This post is being made later than I originally intended. There has been a lot to talk about regarding the thread entitled "This is Wrong" by Steal City, who decided to call into question whether or not my coaching is worth the money I charge for it, which rolled into a lot of other questions directed at me as well. I'll address relevant and public issues in order, and I will not be talking about anything that has to do with my private life or my financial situation.
First and foremost, I apologize to all of the poker community for the fact that my CardRunners coaching profile was out-dated and misrepresentative of my current poker play. It said that I had been beating $5/10 and $10/20 online when I made it, which was true at the time, but is no longer true. If there is any person anywhere who has paid me (by the hour) for coaching since April 2008 and wants any type of refund, I will be happy to issue it. However, I am confident that nobody will (primarily because I am still in touch with almost every person I've ever coached). When it was pointed out in Steal City's thread, I changed my CardRunners coaching profile, and it is now up-to-date.
In that thread, I said that I would log some volume online playing non-rush games so that I could salvage my PTR, which you can find here: http://www.pokertableratings.com/fulltilt-player-search/diagonals. However, I have played far less than I would have liked to. With the release of $2/4 rush, it just hasn't been worth my time to play purely for the sake of having a prettier PTR. Not that that's of any particular value anyway, but it would save me from a lot of flaming. I'm currently on vacation from Sept 1 to Oct 13 and do not have access to my database on my desktop at home, and haven't logged any hands on my laptop since I posted my recent results in the original thread. Things haven't gone well in regular games since then (as you can see with a recent ~3k decline on my PTR), but rush has been great. So, for anyone emotionally invested in seeing me play online and post my results (I don't know why anyone would be anyway), I also apologize for not having logged the volume of hands that I said I would.
As my PTR shows and as everyone knows, including all of my students, I play far more live poker than online poker, and that is what I have done for the past 2 years. There are a variety of reasons for that, and one of the most important is that I have never been good at multi-tabling, regardless of past successes and failures in online poker. I've always played 2-4 tables when I was playing my best, spent a fair amount of time and money donating when playing more than that just due to the fact that I can't do it very well, and been at my sharpest in live games. I've still been playing live throughout this year and doing well. Not nearly as well as I would want to, but well enough that I don't miss online poker much.
I am the only person who plays on Diagonals and Tecknowledgy (my FTP and Stars accounts, respectively). Besides occasionally playing just to sit with some fish at mid-stakes on Stars, Tecknowledgy has been inactive for a long time. I shouldn't even say that I play on that name because nobody does. The action recorded on PTR for that account is from these sporadic fishing sessions as well as some NL50-NL200 play for videos. I've dumped a lot of money on FTP as you can see when you look at my graph on Diagonals. Nobody plays on these names but me, and I do not play on any other names on FTP or Stars.
Now, let's talk about my coaching. People have brought into question two basic concerns: (1) that I am not a winning player and therefore should not be coaching, and (2) that my coaching is overpriced at $350 per hour. Here's what I can say about that.
First, over 90% of all the lessons I give are under my profit-sharing program, for which students do not pay any money upfront and do not pay me unless they are winning under my instruction. If they never succeed, I never get paid. I don't get paid out of their rakeback, bonuses, or income from things like coaching micro-stakes players, ONLY from their direct NLH profits. So if they breakeven and just make rakeback, I get nothing. I absolutely stand by my coaching philosophy and the efficacy of my program, and that's why I offer a deal where people will never pay if they don't win due to my coaching. Furthermore, my long-term coaching program begins with a FREE 60-90 minute interview lesson, so that people can get a sample of how I coach before they decide whether or not to proceed. This is also an opportunity for me to get to know them and find out whether we will be compatible in a coach-student relationship. In this interview session, most students ask me about my PTR and ask about what I am currently doing in terms of poker, and I of course am always upfront and honest about all of that (it's public knowledge anyway, so it's not like I could lie credibly if I wanted to). Nobody who has entered my long-term program has ever been misled about me, or about the way I coach, or about what I play, or about what my strengths and weaknesses are, in any way, ever.
When I do offer by-the-hour coaching, it is ALWAYS issued with a complete refund for anyone who feels that the session did not help them, and that offer is even valid retroactively. Anybody who feels that they did not benefit from paying me by the hour for coaching is welcome to ask for their money back and I will happily refund it. I will cross-post this guarantee on my CR blog as well. I have never had any student ask for any money back, and I will be very surprised if I ever do. I did once have a student cancel the final 2 hours of a 5-hour package, because I had missed two of our originally scheduled lessons, forcing him to re-schedule for me. That was hugely irresponsible on my part (I just forgot to add them to my BlackBerry calendar) and I offered to give him the remaining 2 hours for free, but he declined and instead said he appreciated the first 3 hours but did not want the remaining 2.
