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The Thank You Economy

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 I just finished reading 'Thank You Economy' by Gary Vaynerchuk, which was recomended to me in very apt fashion by someone in the comment's section of this blog. The book is about how social media has levelled the playing field for small business and once again created a word of mouth culture.

10 years ago if you had recieved bad customer service from a large company, you would probably tell your circle of friends and it wouldnt make a dent in that companies bottom line. Now you can moan on twitter, facebook, amazon, trip advisor, a podcast, a blog, a forum, and probably 100 effective methods. If not handled well, your compllaint could reach thousands upon thousands of people. Likewise, if you recieve exceptional service, your praise can reach the same number of people and give that company some of the best free marketing available (Think of how much more effective a friend's recommendation is compared to banner ad these days).

I don't really see the point of explaining the book any more than this, because Vaynerchuk explains it himself much better in this video. In short, he is very successful because he gave a shit more than his competitors:


I loved the book, it has really spoken to me at a transitional period in my own life. First of all, I have really become a social media convert in 2011, I think it will be as mandatory a skill in ten years time as operating a PC is today. Secondly, I have my own book - The Mental Game of Poker - coming out next week. The nature of the book really means that word of mouth is vital to its success (especially as the US DoJ appears to have created a massive bump in the road), I know social media (particularly twitter, facebook, and forums) will play a huge part.

Finally, on a personal note, losing my Father last year has a major influence. I must admit I was much more a fast buck kind of guy, I would usually go for the easier route, I would sometimes (semi) joke that 'if a job is worth doing properly, it's not worth doing'. Dad was never someone I would call particularly ambitious, however, he always did his best, he never cut corners, he never did a shoddy job, he never put off tomorrow what he could do today, and most of all, he always did the right thing by others – customers, friends, and family.

One of the really humbling things about his funeral was seeing just how profound an impact this had, one that you would never see day to day, month to month, only in a lifetime. So many people came to the funeral, his plumber came, his mechanic came, my friends who knew him when we were at school came, so many people who would otherwise barely be acquittance's came – not the sort of people you would usually expect to see at a funeral. We also heard many stories about lives he touched, how he was like a second father to a lot of people, and was a real role model to people who were on bad pathes until they met him (One guy in particular who could have easily been in jail, but after meeting Dad, followed his example, and became a stand up family man and a nurse). 

Thats not successful in an ROI sense, but thats a legacy. It was a real turning point for me in my life, I want to leave an imprint like that. Don't get me wrong, I want to earn a shit load of money too, but I want to do it right. 

There are so many ways I could shamelessly spam this book, but I'm not going to. I have no intention of misseling this to players who shouldnt buy it (like brand new players) because whats the point? There are loads of things I could do to increase my twitter followers, but why bother if they don't want to listen (please follow me on twitter btw) - much better to know that the people that do follow us want to hear us. I know the book is good, because I know Jared Tendler is a genius, so I'm not going to ruin things by pushing too hard, I hope that enough people agree with me to spread the word because they want to.

Anyway, to get back on track, the Thank You Economy is the second best book of 2011 so far for me and I read a hell of a lot (Top read so far this year for me was 'Made to Stick' by the Heath Brothers). Its passionate, persusaive, and easy to follow. Its a real must for anyone in, well, any industry, and simply put if you don't buy into the principles of the Thank You Economy, you will get left behind.


Mental Game of Poker Excerpt - Fear

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We released this as a direct response to Black Friday, figuring that a lot of US players may find some of what is written is applicable to them right now.

Obviously fear is a pretty universal thing so all poker players can probably see some benefit too.

****Buy the Mental Game of Poker Now****

Sure Was a Great Time to Release a Poker Book

3 comments
Last week I commented to my girlfriend that last weekend was possibly the biggest weekend of my career. At the time I meant because not only was my book coming out for pre-order but we had this massive interactive live stream happening at the PartyPoker Big Game. Turns out I was dead right, largely because you can add perhaps the biggest story to ever hit the modern poker era to that list.

The Big Game itself was amazing. The interactive stream and chat element we had running with PokerNews was out of this world. It was lots of fun to work on and that element of direct feedback with the audience was liberating. We actually helped shape how the show looked and the overall consensus from PokerNews, Matchroom, DTD, PartyPoker, and the audience was that it was one of the best things we have all been involved in.

