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Sydney APPT 2009

Sydney has always been one of my favorite stops in the tour. I arrived late in a cool sumer evening the night of the 28th off a 10 hour flight from Honolulu, having missed all relevant preliminary events. Every day after that was perfect outside. As soon as I arrived I found my Australian friends at their apartment in Star City.

Naturally we rolled a number of joints and passed them around. We went downstairs into the lobby and ran straight into a line of eight police men with a drug dog. There was a moment like a Western movie showdown, where everyone stares seemingly forever into each others eyes; the very blurry and red ones in our case. The dog went staight for Stevo, the most stoner looking one of us, and the police pulled him aside. Twenty minutes and one thorough search later and we were off to dinner. Nobody had been carrying.

I decided to play the first day one and get it over straight away. It wound up going extremely well and finished with the chip lead for the day with 104,000 up from the 30,000 starting stack. The key hands were:

Hand 1:

Blinds 200/400, ante of 50.

I hold AKo in the BB.

My stack: ~26,000

HJ: ~8000

Jason Gray in SB: ~36,000

Preflop: Folds around to the HJ, HJ raises to 1100, folds to Australian tournament regular Jason Gray in the SB who makes it 4100. I debated making it 13,000 to look massive or just shoving, and I elected to just shove by putting 24,000 of my stack in. The HJ folded and Jason tanked and made the call.

Flop: K 7 5 rainbow

Jason shoves, I call, he shows QQ. The hand held and Jason said he knew I would play AA or KK that way (which I would to balance my range.) Seems I should have elected to go the 12,000 route and possibly gotten him to fold the QQ.

Hand 2:

Blinds 300/600 with 50 ante.

I hold KsQs in the SB

My stack: ~60,000

BB: ~30,000

Preflop: UTG limps, 1 fold, MP1 limps, folds to me in the BB, I complete, BB checks.

Flop: Js Tc 4s

I lead 1200, BB makes it 3300, folds back to me, I make it 11,000, he shoves, I call. He has JTo.

Turn: 9c

River: X

He looked at me so pissed for getting it in there. Pretty sure he thought I was a massive donk to get it on that draw, that or just generally upset about the situation.

Hand 3:

Previous round we'd played a similar hand where I raised button with J7o he calls big flop A52 check/bet/call, turn 5 check/check, river 8 he bets I fold. I had generally been very aggressive on the button but not very aggressive post flop after the flop unless I had a hand.

Blinds 400/800 with 75 ante.

I hold JcTc on the button.

My stack: ~85,000

BB: ~40,000

Preflop: Folds around to me, I raise to 2000, SB folds, BB calls.

Flop: Ks 5h 2s

BB checks, I bet 3300, BB calls.

Turn: Ac

BB checks, seemed like a really good spot to double barrel and I figured that if river bricks off I should bet any non K, A, or possibly J, T. I think he sometimes calls turn with a king since the ace is a clear scare card, but folds basically every king if I bomb dud river. Clearly bluffing a K or A is a bad idea, and a J or T might be enough showdown value to check back in case he has some kind of mid pair he's hero calling, plus some of his range will be stuff like KJ and KT. I bet 7,200 and he called fairly quick.

River: Qh

Easy game, I bet 16,500 he quickly calls and said he knew I had nothing when I turned my hand over.

By far the most interesting event of the day was the bikey fight though. In Australia bikey is the term for a biker gang member, and they are quite prevalent here in Sydney (and many other major cities as well.)

There was a roughly 60ish year old man playing in the high roller event during the late afternoon of day 1a. A big ass bikey came in and started shouting.

"Stay the fuck out of my business!!!" he threatened in the middle of the room, looming over the old guy.

"I reckon your a rat" returned the old guy.

"A fucking rat!" And with that the bikey lunged upon the old guy and started delivering massive blows to his face. He held his face down then punched up while the old guy struggeled to get free. The room stopped of course and everyone stared at them in awe, not daring to interfere with the enraged bikey. The combantants were perhaps three meters away and it occured to me that at any moment they could smash into where I was standing so I jumped over my chair and stood behind the table. Roughly 10 seconds later they smashed directly into where I had been standing while the bikey rained down punches on the old guy. The floormen attempted to jump in and break up what they thought was a fight and didn't realize was a massacre, so they started holding down the old guy resulting in an even worse thrashing. "You've got the wrong guy!!!" everyone kept yelling.

I'm not sure how long it took security to get there but it seemed forever. When they had finally pulled the bikey off him the old guys face was beat to pieces and he was bleeding all over the place. We sat back down. The dealer asked if we wanted to finish the hand. I said that we did; my straight lost to an over straight. The tournament director put everyone on a must leave the room 15 minute break and we all stood around taking turns making fun of Terrence Chan for not leaping in and destroying the bikey with his jujitsu (though in fairness, you'd have to be completely fucking nuts to start a fight with a bikey that wasn't yours.)

My night off I went out to a jeans company party with Brooke Howard-Smith. I thought for a fashion industry party you couldn't be over dressed in a suit but I was dead the fuck wrong as everyone was in tight jeans and dress shirts buttoned all the way to the top. The only guy with a jacket on was wearing a thin tuxedo jacket paired with a massive V-cut shirt. The music was two Japanese guys connecting numerous electrodes to their face then playing buzzing noises that sort of made music. I decided to get drunk.

I left early to go watch the Danny Green vs Roy Jones Jr fight. I'd run into Danny in the elevator the previous night since he stayed on the floor the boys had the apartment and he seemed like a really nice guy, and came off pure class in the ordeal leading up to it. The guy is a national hero around here now.

I rocked up to day 2 well rested and got things up to around 140,000 before they started going wrong. I lost a couple of straight forward medium pots and then had an interesting spot vs long time Australian pro Leo Boxell who is pretty tight about putting in large amounts of chips post flop and seems to 4X and 5X often pre:

My stack: ~110,000

Leo's stack: ~130,000

Blinds 1000/2000 with 200 ante. I hold 9s 9h in the BB.

Preflop: Folds to Leo in MP2, Leo raises to 8,000, folds to me in the BB, I call.

Flop: 9c Tc Ac

I check, Leo checks.

Turn: Jd

I bet 15,500, Leo quickly announces raise and makes it 40,500, I tank and fold. I just don't think he raises any worse hands and our implied OOP aren't that awesome plus sometimes he can have a set of jacks where we have massive reverse implied.

I busted out go and go'ing 88 for 35 BB's against a guy who had flatted 100% of my three bets against him that day (three or four) and almost never folded to preflop reraises. I started with 72,000 and popped his HJ raise of 7,000 up to 22,000. He flatted pretty quick. The flop came 972 with a flush draw, shoved, and he snapped top set. That was that.

I spent the next couple nights looking to go out. Last night we finally had our big one. It started in Bondi drinking and having dinner with Brooke, his wife Amber, her friend Nicky, Peter Eastgate and his friend Neil. Those Danish dudes are chill as hell and Brooke and Amber are always pure quality. We downed several rounds of Singha beer with our Italian food, then went over to a margarita place and did a round there. I refused the tequila shot as anything brown is pretty much instant vomiting after a few college experiences.

We took things over to "The Scheaf" if I spelled that correctly and met all the Australian online boys there. Even Stevo came out, I assume the apartment was being fumigated. We kept doing shots and mixed drinks and things started getting lose. Neil somehow obtained a plastic gun and gave it to me upon seeing my excitement at his find. I jammed it into my crotch and ran around about the bar asking people "Hey!! Crotch gun, good look or bad look!?" Brooke chased me down and demanded I didn't do that in King's Cross when we went over there and I relinquished my toy to him after much resistance.

We wound up at Piano Bar in King's Cross doing more shots and mixed rinks. A hens night asked us to eat the candy off the brides neck. I jumped enthusiastically at the chance and went to town on her neck. Peter and Neil soon followed. I started flirting with the bridal party and took one of them dancing. The whole group showed up and we went about the business of getting smashed. There was an excellent band playing, and by late into the night I was hugging everyone I saw and had obtained some sort of glowing dildo from another hens night which I ran about brandishing in a threatening manner at people, from the Australian grinders, to the Danes, to pokerstars staff, to my ex Celina. Nobody was spared the sight and potential harm of the glowing dildo.

