Sunday, April 22, 2007

PSO League Event #3

Had another solid finish in the PSO League tonight, taking 3rd place again. I really wanted to win this one, but it was not to be. For most of the tourney, I was below average in chips, but finally had a nice double-up with AQo vs A9o. I sucked out big time once at the final table, with a runner-runner flush, which gave me a nice stack of chips, but went pretty card-dead after that and coasted into third place. Had AA once the whole tourney when it was down to three, but MathP wouldn't fall for my trap. Finally pushed with a pair + flush draw, but waited until the turn after taking a free card on the flop. Unfortunately, the free card filled up my opponent's gutshot straight :(

For the overall league prizes, because of the scoring system it doesn't really matter whether you win an event or not, as long as you place high. They take your best 5 of 8 finishes, but the scoring system is linear, not top-heavy, plus the scores don't vary at all with the number of players in the tourney. Thus, the overall winner will likely be someone who consistently finishes deep, but probably might not even win a single event! Kind of strange, really, to declare someone like that the "winner", but that's the way the system is, so that's the strategy I'll have to take.

Anyway, I promised a review of Cake Poker, so I'm gonna work on that tonight. It should be up before I go to bed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

If Only It Was A Bad Beat Table...

...then I would have had a share of a nice jackpot. The stupid cards are blocking out the screennames, but I'm the one holding AA. This was the sickest one-outer re-suckout I've ever had. It was in Event #2 of the PSO League, where I managed to finish 3rd out of 82. In Event #1, I finished a lousy 74th out of 83, but probably would have done a lot better if I hadn't lost a ton of chips when Scottwire re-sucked out on me -- I turned a flush against his set of kings, but he rivered a full-house :(

Anyway, if you are one of my few readers who haven't joined the PSO League yet (such as some of you in Noodle's home league), then I urge you come join us for some great tournament fun. Each event has some nice overlay, plus it's not too late to still have a good chance at winning an overall league prize, since they take your best 5 finishes out of the 8 events. The events take place on Sunday and Wednesday nights at 6 pm PST on Absolute Poker, with the third event taking place this Sunday, April 22. Buy-in is only $5+$0.50, and there's a ton of added prizes. Each event pays an extra $220, $150, $90, $40, and $20 in PSO points for 1st to 5th place. There are also $20 bounties for knocking out PSO staff, as well as three random prizes of $20 in PSO points. The grand prize for the overall league winner is $1,200 in PSO points, plus a $200+$16 buy-in to AP's $150K Guaranteed Tournament. Second and third place overall get $800 and $500 in PSO points. Check here for all the details, and be sure to read the PSO League forum for all the latest league news.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Royal Flush #2

Wow, it's been an interesting month so far. I get a second royal flush less than a week after my very first one. You'd think I'd be running hot, making such great hands, and yet for the month I'm barely breaking even. At least I made a bit of money with this one...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

eWallet Updates


The Moneybookers' credit card verification showed up on my online statement, so I plugged it in and my limit jumped up to $9500. Unfortunately, CIBC VISA processed the US$2.14 charge as a cash advance, and dinged me a CDN$5 cash advance fee (along with interest, of course). I called CIBC's customer support line twice to totally bitch about. I mean, why the hell would I advance myself $2.14 while incurring a $5 service charge? I tried to explain that the $2.14 was a fee for setting up my Moneybookers account, and wasn't truly a cash advance, but they wouldn't budge. They said that Moneybookers is classified as an online gambling merchant on their system, and that any and all charges from them would be billed as a cash advance. Oh well, at least it was still cheaper than setting up my ePassporte account, which had a US$5 fee for the inital $100 load.

I also received the snail mail address verification from Moneybookers. It arrived pretty quickly, after only about a week, since it was actually sent from a Mail Boxes Etc. from Campbell River, BC. After I plugged in the verification code, my limit jumped up to $16,200. I still have the bank account verification to do, though. If I can do a wire transfer for cheap from my sister-in-law's bank, I'll go ahead and do it, otherwise I'm sure I can live with the $16,200 limit.

