Lessons in Self Publishing Volume 1

One of the strangely gratifying processes of the entire book writing process has also been one of the most mundane. Because we self-published the book, we are learning as we go along about the ins and outs of the publishing process. One of the things we didn’t do the best of research on was distribution. It was really important for me to ensure that people in Europe got the book in their hands quickly, and as the printers are in Arizona, this means that I personally send a lot of the European orders from a stockpile in my office.

Every day I go down to the post office with a bagful of parcels, exchange pleasantries with the women behind the counter, and piss off anyone unfortunate enough to be behind me in the queue. It is the sort of thing that could be a pain in the arse for many, to have to do it every day, but I really love it.

Obviously the fact that I am there every day with a bagful means that we are selling books, so no wonder I am happy. Although I hated working in customer service, it’s always been a priority of mine and I think I am good at it, so there is also some satisfaction in knowing that the orders are getting there on time, and hand sent by one of the authors no less.

There is also a big part of me, that, not sure why, always wished he had his own little eBay type business. So this is the next best thing. 

The book has been on Amazon just over a week, and sales have been good. We have already jumped a bunch of places in the amazon rankings for our chosen search terms, and at the time of writing we have 12 very good reviews, all of which have been given 5 stars.

There are some rather frustrating elements to the whole amazon process. One of the oddest things is amazon do not allow us to set our shipping prices and ETA, so it shows the standard as $12 and 22-44 days for outside the US. The reality is that the shipping is closer to $8 and the ETA is 2-5 days. Very frustrating because that must really put some people off buying at all, and in other instances people have been choosing shopping options that are really expensive (which we are refunding the difference for after).

So if you buy the book, pick the cheapest option, I assure you it will get there in less than a week.

It’s all good though, it’s nice that most of our problems at the moment are the good sort of problems. The response and the reviews have been amazing so far, and there seems to be more and more buzz, and the average sales seem to pick up, on a weekly basis. I think that is because word of mouth and customer reviews are starting to drive it, now that people have had time to finish the book. We started our PR campaign by churning out lots of written content for magazines & websites, but are finding that it doesn’t convert to sales much. What does work well, which I think is a sign of the times we live in, is anything where we can interact with potential customers – forums, social media, video, interviews, and live coaching.

It’s all been a fascinating learning process if nothing else.

One more thing, for fans of this blog. We have about 30 copies of the book which have cosmetic damage on the front cover – nothing wrong with the books or content, just blotches on the cover that we couldn’t possibly send out to customers who paid full price. However, if anyone wants to buy them we are going to sell them at $25 each (normal price $44.90) + whatever the postage costs. If anyone is interested just email me at barry@mentalgameofpoker.com – and you can rest assured I will be taking them to the post office first thing in the morning.

The Brits are No Longer Underdogs in Mixed Games

At the start of the series I said I thought the over/under line for Brit bracelets was 4. Then after Jake Cody and Matt Perrins came flying out of the door I thought maybe upping it to five. Today I was asked several times what I thought the line was now, after Darren Woods won the $2500 six max limit event.

Probably still five, but I am starting to like the over.
I have theorised many times over the last 12 months why the Brits are doing so well on the world stage. The conditions are great to play poker in the UK, the live scene is brilliant to learn your craft, the communities and forums are superb, you don’t have to pay tax on winnings etc etc. One big thing I realised today which is having a (pretty obvious in hindsight) impact is that we are no longer dogs in the mixed games.

We always have the no limit, pot limit hold’em, and PLO games in our arsenal, but recently we have added O8, limit hold’em, stud, and triple draw bracelets to the collective British cabinet. Not to mention Richard Ashby showing his is one of the top all round mixed players in the world too, this year and last year.

These are games that are not traditionally played in the UK and Europe (and not so much stateside either these days), so why have we caught up? The internet is the obvious answer of course; in particular as NLHE is getting tougher, professionals inevitably look to mixed games as the next place to find value.

But I think it is more than that. Not only have we got better at them, I think the Americans have got worse. Not so much worse, it’s just the current generation of American players have only known the internet, just like most of the UK players. Outside of Las Vegas, nobody really plays games like stud, O8, triple draw, razz, 2-7 etc. It is only the ‘TV Pros’ from pre internet Las Vegas who have any significant experience advantage over European players (Case in point, John Juanda winning the triple draw the other night, and putting on a master class). The longer Americans are locked out of the online game, they could actually get overtaken. 