I woke up exhausted from it all today. I decided to take it easy, so I went up to the boys apartment, got stoned, and met up with Peter and Neil to check out the movie "ZombieLand". I haven't done much else since except write this blog entry, and I'll go to bed and return to Melbourne tomorrow.

It's been a long but fun month of travel. Although I never had a night so big I wound up vomiting or feeling very ill the next morning I realize now that after being alcohol free for two months in Melbourne I spent nearly every night of the last month engaged in some degree of social drinking save the ones before a tournament. It will be nice to be so clean again for a while in Melbourne.

My big post on getting better with women

(Authors note: I wrote this for BBV4L on 2+2 and to generally try to put some positive light on an aspect of my life that gets highly stigmatized. Yes, it's really, really long but for those of you interested in this subject, I believe it will be worth the time invested.)

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while. As I mentioned
in the other thread, this is something I've been involved with for
about a year now. I know that pick up gets a ton of negative stigma and
attention, and looking at the community from an inside perspective I
totally understand where that comes from. Also, I want to say at the
beginning that many of my ideas and the concepts I'm talking about here
are the result of my studying 'Magic Bullets' by Nick Savoy at great
length, and it's a book I recommend enormously.

What I'd like to make known though, is that there are a number of
schools of thought on pick up and they are vastly different. Many of
the things that pick up is famous for like opinion openers, negs, and
routines are **** that I detest and think are totally manipulative and
retarded. The school of thought I prescribe to is what's known as
"natural game". The basic idea is this; you learn about what's
attractive to women, their psychology, dating logistics, and pick up
concepts then try to adapt it to who you naturally are so you meet
women in honest ways congruent to yourself. Congruent is a word I use
all the time now, and I think it's a good one because it's so
applicable. Learning to be congruent is kind of like learning to be
confident, essentially you feel comfortable in your own skin all the
time and that calm, genuine confidence comes out and will naturally
attract women to you. Additionally, it means putting a lot less effort
into picking up women because you start attracting the ones who are
into the real you and not some facade you create with pick up tricks.

Most of what I'm going to talk about here is for guys who meet girls at
night or through their social circle (friends, work, family, etc.) Day
game is actually my personal favorite, but it's a totally different
animal and so few guys are ever going to get involved with that it's a
little pointless. I already wrote a long post on day game for my PU
forum, so if people are interested we can always just add it to this

Whenever I talk to people about pick up I begin in mentality.
Basically, anyone who gets involved with this should do so hoping to
improve their abilities with women, their relationships with women, and
themselves. Getting involved just to **** as many women as possible
will only be satisfying temporarily, and will eventually lead to a
feeling of hollowness and exhaustion. There's nothing wrong with having
the desire to sleep with lots and lots of different women, and I think
it's a major **** up on societies part that there is this idea that
wanting to have sex with a woman is some kind of aggressive,
manipulative act. What the **** is that? Sex, at it's core, is an
enormously healthy act. It slows the aging process, reduces stress, is
a pretty good work out, clears your mind, feels amazing, and helps you
connect with someone. The idea that having sex with a woman is taking
something from her or achieving some victory over her is condescending.
Unfortunately, both men and women perpetrate this hurtful mind set.

The problem lies in peoples mentality towards sex. Men are often
willing to say/do whatever in order to get it and women are aware of
this, and the whole thing becomes a deceptive game. Additionally, the
Western society double standard on sex is as appalling as it is
retarded. Men are lauded for the ability to lay lots of girls and women
are branded sluts, and this results in everyone getting laid less and a
lot more stress associated with sex than there needs to be. Stop
judging women, and the whole process becomes a lot more fun for
everyone. If you let her sexual history or desires bother you then
you're just not being realistic and letting something that's probably
irrelevant train wreck a potentially awesome relationship.

Anyway, I'm going to start from the top here and just let it flow out.
Plenty of what I write will look like common sense, and if it does to
you then that's a good thing, as you probably have more developed
natural game. When I talk about this with women they think a ton of it
is common sense, but it turns out that a lot of us guys simply aren't
aware of it all. If it all seems obvious to you it's because you're
experiencing what's known as the "curse of knowledge", where you forget
what it's like not to know something. Guys who were good for a long
time often look at pick up and think "WTF, how is this possibly
necessary?" but for so many of us, learning about game at a later stage
of life really is, because nobody taught us when we were younger and
then the lack of confidence with women became a self-fulfilling

There's also a mentality among many men that being an ******* gets you
laid, or that women want to be treated badly. *******s don't get laid
because they're *******s, it's because they're comfortable expressing
their sexual desires and intents with women because they don't give a
****. A nice guy with game winds up getting laid way more than an
******* with game, plus a nice guy with game will keep those girls
around longer and have more healthy relationships with them. I'd
encourage you to be very pleasant, respectful, and patient with the
girls you're interested in and date; just make sure they also know you
want to **** the hell out of them, because there's nothing wrong with
that. Women like being around men who take stress out of their lives
instead of adding to it, and I've pulled a number of girls who were
already dating some ******* but they knew hanging out with me would be
a more fun and stress free experience.

Approaching, the different kind of openers (night game):

1. Natural openers: These are the best at night in my opinion. Girls
are used to so much random, drunken idiocy that just coming up and
being normal, fun, and sociable gets you some serious credibility.
Natural openers I like at night are:
"Hi, how's your night going?"
"Hey, what's up!"
"Hi I'm Tony, who are you?"

However it is you like to say hello to people at night in a bar/club,
I'd recommend simply doing the same with women you don't know.

2. Situational openers: Can be really good in a lot of spots.
Situational openers are a question or a comment pertaining to the
situation you're both present in. Guys have been using these forever to
start talking to girls. Perhaps you're standing next to a girl at a
bar, you both wait quite some time, and you ask her "Wow what's with
the service around here?" or "How long have you been waiting for a
drink?" Perhaps her and her friends are dressed up in some motif, and
you go ask what the dress up is about. I can't really script you a lot
of situational openers because you need to be observant, but the nice
part is they tend to flow easily into conversation.

3. Direct openers: Can be good at night, but are less effective than
during the day. Being direct means walking over to a girl and telling
her you think she's attractive however it is you'd phrase that. They're
a little less effective at night because plenty of guys can get a bunch
of booze in them then work up the courage to go tell a girl she's hot.
I'd say use direct openers if you notice a girl checking you out or
she's doing something that clearly indicates that she wants you to
approach her, otherwise go natural. Some simple direct openers are
"Hey me and my friends saw you girls from across the bar and thought you were really cute, so we came over to say hi!"

"I know this is very forward of me, but I saw you from across the bar
and I had to come say that I think you are absolutely stunning."

"I love that X you're wearing, it looks great on you."

Reverse: "Hey my friend caught you checking me out, and I came over
here to say that I DO NOT appreciate being made to feel like a piece of

One I used recently that worked and was 100% true, literally the most
direct thing I could think to say: "Hey I'd have come over here to talk
sooner but there's another girl around here who might get jealous...not
a girlfriend."

If you read some of these and think they're retarded that's fine. Just word it however feels right coming from you.

4. Indirect openers: Are really subtle, innocuous things like questions
about where things are or what time it is to start up a conversation
with a girl. Personally, I don't use them, because I think they're not
honest. If I see a girl I want to talk to I 'm not going to ask her for
the time then try to segway into a conversation, I'm going to say
something more direct to her. However, If I'm somewhere and I genuinely
need to find out where something is, I'll ask the hottest girl I see
about it.

5. Opinion openers: God these are so retarded in my opinion. An opinion
opener is going up to a girl and saying something like "Excuse me can
we borrow you for a woman's perspective on something for a moment? My
friend and I were having an argument and we were wondering, who do you
think lies more, guys or girls?" There's all kinds of these things, and
they're just so dumb. No, you weren't actually having an argument with
your friend and needed a girls perspective, you were looking for an
excuse to talk to her, so ****ing man up and talk to her.