Also, a Full Tilt rep on the 2+2 forums confirmed that they will be adding Moneybookers as an option soon, so if others follow suit, in particular PokerStars, then I'll probably end up using just Moneybookers as my primary ewallet.


I went ahead and tried to verify a second credit card, after not hearing back from them about my inquiry as to whether a second credit card would qualify me for Select status. I used my second CIBC VISA which I use for business purposes, and again it was no problem to get the amount of the pending transaction. However, this time after I plugged it into the ePassporte website, it said that it was the wrong amount. I adjusted the converted amount up by one cent in case it was a rounding difference from the currency conversion, but it gave me the same error and then locked me out of the verification screen. I converted the amount myself based on a couple recent currency exchange rates on my online VISA statement, and it was apparent that ePassporte's conversion rate was way off from CIBC's. I emailed them about the problem using their internal messaging system, but I wasn't hopeful for a quick resolution. They never replied to my previous inquiry, and from the messages on the 2+2 forums, their service is supposedly slow and not very helpful. To my surprise, though, they replied the next day and said they processed my verification manually. I then checked my Select upgrade status, and it said that I now qualify, so I went ahead and paid the $5 fee for the upgrade. All my limits have now doubled, with the most important one, the single cash transaction limit, now at a more useable US$1000.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Royal Flush #1

Got my first ever royal flush tonight. Too bad it was in a stupid little freeroll satellite :(

Sunday, April 08, 2007

So Long, Neteller :(

Last night I finally emptied my Neteller account, with less than 24 hours to go before the deadline. It's kind of sad saying goodbye to Neteller. It was such a great ewallet. It was universally accepted, it had practically no fees for users, and their support was excellent the couple times I had to use it. The only minor complaint I really had about it were their fees for peer-to-peer transfers and for currency exchange when cashing out to my Canadian bank account. These, however, were easy enough work around, by depositing into a poker site to do a free transfer, and by depositing into Party Poker to do an EFT with their better-than-market currency exchange rate (which, BTW, seems to have now changed to just market rate).

To replace Neteller now, I've had to sign up for two ewallets, ePassporte and Moneybookers. In combination, these two make a decent substitute for Neteller, though each come with their own quirks and inconveniences. ePassporte will give me access to the main North American sites where I play: Cake, FTP, AP, Stars, and UB. It can also be used for Bugsy's Club, Dobrosoft (Wingows), GamesGrid, and Poker4Ever (none of which I play). Moneybookers can also be used for Cake, AP, and UB, but will also give me access to Mansion, Party, iPoker, Microgaming, Ladbrokes, Ongame (except Hollywood), and WPEX, sites where I might play occasionally. It also works for b2b, Boss (some), Dobrosoft (Wingows), Everest, and Poker4Ever (none of which I play). The only sites where I might play, which currently aren't available through ePassporte or Moneybookers, are Cryptologic, Paradise, Pacific, and If I really want to play at these sites, I will have to deposit via credit card (I've applied for a TD Canada Trust US Dollar VISA) and withdraw via cheque.

Setting up the ePassporte account was pretty simple. You just have to create an account online, and then register a credit card. In order to verify your credit card, ePassporte will then authorize a pending charge on your card for a random amount between US$0.01 and US$2.00. I used my CIBC VISA card without any problems. I just called their customer service line, and asked what the value of the pending transaction was. At the same time, I verified with them that any charges that ePassporte puts through will be processed as a sale, and not as a cash advance. After finding out the value of the transaction (which will be given to you in CDN$ unless you use a US$ card), you then plug that value into the credit card verification page on ePassporte's site, tell them what currency it's in, and it will automatically convert it and verify it for you. To activate your account, though, you still need to load it with some money from your credit card. Loading is expensive, with a fee $5 per $100 or portion thereof, so I basically just loaded the minimum $100. After that, I was able to fund my ePassporte account by doing a withdrawal from Cake Poker.

