Archive for August 2008

The Mouse in the Sunday Maze

Sunday has turned out to be the biggest day in online poker. It’s gotten so big in fact, that brick and mortar tournament organizers have adapted their schedules with the knowledge that fields will be smaller because the online events offer so much value. Online Sunday buy-ins to First Place Dollars is a ratio that can’t be and isn’t being ignored by poker tournament players.

Every online network whether stand alone or multiple skin sites is trying to compete in the Sunday time slots, but where to play and why?

There are buy-in events that range from $65 to $500 and events that start at 8AM eastern and run throughout the day. There are shootouts, knockouts and re-buy events as well.

Events can start with as little as 1500 in chips and go up to 10,000!

So with the multitude of opportunities where does one point his or her mouse on a Sunday? Further, is there a site you shouldn’t point your mouse.

This answer of course depends on your bankroll, but if all things were equal and you had a choice I think the clear cut winner is:

Best Overlay would be BoDog, now at $250,000.00, it’s been awhile since I’ve played here, but their overlays are famous

Best Value, meaning most $$ for your buy-in is PokerStars. Their Sunday Million is now up to 1.5 Million for 200+15. Also, they give you 10,000 in starting chips. That’s a real plus for me because you can really play the game.

Best Re-buy event might be the 65.00 buy-in Multiple re-buy on Microgaming $175,000 guaranteed, which isn’t the biggest out there, but if you get there on 1 buy-in of 65.00 it’s a great ratio.

The Worst value I think is Full Tilt. Their Sunday Guarantee is $750.000 which is half the guarantee of Stars with the same buy-in; in fact they even charge you 1.00 more in juice! Further they only give you 3000 in starting chips, why? More embarrassing still is the Sunday Warm up on Stars is a 750,000 guarantee for the same 215.00 where once again you get 10,000 starting chips and some days is an overlay.

There is an upside; if you knock out one of the FT pros you get 200 and a t-shirt. Then again, who wants to play against pros in a 200 event?

What I’d like to see is a challenge put out by all rooms where if you make more than 1 final table in a Sunday Guarantee you get a bonus. This would benefit all rooms as they would get more players and the guarantees would go up.

Either way Sundays is now reserved for online poker. My wife doesn’t even schedule family outings anymore!

Hope to see you at the tables.

Where are you pointing your mouse?

Hope that helps

Warren Karp

Cheating In Tournaments, Stronger than ever!!

After coming back from spending seven weeks in Vegas for the WSOP I was thrilled to take off from playing tournaments for 3 weeks. I got to do some things around the house, not the least of which was spending time with my beautiful wife and daughter.

Alas, all good things must come to an end and it was August so it was time for the Legends event to begin at the Bicycle casino in Los Angeles, so back to work I went. I made my 45 minute trek up to LA from the OC and was pleasantly surprised to see 800 players for a 300.00 event

This is when the reality of playing in L.A. hit me again. I’m not sure why I forget what it’s like but it takes less than the first round for me to see. Cheating in L.A. is rampant and off time it’s blaring. So visible that it might as well be in 30 foot letters scanning 42nd street and Times Square.

I hear quotes like:

I didn’t want to bust you so I bet small

I could have gone all in there but you’re a friend

Our home game wouldn’t be the same if I busted him

Words in Farsi after a hand between two participants

Words in multiple languages in fact, Vietnamese, Pilipino, Chinese, Hebrew Etc.

The words in English are offensive enough to me, merely because I understand the implications.

What they are all saying is, I don’t want to bust out a friend, a clan member and home game buddy, my backer etc…In other words CHEATING!!

Cheating is rampant in LA, not that this kind of cheating isn’t happening elsewhere, I know it is, but maybe because L.A. is such a vast community that all gather at either the Bike of Commerce that I find it so visible.

Worse is the notion that these players don’t even think they’re cheating!

When I ask ‘why wouldn’t you bust him”?, the answers are un-real:

‘Well he’s the host of my home game”

“Hey sorry, I’m not busting the guy who backs me”

“I want to keep him in because we drove together”

“I would have beaten you with my pair, but I folded because it was you that raised”

and many more unbelievable answers…

Worse come from the guys that know they’re cheating but have a hard time with their justifications. From these guys I hear:

“Hey I never slow play, but I’ll make a big bet or move all-in to let him know where I’m at”

“I won’t lay down a big pair, but I probably will not go for that flush or straight draw”

Ladies and Gentleman, you are all cheating and you should be penalized, thrown out and should never be allowed in poker tournament.

Aren’t you being to harsh here Warren?

