Posts Tagged ‘online poker’

Grinding Hard & The Mental Game of Poker

May 9, 2012 1 comment

Just over a week into the month and things are looking pretty good. My friend Dave and I made a bet with each other to help motivate us to put in some solid volume. My side of the bet is to play 150k hands this month which was already one of my goals but a little added incentive can’t hurt. Dave’s is to play 60k hands (his is lower for various reasons). The bet is won if one of us hits their goal and the other doesn’t; if neither or both make it it’s a wash. At stake is $500 to the winner and $500 to a charity of their choice. I felt comfortable when the bet was made but then went through a few days of “oh noes” when it dawned on me that a) I was already behind pace and b) the most hands I have ever played in a month was around the 130k mark – and that was a December month with SNE waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. Now though I am back feeling comfortable for a few reasons:

  • I have already played 30k hands and while this is slightly behind pace, I only need to get in slightly over 5k hands per day. Totally doable.
  • I have no travel plans for the month and no significant time consuming events coming up.
  • I’m feeling really good about my game and my health both physically and mentally – this is one month I don’t envision getting burned out in.
MTD May 9th 2012

Month to Date

Going into a bit more detail on that last point – I have been eating exceptionally healthy for the last few days and plan to cut out alcohol entirely for the rest of the month. Both of these add up to having far more poker energy and will help me stay alert at the tables for longer. In addition to this I have been working my way through The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler. It’s a fantastic book. It’s not the easiest read – in fact I have hadThe Mental Game of Poker it downloaded on my iPad for a few months and it took my most recent and most concerted effort to get the book to stick. It’s not a book that you can just read cover to cover and expect to get help out of. There are exercises, writing tools, processes and learning models that require constant work. It’s worth it.

I now begin every poker session with a short warm-up which constitutes of getting myself into the right state of mind and looking over some pre-written notes about my overall game plan. I end sessions with a short cool down which is logging my results into a spreadsheet with a few ratings on my play and comments of the session. I focus more on keeping my attention on the tables and not on twitter, skype or reddit. 2p2 being down is certainly helping in this regard. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what is possible by applying the techniques within The Mental Game of Poker and am already noticing a marked improvement in my play. My results have been pretty good too but as they are subject to great variance I am learning to apply less weighting on day to day results and more on how well I play.

In other news it’s that time of year again at PokerStars and the SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) is upon us. Day 3 has just completed and I’ve only played two events – but all the omaha ones are yet to come and I don’t plan to miss any of them. I’ll make another post detailing my schedule a bit more. I also get to host two events as a part of my role as a part of team online – I will be hosting event #24 PLO 1R1A ($11/$109/$1,050) and event #36 PLO 6-max ($55/$530/$5,200). The structure is great in that anyone can give the SCOOP a shot starting out with their low events – so jump in and I’ll see you at the final table!


Poker Update: April Roundup + May Goals

May 2, 2012 2 comments

It’s been too long since my last one of these. April was a pretty good month all things considered. I almost exclusively played 2/4 and 3/6 and while I didn’t run too well, things could certainly have been worse. I felt like I was playing really well and my game is as good as it has ever been.

MTD April 2012

I’m going into May wanting it to be an epic month – mostly in terms of volume but hopefully with results to follow. Day 1 got off to a great start with me putting in almost 8k hands – not a pace I expect to sustain but I would be happy with anything north of 5k/day average for the month. On that note I should come up with some goals. I was reading an article earlier that mentioned a person is considerably more likely to follow through with goals they set if a) they are tangible (ie “I will play 150k hands” and not “I will play more”) and b) if there is a sense of accountability. That accountability can come from anywhere – a bet with a friend, a training partner, friends/family or in my case, the blogosphere. The thought behind it is that if you put your goals out there and have other people know what they are you are far more likely to follow through and succeed because there is an inherent desire within people to want to please others / not disappoint others. So, on that note, goals!

  • 150k hands of poker
  • 8 poker videos (5-6 for UltimateGrinders and 2-3 for PokerStrategy)
  • Follow through with C25K – I’ve been out of shape and inactive for too long and this seems like a good way to get going again

That’s it. I’ve found making too many goals is unrealistic and results in me trying to spread myself too thin and ending up not getting anything done. If I can do the above 3 i’ll be very happy and will look at adding something new for June.

Hope everyone else had a good April and I wish you all good luck for May 🙂

Categories: Poker Tags: , , ,

PokerStars Team Online!

March 30, 2012 8 comments

This post is coming from a very good place – I have been asked to become a part of Team PokerStars – Specifically the “Team Online” subdivision (I accepted, naturally). This has been a goal of mine for a long time now – originally it was to be sponsored by a website and then it became more specific to be sponsored by Stars. Part of the reason they chose me is because of this blog and the following it has gathered, so a very big thank you to everyone reading this right now. I must say that when I began this blog I had dreams of it becoming large enough to garner notice but it was always more of a pipe dream than something that seemed realistic.

