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Daniel Negreanu Getting Serious About Online Poker

It's been fun following Negreanu's microstakes bankroll challenge but he's really stepped it up, playing high limit NLHE on

This month, Negreanu's put in over 3,000 hands at $100/$200 NLH 6-max. He started off really strong, KidPoker's first $100/$200 session after his renewed interest in online cash games netted him almost $60k. By his 6th session he was up almost $200k after a huge $100k win (replay session).

After that, he suffered some losses but overall he's still up over $40k at $100/$200 NLH 6-max.

He's also put in some time in $25/$50 heads up and $25/$50 PLO Full Ring.

The chart to the left shows his recent performance on cash tables. I'll try to keep it updated but I can't claim it's 100% accurate.

Does Daniel Negreanu Multi-Table?

Mostly, no. For someone that's played one table live most of his life, learning to focus on 4 tables online can be a difficult adjustment but he seems to really have been working hard at improving his online game. He's even using Holdem Manager now.

This morning Daniel Negreanu tried multitabling. He played 4 tables of $5/$10 NLH (6-max). After about an hour (369 hands), he was up almost $3k (1.5BB/100). Not bad. As he gets more comfortable online and makes further adjustments to his game I think he'll start multi-tabling more at lower limits.

If you missed the action, you can replay Negreanu's Multi-Tabling Session.

Update: Today 3/29/2010, Negreanu is playing two $100/$200 6-max NLHE tables! These are the new $100/$200 tables with a 100BB min/200BB max buy-in.

Micro Stakes Challenge Not Over

Negreanu has been working on a bankroll challenge, trying to run $10 into $100k. He started at $0.01/$0.02 NLH Full Ring and has worked his way up to $0.25/$0.50 NLH. He managed to get up his challenge bankroll up to $272.18 but he hit a rough spot at $0.25/$0.50 NLH and dropped down to $80.38. He played a couple of more sessions recently and Negreanu's microstakes bankroll challenge is now up to $113.23.

Even though he's been having fun at higher limits, he's stated on a the forums that he's still committed to this challenge.
I have been doing the micro limit challenge grind for a while and I still plan on continuing with it, but I'm not really going to learn much playing at those levels and I wanted to expedite the process.
Whether he keeps it up remains to be seen. Now that he's playing higher limits it may be hard to start grinding for pocket change. I know I'd have a hard time doing it. Lucky for me I don't have to roll to play much higher :) If he does I'd be very impressed with his determination.

He's commented on his online cash game play on his latest blog entry. One thing that still leaves me feeling doubtful about his commitment to the micros is this statement.
People always have an opinion, and may believe I'm going about this the wrong way and should instead be multi-tabling the $5-$10 games. While they are entitled to their opinion, I couldn't disagree more. If you can afford to play against the best players on the site, then you can learn the fundamentals from them. I want to play against the best and while there are certainly great lower limit players online, I'm not interested in beating those games. My goal is to compete at the higher levels. I don't think playing smaller would hurt, but I just don't think it's necessary at all since the stakes I'm currently playing at are very comfortable for me.
The only thing that might keep him building his micro stakes bankroll is his commitment to challenge himself. I don't disagree with he's saying at all but it would suck. It's not often people with small bankrolls get to play with such big names. Every once in a while Humberto Brenes jumps into small stakes cash games while he's waiting for the big Sunday tournaments on to start and attracts a lot of railers.

Negreanu Seeking Advice From Online Regs

KidPoker acknowledges there are leaks in his NLH cash games but he seems to be seeking help to try and plug them.

Based on his forum posts, it looks like he's getting advice from some of his poker buddies that have more experience in online cash games and he's even posting on asking for advice on specific hands. You can check them out here and here.

Even the posters that are knocking him are inadvertently helping him by giving him very detailed reasons why he "sucks".

Can Negreanu Become a Top Online Pro?

Lots of forum posters have been criticizing his cash game based on his recent sessions and his performance on televised cash games. They don't have much hope for him improving.

I disagree. Negreanu is one of the top live tournament players who also knows his way around cash games. He's been playing poker for many years and has been very successful. He's even had a chance to play with some of the top cash game players. He obviously understands the game.

More importantly he's acknowledged he needs to improve his cash game skills and now he's working on doing just that. You can't solve a problem without first recognizing there is one, and identifying what the problem is. He's done that and is working on fixing it. Even though people are ragging on him, he's not letting that stop him.

I still have doubts about his micro-stakes bankroll challenge (Analysis of Daniel Negreanu's Bankroll Challenge) but that's mostly due to the bankroll management strategy he's using. I think he'll be a winning player at high stakes online games.

