The Mailbag, and I'm all wound up...

As I'm sure many of you know that the CheckRayz Rewards Poker Tournament, which is scheduled for tommorrow, is experiencing some bumps in the road regarding the registration process. I believe that the issues will be resolved by this afternoon and the tournament will go off without a hitch as scheduled. In the event that it does not, we will put a backup plan (read: rain date) in place. Today's mailbag deals mostly with CheckRayz' post season activities, plus a bit of feedback on the "why I play tight and aggressive" post.

The infamous Friday Night Mailbag (about ten hours early, as usual)...

First letter comes from Bob:

Mike, know you are busy, but I have only been able to register for one of the three events at River Belle, I know they will get it worked out but they are our main site now and we deserve only there best for all the best poker players around (CheckRayz). You have done an exceptional job the first quarter and the rest of the year looks very good, of course the gloves are off now and I will be the CHAMP, Ha Ha.

Thanks again for the best site on the net.


Bob, first of all, thanks for the very kind words regarding the CheckRayz site and our first quarter. As you and everyone else knows, there have been serious issues with getting registered at River Belle for the three big events. I do not fault them at all. This is the first time I have taken registration via email and screenname (fyi: its a big pain and ten times more work). Additionally, given that it is my first time, its also the first time they have taken registration from me in this manner.

The issues we're having today and over the past few days will be resolved, and are merely a minor bump in the road... a learning experience for me and for River Belle. Generally speaking, its difficult dealing with someone located half way across the world (my rep, who is in my opinion the best rep in the industry --- named Michael Elhoff) lives in Capetown, South Africa. He and I touch base regularly. If it was just he and I doing business one on one, that is one thing. However, I'm acting on behalf of all of CheckRayz, he's acting on behalf of his company, Referback, and also on behalf of River Belle/Prima. There's many components to us doing business and we have to trust that those indirectly involved will come through for us flawlessly. However, the more parts involved, the greater chance something will happen to temporarily derail us.

That being said, he is on the job and the issues will be resolved soon. They are our top poker room and the sponsor of the entire leaderboard. We, in turn, are a valued customer base to them, in which many huge things are in the works. Together, we will have everything fixed and ready to go. I predict that the tourney will go off on Saturday as planned, though if it needs pushed back, that is also fine with me, as I will not let it be a black mark in my book if it does not.

Next email is from Gary:

Mike - Not sure what's going on, but it looks like Chippies is the only one who has gotten into the Rewards tournament for this Saturday. I was able to get into the other 2 tournaments, but it won't let me in the Rewards tournament for this Saturday.

Sorry to bother you - Thanks for any help you can offer

Gary, see my above response to Bob. Additionally, the reason she got in and no one else can is because the list I submitted last second contained only her name. The original list contained the names of everyone else who properly replied, which included yours and mine, among others. If the event doesn't hold it will be rescheduled. With any luck if this happens, chippy takes down the prize pool uncontested (there is a silver lining to every cloud). We'll try again to register this afternoon.

Moving on...

Thanks Mike for all your efforts.

I am looking forward to this next Leaderboard quarter.


Bonnie, when I said last night in my response that this email made my day, I was dead serious. I mean, I know that what I do is appreciated, and I do not "look" for thanks from anyone, but it is really nice when people such as yourself take time to thank me, especially when things are going wrong. Very much appreciated and for that, I thank YOU!

And moving on to the series of email I received three minutes prior to Bonnie's (note: I'm not going to name this person, however, I will post the entire series along with commentary at the end):

Them: im have problems getting into the 200 freeroll my screenname is ___________

Me: Hi,

We are having problems with the registration, and it should be resolved by tommorrow. However, in going through my records, I do not have any record of you responding by the specified date on the original invitation. I'll add you to the list but cannot guarantee entry.



Them: thats not true i sent it in 3 days ago as soon as i got the email i also never got credit 4 points how can u not guarantee a seat to something u qualify 4

(note: its probably a safe assumption that my ass is chapped after receiving this response)

Me: To repeat what I said, I will try to get you in. However, I also said I do not have a record of you responding (didn't say you didn't respond, I said I don't have a record of it).