It helps of course when the boss, Mr G, was the big winner on the show. He was in fine form all weekend and hinted that this sort of thing could be the future. I hope so, I loved it. In a weekend that felt like the end of poker, this felt like the start of something big.

#BlackFriday. We found out just as we were setting up our stuff for the Big Game and it was the only thing anyone could talk about. There is nothing I could write that would add anything to the discussion really. I’m going on Sky Poker this Thursday to discuss it, because lots of their community are worried, even though it has no immediate impact on them as they are a UK only site.

One thing is for sure, we picked the worst time in the world to release the Mental Game of Poker. It was looking so positive, we had some great preorder figures and several very promising reviews. Of the preorders pre Friday, about 40% were from the States, so a huge chunk but not enough for us to consider giving up.

The plan now is twofold. First of all, we had a great relationship with non US regions because obviously I’m European – so we are going to focus even harder on those areas. We had a promo yesterday on PartyPoker which was a great start as well as tying up a deal with another European magazine. My only true aim for the year now is to get us break even, because this has cost Jared a lot of money – thankfully it’s not that far to the breakeven point.

The second plan is just to make Jared available to the US audience. He is, after all, a licensed counsellor, so my idea was to make him the ‘poker shrink’ for American players who are obviously very scared right now. We have already released a big excerpt of the fear chapter of our book as a direct response and Jared also posted this excellent blog about coping with the news which is getting tons of hits. Amazingly we are still getting orders from the US, which can only be a good sign. 

As bad as it seems right now, poker will not disappear in the States forever, so all we can do is make ourselves available to be ambassadors during this difficult time to develop a good relationship with them when a (presumably legal) new poker site/boom begins. The good thing about books is that we can still sell them in a year, two years etc  and the good thing about our book is that it is unique and not something likely to be dated in the next three or four.

The overall goal now is just to survive. No idea how long it will take but as Dusty Schmidt commented to me over the weekend, we could look back on this in five years and say it was the best thing to happen to us. Dusty stands to lose a shit load from this, so for him to say that gives me plenty of hope.

I’m very lucky to be with PokerNews right now. They are quite stable compared to many of our rivals because we have a strong global presence. Things will definitely not be the same; I am preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. It will take a while to see how this directly affects my role and the roles of the people I work with, but being with PokerNews probably puts me in as fortuitous position as a poker journalist could be in right now. 

Big Weekend at the Big Game V

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My favourite tournament to play in is the IPO in Dublin. My favourite poker event to attend of the year is the European Poker Awards. My favourite poker event to work on is definitely the Party Poker Big Game, which takes place again this weekend in Nottingham.

I don’t really do the live update thing, but I make an exception with this event. It’s just a fun, unique kind of event to be around. I am getting more and more fascinated with live, real time media and anyone who has followed me on twitter will know I am becoming a social media whore, so the Big Game suits me.

I can’t even begin to tell you some of the stuff PokerNews have planned, it’s so big. The live stream with hole cards, live chat with viewers and players, twitter feeds, freerolls, contests, videos, sound bites etc etc. The really big deal, however, will be the fact that viewers will be vote the players off from the show live. It’s a first for poker, it’s obviously a first for PokerNews, and I imagine it will be an interesting first for me. 

I really do not know how it will end up looking; we are trying so many new things that I am sure some will stick and others will fall on their arse, one thing is for sure it won’t be boring.

Evicting players via a live stream in a cash game, is this poker? Well, it certainly isn’t the purest form of poker around, but it is perhaps about the most interesting for a wide audience. You have to admire Matchroom, they never allow complacency to kick in, whether its poker, darts, or snooker. Some things may look bad this weekend, but I reckon there will be some real gems this weekend that might just set a new bar for poker live reporting & televised poker.

It’s, ahem, good for the game.

Watch it live tonight until Sunday at PokerNews.

The Mental Game of Poker - Available for Pre-Order

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I am not going to get too excited until I have an actual copy in my hands, but it gives me great pleasure to say that The Mental Game of Poker is now available for pre-order. The website has gone live today, and if you order it before April 27 you can get 20% off.