The key differences are he's playing 6-max and he's reloading when he drops below the max buy-in so he's always playing deep stacked. He's even gotten PokerStars to create some deepstack $100/$200 NLHE tables that have a min buy-in of $20,000 and a max buyin of $40,000.

His looser style of play is more suited to 6-Max than Full Ring and his small ball poker strategy does better when deep stacked.

Success is never guaranteed, but he's doing everything right to be successful.

PPC Advertising for Poker Blogs

There are a lot of poker bloggers out there using Google AdSense. There's a problem with using AdSense on poker sites and I wanted to create this post to point it out and present an alternative.

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click. If you run PPC ads on your site and someone clicks on one of the ads, you earn some money. Your site's visitor doesn't have to buy or sign up for anything. It's a great form of advertising and one of the best for smaller sites that don't get thousands of visitors a day.

I've been using AdSense successfully on a number of sites for a few of years and have a good understanding of the program as well as issues people have had.

Google AdSense is the leader in the PPC advertising sector and if you host your poker blog on, adding AdSense ads couldn't be simpler. You just click a few checkboxes and you're done.

Google's policies for AdSense however prohibit AdSense ads running on sites that include or link to "Gambling or casino-related content".

That's a pretty vague statement and how Google chooses to interpret that policy can vary. In the past poker related sites could run AdSense as long as they didn't link to any poker sites and focused primarily on poker strategy. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

Google adds a ton new AdSense publishers every day and they can't have a real life person inspect each site for compliance. At first it may seem like everything is going fine, ads are running, you're making a few cents here and there so you think nothing of it.

Then one day you notice the ads on your site are different. They're all for charities or Google's services. These ads are known as Public Service Ads (PSAs). You don't get paid when a PSA is clicked.

Google has crawlers that inspect pages where AdSense ads run. They also seem to inspect sites when it's time to issue the first payment. Google doesn't pay publishers until they've earned at least $100. For small blogs that could take months or even years to earn. In the Google AdSense Help Forum, many posts about being dropped by AdSense start out with "I was just about to get my first check and then..."

Once you get an email from Google that your site is in violation, it may tell you the pages you need to correct or it may just tell you not to use AdSense on your site. Depending on the violation Google may even refund the advertisers all the money earned from clicks on your site and you get nothing. I don't know if this is the case with gambling/casino content.

Sometimes a violation may get your whole AdSense account dropped. If you have other websites that run AdSense, this could be a big problem. An AdSense account is great to have if you publish online. It's easy to get, but once it's gone, it's almost impossible to get back.

There are some big poker sites and poker blogs displaying AdSense ads as well as linking to poker sites. Publishers that generate a large amount of traffic have the ability to become premier members and negotiate different deals. I'm guessing that's the case. Most poker bloggers don't fall into that category.

Alternatives to AdSense for Poker Bloggers

There are two other ad networks that offer PPC ads with formats similar to AdSense but allow poker related sites.


BidVertiser's Program is the one most similar to AdSense. The allow sites with gambling content. You can even categorize your site as a poker site so advertisers with relevant ads can target your site.

Once you start up your BidVertiser, create your ads and publish the ad code on your site. Ads will start appearing. A cool feature of BidVertiser is that you can view the ads that will display on your page and the max bid they are willing to pay. You can even approve and decline ads that are listed to show on your site.

I'm testing it out here for a while and the ads appear to be relevant and the max bid prices look favorable.

By default BidVertiser ads have pop-unders enabled. While I'm not against advertising on websites, I think pop-ups and pop-unders are a little too much. I chose to disable them, you might want to do the same.

I'll follow up this post after I've run their ads here for a while but I'm not expecting much since this site is still fairly new.


Another alternative to AdSense for poker blogs is AdBrite. AdBrite allows ads on gambling related sites and accepts gambling related advertisers. You can safeily run AdBrite ads and know you'll have advertisers supplying ads that should appeal to your readers. Which means they might be more inclined to click. They also have some other options besides just text link ads such as keyword ads which will link words within the content of your posts. When a visitor hovers their mouse over one of the links they'll get an ad.

AdBrite has been in business for a long time and are known to pay their publishers on time. With AdBrite advertisers. The one drawback is that advertisers need to specifically target your site, unlike AdSense and Bidvertiser.

Table Selection For Micro Limit Cash Games

There are many things you can do to influence your success at the poker table before you even sit down. One of these is choosing the right table.

Unlike most live casinos you can choose which table to sit at when playing online poker. You can try and find soft tables with lots of fish and avoid tables full of good regulars.

But how important is table selection at low and micro stakes games? That's one thing I'm still trying to figure out but I've tried a few different things and have some opinions.

