"What no one else is saying about online poker" From the author

C

Cvarrone

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Hello,
My name is Carl Varrone, the author of the book “What No One Else Is Saying About Online Poker” While researching my books progress this forum showed up first and second on Google discussing the book with some interesting and valid posts. I would like to take a minute and respond to some of these assumptions.

I’m 54 years old and was fortunate to own a successful business for 27 years before retiring. I played in casinos all over the world and never would play poker. In 1997 I started to play poker and fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Within a few years the poker boom took off, and online poker became and still is the easiest way to get into a game. With the luck of my career I had nothing but time and money to invest playing online poker and live trying to perfect my game and of course show a profit. I read all kinds of books, many of which alengenius a poster on this site recommends. I researched and still do constantly to stay current on software support programs that are always improving. After years and endless hours of playing online and live and losing tons of money, I eventually improved my game and learned the online environment well enough to know what I consider to be the best way to overcome the endless obstacles while playing in the faceless anonymity of online poker. My profits to this day are still substantial and yes I do brag about them in the book.

If I knew of a sure way to beat online poker, I certainly wouldn’t write a book telling the world. With the amount of time and money I lost, and knowledge I gained playing online before becoming a winner, (still at this point) I felt compelled to write this book. Many players go broke before they even had a chance. I was fortunate to have the finances to grind it out and learn what worked for me. My views, opinions, and suggestions are all derived from my personal experiences. A person with limited funds would have a tough time to show a profit playing online. This book might give them a better chance. With over 400 online poker books out there and only reading several of them, not one seemed to explain the online environment as thoroughly as I attempt to.

I never wrote a book before and I’m certainly not a seasoned writer or even claim to be. After reading the post from Jack Daniels who dissected the book based on the editorial review, you can also draw the conclusion that I’m not much of a promoter either. Apparently that editorial idea from my publisher about controversy drawing interest may not have been the right way to go giving the wrong impression of the book. But I did approve it, which also appeared not to be too smart.
Jack Daniels posted these questions-

It mentions discussion about millions being lost everyday. How much discussion does it go into about those players that are actually winning money online? Does it talk about the effort they've put in to improving their games and being profitable? Does it tell the reader that to be a winning player you actually have to give a damn and make an effort? What about the player that wins one pot with 72offsuit after calling an all-in for all his cash and sucking out to win, then goes on to get his AA cracked, lose his entire stack, and start making posts at poker forums about how online poker is rigged? Does it tell that guy to get a clue and pick up a book?
Yes Mr. Daniels all of that is discussed.

As far as trying to make money writing a poker book being a complete unknown, I would have a better chance of trying to rob an armored truck. I would be happy if I got my investment back.

I would also like to ship the book including freight at no charge to the first 10 people from this forum that e-mail me with of course with an address at
Cvarrone@gmail.com
 
Jack Daniels

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Well, not sure if I should feel honored or not for getting a personal mention in the OP. :) But I can very much appreciate your posting here as a follow up and providing the information that you did. I think it adds a great deal more value than the editorial review that I did sort of "disect".

And of course while I suppose it was obvious that I wasn't planning on running out buy the book, your offer above is very generous. Being that I was one of the more lively responses previously, I am of course willing to give you the benefit of the doubt here, read the book, and respond with updated comments. I'll be in touch.

BTW, while you're here, why not check out the forum and see what we have to offer. Even seasoned players will find items of interest here.
 
DeadoneD1

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Very generous offer

I too will read the book and post my thoughts

Any help with my game will be much appreciated
 
Egon Towst

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I`d be happy to accept your offer, Carl. I have emailed you.

I am in the United Kingdom. I assume you are in America.

If your offer does not extend to mailing overseas, I will understand. :)
 
C

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Wow, was so impressed with the response from my offer, out of the 45 requests I received for a copy I randomly picked 15 and I will have to stop there. Everyone that will be receiving one should have also received a e-mail from me notifying them. Was very surprised and impressed with this forum. If anyone would like to ask any questions about the book, please feel free to e-mail me. Good luck to all.
 
vanquish

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Wow, was so impressed with the response from my offer, out of the 45 requests I received for a copy I randomly picked 15 and I will have to stop there. Everyone that will be receiving one should have also received a e-mail from me notifying them. Was very surprised and impressed with this forum. If anyone would like to ask any questions about the book, please feel free to e-mail me. Good luck to all.


