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Add Rakeback to Your Blog

Blogger Rakeback Gadget
It's been a while since I've posted anything poker blogging related so I guess it's time :) Plus I've received a few emails about how to add Rakeback to a blog's sidebar like I have on my site.

It was a little bit involved and requires some programming skill so maybe it's not for everyone. The good news though is there's a much easier way to do it that is also more customizable than the rakeback widget I have on my blog's sidebar.

The rakeback site Full Rake Tilt offers two options for adding rakeback offers to your blog depending on if you use or a WordPress powered blog.

You'll receive anywhere from 2-4% of the MGR (monthly gross revenue AKA rake) that all the players you refer generate. The players will receive a portion of their rake back in addition to special bonuses, promotions and freeroll tournaments.

Not a bad deal for something that takes only a minute or so to set up. Just be sure to create an account and include your username when you set up your sidebar, as explained in the following instructions.

Blogger Rakeback Gadget

If you host your blog on instructions for adding a Rakeback Gadget are pretty straightforward. Just copy and paste a URL and your pretty much done.

WordPress Rakeback Widget

Instructions for adding a WordPress Rakeback Widget  are very simple because the widget is in the repository. Just do a search for "FullRakeTilt" and installing it is just a few clicks away. Full instructions are provided in the link above.

Review of Bfizz11 MTT Webinar

In an effort to try and improve my tournament play last Saturday I attended one of Brian 'bfizz11' Fite's MTT Coaching Webinars.

Last week I posted what I learned about Brian Fite and his webinars so I won't go into detail about his success in MTTs and other poker accomplishments but I wanted to post a review to illustrate what the experience was like.

Getting Registered

The first step is to contact Brian letting him know when you're interested in attending his webinar. His contact information is available on his website

If you're interested in attending more than one webinar he currently seems to be willing to discuss discounts so let him know how many you'd like to attend and ask what he can offer you.

Once you've agreed to sign up for his MTT coaching webinars you then make payments. For most players this will likely be through a transfer on either FTP or PokerStars.

Preparing For The Webinar

First, make sure you have the time available since the webinar runs at least 5 hours. Also gather some questions and hand histories of spots you want advice on.

The webinar uses which requires some software to be installed.

The process of getting the software set up is simple. You'll receive a link via email for the webinar. Clicking on the link will guide you on how to download and install the software. It took a few minutes but it was fairly simple.

After you have the software installed you request access to the webinar and you'll receive a second email that provides a link that will get you in. At least that's how I remember it.

Participating in the MTT Webinar

OK, you've got everything done and you've signed into the webinar. What you're going to see is a live view of bfizz's monitor where he loads up his tournaments for the day.

He uses a 30" monitor so if you don't have a monitor that large your going to have to view the webinar slighly reduced in size.

I have a 22" widescreen monitor and I had no problem following the action.  Even reading his HUD stats was possible.

Brian seems to be mindful of the fact that not everyone is going to be using a 30" monitor and keeps the tables big enough for us less fortunate to view. Good news is because of the coaching I'll probably hit a big score soon and head over to NewEgg to get one. ;)

During the session Brian is on mic talking through his thoughts on different hands and even commenting on some hands he's not in as well as general strategy.

The GoToMeeting interface allows viewers to participate in one of two ways.  You can type in a question that only the meeting moderator can read and Brian will answer it, or you can click a "raise hand" button which will let you use your pc mic to ask a question verbally.

Brian was very good about answering questions thoroughly that were typed in. Nobody used the mic during last session so I'm not sure how that works. Or maybe only the meeting moderator can hear???


From a technical aspect, getting set up for the webinar was very easy. Click a link, click a button, run some software, click another link. The video and audio quality were good and the interface was fairly simple to figure out.

This was the first time I participated in something like this and I don't really know any good poker players near me that I can actively share ideas with. I knew that watching a successful MTT player at work would be beneficial but I was still surprised how much I actually got out of it.

