Archive Oct 2007: foxypham

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Don't Trust Anyone...

Throughout my life, I have been seen by other people as somewhat of a "realist".My thoughts about the world and life in general has been described as negative or pessimistic, though these so called negative opinions are based from actual experiences. I have made a considerable effort recently to become more positive and try to look at the brighter side of things. Unfortuantely, I have put myself in a horrible situation and I feel I must share it so others can learn from the error of my ways.

Since my short sucess in poker, I have been extremely generous with my winnings. I have helped out a couple friends in need and also assisted my parents into a more comfortable lifestyle. I feel obligated to do these things as I have been extremely lucky to have the opportunity to play a "game" as my source of income while many other people I know are working countless hours a week at jobs that they just plain out HATE just to make ends meet. Well I've overextended my genorosity and it has cost me big time.

The Story

The point of this story is not single out a so called friend who has become my achillles heel, but to learn a valuable lesson about trust in the gambling world. I am going to use the fake name "Ted" to conceal the true indentity of the person whom I'm speaking about. I met Ted a couple years ago as we were playing in the same Philly area card clubs. We would soon be driving together to these clubs and I saw Ted as a nice guy to have around to discuss poker strategy and further both our games. About a year ago, we discussed moving to Atlantic City so we both could take a legitimate "shot" at making it in the poker world. It took us an entire year to finally make the move to AC as I was lazy about the entire process and Ted was working trying to build up a poker bankroll. After my two scores at Borgata, I was finally serious about moving to AC this past Sept. and having Ted around I thought would help me immensely in this transition. We could evaluate eachother's game, share living expenses, and it would give me a friend in an unknown place. The only problem was that Ted never built a bankroll during the past year when we were contemplating the move to Atlantic City. Ted just kept making all these mistakes that was stunting himself from building a true bankroll. First, it was sportsbetting and getting over his head with his bookie. Then, he had planned to come down for the Summer Borgata Open to play some prelim events. He ended up going on "life tilt" and blew nearly his entire poker bankroll for the trip on blackjack. So when it was time to move to AC, Ted didn't have the upfront moving expenses. Me being naive and believing in Ted's good faith, I decided to front all the money for our new apartment. To further assist him, I staked Ted in NL cash games where somehow he ran worst than Mike Matusow. The final blow came when I had some cash on hand in our apt (I know not a good idea) and Ted claims that people who he owed money from his past came to our apt. so Ted panicked and gave them the money I had in our apt. So now between the money I've loaned him, staking, and this lastest fiasco half my bankroll has been destroyed due to this relationship.

There are many other details that are missing, but I think all of you get the gist of the story. I wish I have never met Ted and gotten so deeply involved like I have. I have made so many mistakes in this relationship it grosses me out just thinking about it. There were also so many warning signs that gave away that Ted would not be a reliable friend/roomate and I am sick about it everyday that I did not open my eyes until it was too late. Whenever money is involved, you must be extremely cautious to who you associate yourself with. If you decide to play poker for a living, you will run into many seedy characters in the gambling world who are trying to take a shot at you. I know these types of stories in the poker world are a dime a dozen, but I thought I would be smarter than that and now it has happend to me and I must deal with it. This fiasco has set me back significantly, but I feel more determined to be successful in not just poker, but everything I decide to pursue in my life. If just one person learns from my mistakes, then this entry will be well worth writing.

Are live SNGs worth it?

Its 6 in the morning, I can't sleep so I'm posting this entry to answer a question I've been asking myself for the past few weeks. Are live SNGs worth it? I've been playing many of these recently at Borgata, but have not been doing all too well in them, though this could be due to short term variance. The structure of these things are decent in my opinion:

Starting chips 3K for $270 and 4K for $530
20 min. rounds
100-200 25 ante
200-400 50 ante
300-600 75 ante
400-800 100 ante
600-1200 200 ante
800-1600 300 ante

Payouts for $270 1500-600-400 and for $530 3500-1000-500


The most obvious benefit of live SNGs is the incredibly weak competition. A large part of of these SNGs are made up of people just busted out of MTT who are steaming and people who see a big first prize they can claim for only a couple hrs. of play. You always get 2-3 people knocked out in the first two rounds and many players are playing too tight and passive in the end game keeping the same starting hand requirements as a full ring game. By the time they realize they need to open up their starting range, they have been blinded off and their puny stack is now worthless. These people also call off their chips way too much (something I hate to do in SNGs) and don't realize the importance of fold equity. Another benefit in these SNGs is the low rake the house takes. Borgata charges $20 on a $250 SNG and only $30 on a $500 SNG. Anytime the rake is less then 10% for a tournament, that is huge plus in my book. I also expect a greater ROI in these SNGs than online ones. In online SNGs, I feel the best SNG players expect a 8% to 12% ROI. I feel that I can make a 20% to 25% ROI in live SNGs, but I'm making this number up as I do not have a large enough sample size to validate this. For example, If I played only $500 SNGs which I would average 2hrs. of play in apiece, I should expect my hourly rate to be in the $50 to $60 range.


Even though the field in these live SNGs are weak, these inexperienced players are sometimes painful to play with. They sometimes take way too much times for routine decisions (for ex. whether are not to call PF in the 50-100 level can be a 2 min. chore). These guys are taking too long to count out bet sizes and sometimes an unexperienced dealer does not help the situation. Online, these decisions are all automatic so you don't have to worry about these mistakes happening. Another con is that with a low rake this is canceled out with the fact you have to tip the dealer. I am all for toking the dealers, but in the long run it will hurt your ROI. These live SNGs can also be very time consuming. If your lucky enough to make it to the end, it can be a 3 hour ordeal. On top of that fact, there is no guarantee you can jump into another SNG right away, the wait times between SNGs can be 20-60 mins. easy. This will obviously hurt your hourly rate as you can't maximize your play in one session. The payout structures of these things are also a joke. Whoever made up the payout structure for the $500 SNG at the Borgata, I would personally like to know what they were smoking. 3rd place actually loses money and 70% of the prize pool is for first. They might as well make these SNGs winner takes all affairs! Due to the top heavy payout structure, deals are usually made. Dealing with live poker players can be a pain in the ass sometimes and just adds more stress to your poker playing experience (like there aren't enough concerns for a regular poker player already). Though I mentioned a possible $50 to $60 hourly rate, I feel that a live 5-10NL cash player can make a potentially higher hourly rate at anywhere between $50-$100 depending on the caliber of player.

Overall, I am still on the fence if these live SNGs are worth it. I think for now that I will still play them occasionally when the action at 5-10 NL stinks or as a change of pace from grinding these cash games. I would love input from other people on their opinions of live SNGs and if they have any pros and cons that I missed. Really looking for some feedback on this one!

One benefit I forgot about the live SNGs at Borgata is the chance to play with Montel Williams. He has been a regular in the $250 and $500 SNGs at Borgata for the past couple months and he was extremely pleasant to play with as I got him to buy me some peanut MM's one time. Huge score for me :)

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