/products/subscriptions.
Poker tracking app
This is a great gift for a live poker player. There are a few to choose from, but the app I use is Poker Journal. It's simple, intuitive, and professional. - Price: $12.99
Screen shots from the iTunes store:
Plastic cards are much more expenseive than paper because they are durable. They are water proof and can be washed in the dishwasher! Also, the smooth surface makes the cards slide nicely on felt. Copags are a good choice, but I like the feel of (Kem) cards a bit better. - Price: $28
There are books now for every kind of player and variation of poker -- tournaments, cash games, mixed games, you name it. But, if there is one book that I think every poker player can learn from, it's (Mental Game of Poker). Price: $20 (paperback)
Let's be serious, poker players or not, everyone wants a pair of headphones, right? There are so many different kinds, (buds, over-the-ear, noise-cancelling, etc), but my favorite are the (Bose MIE2i). They are somewhat noise cancelling, but I can still hear the action at the table if I need to. I love the in-ear design because I can wear them for hours with absolute comfort. Also, if someone calls, I can answer the phone easily with the a press of a button. For those who don't have iPhones, there is another Bose earbuds variation - Price $116
Ok I don't have this one, but it's on MY list!
iPad Mini - Price: $329-$659
Gifts that keep on giving
Subscription to Music
Since players spend hours on end grinding, music makes great company. Pandora is free, but you can pay for a subscription to skip commercials. I would suggest (Spotify). If you aren't familiar, it is a digital music service that gives you access to millions of songs (pretty much anything mainstream). You can stream or download on any kind of device (there is a free version with ads but you can only use it on a desktop or laptop) - Price: $9.99/month
Instead of listening to music while grinding, an audiobook is also a great choice! Audible has a huge selection of audiobooks, and if you consume more than one a month, a subscription is the way to go. For $14.95/month, you get one credit which gets you one audiobook (average price per book without a subscription is around $23). Your credits never go bad and if you run out, you get discounted prices.
Subscription to a Training Site
Poker players need to constantly improve in order to stay on top of their game. Training sites are a great way to do that. CardRunners and LeggoPoker both have superb content and supportive communities, but I guess I'm a little partial to (Deuces Cracked) because the two video series I got to do with DC coach Andrew Seidman called Coaching Kristy. Price: $29/month (you can also be bi-yearly or yearly for a discount)
That's all I can think of for now! I hope this helps and he/she drools over the present you got them!
I have to admit that I've scoffed a few times at the idea of doing yoga, but I've recently decided to give it a try for a few reasons:
1) some poses look cool as balls
This broad is amazing! She's @laurasykora on instagram
2) my body is starting to feel old as fug
3) I need to become more flexible to reach my next fitness goal of competing in Fitness America.
This is an example of a Fitness America routine. For the record, I'm SOOO far from this goal it's ridiculous, but I'm determined.
I've been stretching everyday for the past couple of weeks, and it feels sooooo good. Here's where I'm at right now:
Especially for you poker players out there, I can't tell you how much stretching will help your body. For me, it also calms my mind. You don't have to do yoga per say, but just do a few stretches in the morning and at night. Try it! What's the worst the could happen? Let me know how it goes
So last time I posted, I talked about "Grinding Balls" which, if you didn't read it, means playing lots of poker! In that blog and In my most recent episode of Strategy with Kristy, I talked about how the past two-and-a-half months has been going. Basically, I'm running and playing pretty dang well.
After I went to EPT Barcelona, I finally had the urge to play poker again. So, when I got back home, I played some in September, but spent a couple weeks in Europe during the rest of the month for WPT Paris and WPT Malta. Since then I've really tried to put in hours both on and off the table.
My main game is $2-$5 NLH with a $1,000 max at Aria. As promised in the previous blog and on the podcast, I'm posting my graph. [side note: I have a ton of reservations about posting this. At this point it is such a small sample size it doesn't really mean much anyway. However, I know that I'm going to continue posting when I go through downswings too. Besides, I overshare everything on the internet and social media, so why not this too?