Any chance you can tell us when we can expect it to arrive? (At least a ballpark estimate or where you are shipping from would do wonders)
 
C

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Books will be shipping from New York on 6/19/07. People in US should recieve their book before the end of the week. Over seas not sure how long that will take. ENJOY
 
shinedown.45

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Wow, was so impressed with the response from my offer, out of the 45 requests I received for a copy I randomly picked 15 and I will have to stop there. Everyone that will be receiving one should have also received a e-mail from me notifying them. Was very surprised and impressed with this forum. If anyone would like to ask any questions about the book, please feel free to e-mail me. Good luck to all.
I just would like to add that this is a very generous offer and welcome you to this forum.
This is a great poker community to belong to, I had joined this forum(first and only) and was so impressed with all it had to offer that I did not need to look any further.
 
Debi

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Welcome to the forum Carl. It will be interesting to get reviews on your book from our members who receive it.

We are a good bunch here - some of us (or should I say them) even play a good game of poker.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your book!
 
Tammy

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I would like to personally welcome you to Cardschat, and also say that your offer is a very gracious one. I hope you stick around and see what our little community is all about. Good luck with your book!
 
Q

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Look at that, my original thread about this book got the author to respond. LOL
 
dj11

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Good job quads, now bring up Doyle's books.......

And Carl, I will guess that the questions about your book will come fast and furious once they arrive. I am looking forward to reading it, and posting my review both with you, and here.
 
aliengenius

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book report

I read the book today. I regret to say that I cannot recommend it. Let me start off by saying that it is not about how online poker is rigged (as was pointed out by the author and others). In fact he explicitly states that he finds these arguments ridiculous.

However, while it had some good points and some good suggestions I think most of the main ideas are both faulty, poorly reasoned, and even potentially dangerous to the development of your poker.

Also, I should point out that it is very poorly written, simply from the view point of the craft of writing itself. There were many many paragraphs were the author's poor writing ability got in the way of the actual communication of the idea or point he was trying to make. In some cases I had absolutely no idea what he was trying to say. Many sections seemed to just be "stream of conscious" typing by the author with no organization of the thought, and no revision of the initial draft. Use of commas was poor is not non-existent. This may be a little nitty, but I am not sure the book was edited by anyone at all: I counted on one hand the number of times he correctly used "they're, there, their" and "to/too" (and, in lesser cases things like "threw out" instead of "though out"). In almost every single instance the incorrect choice was made. Added to the stylistic difficulties it made for even more rereading of sections in order to comprehend the point. It was so bad that I actually made a note in the margin (p. 86) where he used "too" and "you're" correctly in back to back sentences.

The above criticisms in and of themselves do not condemn the book, however. If the underlying main ideas had merit I would have no difficulty recommending the book simply because of those criticisms. But let's proceed...

The book starts out with a little history of the poker explosion, and the rise of the online sites. He goes on to say that live players, even many pros, will fail to be winners on line. Also, he points out that many pros are paid by the sites to promote them, but, like a lot of celebrity spokespersons, might not actually consume the "product" themselves, and if they do they may be losing players on line even though they are winning in b&m play. We will get to his (dangerous) reasoning for this later.

The book goes on to warn against various scams, particularly cheating programs that promise you the ability to do things like predict the next card, change your hole cards, etc.

So far, ok.

There is a then a lengthy chapter on cheaters, collusion, and bots.
He mentions statistical programs like Holdem Inspector, Poker Prophecy, and Poker Edge, pointing out that using these programs can tell a player what the correct action should be based purely on mathematics. I believe many of these programs are explicitly prohibited by sites like party poker. But he does not distinguish that it is because of their "data mining" properties, not their statistical abilities.

However, no specific mention is made of PokerTracker and/or PA HUD. I think the recommendation of the use of these two programs alone is some of the best advice that can be given to a player seeking to start playing on line. In the following chapter he seems to allude to PT dismissively:

"There is also software programs that will keep records of all the hands you're playing and with the click of a mouse analyze thousands of hands played with an array of statistics about you and your opponents past play. Although I find this available information to come in handy ounce in a while, it's more likely to benefit the novice player learning the game. My well kept notes on players will usually prove to be what I count on not any one particular hand." (p. 55).

