Jason's Poker Blog

  1. 2011-03-03 05:46:39

    Feds Raid San Francisco Bay Card Rooms

    A little birdy dropped this info into my mailbox today. It's common knowledge, but I wouldn't have seen it otherwise. Thanks, little birdy! :)

    Drugs, Gangs, and Money Laundering, Oh My!

    I haven't played at these clubs, but I know a lot of people who have. Crrrrrazy.

    Was anybody who uses at the places when the raids occurred?

    Posted by Jason M at 2011-03-03 05:46:39 | permalink | Discuss (2 comments)

  2. 2010-06-04 20:34:23

    2010 World Series of Poker - Preparation

    What's up, people of 'Soup? As usual, it's been a while... Thanks for sticking around or just checking this out for the first time.

    I know a lot of members of this site are hitting up the 2010 WSOP, and I am no exception. I am slated to play on Day 1 of the $1000 event #36 on Saturday, 6/19. I will also be playing (with Adrian) in the 3-day $1500 event #42 on Wednesday, 6/23. I haven't had much time to play this year, so I'm pretty excited.

    See You There?

    Thomas, a.k.a. Shadow, a.k.a. DJ Unknown, will be turning 21 the weekend before the tournaments, so I will be in town 6/18-6/27. Let me know if you want to hang out any time.

    If you have played or are playing this year, feel free to post it in here or in the PokerSoup forums. Any interesting stories or suggestions would be great to hear. Thanks!

    Twittering Updates

    I'm going to try to post updates on my Twitter feed:

    Posted by Jason M at 2010-06-04 20:34:23 | permalink | Discuss (3 comments)

  3. 2010-01-05 07:43:47

    Where are Full Tilt Poker Player Notes Stored on my Mac or PC?

    It's been a long time, but I haven't had much of anything to say about poker. Hopefully you find this post useful. If you don't think taking player notes when you play online poker is a good practice, you can stop reading this.

    I was recently in a tournament against some players I knew I had notes on, but that nice little triangle in the corner that signifies stored notes was not appearing. What?!

    I did some digging, and it turns out the player notes you enter are stored on your computer. That means any notes you take on one computer will not be available if and when you play on a different computer. This could be especially devastating if you take good notes, win some cashola, and get a new computer to go pro (like a good player would). Or, it can just be a big annoyance for a player like me, who plays on different computers over the course of a week and likes to remember basic notes on common opponents.

    File Locations

    There is a fix. The player notes information is stored in easily readable XML files. You can view (and edit) these files with any text editor. Here are sample locations and names of the files:

    PC C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\my-full-tilt-username.xml
    Mac /Users/my-mac-username/Library/Application Support/FullTiltPoker/my-full-tilt-username.xml

    File Structure

    Like I said earlier, the file structure is XML, which is human readable, but has a few quirks. Go here for a tutorial if necessary.

    Below is a sample player notes file from a Mac. The PC version is essentially identical. Note the "do not edit this file" comment. You can ignore that.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!-- Do not edit this file -->
    <PLAYERDATA version="1.0" xsi:schemaLocation="" xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="">
    <NOTE PlayerId="Big Donkey" ColourIx="7" Text="Terrible&#10;&#10;calling station on river" />
    <NOTE PlayerId="Great Player" ColourIx="13" Text="Do not play against this guy" />

    Here is a table that describes the "NOTE" element attributes:

    Attribute Description
    PlayerId The player's name
    ColourIx The color of the note indicator triangle; possible values: 0-13; this attribute can be left out (which represents the color selection "NONE")
    Text The notes on the player

    The value of the text field may contain some weird looking characters, such as "%#10;" in the example above. These are just encoded versions of a new line. Some other characters, such as greater/less than and apostrophes are also encoded.

    The Solution - Moving/Consolidating Files

    Warning: the Full Tilt application writes out the player notes file after you close the application. Any notes you take while the application is running will not be reflected in the file real-time. Any edits you make to the file will be lost if you then exit the application.

    If you need to reinstall everything or get a new computer and want to transfer your notes, just keep this file and put it in the right place on your new install. If you are converting between a Mac and PC, you may have some of character encoding issues (such as "%#10" showing up instead of a new line), but you will be able to see your player notes when you start the Full Tilt application and fix it from the application, or by editing the file directly.

    It is slightly more complicated to consolidate files from two computers into one file. The basic problem is if a file has two separate player note entries for the same player, it is indeterminate as to which note will appear or get updated, so you may "lose" notes without even switching computers.

