Wednesday, April 25, 2007

UIGEA to be Repealed? Barney Frank Introduces Bill

Great news for U.S. Online Poker players and gamblers!
Bad news for the Euro's who've gotten used to the absence of the U.S. sharks!

Rep. Barney Frank, House Financial Services Committee Chairman, announces today that he will introduce legislation on April 26 to repeal the UIGEA. Hopefully this is a bill with a real chance of success. I'll be scouring the net for more information, but wanted to get this up as quickly as possible for those reading on their lunch break. This should make the last half of the work day much more tolerable for some of you.

Reason Your Pokerbot Will Be Banned #1: Session Length

There are many ways to flush the hard work of coding a bot down the toilet. Most seem obvious, but greed clouds judgement. The most important rule is to play reasonable session lengths!

Chances are that you will have an account or two banned as you go through your career as a botter. Don't panic. Before you begin, just assume it is going to happen and plan accordingly.

The most common reason for being banned (and your bankroll siezed more than likely) is the simple act of playing an unreasonable amount of hands per day/week/month or playing sessions of inordinate length.

Need an example? Datamine a day of Ultimate Bet micros. The bots there are so obvious it is comical. You'll find quite a few players there that multi-table all day, everyday, to suck up the UB "Points for Cash" free money. They aren't the smartest bots in the world, most either being a very predictable nutpeddler or a typical TAG that takes his hands too far. The point, however, is that they sit there all day, every day, in a way that any human regular at the tables will detect.

Most of your problems will stem from human players reporting you.

Again, using UB as our example, it is obvious that even a rudimentary security check by the site would reveal these bots to the site operator. UB has a record of not finding bots until they cashout, so I think these players will be in for a rude awakening at some point. Regardless of the site's vigilance in detecting a bot on their own, they WILL react when the customer complaints come rolling in...and if you play 80 hours a week, 6-tabling $10NL, the complaints WILL come.

Whether you are playing for testing, or playing for profit, you MUST resist the temptation to play more than is reasonable for a player. Also, take note that "reasonable" differs between levels. A reasonable $1/$2 semi-pro might run 5 or 6 tables for 8 hours in a day. A reasonable $.01/$.02 player will most certainly not.

Slow down. Use your head. This is a long ride.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Online Poker for U.S. Players Post UIEGA

Contrary to popular belief, there are several reputable online poker rooms accepting U.S. players. A small list of the most notable, recognizable, and trustworthy of U.S.-facing online poker rooms:

  • PokerStars - The largest online poker room in the world with a reputation for the best customer-friendly service in the business. No rakeback is available, but their frequent player point store can equal all but the most generous of rakeback offers for high volume players. The only thing keeping this site from #1 in all categories is the lack of rakeback. It truly is the bar by which all other sites are measured.

  • Full Tilt Poker - 3rd in overall total size, Full Tilt Poker is the largest U.S.-friendly site that offers rakeback to its players. Home of the most sponsored pros in the world and some of the biggest games spread online, Full Tilt is a railbird's paradise.

  • Ultimate Bet - Great software with a high number of hands per hour. They were recently bought out by the owners of Absolute poker and seem to have taken a turn for the worse as far as their customer service and player incentive bonus offers are concerned. The games are tighter than most sites and the micro-limits are swollen with obvious poker bot players. While this may sound like a bad thing, it is a great opportunity for testing yourself or your bot against stiff competition with very little risk. A $.02/$.04 table with 25% of players see the flop is not uncommon.

  • World Poker Exchange - 100% rakeback is the draw for WPEX. Traffic is light, the software isn't the best, and they restrict the value of Poker Tracker opponent analysis by removing villain names from your hand histories (this limitation can be overcome with 3rd party software, however). All that being said, playing rakefree poker is a strong incentive to at least give this poker room a look.


In fact, I don't want you to sign up for any of these sites from the links above.

To do so would only cost you money (and not make me a red cent). If you are first time customer to any of these sites then research a reputable rakeback/incentive affiliate that will give you something for your signup. Pokerstars affiliates often offer Poker Assistance Software, Books, or even small cash rewards. Ultimate Bet and Full Tilt are conventional rakeback sites that pay their affiliates (and ultimately the players) fixed percentages of rakeback. WPEX pays back 100% of rake automatically to your account without need for an affiliate go-between.

These sites all have several options for deposit and withdraw for American players. Withdraws from PokerStars to Epassporte (an online e-wallet similiar to Neteller of old) are reportedly taking less than 2 days for most players. Bank Wire, Western Union, e-wallets, site-supported debit cards, or the old fashioned paper check in the mail...Don't believe the rumors coming from your local poker sewing-circle. Online poker is alive and well in the United States and YES, you can withdraw.

Video Tutorial: How To Build a High Quality Poker Table

Building your own casino style poker table might be the difference between a home game that dries up and one that flourishes. I know that when my friends and I are considering a friendly competition, one of our biggest concerns is the comfort level during play. The more comfortable you are, the better you will play and the happier the fish will be. Nothing adds a sense of class to your home game like a nicely constructed poker table and a nice set of chips. Fewer tumbled drinks and stacks, and more elbow room help to keep the hands moving as well.

You don't play with Grandma's worn-out paper bridge cards, so don't play on her old beaten down card table either.

I found this great tutorial while doing some preliminary research for building my own table. Seeing the table construction on video puts me much more at ease than the text tutorials I had considered following.

If you are like me, you don't have jigsaws, drills, and saw-horses sitting around the garage, but these items can be rented at your local Home Depot if need be. Personally, I'm getting the regulars at my home game to toss in for all the costs, including purchasing the equipment. I'm building 1 table right now for our regular game, and another that will not be finished until our poker season comes to an end and a winner is crowned. That winner will receive a table I build with personalized logo on the center felt.

It works in so many ways. Everyone gets to enjoy playing on a nice table now, nobody misses the small amount they are chipping in to cover costs, and we've established a prize to look forward to that keeps everyone coming back to make sure they get their points for the week.

If you host a home game that can't seem to attract a large or regular crowd, give these video tutorials a try. You might be surprised at what a professional quality poker table can do to keep your buddies coming back for more.

All videos hosted (for free!) by
All required materials available at Poker N Stuff

  1. Cutting the Base and Playing Surface
  2. Cutting the Rail
  3. Cutting the Racetrack
  4. Padding and Covering the Rail
  5. Assembling the Rail and Racetrack
  6. Lining the Playing Surface and Assembling the Base
  7. Felting and Final Assembly
  8. Optional Cup Holders and Final Product