Back to that in a little bit...

The chapter also mentions WinHoldem, Poki'e Poker Academy, and Vex Bot in warning about automated play. One interesting thing he points out is that we don't see top players facing off against top computer programs, unlike with chess, where these matches are highly publicized. He speculates that if it were ever shown how good a computer could play that there would be a large effect on the online sites' bottom lines.

He goes on to talk about the dangers of collusion and team play.

Most of the chapter was fine, basically a warning about the possible dangers you can encounter playing on line.

The next chapter is on record keeping and note taking. He takes a strong stance suggesting you do this, and obviously that is good advice. However, is note taking system seem a bit rudimentary, certainly nothing as good as you can find here on cardschat. As I noted above he seemed to dismiss PT, even though this compensates hugely for a lot of the "busy work" of note taking. We don't have to write down that the guy is a LAG or Calling Station if we can see his PRF, VP$IP, and WTSD % all on an overlay on the screen. Also, PT is clearly an easy an accurate bankroll tracker, showing tournament ROI, level, etc. No need to the recommended spreadsheet (although that is a fine way to do it).

The main themes of the chapter are good advice: keep records, take notes, pay attention, treat your play like a business. But the execution of those goals is way more easily accomplished with the simple use of readily available cheap and legal software like PT and PAHUD.

The next short chapter is a condemnation of multi-tabling. By anyone. At any level, of any experience, ever. He gives some decent reasons why it as bad idea, particularly if you are playing something like a bunch of SNGs, where you get down to short handed on several games and the action becomes extremely fast. However, the categorical dismissal of this fairly common practice is just absurd. No mention of a simple argument such as even though your edge may decrease on each individual table, your overall earn rate can go up through increased volume.

Chapter Seven, "Internet Poker Players". Here is the one that convinced me to take such a strong negative view of the book. Here is where we start to see a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of the game. Basically the chapter is an argument that playing against bad players will cause you to lose, while if you can some how play against better players you will do better. Also, there is a large amount of complaining about bad beats and suck outs, and not being able to get anyone to fold. This post is long enough, so I am not going to go in to a long refutation of this argument. Search cardschat and you will find numerous posts by people who do not understand that you make your money when your opponents make mistakes. Suffice to say this is a fundamental misunderstanding of poker.

Here are some quotes:

""So many of these player will be sticking around and ruining the game for a long time." (p. 62, my emphasis).

"Remember it's the bad beats and suck draws usually caused by bad players taking you pros down" (p. 67)

"Whereas many online players say that bad players are a benefit for them playing onilne, I adamently disagree." (p. 68, his emphasis).

Basically this is a rehash of the idea of "schooling". Read the refutation here and here if you are interested.

Perhaps the final cherry on top in this chapter is a condemnation of women, as players (p. 64). He takes the opposite view of the traditional stereotype that says women are tight and timid, claiming that they are usually the most maniacal.

The next chapter is on internet tells. He claims that most of the usual ones are bogus and/or often reversed by savvy players (ex., the pause before the raise = strong). He gives two that he thinks are sometimes reliable:
1. Betting your hand according to it's strength: limp w low pairs, suited connectors, 3xbb raise w big ace or medium pair, 5x bb raise w JJ-KK, and mini raise w AA. He calls this "value betting", clearly a confusing choice of words considering that a value bet is an often used term with an established meaning in poker, and one that has nothing to do with what he is talking about.
2. Drastic change in style of play one way or another (very tight, or maniacal) by someone who is being attacked from the rail by a player they sucked out on.

Chapter Nine, "Online Bluffs-Steals-and Bad Beats" is back to more of the chapter seven nonsense. While he correctly points out that bluffing is much harder on line (and gives some valid reasons, such as anonymity), statements like "The real problem playing online is the calls the solid players will get from the massive flow of poor players." and "These terrible carefree players have raised the luck factor to all time highs and while playing online poker defacing the entire concept of the game." (p. 77, his emphasis) make this more of the same silly argument. Basically he is giving one huge rant against bad beats.