This is over 118 hours. Again, like I said, it's a very, very small sample size and I'm running REALLY good
Even though I've been winning it hasn't always been easy. It's hard difficult to find and plug leaks, balance poker with the rest of your life when you have full time job, and I know this is going to sound silly, but running well can mess with your head just as running bad can. You start to feel invincible, so when a crack in the armor is exposed, you can feel unprepared for it. At this point, my hourly for the past 2.5 months is super high, so I'm "waiting" for variance to come in and bring it down. I'll be playing in a big pot and my irrational mind will say to me "Ok, here's where you're probably going to lose a huge one because it has to happen sooner or later." Or, "Well it's time for me to be on the opposite side of a cooler." It's stupid, I know, but at least I recognize it's happening. I have to inject logic, as Jared Tendler would say, and just try to make the best decisions in each moment.
I'm going to continue to put in hours and make it a priority. I'm having a ton of fun playing and part of that is because I can feel and see myself improving.
I am so glad you've enjoyed the Live Grinder Series on the Strategy with Kristy Podcast. I can't believe how much positive feedback I've gotten from it. Makes me feel so good
If you haven't had a chance to hear it, here they are:
And one more thing! I've entered myself into a competition to be the next BodyBuilding.com Spokesperson! If you have a second, please go vote for me! Click THIS LINK, click the "View Women Tab" and scroll down or hit CTR F to search for me under KRISTYARNETT I'm going to write more about this in my next blog. Thank you so much!
The term "grinding ball" is one that my friends and I use when referring to putting in a lot of hours at the poker table. It might have been subconsciously born from the actual act of spending hours rubbing their ball sack on uncomfortable poker room chairs, but hey, what do I know? I have a biscuit (that's a Honey Boo Boo reference. I love you if you got that).
ANYWAY, enough balls talk. I've been putting in major hours playing poker these past few weeks. In the past year, actually since Black Friday, I've been lazy. I would put in sporadic sessions here in Vegas when I wasn't traveling, but the long periods of time between playing was really detrimental. I think that the ability to focus at a table for long periods of time is a skill that needs to be honed, exercised, and up kept. So, after EPT Barcelona, WPT Paris, WPT Malta and four weeks in Europe, I was SOOO ready to get back to the felt.
I decided to make it a priority along with work and working out (I'm training for another fitness competition). So, here's what I did: First, I fixed my sleep schedule. I started going to bed between midnight to 1 a.m. and waking up at 8 a.m. Once that was under control, I starting playing in the mornings. I would wake up, eat breakfast, work for an hour or two and head to Aria. I'd play as long as I could (which wasn't that long at first). Then, I'd go work more or work out, depending on what I needed to get done. At night, is when I do almost all of work (writing, strategy podcasts, articles, interviews etc). [Sidenote: Working from home at my own desk when I'm not traveling is one of the best parts of jobs. So lucky] After that, if there's time and I'm up for it, I'll go put in another poker session, but NEVER play past 1 a.m. Having a set sleep schedule makes the rest of my life easier and more efficient. I cannot stress enough the importance of this. I have learned that it is much better to give up some game EV for life EV. Take care of your mind and body and I promise, it will pay dividends more valuable than whatever you might make in that one session you decided through your sleeping time.
Like, I said, I have put in tons of hours, for me that is. Sixty hours so far this month to be exact in 20 sessions. This has been incredibly difficult because I'm also pushing my body to the max with my training, but it's been so rewarding because I'm seeing results. My game is making huge improvements, I'm making less and less mental mistakes, and trusting my instinct. That said, I know I have a ways to go. I tweeted a couple times during my sessions and I noticed that whenever I do, I'm always asked what I play, where, and what advice I can give them. It dawned on my that many of my Strategy with Kristy Podcast listeners are people just like me. They want to crush live, low-to-mid stakes. I thought about what has helped me the most, and really, it's been my friends!
I decided to begin an ongoing, multi-part series about live grinding (balls if you will). When I tweeted a request for questions to pose for live pros, I couldn't believe how many responses I got. I'm so excited for this because 1) this is obv what you guys want and 2) this is what I know! On top of that, I have the best sources ever for interviews. I know who the best and biggest winners are and luckily for me, they are my friends and willing to be interviewed.
Here is the first installment:
At the end of the month, I'll post my results as well. For now, if you have any questions or comments, send them to email@example.com
P.S. I came across the reel for Johnny Chan's new show, Full House. I play with a lot of the grinders featured on the show here in Vegas. Maybe that's why I feel awkward after watching this, but it could be a fun show. What do you guys think?
When you fall in love with something, be it music, an athletic sport, or a game of mental warfare like poker, you fall even harder and without haste for those who you believe are the best at that given skillset. Ten years ago, I feel in love with poker and its superstars. I never thought I’d watch so many of them fall from grace with such a clumsy and embarrassing tumble.