Being able to hear his thoughts on hands and ask questions in real-time is a great way to learn. Brian did a good job of keeping us informed of his thoughts. He has a grind house where he lives with a few players he coaches and stakes and he also makes videos for BlueFirePoker so it's no surprise he comes off as an experienced coach in his webinars.

Even from just one session I feel I learned a lot and my confidence has improved with regards to tournaments. If one webinar is good, more should be better. :)

Different people have different trouble spots in tournaments so being able to see how someone else handles that situation and ask why they did what they did can be very helpful rather than just reading about what someone decides to write in a book.

As I was watching the webinar I pretended I was the one playing each tournament and thought about what I would do in each hand. If he did something different than I would have done and I couldn't understand why it was great being able to ask him to help understand it better.

During the session I attended, not many people brought hand histories for review and neither did I so I can't really comment on that aspect of the webinar.

Overall I'm very happy that I attended the webinar and plan on attending another.  If you're looking for a way to improve your MTT results this seems to be a very good way to do it and given how long each webinar lasts, it's quite reasonably priced.

You can find out more about Brian Fite and his webinars at or follow him on Twitter (@bfizz11).

Sunday Storm - PokerStars $1/4 Million Revisited

The PokerStars weekly Sunday $1/4 Million tournament, the little brother of the big Sunday Million has been renamed to the Sunday Storm.

To help celebrate the new name change, PokerStars is giving the Sunday Storm a $1 Million guarantee on March 27th. Not a bad prize pool for an $11 tournament.

This is one of the tournaments I try and play regularly. The field is huge, over 25,000 players, which makes it a high variance event but it's one of the few tournaments that a low stakes player, like myself, can really hit a 5 figure win.

I took a big shot last week in the special 5th anniversary Sunday Million and didn't even cash so I'm looking forward to playing this $1 million Sunday Storm. This is a tournament I've played before and have cashed in. Got my first 3 figure mtt win in it :)

I've been reviewing my previous MTT hand histories from when I felt my MTT game was better than it is now and feel more confident after attending bfizz11's MTT webinar Saturday. It's been a while since I've been at a final table so I'm hoping I'm due and that it comes in this one :)

To play in the special $1 million dollar Sunday Storm you need to download a copy of PokerStars software. If you make your first real money deposit of $20 or more use the code "STORM" you'll get a free ticket into the $1,000,000 Sunday Storm. In addition you'll also get the 100% deposit bonus up to $600.

MTT Poker Coaching with Brian Fite

MTT Poker Coach Brian Fite
So I've been bitching about my frustration with MTTs lately and I decided it's time to do something about it. Namely finding an  MTT Poker Coach.

OK, maybe I stumbled into that decision. You see, some time ago I started adding some poker players to follow on my twitter account. Some of them because I've heard something about them, some of them because someone else I followed followed them and things like that. Point is, I'm not very familiar with everyone I've followed.

All I know is that there's one MTT regular on twitter, @bfizz11 (Brian Fite) whose tweets stood out to me because they're all similar. "Final table in xxx mtt", "just won xxx mtt for lots of money", "deep in the xxx mtt ". It seems like this guy's making one or two final tables every day. I'm not exaggerating. Here are his last 4 tweets.
bfizz11 Brian Fite
I took 3rd for $2k and min-cashed the Nightly, a good day overall. Getting to bed early tonight so I can crush it tomorrow.

bfizz11 Brian Fite
6 handed in the $55 rebuy and approaching the $$$ in the $163 Nightly on FTP

bfizz11 Brian Fite
25 left $55 1r1a on stars and 13 left in the $55 rebuy on AP

bfizz11 Brian Fite
31 left in a $55 on FTP, in the $11 rebuy money...cashed almost every tourney today so far it seems like time to close one out!
At first I thought this can't be real. Must be some guy that created a program that just randomly pulls tournament names and adds results or something like that. One day the program would have a bug that would be obvious and tweet something like 'I just finished %random(1-9)% in %getRandomTournament()%' or something like that. But it never happened so I did some digging.

After looikng up bfizz11's results it turns out Brian 'bfizz11' Fite's results are real! Before I really knew much about him I decided to contact him to find out if there's some way he could help me improve my mtt results, especially with regards to going deeper in MTTs and making more final tables.

