Angie’s No-Fail, Guaranteed-to-Win World Series of Poker Tournament Strategy

Whenever I tell people that Mike is in Las Vegas, they invariably ask if it’s for business or pleasure.   I never quite know how to answer.  “Kind of both?” I usually reply.

True, he eats a lot of In-N-Out Burger, spends some time at the pool, maybe even catches a Ke$ha/Pitbull concert.  So yes, he does pleasurable things in Las Vegas (but not too pleasurable, or I won’t let him go back).  The main reason is to play poker, at which he is all business.  Or so I thought.

June in Las Vegas means World Series of Poker time.  Anyone can play, as long as you’re 21 and can pony up the entry fee for the tournament.  Mike did play in the Main Event one year – this is the tournament you’ve probably seen aired on ESPN.  The Main Event is $10,000 to enter and is Texas Hold’em – the game of poker most people are familiar with.    There are actually 62 events over 50 days in the WSOP, with many different variants of the game being played.  Mike is partial to Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better.  Is that a mouth-full or what?  If you’re cool, you just call it PLO8.

A few weeks ago, he played in the $1500 PLO8 tournament.  I can’t speak to his experience, but for me, it’s always a roller coaster of emotions.  The days and hours leading up to the event are filled with daydreams of what would happen if he won big.  Once the event starts, I wait nervously for tweets and phone calls updating his status.  There are the highs of knowing he’s doing well, which can all too quickly turn into the ultimate low of hearing him say, “I’m out.”

He did well in this year’s tournament, just not as well as he would’ve liked – making the final table and raking in all that cash would be nice.  Still, he finished “in the money,” which means he lasted long enough bring some money home.  It’s been two weeks since he played in the WSOP, but he’s still rehashing his final hands that led to his tournament demise.  From time to time, Mike will recount specific hands like this or talk to me about strategy.  I’m not sure why he thinks I’m qualified to offer anything remotely helpful.  I can’t even come up with a decent strategy to win at Go Fish.

And then he showed me a series of official WSOP pictures that were taken of him during his tournament and I came up with a brilliant strategy that is sure to make him a bracelet winner next year …

When playing in the World Series of Poker, refrain from napping during tournament play.

Yup, that’s definitely his strategy next year.


Online Poker Disappears, “Honey-Do” Lists Across America Rejoice

One of the benefits to the downfall of online poker is that all of sudden projects around the house are getting done with ninja-like efficiency. 

We've been in this house for five years now, and every time the weather warms up we lament about the state of our patio.  Our house came with the standard small slab patio.  Just enough room for a grill, and maybe a chair or two, but not much else.  We dreamed of something different and bigger, so that we could enjoy the beautiful Indiana summer evenings and maybe even entertain every once in awhile.  

We even went so far as to get a quote once.  I think we got in a little over our heads with our definition of something "different and bigger."  Between the landscaping, brick walls and pergola, upgrading our little sad slab was going to cost us thousands of dollars.  Yes, that would be the plural of "thousand."  If you've ever driven around our neighborhood, you realize how insane that really is.  I love our house, but let's just say you won't ever see the Parade of Homes in our neighborhood.  

The perfect storm of no poker, me and the kids going out of town for a week, and a well-timed tax refund resulted in Project DIY Patio.  I have to say, Mike did an amazing job.  For a guy who didn't start out our marriage handy in the least bit, that guy can rock a DIY project these days.  


We ended up leaving the original slab instead of tearing it up and adding pavers around it.  In addition to some landscaping, Mike dug out a medium bed against the house for me to plant some vegetables that won't fit in our raised bed.  



Note the rain barrel at the end of the bed, courtesy of the Fishers Stormwater Program. It excites me way more than it should.

We've already used the patio more in the last month than we did all of last summer.  It's a great spot to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day, and maybe work on that honey-do list.  It doesn't look like poker is coming back for awhile, and a woman needs to keep her ninja busy.



FBI Shuts Down Online Poker, Ticking Off Millions of Poker Players and One Mommyblogger


Don't quit your day job, baby.

Something is different around here.  The office chair, which once was occupied in the evenings by the resident poker player, sits empty most nights.  The double screens of our home PC, which once were filled with eight poker tables at a time, are black and empty.  I used to jokingly describe myself as a poker widow.  If that was true, it looks like my poker husband has come back from the dead.

On Friday, April 15th, the FBI shut down the two largest online poker sites, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.  The owners of the sites were charged with bank fraud and money laundering, and the 8 to 10 million Americans who play online poker found themselves, and the money in their online accounts, locked out.

I've put off writing about the topic because my feelings about the situation are divided.

On one side, I'm relieved.  I'm relieved that Mike is no longer playing poker full-time.  The possibility of the sites being shut down was always looming over us like a black cloud.  We had countless conversations about how much to keep online – how much is a decent bankroll to play successfully versus how much is irresponsible to keep in what amounted to a very risky online "savings account."  I hate that his dream didn't quite pan out, but I'm eternally grateful that he has a job with health insurance and paychecks we can count on.  I felt that, for all the time invested in poker, the guarantee of the money was too risky to build plans on.

On the other hand, I'm more than annoyed with how this is all going down.  You see, I have a hard time understanding how some gambling, in some states is okay, but online poker in all 50 states is not okay.  For once and for all, I wish the powers that be would decide: gambling good?  Or gambling bad?  Staunch supporters of poker say that poker is different – that it is a game of skill and not chance.  I can't say either way, I get flummoxed by a simple game of Go Fish.  But I can't wrap my head around laws that say playing poker in the privacy of your home is illegal, but the riverboat down the road or the lottery tickets for sale around the corner are just fine.  To me, it's no different that telling us we can't smoke weed at home, but come on down to our flashy palace and have some fine crack.

I'm annoyed because, in an economy that's been difficult for most everyone, online poker has provided a small but steady stream of side income for our family.  You know what shady, degenerate things we've done with Mike's poker earnings?  We've used it to pay down the mortgage on the home we own, giving the government one less foreclosed home to worry about.  We've used it to fund our retirement accounts, ensuring that as we age, the government won't have the burden of taking care of us.  We've used it to help a family in need pay for an adoption they desperately wanted but couldn't afford.  We've used it to become debt-free.  We've used it so I could stay at home with the kids full-time.  I know, it's despicable, isn't it?  

And all this time, Mike has kept meticulous records and spent hours working with a CPA to make sure we claim each and every cent as taxable income.  It's not easy.  Why?  Because there are no hard and fast rules to follow as to how to claim these earnings.  We, along with the majority of poker players we know, do it because it's the right thing to do.  

You know what I would like?  I'd the federal government to finally sit down and take a good look at this online poker stuff.  Really look at.  Listen to all those for it, and all those against it.  And then decide, once and for all, what to do with it.  My suggestion?  Make it legal and tax the hell out of it.  I hear there's a budget deficit or something.  Perhaps a cut of the $500 million+ revenue from online poker would help?  

But what do I know?  I'm just a recovering poker widow.  Now excuse me while I step down from my soapbox and help Mike find a new hobby.

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