Can Social Media help a new Poker site grow?

Social Media Landscape
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While this topic is almost completely out of my area of expertise, I am fortunate to have a terrific resource – my son, Chris of ChrisBrogan.com. He has given a lot of help to a lot of people over the years on how to expand one’s presence over the web-o-sphere. In just one post, he gives links to 10 articles he wrote on the subject, entitled “My Best Advice About Social Networking”. I think this would be a valuable starting point for any company looking to grow their customer base.

My question is how would that relate to a fledgling poker site? What could they do to attract more players? The site I am thinking about has a well designed and very friendly-to-use poker interface. They accept US players. Who could ask for anything more? It seems that they need more players so that more games are available to be played in.

I think that they should be announcing the fact that they have many freerolls each day; that they have many guaranteed tournaments each day;  and that they have a variety of games to offer!

How can they go about getting more players and getting the word out?

1. Twitter – they already have a twitter account, but they could use it to announce that a “freeroll” is starting in an hour or that a “guaranteed” tourney is starting in an hour. They could use a twitter hash tag of #poker as many poker players on twitter search for tweets with that tag. They could even create a unique hash tag of their own. (They did start doing that on August 31st, but since then they have only had 23 tweets overall. Even I tweet a little bit more than that.)

2. Blog – they could have a blog where they talk about what up coming games are available and also what promotions are coming up. They could keep it simple and informative.

3. Facebook – they could have a face book presence and seek friends that are interested in poker. (Not really sure how that works? This is where I am getting a little out of my area. I don’t use Facebook enough to know what I am doing with it.)

Again, these are just some random thoughts about how a new poker site could start to build up a presence in an already crowed arena. Sometimes being smaller is better. Hopefully they will continue to grow.

Do you think that social media can help an online poker site expand their presence in an already crowed arena? Is it in the best interest of poker players to have yet another site out there? Should we as players help a site grow?

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More time spent at Full Rush Poker

A picture of a texas hold'em poker table, with...
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I consider myself to my a Limit Hold ‘Em player. That is a form of Texas Hold ‘Em that I have studied the most and have had good results with. One other reason for playing Limit Hold ‘Em is to control the amount of variance or losses that I might sustain during the course of time. In the past, whenever I attempted to change over to No Limit Hold ‘Em cash games, the results have been disastrous to say the least.

There is quite a difference between the two styles of play. While I have had reasonable success with No Limit Hold ‘Em in tourneys and Sit N Go’s, it has not been my best cash game choice.

I mentioned in my post about “Full Rush Poker” having a new and small online poker site. While there were over 600 players when I logged in, no one was playing at the limit tables. My only choices were No Limit Hold ‘Em or Omaha Pot Limit, both the High and High/Low version.

There was little or no one waiting to play at the Sit N Go’s. I signed up for one low entry fee  Sit N Go and joined a No Limit Hold ‘Em table, where the stakes were .05/.10 with an initial buy in of $5.00.

This time my results were much better. I believe this is because I am starting to understand the game better. I would only play a hand if the cards I was dealt were strong enough to play based on my position at the table.

If I was the first person to the left of the “big blind”, I would enter the hand if I had AA, KK, QQ, JJ, or AK. In middle position I would enter only if I had at least a pair of eights or better. In the late position, I would enter with as low as a pair of twos or suited connectors.

Depending on how loose the other players at the table were, I might also enter with suited connector as low as 9 8, if I was reasonably sure that I would not be raised or re-raised pre-flop.

By playing my cards in position, I was able to play the best hands and win small to large pots. At one point during the session, I had grown my original $5.00 to $17.00. I left the table with $12.00 overall. I felt very pleased with my results at No Limit. By the way, the Sit N Go that I signed up for, never filled up so I had to un-register before logging off of the site.

I base my previous results at No Limit on the fact that I played too many hands out of position, too many drawing hands too early, in bad position. I was also unable to fold many hands in spite of the evidence that they might not be the best hand.

What is your game of choice? Limit or No Limit? Do you follow the guidelines of playing hands in position? How have your results been?

