Archive for the ‘poker lifestyle’ Category

Poker Player Tax Advice

Government wants its cut, and should you file a Form D-bag with your W-2G?

by , Mar 26, 2012 | 7:35 am

With April 15 right around the corner, poker players are undoubtedly thinking about Black Friday Anniversary Parties remembering in the normal-people world that the real “Black Friday” isn’t until November, and oh crap, you mean federal income taxes weren’t just part of the tournament entry fee!?! And while there isn’t a blank specifically on a 1040 for seized funds or PokerStars T$, poker players (particularly those with online money in play) might-should presume they are being looked at more closely than ever for Fiscal 2011 — assuming, of course, you haven’t already been under full investigation and/or negotiated an IRS settlement as part of turning state’s evidence in the cases against your former poker-mates.

OK, before I over-insinuate: some news-you-can-use for poker players looking to play it straight with the Feds:

Attorney Brad Polizzano (aka @taxdood) has a series on PokerFuse about various tax matters pertinent to poker players — such as rakeback, staking agreements, and Form 8-Ben Lamb, I think it’s called?

And Theresa Fox (@TfoxCPAinc) talks taxable income on Strategy with Kristy n — tackling matters for anyone with gambling winnings in play, especially those that may have transpired in some capacity across international borders:

[audio:http://pokernewsdotcom.podbean.com/mf/feed/w3stcc/KristyTaxes.mp3]

Is the Price of Poker Going Up?

Statistical Cost Survey for the 2012 WSOP

by , Mar 13, 2012 | 12:36 pm

Vegas was hit hard by the bursting housing bubble and recession. As a result, WSOP-bound poker players found travel and lodging bargains over the past few summers. But with these and other ancillary economic factors in flux, 2012 could prove to be more challenging for frugal gamblers … unless you are an alcoholic vegan who flies no frills with no checked bags, rents a condo instead of getting a hotel room on (or near) the Strip, and opts out of any $1 million buy-in events. Then you should be OK.

Gas prices: If you’ve filled your gas tank lately, you know you’re paying more for a gallon of gas. On average, gasoline prices are running 7.8 percent higher than they were this time last year. If you’re planning a cross-country drive, you can anticipate some additional expense. Check out the gas prices by region here.

Airfares: Airlines are fairly efficient at passing on higher jet fuel costs to their passengers. Surprisingly, airfares to Vegas are substantially lower this year. Use Expedia’s “Trend Tracker” to see how much lower your route is this year over last. Low cost carriers have added flights to Vegas in the past year, keeping a lid on airfares. Spirit Airlines has added 119 weekly flights into Vegas since last year and Allegiant enjoy Air has added 32 flights per week — while higher cost carriers have cut back. Airport statistic geeks will McCarran’s monthly flight activity reports.

Hotel Rates: When MGM’s City Center opened in December 2009, it dumped more than 4,000 hotel rooms into an already saturated market. But the slow and steady economic recovery has been taking up some of the slack. As a result, the average daily rate (ADR) for hotels is higher this year. According to their latest financial statements, the ADR for MGM Strip properties is $127, up 10.4% from last year. The ADR for Caesars Entertainment’s Las Vegas properties is up 8.3 percent to $9.  The Wynn’s ADR is up 15.2 percent over last year, coming in at $242.

Condo/House Rentals: House and condo rental prices are marginally lower this year, according to the latest from HUD’s Fair Market Rents Data Set. If you and your friends are heading out for a prolonged WSOP stay, you might consider a short-term house rental. But be careful. Rental scams in Las Vegas involving foreclosed properties are not uncommon. Read this article to learn more about these scams.

Food and Beverage Prices: Overal, food and beverage prices are up 4.2% since last year. It’s especailly bad if you lived off hamburgers (up 10.6%) and coffee (up 15.4%). Vegans, however, will save this year (fresh fruits and vegatables are down 0.1%). And its not too bad for alcoholics. Stocking the bar at your condo will only be 2.1% more expensive this year. You can check out the BLS CPI report for more details.

WSOP Buy-Ins: If your goal is to play the most expensive event at the WSOP, you are going to have to fork over much more than last year. Last year’s $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship looks like a bargain compared with this year’s $1 million “Big One for One Drop” event. If $1,000 and $1,500 buy-in events are more your speed, however, you are in luck. The 2012 WSOP schedule includes two additional events in the weekend-warrior price range. Less good news for the frugal: juice is still 10 percent for these events (7 percent for entry fees and 3 percent for tournament staff).


Oops, I Won Too Much Country!