I used get goose bumps watching Full Tilt Poker commercials. The TV screen would go black and white. There would be slow motion shots of chips flying or faces contorting in anguish at the table, while a member of Team Full Tilt narrates the scene with a calm, knowing voice. Every time I saw one, a chill would run up my spine at the thought of someday being one of them. Remember?
Team Full Tilt seemed like an assembly of poker’s indestructible super heroes. I built them up as stoic, merciless players, incapable of error. I idolized them -- The Mouth, The Professor, The Great Dane, Chris JESUS Ferguson. All of them.
Of course much of the information from articles, indictments, public files and the Lederer Files is still under scrutiny and we haven’t heard all sides of the story, but the damage has been done.
There are traces of greed found in every critical decision made after Black Friday. There are shareholders who, despite incredibly generous paychecks, needed to borrow money from the company. That leads us to believe that they couldn't live within their means, had gambling problems or couldn't hack it at the poker tables anymore. There is childish finger pointing, cold-shouldering, hiding, blame dodging, and how the EF is no one taking responsibility for random millions of dollars that were lost/stolen/accidentally transferred or WHATEVER!
Breathe. (ok, residual anger. back to sad now).
It is unfair to judge the heart or intent of any of these people. Everyone has issues, and maybe it was unfair to put them on such a high pedestal in the first place. I have come to know a couple of these people personally and have nothing but great things to say about every interaction I've had with them. I truly believe they are good people. Perhaps a result of severe cognitive dissonance coupled with a few bad decisions put them in the positions they are in today. Maybe the players who owe money have it and would gladly pay it back but because of circumstances we don’t understand, they haven't. Maybe no one really knew about the massive shortfall in player funds. Or, maybe not. Maybe they all knew what was going on, didn’t care and we’ve just had to pay the price. I’m not sure.
I wish that more of them would talk to us. We all just want the truth. Sure, no one HAS to. They are not obliged, but I feel as though they owe it to us. Their fame and most of their once fortune is all due to us, their fans --the players who idolized them and wanted to “learn, chat, and play with the pros.” We logged on to Full Tilt Poker with trust in our hearts, bluffing ice in our veins, and lust to become great players, like them, in our eyes. Come on guys-- sit down, don’t squirm, and tell us what happened. (And if you guys might think this a ploy for me or PokerNews to land an interview, it’s not. Just talk to anyone.)
I don’t know. Maybe I just want them to talk and free themselves of blame so I can go back to my innocent, starry-eyed view of them. The point is, after watching the Lederer Files, I’m just sad. I’m sad to see these once formidable symbols of poker reduced to unfavorable and hopefully unfair labels. I miss the golden age of poker, but I guess everyone else does too, for various reasons (ya you know, back when no one cold five-bet shipped as a bluff). As with anything, particularly in poker, we’ll have to adjust without them to look up to.
I’m hopeful that there are pros who are excited to take on the responsibility of poker role models. We already have a few obvious ones in Team PokerStars Pros who rep the company donning the super hero cape, but I know there are tons of other players who also want to help put a positive light on the game we love.
As an optimist, I'm hopeful for the future of poker and Full Tilt and excited to see who PokerStars chooses to the fill the Team roster with. I'm excited to shake off the dust on my mini FTOPS jersey (which came very close to the shredder), and wear it proudly. To close this blog out, I'll leave you with a couple more classic (er never aired) FTP commercials.
Having taken French in high school and bit in college, one would assume I'd know enough of the language to get around. For me, this is absolutely true. However, you must take into account the stage-fright factor.
"Bonjour!" --- Frenchperson
"Bahn-ger" --- me. Facepalm for terrible accident
---me. You know this, just answer. No don't, you sound stupid. Just say it damnit! Ehhh [blank stare]
"Oh, how are you?" ---Frenchperson reads my face, immediately speaks English.
It's nerve racking to try and speak a different language, but I found a solution... Have a couple beers! I knock back a couple cold ones and I'm pretty much fluent (or, I think am... or maybe it's the alcohol). Either way, I find Paris to be completely contradictory to the common stereotype Americans have for French people. My interactions with Parisians have been 95% positive (I mean, there are douchebags everywhere in the world, right?).
After a few days practicing, I got over my stage fright. Yesterday, I was in line to pay at a cafe when I notices an older, slightly haggard woman trying to buy just a bagguette. She pulled out some change, and I saw the cashier shake his head no. As she turned to leave and I panicked a bit as I tried to think of the words to say.
