Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Shortest Post Ever

There's no question that having the Grand Theft Auto franchise helped us a lot and helped us sell some units, but I don't think the battle would be any different with or without Grand Theft Auto ... I don't think (losing GTA exclusivity) hurts us. ... I really don't.
Sony of America co-COO, Jack Tretton


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Still Slumping

The Operative : That girl will rain destruction down on you and your ship. She is an albatross, Captain.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Way I remember it, albatross was a ship's good luck, 'til some idiot killed it.

Last night we had a chance to sneak down to the new cinemas that have just opened near our place. It's a big redevelopment in the massive shopping mall just two blocks from our place. The old cinemas here were pretty ordinary and we wanted to see what the new ones were like. In short, brilliant. We saw the new Adam Sandler movie "Click", and it was good but frustrating in a way. There are funny bits, but most of them are in no relation to the main story line. The last half of the movie, which every critic and his dog are relating to "It's A Wonderful Life" is actually very touching, and I thought it was well done. If they went this way from the start this could have been a great movie. Never the less, I don't regret forking over my hard earned and two hours of my life for this movie, which is about as good as you can hope for these days.

I'm glad that I enjoyed the movie, because poker sucks at the moment. The live game on Friday night was my biggest down night in history, and the main culprit was pocket kings again. In total, I have lost nearly $900 at this table with pocket kings. The short of it this time around was a three-way all in with the flop showing 433. One player had 44 and the other had KK, so we are both drawing dead to running 3's. I won one more pot for the night, when I had KK and got the blinds. It was a terrible night of cards that missed every flop, not much I could do about it really. Or at least, that is what I am telling myself.

Online hasn't been much better, and I continue to make just below break even sessions (thanks to bonus', otherwise it would be even worse). I even managed to take down a Omaha Hi/Lo SNG the other night, and I felt in control for the entire tournament. Perhaps it was just a matter of the others not knowing what to do properly, but either way the small win put me in a much better mood.

I've finished playing Pirates: live the life. After reading many reviews of the game and all favourable, it sounded pretty good and I'm always a fan of the open ended genre. But to be honest, I wasn't that impressed by the game. I never played the originals, so this was the first Pirates experience for me. It just seemed to be too much of the same stuff over and over, and there is no real story line to speak of. You find your long lost sister, now find your Aunt. Then , get the man that "Wronged" your family. Done that? Well, do it again. Each story line last only a few moments, and then it is repeated.

Now that Pirates is finished, I have moved onto Heroes of Might and Magic 5, and I was a big fan of all the originals in this series. The campaigns, of which I am only 2 or 3 missions into, are a little frustrating at the minute because you can not build up any towns to the maximum, but once I am a little further into the game this will be rectified of course.

I'm enjoying the little tangent from my usual poker habit back to video games, for it has been ages since I was really absorbed by a game. Selling all my consoles probably ahs a lot to do with that, but that has allowed me to get back into PC games, of which there are many more quality titles especially for single player games. I've got the expansion pack for "The Movies" also, which allows a free roaming camera for the created movies – something that I was most disappointed was not in the original. Maybe the new flexibility will give the game an extra push like it should have been.

Yeah, I'll keep immersing myself in my video game basement until the cards turn my way again.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

That Was My Mistake

J.D.: This, this isn't like being a janitor, okay! It's not just like something everybody can do.
Janitor: Oh. So you can do my stuff, but I can't do yours?
J.D.: Yes!
Janitor : Okay, hotshot, what would you use to get a coffee stain up off a tile floor?
J.D.: I don't know... the... rough side of a sponge?
Janitor: Dammit.

I made another major mistake last night, one that I have warned myself about multiple times before but for some reason I keep doing it.

You know the feeling you get when you've had a good night at the tables and you wonder when you should leave? You do the calculation on how much you are up and look at what that means for your bank roll, and decide you'll play just this next orbit, or another $5 to make that profit into three figures.

Yeah, I've noticed when ever I do something like that, shit usually hits the fan really quickly.

Playing $1/$2 limit last night, I was having an unusually good night and my online bankroll was loving me for it. I checked my raked hands requirements (still a whore) and calculated the total profit for the night, which was pretty good all things considered. But I was just $4 shy of a clean $100 profit, so I decided to get to that mark and then call ti quits for the night. Of course, my opponents caught every gut shot they chased and in the space of one orbit, my nightly profit was more than halved. It's uncanny how often that has happened lately.