Since my first contact with him I've learned a lot more about Brian. If you follow the tournament leaderboards you've probably heard of bfizz11. I don't, so I haven't. Here's a summary in case you're like me, plus some other facts.
  • Won a monthly Tournament Leaderboard Title
  • Won 3 Weekly Tournament Leaderboard Titles
  • Was 3rd in the PokerStars 2010 Yearly Tournament Leaderboard
  • Has over $125k in SnG Profits
  • Around $1.5 Million in MTT cashes
  • Makes Videos for BlueFirePoker
  • Was on the 2010 WSOP Main Event feature table (finished in the money)
  • Offers a weekly mtt coaching webinar
After messaging Brian I decided to give his mtt coaching webinar a try. It seems like an affordable poker coaching option even for someone on a micro stakes bankroll. :)

About bfizz11's MTT Coaching Webinar

Once a week Brian has a coaching session he conducts over the web, a webinar. The webinar lasts a minimum of 5 hours of watching Brian during an MTT session.

During the session Brian explains what he's doing and why and students can ask questions over their mics. In addition he'll review hand histories submitted by viewers.

Brian keep's the webinars small in size to give each attendee an opportunity to participate in the discussion.

A single webinar costs $150. That's less than $30/hr (since sessions run longer when he runs deep) which seems like a really good value to me.

So I'll be attending my first MTT webinar with Brian 'bfiz11' Fite soon and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll update my blog once I've completed it.

In the meantime you can keep up with Brian by following him on twitter (@bfiz11) and find out more about him and his poker coaching on his website

    2011 SCOOP Tournament Schedule Calendar Feeds

    The PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker is just a couple months away.

    The SCOOP is a special tournament series that PokerStars holds every spring since 2009 which has a special twist. Each event is available at three different stake levels, low, medium and high.

    This gives players of many different skill levels and means to participate. There are buy-ins as little as $11 and as much as $10,300 for the high stakes SCOOP Main Event.

    If you've ever wanted to play in a big tournament series like the World Series of Poker but the expenses of travel and those high buy-in tournaments was too much for you, the SCOOP is a good way to get a similar experience right from the comfort of your own home.

    You can download PokerStars and create a free account here.

    Even the low tournaments have big guarantees and could mean a big score.The thrill of playing in the special PokerStars Sunday $5 Million tournament has me wanting to take some more shots a couple of times a year at some big tournaments so I've been looking through the schedule to see what I might want to play.

    There are 38 events running from May 8th to May 22nd 2011. That gives me plenty of time to improve my MTT game.

    If you want to easily add the events to your calendar software on your desktop, iPhone or other device, I created some Calendar Feeds for the 2011 SCOOP Tournament Schedule that you can use. They are available as XML, iCal, or you can just view them as HTML and add them to your Google Calendar on iGoogle.

    2011 SCOOP Low Tournaments

    XML, iCal, HTML

    2011 SCOOP Medium Tournaments

    XML, iCal, HTML

    2011 SCOOP High Tournaments

    XML, iCal, HTML

    If you notice any problems with the entries please let me know. I'll do my best to update them if any events change.

    Looking for an easy way to track your SCOOP results and publish them on your blog? Check out my MTT Bankroll Management Spreadsheet.

    If you're not familiar with online poker tournaments here are some explanations of how tournaments are named that might help you:

    The format for the event name is something like "Evt 99-L: $100 NLHE Turbo $500K GTD"

    Evt is just short for event, 99-L signifies the number of the event and what stake level. Events range from 1-38 and stake levels are L for low, M for medium and H for high.

    After that is a description of the type of tournament. What type of game is played and if there are any special features of the tournament such as a Turbo, a shootout, or if it is not a normal full ring (9 players per table) tournament such as 6-max or 4-max.

    Finally there is the guaranteed prize pool marked as $xxx GTD. No matter how many players enter the tournament the prize pool will be at least the guaranteed amount. These tournaments are fairly popular and the prize pools generally are larger than the guarantees.