When go out at night, your priority should be having fun with your
friends first, and meeting women second. Just being a great time at the
bar/club/party is going to get you a lot of positive attention from
women, and then you don't have this whole results oriented mindset
about how good your night was based on how you did with girls. Just
have fun!

One thing I like to do with approaching at night is what I call
"planting seeds." Basically I walk around a bar/club/party saying "Hi
guys how's your night going!" to a number of groups of girls. Then I'm
fun and light for perhaps 5-10 minutes and unless some girl massively
latches on to me I'll eventually say it was cool chatting with them and
that I'll talk to them later, then continue doing this to more and more
groups. At some point I'll go back and chat to the groups who were the
most receptive and fun, but this time I'll remember their names and
I'll be coming back as "Tony, the fun and humorous guy from before who
was normal" and not "Random guy who just came up to us to start hitting
on one of us."

Transitioning, and how to do it: When you go up and start talking to
girls you'll find that most of the time, they don't just launch into
conversation with you, you need to drive it. In fact, when you start
talking to girls a good 80-90% of the early conversation is likely
going to have to come from your end until you get her really interested
in the interaction. Transitioning is whatever you say to get from your
opener to conversation.

A transition is normally a question, statement, or observation. It's
best if you can tailor it specifically to the girl or the situation the
two of you are in, but plenty of generic ones are fine. When I go to a
tournament players party where they hire models I see the same pattern
over and over; for the first half of the party most guys stand around
drinking and not talking to the models, waiting to build liquid
courage. So what I do is go over and open naturally, then transition
with something like "So why aren't any other boys talking with you
girls tonight, what'd you drive them all away?"

During the day I often transition with "So what are you up to in (City
X) today?" If I'm in Vegas or a place full of tons of people from out
of town, I'll ask "So what brings you to Vegas?"

Normally I don't really have any transition planned at night, I just go
in, open, and see what happens. The more you do it, the more it starts
to flow naturally.

Attracting women to you: It turns out that with women, you need to
attract them to you before you let off serious attraction in them. I
know that sounds in-congruent to walking over to a girl and telling her
she's cute, but all you've really done is let her know she's a good
looking person and that you want to find out more, not that you're so
super into her and massively invested in this interaction with her.
When guys come on too strong too early, they tend to get friend zoned
unless they have a number of other factors working for them. Your goal
is to carry an air of what's known as "active disinterest", meaning
that you engage her yet are seemingly a bit aloof. A simple way to
accomplish this is by being very non-reactionary, generally just
chilled and never too spun out by anything she says.

Women are enormously unique and varied in what they find attractive in
men, but the boys in 'Magic Bullets' did some work and managed to boil
it down to eight universally attractive qualities. The idea is to
understand them, then display them in a socially calibrated way. In no
particular order (I think I'm remembering this right) they are:

Confidence: Every woman will admit she wants a confident man. But what
is confidence really? Physically, it's the way you carry yourself, it's
maintaining eye contact, it's speaking slowly so you seem relaxed, it's
good posture.

Mentally, it's the way you treat people and interact with them. It
means not being possessive, jealous, or controlling with women. It
means not taking out your insecurities on them, or judging them for who
they really are. We're all human and we all have insecurities, but find
healthy ways to express them instead of letting them alter your
behavior and resulting in your lashing out. Here's a really fun way to
express jealousy to a woman that they love:

Say you bring a date to a bar/party. The two of you wind up off
socializing seperately with various people, and eventually some other
guy is clearly flirting with her, and if she's a normal sociable girl,
she might even flirt back a little bit. Instead of confronting the guy
or bringing your **** to the girl, here's what you do. Walk over to
both of them, put your arm around her and say very politely to both
"Excuse me, do you mind if I borrow the lovely X for a moment?" Of
course the guy will say yes, and then you pull her aside out of ear
shot and say flirtatiously "You know I got so tired of watching all the
other guys in the party chat you up, so I thought I'd have a go at it
myself for a while." Then, just blatantly flirt with your date. Women
like knowing that you're human enough to feel a little jealous over
them, but they don't want to be guilt tripped for normal socializing.
Even more fun is that when the girls your date, you can flirt however
the **** you want. If you've already slept with her then you can full
blown sexually harass her and it's seen as positive attention! Man, I
say some filthy **** in the ears of my dates when I do this.

Social intuition: Girls like guys who are good in social situations and
socially calibrated. They hate when they take you somewhere with a
bunch of new people and instead of going off and charming everyone, you
stand around like a chode and bitch "I don't really know anyone here,
this is uncomfortable for me." They like to see a guy who can work a
room, who can get people to like him quickly, to have other people
buzzing in their ear about how fun their date seems. They hate when
guys commit social taboos or faux pas.

Additionally, you need to be senstive to your dating situation with her
when out socially. When out with a girl you're seeing casually she
probably doesn't want you all over her since odds are the two of you
****ing isn't a super out in the open thing, so adjust your behavior.
If you show up at separate times from a woman you're ****ing casually,
then make sure to hang around the party talking to other people for a
while before you even recognize her presence at said event.

Health: Health is your appearance. Men are fortunate in that if they
aren't extremely short or extremely ugly, they can probably work on
their looks hard enough that most women would be willing to date them
or not disqualify them based on looks. Yes, this is all much easier for
really good looking guys and they're going to be allowed to make more
mistakes, but we guys are lucky that women aren't as shallow about us
as we are about them.

Women like to feel a physical presence from a man, so I recommend
working out enormously. You don't need to become Brad Pitt in fight
club, but women like the idea of dating a guy with an attractive body,
or at least a man powerful enough that they can feel his physical
dominance in relation to theirs. I especially recommend this for short
guys, you're already at one physical disadvantage so try to account for
it by standing out in another way.

When it comes to fashion, you don't need to do anything amazing to
stand out (though personally I'd always encourage you to throw a suit
on, but it doesn't matter that much.) Basically, women want to see that
you put some thought and effort into your style, and as long as it's
all congruent they're happy. Lots of girls aren't even that picky about
what a guys style is, they just want to see that he has one. A girl
might go from dating a clean cut habitual suit wearer like me and then
her next guy is a tattooed, pierced, punk rocker. Women definitely pay
attention to shoes though, so get that aspect covered.

Challenging: A big reason nice guys never get the girl is because they
don't challenge women. They constantly supplicate, which basically
means always having behavior that makes it clear that they believe the
woman's value to be vastly higher than their own (commonly referred to
as "putting the pussy on a pedestal.") Women like a challenge, they
like a guy who doesn't bend to their every will, remains mysterious,
and is generally intriguing.

One big way to increase how challenging you are is to become aware of
what are known as "**** tests". **** tests are what women throw at you
to test your frame (frame is a word used to describe the way you're
presenting yourself, the vibe you're giving off and the way you carry
yourself.) Most **** tests are subconscious, but when I tell women
about them they often suddenly realize that they do it all the time,
which they do.

Women **** test in a variety of ways. You have two options with them,
either blow them up, or side step. Most of the time, it's more fun to
blow a **** test up, but occasionally you need to side step. Most ****
tests come in the form of a woman accusing you of being in trouble for
something that you couldn't legitimately be in real trouble for. Here's
a good example from an approach I did with Luckychewy in a Las Vegas

The two of us walked over to two girls and I opened direct. He
transitioned by asking what brought them to Vegas. There was a moment
of small talk, then I offered my hand to one and said "Hi, I'm Tony."
"MMphh, you caught me with chocolate in my mouth" she said (and she was holding some candy.)
"That's okay, I don't have any class either" I replied
Her friend laughed, but the girl wasn't sure how to handle it then turned to her friend and said "Is he saying I have no class?"

That's her **** test, she's seeing if I'll stand up to her. Most guys
back down, and say something like "I'm sorry, I was just playing
around, I didn't mean anything by it" or something along those lines.
My answer: "**** yea, that's how I roll."

