Wednesday, February 28, 2007

ePassporte To America

The recent and well covered turmoil regarding online funding has left many poker players in a quandary. When the news first broke and neteller pulled out of the US market I researched my options and decided on Click2Pay as my payment processor of choice. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as I complete my sign up they decide to leave the market.

Left with only one viable alternative I sign up for ePassporte. I wasn't looking forward to the fees but beggars can't be choosers. I was however pleasantly suprised over what I've discovered so far.

The current landscape is very rocky for payment processors and last thing I want is to have my money tied up in someone else's bank account. There is no guarantee that the money is any safer with the online poker rooms but fool me once, yada, yada, yada.

My current plan is to leave my bankroll with the rooms and only use the processor if I have to transfer money between sites, or I'm ready to make a withdrawal. To facilitate the withdrawal portion of my transactions I decided to get a physical visa/atm card from ePassporte.

The fees mentioned on their site left some room for interpretation so I set out to lock in what I'm in for. The whole process begins with the sign up which was not without its snags. I decided to fund my account with my visa check card. This should have, and to be honest would have been painless If I hadn't messed things up. I originally was going to deposit $300 in the account and when I clicked on the accept button to move onto the next screen, the "Verified by Visa" screen came up. At this stage I decided I didn't want to put $300 in the account. I felt better with only $100 to start with so I clicked the back button on the browser and reentered the smaller amount. I was again presented with the "Verified by Visa" screen but lo and behold Visa wouldn't verify. A quick call to the fraud prevention section of Visa and I was able to complete the transaction. Turns out by navigating away and back again with different amounts throws up red flags and my account was locked.

My account was now funded with $95. Ninety-five you ask? Didn't I deposit $100? Why yes I did but here we encounter our first fee. Five dollars for every one hundred deposited is removed as a funding fee when using a credit card. The fee for depositing with a checking account is $2 but I didn't want to wait the two weeks for my account to be verified before depositing. (My checking account has since been verified so I can use this method if I so chose in the future.)

When the account was established I was issued a "virtual" visa number that could be used for online purchases at any retailer that accepts visa. Since my Verizon bill was due I decided to test out this feature and was able to make the payment with ease, and without any fees.

Depositing to Full Tilt, PokerStars, Absolute, and UltimateBet went without a hitch. Again no fees. Full Tilt claimed there would be some fee involved with the deposit but I've deposited twice and have not paid any.

Withdrawals worked from all sites without any fees as well. From Full Tilt the withdrawal took about two hours while Absolute and Ultimatebet took closer to twelve.

Getting my money out in a timely fashion was very important so I paid the $35 fee to aquire a physical visa card to use in stores and at ATM's. The card arrived after about 2 weeks and I headed to an ATM to make a withdrawal. The ATM machine charged me a $2 fee for the withdrawal but I would have had that fee even with my checking account ATM card. ePassporte claimed on their site that there would be a $2 fee to use the ATM function of the card but I was not charged this. I then took my card to a store and made a purchase. Worked fine and no fees from ePassporte.

Overall I've been very happy with the experience. I've had to pay much less in transaction fees than I had anticipated and I'd recommend ePassporte if your still undecided on which way to go.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

“The best things in life are free
But you can give them to the birds and bees.
I want money, that’s what I want.”

--Barrett Strong

If Mr. Strong plays online poker, he might be surprised to find out that he can get both free things and money quite easily. All he would have to do is join Poker Source Online.

Poker Source Online (PSO) will actually pay you to play online poker. Sure, you can go directly to the online poker rooms’ sites and get their traditional deposit bonuses, but if you sign up through PSO, you will get those same bonuses (sometimes better ones), PLUS free gifts or free money. And all you have to do is play some poker.

PSO’s 100 percent, zero risk option is its free money promotion, where PSO will actually give you money to start playing. You will not need to deposit a single, solitary penny. The only money you stand to lose is PSO’s. Thousands upon thousands of players have taken advantage of this promotion already, receiving a total of well over a million dollars in free poker money.

But if you already have your poker bankroll ready to go, a better deal for you would be to sign up for one of PSO’s free gift promotions. Poker Source Online created the original poker promotion back in 2004 by giving away poker books and poker chip sets, and now there are even more gifts from which to choose. Poker table tops, Copag cards, Poker Tracker software, and a wide array of gift cards are yours for the choosing if you create an online poker account through PSO, make a minimum deposit, and complete the play-through requirements. And if you aren’t sure exactly what gift you want, just choose “PSO Points” as your gift and spend them later in PSO’s store.