    Some tournaments are labeled as "2-Day" tournaments that are scheduled to run over the course of 2 days.

    Some abbreviations used in these calendars:

    NLHE - No Limit Hold'em
    PLO - Pot Limit Omaha
    HU - Heads up
    GTD - Guaranteed
    FL - Fixed Limit
    +R  - Any buy-in labeled $xxx+R indicates it's a rebuy tournament where you can purchase additional chips if you lose all your initial chips during the rebuy period.

    Daniel 'KidPoker' Negreanu vs Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom HU Match Is On!!!!

    Last month I posted on how Daniel Negreanu was practicing his HU game to play Viktor Blom in the PokerStars SuperStar Showdown.

    He had been taking on some really good poker players in 4 table HU matches trying to improve his HU game and he crushed most of them at $5/$10 NLHE HU.

    Recently he moved up to $50/$100 NL. He destroyed K_O_S_T_Y_A by winning over $100k (replay) but lost just over $100k to Sauce123 yesterday (replay) at these stakes.

    I was railing the game against KOSTYA and after he busted him on one of the tables another player sat with Negreanu. He played a few hands with him until he finished off KOSTYA on the other table and at the end of the session said something like 'you suck as a practice partner, you're nothing like Isildur'. I don't think he meant to be a prick but I found it hillarious.

    Now Negreanu thinks he's ready to take on Viktor Blom in the SuperStar Showdown.

    This will be slightly different that the other SuperStar Showdowns because it will run over 2 weekends, Sunday March 20 and Sunday March 27 at 3:00pm EST.

    Each day will consist of 4 $50/$100 heads up no-limit hold'em tables with each player having a $150,000 bankroll for the showdown and play the usual 2,500 hands. Then the next week they'll continue the match with the money they had the previous week for another 2,500 hands. Twice as many hands as the other SuperStar Showdowns!

    In my last post on Negreanu's heads up games I predicted that the match might come up in a couple of months. I didn't expect it so soon but he's been putting in a lot of time working on his game and recently tweeted that 'April is the new May', because he usually relaxes in May to get ready for the WSOP but with tournament schedules moved up this year, he'll be taking off in April.

    So March seems like the only time he can do it and why not when he's been on fire lately.

    I don't play a lot of heads up so I can't really comment on Negreanu's game but his results are pretty impressive and they've been fun to watch.

    This SuperStar Showdown should be $%#ing awesome to watch! If you don't already have a copy, download PokerStars software from to be able to watch the match. Once you create an account and log in, hit CTRL-P to bring up a window showing the currently logged in Team PokerStars players when the match is scheduled to run to be able to find Daniel Negreanu or Viktor Blom. Then double click one of their names and in the new window that comes up double click the 4 tables they're playing at to watch.

    I have a feeling this is not something most poker players will want to miss!

    Took A Shot And Missed

    Today I entered the PokerStars 5th Anniversary Sunday Million which had a guaranteed prize pool of $5 million with $1 million guaranteed for first place.

    The tournament wound up being much bigger. 59,128 players registered making the prize pool $11,825,600 with first place entitled to over $1.6 million plus the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 and almost $1.2 million for 2nd.

    This is by far the biggest tournament I had entered. I thought I would be a little more nervous about it and play like scared money but I had to play very tight because there were two players at my table involved in almost every pot with any two cards and not folding bottom pair and I wasn't connecting.

    I was involved in the very first hand with JJ. I called an EP open and flopped top set and turned a boat. At that point I probably should have played the hand a little slower but I won a decent sized pot which helped calm my nerves and get me in the right frame of mind.

    I can play a lot looser once I get a big stack but that never happened and I started getting very short. I lost a bunch of chips when I flopped TPGK and a gut shot but was up against two pair. After that I was card dead for a while or didn't connect with the flop and got a lot of action.

    Luckily I was moved to another table where I got a few walks in the BB and was able to shove steal from the SB a few times. Then I was switched to a table with some big stacks and a lot of action.

