Thursday, January 25, 2007

Moving for Poker

In response to a recent post Jake asked: If online poker goes the way of the Dodo, do you think that you might move to the peninsula/south-bay to maximize the lucky chances/bay 101 nexus?

I would say that for now we're pretty happy where we are and my first step would be to see if I could make enough at The Oaks Club. Of course, I might make a trip here and there to Lucky Chances, but I don't see myself going to Bay 101 since they have instituted a few expensive changes. Instead of time collection or raking $3 a hand they've gone to $5 a hand which is the most expensive juice I've ever seen anywhere. Secondly they have a $3 penalty (which goes in the pot) every time you miss the blinds.

If we have to leave our current house I could see looking to move a little closer to Lucky Chances. Also moving to the L.A. area would be something we'd have to give a little more thought to.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Quick answer or two to a comment question

In a recent comment my sister posted the question: In light of this post. 1) Does this mean the big carrot is moot? 2) If you play in person, will you play for higher stakes, since you'll be forced to play less hands per hour? 3) Once you've established a reputation in person, are you worried that people will start running for the hills once they see you heading for their table? As in, "It's Dave Huff! We can't beat him! Ahhh!" It sounds funny, but it's actually a serious question.

I would say that The Big Carrot (incentives for playing a given amount in a year on pokerstars) probably won't be my focus. I've figured that it's not worth busting my hump if there's a fair chance that I won't get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Of course I'll continue to play online as long as I can and there's a good chance I'll hit a few yearly milestones, but I won't earn the supernova elite status.

When I play in person, not only is it for higher stakes, but it's a totally different game. In stead of playing no limit tournaments I'll be playing limit cash games. Since I'll only be playing in one game at a time I'll need to play much better relative to my opposition, but my focus will be undivided and I'll be doing much more of "playing the other player" instead of "playing the cards."

Of course, after a while some people will realize that I've been winning consistently. But, no one is going to avoid a game just because I'm in it. It's not like I'm going to sit down and immediately empty everyone's pockets. They might avoid a game if they saw only really good players playing in a game, but one player not matter how good they are isn't enough to have a big impact on someone else's bottom line.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Some bad news for online poker

In the past week or so online poker has taken another blow and this one has me more worried. About a week ago the two heads of Neteller (the leading third party that arranged transfers from banks to online poker sites) were arrested and charged with money laundering. A day or two after, Neteller stopped transactions to and from all gambling websites. Shorty after, a few other businesses that did roughly the same thing also stopped serving U.S. customers.

There are still a few ways to get your money in and out, but most of them involve a long wait instead of the instant transfers. I've had the websites mail me regular checks in the past and it's as easy as pie, but I can't see too many people making deposits via western union or money order. I suspect that pretty soon the games will start to dry up as the casual players decide that it's not worth the hassle.

While it felt for a while that the law that passed would be generally neglected, it now seems that it has some teeth. If I had to put a time table on it, I would say that by the end of the year online poker may cease to exist as we know it.

But, I'm feeling strangely fine. I'm going to try to spend most of next month back at the Oaks club and see how much I can make. I don't know how sharp my limit cash game skills are, but I used to kick ass a few years ago when I wasn't nearly as good of a poker players as I am now. And I've heard the players are much worse now than they used to be so hopefully I'll dominate from the start.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Biggest Carrot of All Time

After about a month of not blogging I'm back to give you the latest poker news. I always look forward to the start of a new year, because it means I can give my self a clean poker slate. It's much like a professional athlete starting a new season. And frankly 2006 was a year that I'd like to forget pokerwise. After winning almost $30,000 in the first two months of the year, I lost $11,000 in March and struggled for most of the rest of the year. Luckily 2005 was a banner year and I was smart enough to save most of what I made so not having a great year in 2006 was OK.