Tom Schneider launches music career with EP

by , Mar 12, 2012 | 7:30 pm

tom schneider poker country musicWe still love Donkeybomber ’round these parts; just haven’t written much about the famous author and ’07 WSOP Player of the Year lately because … well, um, how do you put this nicely when his biggest accomplishments since then include not having enough money on Full Tilt to actually lose anything, and maybe getting retweeted by @basebaldy AND Jack Effel? (Sorry Pokeratizens for missing the breaking news … )

Well you’re not gonna believe what our balder, gastronomically larger, bi-braceleted pal is up to now: Country music.

Seriously, have a listen to First 5-Song CD, Created in December 2011, a title he apparently shortened prior to mainstream release on iTunes with the simpler, more memorable “EP”, which some say could be subtle commentary on the plight of a one-time WSOP POY seeking recognition as a real pro by Epic Poker.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/tom-schneider/id435732204

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Festival of Nits, the Tourist Factor, and Swallowing Your Pride

Late-night lessons from the Trop

by , Mar 8, 2012 | 7:37 pm

I think I was in Los Angeles at the end of last summer. Somewhat amazingly, that was the last time I was outside of the desert. I did go to Palm Springs with my girlfriend and met some family there for Thanksgiving … but that’s still in the desert. I didn’t go home this past Christmas for the first time ever in my life, and I haven’t left Vegas once in 2012. This can’t be healthy. I need to get out for a while.


    This was THE nit festival of all nit festivals. Your normal hourly rate simply does not translate when you remove the fun-loving, didn’t-come-to-fold tourist factor and replace it with the game-has-obv-passed-me-by-but-I’ll-still-sit-here-and-fold-for-$10/hr-zomg-dreams-do-come-true jaded older Vegas reg. I mean, it was truly miserable.

Las Vegas is awesome. We all know about the availability of booze and gambling 24/7, and the ability to keep whatever sleep schedule you desire. As cash game poker players, we never have to endure the pain of an alarm clock’s rouse, as Vegas embraces daywalkers and nightowls alike. The cost of living is relatively low, especially considering the quantity and quality of entertainment options available as compared to other cities with similar offerings, such as LA, San Francisco, Miami. If outdoor adventure is your thing, you can find plenty of that at places like Red Rock Canyon; hikes such as the Gold Strike near Hoover Dam, which takes you all the way down into the Colorado River; and weird natural beauty like the Valley of Fire. And for those less willing to leave Clark County, there’s the peaceful Summerlin suburbs, and the increasingly interesting downtown Vegas scene.

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WSOP Main Event Champions: Where Are They Now?

Jerry Yang '07

by , Feb 5, 2012 | 5:39 am

We know about Jamie Gold’s poker residency at the Tropicana in Las Vegas — where he can be found playing 1/2 and apparently trying to fill the poker world’s Professor void by offering lessons that cost about as much as a college education. (The Jamie Gold Poker Room official launch party, btw, is Feb 17!)

But what about the rest of ’em?

You can currently find Jerry Yang, the 2007 WSOP’s biggest winner and #20 on the all-time poker tournament money list, bussing tables while commanding an otherwise lackadaisical staff (according to Yelp) at Pocket 8s Sushi & Grill in central California. Um, pass the yum-yum sauce?

Via Pokerati’s resident Vegas grinder-thug @AndrewNeeme:

pocket 8s sushi and grill

Poker Fish: You wouldn’t believe how many of Jerry Yang’s relatives are always hitting him up for free sushi.


(Not So) New Episode(s) of The Micros

Award-winning poker cartoons for fun

by , Feb 2, 2012 | 2:58 am

Jeesh, everything’s so serious these days … or stupid. Either way, it’s been too long since we forgot to tell you about the latest from The Micros. It really was a funny episode a month ago. But like always, lol because it’s true!

And we have a bonus late episode — the Micros’ pitch for people to vote for them in the 2011 Bluff Readers Choice Awards, where Rose, Chase, and Tommy somehow got lumped in with all the podcast/video/live radio newsy shows (in the category The Poker Beat always dominated) and cleaned up.

Enjoy, if you haven’t already.


“Two Pair, No Good”

When bad luck and bad results go hand in hand

by , Jan 28, 2012 | 4:07 pm

I had plans for my first post of 2012 to write about my new year’s resolution, which was to find more purpose in what I’m doing for a living … quite the challenge when your work day consists of picking out tourists to relieve of their vacation cash so you can pay your bills for another month.

Crushed, beaten, annihilated, squelched, wrecked … you feel helpless and empty and start questioning what you’re doing with your life and why you’re wasting so much money.