    As I dropped below 8BB I picked up a big pair and 3bet a MP min raise and was racing with AKo. My pair held and I was safe for a while.

    Then again under 10BB when I picked up AKo and shoved to take the blinds. A few hands later and it was another big pair that I shoved over an EP min raise. They called with a smaller pair and didn't improve to double me up before the break.

    I had enough chips to allow me to wait for good spots or good cards but neither came so my stack started to slide as the blinds began to increase. There was not going to be any stealing this time either with the big stack in the BB to my SB that was calling off fairly light.

    I finally pick up a big suited ace and shove around 8BB. One of the big stacks tanked and then called with a small pair. I didn't improve and I was out a few grand before the money. :(

    Even though I didn't cash I don't regret taking a shot and might try and do something similar once or twice a year. It would have been nice to have a big score but I'm happy with the way I played.

    Maybe MTTs Aren't For Me?

    I might not have the right mentality for MTTs. Big wins are few and far between and you wind up losing more times than you win. That's a bit disheartening for someone used to regularly winning single table tournaments. Going a whole day or two or more without even a mincash

    I always check out the lobby to see what first place gets to try and motivate myself but when I lose I don't feel like I've lost my buy-in, I feel like I lost first prize.

    My MTT game probably needs a lot of improvement as well but it's hard to work on my game when just playing is so frustrating. Especially at the small stake MTTs I play.

    I just don't know how to play at a table with 3 or more players that have VP$IP/PFR above 70/30. It sounds like it should be easy. Just wait for a big hand and punish them. But it never seems to work out that way.

    I'll lose a few pots in situations where I raise a hand like AK get called, flop top 2 and they hang on and catch something. They hold on with pocket 4s and river a set or their gutshot, backdoor a flush or my favorite, make a full house with A3 when it comes 3 on turn 3 on river.

    And the dreaded KQo. KQo is like kryptonite to my Aces. I get short and shove aces and as soon as I see someone 3bet my shove I know they have KQo and I know somehow they're going to suck out on me.

    Stealing blinds isn't an option because hands like Q3o, T4s, 83o apparently are too strong to fold and always seem to hit.

    Then there's the geniuses that will limp call a 3bet with 73o, call a flop cbet with bottom pair and turn trips or two pair after I'm already committed and still likely ahead.Spending 2 or 3 hours playing and then losing like that, with nothing to show for it just puts me in a bad mood.

    I think I play pretty well so it frustrates me when I can't seem to beat players that are just playing so horribly. The frustration then leads me to make mistakes.

    If I can only find my happy place and try to put in a decent volume I think I can do well and I'm going to try and do that or go crazy trying.

    Considering Playing The PokerStars $5million MTT

    This coming Sunday (March 6th, 2011) is the 5th anniversary of PokerStars' Sunday Million tournament. One of, if not the biggest weekly online tournaments. In honor of this event PokerStars is going to be increasing the prize pool significantly.

    For this special Sunday Million the buy-in will still be only $215 but there are going to be some extra incentives such as:
    • $5 Million guaranteed prize pool
    • $1 Million guaranteed first place prize
    • Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 for the winner
    Even though back in October I tried to come up with an micro stakes MTT schedule I haven't really been playing many. I try to play a few on Sundays, including the Sunday $1/4 Million but this last month I've been trying to get a lot of volume in double or nothing tournaments since it was going to be the last month.

    The biggest MTT I entered was $11 but I'm really considering giving this one a go. Huge online MTTs like this don't come around often. I have been doing pretty well in poker and was going to reward myself with an entry in a couple of WCOOP events but I didn't have the time so maybe I should play this instead.

    I'm a bit of a bankroll nit and I keep separate bankrolls for different types of games. I track my MTT bankroll using my MTT bankroll management spreadsheet. I've only played around 50 games on that bankroll but one nice final table got me off to a good start but since then not much has been going on.

    According to my bankroll management rules my max allowed BI is only $5.50, well short of the $215 BI for the $5mil. Heck even the occasional times I play the $1/4 mil is too much but I've been doing pretty well in those. Enough to do a little better than break even until I get the big score.