And then, for those of you who are set with your bankroll and have all the poker gear you need, you can still get good, old money from PSO in the form of rakeback. Again, sign up for one of PSO’s rakeback rooms, and instead of paying the full portion of rake hand after hand after hand, you will get a chunk of that back at least once a month. Use it to build your bankroll or treat yourself to something special, it’s up to you. It’s your money.

The best things in life are really free. Get them all at Poker Source Online.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Third Century And A Rework

Netellers holding of funds is causing me to change my online play. More on that later but first I'll do my 300 SNG update.

The last 100 SNG's have really been a heartbreaker for me. I went from having my single biggest day ever (14 tables = 70.5% ROI) followed immediately by my worst day ever (13 tables = -74.8% ROI). Sadly the losing day was bigger than the winning. Overall I was about break even over this span of tourneys.

Here are the numbers:
Ran: 325
ROI: -2.5%
ITM: 36.6%
Profit: -$149

As you can see I can't seem to get a break out on the ROI and my ITM has gone flat.

It looks like I can finish in any position at any given time. That is except for sixth. I'm having trouble getting over that hump. The players have gotten very tight and it's getting harder to wait them out sometimes. I know that means I should get more aggressive when we get down to six players but that doesn't seem to be helping. My opponents don't seem to want to be first in without a big hand, yet they are willing to call you with just about anything. Very odd and very confusing/frustrating.


Now onto other news.

Having the same problem as most other online players my bankroll is now depleted due to Netellers stranglehold on my funds. This leaves me in a bit of a quandry with how to proceed from here on out in regards to game selection. Initially I was just going to keep playing what I always did and just hope I hit a winning streak. This has led to a $339 loss so far just this week and I simply can't sustain that. I'm unwilling to add funds online so instead I have to start practicing tighter bankroll management.

The first issue to address in my SNG play. With the funds I have left online I'm only funded to realistically play the $10 SNG's. This isn't a problem unto itself since I've been struggling at the $20 level and been profitable at the $10 level. The problem arises with the accumulation of Full Tilt points. I've begun collecting 200 points a day and I want to continue that so I can take advantage of the monthly freerolls available through the Iron Man Challenge. Playing $10 SNG's I'd have to play 30 a day and that's just not possible.

MTT's are still my most profitable option but again, the bankroll is not where it needs to be. I'm going to try to play the 2pm $26 double stack 11K Guarantee a few times a week but I'm going to have to cut out buying into the $75 tourneys. I'll try to play a couple of the Token Turbo SNG's to accumulate $26 tokens and try to parlay them into $75 tokens. MTT's might be my most profitable option but it still doesn't solve the 200 point threshold I want to maintain.

That brings me to cash games. I've been a sucker for the cash games in the past and I've bled money in the process. This is the way to go though if I want to accumulate the necessary points on a daily basis. Over the last two days I've experimented in a little risk/reward as far as cash games are concerned and I've come up with the following. In order to protect my bankroll I've decided to 4 table the 25NL tables on Full Tilt. If I can do this for four hours a day I can reach the 200 points. That comes out to around 800-1,000 hands a day. My rakeback should increase because of this as well so hopefully I can get my bankroll back in shape within the next month or so.

That pretty much sums it up. Cash games and a few tourneys are the short term future for me.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

February Goals

First lets do a little review of the January goals.

1) Qualify for Gold status Iron Man on Full Tilt: SUCCESS - I didn't make it until the last day of the month, but I made it.

2) Get my SNG ROI to at least 10% playing $10 and maybe $20 SNG's: FAILURE - Started hot, ran cold, then warmed up to finish the month with 267 played for a 3.38% ROI.

Now a look into the future.

1) Qualify for Gold status Iron Man on Full Tilt

I really debated going for the gusto and making Iron level but if I did that I wouldn't have enough time left in the day to play any MTT's. I'm actually still waffling with this so I won't commit to Iron but I may try for it anyway.

2) Get my SNG ROI up to 10%

In order to make it worth my while I'm going to need to get there. Also the cash game bug is biting me again so I need to make the SNG's worth it right now.

3) Play in at least two 300K Guarantee tournaments on Full Tilt


In December I finished in 249th place on the SNG leaderboard. For January I ended up in 195th place. If I decide to shoot for the Iron level this month I'm fairly confident I can make the top 100. I'm not going to make this a goal though because I'm still undecided on my approach this month.