Page 78 is his example of how terrible players are destroying the game. He gives a hand history where he basically shoves into the other big stack at the table (about $136k each) from the sb to steal the $6k big blind and gets called by 22. He rightfully points out that her play was a terrible one, but defend his own by saying if he had just raised to 4x the bb he would have been called too: "My play was no doubt the right move" (p.79). I can only surmise that this "beat" was so traumatic that it lead to his above opinion on women, and his overall view of the nature of online poker.

The author seems to have this idea that there is a way the game was meant to be played, and that there are ways hands should end up with regard to the winner. His next chapter is on why you should never play in a cash game. He continues his bad beat rant. Here are the reasons you should NEVER play in a cash game:
1. Cheaters.
2. Statistical programs being used against you.
3. Bots, particularly in limit.
4. Collusion and team play.
While the above are all reasonable and worth pointing out, especially to someone considering playing for higher stakes (we had a recent poster on cardschat suggest he might jump into some bigger games), here is the one that really bothers me:
5. Bad players that "bring the luck factor to new heights" (p. 87).

He states that all of the above combine to "alter the true and honest outcome of any given hand." (p. 87). :eek: Thinking that hands have a "true and honest outcome" is indicative of the authors fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of variance and its role in poker. The next part of chapter ten is a rant against maniacs in limit play. For some reason he again chooses confusing language and decides to call them "chasers". While he defines them as players who cap every round of betting with any two cards, page 89 could pretty much be read as sob story on how no one can possibly beat a LAG player: they will get you to fold with unrelenting aggression, but will fold when you play back at them with the nuts.

He ends by saying you should also never play in a cash game online because you can't see physical tells ("how the game was meant to be played", p. 90), and that is you constantly play the same people over and over again everyone will know each other so well that the only way to win will then be to get dealt the best hands that session. Wow.

Chapter Eleven, "Money" starts out with more of the same: "But playing online poker will eventually prove to you that with the volume of bad players fifty percent of the time while executing an action that was well thought out after taking everything into consideration will turn into a coin toss. Like I said earlier the level of luck involved brought to the game while playing online is repulsive..." (p. 91). He does start to get to a reasonable point in this chapter, however, by hinting that higher variance requires a higher bankroll (my interpretation, it is much less clearly put in the book). Also, he notes that you should only play with money that you are willing to lose, not with your mortgage money.

Ok, so how do you make money playing on line poker then? Here is the big revaltion: satellite your way into big multi-table tournaments. Yep.
He then gives some decent tips, like pause five seconds before acting, etc.

The final chapter is a decent short recap of the UIGEA and recent history. The neteller debacle is missing, so I can only assume that occurred post publication.

A pretty harsh review, as I am sure you see. Overall, while there are some few redeeming ideas here, this book falls into the "not recommended" category because of its underlying view of poker and its perpetuation of some of the myths and misunderstandings that new players often bring ot the game. Since I recommend you buy every poker book you can get your hands on this is the worst possible review. Only three other poker books in the history of publishing have achieved this status.
 
Jack Daniels

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:eek: ^^^

Received my copy today. Will try to read it without being results oriented (since I read AG's post above).
 
Stick66

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Ouch, AG!

Excellent review, though. Have you ever heard of Epinions.com? You'd make a killing there. You get paid for people reading your reviews.
 
crancko

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Impressive review AG.

Carl, I would recommend Becky Boyd at Mediafirst, Atlanta. I have used the agency and especially her skills when getting PR and marketing texts corrected for the american market. She's good - very.
 
robwhufc

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Aliengenius = the man. You need to write your own book!
 
Egon Towst

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I received my copy today. Full respect to Carl for shipping it so promptly and efficiently - I am halfway around the planet from him.

It may be a little while before I can read it. Very busy at work right now, and I expect to be working most of the weekend too. :(
 
NineLions

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Thanks AG. Excellent review work by CC's chief librarian.
 
Q

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Speaking as a counter point to Aliengenius, having also read the book weeks ago, I also agree with Aliengenius that the editing leaves much to be desired. It’s obvious that Simon & Schuster didn’t back this book or edit it for that matter. Yet with even all the rambling at times I got a different feeling about the author. Kind of like shooting from the hip.