On January 1st pokerstars dangled a huge carrot on the end of a stick in order to entice it's supernova players to take the next step in increasing the volume of their play. In order to become a supernova player you need to earn 100,000 VIP Player Points (VPP's) in a calender year. You get 5 VPP's for every dollar in tournament juice that you pay. There are a bunch of financial benefits to being a supernova such as: entry into freerolls, faster accumulation of FPP's, special deposit bonuses and other VIP treatment. In 2006 someone made it to supernova status in just 2 weeks and by the time I made it in June there were about 120 other supernovas. By the end of the year there were close to 1,000.

Pokerstars realized that they needed something bigger and better. So they created a new level of status called Supernova Elite. In order to achieve Supernova Elite status you have to earn 1,000,000 VPP's in a calender year! This is an insane amount. Notice that in order to earn 1,000,000 VPP's you have to pay $200,000 in tournament fees which means you've bought into more than $2,000,000 worth of tournaments in one year. In 2006 I accumulated roughly 250,000 VPP's, but I spent a good deal of time playing in ways that don't generate many points (ie multitables and cash games) so the notion of 1,000,000 VPP's in a year isn't totally unthinkable.

So what they hell do they give you that would make it worth it to trade time with your friends and family for time at your computer? To start, they give you 5 FPP's for every VPP instead of the 3.5 per VPP that you earn as a regular supernova. Not too exciting, but worth mentioning. Secondly you'll get entry into some freerolls with fat prize pools. Ok, a little better. But most importantly they'll give you FREE entry into the 2008 WSOP Main event AND your choice of a pokerstars package (entry fee, hotel, airfare for 2 etc.) to the 2008 Pokerstars Caribbean adventure (a $7500 tournament in the Bahamas) or the European Poker Tour Monte Carlo (a $10,000 tournament). They'll also give you FREE entry into the $5,000 WCOOP main event online. That's over thirty grand of goodness! Talk about a big carrot!

Right now I give myself about a one percent chance of making it. But the good news is pokerstars has put in a few other bonuses along the way. When you get to 200,000 VPP's they'll give you $2,000 (there are a few hoops to jump through in terms of playing a given amount in a certain period of time, but for me it's effectively free money). At 300,000 it's another $3,000 and at 500,000 and 750,000 it's another $5,000 and $7500 respectively.

I'm certain that I'll make it to 300,000 and shouldn't have too much trouble making it to 500,000, but I think more that that is too much for me to handle. To make it to 1,000,000 I'd have to start playing $225 SNG's, and play 1,112 every month. That's 56 a day, 20 days a month. Doesn't sound too bad. The problem comes in when you consider that I'll be facing much stiffer competition, and if I have a bad day I could lose four or five grand. Also this would be a big step up for me. While I've played a few hundred $225's and 25+ tournaments with $1,000 buys-ins or more it's always been taking shots here and there. I knew I could always come back to my bread and butter. Playing 60 $225 SNG's a day every day is a big step up and I don't know if I could handle the stress.

My plan for now is to work as hard as I can and make as much money as possible. If I could knock out a few $10,000 months all of a sudden I'd be much more willing to take some chances. I could see my self doing something like setting aside $3,000 and playing $225's until it's gone. If I do well early and have a strong streak I could continue to play at that level until I could make some good estimates about my long term expectation. If I could break even that would pretty much be good enough since I'd be earning an insane number of FPP's which I could then turn into cash (if I played 1,112 a month I'd get about $4,500 worth of FPP's)

The biggest and best reason why I almost certainly won't make it is that Baby Huff Version 1.0 will be arriving on or around August 2nd. I suspect that come summer time I'll be taking on more of the household duties and if I'm up all night changing poopie diapers (and mailing them to Chris Delauder's house) I don't think I'll want to tangle with top notch competition.

To date I'm ahead about $3,000 for 2007 which is a little behind pace for how much I've been playing. I'll keep you posted on what happens for the rest of the year (if your lucky). Also if your interested in more Huff blog posts check out our baby blog at where you can learn something about babies (my wife has written most of the posts so far) and hear about non poker related Huff Stuff.