Later in the interaction she threw another **** test at us:
"So do you guys just walk around the mall chatting up girls all day?"
What I said at the time was the most honest answer "Actually we're here
to buy Andrew a suit" and then I pointed to the bag containing the suit
we'd bought him. A better answer would be "Yes, this is pretty much all
we do all day. In fact, we have zero legitimate business here

Simple rule with **** tests, if a woman accuses you of being in trouble
for something, just say yes and be a wise ass about it. Women will ****
test in other ways too. Here's an example a friend gave me from a guy
with great game he saw approach a woman who looked very pissed off:

PUA: "So, what do you like?"
Girl: "What?"
PUA: "What do you like?"
Girl: "...cocktails and sex from behind"

There's her **** test. If the guy bites and thinks he's in, she knows
he's a low value guy. The PUA in the example was very good however, and
answered really calmly.

PUA: "Hmm, I like London."
Girl: "London?"
PUA: "Yea, I live there a few months of each year and really like it there, great city."

One of the most famous **** tests is one of the most common from women.
You'll be going home together and they'll say "Okay well you can spend
the night, but you should know I'm not going to have sex with you."
First of all, that's a very good sign because it means the girl has
already thought about having sex with you. The best thing to do here is
simply side step the **** test; just change the subject and talk about
something else. Then when you get to hers, eventually make your move
and obviously if she stops you then stop, but if she doesn't then
proceed as normal.

Pre-selection: Pre-selection means women want what other women want,
particularly when it comes to men. Women are curious about guys who are
seen around lots of other girls, particularly attractive ones. It's
much better to rock up to the club with a group of girl pals than guy
pals, and other women are absolutely going to notice the attention
you're getting.

If you're not after a relationship (and there's nothing wrong with
being interested in getting into one) then I'd encourage you to be very
open about being a flit/man whore. What ends up happening is that if
you develop a reputation for getting lots of women and other women
become curious as to what makes you appealing/interesting, it
essentially works as advertising. Additionally, when you have a well
established image/reputation as a casual sex guy, that inevitably helps
screen out the girls who couldn't handle a casual relationship
themselves. If you're a guy who only wants flings and casual
relationships, then you shouldn't be trying to take girls looking for
something serious and coercing them into brief sex with you, you should
be looking for the girls who want the same thing as you do. Because I'm
so open about what kind of guy I am I even sometimes get girls coming
to me knowing I'm the right person to have a fling with and that I
won't get all emo or attached about it.

Wealth: And I'm not saying that all women are gold diggers or anything
like that (though obviously they exist.) However, the fact is if you
take two roughly equal guys and one has a lot of money and one doesn't,
a woman is going to prefer the guy with money. They aren't so much
interested in dating a guy who's loaded, as knowing that the guy is
comfortable and capable of providing if need be.

You need to be really careful and socially calibrated about how you
display wealth. You need to be mindful of what's known as the
"prostitution paradigm." Basically, you shouldn't spend a ton of money
on a woman prior to having sex with her because she can see and feel
you spending that money and she knows what you're after. The end result
is often girls will friend zone you or hold out for longer than they
would have because they're concerned that you're trying to buy them.

When you spend money on women, make it subtle. Don't make a scene of
it, and if so do it away from their eye sight. When you pick up the
bill for drinks, go up and pay at the bar. Then when the two of you are
leaving and she asks about the bill, reply simply "We're cool, it's
sorted" and expect nothing in response. Most of them will thank you,
but don't be a nit about it if they don't.

Status: What makes famous people super attractive is not only their
looks and money, but that they have enormous status. Power even, is a
huge aphrodisiac, and this goes all the way back to the idea of the
"alpha male" and all that business.

Keep in mind that status is constantly shifting. A university professor
has huge status in class or on campus, but he's just another dude with
a good job at the bar. Play to the areas where your status is the
highest, such as displaying a talent.

If you can't think of anything that makes you particularly high status,
then when you go to meet women make sure you're around supportive, fun
friends who make you look good and speak well of you. Don't hang out
with your competitive, douchy friends who will try to blow you up out
of jealousy (personally I just cut these people out of my life, but

Humor: It's hard to tell someone "Hey, just be funny, you'll be fine"
but women really do want a guy who can make them laugh. Additionally,
you should have an easy going and fun sense of humor yourself, don't
get up tight about **** unnecessarily and claim that this or that is
offensive (unless she really is being an offensive bitch for some

When I approach a woman I know I need to get them laughing in the first
couple minutes or I'm in trouble. I do this with a lot of sarcasm and
teasing, how you should do it is up to you. Create your own brand of
humor. If you don't think you're funny, then watch people who you think
are and try to learn from their tendencies and patterns. For example, I
think Jon Stewart is hilarious, and I love the way he can engage
someone both intellecutally and politely yet be a huge smart ass at the
same time.

So there's your big 8. The best way to give those off is to become them
so that they naturally come out in your interactions and women can
simply observe you being who you are. A big part about natural pick up
is improving yourself so you're a desirable guy to women. I can't tell
you how to do it for you, but for me personally it means working really
hard at the job I love, spending lots of time in the gym, hanging
around fun, social people, and spending hours in the gym and dieting.
You don't have to do all that stuff, but I'd encourage you to.

When women become attracted they give off what are known as indicators
of interest. Basically, when in an interaction with a woman observe her
behavior and notice if she's doing any of the following:

Touching you: The body will say so many things the mouth won't. If a
woman touches you that's a good sign, if she initiates the touching
that's an even better sign. Be really attentive to this one, it's the
most consistent.

Maintaining eye contact: Especially if you haven't said anything to her yet, this can be an invitation to go approach her.

Laughing when you know you're not being that funny: You can tell when
you're really on and when you're just being silly, but if she digs
everything you say then that's a clear sign.

Twirling her hair: Lots of guys know this one, not as consistent as lots of girls touch their hair a lot but still relevant.

Compliment you: Most of the time a woman won't give you a direct
compliment, but even if she says something light or harmless realize
that means she's taken the time to access you physically and pay you
said compliment.

Re-initiates an interrupted conversation: Say you're at a party
chatting up some girl, but then some dude interrupts with a story. Then
he goes off and she immediately turns back to you, launching into
conversation again. Definite sign.

Asking lots of questions: She's trying to find out more about you,
probably because she's interested. Pay special attention as to whether
she asks about your relationship status.

Qualification: Qualification is the inverse of the attraction stage.
After you notice a girl giving off a lot of interest your next job is
to let her know what about her you're interested in. Girls find it
flattering but ultimately hollow to have guys only interested in them
for their looks, and if you don't tell them why you're into them
they'll eventually think you're just another guy looking for a quick
lay and brush you off.

Another important factor in qualification is learning to look for the
women you're genuinely attracted to. Most of dating is not hanging out
in loud clubs or having sex, it's spending a more quiet and social time
with a person and getting to know them, being in their presence and
experiencing their personality. You should aim to meet women that you
are attracted to on a number of levels instead of just looks. Don't get
me wrong, I think looks are really important, but they aren't the only
thing I want in a girl. Eventually you come to realize that when you
can meet a lot of women in one night or one week, that looks become
common and other things become more important.

The way you qualify a girl is by thinking hard about the personality
aspects you find attractive in women then asking questions that attempt
to reveal whether she possesses them and gets her talking herself up to
you a bit. The classic hard qualifying line, which I will never use,
was "Well sure you're cute and all, but what do you have going for you
besides your looks?" As you can tell, it's a bit blunt and rude.

Instead, use more soft qualifiers. For me personally I like to ask women things like
"What's the most interesting place you've traveled?"
"Would you consider yourself really open minded and adventurous?"
"Who do you think in movies or TV is really funny?"
"Who do you like in men's fashion?"
"What do you look for in a guy you date?" (great question to ask, women
will literally tell you what they like and dislike and give you a blue
print for the behavior that turns them on and off.)