NO, I’m not, this is no different that passing chips to a friend in the bathroom

Soft playing is cheating

Not betting your nut hand in last position is cheating

Keeping a friend or a backer or a horse in an event when you can bust them is cheating

I hope someday that those who do this are dealt with properly and those who are now getting away with it will stop

Hope that helps

Warren Karp

UIGEA has its teeth “PIC”ed

The UIGEA (unlawful internet gaming enforcement act) has been a hindrance for some, meaning those that still find a way to get their funds online. The law has been an absolute non starter for others, the ones who chose not to find a way to play online and have moved either to Brick and Mortar casinos or home games. There are still others who’ve moved to subscription sites, where you “legally” pay a monthly fee to play poker online

Remember the UIGEA doesn’t say anywhere in its many words that it’s illegal for anyone to play online poker. No it’s interpreted as saying that it’s now incumbent on Banks not to transact with online gaming sites and further to do their own enforcement of the same.

To that end some payment processors have removed themselves from the market and further some online poker site have decided it’s best to concentrate their efforts elsewhere and have removed the ability to play poker on their network if you live in the United States.

This mixed bag of reaction to the UIGEA has left many sites, players and processors looking for ways to shake hands again. There are still dozens of sites that cater to the US market and those with a will have found the proverbial way to continue to play.

One company, however, has taken to heart another old proverb “that there must be a better way’. That company is the PIC Club or Players Investment Club and is located at

One bold and bright for online poker players’ statement in the UIGEA explains that while banking institutions can not transact with online poker sites there are some businesses that are exempt from this law. One of those businesses is the Commodity Trading business. In other words you can’t stop a company house like a Schwab or E-trade or Lynch from investing in businesses or trading in commodity products around the world.

The PIC Club is exactly that, an internationally licensed Commodity Trading Company. So literally the UIGEA says it’s ok for a company like the PIC Club to transfer funds between it and any other business. Another way to put it is the UIGEA says it’s legal for the PIC Club to operate as a Commodity Trading Company to transact with anyone it chooses. The PIC Club just happens to be the first of its kind to choose to trade in poker as a product.

How does that help you as a player then?

Well as I understand it here’s how it works:

You deposit into PIC Club, well actually you are buying shares of a product with the same value as your deposit. Because you own these shares, PIC Club will at your request to transfer, sell the shares you own to the poker room. The poker room places the money that they owe you for those shares in your players account for you to play with. You can transfer all or a portion of them to an online poker site…then you can play, transfer, and withdraw. You even transfer between rooms thru the PIC Club interface.

There are also some great features like PIC Club only member benefits. There’s a Pro Team filled with names of high end players, a Celebrity team filled with Hollywood notables. These teams are found weekly at some PIC Club tournament on one of the networks. You get a chance to play with some great folks who kindly have a bounty on their head each week. Further because they move around, you get to download and play on other online poker software. That broadens your game play and who knows you might just find that perfect game for you!!

Now, here’s one of the coolest features for me. Every transaction you make they remove a dollar and put it for you into an interest bearing investment account which you get back during the winter holidays, just in time for gift giving. In 2007 this account paid 14% interest to all PIC Club members.

Withdrawal is as easy as depositing, all PIC Club does buy your shares and then send you back your money, hopefully if you played good it’s more than you deposited!!

This begins a new era in online poker and banking for online poker, me, I’m glad I joined the PIC Club and I recommend you do too.

Hope that helps

Warren Karp

A New Ask me Poker Forum

Back in the old days when I used to write for Card Player magazine, people used to come up to me and chat like they knew me. They told me that because of my style of writing, it seemed as though I was talking directly to them. Instead of it just being a column I was writing the words jumped off like a conversation. I took this as a compliment and haven’t changed my writing style since. The only downfall I suppose is that it gave my readers license to ask me questions about the game, their game and game strategy as we were playing.

The above was one of the reasons I originally opened the PokerMD website. It was a place I could tell my stories, talk about my trip reports, tell people where my up-coming events were happening, but most important was the forum.

Whenever players would ask me things at the table, I’d say “I won’t answer that here, but if you post it on my forum I’ll answer anything. Game strategy, where the best tournaments are, who the best players are and I’ll even include the hand I bluffed you with!!

I laughed and said seriously that the PokerMD site was founded to help players. After-all, the category I wrote for in Card Player was for “The Beginner”. Poker has been very good to me and I’ve always wanted to give back to the industry.

About 6 months ago my good friend and owner of asked me to help jump start his forum with an Ask the PokerMD section. I was flattered and honored but told him that hardly anyone knows me anymore and he might not get any hits. He pushed the issue and up went the section on the forum.

He was right and I was flattered again. More importantly I found that my advice still rings true with many players and that I can still help in some small way. I’ve been told by many readers of that forum that I’ve flat out helped their game. It’s very satisfying!!

So I decided it was time to give back to my loyal PokerMD readers and new PokerMD readers to come. I am re-opening my own forum on the PokerMD website (it will be active soon)

Ask anything, there’s very little I won’t cover. Be specific and remember there’s no question that’s too stupid or I won’t cover. Live play, tournaments, poker books I recommend etc. The range of readers includes pros to beginners, so a question you might think is dumb is on plenty of reader’s minds.

Look for the Forum to open soon and keep those questions and suggestions coming in. The PokerMD site is as much you’re as it is mine if you want it to be and as my tag line always says….

Hope that Helps

Warren Karp