I am feeling that I am not giving my opponents enough credit, which is a result of playing NL poker for the majority of the time and then switching to limit where bluffing is probably less prevalent. I am not getting my big hands paid off nearly as much as I would like, but then again I guess that a story that many players could tell. I did manage to hit a Queen high straight flush, but unfortunately the only other player with a hand was two pair and he was not going to raise back at me so the pot was smaller than it could have been.

I've hit a few cards here and there which has helped, and I knew the bad run would have to come to an end sooner or later. It's always nice when good hands come along. Poker is much easier to play when you are getting good cards, funnily enough.

EDIT A few moments after penning this, I hit an aweful run of cards. Any profits I had are now in the negative coloumn well and truly. Fickle beast.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Stacked With Daniel Negreanu

eview of Stacked:

I received my copy of "Stacked" for the PC and couldn't wait to get going, as I have been hearing about this game for some time now, and the recent results at the real money tables had me down, so I needed some help.

We get started and I'm straight into a tournament, really just trying to see which pros are represented in this game. Before long, I'm just trying to bluff out every pro I see from every pot. I think my seen flop percentage was around about exactly 100%. And I would raise every flop regardless, because I was the internet newbie in their professional poker world. It's expected of me.

I decided to change things up after I busted out, and used the advice of Daniel Negreanu for every hand and did what he said. Man, that guy likes to play loose. I've got 69o, raise it up buddy! Got to protect that hand! I managed to take it down on the turn on a board of 23AQ. I had outs…maybe.

The visuals are pretty good, and some of the players look spot on, while others are just a little bit off. The play seems to be pretty passive in the lower levels, and then mind boggling random on the higher levels. I am yet to carve out a win but I have not been playing for long, and it is hard for me to fully apply myself when the money won isn't real.

I've only played one other poker game before, besides online poker of course, and the AI in the other game was so ridiculous that it was a crap shoot from the beginning. I have to say that the AI in this version seems 100% better, as they will actually fold sometimes. You can't play too tight as you'll just get burned and bored sitting there folding, but since it is play money you tend to loosen up and go crazy anyway. Or at least I did.

I haven't had a chance to try online play as yet, but I imagine it would be much like play tables in any online poker room – i.e. betting monkeys with no regard for their hands – only now the environment would look much prettier.

In short, it's the best PC Poker game I have played, but I've only played two. It's good to get the best of the pros in this version, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it was the equivalent of "Halo with Chips", because on more than one occasion I have tried to stick a plasma grenade onto the dealer, and it hasn't worked once.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

To The Next Step

Magneto: Charles Xavier did more for mutants than you will ever know. My single greatest regret is that he had to die for our dream to live.
"X Men: The Last Stand"

I have some to a bit of a cross road in my poker playing days. I have taken some large steps this year to make myself more prepared financially to make some proper money playing poker. I separated my poker bankroll from normal money, took on a second job to give it a leg up and started properly recording the results of my live play. The results have been very good as I went through a golden run like I have never seen before, and my only regret was that one hand cost me nearly $500 in a play I can still not fathom. Aside from that, things have been going very well.

Online play has still been a bit of a roller coaster with no huge wins and a few decent loses to speak of. But essentially all the online bankroll, currently a whisker below $600, will remain online for various play when I have the chance. My focus this year has been on live play, which is always more fun and social of course.

I have expanded my network of home games, and each one gets a little more expensive than the next. I started with $15 SNG's, which evolved into 10c/20c NL games. Before long we added a 20c/40c spread limit game (which became NL in time, as at the spread limit is may as well have been limit holdem). Then came the $1/$1 game with $50 max buy in, and before long that became $100 max buy in.

I've always felt that I was good enough to win consistently at all of these games, and such has been the case at least according to the records I have kept since December.