You don't necessarily have to ask women questions to qualify them. You
can simply be interacting with a girl, notice that she has/does
something you think is really attractive, then let her know that. For
me that often happens with sense of humor and wit. If a girl gets a lot
of eccentric or esoteric jokes and shoots back very well, I'm apt to
compliment her about it.

Comfort: Comfort is a pretty straight forward stage, it's all about
getting to know a person for who they are and finding commonalities.
It's where a lot of guys start an interaction, and the end result is
that they get friend zoned because they didn't build any attraction
first. Simple comfort stuff is talking about her hopes, ambitions,
dreams, family, her childhood, where she went to school, what her job
is like, what she likes to eat, what she does for fun, how she spends
spare time, what her friends are like, etc.

There's no way to script comfort, just be yourself and engage her for
who she is and don't judge. I will say this though, when you're in
comfort with a girl make sure to pepper in attraction and qualification
banter to keep things fresh and interesting and prevent the dreaded
friend zoning.

Physical progression: Touching is a huge, huge part about sleeping with
women. You need to start small and build momentum. You don't want to be
the guy who never touches a girl then suddenly tries to kiss her making
her shocked and uncomfortable, and you don't want to be the guy who's
way too touchy feely and makes girls feel creeped out. The answer; the
kino escalation ladder. If you only read one piece of PUA material in
your life make it this one, they nailed:

Sex: I don't fancy myself as some amazing sexual dynamo, and I don't
know how to recommend someone sick techniques that will make every girl
orgasm a billion times. I will say this though; pay attention during
sex. Don't just zone out and enjoy yourself because you finally got her
in bed, make sure it's fun and enjoyable for her too and be open to
what she's into. I like to get girls talking about sex and make it
known to them that I'll do near anything if it's going to help them get
off (with a few disgusting exceptions, but hey, I let a girl stab me.)
You might not be amazing, but if you're alright and she can tell you're
clued in to what's going on with her she'll be eager to come back for
more, and if you're hanging around quality women that you actually like
then that should be something you're interested in.

Dating logistics: All dates were not created equal. There are good
dates and bad dates, and then are good ways and bad ways to do certain
dates. Let's talk about dates from the perspective of a first date
where there is no physical comfort yet established with this woman (you
haven't had sex or so seriously fooled around that the two of you are
instantly all over each other on the date.)

First of all, you need to have a plan. A date isn't her showing up and
it's like "So...what do you want to do?" A date is you telling her
you're taking here, then here, then there, and it's going to be awesome
because of reasons X Y Z. Lead the whole interaction, and if she
protests about something just be easy going enough to accommodate. A
woman will let you know if some aspect of the date is not amicable with
her, otherwise she enjoys that you're taking control of things.

A movie: The worst possible normal date. ****ing awful. The two of you
show up, there is no physical boundaries established, so you sit down
next to her and you're not sure whether you put your arm around her or
hold her hand or what. Because you haven't spent any time building
attraction with her, she probably won't be very receptive to either of
these, and so you'll wind up sitting next to her in silence for two
hours creating a physical barrier that you later have to over come. At
that point, she's already thinking friend zone. Additionally, you can't
actually do anything attractive during a movie. It's time to shut up
and watch, and you sit there basically doing **** all.

Dinner: Also really bad. First of all it's cliche as hell. Secondly, a
big meal does not put a person in the mood for sex, it puts them in the
mood to take a ****, not a sexy feeling. You're going to be sat across
from the girl and have to be really on for a good 60-120 minutes and it
functions much more like a job interview than date. A Manhattan based
PUA named Paul Janka ran a little experiment, he took 30 girls to
dinner and 30 girls to drinks at a bar/lounge. He wound up sleeping
with 3 girls he took to dinner, and 22 he took to the bar. Variance
isn't that big.

However, sometimes dinner dates are inevitable, and I don't always
avoid them. If you are going to engage in the dinner date here's how
you do it. Call up the restaurant ahead of time and request a table for
four or a booth, but tell them there will only be two people. When the
two of you arrive make sure she sits down first then sit right next to
her. This is because you need to be in close enough proximity to start
breaking down the physical barrier, and if you try to touch her from
across the table you look like some couple having a "couples moment"
and it's all just much too overt. If a girl asks me why I'm not sitting
across from her I answer playfully with "What is this, a job interview,
I'm not sitting next to you!" which is especially applicable for me
since I don't have a job. Try to make it at a place you're either sure
she'll like or where you're regular enough that the staff may know you,
which will raise your status. Then just have fun.

Day dates: Day dates should be avoided before you've gotten physical
with a girl. Day time hang outs are for friends, and girls associate
sex with night. Think back on all the girls you've ever slept with.
Now, how many of those was the first time you slept with them during
the day? I bet it's a pretty low number (for me it's one.) Again,
sometimes you can't avoid this and a girl is only free during the day.
I like for us to grab a coffee then take a walk in the park. I go for
the hand hold very quickly when I do this, but if I can tell we're not
quite at this point then I'll walk very close with her and make a lot
of playful physical contact. It's an easy date that gives you a chance
to really get to know each other and is in an attractive environment
that makes her feel good.

Going out with friends: Okay but not really recommended, especially if
it's her friends. Although you should make a serious effort to win over
the friends of the girls you date so you have a support group, hanging
out with them on a first date is tough. You've got an entire panel of
people judging you and a bunch of people who could potentially ****
block you hard. Additionally, nobody in particular might **** block you
but the situation easily could, because a girl might not want to go
home with you with all her friends knowing about it.

Drinks at a sexy bar/lounge: Ah, the best kind of date. You set this up
at night, preferably close to your place. I recommend you become a
regular somewhere, and that it's a place that has couches, as you want
to be able to sit next to her. The room should be fairly dark (it often
is) and the drinks and wine list thorough. You have her one on one with
a minimum amount of variables to **** you up, and at a time when she is
most likely to get sexual with you. You don't want her to get drunk,
but a couple of drinks for the both of you will do a lot to loosen
everyone up and make it more fun and relaxed. Here's another
interesting question for you; think back on the first time you had sex
with every girl you've had sex with. How many of those times was there
absolutely zero alcohol drank by either party? Again, most of you will
find it's a shockingly low number (again, mine is one.)

State breaks: State breaks are the things that can **** up the
emotional progression you have going with a girl. It's something that
takes her out of the moment. What you need to do is think ahead of time
and plan for any potential state breaks, then minimize their
possibility of screwing you up.

Three major state breaks that come to mind:
1. Getting a girls number: It's not "Can I have your number?" It's "Put
your number in my phone for reason X" Normally I'll have sorted the
idea of a date with a girl and I'm getting the number as a result of
that, not getting the number in order to try and set up a date. If you
don't have a date sorted you should still supply a reason for her to
give you the number in order to disqualify the importance of that

2. Getting her back to your place: A tricky one. Again, you need to
disqualify the importance of this moment. When you're going throughout
the date with her look for a reason, a common interest perhaps, to get
her back to yours. When I had a dog I'd ask girls "Do you like
animals?" (of course she does) and then they answered yes I'd insist
that they come meet my adorable dog. Guys have been using the "Let's
watch a movie" line forever, and hey if you both agreed upon some movie
that you own and you're both dying to watch then it's all good.
Basically, you need to give a woman a reason to rationalize her going
to your apartment which isn't a clear invitation to sex.

3. Getting the condom: Keep condoms within arms reach of every surface
you might have sex on. I have condoms on the night stands on both sides
of my bed, and place them there the second I enter a new hotel room. I
recommend keeping four condoms on you at all times; one for night sex,
one for if something goes wrong with the night sex one, one for morning
sex, and one for if something goes wrong with the morning sex one. I
normally only wind up caring two or three, but I'm going to be really
pissed at myself come the day I need the fourth. You want the condom
close because the last thing you need is physical escalation going
brilliant and then suddenly you have to rip your body off hers,
frantically search for the condom, can't find the condom, then suddenly
you're having trouble getting it open, and the whole time she's
mentally just like "What the **** is this guy doing?!"