Setting up my Moneybookers account was even easier. I simply opened up an account on their website, and was good-to-go. I was then able to fund my account by just doing a withdrawal from Cake Poker. However, to make your account more useable, you still need to do three verification steps. When you first set up your account, Moneybookers will place a ~$1300 limit on outgoing transactions over a 90 day period. Each verification step will increase this limit substantially, up to a maximum of ~$19,000. For address verification, they will send you a code by snail mail, which you then enter into their site. For credit card verification, you need to register a credit card, and they will debit a random amount between $1.01 and $2.99, which you then verify. For bank account verification, you need to wire transfer any amount from a bank account in your name to a Frankfurt bank where your Moneybookers account is held. I've initiated my address and credit card verifications, but haven't entered the codes in, yet, and my limit has already increased to over $5000.

For both ewallets, depositing to and withdrawing from poker sites will be free. The only catch here is with ePassporte, which has a limit of $500 per transaction, so you will need to move money in chunks of $500. This can potentially be a problem if you are trying to maximize a deposit bonus, or if you have a large bankroll to move around. The limit can be increased to $1000 if you upgrade your account to Select by verifying another load option. Unfortunately, the only load options available are credit card and US bank account. I'm currently trying to find out if I can verify a second credit card to qualify for upgrading to the Select account.

Fees will come into play if you want to cash out some of your bankroll from the ewallet. For ePassporte, you can only cash out by wire transfer ($50 fee) or ATM ($2 fee, but requires the ePassporte VISA card with annual fee of $35, and is subject to daily limit of $300, or $600 for Select). For Moneybookers, you can only cash out by mailed cheque ($4.68 fee) or wire transfer ($2.41 fee, but your bank will likely also charge a fee to receive it). So basically, when I plan to cash out, I will probably just request a cheque from a poker site, or maybe deposit into Party, do a little cover play, and then cash out via EFT.

One issue I was concerned about was trying to move money between ePassporte and Moneybookers. The problem with most poker sites is that they will only let you withdraw money back into your original method of deposit, up to the amount of the original deposit. You can only choose another withdrawal method for any money above the amount of the original deposit. This is apparently done for security reasons -- if someone hacked into your poker account, they won't be able to simply withdraw your money into their own ewallet account. However, Cake Poker, my primary poker site, handles withdrawals a little differently, by allowing you to select which method of withdrawal you want. Thus, I was able to deposit the majority of my bankroll into Cake via Neteller, and then I was able to withdraw some of it into both my ePassporte account and my Moneybookers account. This is very convenient, and in this particular case is worth the slight compromise in security.

Anyway, I hope this helps anyone who is trying to figure out the best way to handle the loss of Neteller. Coming up in my next post will be something a little different -- a review of my main poker site, Cake Poker.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Updates Galore

I've been slacking off in the blogging department for the last two months, but that doesn't mean I haven't been playing poker online. In fact, I'm playing fairly regularly, now, and am probably playing more hands per month than I have in the past. For the month of February, I played about 6200 hands, and for March I played about 7700 hands.

At the beginning of February, I decided to try to find a poker site to call home. Ever since Neteller pulled out of the US market, reload bonuses have totally dried up, and after finishing all the promos at PSO and several at other affiliates, I'm left with promos at a few European sites which don't really interest me at all, due to the low traffic during the times I play. Consequently, I decided to pick a good site where I could do the majority of my play, instead of constantly jumping from room to room.