    A little by-hand magic can solve this problem if you don't find or write a script to help you. I didn't want to write a script just yet, so this is the procedure I followed. I used Microsoft Excel to help me remove any duplicates:

    1. Close the Full Tilt application on both computers
    2. Copy both files to the same computer
    3. Copy all of the lines that begin with "<NOTE" from each file into Microsoft Excel
    4. Sort the file by column A
    5. Look for duplicate "PlayerId" attributes, which should show up right after each other; Copy the "Text" value from the second one into the first and delete the second row from the spreadsheet
    6. Replace all the "<NOTE" lines in one of the files with the rows that remain in the spreadsheet
    7. Save the file and put it into the original location

    The Fun Begins...

    I hope that helps. It might be interesting to find other uses for knowing the location and contents of these files. Here are some suggestions. I suggest using an XML editor. Good/fancy text editors will usually support context-based highlighting to make it easier to read XML.

    • You can check out all the notes you ever took (without running into the player). I went through and updated a few notes on players I recently played against and cleaned out a few useless notes.
    • If you don't want to use any poker opponent/hand tracking software, you know where to go to look up the players who you have marked as easy targets. I've often had times when I knew I took a note on somebody, but I couldn't remember who it was.

    Let me know if you can think of other ways to use this file. Thanks for reading!

    Posted by Jason M at 2010-01-05 07:43:47 | permalink | Discuss (2 comments)

  4. 2009-09-19 05:54:26

    Poker Life Updates

    Megan has to work early tomorrow so she's asleep and it's too late for me to start an online session, so I figured I'd catch up on the site. That got me thinking that I haven't really posted here in a while, so I'd write an update for all my lovely fans (hah).

    I haven't really been playing much at all. I might have played 10 times since the WSOP aside from the Monday night online PokerSoup games. I had a good run cashing in those almost every time, but that has stopped for the last month. I played a 40-person tournament not so long ago and drank waaaay too much tequila, especially considering I'm taking medication that increases the effects of alcohol. I didn't do too well. Oops. Stephen of "Stephen and Jeff from Las Vegas" fame was over for my birthday, so we played some small cash games. I ended up being ahead, mostly because my saw a flop of against his and the board didn't pair. Stephen was not hitting much and was finally happy to have a quality hand to get it all in on the turn. Sorry, dude!

    I've been watching the WSOP Main Event on ESPN. It's fun to see Hellmuth playing "every hand". He should have started doing that bout 3 years ago. His edge is his situational game (he can read cards, betting patterns, and body language very well), not so much his nittiness. Is that a word? The guy is a total dick so often, but you gotta love his ability. I'm hoping they show more Ivey as he progresses through the tournament. I'd like to see some of the awesome decisions he makes. How about the army father and the cancer dude? Wow, that is some serious stuff.

    Last night I played in 4 tournaments on Full Tilt: one single-table and three 45-persons. Of course, I was doing other random stuff, so I wasn't paying enough attention to the individual players, but I managed a 2nd place in the single-person game. I got knocked out on a bad beat in one of the 45-person games, made a dumb all in in another one, and bubbled on the third one. Which brings me to:

    $11 5-table (45-person) tournament on Full Tilt. The blinds are at 300/600 and you have 4000 left. You are in 5th place in chips out of 7 players (6th place pays). Your image is relatively tight, but not a nit (they've seen you make loose calls to knock other players out when pot odds demand it). You recently doubled up when you shoved and called (thanks!).

    You are on the button and it folds to you. The players in the blinds have 3000 in chips (1000 less than you). What do you do with your ? I shoved, got called by and lost. I was happy to get my money in good, and even if I decided to only raise pre-flop (raaaarely limping there), the dude rainbow flopped two-pair so he would have checked it to me and I would have c-bet. In other words, I was doomed, this time, but what's the best EV play?

    I'm going with the shove. Or the $2750 bet, just for fun (effectively putting them all in). What you say?

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-09-19 05:54:26 | permalink | Discuss (5 comments)

  5. 2009-06-24 00:23:07

    Leaving for the 2009 World Series of Poker

    It's that time of the year again! Tomorrow (06/24) Adrian and I are leaving for Las Vegas in the wee hours of the morning (to us, 8am is within the "wee hours" timeframe). We are staying at the Rio for a week and playing in two $1500 WSOP events, as well as many as two Venetian Deep Stack tournaments and of course as much cash game action at the Rio (and hopefully a bit at the Venetian) as we can handle.

    A lot of PokerSoupers have already played in Vegas during the WSOP this year and have done fairly well. I hope Adrian and I don't disappoint!


    I will be posting updates on my POKERadical blog here at PokerSoup and also potentially on my Twitter feed. I might even get Facebook and Twitter tied together before I leave.


