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NY Times article on a parent's perspective of Online Poker Playing

I just read a really interesting article from a parent's point of view of what it's like to have a child choose a career of professional internet poker player vs. continuing with college. The article can be found here:

My Son's Gamble

I was able to read it on my iPhone without registering for the NYT site, but I would suggest you register because the article is definitely worth reading. The mom initially goes through complete panic as she sees here son neglect his studies and his tennis (he's a division I tennis player) and stays up all night playing poker online. The kid, Dan (anyone know him?), alienates himself from the family and stays in his room sleeping all day -- sound familiar? He tells his mom that he no longer plays poker.

The mom eventually figures out how to break in to his Full Tilt account and change the password, locking Dan out of the $12k balance. It's only then that Dan talks to her and admits that he is still playing. He convinces FT to let him back in and his mom soon realizes that it's pointless to fight Dan on this since she'll never win. Instead, she educates herself on the game and eventually learns to support him.

There's much more to the article and I would like to hear your thoughts. I assume many of you have similar stories. Let's face it, most parents' dreams of what their children will do for a career do not usually include Professional Poker Player! I have a 14 year-old son who loves games, is extremely competitive and is obsessed with making lots of money one day soon. I've introduced him to poker and he loves it. I'm obviously much more experience with poker than the average parent, but do I want my son playing professional poker in his teens? Hmmm... that's a tough one.

Nag-O-Meter iPhone App and a little Poker Content

Today I officially launched my first iPhone App. It was a bit longer in the works than planned but I'm really happy with Nag-O-Meter Deluxe. You can read about it here:

and watch the video we put together:

It's a fun, 99 cent App that comes with over 600 high quality recordings of various people saying Nagging things. We allow you to email the Nags, set any of the Nags as custom ringtones, etc. So far, the feedback has been really good. We had a lot of fun making it. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch please download it and give it a try. I would appreciate some reviews and if you can spread the word to your friends via your email lists and social network followers that would be fantastic!

I'm happy to offer promotional codes to any review sites.


I played a bit of live cash poker on Saturday at the Hustler here in LA. I had only 3 hours to kill and my best hands were 66 and AQ the entire session. However, it was a really weak $300-500 game and I came away up $150 for the session. I had it up to $900, but played one horrible hand that cost me $150+, made a semi-bluff that didn't pan out for $200 and didn't get value out of some of my hands. Basically, I suck.

My horrible hand went something like... on button, folds to me and make it $20 without looking. Had a reasonably tight image at this point. Get called by BB who checks the 4 6 8 rainbow flop. I make it $50 without looking and he raises an additional $50. I now look down at 3 7. I probably need to fold or raise but I just call with the plan of trying to take it away on turn. Turn Q and and he makes it $50 again. Hmmm, we're both fairly deep here, but at this point with only a gut-shot I need to raise or fold, but of course I call hoping to get really lucky or if a great scare card comes I might raise if he bets small again or bet if he checks no matter what. River pairs the board and he bets $150 and I fold. HORRIBLE.

I did have one hand which seemed weak but I think was right. I find myself in a hand with position and a flush draw to the T and an A and Q of the suit on the flop against one player who is fairly good. He bets the flop and I just call (I also have middle pair). Turn is a blank and he bets $80 and I call. On the river I make my flush (3rd nuts) and he bets $140. We both have about $250 more behind. I took a while to decide between calling and raising. I felt that he likely had top pair only and any raise by me would so obviously look like a flush that I only get called by a better flush. I decided to just call and he did have an AT. He might have called a mini-raise but who knows. Any thoughts on this one?

You got to love home games!

I was invited to a home game up in the Valley last night. The lineup was made up of some great guys, all of whom are highly successful internet founders. One guy founded pricegrabber, another ifilm. Great group. The quality of the poker was typical for a home game. The bet sizing was all over the place. Sometimes guys would be $20 into a $150 pot and other times go all in for $2000 into a $200 pot! Some of the players were fairly competent, but the drugs and drinks brought the quality of play down a few notches.

The game was NL, $2/4 with a $300 buy-in. You could buy back in for any amount, so after a few hours most stacks were in the $1000+ range. We also had a $20 per man 2-7 prop bet going on -- if you win with 2-7 you win $20 from each player.

I was up a few hundred from the game and won't go into many hands, but three were worth noting.

Hand 1:

I have AQ on button -- effective stacks about $800. $20 raise from mid-position player, I make it $75 and BB calls. Flop comes 88Tr. Checked to me, I make it $150, both call. 5 on turn, check all around. T on river, so board is now 88TT5. BB makes it $150. Second player takes a bit of time and calls. I contemplate fold or call. Ending up calling and everyone was pretty impressed when I split the pot with the 2nd player who also had AQ. First guy had 77. I think I really missed an opportunity to push the river. The 2nd player was very, very likely to have an A and almost certainly didn't have me beat. If he has an 8 he definitely leads flop or turn or perhaps check raises. If he has a T he certainly raises river. The blind could have had a T, but likely bets the turn or bets much more on river.