A new year is supposed to be a time when everyone is feeling the most hopeful and positive and have the brightest outlook on what the next 12 months may hold. I try to put a positive spin on everything and especially the things I write on twitter and in this blog with an audience in mind. I’m sure there are some people who take joy in other people’s down times because it makes them feel better about their own situation. But I just think it’s a better EV play to try and inspire people rather than give them something to wallow in.

I wish I could follow my own advice, but today I don’t see how.

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Ring in the New Year/Era!

What it means when dozens are glued to live coverage of La's WSOP-LA win

by , Jan 10, 2012 | 2:35 pm

la sengphet david clark wsop-c

Circuit Gangstas: La n DC celebrate their latest victory in LA by throwing gang signs.

La Sengphet took down another one on the WSOP-circuit — winning a $345 NLH at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, Calif. for her fourth WSOP-C victory (third in a ring-bearing event) and a $25k payday. Her other half, David Clark, made a final table the day before, and won his second ring just a couple stops earlier at WSOP-Tahoe. Their story is becoming sickeningly charming … perhaps even inspirational … showing that true love and poker success can go hand-in-hand for a couple of old-fashioned rounders making their way across an ever-unpredictable poker landscape.

(That, or … Go Team Pokerati!)

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Streaking

by , Dec 7, 2011 | 3:35 am

It’s been a few weeks since my last post but the grinding hasn’t stopped. Well, actually I didn’t play much at all over the Thanksgiving weekend as I spent the holiday in Palm Springs with some family. Here are some photos!

I went into a bit of a breakeven stretch over the following four sessions. I have only myself to blame for this because I failed to use any sort of anti-jinx methodology. For example, say you send a tweet talking about how hard you’re crushing a game or how amazing you’ve been running at the tables. I usually don’t like to write such tweets because over 50 percent of the time they carry the jinx-virus, which will abruptly halt any and all rungood and stop it dead in its tracks. That being said, it is possible to tweet such thoughts to the twittersphere, but it would be foolish to do so without using anti-jinx protection. You’re simply putting yourself and your bankroll at risk without strapping on a hashtag along the lines of #plsdontjinxitkthx at the end of your happy tweets.

I don’t know why we call the poker gods, Gods, but we do. They seem more like a bunch of high school dropout, weird uncle, goofball idiots to me. When they abandon you, it is the filthiest, loneliest feeling you can imagine. But when they reflect their light on you for any kind of extended stretch, you feel, well, enlightened. Chosen. So in tune with everything you can hear the hum of the earth.

I somehow managed to sneak a $117 victory past the jinx-bouncers playing $1/$3NL at the Rio on the 1st of the month. But the next day when I ventured into the Palace of Caesar, his games of $1 and $3 were not so kind. I left @CLVPoker $400 lighter in the pocket, and followed that with a small $85 loss on the 3rd. My spirits were quickly risen on the very next day, which was a Thursday. Thursday evenings, as you should know by now, means Pokerati game night. The PLO/NL mixed game has treated me really well since its incarnation @PalmsPokerRm (#nojinxnojinxnojinx) and this particular Thursday brought happiness in the form of a $520 win, erasing losses from the previous two sessions. Unfortunately the breakeven stretch continued another day; on Friday I played a long, 10-hour session at the Rio dropping about $700 in frustrating fashion. Actually there was a pretty interesting hand from said session…

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Ben Lamb’s New License Plate

and the car that goes with it

by , Nov 11, 2011 | 9:14 am

If you just saw it on the street, you might not know it had anything to do with poker. But indeed, according to 2+2 NVG, this fine Nevada license plate is attached to nearly $100k worth of Beamer, a 650i, that Ben Lamb recently purchased:

ben lamb bmw license plate

Would be much cooler if the “1” represented a bracelet, and he got a new car for every one he won. But oh well, sometimes third place and $4 million will have to do.

ALT HED: Germans Win Again

Oh, and almost forgot to post … here’s Pauly and I on scene doing some Tao of Pokerati during the moment from the final 3 with him that we’ll all remember:

Tao of Pokerati: First Hand Fireworks FTW? by Pokerati


Finding A Groove

by , | 7:14 am

Every “professional” poker player has some sort of a story as to how they found themselves with that job title. A lot of kids on the scene nowadays spent the majority of their free time in college grinding online and getting really good… so good that they didn’t see much point in getting a job working for somebody else, and naturally continued to grind after they left school. You hear about other people who had jobs they lost, and then turned to poker, a field that is always accepting new applicants without any need to update your resume or buy a tie for interviews. And there are those who had jobs, some good, but always unfulfilling compared to the allure of being your own boss and the thrill of using your wits to earn a cash payment every day on your own terms.