I’m honoured and humbled to have been asked to be a part of PokerStars Team Online and will do my very best to represent my position with the site both here in the Australia & New Zealand region as well as around the rest of the world both online and off.

I was asked to answer a few questions regarding this Team Online assignment and I think snippets of the answers will be posted on the Blog but I’ll post the full responses here for those interested in what becoming a part of team online means to me + what I hope to achieve being on the team:

PokerStars Team Online

1. How do you feel about becoming a member of Team PokerStars Online?
I feel incredibly humbled and honoured to have been chosen to be a part of Team PokerStars Online. It has been a dream of mine for a while now and to actually see it come true is an incredible feeling.


2. What do you hope to bring to the game of poker in ANZ?
Currently the main game of poker is No Limit Hold’Em with PLO being a distant second. It is like this in most places in the world but I would like to close the gap between the two and bring more popularity to the wonderful game of PLO. I truly believe that the game is more fun, complex, interesting and challenging and that all poker players should learn to play it.


3. What can we expect from you in 2012?
In 2012 I hope to continue to advance as a poker player putting in a lot of volume on eventually leading up to reaching SNE for the third year in a row. I’d love to work away from the tables as well on increasing the popularity of PLO both in the ANZ region and worldwide.


4. How do you think your blog readers will react to the signing?
My blog readers have been incredibly supportive ever since its creation over a year ago. I believe they will be happy for me and eager to see what I can and will do with my new position as a part of the team. I appreciate and value the support of my blog readers incredibly highly.


5. If the public should know one thing about Roy Bhasin the man, what would it be? And how about GodlikeRoy the poker player?


As a man it would be that I am always eager to try new things and expand my horizons. Whether it be travelling to a new place, eating a new type of food, attempting a new activity or anything in-between. Much in the same veign as that the one thing about me as a poker player is that I am always trying to adapt and am open-minded about all forms and types of poker. I will play try any variant, any format (tournament, cash, SNG) and any number of players (FR, 6max, HU) as well as all ranges of starting stack sizes. I find this approach to poker more interesting and it allows me to stay fresh at all times.  Basically, I just love poker.
So there you have it! As you can imagine this is an incredibly exciting time in my life and a great opportunity for me. I’ll be making a few more posts in the upcoming weeks about what else I have been up to over here along with a well overdue poker update. There is also an upcoming promotion for those in Australia that will be revealed in the coming weeks which I will be a part of – stay tuned 🙂 Hope everyone is well! Cheers!
Edit: Here’s a link to the article on the PokerStars Blog

My Thoughts On Weighted Contributed vs Dealt Rake Methods at PokerStars

December 22, 2011 7 comments

The poker world (or a small subsection of it pertaining to those who play online at PokerStars) is in arms over speculation that a change in the way rewards will be given at Stars is about to happen. There is a tonne of misinformation and uninformed opinions floating around and I’d like to give my thoughts on the topic; hopefully making this post a reference for people wanting to know more about the situation.

I will be unbiased in my opinions and look at the issue from all angles.

First of all it should be noted that as of this post there has been no official statement indicating that any change will be made. There is a lot of evidence that points towards a change being likely though. The entire discussion was sparked by this post by PokerStars Steve in the Supernova Elite thread on 2p2:

I plan to announce VIP Program changes by December 17th. Any changes to rake and offering planned for early January may be announced then or may be announced later.

There aren’t any new VIP levels planned. The only possible change for .com that would be considered major would involve changing away from the dealt method of assigning VPPs.

No, I have no further information to provide prior to the final announcement of changes.

Due to whatever reasons over at Stars, the changes were delayed, and have yet to be posted. We can expect them any day now.

The following was then sent in an email to affiliates of Stars:


      On January 1, 2012, we will be changing the way we calculate revenue share for affiliates. When calculating revenue for commission purposes, instead of rake being split between all players dealt into the hand, rake will now be calculated based on the players who contribute to the pot. This has been updated in the Terms and Conditions, which you can review at: 

This is currently all the information that has been given to us by Stars. It does indicate that they are contemplating making a change from dealt to weighted contributed but nothing is certain yet. We also don’t know if any other changes are planned or what they might be (though once again we can speculate).

First of all let me emphasize that the above email indicates that the change is strictly for affiliate based commission.

Stars is different to FTP and most other sites in that there is no directly proportional relationship between the amount of rake paid and the rewards received by either party. For “rakeback” in all other sites the amount of money is paid to the affiliate and they then give a percentage of that to the player. So if the affiliate gets less, the player gets less. This has never been the case with Stars due to their VIP program. It has ensured that affiliates get paid separately and any rewards to the players are given straight from Stars.