    If I play this, it probably won't be part of my regular MTT bankroll but instead out of the side money I don't have allocated to any particular bankroll.

    I don't want to get into the habit of playing outside my bankroll so I'm a little torn. This could be such a huge deal though. My MTT isn't that great anymore and I don't have too much time to practice until Sunday. Final tabling it would be a huge deal for me but going relatively deep would be very nice too.

    I'm being a whiney little **** about this I know. Is there anyone one else considering taking a shot at this? Any good links to articles/videos to help out my rusty MTT brain out?

    Pep talk time: I've made a few final tables in the past. No wins but a couple of seconds. I have pretty high ITM and finish in the last 20% over 30% of the time. So I have a good chance of at least breaking even and a one time shot like this won't kill me.

    Qualifying Through Satellites

    If $215 is too big for your bankroll you can try to win a seat through a satellite tournament with a much smaller buy-in, as little as $1 or just a few FPPs. You can view the list of satellites by opening up the $5mil tournament (#409020010) and check out the bottom of the tournament lobby where it lists Satellites To This Tournament

    If you've never played on PokerStars before you can download their software here.

    DoN SnG Challenge Update 14 (Final?)

    This is my last update for my Double or Nothing Sit-n-Go Bankroll Challenge because PokerStars has decided to discontinue the Double or Nothing SnGs .

    Things started off pretty well for this last update but towards the end I hit a bad streak where I lost around $300.

    The ending challenge bankroll was at $3,480. At my peak I was up to $3,760. My win-rate for this update fell to 54.9% because of the bad run but because of the large volume I was putting in at the $10.80 DoNs I did manage to increase the bankroll by around $676 since the last update. PokerStars did much better than me this time as I paid around $3k in rake. That kinda hurts.

    Not sure what happened. Everything seemed to go downhill after the 15th which was the original last day of the DoNs until PokerStars decided to extend them until the end of the month. Probably the usual combination of playing poorly, getting sucked out on and getting coolered.

    One disappointment for me is that I thought I had played enough games to earn enough FPPs for something I wanted from the VIP store. Either I was wrong about how much the item was or it was discounted the last time I looked so I'm a couple thousand FPPs short.

    My biggest disappointment is that I didn't get past the $10 DoN level. I probably should have been more aggressive with my bankroll management strategy to work my way up faster.

    What will happen with this challenge now?

    I'm not really sure. I have three options.
    1. Continue playing DoNs on a different site.
    2. Continue the challenge playing PokerStars' new Fifty50 tournaments.
    3. Just stop the challenge and move on to different things.
    Option 3 is appealing as DoNs have taken up a lot of my poker time and I've wanted to play more cash games and MTTs.

    Option 1 is a possibility but I'm going to try the Fifty50's and see how it goes. So far I've been doing really well in the 100 or so I've played. Much better than I've been doing in DoNs lately too so we'll see. I haven't played enough games to know for sure and once people get more familiar with the format games will likely get tougher. I'm also running WAYYY over EV so far.

    Other Sites That Offer Double Or Nothing SnGs

    If you're looking to keep playing Double or Nothing SnGs I've done some digging and found these poker sites that offer DoNs. Use the link and follow the instructions to get rakeback.

    SiteAllows USRakeback Bonus
    Cake Poker Yes33% 110% up to $600
    Minted PokerYes40%100% up to $400
    Carbon PokerYes35%100% up to $600
    Players OnlyYes35%100% up to $650
    PokerHeavenNo30%200% up to 1000 EUR
    PKRNo30%100% up to $800
    NoiQ PokerNo30%100% up to 500 EUR

    From what I've read traffic doesn't seem to be as good as on PokerStars so setting up accounts with different sites will be a good idea to be able to keep up the same volume you're probably used to. That's not necessarily a bad thing as you'll also be getting the sign up bonuses for the new sites if you use the links above as well as rakeback.

    If you've used a program like TableNinja, that won't work on these sites though there might be other options using AutoHotKey scripts.