    Posted by Jason M at 2009-06-24 00:23:07 | permalink | Discuss (9 comments)

  6. 2009-06-22 01:07:52

    2009 WSOP Main Event Satellites - WOW

    Chad has been messing around with the PokerStars satellites to WSOP. There are a lot of ways to get in cheaply and have a shot at playing at the main event. Chad has done pretty well playing in some of the smaller satellites, but hasn't made it into any of the big games. We decide to spend the day trying to do just that, and we did :)

    I still had $60 in my PokerStars account from when Tony gave me the $11 to play in the record-breaking tournament a while back. We stuck our money into various $7, $8, and $11 satellites. We busted out of a few but got in the top 14 out of 100 in one of the $7, which qualified us for a $215 Shoot-Out with 81 players and a first-prize winner-take-all of a main event seat. It was actually pretty easy... we folded a lot, shoved a lot, and sooner or later didn't get unlucky.

    Shortly after that my cousin Adam arrived, so the three of us plus my roommate Garrett were all working the table.


    We folded a lot and finally got and somehow got it all in with 3 other people: , , . We tripled up and we didn't realize it was a shoot-out until we were playing 4-way and the tables weren't being balanced. We changed out strategy to win the table and managed to get heads up as a 3-to-1 underdog. For whatever reason, our opponent folded every small blind and every time we raised, so we got closer to 2-to-1 and woke up with . We raise, he shoved, and we called and made it was to change the chip lead to a 2-to-1 favorite for us. The very next hand we had and he had and we advanced to the final table.

    At this point we couldn't believe we had a 1/9 chance of winning the seat. We buckled down and tried to concentrate on how everybody played. Jeff (weezermoo) suggested that many of the players would be playing pretty tight, so we should figure out who that was and take advantage of it.

    The blinds were reset to 10/20 and the stacks were set to 1500. It was a turbo tournament, so blinds went up every 5 minutes.

    We limped early with , , and but missed each time. We stole some blinds with decent hands, and re-raised from late position with to win another pot. A couple players dropped out and we were 6 away from the seat!

    We started the hand with about 1500. The blinds were 50/100 and we opened a pot to 300 with from middle position when one player (the chip leader) limped. We raised and he called. He had been playing fairly loose to get his chip lead, so with 750 in the pot and 1200 in our stack, we were ready to commit our chips if we hit. The flop was . The player bets into us for 500, and so we ship it in with our top-pair, next-to-top-kicker and gut-shot draw. He thought for a bit and called withi ! The turn was and the river was , of course :(


    We managed to get 14th in a 150+ person $11 satellite and qualified for a $109 seat-winning tournament that will start in an hour or so. Wish us better luck this time :)

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-06-22 01:07:52 | permalink | Discuss (7 comments)

  7. 2009-05-06 23:58:05

    Random Weekend Poker Happenings

    I played in a deep stack tournament this weekend at Dub's. The game is always well run, and always a blast. We get shrimp, sandwiches, Coronas, and when Brent is there, plenty of Tequila :) This was the first time in a long time that I was able to fully commit to playing the whole night and I wasn't disappointed.

    I'm writing this for two main reasons. First, I gotta give props to Dub for the game and to all the players that make it a great time. If you aren't in on these games, you should be jealous :) It's tough to get an invite, and sometimes even harder to RSVP in time to be able to participate. The second reason is there are a few hands I just don't want to forget. I think I played pretty well, and I want to be able to remember this when I'm feeling down about my play ability.

    The Setup

    12 players, mega-deep stacks (100k) and small blinds (100/200). Most people are very experienced, but a lot of players are playing for fun or have ulterior motives to get points for the end-of-season free-roll. The deep stacks allow for a lot of maneuvering. All in all, it's a great time.

    I started the game in 11th place on the leaderboard. Only the top 9 make it to the freeroll, so I had plenty of work to do. There were 3 players at the game that were all competing for these last spots and a couple other players who didn't make the game. I forget to mention that this was a "double points" game, so players who skip this game are at quite a disadvantage.

    Two more notes: there are 2-3 rebuys at each game, but they count against your points standing. Rebuying is as if you finished two places worse than you actually did. And taking out a player (bounty) is as if you finished a place higher.

    The Hands


    I had a fair amount of good hands early on, and did not hesitate to show them. That allowed me to pull of some pretty good bluffs. One in particular was against the Salt-man.

    I ended up seeing a flop with from the big blind.


    I flopped the dumb straight draw and called a small bet (there were 5+ people in the pot).


    No bets - awesome!