So, the question becomes, would you like me to do what I can to ensure you get in or not? I believe you want me to do what I can, and I am.

You're welcome,

Them: yes i would love u to do what u can txu

My official mailbag commentary: For starters... are you f'ing kidding me? Second, are you f'ing kidding me? To follow that up, are you f'ing kidding me?

On the record, I didn't have a record of this person "properly" responding to my original invitation. I checked my email log, and found nothing in terms of indicating acceptance of this invitation. In fact, the first piece of correspondance I received from this individual was last night. The possibility does exist that this persons email got overlooked. However, I save everything I receive regarding the site.

I can understand that one may be frustrated with the "technical issues we are experiencing" but if you cannot follow my instructions, do not take it out on me. Nuff said there...

Finally, onto the Friday Night Mailbag email of the week...

Norman writes:

Hi, Mike. I just finished reading your blog for April 6 about tight, aggressive play. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but even if you don't say so in so many words, I get the impression that you frown on calling as a rule, preferring to raise or fold. Obviously, there is a time and place for everything, but I think too many people subscribe to Shark's mantra of "bet, raise, or get out of the way".

I don't know if you have seen it, but Full Tilt has a feature called "Tips From The Pros". On the Full Tilt home page in the lower righthand corner, click on "Tips From The Pros", and read Lesson No.42, "In Defense of the Call", written by Gavin Smith. I think he makes some very good points about calling in certain positions. Like any other play, there are many variables to consider, but how many times have you folded only to see the card that would make your hand hit the board, when a call of a small bet would have kept you in the hand, and yet that call would not result in a large loss of chips if someone made a big raise behind you and you had to fold?

I'm not advocating calling every bet, but I just think there are more times when it is appropriate than people realize. Keep on bringing up ideas on your blog. I'm sure there are many people as interested in them as I am. After all, the more we learn about your style of play, the better chance we will have to knock you out in the future! LOL! Only kidding! See you tonight at Poker4Ever.

Take care. Norman

Norman, excellent commentary! And I suspect my posting yesterday requires some clarification. I do agree that calling is appropriate in many situations. I am "in the know" on the "in defense of a call" as well, and agree with it. Generally speaking, my article was written regarding my overall posture, which is in fact tight and aggressive... having "standards" for starting hands, and playing them hard.

That being said, will I limp with 10-9 offsuit from the late position with three callers in front of me and 1 person who plays aggressively behind me? Sure would! Would I call a small bet to draw to a straight with that hand after the flop? Yep, most of the time I would. Would I call a huge bet that would mow my stack in half to draw to that same straight? Nope. Would I continue to play with middle pair on the board to a heavy bet from a strong player? Hell no!

I guess my point of writing that was as follows:

1. Have standards,
2. Play hard, and play well
3. More often than not, be the one laying the odds, not accepting them,
4. Know what the purpose of each and every move you make is, and when to get out

(i.e. - 10-9 offsuit late position is a limping hand for me when the pot has been opened, 2 to three peeps limping in on a full table). If I flop top pair, I'm probably not staying in if it is costly, as the possibility of someone limping before me with 10-j, 10-q is too great. This hand, by my strategerie, is moreso a hand in which I'd like to see a straight come from. Given that it is offsuit, I'm not compelled to draw for the flush either. It "might" be a hand I would attempt to steal in an unopened pot with late position and weak blinds, and would be something I'd be comfortable pushing allin with when my M is in the Red zone and the pot is still unopened, as its profitable against random board holdings, given the steal potential of this move via the first in viggorish and corresponding gap concept.

I will no sooner call call call with 10-9 offsuit early in a tournament on a board with jack king ace in a transaction that would potentially cost me 75% of my chips than I would calling down with K2offsuit and a board of AK9 rainbowed. So, in conclusion, that is what I am saying regarding my posture. I'm moreso reflecting on peeps making calls with hands that are not profitable to call long term, either given the selection of starting hand, their position, or the board in general (needing runner runner and facing heavy betting). I should have moreso qualified that in my post yesterday.

Well, back to work... Lots of poker to play today, and needing to touch base with River Belle to get this tourney goin'.