He made some very good points, and some I don’t agree with. But like any other book you read, you can take it or leave it. He clearly states that he wasn’t trying to teach you how to play poker. From my own experiences playing cash games online, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I swore I would never enter another one. (but can’t resist)

I also felt in your review at times you would put your own personal twist and conclusion on things such as

I can only surmise that this "beat" was so traumatic that it lead to his above opinion on women, and his overall view of the nature of online poker.

The author seems to have this idea that there is a way the game was meant to be played, and that there are ways hands should end up with regard to the winner.

He states that all of the above combine to "alter the true and honest outcome of any given hand." (p. 87).Thinking that hands have a "true and honest outcome" is indicative of the authors fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of variance and its role in poker.

How could you not agree that if you are playing against software programs, bots, collusion teams, that the outcome of the hand is not altered. I agree with him that human emotions are very much a part of the game of poker and when playing against machines that important element is missing. A bot is going to know what it’s going to do instantaneously. How much emotion and thought went into that hand. I a human may consider more about what is at risk, and could care less about statistics where as a program could care less about the risk.

Lets face it online poker for the most part is a different game to a degree.

He states in this thread he’s 54 years old and has been playing since it started online. We all know about poker tracker, does he? But he pounds into your head how important record keeping is and to do what is best for you.

No way the best book I read, but I did find many topics interesting. And his tournament strategy may be what I should concentrate on.

In addition Aliengenius on this post dated 4/24/07 you recommended the book.



Quote:


Perhaps a better focus would be on poker strategy in general (?). There are no magic bullets. Most books that purport to focus on "online/internet" tend to be on the basic side, geared to those who have never played online. The "tips" that you pick up regarding playing on the internet are going to be less valuable to you in the end than grasping some deeper concepts that you can use in all games, live or otherwise.

That being said here are some:

What No One Else is Saying about Online Poker by Carl Varrone
Killer poker online by John Vorhaus
Online Ace, by Scott Fischman
Online Poker by Doyle Brunson
Internet Poker by Krieger and Watterson
Internet Texas Hold’em by Matt Hilger __________________
After he's finally finished, the new, re-imagined Smokey the Bear will hang your gnawed rib cage from his Tree of One Thousand Bones as a reminder that only you can prevent the horror that is forest fire.

So which one is the right one? You got him alongside Vorhaus, Fischman, and Brunson books.



 
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aliengenius

aliengenius

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First the 'nittish' stuff:
1. As far as the list goes, I was simply giving a list of books that claimed to have an internet specific bent to them. You will notice that I recommended general improvement of play rather than a book that purports to to teach you some secret about playing on line.
2. I have to believe that in his claim of extensive research into online software programs he would know about PT. He point out numerous other programs that are far less known. In fact, as I pointed out, he seems to dismiss PT (without naming it) on p. 55.
3. Your first quote of me regarding the beat was a bit snarky in tone, yes. But I stand by the other two as being not my personal opinion, but rather fundamental mistakes by the author regarding the nature of the game. You can think the world is flat, buy my pointing out your error is not simply a personal opinion.

Let me state some of the positives of the book here and now:
1. warning about all the potential dangers that you may face that are not inherent in the a live game (including easier collusion, bots, stat software).
2. warnings about scam cheating software and other online quick fixes on the market (e-books, etc.).
3. advice to (and some how to) take notes, keep records, treat your play with the seriousness it deserves.
4. various bits of specific advice, such as waiting five seconds before every action, possible tell of bet sizes, etc.
5. the history sections, while somewhat brief were a decent overview of the current state of online poker.
6. while certainly not anything revolutionary, the advice to satellite into bigger tournaments, where if you win some money you will have a very high ROI.

However, this book can NOT be recommended. Some where right now on the interwebs a newish poker player is posting something like "No one folds at the level I am playing at... should I move up to a higher limit and play better players? Wont that make the game easier to beat?". Just recently on our very own cardschat we had this post about how a raise means nothing.
The author of the above book complains about: bad beats, not being able to get anyone to fold (thus you should NEVER play limit or limit tournaments), and his opponents playing so badly that he cannot win in the cash games.