Affiliates have always received a flat percentage of rake back paid by the player under the dealt method. This is now changing to contributed. I won’t go into whether this is good/bad/fair/unfair on the affiliate end of things in this post as I assume most people are more interested in how any possible changes might effect them and the games they play.

Before I go on let me explain the differences between the dealt method and the weighted contributed method. These are not methods of calculating the rake paid into a pot but rather methods of calculating the rewards received based on the rake paid. Under the current dealt system every seated player at a table who is dealt cards receives the same amount of rewards as everyone else at the table for every hand that is played.

For instance at a 2/4 6max PLO table if everyone folds except the blinds who each end up putting their stacks in then the total rake is $3 (the cap). This number is then multiplied by 5.5 to arrive at the total number of VPPs given to the table which is 16.5. Divide that by the number of people dealt in and you get 2.75 VPPs per player for that hand.

Under the weighted contributed system the only people who would receive points would be the people who put money into the pot, and they receive points based on the % of money they put into the pot. In the above scenario assuming each blind put in the same amount they would receive 8.25 VPPs each and everyone else at the table would receive zero.

There is no arguing that a weighted contributed system is more fair than a dealt method. Why should someone who folds most their hands receive the same amount of rewards as someone who plays every hand (and thus pays most of the rake)? The system has been flawed since it’s inception and almost every other poker site has changed to a weighted contributed system and I think Stars is going to do that now.

What does this mean for you as a player? For almost everybody it will result in a decrease in rewards / rakeback. The tighter you are, the more you will lose. Some people are under the impression that since they play a bit looser than most people they will actually benefit from this change, and this is untrue for most people. The exact figures won’t be known until some time after the changes (if made) are made but based on people’s experiences on other sites when similar switches happened you can expect a noticeable decrease.

A question that comes up a lot is “If they’re taking money from the nits and giving it to the fish then that sounds good to me. Why is that bad? How would Stars profit from it?”

They profit from a discrepancy in rewards occurring by giving less VPPs to the tight regulars and more VPPs to the loose fish. For every VPP you get you get a certain number of FPPs depending on your VIP club level. A supernova elite gets 5x as many and a supernova gets 3.5x as many. Gold, silver and bronze star get less.

The weighted contributed system will result in fewer VPPs being awarded to the tighter players and more being rewarded to the looser players. Since the tight players are far more likely to be regulars and have a higher VIP level, each VPP they lose will be worth more than each VPP gained by the looser players who are more likely to be fish and/or casual players with lower FPP multipliers.

The tighter players are also far more likely to spend their FPPs on the rewards that give them the highest return (ie the $4k bonus for 250k points) whereas the fish are more likely to use the points on lower rate cash bonuses and assorted items from the store.

There’ll definitely be a slight boost to their BRs from being able to hit additional stellar rewards bonuses that they wouldn’t have under the dealt system but I think this is fairly negligible in the grand scheme of things.

There isn’t a direct redistribution if the only change was to be to weighted contributed. The discrepancy in funds is pocketed by Stars.

What remains to be seen is what (if anything) will be done with that money. It’s possible that they will make some changes in the VIP program so that the money is redistributed back to the players in some way or form. I am hopeful for this to happen. If this happens it is unlikely to work out to be exactly the same as before and will affect every person differently. My best guess is that the tightest players will notice an overall drop in rewards, the middle of the range TAGs/LAG regulars will end up somewhere around neutral, possibly slightly down, and the fish and looser than average regulars might see a slight increase.

If there is an overall loss in money given back to the players I hope that it isn’t enormous (which it would be if they simply switch to WC and make no other changes). I also hope that some (all?) of that money is at least spent in areas that will be beneficial to the games. Marketing to bring new players to the site and promotions to redistribute the money back into the poker economy are two that come to mind.

Either way we just have to wait and see what happens. There are three likely scenarios in my mind:

  1. Everything stays as it is.
  2. A switch to WC with no other changes.
  3. A switch to WC with tweaks in the VIP program so that players are compensated in a more “fair” manner.

I think #3 is the most likely to happen. It’s a slightly optimistic viewpoint but I have faith.

Some people seem to think that if a direct change to WC is made then the quality of games will improve. I disagree with this. Based on empirical evidence from when this has happened on other sites, games did not improve.

If a 24 tabling player takes a 20% hit in their rewards/profits, will they just give up poker? Unlikely. They will either increase their volume by 20% or play fewer tables and focus their attention on beating the game rather than raking in the RB. Neither scenario results in softer games.

Regardless of what happens there is no need to panic. Like any change in life you take the information given to you and make the best decisions you can. Hope for the best. plan for the worst. Start thinking about what would happen if they make a direct change to WC and make some contingency plans if you had previously planned to grind on stars and make a large amount of your profits from RB.

Someone posted an awesome youtube clip that is somewhat relevant (and it’s just a great clip in general):