Whatever the reason, it excites me way more when a British player is deep in a non NLHE event. That said, I will be cheering on Alex Martin tonight as he is deep in event #20: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em. You may not have heard of him, but I do not know many people who work as hard at their game as he does, so hopefully he will get a well deserved score tonight. 

One Week Only: 35% Off The Mental Game of Poker on Amazon

It is funny, but I appear to have gotten a much more enthusiastic response from my non poker friends that my book is on Amazon, than when it was first released. I think that makes it 'legit' in most peoples eyes.

To celebrate the amazon launch, for one week only we are offering 35% off when you buy The Mental Game of Poker on Amazon. Please note, if you are outside the USA, choose the 'Standard Shipping' option. It may say 21-42 days, but that is Amazon covering their own back, we ship the next day and it usually arrives in 1-5 days maximum.

If you have already bought the book, you would do us the biggest favour in the world by posting a review on Amazon. We have seven up already and they are all really good, but we need as many as we can get.

35% Off The Mental Game of Poker on Amazon

What people are saying:

“Tendler and Carter also take a fresh approach and give you actionable things you can do to improve your mental game but also measure your improvement.” 
- Bill Rini, Legendary Blogger
“I’m a tilt monkey and finished the book with the confidence knowing I can diminish tilting at the tables.” 
- Paul “Tao Pauly” McGuire, Author, What is Jack Tripper Stole My Dog?
“Raises the bar so high for poker mindset books, other thinkers may not be able to clear it.” 
- Jack Welch, Poker Author, Editor & Player
“Tendler provides real steps and real answers for poker players involved in the day to day struggle who are too often beating themselves.” 
- Jesse May, PartyPoker
“This book contains advice that simply isn’t out there.” 
- Matt Perry, Bluff Europe
“Quite simply it is the only book you will ever need regarding the mental side of poker.” 
- Matthew Pitt, Betfair
“This book is the first of its kind and should be considered mandatory reading for any poker player.” 
- Hunter Bick, DragTheBar CEO
“The book is full of so many ways to help you improve your emotional control that they are literally spilling out from the pages.” 
- Lee Davy, Poker Journalist
“Any player that hopes to have long-term success with poker needs to have this book in their library.” 
- Verneer, Cardrunner’s Coach
“Concisely written, painstakingly detailed and fantastically insightful.” 
- Daniel Smyth, WPT Magazine
“Jared Tendler’s book is by far and away the most advanced Poker book out there” 
- Colin, Customer
“This is the most advanced, detailed information in one spot that I have ever seen on the mental side of poker.”
- Charley, customerPublish Post
“I now easily see how losing players continue to be losing players…they are, ‘Mental Game Fish.’” 
- Rey, Customer

Jesse May Appreciation Society

I think I am jumping on the bandwagon quick enough here to make it look like I am not jumping on the bandwagon.

Whenever I am asked who do I most admire in poker, I rarely say any notable players. I usually say people like Jesse May, because as a journalist/pundit myself, I kind of aspire to what he does more than some hot shot player with a million dollar poker roll. Jesse is one of my favourite pundits, because he is so knowledgable and passionate about the game. He is like a walking Hendon Mob database with a cool accent to boot. 

So I was delighted to see he is blogging for the Poker Farm this year. A bit surprised to see him linked with those guys, just because I see them as a bunch of young twenty something ballas and Jesse seems a bit of an odd fit there (A bit like when you go on a Stag do and somebodies Dad comes along). But he is blogging and presenting for them, and doing a great job.

In particular, the blogging. I always find it strange that the Americans don’t seem to like Jesse as much as we Europeans do as a commentator; there must be something about him that is uniquely Euro despite his accent (understanding irony and sarcasm might be a starting point). I think he is probably the best commentator out there, and I think now, once he is writing again, the Americans are reminded about why he truly is the voice of poker.

Actually, just like Kara Scott, I consider Jesse May British anyway.

Bookmark his blog, it is brilliant. He has a few short lived blogs on other sites and I truly hope he keeps this one up, at least for the series. In one of his blogs about the Full Tilt response to the Ivey situation he said ‘that statement was written from a bunker’ which for me is the quote of the WSOP so far.