The anti-slut defense: When I talk to women about pick up, they
especially like hearing about the anti-slut defense. Because Western
society has deemed it okay to quickly and recklessly brand girls sluts,
they are constantly paranoid about their reputation and how people
perceive their sexual activities. Your goal, is to never do anything
that makes her feel like a slut, or makes people around her think she's
a slut.

So if you're at a bar/club and meet a girl around her friends, before
you start kissing her and pushing towards physical escalation you need
to get her alone. Say you need to tell her a secret then take her hand
and walk her off, then go for it. Or ask her friends if you can borrow
her for a moment. Or tell her you need to show her something cool in
another part of the bar. Anything to get her isolated and away from
prying eyes. Be aware of when and how women are under social pressure,
and do what you can to accommodate them.

That's a pretty good overview of what I've learned. It's not near
everything, but it's a pretty excellent starting point and will
hopefully be useful to guys who never want to actually get involved
with pick up. If you have any questions, you can of course ask.


I get numerous requests for coaching a week. Interestingly, I get requests for coaching on a number of different subjects; poker, women, writing, fitness, etc. For a long time I said no to basically everyone, claiming that I was too busy and flaky to make a proper commitment as a coach (which was true.) However, as I put in my last entry I'm going to be staying home for a very long time and focusing on being productive, so I've decided it's something I want to get into.

However, instead of being a simple poker coach I'll be offering a number of services. You can hire me as a coach on basically anything you want, but the things I feel qualified teaching are:
1. Tournament poker
2. Meeting women
3. Travel
4. Style, men's fashion/grooming
5. Working out, dieting

I hadn't really thought of myself as a writing coach (I don't think I'm a very good technical writer), but I just got a request for it so I might as well. I've recently purchased some literature on improving my writing, so hopefully that helps. Also, I don't think I'm particularly qualified to give people thorough work out/diet advice at the moment, but I think after the next couple months of working hard and doing a lot of reading I'll be in better form for that.

I've decided to set the starting rate at $300 an hour. That's definitely high, but lots of guys are charging in that area and most of them are offering poker only coaching. Basically, you can hire me for an hour of time and you get to talk about whatever you want during it. If you want for us to both get stoned and shoot the shit, hey, it's your money. Yes, I'm willing to break that up into smaller amounts of time. If you think what you have will only take a half hour or 10 minutes, that's no problem.

When it comes to poker coaching, we'll mostly conduct it by doing HH reviews with universal replayer and using a screen sharing problem so that we can discuss them at length in real time. I'll also refer people to articles and posts I think they should read, and am happy to just field questions for as long as they like. Additionally, I want it to be known that numerous people can buy the same hour. If you and two friends want to each pay $100 an hour for us four to get on skype and review one of your HH's, that's fine by me. There's no limit how many people can be on the skype chat, but the more there the less personalized it becomes.

I won't start doing this heavily until after the Aussie Millions in late January. For now I just want to build a client list, but if you really want to get this done soon I'm sure that I can accommodate you, though not until I'm back home in Melbourne on December 6th. I'd recommend getting a hold of me via PM on 2+2, or on facebook.

I'm normally awake from around 10am to 1am in Australia, which is 5pm to 8am central in the US, though the first eight hours of my day are normally spent playing. If I get enough interest I'll probably start taking one day off a week just to coach, likely Sunday in Australia which is Saturday in the states, a night with little tournament action and where many people are probably free. You can pretty much PM me about when you're available and we can discuss things and set up an appropriate time.

I've been thinking about 2010

It has been over two months since I've wrote a blog entry. Although the last two months of my life have been some of the most absurdly motivated and productive times I've ever had, I simply felt no desire to write. I hate what I write when I force myself, I think there is a clear distinction in quality. Today though, today I have a lot on my mind.

I spent the last two months doing three things; grinding poker, working out/dieting, and working on my pick up. I wound up moving in with Aussie poker sensation Jarred Graham (Try_an_Hit online) to a three bedroom apartment in Southbank Melbourne and absolutely fucking love living with him. He's a great kid, an excellent poker player, and very easy to live with. His family has even extended a Christmas invitation my way which I really appreciate and am considering, though traditionally I spend my Christmas getting stoned with jews and I don't know if I want to abandon them. I got the apartment by calling a real estate agency and telling them I'd pay all seven months rent in advance if they'd get me the place as fast as possible and not be a bunch of nits about my playing poker for a living. They barely made me fill out any paper work and I had the place within a few days. Good to see the real estate industry likes money.

The first two weeks back was the WCOOP. I would wake up at 3am, go to the gym until 4am, and grind until anywhere between 11am and 4pm if I ran deep in something. Assuming it was a nice day and I didn't grind too late I would then walk into the Melbourne central business district and chat up women. I vastly prefer meeting girls during the day as it affords me to opportunity to actually talk to them and get a sense of their personality, as opposed to bars and night clubs where I can barely fucking hear anything and mostly hate being there unless I'm drunk. It is also a huge rush; approaching a woman directly during the day has a sense of gamble to it that poker now entirely lacks. I'll touch more on that later. After my city walk I'd go to the gym and lift weights, or if it was an off day I'd play tennis or go running. I took one day off a week. I would normally wrap up my evening by smoking a joint, and then go to bed at 6pm.

After the WCOOP finished the schedule adjusted a few hours but the routine was more or less the same. I went and did some training and diet consulting with a personal trainer at the gym and he designed the following diet for me:

Wake up and take three different supplements, liverplex, vitamin C, and salmon oil. Drink a protein shake, have a bowl of quick oats.

Have an early lunch that was a can of chicken (though I went with salmon since I couldn't finned canned chicken at the store) and 200 grams of broccoli. I would eat it raw since I was normally grinding. Take more salmon oil.

Have a late lunch of another can of chicken and spinach. Confession; I never went and got the spinach. I wound up munching on cashews instead, of which I was allowed 50 grams a day. I almost always wound up eating closer to 100.

Dinner was a steak and side of vegetables. When I went out to eat I normally ordered a few grilled prawns for an entree figuring that was not too likely to fuck me up and because I was almost always stoned and they taste amazing.

I'd drink another protein shake after my work out, and if I wasn't lifting that day I'd have it in the afternoon while grinding.

The only things I was allowed to drink was water, black coffee, and a protein shake mixed with water. Once the diet was set out on paper by a professional I found it surprisingly easy to maintain; the only diet slips I had during the two week span I went full blown (as the previous 6 weeks was strict but less so as a result of lack of proper nutritional knowledge) was eating too many cashews. In some ways I preferred the diet he gave me, the food was always easy to prepare and eat while grinding and I never had to think about what I was in the mood for. I did something similar to this for 2 1/2 years in high school and basically never slipped. I'm traveling for the time being so I'm letting myself go, though I'll still be in the gym heaps and not just chowing down on junk food. I found my heavy marijuana intake did not deter me; if I got the munchies I simply ate a protein bar and drank more water.

The poker grinding went fantastic. The first five weeks were so-so and I probably lost in the area of $10-20,000, but the next three were enormous and I shot back up around $50-70,000, though some of that is Timex/Watts money because I won the UB 1k under them for $35,000ish. I enjoyed grinding enormously, I think I might love my job more than anyone on the planet. I worked six or seven days a week, and took off only when circumstances forced it.

I've decided that in 2010 to carry over the motivation for my passions in life to the extreme. Allow me to break them down in depth:

1. Poker: Poker is the number one priority in my life. Over the last few months I've been thinking a lot about the way we tournament grinders make a living at this and I think I've been doing it wrong for a while.

When I was a younger man I think I played poker with the sense that there was some potential glory involved, especially live poker. These days I am far more practical. I play poker because it's what I love to do and because I have the ability to make a large amount of money doing so. I used to talk shit about other peoples game and get petty on the forums. Now I'd rather spend my mental energy improving my own game, and if I'm going to bad mouth someone elses I attempt to express that respectfully and make it clear my criticism is on the poker thought process and not on the person (unless I genuinely dislike the person, which is pretty rare.)

