Monday, April 18, 2011


Hmm, what to say! April 15th - Black Friday - will forever be seared into our collective memories as the most important day in the history of online poker. The swiftness and effectiveness of US law-enforcement agencies in shutting down each of the top three poker companies' operations in the USA is staggering and simply mind-blowing. With all this commotion, there has been very little information to come out either from the sites involved or the Department of Justice/FBI. As such, it's crucial that we all keep the speculation to a minimum and just be patient for official information.

Now in the aftermath, everyone will certainly have concerns, priorities, and plans for handling this epic event, but I imagine the #1 item on everyone's mind is the security of our funds. At the beginning as everything was unfolding, my take on the money situation was pretty grim and I really didn't expect a high chance that we would ever be getting our money back. Since then however, positive developments have occured such as Pokerstars' personal calls to every Supernova+ VIP ensuring that our funds are safe. I had a 20 minute phone conversation with SteveD, the VIP manager of Pokerstars, that was comforting. Even though he wasn't allowed to disclose any particular details, it seemed like the situation is under Pokerstars' control. We even joked about the fact that PS didn't just close up shop and disappear with all our money haha. In addition, I've learned that during Pokerstars' licensing requirements in the Isle of Man, it was stipulated that all player funds be placed in trust accounts that cannot be seized by any authority other than the listed trustee. Whatever that means. I'm sure there is a myriad of other legal technicalities that are involved, as well as countless factors that will come into play, so we'll all just have to wait and see.

In addition to the integrity of our balances, of course we are all wondering about the future of online poker in the US. It certainly looks bleak, but we really just don't know enough about the situation to make any sort of educated predictions. Lest we forget, it's only been 3 days(!) since the **** hit the fan. And it's been weekend days where obv nobody works in the US government ;) Naturally, we can't help but speculate and think of continuing the life and traveling to foreign countries to cash out and continue playing. If this were to happen, I would probably go back to Sydney, Australia where I was already planning to visit this year anyways. It would work out quite well, so hopefully that's an option. Or perhaps O! Canada; I've always wanted to visit Vancouver.

Anyways best of luck to all of us these next few days/weeks as the situation unfolds itself. No one can really do anything at this point so it's just best to just accept what's coming and make the best of it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April Update

Upswingaments! Ever since the calendar changed from March to April, I've been doing very well at the tables (+33k until dropping 11k today). I ended last month on a 23k downswing with pretty much every session being a losing one. It seems absurd and silly that a simple flip of the calendar would produce such a drastic differences in my results, and rest assured, it really is absurd. Many poker players will set a definitive timeframe like a week or a month to base their results on. I am definitely guilty of this, as my spreadsheet is set up month by month. But while my spreadsheet is set up in this manner, it is mostly for organizational purposes especially when it comes to VPPs. Those are the crux of my grind and I actually have control over them, unlike profits.

As poker grinders we've got to remember cards know no time frame nor have any sort of memory; they just fall as they may. Of course that's obvious, but it helps us understand that we have no control of our luck and ultimately the "profit" column of our spreadsheets. When evaluating results, try not to base comparisons or emphasis on weekly or monthly results. If I had done that, I would have quit right after my horrendous February! (I was -36k). Instead of thinking, "Ugh I was down 100 buyins last month," I'd look at some hand histories and ROIs over significant sample sizes. Even if you had a losing month, it could have been due to lack of sufficient sample size coupled with a bad run, and not necessarily indicative of bad play. Conversely, don't let being up a bunch in a given time give you too much complacency!

So ever since that mega grind of January and February, I've taken big steps to limit my playing days so I've had some nice free days to do whatever. Weather is getting warm around the Washington DC area and so I've been out and about. There's a chance some friends and I will be moving away from here sometime soon, so I'd like to enjoy the area as much as I can. Here are some pictures from my recent outings around this pretty city!

Washington Memorial
US Capitol
Lincoln Memorial

March Madness (college basketball tournament) opening round at Verizon Center. Butler vs. ODU, Butler would eventually reach the national championship game!...and lose in epic fashion.

Gorgeous National Mall


A few days ago, I also went back to my old high school to watch a soccer game since my little brother is on the team! Walking around the old hallways and stepping into some of my old classrooms really brought back some memories...then I realized it's been 7 years since I graduated! I snapped this picture of my old high school track as well, after running half a lap. Some pleasant and not-so-pleasant memories here :)

This leads directly to the origin of my screen name 'azntracker.' When I made this name, I was just getting into the buzz of poker in 2004, which was my senior year in high school. I decided to do something related to my track team, so I just combined "asian" and "tracker" (as in someone who runs track...maybe making up a word here) and voila!, azntracker was born. It does not mean I track anybody, particularly of Asian decent haha.

Anyway to close, my poker pace is pretty decent these days. I've set my VPP counter bar on Pokerstars to 15,000 VPPs that resets after every session (very nifty feature). I've been hitting that mark and then some in my sessions lately, so that should put me in good position for getting into the upper 3-millions of VPPs while still being able to take time off and travel. I'm still hazy on what I'm going to end my year at because of uncertainty in my playing schedule, as well as the possibility of rake reduction in the coming months.

There's a 2p2 thread that discusses the nebulous proposal that Pokerstars VIP manager "SteveD" mentioned a few months ago. If rake were reduced at my SNGs, obviously I would have more trouble earning VPPs and breaking the record. For me (and other SNEs), there's that fine line between earning VPPs for rakeback versus an increase in ROI (with reduced rake). Even with my heavy emphasis on VPPs shooting for the record and all, I am unequivocally in favor of any sort of rake reduction. We'll have to see what happens as it plays out, there's too much speculation and too little information at this point. You can read more about rake reduction and some analysis on my fellow blogger atkinator's newest post.