I’d also love for him to start a twitter account, but something cynical inside me thinks he currently doesn’t really ‘get’ twitter yet. The one thing I am certain of is that twitter is ready for him, and will be waiting with open arms for him if he ever decides to. Jesse knows everything about this industry, and I know whatever links he would be tweeting, I would be insta retweeting. But maybe 140 characters is nowhere near enough.

He also did a great podcast about The Mental Game of Poker. 

I started a hashtag #getjesseontwitter in a weak attempt to start a movement and now the bossman, Tony G, has retweeted it, so you heard it here first if it takes off. 

Why are the Brits So Good at Poker?

The Brits are proving they are the real deal once again in Las Vegas, and so far you could not have made this up. Jake Cody wins the triple crown in 18 months, then 3 days later his best friend from school, Matt Perrins, takes down a bracelet in a game he has never played before.

I cannot imagine how amazing it must feel, for two lifelong friends to pull off such a unique back to back like that. They really must feel like they have the world in their hands, and why not? I’ve interviewed both men before and they both struck me as both hard working, and unassuming, young guys.

That 100% is the link with the invading British players btw. The last two years the Brits have dominated the WSOP and the EPT for those two reasons. Forget DNA or natural talent, what all these guys have in common is that they clearly work very hard on their game, and despite all their success have managed to remain level headed. I’ve seen it in Jake and Matt, as well as countless others including JP Kelly, Stuart Rutter, Toby Lewis, David Vamplew, James Keys, John Eames, Rupert Elder, and many more.

I think factor A (working very hard on their game) and factor B (humility) complement each other greatly. What they also seem to have, which I think is the net combination of both criteria, is a much solider understanding and acceptance of the role of variance in poker. Variance is the factor that allows players to greatly under or over estimate their own level of skill. It is this that stops players from feeling they have to work on their game, or recognising where they have shortcomings, which is what ultimately leads to the downfall of great players.  
Obviously these young guys have ran well recently, but the big difference between them and many others like them, is that they most likely are fully aware that they ran well and have not allowed it to inflate their egos.

It also helps, massively in my opinion, that they have all found each other. The fact they get to travel the world (and the UK circuit, and no doubt skype) together invariably means they will be talking poker 24/7 with other great minds. I wager most of them will point to this as the single biggest factor in their development as a player; likeminded friends.

The Americans might not think they are so grounded because they don’t quite ‘get’ the British rails, so over the pond they may have an undue reputation as thuggish. It’s actually something of an ironic contrast, that the ferocity of the rails has a direct negative correlation with the temperament of the player. It seems the bigger and louder the rail, the quieter and humbler the player being cheered.  

If I get time this week, I may blog on how Perrins won a bracelet in a game he has never played before, because that is also a fascinating subject from a mental game point of view. Until then this just leads me to ponder what the over/under is on Brit bracelets in Vegas this year, I am thinking its 5 (would have said 4 at the start). 

The 2011 World Series of Poker: The Year of the Tweet

Taken from PokerNews

There is no doubt that the 2011 World Series of Poker will be one of the most significant in the history of poker. It is the first WSOP since the US Department of Justice changed the landscape of poker forever more. It is also the year that Phil Ivey dropped one the biggest drama bombs seen by boycotting the series, and suing his former sponsor.
That will probably be what everyone looks back on as being the definitive moments of this year’s series; however, I think there is one more thing the series will be remembered for – the year of the tweet. I still haven’t decided whether I am going to Vegas this year (and with the clock ticking that probably means I ain’t) but thanks to the power of social media, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything (except lots of hangovers).

Kara Scott (@karaotr) summed this up perfectly for me in a tweet:
I am AMAZED how different things are now that social media (Twitter) is so popular/powerful. Its a whole new world for information gathering

Yes twitter has been around a long time (relatively) and it was at the series last year, but there has been a massive shift in its usage over the last 12 months. No longer is it just a place for poker players to give us the usual ‘got 22k at the break, table full of donks’ updates.

It is perhaps because since #blackfriday everyone has been forced into becoming much more news savvy consumers. The listening and gathering information element of twitter has been forced on us to an extent because playing poker isn’t as easy as it once was. There is also simply much more news to report right now – every day some story breaks that would have otherwise been a ‘major industry changing story' but in the last six weeks seems quite ‘standard’. This week already we had Phil Ivey’s announcement, Tiltware’s statement, the ‘outing’ of several (currently unsubstantiated) Full Tilt rumours on Quadjacks, James Bord vs. John Juanda, and a little bit of poker to talk about.