"Uhhhh Je umm acheter. J'achete." Translation: uhhhh I ummm to buy. I buy."
It wasn't perfect, but it was enough for everyone to understand what I wanted to do. The woman looked me in the eyes and said, 'Merci," with sincerity that I have rarely seen. Despite how amazing it felt to give in that manner, I couldn't help but feel guilty that she was so grateful for just a loaf of bread. I wished I had given her more.
In incredibly stark contrast to that exchange, I was lucky enough to be treated to a once-in-a lifetime experience. My cameraman, Mantys, and I tagged along to a Michelin star restaurant called L'Atelier. We went to film it, but managed to snag two seats at the table. It was a luxurious five-course meal with two beautiful desserts. Not only was I treated to the best meal I've ever had, but we also got to meet the man who created it. Joël Robuchon just happened to be at the restaurant that day (he is French but has restaurants all over the world). For most of you, this doesn't mean much, but if you're a foodie, you are probably steaming with jealousy. I wouldn't consider myself a connoisseur of food, but I sure watch a lot of Master Chef and Chopped meaning I'm basically an expert when it comes to gourmet food. And my opinion is that dinner was perfection.
Oh yeah, and we were here to cover a poker tournament! It was the WPT Grand Prix de Paris. Here are all the highlights you need:
I'm off to Malta tomorrow morning to cover the WPT event there as well! PEACE
For those of you guys who listen to the Strategy with Kristy podcast, I thought I'd post the outline Reid Young made for the hands we talked about. Hopefully this makes it easier for you guys to follow along! And btw, thanks to Reid for making this the easiest strategy interview ever!
Hand 1 - Post-flop Squeeze
-UTG raise, cut off calls, button (hero) calls with , blinds fold
-UTG is a loose multi-tabling pro who continuation bets too often, cut off is an appropriately loose regular, given UTG's range, and both view hero as a solid winning player in the game
-UTG continuation bets, cutoff calls, hero raises and both players fold their hands.
-Discuss both UTG and cutoff's range and why it's important both hand some hands they're automatically folding (16 combinations of non-paired holdings in Hold'em hands and all that fun stuff)
Hand 2 - Topic Calling Big Hands Pre-flop (Reid answers a question on TwoPlusTwo
-Middle position player raises, hero calls on the cutoff with QQ, all other players fold
-Flop: 732 rainbow
-Villain continuation bets and we call
-Turn: 5c (brings the second club on board)
-Villain bets and Hero raises ???
-We are not particularly happy about the prospect of getting all in pre-flop against the PFR (it isn't as profitable as flatting in this instance in the long- and short-term sense of the concept)
-We expect to be squeezed often by the remaining players and QQ does great against their range
-We have been barrelled extremely often post flop and want some ammunition for picking off bluffs and value bets from worse hands
-We have been seen raising the flop often and so we want to get tricky while our hand is under-represented, anticipating lots of actions from bluffs and from worse hands
-We want to protect our range (this is really the previous ideas combined, except for when we're talking about a pre-flop re-raising range, which now appears to be quite tight for value)
-Our turn raise represents very little or no air, only hands like turning 66 into a bluff which isn't that valuable when compared to calling with 66 as we can assume villain has a wide range for betting turn
-When we consider why we called pre-flop and how strong our turn raise appears, this becomes a very clear call.
Hand 3 - Sneaky Floating
-Hero raises on the button with A4o
-SB and BB call (description of both)
-Flop T33 rainbow
-SB leads and BB waits a few seconds and raises, an awkward amount of time for the BB to act
-Button (Reid) calls
-SB instantly folds
-turn off suit T
-BB check, button check
-river 7, BB check, button check
-A4 > K6
-SB's lead represents very little and we know he knows that. It's basically an invitation to battle. Thankfully, we have ace high.
-BB thwarts our plan to throw down and does the raising himself! A play that represents very little for value, given how little sense SB's bet makes and how few 3x hands BB should play give the pre-flop action
-Because we realize that SB may also have picked up on BB's somewhat transparent play, raising is out for us for the same reasons: if we have a real hand, we would want to induce more action. Now it may be the case that to induce more action in this instance that we should actually raise the BB's bet and go from there. Because we want to represent strength, we choose to call and represent a wider range of Tx+ type hands.
-SB instantly folds: owned.