I had the job running the pub poker tournaments to give the bankroll a start, but now I have been forced to quit that job, mainly because of time but also due to a lack of enthusiasm. At the end of the day, after taking out tax and expenses I was being paid about the equivalent hourly rate as a 15 year old at McDonalds. I would go the extra mile too, and shout a free drink for the first Full House, and then another drink each time the high hand was beaten. One night we had a queen high straight flush on the first hand, so that was a cheap night for me. Anyways, basically I shout a few drinks which comes out of my own pocket – nothing too major, but it's something I didn't have to do and did to make things more fun. One week I decided not to do it because I didn't have any cash on me, and some guy hit quad aces. He quickly asked for his free drink, and I said I wasn't doing that tonight – and asked what his kicker was, then told him that Quad aces with a jack kicker wasn't good enough (which got a laugh out of the other tournament director, if no one else). So the guy gets the shits and was an ass for the rest of the night, and you could really tell that I did not want to be there after that. There were other similar incidents, but this petty little one just sort of summed them up for me.

But the role of this second job was to give me a start on a live bank roll. I have that now, so it has served it's purpose and I don't need the job like I once did. I have enough in the live bank roll to survive a few swings at the levels I play and still be comfortable, and hopefully with some good play I could continue to grow it at the current rate.

Sadly the last 3 attempts to get everyone together for a home game have failed due to conflicting schedules or whatever other excuse was used – and I include myself as a guilty party as a game was set for last week but I was in Melbourne and unable to play. The $100 game is also in danger of being cancelled, as one player accused another of dealing from the bottom of the deck – an event which I was not there to witness but I would highly doubt it for several reasons, and others present were also sceptical of it. Regardless, this meant a few people were no longer invited or chose to no longer attend. Cutting down the numbers either way, the game is in danger and the host has said he would like to move it. Any other day during the week would make it impossible for me to attend.

So that leaves me with a little problem. I have the live bankroll, but all the live games are crumbling. Having the money it is a hollowed out Super System doesn't make it grow (and no I didn't do that, it's just a metaphor). But where o where can I go to find a game on any time of the day?

The answer would be obvious to any normal poker player reading this. You should go to where it is actually legal to play, where you can't claim it's a friendly game and where the is no real host. I have to break my cherry, swallow hard and head out into the great beyond.

It's time to finally play poker at the casino.

The only casino in Sydney has a lack lustre reputation for poker though, as the long waiting lists to play are coupled with a $1 per hand "CC" instead of a rake, which means basically every player pays $10 in rake every orbit, which is quite steep.

Most of the players at the $1/$1 game are regulars at the casino, and I seem to be able to hold my own against them and their uber-aggressive ways. Or maybe they save their A game for when the casino beckons.

I will have to wait for a night I can go when the Distraction is not available, as a trip into the city without her would be seen as criminal.

So I will either get a great new stream of games and bankroll growth, or finally get spanked into my place by the real players in Sydney. Either way, it is the logical next step and one that I should not avoid any longer.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

As If You Didn't Know Already

Jay: So why the long face, Horse? Banky on the rag?
Holden: I'm just, ahh... just havin' a little girl trouble.
Jay: Bitch pressin' charges? I get that a lot.
"Chasing Amy"

So the latest Kevin Smith love-fest when it comes to the movie quotes at the start of each post is due to the fact that I recently received "Silent Bob Speaks" and "An Evening With Kevin Smith", both of which I am about half way through so far. It's great because watching "An Evening With Kevin Smith" and hearing all these references to his previous movies has made the Distraction more interested in them, so our next DVD purchases are looking like there are going to be from his back catalogue.

I am keeping on my bonus whoring ways, and thanks to the bonus' I am managing to keep my head above water, but only just. I don't seem to be winning many coin flips and, more to the point, I am mis-reading opponents a lot.

I have noticed lately that I am missing a lot and not paying enough attention. Things like not noticing a possible flush being filled on the river – both my own and my opponents at times. This is a very bad habit that must stop, perhaps if I move up in limits I will be forced to concentrate more.

Now doesn't that sound like a bright idea?

I'm really keen to get some more live games going, but this weekend is no good as the Distraction and I are taking an early Anniversary trip down south. This is because she has just accepted a new job, so when the actual First anniversary comes around it will be unlikely that we can take some time off. Being a long weekend, the flights from here to Melbourne are nearly booked solid, so our available times (at reasonable price) are limited, which also screws us out of one day but such is life I guess.

I had the sad realisation that I can no longer run the free pub poker tournaments, for two reasons. Mainly time – the tournaments are mid-week and don't finish until late, which makes me extremely tired for my regular job, and that is not a good thing. The other is that since this is a second job, I get taxed at the highest rate. So basically I get paid half of what everyone else does, since for most of the other guys this is their only job (uni students and the like). It also means that the average 15 year old at McDonalds is making about the same as me. I've decided to give it the flick, and the fact that I have already garnered enough for a proper live bank roll (and low limits at least) helped the decision – although when tax time comes around I might have to forfeit all of it. Creative accountants should be able to fix that one for me.