My first choice was Full Tilt Poker, but unfortunately, I don't have rakeback there because I (unwisely) chose to do the PSO points promo for it several months back. So I decided to give Cake Poker, where I have 33% rakeback, another try, especially after hearing that the traffic there has increased considerably lately. Indeed, traffic there is much improved, now. Whereas before I had difficulty finding even a single full table of $100 NL, it is now possible to find about four of them going on during the late evenings when I play (this works out well for me, because my comfort level is playing four tables at a time). The increase in traffic is due mainly to the influx of players from, which recently joined the Cake network as a skin. If you recall, used to own Paradise Poker before they left the US market, but now they've opened up a new US-friendly poker room and have enticed all the orphaned US players from Paradise to sign up. So, if you have ever wondered what happened to all the fish that used to populate Paradise Poker, you can now find them on the Cake Poker network.

After December and January's downswing, I was playing with a reduced bankroll, so I restricted my play to $50 NL for all of February. With the play at Cake Poker being quite soft, I was able to double my bankroll to $2000+ by the end of February. So for March, I moved back up to my regular level at $100 NL and continued to play at Cake, but also played at Full Tilt to clear a $100 bonus that they offered me during that month. Again, I did pretty well for the month, and ended up doubling my bankroll again to $4000+ by the end of March. Now that I'm properly bankrolled for $200 NL with 20+ buy-ins, my plan is to move up another level for the month of April to $200 NL, and see how it goes. If I continue to do well and can build my bankroll up to at least 15 buy-ins at the next level, I will aggressively continue to move up levels, with a goal of hopefully reaching $600 NL ($3/$6), where I plan to stay for a while to work on my game, before attempting $1000 NL ($5/$10), which, from what I hear, is a much bigger jump in terms of toughness of the competition.

SNG Challenge Update

I played some more $5+$1 SNG's on Titan in February, and placed 5, 3, 1, 7, 7, 3, 7. After this point, I abandoned my challenge, because the progress was just too slow for me. I felt my time was better spent working on my cash game, and occasionally working on my MTT tournament game. So, I ended up with a bankroll of $53 after playing 30 SNG's, paying $174 in entry fees, for a 30% ROI and 43% ITM. I guess that's not too shabby for starting off with a free $2+$0.20 ticket.

Bankroll Update

I made $53 from the SNG challenge, $94 from the PSO Small Game 2, $1625 from Cake Poker for the months of February and March, $1,104 from Full Tilt while clearing their bonus, and $112 from Paradise while clearing some bonus money in February. I lost $98 playing $100 NL at Mansion Poker, and another $100 after playing in one of their $100K guaranteed tourneys and not finishing in the money (finished about middle of the pack). This brings my bankroll to $4,017.

Neteller Update

Well, as everyone knows by now, Neteller will be blocking online gambling transactions by Canadians after April 9th. To deal with this, I am in the process of getting an ePassporte account running. I chose this option over the others, because ePassporte is the only ewallet that currently works with all the major North American poker sites. I will use this to move money between the various poker sites where I plan to play (Cake, FTP, Stars, Absolute, and UB). The disadvantage of ePassporte is the limit they place on the value of single transactions (limited to $500 per transaction). This means that you need to move money around in chunks of $500, which can be cumbersome if you have a large bankroll. You also need to load your account with some money via a credit card, before you can use it. There is also speculation that ePassporte may leave the North American online gambling market in the near future, but I guess I will just have to deal with that if/when that occurs.

Meanwhile, I have also opened a US dollar bank account at TD Canada Trust, which I plan to use for cashouts either via mailed cheques or echecks. Some sites, such as Stars, can also be linked to your bank account for both deposits and withdrawals. I have also applied for a US dollar VISA card (also through TD Canada Trust), which I will use as a secondary method of depositing money into sites. When I plan to deposit, I will put the VISA card in a credit balance to avoid the transactions from being processed as cash advances.

My bankroll will basically be divided amongst the few sites that I plan to play at. The majority of it will be at Cake for rakeback play, a little at Full Tilt for bonuses, a little at Stars for tourneys, a couple hundred at Absolute for the PSO league, and a couple hundred at Mansion for their $100K guaranteed tourneys.

Earnings-to-date: $14,614