-Turn Ten. Great... there goes stacking someone with ace high. Time to check down the hand. Note, we can also represent the same range of hands quite well back checking back the turn, given how polarized BB's flop raising range appears to be. Betting twice may fold out a 3x hand but BB may also simply not fold a full house (Zeebo rule) or might be getting tricky with a Tx figuring that we'll bet a three twice and our floats twice in addition to his inability to get value from many worse hands by betting.
-BB checks, as expected and because we may still have the hands we are representing on the flop with our call. It's very unlikely BB would play a medium pair like 66 in the way he did and so ace high figures to be the best hand and betting is very unlikely to fold out a better hand, since all better hands would be full houses.
We check and beat K6.
After the WSOP, I fell into a bit of a lazy slump and needed some motivation to get back on track (know how I knew I needed to a reality check? I watched an entire season of Keeping Up with Kardashians -- don't judge).
So last week, I pulled up a blog post I wrote a couple years ago on my personal site called "Moti-frickin-vation." In it, I wrote about my priorities and how I was going to manage my time to reflect what was important to me. After rereading it, I decided to rewrite the post, update it, and share it with you guys...
Motivation is tough. Sometimes you are overflowing with it, so much so that it’s hard to even get started working towards your goals because you’re so excited you can’t figure out where to start. Other times, motivation is so far gone that even the thought of trying to find the motivation you lost sounds too hard.
To make progress, you first need to figure what’s important to you. Everyone has a list of priorities, but most people don't spend their time accordingly. If you broke down your day, what percentage of your time spent would consist of your top three or four priorities?
I feel really good about having made huge progress with my top three priorities which were 1) my relationships 2) my career 3) health. I feel closer to my family and friends than ever before, I'm happy where I am with my career and have worked really hard to prepare myself for new opportunities, and I competed in a frickin' fitness competition! With that said though, my 4th priorities (two were tied -- poker/writing a novel) has been pretty much nonexistent. I wrote two chapters of my book and since Black Friday, I've barely worked on my game. The only excuse I could come up with was, "I'm too lazy."
Then, I read the chapter on Motivation in The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler.
Excerpt: Saying you’re lazy is an easy way of excusing yourself from having to do something. “I would have done X, but didn’t feel like it. What can I say? I’m lazy.” It’s as if being lazy is an incurable disease, or a character trait encoded in your DNA. If you believe deep down that laziness is permanent, it would be illogical for you to try anything to change it. However, laziness is not a permanent trait. It takes some work to break out of it, but this section can make that task easier. Laziness is a skill that, for better or worse, has been learned. You have learned the skill of doing something else. You have learned how to grind a large volume of television or sleep, rather than learning how to knuckle down and play longer sessions and work on your game. Instead of learning how to be productive, you’ve learned how to be lazy—and you’re quite good at it.
It's impossible to have no motivation. Think of being lazy as having a strong motivation to sleep for hours, watch TV, or mindlessly surf the internet. While that might seem like just a changing around of words, stating it that way is important in understanding and fixing the problem.
Jared also talks about the difference between stable motivation and inspiration. It's very detailed, so I highly suggest just reading the book yourself, but in short, try to remember the following:
This is the key to having stable motivation because inspiration is fleeting. However, if you do need a quick pick me up, this video seems to always do it for me You will be successful when you want it as much as you want to breathe.
A silent killer for motivation that often cripples peoples' progression is fear. Fear of failure, even fear of success. Look at all these people who failed before they succeeded!
Inspirational Stories of Famous Failures and Their Future Success
--The Vice President of Columbia told this actor that he was never going to make it in the business. The actor? - Harrison Ford
His first book was rejected by 12 publishing houses and sixteen agents. - John Grisham
--Turned down by a recording company saying "We don't like their sound and guitar music is on the way out" They were talking about the Beatles
--Was told by his father that he would amount to nothing and be a disgrace to himself and his family - Charles Darwin
--Told by a music teacher "as a composer he is hopeless" - Beethoven
--Was told that "he couldn't sing at all" Enrico Caruso
--Fired from a newspaper because he "lacked imagination and had no original ideas" - Walt Disney
--Were told by Publishers that "anthologies didn't sell" and the book was "too positive"
--Rejected a total of 140 times. The book? Chicken Soup for the Soul. It now has 65 different titles and has sold over 80 million copies all over the world.