All up last nights session was down about $30. The worst of it was QQ getting done by AJ and AKc running into AT with ATx on the board. I also missed out on a big pot when I decided not to chase my gut shot, and then it hit perfectly followed by an all-in by some muppet with two pair. But you get that sometimes. I'm sure things will come good before long, well at least I hope so.

I was having a look at Poker Source Online again recently, thanks mostly to the fact that they sponsor this here blog and also because I now have a referral or two going that way. 12,000 PSO points for one promotion aint too fucking bad at all – but then I saw that it was Poker Room online. PR is just one of those places that has never agreed with me, and I can't explain why. Well, probably most of the reason is I have never posted a profit there. Anyways, looking at all the promos and the requirements, is it just me or does 9,000 PSO points (which to me equates to $90 worth of Amazon vouchers) for 250 raked hands at Party Poker, plus a 25% deposit bonus, does that just look like a deal that is too good to be true? By far the easiest bonus at PSO to clear methinks. If you haven't already, try it out and please use this link here so I can get a little something-something for my trouble.

Poker Source Online

And trust me, if you have $500 for the full deposit bonus, the Party Poker 9,000 points offer is the way to go.

This message was brought to you because it is an awesome offer, not because they advertise with me.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stack Size

Kevin: Great minds thinks alike, motherfucker!
"An Evening With Kevin Smith"

We were playing a little 6 man tournament, once upon a time, and when I was severely short stacked and on the big blind. I had about 2.5BB left in me, and 1 of those was of course the big blind. It was folded around to the small blind who raised it up enough to put me all in. I looked down at a horrible 83o, and decided to call anyway. The small blind had pocket Queens, and my hand never improved.

Quiet a short and boring story really, but it leads into my point for this post. How you play your cards is dependant on many things: The cards themselves, betting history of this hand, player reads, position, tournament timing, what you had for lunch, the colour of the sky, if you are in a good mood or a bad mood, and also your chip stack.

This is usually relevant for tournament poker, but cash games are also worth mentioning, which I will later.

I see a lot of players in tournament fold on the short stack when they already have 50-75% of their chips at stake and heads up. What is a good play with a short stack could be considered a bad play with a big stack, and vice versa. When you are getting 1 or two places away from the bubble, this might be the best way to go so you can at least get your buy in back – but here at Poker on Film we're interested in top three finishes, not sneaking in to the money places. This is just personal preference, but in MTT I am not that worried about bowing out at the bubble. For most tournaments of, lets say 200 players, the bubble comes around after maybe 2 hours. Finishing in the very first ITM position will usually give you back your buy in plus 75% - so, for a $10 tournament you might win $7.50 profit. These are just examples, don't get too caught up in the math. One of my rules for playing poker is I must be prepared to loose whatever money I put on the table – not wanting to loose of course, but if I were to loose then I can not be too concerned about it, otherwise the buy in is too high for my bankroll. So, if I am prepared to loose the $11 to buy in ($10 + $1 fee, standard stuff), the $7.50 profit isn't really that big of a deal either.

I think the reason a lot of people play MTT is for one, the extended amount of play you can get for your buck, and two because of the obviously larger payoffs if you win. There are pipe dreams of pulling in that win and taking home the bracelet, and there is nothing wrong with that. I am the same, I play MTT in an attempt to come in the top three, no matter how big or small the tournament is. I'm prepared to risk the $7.50 profit in order to give myself a better chance at a high final table appearance. Why limp into the money and then get knocked out straight away? Try to get as many chips as you can before the bubble so you can take advantage of all those ITM monkeys with less than 1 BB to their name.

In the hand mentioned above, we were only paying first place, which was a deck of copag cards. There wasn't much point me hanging around with 1.5BB with 6 players left, and even though I knew I was behind with 83o, I had to call so that I could get lucky and double up. After that, people might have had to think twice about putting me all in. If I fold, I have 1.5BB and would have spent 0.5BB on the next small blind. If I call and win, I then have 5BB. Not much difference, but at that stage of the game, with very high blinds, others can fold to a 5BB raise – I can't see anybody folding to a .5BB raise when they already have 1BB in the middle.

