What Can You Learn About Human Psychology From a Poker Game?

Having played poker competitively for the last few years, I have developed an understanding of how a variety of different poker players think and act at a poker table. No two opponents are exactly the same, but many poker players share very similar traits, especially the long-term losing players. A lot of long-term losing poker players are prone to being effected by their emotional state. At the poker table, one of your biggest weapons to becoming a long-term profitable player is understanding how the value of money affects certain players. When losing, a lot of weaker opponents tend to “chase their losses” hoping to break-even, but in the process, most of these players ultimately lose more money because they fail to regain the focus needed to win in the long-run. Read more of this post


The Recent Uncertainty of Investing in Gold


Investors are uncertain about Gold

In September of 2011, Gold was known as the trade that would work in any kind of market. Now, Gold is having trouble working in any market.

Gold(Bullion) is down more than 15 percent from the all time high reached this September. Its success earlier in the year was because gold was being sold by Hedge Funds to raise other funds. The recent strength of the US dollar isn’t helping it either. When investors are insecure about the status of the US dollar or any currency, they invest more in gold, using it as a Hedge (safe investment during times of uncertainty).

When gold was at its best this year it was rising with stocks as central banks added liquidity to “stemoff” a global financial crisis. Investors were pouring more money into gold funds than any other possible assets. Now at the end of 2011, gold has lost this status.

Michael Murphy,CEO of Hedge Fund Rosecliff Capital, has witnessed first hand this recent downturn in the bullion. He stated that:

“Gold was a safe haven,a hedge and a speculative trade all at the same time. Long gold has been winning trade for years. We expect the selloff in gold to gain momentum into 2012. Traders are finding better hedges,better safe havens, and better speculative commodity plays than long gold.”

Gold has been falling with stocks this week, and even when stocks have come back to life, gold continues to fall. When gold continues to fall, currencies tend to rise. This is a great tool that investors use when deciding where they want their money to work for them.

The bearish gold market is no surprise to investors. Trading gold has always been a very volatile transaction, and investors should know this when they have their money sitting in it. The recent volatility of gold is functioning like a roller coaster, making it difficult for investors to predict how it will do in the near future.

I personally believe that gold will bounce back. With the uncertainty of most currencies and the very volatile markets, investors will look back towards gold as a hedge for their investments. I stress safe investments at times like this because risk can simply be too much. Investors have to think and invest wisely.

I predict that gold will earn its respectable status back early in 2012.

The $3,000 Guarantee Final Table Takedown

After having a brutal unlucky downswing in Lock Poker multi-table tournaments, I finally booked a win in a $3 rebuy buy-in turbo $3,000 guarantee good for $672.22.

I also played a total of 33 other tournaments today with a total of $ 2,668.87 in profit after the evening was over.

A Breakdown of Each Tournament

This was my best day of online tournament poker to date.

I treat poker as a business venture, and this investment netted me a ROI (return-on-investment) of 7,369.11%. I invested a total of $9 into this tournament. The tournament saw 339 players register, rebuy, and add-on creating a total prize pool of ~$3,200 exceeding the $3,000 guarantee from Lock.

We start with 1,500 chips and blinds of 15/30. You are allowed to add-on an additional 1,500 chips at any time you are at 1,500 chips or below for another $3. At the first tournament break, you are allowed to add-on an additional 2,000 chips for $3.  I always take this option immediately before the tournament starts, and I always take the rebuy option at the break. If you are trying to win one of these wild turbo tournaments, you would be stupid not to.

There was actually one time where I folded POCKET ACES in the small blind when it was folded all the way around to me in the small blind. I did this because I don’t think the big blind ever has much of a hand and he will probably fold if raise giving me a meager 30 chips that will prevent me from being able to add-on another 1,500.

Since a lot of players usually add-on right at the start, I think this option should be take 100% of the time.

With a 3,000 stack, I can potentially double up early with a big hand and be sitting with 6,000.

When I have the biggest stack at the table, I like to play SUPER aggressive to slowly build my stack for the money bubble where I can exploit that aggression even more. I want a big stack because I can steal a lot of blinds and force players to play hands and play back at me. When they play back at me, my hope is to eventually have a big hand where I can bust them.

Because my table image is that of a maniac, I can steal blinds frequently and get paid big on my good cards. This is ABSOLUTELY essential if you want to be a good tournament player and make deep runs to the final table.

It was a pretty wild tournament and I can say I definitely got lucky in a lot of spots but that is because I like to take gambles for a big stack. I don’t mind ever losing a tournament because I feel I need to take calculated risks to have a big stack for the final table.

I am only interested in first place and the big pay out, anything else is just a nice consolation prize.

This is the mentality you MUST have if you want to be a long-term winner in large MTTs (multi-table tournaments).

I went into the final table with about 250,000 in chips and the blinds already at 10,000/20,000. In this scenario, it is basically shove all-in or fold pre-flop. I never got any sort of hand to shove all-in with in the early stages and I was down to about 130,000 at one point.