--Told by a teacher he was "too stupid to learn anything" Thomas Edison
--Failed the sixth grade - Winston Churchill
--Wasn't able to speak until he was almost 4 years old and his teachers said he would "never amount to much" - Albert Einstein
--Did poorly in school and failed at running the family farm - Isaac Newton
--Was not allowed to wait on customers in the store he worked in because "he didn't have enough sense" - F. W. Woolworth
--Was cut from the high school basketball team, went home, locked himself in his room and cried - Michael Jordan
--Producer told her she was "unattractive" and could not act - Marilyn Monroe
--This book was rejected 18 times before it was published. It then sold over one million copies the first year. The book was Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
--Auditioned for All My Children and got rejected - Julia Roberts
--Received 30 rejections and the author threw it in the trash. Luckily his wife fished it out again and encouraged him to resubmit it. The book was Carrie - the author Stephen King
And this is for those of you with poker goals. It was posted three years ago but still rings true.
citizenwind's Blog on CardRunners.com-- December 18 2009
RaNT: JUST FUCKING DO IT
Some people don't make it at poker. Who knows why. Tilt? Neurosis? Lack of ingenuity? Mathematical phobia? Inability to calculate? To apply common sense? No. This isn't the case. There are smart, talented players who are not making it. Some of my students are clearly smarter and more naturally talented than I am, but are huge losers. But why? Why are people not beating 100nl? Or 200nl? It seriously requires common sense and a basic understanding. Not hard. You want a hard game? Learn chess. The amount of memorization and calculation requires for chess is totally mind-boggling compared to enumerative analysis. I bet if chess players played poker, they'd shit on people all the time. Like crawl up on their chests and take dumps on them. Poker isn't that hard. It's not even as hard as say, Street Fighter. You want to talk about leveling? Wait until Blanka is chewing on your face for the third tick throw in a row. Yeah, I'm a nerd, wanna fight about it?
If you're hoping to go pro at 50-100nl, but you're failing at it, stop failing. Do whatever it takes. Get coaching. Read. Study ferociously. Watch a video and force yourself to leave the session with 4-6 pages of notes. Don't know something? Then go find the answer. Ask. Post in forums. There are 10k CR members and maybe two dozen regulars posters in each forum. Surely there are more full-time grinders than that.
Look. You could make six-figures in 2010. I came from a broke family. 100k is an outrageous amount of money. 250k is unimaginable. We're talking about life-changing amounts of dough. You could make this. Easily. If you're into material things, next year you could be driving an Audi and have a lot of TVs. You could pop bottles and do other rapper-ly activites. If you're just into living free (aka hippie), you could have an extremely high paying job and unlimited freedom. I've never had a 9-5 and never will, all because I decided to spend a year really learning how to play some fucking poker.
Stop dicking around. Stop being a tilting monkey. Four year olds throw tantrums. You're an adult. Get over it. If you don't know the math, learn it right now and don't step onto a table until you know it back and forth. Buckle down. Play less tables. Turn off the TV. Don't watch videos in the background while you play, make it part of your daily routine to watch a Myth or CTS video and take a notes on all the plays and thoughts that you would not have emulated. Take notes. WHATEVER IT TAKES. In one year, you'll look back at the moment you decided to take it really, really seriously and realized that it was way easier than you thought.</blockquote>
Citizenwind’s blog really applies to anything. Just fucking DO IT! It’s easier to be scared, and easier not to try, but I guarantee you it will bite you in your lazy ass later in life if you don’t TRY.
Citizenwind’s blog really applies to anything. Just fucking DO IT! It’s easier to be scared, and easier not to try, but I guarantee you it will bite you in your lazy ass later in life if you don’t TRY.
And if you need anymore inspiration, just watch the Olympics. These athletes are amazing!!!
I hope this has helped light a huge fire under your ass!
This is one of those blogs that, when I’m finished, I’ll hover the mouse over the “Publish” button for probably longer than it took me to write the damned thing. Hopefully, a surge of confidence will flow through my body and to my pointer finger, pressing the button. I’ll squeeze my eyes shut and hope for the best. More than likely though, it’s going to end up going stale in a folder on my desktop called, “My Shit.” Either way, I’m writing it, so here goes.
I’m a person in poker media, and sometimes I just want to scream, “Hey! Who the FUCK do you think you are?”
(Excuse my language. Wait no, actually don’t. If you are expecting an eloquent, graceful blog like that of Matt Glantz and Olivier Busquet ((side side note: They are FUCKING AWESOME)), then stop reading. I like to swear and make immature jokes).