Holdem Manager vs PokerOffice Part I

I recently decided it was time to take some of my poker winings and invest in a poker software package that would allow me to review my sessions, analyze my game and provide me with more information on my opponents.

There are three software options that can do all that. Holdem ManagerPokerOffice and PokerTracker. I had played around with PokerOffice and PokerTracker in the past. Of the two I preferred PokerOffice. Searching through forums I saw a lot of people raving about Holdem Manager so I decided to try and find out more about each.

I Googled around for "Holdem Manager vs PokerOffice" and ready many forum posts and blogs. Unfortunately there wasn't much useful information. It felt like 90% of what I read was of the "ABC is the suxxor! Use XYZ!" type.

I knew exactly what I needed poker analytic software to do for me but I was having a hard time finding out if PokerOffice or Holdem Manager could do those things. So I decided to use both and take notes of my experience.

Figured others might be having as hard a time as I was deciding so I put my notes and a whole bunch of screen shots together to make a review of Holdem Manager and PokerOffice.

I bought one and wind up getting and enhanced trial version of the other so I could really look at both in depth. This is a long post with a lot of details to try and help you make the right purchase decision but I still recommend you also download and try each one at a time. Reading these posts will give you a head start so you can make the most of the limited trials

PokerOffice Free Trial - Exclusive 2 Week Free Trial for my readers! Must use this link.
Holdem Manager - Free Trial

In the first part of this review I'm going to cover importing hand histories, heads up displays, other live action windows and the replayers of both programs.

Increase Holdem Manager Performance - Sale on SSDs

If you use poker tracking software such as Holdem Manager, PokerTracker or PokerOffice, you might have noticed that some features, such as reports run slower as you accumulate more hands.

The computations they perform aren't all that difficult. The issue comes down to the sheer amount of data they need read and write from the disk. If you ever run a program that monitors your CPU usage, you might have noticed that even though the program is running slow, the CPU is barely being used, but the hard drive is trashing around like crazy.

The best way to increase performance for these programs is to use a faster hard drive. The fastest drives by far on the market now are Solid State Drives (SSD). Newegg is currently running some sales with some SSD manufacturers offering big mail-in rebates. If you're not familiar with Newegg (you must live under a rock) they are one of the largest and best online computer retailers. I've purchased a ton of items from them for desktops and servers. They also make it very easy for you to claim your rebates.

The OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX30GXXX 2.5" MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) normally sells for $164.00.

Newegg is currently has it on sale for $119.99 and on top of that there is a $30 mail-in rebate and free shipping bringing the price down to $89.99 after rebate.

The OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX60G 2.5" MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) normally sells for $259.00.

It's on sale for $60 off, free shipping, free 4GB flash memory card and a $30 mail-in rebate.

Final price after rebate is only $169.00

If you need a little more disk space, (but chances are you don't unless you're buying a ton of hand histories from places like PokerTableRatings) there's a 120GB Model.

The OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX120G 2.5" MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) normally sells for $499.00.

Current promotion is $170 off, free 4GB flash card, free shipping and a $40 mail-in rebate.

Final price comes down to $289.00 after rebate.

If you're using Holdem Manager or PokerTracker, both of them use the PostgreSQL database and it's pretty easy to setup PostgreSQL to look for the data in a different location.

PokerOffice uses an embeded database so you'll need to reinstall it on the new SSD as far as I can tell. But check with the support people at PokerOffice to confirm.

Cash Game Bankroll Management Spreadsheet

A common reason many new (and even experienced) poker players go broke is because they fail to follow good bankroll management practices.

One of the most important aspects of good bankroll management is keeping records of your sessions so you can track your progress and know when to move up or down in stakes.
You don't need any fancy software to practice good bankroll management. For my own cash game challenge I've just been using a spreadsheet on Google Docs. The nice thing about using Google Docs is that I can access the spreadsheet from anywhere using a web browser, it's free and I can include a bankroll chart on my blog. It instantly gets updated when I update the spreadsheet.

Because a lot of people have been willing to share their knowledge online I've been able to have good results in online poker I figured I'd try and do the same and share my spreadsheet. I even made significant updates to it so it's even easier than what I first started using.

Hopefully my bankroll management spreadsheet helps your game but to really improve check out my BlueFirePoker review as well.

Negreanu Takes A Break From the Micros and Wins Big

After another bad day at the micro stakes tables, Daniel Negreanu decided enough was enough.

He sent out a tweet that he's going to be sitting at a $100/$200 NLHE on PokerStars with $20,000 and dared people to try and take it from him.

I think his ego got a little bruised and he wanted to prove he can win at online poker.

It's understandable that this might have gotten to him and he might have been a bit on tilt. When you normally win and lose pots that are some people's annual salary and then you struggle to beat the spare change games, that's a bit hard to take.