Life as a professional poker player has been a massive learning experience, of which the strategy and theory is only a small part of the process. You have to learn how to LIVE as a poker player …

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WSOProject Runway

Tao of Pokerati on a heads-up poker fashion battle

by , Nov 8, 2011 | 11:13 pm

pius heinz wsop heads up

pics: WSOP.com

This heads-up battle stands to be one of the great ones. But it’s more than just a few million bucks difference and a bracelet on the line. The whole future of poker style could hang in the balance of a single river card. Will Martin Staszko, the workman-styled Czech-raiser, beat Pius Heinz and end the hoodie trend among online poker Deutschebags?

Nov. Nine – Heads-up Outfits (Ep 9) by taopokerati

It’s been heads-up for almost three hours between Martin Staszko and Pius Heinz. Dan and Pauly discuss their outfits and lack of patches. They also decide to pick sides. Pauly is backing Heinz, while Dan is sticking with Staszko.

Oh, and Dan is perplexed when he realizes that he is dressed identically to Pauly.


Margaritavillains

Life on the Low-Stakes Vegas Grind

by , Oct 29, 2011 | 1:24 pm

margaritaville casino las vegasSometime during this year I decided I wanted to add more tournaments to my poker diet.  I’ve been a cash game grinder for my entire poker-playing career and don’t really have anything to speak of in regards to big tourney scores.  My “official” tourney resume is pretty weak.  That being said, I think every high-volume tournament pro wishes they crushed at cash games, and I think that every cash game grinder wants that feeling that only a tournament victory can bring: the combination of the big pay day combined with being the last man or woman standing at the end of the day (or day 2, 3, 4, what have you).  It very well could be my ego projecting my perceived thoughts onto the rest of the poker-playing community, but why would you not want to be well rounded in your profession and have multiple skill sets?

I’ve torched a lot of money being irresponsible … Vegas definitely has a way of seeping into any crack in your guard wall and blowing it wide open.

If you think that low stakes live poker games tend to be pretty soft, you should check out some of the tournament series that are running this month and next around Vegas.  You’ll see things that will make your head shake and leave you feeling good about the future of poker and its draw to the casual players.  However, these are tournaments we’re talking about, which means you’re a bit handcuffed in regards to how much manipulation of tourists you’ll be able to partake in compared to the cash games.  The structures for a lot of the events are pretty good, but variance is still a bitch.  I won’t go into detail about some of the ridiculous beats I’ve taken over the past week to send me on a walk of shame toward valet.  I’m gonna keep plugging away though with a healthy mix of the series, and cash games when there isn’t an event to my liking.

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Full Tilt Shutters Dublin Operations

Former employees speak out about life at Pocket Kings post-Black Friday

by , Oct 24, 2011 | 11:49 am

Full Tilt laid off some 200 people on the Pocket Kings staff in Dublin last week — leaving pretty much just the head honchos, who apparently believe that ole Chris Ferguson bit about “a chip and a chair” too much and somehow still think they can salvage the company something.

Sucks for the Dubliners, but for the rest of us, that means 200 or more employees with insight into FTP operations over in Ireland, no real reason to necessarily protect certain information anymore, and access to 2+2.

Sure enough, at least two former employees from two different departments are posting away and answering questions. Check it out … worth the skim.

Nothing earth-shattering (yet … gotta figure anyone with the uber-goody dirt probably would go to the DOJ requesting immunity before turning informant) but the virtual deposition one former employee goes through provides plenty of color to paint a decent picture of what life was like in the middle of a corporate collapse … not to mention how the nouvea-poker-riche behave without the cash (and TV shows) that previously formed the foundation of their power.

For example, I learned:

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Winning then Losing

Tests of patience on the low-stakes Vegas grind

by , Oct 15, 2011 | 5:27 am

Hey, at least the Lions are winning.

We had high hopes coming into the 2011 football season but to see them run out to a beautiful 4-0 start is outstanding. And the Tigers are up too! As I write this they currently hold a 2-1 series advantage over the Yankees after stealing home field advantage in NYC. One more win and they advance to the next playoff round. Life is good these days for my hometown teams.

Little did I know that the hole would only grow bigger and deeper as the day went on, culminating with me somehow losing with KQ vs 55 after c-betting a K-6-4 flop. I booked a 4-figure loss and called it a day.

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