Sunday, April 17, 2011

Well ain't that a bit odd

So, I spent my first weekend post #Black Friday™ not doing too much different then I normally do. Seems I'm just a recreational player that for the most part has spent a fair amount of time on the +EV side of the game with the just the faintest of vertical slopes to the profit/loss lines. I believe I probably was mostly a breakevener.

I'm happy about that. What little scratch I got out of the game paid for a few bills now and then but a while back, I cashed out most of my holdings on the big two. I never really played at Ultimate Bet and hearing them mentioned as a big 3 makes me chuckle. Anywho, I still have some funds in FT and PS but I never really counted it as money. I know, huh? My poker money on these sites was other people's money. I had long since cashed out my original deposits, back in the day when poker was a lot easier.

Anyone else notice poker's been getting harder lately?

Back to my weekend.

So I found myself for the first weekend in years, with no playing poker for money. Did I freak out? Nah. Was I bored? Not really, I currently have 14 games of Words With Friends going (OhCaptain) and frankly, most of those people are way better at it then I am. New challenges rock!

Seems slightly cyclical, this poker thing. You see, four or five or six years ago, I download Party Poker, the .NET free money version and started playing poker play money style. I treated that play money like a real on honest to goodness bankroll. Practicing good money management and the whole nine yards. You see, I'm married with two kids, two dogs, a career and other obligations. At the time, I just didn't want to risk real money that I might just need for diapers, formula and the like. I didn't mind. It was fun.

Like many people, I was developing the poker bug watching the WSOP on TV, talking about the game with friends and just poking it around the edges. Most of the time, I was just too chicken to play for real money. Losing real money hurts.

A co-worker of mine had a husband, he was getting the poker bug too. People were playing free poker in the bars around here. Live poker. I had started getting pretty good a free money poker and I was kinda anxious to try it. Don't get me wrong, I'd played lots of nickel and dime poker over the years. My wife's family still talks about the first Thanksgiving I attended with them. I made $27 in profit on a nickel and dime game at the dinner table. Some seriously sick money of you think about it. But this bar poker thing seemed scary at first. These were strangers and some of them might even be GOOD!

I've been playing free poker on Tuesdays ever since.

My first deposit on FT came a while later. I'd been playing more and more home games and Bourbonators became a much more regular part of my life. It was cheap poker, but I was learning and loving every minute of it. The money I made in these games paid for that deposit. I never made another deposit. (To be perfectly clear, there were technically other deposits but they were sneaky deposits for friends who for one reason or another couldn't/wouldn't do it themselves). Later on, some more of my live poker money was deposited on PS.

I'm gonna miss what money is left there. I have a hard time saying good bye to money. Remember me at the WPBT gathering last December, ya, I was down. Hated every second of it. Not the gathering, you people rock, no I hated being stuck. Curse you Miami Don and your flopped boats.

I've never been a big time poker player. The WPBT tournaments are still the largest buy in tournaments I've ever played. My live poker bankroll has funded most of the trips I've written about here. I can't imagine my life being complete with spending a weekend here or there with the amazing poker people I've met over the years. Eh Vegas, The Gentile Summit and the trips to the WPBT Gather in Las Vegas. All +EV. Strangely, I've never cashed out my online money for these trips.

The cash out I did was a while ago, and I did it to pay some bills and make our family time a little nicer. Kinda cool. I put these accounts back down to grinding out micro stakes again. Those games were much harder to play now. Post UIGEA, even the $1 sit-n-gos were the 27% ROI game they used to be. It was more like an even 20%...right?

I have no idea if I'll ever see the money I have left online again. I still have a hard time saying good bye to money but since I never really felt this money, they were just little pixels on my computer screen. Mythical money.

The cycle has me back to playing free money poker and home games. I'm still a friggin' 50 mile drive to the nearest limit poker room and I might just need to do that a little more often. I'd probably prefer to make the longer drive to Iowa for the $1/$2 NLHE game with the likes of PokerFool, but that's still a two and a half hour drive round trip.

Who knows were poker is going. I wasn't totally surprised by all of this. F-Train seemed to be spot on last December when I was talking to him at the Geisha Bar. He told me how it just seemed like it was getting harder and harder for the big three to get money to players. And so it was.

As many of the brightest legal poker blogger minds have written (F-Train, CK, Grange95), the real blight on the big two poker sites is the methods by which they went to keep the money moving. While their games always seemed on the up and up, the methods by which players were getting their money may not have been. Ultimately, it's the part that says "fraud and money laundering" that the non-poker people will see and with their best "I told you so" voice, remind you, poker is bad. It may not matter that they were doing it because they wanted to run a game of skill for honest people just trying to live their lives the way they wanted to. People just won't see that. It's sad.

I'm sure the cycle is going to continue. Poker isn't exactly a new game. I'm not giving up the game. I love the game. I started playing free poker, I've continued to play free poker and I have no plans on stopping. There's no doubt we will see some changes in the no so far away future. My sympathies are with my friends hurt most by this. I know many people whose livelihoods are tied to poker who will be hurt by this. I know most of them will be just fine. They are some of the smartest people I know with talent I could only dream of.

Tomorrow is a new day. This blog isn't going a way. I'm still going to write about poker and all the other stuff. Heck, I'm still planning on taking vacation in December to play a tournament at Aria.

I hope to see all of you there!

(Therapeutic rambling has ended. Thanks for stopping by!)


lightning36 said...

Fortunately I have been one of the people who kept money at UB so that I could play a weekly "home game" with one of my poker groups. I played in four tournaments this past weekend. I also have a bit of money on Bodog, so I am good there too. I'll need a minor miracle to get my mobney on Cake up to where I could have any fun. But least for now I have SOME options.

Yes, I also fear for my friends who work in the poker industry or in some support capacity. Tough break.

I was really looking forward to BBT6 and all the associated blogger trash talking and fun. Looks like poker will be less fun and less exciting for awhile.

Memphis MOJO said...

I've still been able to play on UB! Did so yesterday and today, not sure what that's all about. FT and PS were no go, of course, as you know.

Drizztdj said...

I think I'll be joining you at that casino for the same reasons.

Just sucks that my 2nd source of income is now welded to an internet cashier's window for a good length of time.

We'll see where this leads.