My reason for bringing this up is the other players thought it was a bad call. It was really, but folding would have been an even worse one. I would have made that call even if I knew that the other player had Queens. Now if it was a raise all in with 83o, that is much easier to defend because you have two ways of winning – best cards or everyone else folds. But calling all-in with a very weak hand would rarely be considered wise, but I defend the decision here.

In that particular situation and timing, being "pot committed" pre-deal and all, there are just not enough chips available to me on the next hand. Even if I was to fold and then won the next hand, unless there was multiple callers I would only have 3BB. Obviously with multiple callers my potential win is larger, but so is the potential to loose.

Also, it is highly likely that the small blind, with a substantial stack, is doing this just to steal the extra bet. And who could blame him? But unlike most pre-flop raises, this raise from the small blind with no callers and just 1.5BB left for the big blind, you could make a case for that raise without even looking at your cards. Just as I have made a case for calling without looking at mine.

Another similar example in a tournament I experienced, I was short stacked but not as badly. I think I had maybe 10BB, and on the button I had pocket aces. There was maybe 6 or 7 limpers in front of me, and I believe the best move here is for me to push all-in. Sure, I could try to raise 1 bet for value and then push after the flop, but the chances of Aces still being ahead post flop when 6 or 7 handed are getting slimmer. You want to maximise your pot, but in this case the pot is already 70% of my stack – in otherwords, for me it is big enough. Even though I am obviously ahead pre-flop, I'm happy to take it down here. Ideally, I'll get only one caller and I might be an 80% favourite, or maybe better.

Others here fall into the "always slow play aces" trap. These are the same people that claim online poker is rigged because their aces got cracked. The potential payoff again is greater, but so is the risk.

In this particular example, my all-in was called twice, both times by Ax and I managed to more than triple up and set myself up for a good finish (second).

The final position I wish to discuss is big stack poker. It's amazing how confident and wise you feel when you have all those chips sitting in front of you – online or B&M poker. I know I always feel a lot more comfortable with the chips in front of me. While this might be axiomatic for some, for me it just helps me play better. I don't feel like I have to win every pot I am in, and therefore I can fold a lot easier.

I think one of the errors most commonly made with the big stack is playing too many hands. That is one advantage of having a big stack – you can afford to play more hands. But what some players don't understand is that having the big stack can also mean you can afford to play less hands. Being the bully can work for you, but so can being the "chip hog". These are my chips, and aint nobody getting their hands on them!

The risk here is that the other players have a better chance of chipping up off each other, and then all of a sudden your chip lead becomes the chip average. But you don't have to stop playing hands, just don't play every hand because you are the chip leader. You can now afford to try a few moves perhaps, but folding is still an option.

As I have said on many occasions, I think my style of play is rather conservative. Mainly because every time I try to mix it up, somehow things go pear shaped for me either by my own doing or by bad luck. But these are my thoughts on how to play according to your stack size.

I am a terrible average stack player, and I believe average stack play is the hardest to do. Yo can afford to fold, but not too much otherwise you become a short stack before long with the rising blinds. You need to play, but can't afford to through away chips. Small stack poker is, for me, the easiest, because some of your decisions have already been taken out of the mix. Check raise? You can't do it if the bet is bigger than what you've got in front of you. A lot of it comes down to "Do I want to push all in or not", and that simple binary decision will be the majority of your short stack play.

Big stack play can be difficult, but usually you can make a mistake or two and get away with it, or it doesn't hurt you as much. I like having a big stack – have I said that already?

With average stack play, I think one of the main errors made is being scared of the big stack. Like I said a lot of big stack players assume it is the right or obligation to start calling/raising every hand. The best way to get chips is off those that already have them. Don't shy away from the big stack just because he can felt you – he might be scared of loosing his big stack status, or even be ambivalent about the bet amount and call with crap. That read is up to you.

Thus ends Heafy's way to play your stack size. Some time ago Scurvy said more bloggers should try their hand at poker theory and stop using the "I don't know enough" excuse. It has been awhile, but I have thrown my hat in the ring here. I like having a big stack, and call when pot committed. Fucking revelations, man!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Preston: This is officially the worst night of my entire life. Thank you very much.
Angel: Try having forty drunk men grabbing your ass, one groom to be throwing up all over you and then have your car break down at 2am and then you can talk to me about having a bad night, OK?
"Can't Hardly Wait"

We've all had nights like that, forty drunken men grabbing your ass, damn tiara won't stay on straight…wait, where was I?