Hand 2:

Mid position player opens for $50 late in night. I tell him that he 100% has 72 and he starts laughing and it's clear I'm right. I call with 8To. Button calls too. Flop comes QT5 all spades, I do not have a spade.

72 guy plays with chips and contemplates bet. I tell him that I'll call anything. He says 'what if I push?' and I tell him I'm not sure, but maybe I don't call a push. He checks, I check, button makes it $100, we both call.

Turn offsuit 3. 72 guy pushes, he has me covered, I have $1200. Hmmm. I really don't feel I can even consider calling with the button still in the hand so I fold. Button folds two red kinds. 72 guy turns over his 72. Interesting. Not sure what I do if I was the only one left in the hand. I would have hoped I could call it.

Hand 3:

Just to show you the kind of game this was... MP makes it $20, I make it $75 with QQ. LP makes it $200. Folded to me and I go all-in for $300 more. LP calls with AT! My hand holds.

Great Prop Bet -- Spoon Bending with the Mind

I recently started a new blog to focus on what I really do for living, building/investing/consulting on web-oriented businesses. The site is at From time-to-time, I will be writing posts on newofferings which have some relevancy to tworags and will cross-post them here. Of course, I'll still continue to write poker-related posts on So without further adieu:

During a family vacation a few weeks ago a good friend was telling me about some of the seminars he has attended. This friend is a successful real estate agent and often attends seminars by people like Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, etc. He was mentioning that he had walked on hot coals, broke multiple wood boards without any martial arts training and was able to bend a spoon. His spoon exploits piqued my curiosity when he explained that he didn’t simply bend the spoon, he was actually able to corkscrew it — twist it like it was a piece of paper. He explained that his ability had nothing to so with strength, but involved believing it was possible and harnessing the power of the mind. He likened this to the stories we have all read about when mothers are able to lift a car to free their children.

I was skeptical of this and assumed, if he was able to do it at all, that the spoon must have been made of extremely thin metal. My friend is in good shape, but his build is very average and he would never be confused with an NFL linebacker. That night we had the friend and his family over for dinner at the condo we were staying at and after a great meal and a few drinks I brought out a spoon. The spoons at the condo were far from thin. In fact, they were extremely thick and heavy. I could not even budge the metal when I tried to bend it the long-way. My friend had claimed not to only be able to bend it, but to corkscrew it like it was paper! The friend looked it over and appeared to want no part of it. He hadn’t attempted his mind-bending on a spoon this thick and it had been a few years since he had bent any spoon.

There were quite a few of us in the room and he didn’t want to disappoint. He took it in his hands and stared at the spoon for 20 seconds or so and then started to breath really loud. Something was clearly happening, because what transpired next was unlike anything I had ever seen. He began to make grunting sounds and his face locked into an incredibly intense position. Out of the blue, his hands and arms started moving at a furious pace as his breathing and grunting became more pronounced. It was over in just a few seconds.

click to enlarge the image

As you can see from the picture above, my friend did indeed corkscrew the spoon. For a few minutes after he was done the metal of the spoon was extremely hot. It was difficult to hold and burned to the touch. He explained that he physically changed the properties of the metal, which was how we was able to accomplish the corkscrew effect. For good measure, he repeated the feat two more times that night.

Sounds pretty incredible and I’m sure some of you don’t believe this is possible and I would have been one of you if I hadn’t seen it for myself.

After this experience I have a new appreciation for the power of the mind and what is possible. Here’s an article I found that explains the process in detail. Please let me know if you have ever seen this done or can do it yourself.

Pokerstars Colluders Caught and I was Cheated... Who knew?

I just received an email from Pokerstars to let me know that I was cheated out of money. They told me to login to my account to find out the credit. Of course I was hoping for thousands of dollars, but it turns out that the credit was only for $38. I guess it's better than nothing. Here is the email. Does anyone know more about this?

** FROM POKERSTARS on April 10, 2009


PokerStars has become aware of two players who were working together in our Sit & Go tournaments to the detriment of other players. You were involved in at least one tournament with these players and as a result you may have been adversely affected.

The players' accounts were closed and their funds frozen pending a thorough investigation, which is now complete. Fortunately the problem was identified quickly and they had only played in a few tournaments before the accounts were closed.

In a case such as this it is our policy to confiscate the colluders' winnings or balances and to distribute them to the players affected by their actions in as fair a way as possible. To confirm your credit, log onto your PokerStars account, go to the 'Cashier' screen and click the 'History' button. Your share will be shown "ADMIN CREDIT", followed by the amount of the credit.

I regret that we will be unable to answer questions as to how your specific credit amount was calculated. Likewise, we are not at liberty to identify the specific games or players in question. Suffice to say that they have been barred from the site and you will not encounter them again.

The integrity of the games at PokerStars is of paramount importance to us and we will not abide cheating or collusion in our games. We work hard to police our games and prevent such instances. In the rare cases where collusion has actually occurred, we make sure that any players affected are compensated appropriately.

Thank you for your continued play here on PokerStars. Please do not hesitate to let us know any time we can be of help.

Best Regards,

Dan M
PokerStars Game Security
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