Negreanu started at $0.01/$0.02 NLHE with $10 and slowly worked his way up to to $0.10/$0.25 NLHE where he ran his bankroll up to $254.68. He had a harder time at $0.10/$0.25 NL but he managed to beat it.  $0.25/$0.50 proved a tougher nut to crack. Out of 12 sessions, only 4 were winners and of those, only 2 increased his bankroll by more than 20%. As of his last session, his bankroll was down to $80.38, a loss of $173.30 from when he started playing the current stakes.

That's almost 70% of his bankroll gone, most of which was lost in the last 2 days. He had to play over 4,500 hands to earn that $173 in the first place and then in just 550 hands it's gone.

KidPoker Grinding the Micros Again

Watching Daniel Negreanu (KidPoker) playing $0.25/$0.50 NL on PokerStars for his $10-$100k bankroll challenge. Posting some big hands. Will fill in some details later.

Chart on right shows his challenge bankroll progress.

The micros have been pretty hard on Negreanu lately. Do you think you can do better? Use my free bankroll management spreadsheet to help you get started.

Continue reading this post to see some of the key hands from the 4 tables he played tonight.

Review of Negreanu's 3/12 Micro Stakes Session

Last night I spotted a tweet from Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) stating he was going to hit the $0.25/$0.50 NLHE tables on PokerStars for his $10 to $100k bankroll challenge. (At the time this post was authored, his last session was #89.)

I copied the hand histories from his session. The rest of this post has some of my usual rambling as well as my detailed analysis of some of the key hands from this session.

Ante Tables Coming To PokerStars

I just noticed something new in the Holdem Ring Game Filter on PokerStars. There are two new options "Tables with antes" and "Tables without antes".

So far no ante games have been added but according to a recent tweet from the PokerStars team it should be coming soon.
Our latest client version has a software change to allow Hold'em cash games with antes. This is not deployed yet, but coming soon.
These new tables will have a different dynamic. Somewhere between full ring and 6-max tables I think. 6-max ante games should be even more interesting.

The additional cost of antes will mean players will need to mix it up more since each orbit will cost more than just the small and big blind. The increased size of the pot

Ante games are sure to create more action. These aren't going to be tables where you can camp on 16 tables waiting for premium hands trying to get a 1-2 BB/100 win rate. That just won't work.

I'm curious to see what levels will start to have antes. My guess it will be at higher stakes tables. Can't really have an ante at $0.01/$0.02 NLHE.

On FTP, Ante games seem to start at $0.02/$0.05 with a $0.01 ante. Tables without antes still seem to be more popular though.

This is a good move by PokerStars. It's the largest online poker room out there but it doesn't really have the nose bleed cash game traffic that Full Tilt Poker does. This might help them attract more high stakes online players.

I wonder if we'll see a "run it twice" option soon.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to playing with antes?

Another Buy-In Down for KidPoker

Daniel Negreanu (KidPoker) has lost another buy-in today at the low stakes no-limit hold'em tables on PokerStars.

This is his 3rd session since he moved up to $0.25/$0.50 NLHE and so far it's been 1 for 3 with one small win and two buy-ins lost.

His current bankroll is at $177.78, down from the $253.68 he started these stakes with.

DoN SnG Challenge Update 7

Time for another update on my Double or Nothing Sit and Go Challenge. The sessions since my last update are around 340-530. My current challenge bankroll is $501.60.

As you can see from the chart, things haven't been going very well in this challenge.  February was a brutal month.

The only impressive thing about the chart is that I figured out a way  to color it so that I can indicate where different blog updates were. The first set of sessions is covered in the first update, second set in red in the second update, 3rd set in blue 3rd update etc.

When I posted my last update my bankroll was up to $514.60. My low point for February was when my bankroll sunk to $371, a loss of $143.60 or around 26 buy-ins!

More DoN Cheaters Busted

I received an email from PokerStars today that confirmed my suspicions of collusion at a Double or Nothing Sit-n-Go. Both players were banned from the site. Thankfully they played fewer than 100 games before they were caught and now their profits have been returned to players that were cheated.

By the way, in all the times I've spotted cheaters at the DoN SnGs I always won the game. So if you were playing the $5.40 DoNs in the last 2-3 months and got an email from stars about a refund due to being cheated feel free to leave a thank you in the comments. :) At least that way I get something out of it.

In this case I suspected there might be something fishy going on before the game even started. I joined this particular game to have a close look at the action. It turns out my hunch was right.

Here's a look at some of their plays that I reported to PokerStars.  Maybe it'll help you spot cheaters at your table. (By the way, PokerStars chooses not to reveal the identity of the cheats to other players so I have changed the names of all players at the table.)