I've been using the nights running the free pub poker as a little bit of research into the minds of others, and listening to their thoughts as to why they play what hands when. Obviously the standard here is not of the highest quality, but then again neither am I so it should be alright.

I am just amazed at some of the reasoning behind the bad plays, and it seems to be proving that a little knowledge is a very bad thing. The players who know absolutely nothing seem to stand a better chance than those that know a little something. For example, last night a girl playing for the first time was cleaning up. But just because this was her first time, nobody believed she had a hand at all, and kept paying her off. She had monster hand after monster hand no doubt, but how many times can you call with second pair to see her straight and still think she might be bluffing? It's the quiet ones you need to look out for.

I really enjoyed reading Bad Bloods post a few days ago, where he made the decision to call with JJ in late position against TT who was in early/mid position. I don't know how to explain this properly, but not just the fact that he decided to call or the rationale behind it, but just that line of thinking and process of going through the actions at that particular time of the game in that particular circumstance, I think that is poker played the way it should be. Would I still say so if the other guy had Queens? I'd like to think I would.

But back to this game, I find myself surrounded by people who know the phrase "Pot Odds", but do not know how to apply them. The next person who tries the whole "Pot Odds" argument and then calls for their whole stack with one overcard, I'm going to try to give them the St. Petersburg Paradox to mull over. That, and I just learnt what the St. Petersburg Paradox was. Wikipedia it, you'll see what I mean.

People that think calling on the turn with Ace high is still worth it when the board shows an opened ended straight flush draw, because you know, it's an overcard dude! And the same people consider someone lucky if they have a better starting hand, hit the flop hard and then have them drawing dead by the turn – and they wouldn't fold it! Who would do that?

So, here is my three step plan for beating a particular type of player. Sure, it's no "Kill Phil", but it will serve the public better than most books that they flick through and look at the pictures.


First time males are a little harder top judge, because they are either too scared to do anything or think that bluffing is their god given gift and any bet with nothing is a good bluff. You should be able to figure out which they are pretty early on.

In my limited experience, the first time female player lacks something that the first time male player has in abundance – ego.

More often that not, they are dragged to these games by their boyfriend or husband, and are just trying to not embarrass themselves. The First Time male player is trying to win the World Series with their wicked moves. Oh, and they tend to drink a shit load more than the females before and during the game.

The FTFP tends to like calling, will rarely bet and raise even less. However, they are not clueless and do know when they are holding a hand. So here is my simple plan on how to beat the FTFP:

STEP 1: When you have a decent hand, bet or raise. Check raising only works if the other person is going to bet.

STEP 2: When they bet or raise, only call/raise if you have something. If they have bet/raise, they have something and you are not going to get them to fold it.

STEP 3: If you fired one bullet and they didn't fold, don't fire another. They will call and beat you.

There, that's it. Not hard is it? It's amazing how many "Experienced" $5 Pros complain of calling stations, and then continue to try to bluff them off pots. It's one thing to be a calling station, but to continue to pay a calling station is a new level of stupidity.

The more you know…

Friday, June 02, 2006

Stacked Hits The Shelves

Just in case you were not aware...

The Next Generation of Poker Has Arrived with Learning AI, Sanctioned Online Tournaments
MTV Presents: STACKED Poker Television Special to Air on MTV2 on June 2nd and on MTV on June 3rd

For Immediate Release:

New York, NY – May 31st, 2006 – Myelin Media, LLC, a publisher of interactive entertainment software, today announced that their Texas Hold ‘Em game, STACKED™ with Daniel Negreanu, has shipped to retail outlets throughout North America. A breakthrough Texas Hold ‘Em video game, STACKED steps to the table with a powerful hand of groundbreaking artificial intelligence, massive online multi-table tournaments and involvement from seven of the most celebrated professional poker players in the modern history of the game. Rated T for Teen by the ESRB, STACKED is available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and the PC, and carries a suggested retail price of $29.99. In addition, MTV will be airing a half-hour special premiering on Friday, June 2nd at 9 PM on MTV2 and Saturday, June 3rd at 9 PM on MTV entitled, MTV Presents: STACKED Poker, to support the release of the highly anticipated title.
“STACKED is the perfect way for a beginner to learn poker,” said Negreanu. “It won’t disappoint the advanced players either, especially when they have to face off against me!”