We have already got some reviews in, last night Jared was a guest on the Leatherass Podcast where they had lots of very nice things to say about it (they then started talking golf, and I switched off). Jesse May has also read the book and will be dedicating a whole Poker Show to it at the end of the month, I won’t spoil the show but we are pretty excited about it, it went well.

The first written review is also up on BlondePoker. I was particularly pleased with this one, not so much because it makes it look like the greatest book in the world, but simply because it proved that some of the concepts we wanted to get across were easy enough to understand. One of the reasons why it took so long was because we wanted to condense some very complex material into something digestible. Because its such a revolutionary book, we were very concerned it may have been hard to understand, but it seems so far, it's not. 

Like I said, I won’t be getting excited until I see a real copy and it is on general sale. Until then, if you are interested in the book and have any questions, drop me a line. I also would love you to listen to some of the recent Pokerroad Podcasts that featured Jared because I think they are a great example of the sort of thing you can expect from the book (he is at the end of each show).   

So What Really is 'Good for the Game'?

9 comments
Anyone who mixes in poker circles quite a lot is probably starting to get sick of the phrase “Good for the Game”. Poker has been under scrutiny for a number of years across the world, the legality of poker varies from country to country, so people consider it immoral, some consider it pure gambling, and large parts of the industry are in decline. So we often find ourselves framing things in the sense of whether they are good for the general health of the game or not.

So when Hellmuth makes a crazy entrance at the WSOP, it’s good for the game. When Boris Becker signs for PokerStars, it’s good for the game. When Full Tilt announce a $250,000 buy-in tournament series, it’s good for the game. When PokerStars host a 100,000 runner tournament, it’s good for the game. When poker gets recognised as a mind sport, it’s good for the game.

But what is really good for the game?

I hear so many contradictory arguments about what is good for poker and what is not. For example, people were shocked when Greg Raymer was let go by PokerStars because he is a great ambassador for poker and an all-round nice guy, i.e. good for the game. Yet someone like Phil Hellmuth can have a temper tantrum on TV and generally behave like a child, but you know for certain he will never get dropped by his future sponsor.

Likewise when someone clearly superior in the skill department goes on a hot streak, let’s say Phil Ivey making the main event final table and winning two bracelets in 2009, we say it’s good for the game because it is proving that poker is a game of skill. But in equal measure someone like Jamie Gold luckboxing their way to a fortune is seen as good, because it encourages new players to take up the game by making poker look easy.

Poker players feel a real sense of injustice when a non-poker celebrity gets sponsorship, arguing that it would be better for the game if a hard working talented pro got endorsed. But it’s the celebrities who promote the game to a much wider audience and get new blood at the tables. Surely that’s better for the game?

Some people think that ridiculous buy-in events like the Onyx Cup are good for the game because they guarantee ready-made Ivey/Negreanu/Durrrr dream final tables, which TV audiences will want to see. However some think they are bad for the game, elitist and a way of maintaining the status quo. The counter argument is that good value, affordable, large field events like the UKIPT or the IPO are much better for the game because everyone can get involved.

The debate over whether poker is skill or gambling is often one of the most misguided areas where the ‘good for the game’ debate rears its head. Poker recently got recognised as a Mind Sport and in some countries it’s considered legally a game of skill, in others it’s even been given the status of sport. The natural reaction for most players is to think this is about as good as it gets for the game.

I’m not saying it isn’t, but there is plenty of reason why poker staying considered a form of gambling is actually great for the game. First of all, I live in the UK and right now it is in every poker players interest for poker to remain a form of gambling – because we don’t pay tax on gambling winnings at the moment. Poker being named a game of skill would be terrible for players if that resulted in winnings becoming taxable. Obviously in other countries, being considered a game of skill could actually have tax benefits, so what is good for poker in one country is not the same in another.  

But the other reason why we should be cautious to cast off the image of gambling from poker is that we may chase away new players. So many poker rooms make the mistake of aiming their marketing towards skilled players (By offering big rakeback deals, multi entry tournaments, claiming to be full of fish, and allowing tracking software) when they should be finding new ways to allure new players.