    I check and Salty makes a substantial bet. I decided that, based on his flop bet, he could easily have a flush draw or overcards, so I raised about 4 times his bet. After a lot of deliberation, he folds and uses his "show me" chip to force me to turn my hand over.

    When he saw the bluff, he (of course) was not pleased. It turns out he had and had turned the full house but though he was counterfeited on the river! Wow.


    I don't like using real names unless I have permission, so we'll call my nemesis "C". We were fighting for that 9th place and seem to get into hands frequently, so this hand was really important. Especially considering what a rebuy/bounty point differential would mean to the standings!

    I picked up under the gun. I limped in because I usually get called, so I don't like building a big pot when I'm going to be out of position. One or two people limp in from middle position and C limps from the button.


    Bingo! Well, it was little ugly, but fine. Again, since people tend to call me, I decided a check-raise is a better way to get people to pay the most for their draws (or build the biggest pot if I'm against a big ten). The pot has about 2k and C bet out 1k or so. I raised to 4k and was called fairly quickly. Heads up.

    Current pot: 10k

    This was not exactly a card I liked, but if I was "crushed" by a straight, that hasn't changed, because I don't think she was playing KQ. However, I decided it was time to put a big bet in to keep charging old draws and start charging the potentials new draws. I bet out about 10k and she called.

    Current pot: 30k

    That was pretty much the worst river possible. Ugh. I was hoping C didn't hit any of that and would be scared to bet, so I checked. If she was on , I don't think she would bet.

    C shoved all in for 80k! Oh my...

    There were so man conflicting emotions. If I call and take her out, that's huge for my chip stack and points. If I call and lose, I'm almost out and she'll surely outlast me and get more points. But something in the back of my head would not let me fold. I don't know if it was just me being stubborn, or if I was smelling something. I took a while (2-3 minutes?) and Dub called time on me. 30 seconds... What should I do? 20 seconds... A shove is so weak there... 10 seconds. Ugh, I call.

    C turns over

    She had top pair with a gut-shot and turned the second pair. Wow. Had the come on the river, could I have folded? Would she have shoved? Who knows. I have observed that sometimes when people make a "weakish" hand, they tend to overbet it, thinking that the strength will push a better hand out. Perhaps that's true. I did almost fold. Or maybe she was really value-betting me. Maybe she'd shove with the straight or flush there. I don't know.

    Chip city. Point city. Awesome!

    Return to Bluffland

    At this point I had a couple drinks, and a lot of chips, so why not limp in with , right? Who cares if I'm UTG.

    Salty limped in and made a comment "only for Jason", so I immediately put him on a middle suited/gapped hand like or . The latter is one of my many "favorite hands" with this group, and I do tend to limp and raise with those hands in late position here.

    The flop came

    I checked and Salty bet about half of the pot. I had him on a single pair and I had overcards, as well as the back-door flush draw, so I called. I figured I could take it away on the turn if any overcard came and perhaps even make the better hand. I might even see a river for free if he was being more creative. I called.


    At this point, I gave up. One of the hands I put Salty on was , so it's over. I checked. Salty checked. At this point, I should have figured he didn't make his hand (straight or two pair), because he would have bet. The last hand I bluffed him, he didn't bet when he made his hand here and I was able to take it away from him on the river. However, I guess history shows he will check the turn with the near nuts when he's in late position against me. I don't know. This matters more on the river, anyway.


    I actually had to look at my hand to verify that this was for real. Holy crap! I still put Salty on the straight (error?) so I decide I'm going to play the hand the exact same way the previously bluffed hand played out. I checked, he bet (yes!) and I thought for about 5 seconds and put the stack of all my 10k chips into play. I was too dumb to make sure it was enough to cover him (remember, bounties), but it turned out it was enough. After a couple minutes Salty begrudgingly called and was not happy to see my nuts on the table!

    I still don't know what he had. I second-guessed my "straight" read, especially after he took so long to call the river. Maybe would be a closer guess? If so, why did he not bet the turn? I guess that's what he does? The only other thing I could think of is . That explains the bet on the flop, the check on the turn, and the bet/call on the river for a straight-forward player. Any ideas?

    It was awesome how the hand played out exactly as the previous bluff hand. Wow, how "lucky" for it to go down like that, right?


    Eventually, it became 3-way and the stacks were pretty small compared to the blinds. I got it all in with . From the small blind called and the big blind shoved with . I was in and the small blind folded. I missed and finished in third :(

    The Result

    I'm in 8th place on the leaderboard with 2 more games to go. Woo woo!

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-05-06 23:58:05 | permalink | Discuss (11 comments)

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