As you could have probably guessed, no, I’ve never screamed that before. I usually just sulk away, bite my tongue, and remind myself that having a job (my super fantastic, dream job) is better than having an outburst. However, I totally asked my boss if I could write this, and he said yes. (Fist pump) Despite having been given permission to mention specific names, I decided not to. I’m not here to call people out. I just want to express my opinion… And clearly, I’m not the only one who has noticed the negativity in poker lately:
See! David Baker says fuck too, and he’s super cool (so is his honey), so I’m good!
For those of you guys who follow me on twitter, you might remember me writing that I got into a verbal altercation at the table, and that I’d write about it later. It spurred the idea of this blog. Just to be perfectly clear, I fucking LOVE poker and the community of people in it. I’ve met so many special people and have made tons of genuine friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. However, there are always a few mushy blueberries in a box of juicy ripe ones (haha that was my attempt at making a non-cliché comparison).
Anyway, here’s what happened:
I was playing in the $1,000 NLH event on Sunday. My starting table had only one person I recognized (he’s a young Czech guy who I apparently met at a party in Prague. He said he remembered me because I told Melanie Weisner that I would go topless sunbathing on the beach with her if it was just us. I do not remember this. Tequila may be at fault) Anyway! The whole table was having fun, chatting away. I met a guy in the military, a farmer from Michigan, and a friendly, older, gentleman with a southern drawl.
The last player I mentioned, let’s just call him Texas, had done some things that pros would find fishy - his bet sizing, limp calling raises with J4 offsuit out of position, etc. But, he was having fun and didn’t mind he was losing chips. Texas got into a pot with a player wearing a Sissi Poker Pro patch. Let’s just call him Italy. On the river, Texas made a large bet of 900 on a low, semi-coordinated, paired board. Italy tanked and asked him if he would show his hand if he folded (classic question to get a read on someone, obviously). Texas didn’t give up much information, joked a bit, then said, “I’ll show ya either way.” Italy called with ace-queen high, and Texas showed him ace-four, for bottom pair.
Italy threw up his hands, made a sound of disgust and laughed. “Were you betting for value? Did you even know what you were doing?” he asked. Texas laughed and didn’t say much. The banter between the two continued in a tense tone, until a few hands later, Texas raised Italy’s big blind. Someone joked about him picking on Italy. “Do you think I’m pickin’ on you?” Texas asked him.
Italy put down his iPad and fired back. “Hey, are you having fun? You are here for fun, right? This isn’t fun for me. This is work. You leave me be and you have fun.”
Texas sheepishly replied, “Well I’m not just here for fun either.”
Italy scoffed and said, “Well then, I feel sorry for your family.”
WHOAAAAAA hey now. Again the words, “WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” flashed in my mind, but instead I said, “Hey, that’s crossing the line. Don’t talk about his family. You don’t know him. You’re supposed to be the pro, so act like one.” I think I said more, but when I see red, it’s hard for me to remember things clearly. I was pissed. Italy didn’t say anything after that, and I felt AWESOME.
A couple of days later, I was at the Bellagio, and a player who I trust, told me that he witnessed this story:
A well-known pro who plays in Bobby’s Room often was berating a dealer at a table in front of the cage. The manner in which his chips, or lack thereof, were stacked in front of him would indicate he was losing in the game. He told the dealer to spread the deck as they normally do after action is complete. Well, apparently he wasn’t happy with how far the deck was spread. He started laying into her, yelling angrily close to her face. She sat there, taking it, as her bottom lip began to quiver. The floor came over. The pro continued his rant, and the floor did nothing to stand up for the dealer. [edit: I just heard another story of him forcefully asking a dealer to spread the deck today. WTF?]
The poor treatment of dealers by particular high stakes players and them getting away with it isn’t new. Again, who the FUCK do you think you are? Do you think you are better than them? You’re not. Yeah, I said it!
Now, these are extreme cases of ignorance and entitlement. But, as I mentioned before, there does seem to be an ever-increasing amount of negativity, feuds, and bashing going on in public forums. In my opinion, a lot of it is childish and completely unproductive.
Here’s what I’m NOT saying: I’m not saying poker players owe us media, or anyone for that matter, anything. IMHO, you don’t need to dress up for TV or do interviews if you don’t want to. It’s part of the beauty and freedom of playing poker for a living.