What really doesn't make any sense to me anymore, is live poker. Even though in many live tournaments your edge is pretty substantial the variance is mind blowing and the the high costs involved in travel greatly reduce your overall positive expectation. These days I treat live poker as a reason for a potential vacation and am more interested in having fun than spending the entire trip in the poker room, though that doesn't mean I won't show up sober, well rested, and play my A game for the tournament.

So many very good online players don't have anywhere near as much money as they should because they take a staking deal to chase the live score and glory but then wind up working off live variance with their online play, causing a lack of consistent income. The fact is, a good online grinder who has a 50% ROI over a large sample at mid to high stakes can stay home, grind his ass off for a year, and expect to make 400-$500,000 USD. Taxes will eat 1/3rd of that (assuming you're American) but after that you've got a huge sum of money to stick in the bank and make sure that if poker ever goes belly up (and we can't feel 100% confident that it won't) you won't be back doing some job you fucking hate because you're broke and have no experience or credentials.

My intention in 2010 is exactly that; stay home most of the year, grind 6-7 days a week, work on my game, and crush shit. My goal is to win online player of the year at Cardplayer and reach number 1 on Pocketfives. Now, it's extremely, extremely unlikely that I"ll accomplish either given the variance involved and that I'm not actually that good. I'm not sure I'd put myself among the 100 best online tournament players anymore, but I feel that with my motivation I can become very good again in not very long. What I am supremely confident in though, is my ability to grind. I think when I set my mind to it I'd be among the ten highest volume players online at the mid-high stakes and there's not a drop of doubt in my mind that I can't keep that up for a whole year. Hell, I love this shit, it sounds like fun to me. I love sitting in my apartment and listening to music while 16 tabling my laptop (I got lazy and forgot to pick up my desk top from storage for a whole two months, I'll get it eventually.)

I figure I'll go to the WSOP but probably only play about 10-15 events as opposed to other years when I played 30, 30, and 20. I'll sit out anything that's not too interesting or where I don't have a huge edge and stay home to grind. I'll obviously play the stuff that comes to Crown, and additionally hope to do the APPT series since it's an ass load of fun and the stops are only a few days long. I guess I'll go play the Adeladie ANZPT too and try to get one better than last year. Outside of those events my focus will entirely be online.

Also, I want to make way more Pokersavvy videos. They're a great company I'm really proud to be working with, and I love that they tolerate my being a useless fucking flake so well. They recently increased my pay so long as I reached my video quota, and it's really dumb not to pursue it with more enthusiasm. I've very much enjoyed making videos lately and I'm pissed at myself for not being more involved with the community there. When I finish this blog entry I'm going to go over to the tournament forums there and replying to a shit load of threads.

2. Working out and dieting: From the age of about 16 to 18 I was a recreational body builder. When I was 16 I got grounded at the first drinking party I ever went to. I was 5'10" 130 pounds and skinny as hell. The only place I wasn't grounded from was the gym. Seven months later I was 6'1" 192 and kept up a strict routine of diet and exercise until I got to college and became more obsessed with poker and drinking.

I'm 25 now and beginning to feel my own mortality. Even though most people seem to hate it, I actually really enjoy time spent in the gym. I throw in my ipod and zone out to music while I think things over. I enjoy the discipline it all takes; sure I'm not eating the food I want but the sense that I'm building towards something is satisfying. A great aspect to working out is that so long as you continue doing it and don't injure yourself it's an area of your life that you inevitably make progress in. You can be having a bad time professionally, personally, or wherever, but if you keep it up in the gym you are 100% going to be making positive progress.

The end aesthetic goal is something like Brad Pitt in Troy; ripped and large enough that you look like you could wreck a fool but not so big that it's absurd and excessive looking. It took him a year to get to that point and that's exactly the amount of time I'm allotting myself. I'll be doing all of this while maintaining my considerable pot smoking habit, though I'd guess I'll tone it down slightly. Then again, Pitt was a notorious pot head for years. I will only be drinking on rare occasions, and I'll hire the personal trainer for a session a week to maintain my intensity and keep filling in my knowledge gaps.

I feel pretty good about what I accomplished in this area over the last couple months. I'd guess I'm down to about 12-13% body fat but the end goal is to have a larger frame and hang around 9%. Go below 7% and you wind up looking a bit too freakishly ripped and it's not healthy to try to maintain for too long below that.

I also want to get into Muy Thai boxing, as there is a MMA training school right next to my gym. I did a couple months of traditional boxing training before I left on my trip and really enjoyed it, and although I have absolutely zero interest in fighting anyone (and would much rather talk my way out) it's comforting to think I could handle myself were it absolutely necessary. It's a brutal work out, quite a lot of fun, and considering how many girls I crack on to in a club you never know when some psycho jealous dumbass is going to get excessively aggressive just because I said hi to his girlfriend. I was in a very crowded club last night, bumped into a guy, apologized, and I'm still fairly sure he wanted to go outside and fight me. It was so loud I couldn't say for certain but he seemed pretty pissed and said something about going outside, but I just went on and on with "Sorry man can't hear you, have a great night!" He dropped it.

3. Pick up: I have two major goals in pick up at the moment. First, I want to reach the point where I never hesitate or second guess myself about approaching a beautiful woman during the day. Doing direct day game requires undoing a huge amount of social conditioning and although I've never had a single negative reaction in somewhere around 150-200 approaches (I've had women walk away or be a little rude, but nothing story worthy bad) it can still be pretty intimidating.

Second, I want to strive to build healthy and honest relationships with the women I date. I've been pretty good about being very direct and leaving things on good terms with women (which I suppose isn't hard when I tell them I'm inevitably leaving the country) but recently had a relationship go sour and the girl really got her feelings hurt. Even though I felt I didn't misrepresent myself it was still an awful feeling knowing she felt manipulated and I want to do what I can to make sure that never happens again.

I think what I'm really looking for is a girl who's keen on the idea of an open relationship. I really enjoy many aspects of having a girlfriend and someone to seriously care about but I don't really believe in the system of monogamy and especially not for myself. I don't have any jealousy or controlling issues and I've been in casual relationships in the past where the girl was openly seeing other guys to the point that we'd discuss it and I'd try to give her whatever advise I could. I think it's really important to find a woman who's keen on the idea though, and not take a girl who likes me a lot and is willing to try it as some form of accommodation. That seems sure to end in disaster.

4. Writing: I've been so incredibly lazy about this lately. I have all my notes from my trip but I just couldn't seem to find the time to sit down and write it all. I've run the math and estimate I have about 1000-1500 pages worth of stuff left to write, not to mention pictures and other bits and pieces. I can't imagine I'll devote serious time to that until after the Aussie Millions when I settle into a proper routine, and I'll just make it part of my habit to sit down every night and crank out 10-20 pages.

Lee Nelson has asked me to write two chapters for his upcoming book with ELKY and I've been a huge jackass about getting it done. Luckily, I'm sitting in a Hong Kong hotel room with nothing to do for the whole night so I'm going to sit here until I finish it then and then send Lee an apology for keeping him waiting after he offered me such a cool opportunity.

I'd like to continue the 'Things it took me a while' to learn series but I think I'll do that once I really get into the swing of poker again. One aspect of writing I have done a decent job of lately is participating in the strategy discussions at 2+2. There's still a ton of good content and posters there and I feel proud to have been involved for so long. I want to crank up my posting volume when I start heavily grinding as those guys still teach me an absolute ton.

5. Tennis: I've got a court at my apartment building and love playing. Unfortunately, my backhand is totally fucked, my volleys are weak, and my serve goes in and out. I need lessons, simple as that. Also, people around Melbourne who play well should shoot me a message about a match some time, I'm always down. Anticipate my offering you marijuana after the match, though I won't be offended if you say no. More weed for me baby!

So hopefully it all adds up to a very good year. I'll think about doing another big trip again in 2011, it would love to go play multiple LAPT events and see the one content I haven't spent serious time on (outside that useless hunk of ice Antarctica.)