“STACKED brings the excitement and strategy of professional poker into your home,” said Ken Woo, producer at Myelin Media. “Whether playing alone against the game’s realistic learning AI or online against real world opponents, you will feel the same exhilaration with every big bet, bluff and victory as if you were at the final table of a high stakes tournament.”

“MTV Games was formed with the vision of creating and promoting original video game IP and unique gaming experiences that encapsulate the passions and interests of the MTV audience,” said Jeff Yapp, EVP, Program Enterprises. “STACKED represents the first true MTV Games 360° initiative by delivering a video game experience, television special and an online component with the Stacked Masters multi-table tournaments.“

About MTV Presents: STACKED Poker

MTV Presents: STACKED Poker is a half hour special premiering on Friday, June 2nd at 9 PM on MTV2 and Saturday, June 3rd at 9 PM on MTV. The program gets inside the breakout phenomenon of professional poker and highlights the launch of STACKED™ with Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu stars in this half-hour special with his unique brand of strategy, intuition and charisma. Shot on location at The Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, MTV Presents: STACKED Poker takes viewers through an explanation of the video game, STACKED, an introductory game of poker with Negreanu, then he faces a group of college age competition, competes against some of the world’s top ranked poker players and ends the show by sitting down at a table with special celebrity guests, Ryan Cabrera and Benji from Good Charlotte, to pass on some of his poker expertise. Throughout, Daniel will occasionally “freeze frame” and address the audience with his unparalleled insights into poker strategy, player tells and insider tips.

The special also kicks off a once in a lifetime opportunity for MTV viewers. The STACKED Masters Tournament is a series of STACKED Multi-Table Tournaments, to be played live online. Four players who meet certain eligibility criteria may be cast to participate in the MTV STACKED Masters Showdown Special. Participants in the special will be flown to Las Vegas, where they will face off against Daniel Negreanu at the final table, for a chance to prove their poker prowess against the best in the business.


The premiere Texas Hold ‘Em video game, STACKED utilizes an advanced learning artificial intelligence system that devises new strategies for victory as it learns more about each player’s individual style of play. As the player progresses through the game, the AI will become more sophisticated, as it builds a profile of weaknesses and attempts to exploit them, helping the player to learn and become a better overall player. As they progress through the game’s career mode, players will encounter seven of poker’s most decorated pro players: Josh Arieh, Jennifer Harman, Erick Lindgren, Juan Carlos Mortensen, Evelyn Ng, David Williams and Daniel Negreanu himself, each with a custom AI bot that matches their real-world play style. Players can access the game’s Poker School mode at any time to learn from nearly an hour of video tips and strategies from Daniel Negreanu, covering all aspects of the game from basic rules to advanced guidance for tournament victory.

STACKED lets players compete online against the best players in the world in a unique multi-table tournament system known as STACKED Masters. Sanctioned tournaments will be regularly announced through the game’s official web site, and players with the necessary online ranking can participate to go head-to-head against hundreds of the game’s best players in a ladder based tournament system and seize their place in the STACKED Hall of Fame. Players can also choose to create their own custom online tournaments as well as smaller individual games with friends.
For more information about STACKED with Daniel Negreanu, please visit

About MTV Games

MTV Games is dedicated to producing and marketing unique interactive entertainment experiences that resonate with MTV's audience. Through strategic partnerships with a range of videogame publishers and independent developers, MTV Games creates, supports, and participates in the success of a diverse slate of innovative console, handheld, and PC titles for both hardcore and casual gamers. Titles released under these partnerships receive multi-platform promotion across MTV's properties worldwide, including MTV, MTV2, mtvU, and, leveraging MTV's unique brand and marketing capabilities to maximize sales. In addition, MTV Games collaborates with its partners on soundtracks, in-game advertising sales, and development of complementary television programming.

About Myelin Media

Myelin Media, LLC. is a privately funded entertainment software publisher headquartered in New York City. Established in March 2004, Myelin aims to bring unique game content to consumers by empowering developer creativity. Visit for more information.
© 2005 Myelin Media, LLC. All rights reserved. STACKED is the trademark of Myelin Media, LLC.

Xbox is the registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

“PlayStation” and the “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Memory Stick Duo™ may be required (sold separately).