It’s the fact that anyone can win that makes poker so enticing, love it or hate it, variance is the reason we are all here. I have always thought the best way to market a room like Full Tilt would be to show one of their usual cool excerpts of Phil Ivey looking like the Tiger Woods of poker, listing his accomplishments and accolades to demonstrate why he is the best in the world, then all of a sudden show my Mum beating him heads-up and doing a victory dance. Because of the gambling element in poker, you can beat the best in the world – that’s a message that’s great for the game.

Personally I think what is best for the game is most of the things that go against my own poker snobbery instincts. I think celebrity poker players are good for the game, I think that shallow stacked TV poker with big personalities like Tony G is good for the game, I think that the gambling element of poker is what makes it so enticing and therefore good for the game. Anything  that gets new players playing and thinking that poker is a piece of cake is good for the game – it’s good for sponsors, good for seasoned players, good for new players, good for poker staff types like myself and good for the poker economy in general.

Before you decide something is good for the game, first think about what the game needs first. 

Mental Game of Poker - Table of Contents

4 comments
You should never judge a book by its cover, but you probably can get an idea by its table of contents. I am a real book worm and the feature on Amazon where you can skim the first few pages of a book has certainly influenced me to buy loads of titles, most of the time the book has lived up to the expectation the contents pages have created.



So The Mental Game of Poker will be available for preorder next week, but until then hopefully this table of contents will prove compelling enough. As you can see the book is pretty involved, but you won't have to read every section as we advise a bespoke way of reading the book depending on the particular mental game issues you are working on.

The client stories are as the name suggests are personal accounts from poker players who Jared has helped improve their tilt and other issues. The 'Barry's Take' sections are musings from yours truly, where I try and explain some of the more complex concepts Jared talks about in terms poker players understand.

Some of the sub titles will make no sense until you read it, but I would suggest you skim the tilt section now to see if any single lines/terms strike a chord.

If anyone has any questions on this based on the table of contents drop me a line in he comments box and stay tuned next week for the launch of the website and pre-order for the book:


Chapter 1: Introduction
Golf Sets the Stage
Enter Poker
Client’s Story: Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt
I’m Not a Poker Player
The Problem with Conventional Poker Psychology
Mental Game Fish
Mental Game Strategy
Mental Game Myths
How to Use this Book
Chapter 2: Foundation
The Adult Learning Model
Sidebar: Flaws are Skills
Inchworm
Client’s Story: Niman “Samoleus” Kenkre
Two Common Learning Mistakes
The Process Model
Preparation/Warm-up
Client’s Story: Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt
Performance
Results
Sidebar: Results-oriented Thinking
Evaluation
Client’s Story: Niman “Samoleus” Kenkre
Analysis
Use the Process Model Everyday
Chapter 3: Emotion
Resolution
Malfunctioning Mind
Two Causes of Emotion
Accumulated Emotion
Spectrum of Emotion
Performance and Emotion
Chapter 4: Strategy
Injecting Logic
1. Recognition
2. Deep Breath
3. Injecting Logic
4. Strategic Reminder
5. Repeat as Necessary
6. Quitting
Resolution
Mental Hand History
Sidebar: Correcting Flaws in Poker
Sidebar: The Mental Side of Poker Mistakes
Additional Strategies
Tracking Improvement
Writing
Accumulated Emotion
Conclusion
Chapter 5: Tilt
Tilt = Anger + Bad Play
The Nature of Anger
Accumulated Tilt
The Tilt of Tilt
The Benefit of Tilt
Winner’s Tilt
Tilt Profile
Sidebar: Think You Don’t Tilt?
Seven Types of Tilt
Barry’s Take: Understanding your Opponents’ Tilt
General Strategy for Tilt
Client’s Story: Liz “RikJamesB1atch” Herrera
What Progress Looks Like and How to Keep it Going
Running Bad Tilt
Client’s Story: Matt “mbolt1” Bolt
Focused More on Results than Quality
Booking a Win
Poker/Life Balance
Predicting Bad Beats
Resetting Your Mind
Injustice Tilt
Sidebar: Assuming You’re Better
Terrible at Spotting Good Variance
More Than is Fair
Injustice Tilt Opportunity
Wishing Poker Wasn’t This Way
Desire to Control Variance
An Excuse Not to Learn
Client’s Story: Barry Carter
Bad Beat Stories
Jealousy
Hate-losing Tilt
Competitiveness
Money Lost
Client’s Story: Jordan “iMsoLucky0” Morgan
Believing You Can Win Every Hand
Lost Skill
Losing Gets Personal
Losing Hurts More Than Winning Feels Good
Mistake Tilt
Expecting Perfection
When a Mistake is Not a Mistake
Obvious Mistakes
Threatens Your Goals
Know Too Much, Mastered Too Little
Entitlement Tilt
Overconfidence
Losing to Fish
Client’s Story: Liz “RikJamesB1atch” Herrera
Losing to Regulars
Client’s Story: Mike “Syous” Song
Moving up in Stakes
Revenge Tilt
No Respect
Facing Constant Aggression
Player with History
Regaining Confidence
Taking Your Money
Enacting Revenge
Your Soul Owned
Desperation Tilt
Sidebar: When Losing Feels Good
Non-negotiable Strategy
Using Tilt to Improve Your Play
Keeping Records
Chapter 6: Fear
The Nature of Fear
Barry’s Take: Be Fearless Like Ivey
Incomplete Information
Fuel to Perform
Fear Profile
1. Overthinking
2. Not Trusting Your Gut
Barry’s Take: Feel Players
3. Second-guessing
4. Performance Anxiety
5. Negative Future
General Strategy for Resolving Fear
Playing out the Fear
Answering Questions
Common Fears
Fear of Failure
Fear of Success
Fear of Mistakes
Fear of a Bad Run
Client’s Story: Pascal “Stake Monster” Tremblay
Fear of Moving Up in Stakes
Risk Aversion
Client’s Story: Barry Carter
Chapter 7: Motivation
The Nature of Motivation
Inspiration
Barry’s Take: Prop Bets
Stable Motivation
Common Motivational Problems
Laziness
Procrastination
Running Good and Bad
Burnout
Sidebar: Underestimating Stress
Goal Problems
Client’s Story: Matt “mbolt1” Bolt
Freerolling Your Talent
Stop Dreaming
Absence of Learning
Client’s Story: Jordan “iMsoLucky0” Morgan
Numb to Emotion
Hopeless
Chapter 8: Confidence
The Nature of Confidence
Stable Confidence
Under-confident and Overconfident
Developing Stable Confidence
The Skill of Recognizing Variance
The Skill of Recognizing Your Skill
The Skill of Recognizing Your Opponents’ Skill
Barry’s Take: Defining Your Edge
Illusion of Control
Client’s Story: Matt “mbolt1” Bolt
Illusion of Permanence
Illusion of Learning
Wishing
Client’s Story: Sean Gibson
Conclusion
You Have Not Mastered This Book
Appendix I
Warm-up and Cool-down
Appendix II
Client Questionnaire

Rounding Up the Poker April Fools Jokes

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April fool’s Day might be a good laugh for most people but it is an absolute nightmare when you write daily news reports. A couple of times in my career I have come a cropper to a subtle April Fools story which I went on the write up as genuine news. It has got to the point where I now reply to any press release with “Is this an April fool’s joke?” even if it is the most run of the mill story you can think of.

As a result, I am always on my guard this day of the year and thankfully I think I have managed duck the biggest poker news japes of the day.I must say it was easy this year, the ones I have seen have been really bad.

Stars were quite blatant in their own efforts, actually calling the one off April fools items in their VIP store April Fools Gifts:



The WSOP didn’t really attempt to make their own gag very subtle, suggesting that they were actually going to host a strip poker bracelet event. I can’t really imagine anyone fell for it, it would have been much better had they gone for a $1 million buy-in event or something like that.


Decent effort from Blondepoker.

Not sure anybody could have really believed this one from APAT.

I thought the point of April Fools jokes was to trick someone? Poor effort from Cards Chat too.

In fact the only real win was this Fricke Roll video:



Has anyone seen any decent ones today?

UPDATE!!!!!

Thanks to the legend that is @KevMath for these two, much better:

Eric Seidel Accused of Collusion

Darvin Moon is Broke (I might have actually believed this one).
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