Things it took me a while to learn part 23, Considering Variables Against R

Authors note: As I wrote, when I returned home I would return to the job of studying and writing, including strategy writing. It's been a long time since I've wrote a proper strategy article, so I brought a number of consultants to help me with this one, so much thanks to 2+2 posters Luckychewy, NoahSD, and Eagles. You guys do a great job of making me look smart. I'd like to get the 'Things it took me a whle to learn' series up to at least 30 entries, and if I keep feeling like writing it after that I'll continue. If people have suggestions for things they'd like to see covered which haven't been touched on previously, just leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.

Many people in poker have reached the point where they're considering probable hand ranges and their equity against said ranges. One thing many people aren't doing however, is considering all potential variables against each part of a range and the optimal decision against each part of that range. A big reason their not doing it is because it can be complex and not time efficent in the middle of a hand, particularly against a thinking player smart enough to balance his range with a wide array of hands.

What kind of variables are we talking about when contemplating optimal decisions against ranges? Well the first thing that comes to mind is the type of player we're up against. This is one of the reasons having some degree of read becomes so important; once you start thinking elaborately and on different levels every peice of information becomes precious. Allow me to give an example from a very simple hand I played in a $22 single rebuy add on tournament:

Bond18, UTG+1: 16,284
CO: 12,351
Blinds 200/400 with a 50 ante. 9 handed.
Bond18 holds As Js UTG+1.

Preflop: UTG folds, Bond18 raises to 990, folds to CO, CO calls 990, 3 folds.

Flop: 9c 4d Tc (Pot 3030)
Bond18 checks, CO checks.

Turn: Jc

And here's where things get more elaborate. At the time of the hand I was playing a ton of tables, did not have any pokertracker software running (which is soon to be rectified once I'm settled) and as a result was readless in the hand against this particular villain. Now let's go over how our action and intentions change depending on our read of villain.

1. If we have a read that villain is generally weak-tight: If we have a good inclination that villain in the hand is weak tight then the turn is a clear bet when we think how his range will react. When he has a draw or pair+draw combination he will almost never push us off our hand because it is not in his playing style to do so. We'll wind up getting value from those plus one pair hands and our river intention should be to check/fold on very bad scare cards because he'll never pay off with worse plus rarely bluff us. On safe cards we should likely bet smallish because a large bet likely won't get paid off from a weak player and we gain more value than checking to him because he won't value bet thin and he won't bluff his missed draws often. Additionally, the turn is very easy to play by betting against this villain because we can feel very comfortable folding every time he raises us.

Let's think about the range of hands that calls checks back this flop for a more weak tight player. For that particular player, it can be huge. He'll check back all his over cards, all his pairs under the board, sometimes even things like QJ which have major equity but he's too weak to bet, second pair hands like AT, and sometimes he'll pot control top pair weak kicker type hands like JTs. For this particular player, his flop check doesn't tell us a ton, but if we combine his flop check+turn cram range we can feel very comfortable folding to it, even though we're not exactly sure what it is we know that the majority of hands in it will crush us.

2. If we have a read that the villain is a moderate LAG capable of shoving for both pure value and as a semi bluff: If we're assuming that we will still be bet/folding against this type of villain most of the time but that he's aggressive enough to bet the turn with a combination of hands when we check to him than a check/call may be the better play. The more you beleive the player is loose-aggressive and capable of mixing in shoving the turn for both value and a semi bluff the more apt you should be to check/call rather than bet/fold because your bet loses equity as he puts more and more hands into his shoving range, since you are intending to fold.

My consultant for this article, NoahSD, put this thought perfectly when he said "Just the idea that just cause you almost always have the best hand doesn't mean you have to bet is prob a big revelation to a lot of people." The reason people bet those situations most of the time is because they're concerned about protection and they're not fully thinking about the reaction of their opponents range against that bet. Their not thinking about which route will actually result in gaining more value long term instead of just winning the hand at the moment. Checking to gain value as opposed to betting isn't exactly a new concept, but plenty of people still look at scary boards and bet without fully thinking over the implications against the villains range and reactions. This all ties back into the article about having a plan.

Just looking at the difference in playing between against these two player types really helps illustrate why it's important to have the ability to balance your range against thinking players in a number of situations. If you're never semi bluffing the turn then a thinking player knows he can comfortably bet/fold the turn against you every time and will be correct in doing so. However, also keep in mind that you don't need to balance your range against random/bad players because exploitable/manipulative play becomes the better option to deceptive/optimal play.

However, if I were in the villains shoes for this particular hand I'd never be shoving the turn as a semibluff because none of the hands in my range that get to the turn this way would be reasonable to do so with for a few reasons. Namely, I think we get called too often and the hands we could shove with are better off flatting against the vast majority of opponents. That doesn't mean your opponents won't try that semi bluff though, and that doesn't mean you shouldn't be thinking about situations where you should be mixing in appropriate bluffs and semi bluffs to prevent your range from being easily predictable against thinking players. Just because you know better than something doesn't mean your opponent necessarily does.

Let's discuss one more variable in making optimal decisions against ranges; the options available to us we normally never consider.There is a brilliant line from the well of Jman28 that helps illustrate the overall concept of this article that I will quote him on:
"Meeting Tom (durrrr) was a huge part of my move to high stakes play. He opened my mind to thinking about situations completely differently. I remember one time when he was discussing a hand with h@ll in front of me, where he had something like weak top pair and was facing a big river bet. He was like, 'I think a call is better than a fold' and I thought to myself, 'yeah I agree' and then he said 'but I would shove' and I exploded. I realized that you should think of every possible option you have in nlhe. You usually have a ton of them."
That's it in a nutshell, during a poker hand you need to think over all your options and the way your opponents range is going to react to those options, otherwise you pass up opportunities you might not have otherwise realized.

I'm not advising that you need to mix your play up with all kinds of insane stunts and general fancy play syndrome. What I am saying is that very often in a hand we wind up debating between two options. Am I going to call or fold? Am I going to call or raise? As it turns out, in many situations there might be other options that we hadn't previously considered that just might turn out to be more profitable. Clearly, we need an example here, which is where Luckychewy comes to the rescure with a hand he played in the 2009 WSOP Main Event:

Luckychewy, MP1: ~4,600,000
BB: ~2,800,000
Blinds 30,000/60,000 with 5000 ante.
Luckychewy holds 7d8d.

Preflop: Folds to Luckychewy, Luckychewy raises to 150k, folds around to the BB, the BB calls.

Flop: Ah 7c 3s
BB checks, Luckychewy checks.

Turn: 5h
BB bets 225k, Luckychewy calls.

River: Kh
BB bets 300k, Luckychewy raises to 1.035 million.

As Chewy explains it "On the river I believed his bet sized indicated a bluff or marginal strength hand. By raising I don't think I ever have to worry about him calling me with an Ax hand or 3 bet bluffing me, and the only downside would be if my read was off and his river bet is strength, but that wasn't my intuition at the time."

Because Luckychewy had showdown value in the hand many people might consider this to be a call or fold situation, however if we think fully about our opponents range and what his bet sizing indicates, we can feel moderately confident that his hand is polarized between monsters and hands that are going for blocking value. The hands that are blocking value are often one pair hands that will beat our one pair hand, and if Chewy's intuition is correct (and the Ah helps reduce the probabilty of the most likely monster, a flush) then we don't expect to run into too many monsters. Because he believes this opponent will almost never call the raise with one pair hands the fact that Chewy holds a pair becomes irrelevant because raising will show a long term profit greater than calling or folding.

So remember, don't just think about your opponents range and your equity against it, think about how your opponents range reacts to every option and possibility open to you, then pull the trigger on which you believe to be best. As 2+2 poster 'Eagles' puts it "Always consider that you do not have perfect information of villain's range. You can estimate what his range is but you will always be missing information so it is important to leave room for error. Now and then people show up with hands that are so totally inexplicable it would be impossible to anticipate. It's not often with most players, but it is non zero."

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