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

# # #
Media Contact:
Bryan Lam
Kohnke Communications
Jeff Castaneda
MTV / MTV2 / MTV Games

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Four Letter Word, Starts with T

Teddy Bass: [raising his glass] Gentlemen! You're all cunts.
"Sexy Beast"

See, Ian McShane was already an expert swearer before Deadwood. Deadwood just made him into a professional. Seriously, how good is that show? While I'm glad they are finishing the show before it turns to crap (not that the reason has been given as such) it will be a shame that three seasons is all it will be.

I have been diving back into the online waters as of late, returning to my bonus whoring ways as I have alluded to in previous posts. It would be fair to say I have been getting my ass handed to me in a mixture of bad play, bad reads, bad cards and bad beats. It's all bad, anyways.

It has been as if the little men who run internet poker have been laughing their collective asses off at me. They give me a monster hand, and I take the blinds. Then they give me a great starting hand, and encourage some Muppet in seat 7 to call al the way with a gut shot straight to hit on the river. Oh, how can I be so original with my gripes?

It has been weird because I have hit some big hands, but I just can't get paid for them. I did my absolute best to get value out of Quad Aces last night, getting a couple of extra bets out on the river, but when three aces adorn the board it is hard to get the most out of them when even the dumbest of opponents knows at best they will be splitting this pot with you.

But it is my own fault for reverting back to the limit game. I have tried to clear these raked hands at No Limit, but I run into two different types of players: Absolute rocks or absolute luck boxes. The rocks don't play any hands, and as such if I want to play tight and sit back, the raked hands don't accumulate. If I try to play aggressive to take advantage of their rocky play, I'm getting spanked by 64s from the luck box.

After dropping another buy in at the No Limit table on about my third hand (JJ gets done by the aforementioned 64s), I felt sick. Sure, my play was horrible and there is no need or want to go into further detail upon it, but after this particular one I thought once again I have had enough. Welcome to Tiltsville – Population, Me.

So rather than wallow in bad cards and sit and fold and then finally play to get spanked, I decided to make the spanking come hard and fast in a medium where I know my tilt will be fully accommodated.


Oh yes, que the band, we're fixing to play that old tune.

Any card room that also has a casino linked to it are sure to make an absolute killing, as if they were not already. I was ready to wage war once again with the Gambling Devils (any one who says there are Gambling Gods are delusional, they are all Satan's Sycophants).

I'm in Absolute Tilt mode, and I know it, but I decide to relish it.

Oh, dealer has Blackjack, what a surprise?

Yes, draw all four low cards to the 19 to beat my King and eight, excellent play good sir!

I kid really though, for some reason my luck at Blackjack far outweighed my luck at poker. Even when I decided to really gamble and split my tens when the dealer was showing a 4, I hit an ace on each for a good score. Towards the end, the dealer would have twelve and draw another ten a few times to help me out of my rut. When ever I decided to increase the betting to a level I have no right to, I either pushed the hand or took the win. After maybe 20 minutes, I thought I had pushed my luck far enough and I left the Blackjack tables having earned back the buy in I just lost with the pocket jacks.

When did I become such a fish? Or is it that I have only just noticed?

From mid April to mid May, I was unbeatable. I experienced an upswing of great magnitude, and in that small time frame my per hour profit grew by nearly 300%. Games where I was normally happy to walk away with a double my money I was now getting 8x and 9x my buy in, without trying. It was a great feeling.

But as I knew, all along, the upswing must end. I have been made aware of this violently during the last week. In the process of trying to earn this bonus, I have already lost 85% of what the bonus is worth, but pulling out now would really make it worse.

And then I came to a realisation. Well, two in fact. Firstly, this is gambling. There is not a poker player in the world that can not honestly say luck has nothing to do with it, we all know that. The object is to limit it's influence as best we can. The other realisation is that all this money is not mine – it never has been. I am taking other peoples money and trying to get a ROI of 80% on it (which is where my ROI was before the last week. Now it is at 63%). When the results have not gone my way, I think myself unlucky. But really, I have nothing to complain about. Once I clear the raked hand requirements, I'll still get my vouchers from Poker Source Online. It may have cost me double what they are worth, but on the grand scale of things, it is still free to me.

And if I ever get my game back to where it was, then I will gain even more.

But seriously, 64s? I raised to 7BB before the flop…