As for my $350/hr price, the huge majority of those hours are priced at a discount by the time we agree on a deal. Lessons that are paid by the hour often come from people who just want to get some coaching before they are able to enter my long-term program, and of course I give them a discount if they book those sessions in bulk. Regarding how people find me as a coach, everyone who asks me for coaching does so because they have seen my CR videos, and never for any other reason. Before I joined CR people from LP asked me for coaching because of my posts in LP. Every single person who has gotten coaching from me has done so because they have already had a sample of what I have to say, and they like it and want me to tell them more. When they start working with me, they always ask me what I currently play and other questions about my poker life (during interview sessions), and they always get the exact same answers that everyone in this thread is getting: I play mostly live, I play a lot of tournaments, I coach sometimes over a hundred hours a month, and I play sparingly online, and have had some epic money-dumping sessions in the past couple years online. They know that, they keep coming back, and they are satisfied with both the coaching that I give and the price that I charge.
In fact, yesterday I sent the following survey out to every student that has paid me by the hour in the past 2 years:
All of you are the people who have paid for coaching in some way other than purely through profit-sharing, in the past year. I always want to improve my coaching program, and I also want to give the community some testimonials, because my abilities as a poker coach have been called into question by a few people. So, if you could take the time to answer a few questions, that would be very helpful for me and beneficial to the community. You can be brief or detailed, whatever you like.
1. What stakes and game types (6-max, 9-max, RUSH) do you play?
2. Do you feel that you learned important and useful information in your sessions? Can you name one or two things in particular that stuck out for you?
3. Have your sessions made you (or are they currently making you) a better player?
4. In your opinion, has your money been well-invested for my coaching?
5. Is there anything you can suggest that I can do better?
Thanks a lot guys!
If it ever occurs, then for ANY person who answers "no" to question 4, I will refund them ALL of their money AND donate a matching amount of money to a charity chosen by a poll to be conducted in this thread. I haven't gotten any replies yet, but will post them as soon as I do.
So I've been inactive on CR for a while now. Primarily, my 2-month hiatus was due to the fact that the recent economic downturn has hurt my parents really badly, and I've had to spend a lot of time and money helping them remain afloat. As such, I was almost completely busto in March. But they got to keep their house and managed to finally find some work, and I no longer have to support them (at least for now), which is a huge relief.
I filed for extension on my taxes because I'd much rather pay penalties in 6 months than to have my bankroll slashed dramatically right now. Additionally, I sold Peachy my live cash game action. So I'm now backed for live tourneys, online tourneys, and live cash, but I have my own online cash action. Sweet, since I don't play online cash anymore. /sarcasm
Nothing really happened in March. I made a final table in a small event at the Wynn Classic and busted 6th for who cares how much. I bubbled the main event, again, for the 2nd year in a row now. Last year I busted 28th when 27 paid, and this year I busted 14th when 12 paid. I lost a bit of money in live cash games (playing on my own action at the time). I did have fun on my birthday though, as well as my girlfriend's birthday (more on her later).
In April I sold peachy my live cash action, using the same make-up as everything else (about $55k to start), and got back on the tourney grind. I bricked the $5k WSOP-Circuit event at Harrah's Rincon in San Diego, then bricked the $10k WPT event at Foxwoods, but made like $5k playing $5/10 NL cash there also. I made about $3k playing $5/10 at a local card room in San Diego during that time. Then I came back to Vegas and hit the tables hard. I'm up almost $13k so far in $5/10 games. In the $10k SCOOP Main Event, I busted 12th for $65,020, paid out my 5% swap with Daut, and got out of make-up officially. Tonight, I won the first single-table satellite that I played to the $25k WPT Main Event at Bellagio, picking up two last-longer pools in the process. I paid $3k for the satellite, $1300 for the two last longers, and $5100 to lilholdem for a 20% save that we agreed upon. So I am playing the $25k for $3700 make-up. Sweet life! That puts me up more than $40k for April, which is a huge relief. Hopefully I can cash in the $25k and make a nice score for the tiny amount I paid.
So I'll briefly say that my girlfriend is awesome. If you have me on Facebook, you can see her in pics with me. She's really, really, VERY good for me, and I am extremely optimistic about her.
I'm rolling out some new videos this month, beginning with some SSNL Leakfinders, and I'll have a couple MSNL Leakfinders coming out as well, followed by a few new series to round out 2009. Additionally, I had an article published in CardPlayer this month, and I have an interview set to be published next month. I've been recommended to write for them full-time, so hopefully I get that gig - it will be great for my exposure. In May, I'm looking to take on several new students, which is always nice.
If you're reading this and interested in a long-term coaching deal, please inquire! Note that my minimum starting requirements are an $8k bankroll and willingness to play at least $1/2.