Social media is also allowing us more than ever before to influence the news as it happens, and interact like never before. Last month there was the story of Daniel Negreanu calling out alleged cheater Ali Tekimtamgac in front of a packed card room, and even more packed twitterverse, at the WPT Championship. There was also the story that the media would not be allowed to play WSOP events breaking, and quickly reversing, after a storm of angry tweets from the poker media. I myself found myself faced with an angry tweet from Tom Dwan after completely not expecting him have read, let alone reply to, a joke I tweeted at his expense (Dwan was in the right btw, and I tweeted a grovelling public apology, to which he sent a smiley face suggesting all was well again in the twitterverse).

There are countless more ways in which social media is allowing all of us; players, journalists, spectators, industry experts, and total whackos, to interact like never before. Twitter is allowing more news stories that would never otherwise see the light of day to break, and at the same time ensuring fewer ways to censor them.

To get all the action from the WSOP, I would still say follow our PokerNews Live Updates because they really are the nuts. But to get all the drama around the WSOP (and poker in general), now is the time to get yourself a twitter account.

Oh, and follow me, as I follow the poker world and aggravate high stakes pros - @Barry_Carter

Slow News Day: Thoughts on Phil Ivey and Apologising to Tom Dwan

Generally I have tried my best to avoid writing about the state of US poker post Black Friday, mainly because there are so many great writers across the pond doing a much better job than I ever could hope to. Not sure why, but I do feel compelled to wax lyrical on the latest string of bombshells surrounding Phil Ivey and Full Tilt Poker.

I got wrapped up in this story after cracking a quick joke on twitter that backfired. It wasn't actually that funny, and I had just woken up when I did it, so I wasn't really thinking when I tweeted. It was a reply to a Tom Dwan tweet, like a true keyboard warrior I never expected a response from the OP, because you don't really from a 'celebrity'. This is what I tweeted (which includes Dwan's original tweet):

So..you agree with him and are suing/boycotting too? RT @Tom_Dwan: @philivey poker isn't a sport.Rest of your statement is awesome though.

But low and behold, he did respond, quite quickly, by direct message. As it was a DM I won't post it (It was nothing hush hush, I just respect private messages) but needless to say he wasn't happy with the tweet, and he respectfully pointed out the fact that he had personally pledged all the money Full Tilt has paid him to the players, should FTP not pay out to their US customers.

And right he was, I apologised for the confusion, and publiclly apologised to Dwan on twitter. (Which prompted a smiley face DM from him which I assume means we are best friends now). What Dwan is doing, imo, is arguably a lot braver than what Ivey is doing.

Do not get me wrong, I respect Ivey greatly, I did anyway before, and do just as much now. It cannot be easy to walk away from your own poker room, it certainly cannot be easy for him to essentialy declare war on some of his close friends, and I imagine it is very hard to sit out of the WSOP when he has a bracelet legacy to maintain.

As brave as this was for Ivey, it was also the obvious thing to do from a PR perspective. At some point, pissed off FTP customers were going to give him shit about getting their money back (I assume that is what Bord vs Juanda was about, likewise I know Ferguson and Lederer feel like marked men). In light of all the recent revalations about FTP, things were only going to get worse for sponsored representatives and shareholders during the WSOP.

Ivey had the most to lose of any of the sponsored pros, he is the most recognised face in poker, and the best player in everyones books – he does not need to get caught up in all this. By declaring war on Full Tilt, who are sinking fast and he will never be able to play there again anyway, he looks like the hero in this story. He can go away for the summer, come back when the dust has settled, and look like the people's champion along the way.

I also feel as though perhaps Ivey was aware somethig big is about to go down. Although I am sure they did not know about the DOJ thing ahead of time, I am convinced Hellmuth and Annie Duke were becoming more aware of the fragility of UB, which is why they left, seemingly for no reason. Likewise, I think Phil possibly knows of the gravity of what is ahead for FTP, hence the decision to leave (Maybe Nick Rainey told him what he was about to say on QuadJacks).

Please do not mistake this for dissing Ivey, I am not. What he did was brave and it was honourable. It was just also the only thing he could have really done from a PR perspective.

Back to twitter and I am quite proud of this tweet, which got a lot of retweets today:

Anyone think @Phil_Hellmuth will seize the opportunity and come dressed as Phil Ivey for his main event entrance this year?

Copyright © Barry Carter Poker