I was able to get lucky and double up with K-Q vs A-4 by hitting a king on the turn and getting back to 250,000. At this point there was six players left with the biggest stack having ~450,000 chips.

The blinds were moving up rapidly every 7 minutes because it was a turbo tournament. Usually, the blinds increase every 10 minutes or every 15 minutes for bigger buy-in events.

You simply have to get very lucky in these tournaments to win due to the fast blind structure. I played solid the whole tournament not ever getting out of line and picking good spots to get my chips in on the way to the final six.

I was able to add to my 250,000 stack by knocking out a player with 180,000 with A-10 vs A-4 to bring us down to the final 4. The blinds were now at 15,000/30,000 with a 1,500 chip ante each hand.

The fourth player was quickly eliminated and we were down to the final 3 when I was dealt A-K of hearts in the small blind. The button shoved K-9 of diamonds for a bout ~420,000 chips and I snap re-shoved all-in and caught an ace on the flop.

I was now sitting with over 900,000 chips and my remaining opponent had about ~500,000 chips left.

Blinds were now at 20,000/40,000 with a 2,000 chip ante so this was going to be a quick heads-up match with us most likely getting all the chips of the tournament into the middle pre-flop.

The Million Chip Stack

After 4 hands of all-in shoves and folds, I was sitting with 1,000,000 chips for my first time ever in a MTT. If I lost this, I wouldn’t care, one of my goals was to hit this milestone this year.

On the fifth hand, I was dealt A-4 of hearts on the button. My opponent shoved his remaining chips in with Q-10 off-suit and I snap called hoping Lock Poker would make it quick with an ace on the flop. I got my wish, and I hit an ace in the window. The board ran dry, and I was left with all the chips in play and the first-place payout of $672.22.


It was a fun tournament no doubt, but I was also able to reach another one of my goals which was to take a small buy-in rebuy event down. These tournaments have been my bread and butter on Lock Poker due to the fact that the action is extremely wild and if you are patient, you have a good chance at building a good stack for the late high blind levels and eventually the final table.

The Top 18 Tournament Payout Structure

I have finished 3rd and also 2nd in a $3 rebuy for $300 and $500 respectively over the course of this year.

I knew eventually I was going to take one of these crap-shoots down.

For now, I am satisfied with my play but my tournament game needs further improvement.

I have noticed myself losing focus on some tables when I am playing a dozen or so at a time.

I will usually always have a tournament with a big chip stack and I tend to focus too much on that one rather than building in the other ones. I will have to take more time for decisions and start making better plays if I want to maximize my profit in the long-run.

I won a satellite ticket to the $215 high-roller event and I will probably be stabbing at that tomorrow afternoon in hopes of an even larger score.

A score that would define my tournament poker career.

Stocks 101: Short Selling For Starters

When I was a high school student, I tried my best to learn the stock market because I decided early that it was going to be my main concentration in college.

One thing that I learned is that the Stock Market has its own language and it is very difficult to understand.

In my Stocks 101 posts I will focus strictly on making the language as easy as possible to help the reader obtain as much information as possible.

If  you are trying to understand short selling, I am pretty sure you already understand the concept of buying a stock. When you buy a stock, you are buying a piece of the company, you own a tiny portion of the company(depending on how many shares you purchase).

Before I define short selling, I feel that it will be easier understood if I define going long on an investment first.

It is very simple.

Don’t be intimidated by all of the terms used in textbooks and crazy definitions that your professors use. Going long on an investment means that the investor believes the stock that they purchased will rise in the future. So when an investors short sells a stock they believe the price will decrease in the future.

This is where it gets a little confusing, just stay with me.

Short selling is the selling of a stock that the seller does not own. When you short sell a stock, your broker basically lends it to you. These shares are sold and credited into your account. Eventually you have to “close the short” .

The New York Stock Exchange

Closing the short simply means buying back the exact number of shares and returning them to your broker. If the price dropped you are in great shape. You buy back the stock at the lower price and you take the profits. BUT, if the stock happened to rise, you have to buy it back at the higher price and you LOSE.

If you are still confused, here is an example:

Say I own 10 shares of marks bakery at $30 per share. You have a gut feeling that the price of Marks Bakery is way over valued and is going to dip in the near future. You borrow the 10 shares from me and sell them at $30 dollars per share, pocketing $300 dollars.

As you so intelligently predicted, the price of Marks Bakery stock dropped to $10 per share. Now you contact your broker and buy 10 shares of Marks Bakery at the new price. This costs you $100. You return the 10 shares to me eventually, but what you did for yourself was make a $200 profit. Simple right?

The concept may seem simple to you now, but there is a lot of time and effort put into short selling. If the stock price went up, You owe me more money than you expected. There is a lot of risk in this game, but where there is risk there is reward.

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