I’m also NOT saying that players shouldn’t say how they feel. I think it’s important for prominent figures to speak up for everyone. There have been incredible improvements made because of the right people piping up. All I’m saying is, if you were a person in charge of something, who would you rather help? The person screaming, “You suck. OMG, blah blah. Change this, or I’m gonna totally like flame you on twitter, bitch bitch, moan, bitch.” Or, “Hey, let’s talk about changing this because of these reasons and many people feel the same.” (ie. How Vanessa Selbst talked to Jack Effel about the ladies bathroom. Calm, cool, with good reason, and lots of support. TADA! Fixed!)
Poker is the hardest way to make an easy living. I know that. I’ve been working in the industry for 6 years. I‘ve seen people rise and fall, come and go, and become different people because of what poker can do to you. This may seem like a blog bitching about people bitching, but what I’m trying to do is to make people see the ridiculousness of it all. I want people to regain perspective and live a happier life. It reminds me a quote by the hilarious, Louis CK:
Everything is amazing, and no one is happy.
As a player too, I’m not immune to being irrationally soothed by a knee-deep wade in a shallow pool of self-pity. Just the other day, I was stuck, miserable and sitting at the table thinking about how bad I run. How bad I’d run in the last five sessions. I ignored a call from a friend, dropped my phone into the cup holder, and longingly stared at the massive pile of chips that used to be mine, carelessly stacked in front of the “fish.” Yeah, who’s the fish in this scenario? ME, FOR SURE. As if we are on the same frequency, my husband sent me a text that couldn’t have been more on point or come at a better time.
------I just walked into the condo and saw a picture of us lying on the beach in Bahamas during the PCA. "Remember why your life is so good,” is such an amazing quote (This was something my poker coach, Andrew “Balugawhale” Seidman, always use to say). Think of the things that poker has given to both of us. Think of the things it teaches you about yourself. It shows your true inner self when you face adversity. You seem easily broken and insecure deep down. That shows in poker and in life. Use poker to help you fix these areas of your life also. I found out so many things about myself over the years and am still learning. Most of those were negative things, but I guarantee that you have noticed I've made improvements. Poker shined a light on these areas, and I continue to grow. I need you to do the same. Phil Galfond said it best, "You probably took up poker to make your life better and to have freedom. Don't sit at a table when you’re miserable inside then. Enjoy your life and freedom and only play when you are back to your normal self." I know this is hard, but it's truth. I love you babe, I know you are strong willed (more so than I) and will learn these things as I am learning them now.-----
After reading his text, I literally felt a weight lift from my chest. I felt light and happy again. Everyone has the opportunity to work on his or her faults, improve their character, hone their skills, and enjoy life.
As for the specific things he said, about me, he’s right. I am insecure often in poker and in life. I can feel incredibly confident at times, but my view of self worth and my skill in poker lives an dies by variance. I talked about it with Lauren Kling in one of my latest podcasts. I constantly wear a chip on my shoulder and have a nagging want to PROVE SOMETHING to everyone. But, I have the power and will to work on these things.
So with this all said, I want you to ask yourself, “Who do I want to be?” And from there, look at what you project to the world. Do you improve the lives of those around you? Or do you just bring them down because you’re constantly complaining, telling bad beats, or just being mean?
Or, if you just don’t give a fuck like the honey badger, that’s cool. That’s your prerogative. Just don't expect to feel fulfilled by anything in your life or the people around you. Chances are the people you surround yourself with are negative too.
LIFE IS NOT A BITCH. IT’S SHORT. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME, AND THEN YOU DIE. SO DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME BEING AN ASSHOLE AND BE FUCKING HAPPY.
[edit: Thanks for reading guys. Don't forget to check out my personal blog as well at snaptress.com ]
Whooo hoooo the WSOP is here!!!! I'm so excited!
Welcome to the Rio!!! Sarah and I shot this video to let you guys know what to expect when you get here
What else can you expect? More awesome videos!!! Like this one with Brett Richey. (I'm gonna let you guys in on a secret. We're shooting another video, and I'm TOTALLY gonna rap!)
Also, we will be releasing a new podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Strategy with Kristy will be posted every Thursday, as usual. Today, we recorded our very first podcast of the WSOP, and our guest was Tom Marchese, winner of the $100K Super High Roller event.
I'm hoping to play a lot of cash games, play a couple of events, and obviously provide the best poker video coverage EVER!!!!!! haha everyone seems overly excited at the beginning of the Series. We'll see how long this lasts