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Thoughts about posts concerning running bad

Seven day old Donkey_0715
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Some of my posts of the last thirty days have contained statements I have made about running bad. While this certainly does happen, it is really not interesting to others, other  than myself and those who are winning against me.  One of the blogs that I read weekly is DonkFestPokeer.com whose motto is “Can’t Spot the Donkey’s? It’s You!”. His post was about how he was having the worse year ever. In the past, he had posted about “running bad” or losing,  but now,  has decided not to talk about running bad ever again. See his full post here.

I intend to do the same. I will endeavor to keep my post about what is going on in the poker world around me and the the poker community that I follow. I will do this while striving to be a better poker player and blogger.

That is not to say that I won’t post about a losing hand or bad session.  I just won’t whine about it,  I will tell you what I found interesting or what I learned from it. I will share some tips of what worked for me and what did not work.

Do you strive to keep positive? Are you able to maintain that positive attitude to help keep your spirits up? What to you do that motivates you to be a better player?

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Some online poker sites use the same network as others – OMG

An image of a person playing the poker varient...
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In previous posts, I said that one of my original sites for playing poker was DoylesRooms. But they had stopped taking on US players and my cash account was frozen and I had moved on to other sites. At some point, late last year or early this year, DoylesRoom started to allow US players back on thier site. I liked the new software but was reluctant to deposit funds based on what had happened in 2007.

I already had accounts on PokerStars and FullTiltPoker as well as UltimateBet. As a result of being on Twitter, I heard about a poker site called PokerHost.com and gave them a try. They had some Twitter Freerolls as they called them and I was able to cash in on some of them. It was fun. While they had a small number of players, I was able to find some games that I could play. Overall, I liked the site and the interface.

I still had an account with DoylesRoom but had not used the software in months. DoylesRoom sent me an email stating that they had totally changed their site as the result of join up with the Cake Poker Network.  I went ahead and installed the software and low and behold, the interface looked almost exactly like the PokerHost site but with different tournaments being offered.

My user name is slightly different on DoylesRoom as opposed to Pokerhost but I was able to figure out that I was on the same network because the number of active players and tables were almost identical when I logged out from one and logged into the other.  I then checked out CakePokerNetwork.Net and found out that Cake Poker runs the underlying software and each affiliate gets a special look or “skin” that is tailored to their specifications. Some of the tourneys offered are different. Some are the same.  I ran into the same players on both sites while I was using a different screen name.

It was not and is not my intention to fool anyone about this. But there are some tourneys on DoylesRoom and on PokerHost that I lke to play in and they are not available on both sites. So I pick and choose who I want to be and where I want to play. I can only  be logged into one site at a time. This prevents collusion that could occur if I played as two different users at the same table. I am glad to see that their security works.

Because of my membership with a group called Railbirds.Com I also belong to PlayersOnly.com which turns out is also on the Cake Poker Network. While I do have an account, I don’t and probably won’t put any funds there. There is no compelling reason to do so – currently.

Another site that I have an account with is AbsolutePoker and it turns out that they are on the same network with UltimateBet. Again, while the screens are different I can find the same players on either site. But I can only run one site at a time  which is fine by me.

The point of all this?  I would say that before you sign up you should check to see who runs the site. Who the owners? Do what they offer compel you to sign up and play at their site?

How many of you belong to online sites that are owned by the same network? What makes you play one site versus the other? Is there any benefit to being signed up to more that one site on the same poker network?

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Does it matter how many players are on a site at a given time?

Torneio Poker Player
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The short answer may be yes and no. I would say that it all depends on what is happening at a specific day and time.

For US players, the largest amount of players may be found at PokerStars (PS) and FullTilitPoker (FT) with PS having almost a two to one count.

This week PS is running the World Championship of Online Poker series of Tourneys. Buy-ins range from $109 to $25,500 with the bulk being at least $215 per event.

This event is geared to the professional or semi-pro or those wanting to take a shot at the largest prizes available. Because of this event, there are more people logged in at PokerStars than usual. This can have an effect on the other sites. The effect might depend:  smaller sites might gain some followers due to the slowing effect of large volumes on the bigger sites. The larger sites can siphon off some players who find games going on the larger sites that don’t normally have any tables available but do now because of the greater number of players at the site.

During the Spring Championship of Online Poker, I noticed a larger amount of players than usual. At that time I was playing a 2 to 7 triple draw game and usually had to wait for a seat. During the SCOOP, more tables were open and seats were readily available. Once the events had completed, the tables emptied and the waiting list lines grew again to pre-event levels.. I believe that FT had less players than usual as many players like myself have accounts at more than one site and go where the action is at the time.