It is a fundamental truth of poker that you make your money when your opponents make mistakes. The idea that they can make so many mistakes such that the game becomes unbeatable is simply wrong. This idea has been called "schooling", and again I point you to a nice refutation by Ian Taylor here and here.

I want to also say that I believe Mr. Varrone has good intentions, and that he truly believes the things he writes will help his reader. He seems to be a genuine and generous person.

However, buying in to the ideas he puts forth in this book is simply going to lead you to a thinking about poker that is so fundamentally unsound that you can have no chance of grasping any real truths of the game.

Thinking that opponents playing badly is wreaking the game, or that hands have a "true and honest" outcome based on what an opponent "should" do are so erroneous I will simply point you to almost any Skansky book for a better analysis of these thoughts than I can give here.

As far as the outcome of a hand being "altered" by someone knowing that I have a PRF % of x, or that their buddy folded a king preflop, of course this is true in a sense. But the outcome is also altered by numerous variables, including player emotion, environment, skill level, etc. Thinking that a hand has a certain way it "should" come out is analogous to thinking that the third base player in blackjack effects the outcome of the dealers bust or not, and thus the outcome of your hand. While "technically" he does, in that he takes the next physical card from the shoe, mathematically and statistically his actions DO NOT MATTER TO YOU, as you do not know what card will come out next; his action is as likely to help you as hurt you. As long as you make the correct basic strategy play you have made the right decision, and you could be playing at a table full of monkeys who randomly choose their actions. If you are one of those people who bitch about another player making the wrong play and "taking the dealer's bust card" or some other such nonsense, you have a very flawed understanding of the game. It is the same here with Mr. Varrone. His ideas that the terrible play of his opponents makes it impossible for him to win because they some how have increased the "level of luck" in the game to the point of absurdity are simply in themselves absurd.






 
Q

quads

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Nothing personal here, I respect your opinion also. But where in the book does it state that poker hands should have a certain way they should come out? I never thought his opinions meant that even once. He also states that moving up to higher levels expecting a better game is not what your going to find. And as far as winning online, sounds like he did pretty good. And like you just said emotions a big part of the game. What emotions are involved while against a bot?
I also thought his comparison playing cash online compared to live play was very accurate. Cash games online are just much tougher then live, and his points on this topic explained in the chapter "CASH GAME CAUTION" were very accurate as far as I'm concerned. He does seem to get carried away with many topics, but I can say I can relate to everything he said, when playing online.
 
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aliengenius

aliengenius

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Reply in bold.

Nothing personal here, I respect your opinion also. But where in the book does it state that poker hands should have a certain way they should come out?

here: "Every one of these things will alter the true and honest outcome of any given hand" (p. 87).

I never thought his opinions meant that even once. He also states that moving up to higher levels expecting a better game is not what your going to find.

I understand that. You are missing this point: It is a fundamental truth of poker that you make your money when your opponents make mistakes. The author's contention that the mistakes of his opponents make cash games unbeatable is the real issue.

And as far as winning online, sounds like he did pretty good.

I don't care about his personal success. I care about the fundamentally incorrect information he is disseminating.

And like you just said emotions a big part of the game. What emotions are involved while against a bot?

Again, you are just a bit off here with the point I was trying to make: I was trying to point out that there are a lot of things that effect how a hand turns out, and that the very idea of thinking that there is a way a hand "should" turn out is fundamentally wrong.

I also thought his comparison playing cash online compared to live play was very accurate. Cash games online are just much tougher then live, and his points on this topic explained in the chapter "CASH GAME CAUTION" were very accurate as far as I'm concerned.

I readily conceded that he makes some decent points regarding the extra difficulties you will encounter on line (stat programs, bots, collusion).

He does seem to get carried away with many topics, but I can say I can relate to everything he said, when playing online.

Yes, you CAN relate, and that is the problem. The newish player who been experiencing these same bad beats, this same terrible play by opponents that "should never have been in the pot to start with" will perhaps buy in to the authors reasoning. This is why I have been so harsh with the criticism of the book. Thinking the way the author suggests can only be detrimental to your deeper understanding of poker.
 
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