I frequent many different sites, looking for the best and most profitable site to play at. I am still looking. I know I need to improve my skills in both playing and table selection.  I have just started to record the number of players at these sites. For about two weeks I will track the number of players at seven of the eleven sites that I have accounts with. I will record those numbers about every two hours.  I generally don’t play from 10 pm to 7am, but I will record those when I wake up during the night. Perhaps I will keep my netbook under my pillow?

For example, this morning at about 7am ET, I recorded the following:

8,337 players at Absolute Poker (Ultimate Bet), same poker network, different lobby
N/A at Bodog (they said they are working on adding this feature)
1,819 players at Carbon Poker
1,688 players at Dolyes Room (Players Only, PokerHost), same poker network, different lobby
291 players at Full Rush Poker
34,191 players at Full Tilt Poker
91, 595 players at Poker Stars
413 players at True Poker

I am not really sure what the data will tell me?  I do not know how I will use this information. Hopefully, it will be useful.

Do you have any thoughts on what the data might mean? Does it really matter? Do sites with less players have better or worse than average players? Do better players avoid the larger sites?

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Full Rush Poker – a preliminary review of this new poker site

Gambling man
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Based on the recommendation of fellow twitterer @Mitchell1969, I decided to try out a new poker site called “Full Rush Poker”, no association with “Full Tilt Poker”.  I tried doing an internet search on Full Rush Poker to determine who actually runs and owns it but came up empty.

I went to Mitchell Cogert’s website for more details and to use his link to download the software for Full Rush Poker.  The download and setup was easy. I registered my login name and screen name along with personal details. I made an initial deposit which was accepted within 12 hours of the first deposit. They do alert you that the first deposit can take up to 24 hours to validate and subsequent deposits will update almost immediately.

The next day, I logged into Full Rush Poker and was presented with the lobby screen.

Lobby Screen of Full Rush Poker

Full Rush Poker offers the basic poker games, such as Hold ‘Em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 7 Card Stud. They offer tournaments, Sit and Go’s, Steps. They even have a group called “Most Popular” which allows you find the most active games available.  Because this site is fairly new, there are not a lot of players and games available, so you might have to choose games you do not ordinarily play in order to participate.

I played in a rebuy tourney with 60 players, a No Limit Cash game and a Limit cash game my first time there. While my success at the games were not great, the experience was enjoyable and the table displays crisp and reasonable to work with.

table-view

You can try the site for free, you don’t have to make a deposit in order to play in their freerolls. They also have a twitter account that you can follow that will announce upcoming games. The twitter name is @FullRushPok.

Have you ever tried out new sites? What has been your expierence? Do you stay with them after the initial visit?

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Poker – Gambling addiction is a serious issue

Gambing Addict
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The following is a brief discussion on problem gambling. I bring it up because I know that it exists and want others to know as well. There are many avenues of help for the troubled gambler. Check your state to see what resources are available to help some one you know who has a gambling problem.

I play poker and while that might be considered gambling by some, I consider it a game of skill. Were it just a game of chance, I would not be able to win pots and hands playing with the worst hand. I have almost 60 books about poker strategy. I can compare the game to chess in that you attempt to make the best move and also try to figure out what move your opponent is making and why. The way I play it is not a game of chance.

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling “Problem gambling is gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. The term “Problem Gambling” includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as “Pathological”, or “Compulsive” Gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.”

I have played online games where observers will come to the virtual table and beg the other players at the table for funds. They will ask for money in order to play in a tourney that they know they can win or they will ask for money to play in a cash game. They know they can win enough playing to clear the bonus due them from playing. They will offer a 60 percent stake in their winnings if only you will help them out. That seems to me to be a problem gambler.

If you need your bankroll in order to pay the rent, buy food, clothing and other necessities then you may have a gambling problem and should seek help.

If your bankroll is separate from your day to day financial needs and your poker playing is not disrupting your personal life, you are on the right tract. There is nothing wrong with thinking and planning and discussing poker on a daily basis, especially if you are making a career out it.

If you or someone you know needs help, there are resources that can help. Besides the National Council on Problem Gambling there is also Gamblers Anonymous and their resources.

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Poker Players Alliance – A poker advocacy group

Poker Players Alliance
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The Poker Player Alliance (PPA), is considered to be the largest and most effective of all the poker advocacy groups in America. The following paragraph about the PPA is from their “about page” and says what they are about:

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is a non-profit membership organization comprised of online and offline poker players. Our membership consists of enthusiasts from around the United States who have joined together to speak with one voice to promote the game and protect the right to play poker in all its forms.”

I talked about the PPA in a previous post but felt that it was worth mentioning them again this “Labor Day” for all the labor they put forth in support of legalizing poker in the Unites States.

There are many ways that we can help out their cause. One is by donating our time to them. They hold rallies across the country and need support at those events. Joining them at the rallies would be very much appreciated. Another way to help them is by contacting the President of the United States as well as the Senators and Congressional Representatives of your state and telling them to support legalized poker in the U.S. There are forms at the PPA site that make that effort quite easy. Click “here to get to the forms”.

There is also a resource that allows you to find information about your own state and who to contact expressing your support for poker. Check out by clicking here!

Lastly, another way to help the cause is to donate cash to help pay for the costs of running their organization. Click here to donate. I became a paid contributor in 2007 and I am taking the time today to renew my membership with the Poker Player Alliance.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day!

e

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Poker to benefit Charities – and there are quite a few of them

Lady Luck Casino Hotel
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In New Hampshire, we have legalized gambling of a sort. Poker is played at our race tracks and at various poker rooms around the state.  The way it works is they take a portion of the rake, usually around 35c of every dollar goes to charity. The rake is the amount that an establishment is allowed to keep from every pot for expenses. Tips to the dealer from the players are separate. In NH the amount of rake per $10.00 in the pot is $1, with a maximum rake of $7.00 per pot. While 35 cents does not seem like much, it is amazing how it can accumulate during the course of a day, over several tables,and several poker rooms.

In Massachusetts, charitable organizations are allowed to hold Poker Tournaments with 50% of the money collected going to charity and the rest back to a few players in the form of prizes or gift certificates, some of which could be a gift card or a bank gift certificate with a dollar value attached to it.

Many of the larger online Poker Sites run poker events to benefit charities. Even some online groups help promote charity as part of their poker presence. There are some poker pros that sponsor their favorite charity on the site they are signed up with.. Just to mention one, Annie Duke of UltimateBet sponsors over four charities with some having tourneys benefiting them as well.

Pledging 1% of their tourney winnings are Rafe Furst,  Phil Gordon, Andy Block, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth among others. The money goes to the ‘Bad Beat on Cancer” charity.

In spite of the bad economy, poker is helping to support many charities too numerous to list. For more information go to WWW.WorthyCausePoker.com or search the internet.

Do you play at charitable poker events? Do you support any worthy charities as the result of your poker playing? What are your thoughts on this subject?

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Poker Blogs – and there are a lot of them out there`

Google Reader: Notes
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I subscribe to at least 58 poker blogs and I read most of them by using Google Reader, an online program by Google that lets me organize my blog reading into folders if I want.

Google reader shows new updates to blogs by Bolding them. Once they are read, the titles are un-bolded. Sometimes I need to read them directly as they only show a description and not the entire blog in Google Reader.

To use Google Reader, you need an account which is free. You can use an existing email account or create one just for this purpose. Once you have the Google Reader account you will be able to add blog subscriptions to it. Of course the blogs you add must use a service like RSS (Really Simple Syndication). See this link for more details. By clicking on the RSS symbol or right clicking on the address window you should be able to subscribe to the blog.

Many of these blogs are written by twitter friends that I have met in online poker rooms as the result of the Twitter Poker Tour. I have included many of them in my blog roll. Some of the blogs that I follow are written by poker professionals, such as Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson. Some of the blogs are by members and staff of online poker sites such as FullTiltPoker, PokerStars, Carbon Poker, PokerHost, and UltimateBet..

Some of the information is useful. It also can be entertaining. There are poker tips given that have helped me to think more strategically. There are notices about upcoming events and freerolls and special promotions.

I don’t always read or scan these updates daily and on occasion I will miss out on something that might have been fun or interesting regarding all things poker.

How do you manage your information? How do you keep current with poker events and news? How do you keep it all together?

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