An Open Letter to PokerStars

An Open Letter to PokerStars

If someone were to ask me in chat on your site right now, “U Mad Bro,” unfortunately the answer would be “Yes.”

I’d like to preface this by saying I’m clearly a huge fan of you— I dressed up as a Supernova for Halloween, and even made a PokerStars Jack-o’-lantern.

If I were a meme, I’d be that creepy girlfriend, and you’d be the one I was stalking.

 photo ILOVEYOUSTARS_zpspl61ht0z.jpg

Earlier today, I noticed this statement posted by you on, which says, “The Sunday Million 9th Anniversary tournament has been moved to Sunday, 15 March. The reason for the change is to avoid conflict with International Women’s Day on 8 March.”

You may be thinking, how could I object to changing the date of a tournament due to a holiday whose goal is to celebrate women worldwide?

Before I can answer that question, I have to ask you a few of my own.

Of the 45,000+ anticipated players in the event, do you really think such a sizeable fraction actively celebrate International Women’s Day?

Doesn’t the new date,  which is Mother’s Day throughout the United Kingdom, potentially create even more conflicts?

Is it fair to those that had already made arrangements for this event to have to make expensive changes to their travel plans?

Because I’m an optimist, I want to believe that the reason for doing this doesn’t involve the concern of missing a massive guarantee and needing to find an excuse to push it back a week in order to run more satellites.

And I think I’ve found the reason: you’re going to use International Women’s Day as inspiration to put a renewed focus on women playing on your site—which is great because I’ve noticed some things that made me worry that you might have forgotten about us:

  • There are fewer women’s tournaments and satellites on PokerStars than there used to be;
  • There is very limited participation by PokerStars Pros in the $55 Women’s Sunday, including many weeks with one or zero Red Spades playing, and the bounty on these players was removed;
  • Perhaps consequently, the field size in the Women’s Sunday tournament has shrunk substantially;
  • The PokerStars Women section of your site seems to be mostly defunct, and this is how it has appeared to me for months:

 photo PokerStarsWomen_zpsuu96faiv.png

  • The Women’s Sunday final table write-up no longer exists;
  • The freelance articles for PokerStars Women, which offered up unique perspectives from many different angles, have been cut.

All of these aspects used to add up to a unique buzz one could only achieve by being part of the PokerStars Women community.

Of all the articles, I think many miss the Women’s Sunday write-ups the most. For a lot of the women, this was their first final table, and being worthy of your coverage made them really excited about playing on your site.

And the lack of participation by your pros in the flagship ladies tournament, well, that makes me mad too, bro.

The good news is that everyone loves PokerStars Women’s mission, tone, optimism, social media, and the immense amount of community it can inspire — we just need more of it to bring the spark back to remind women how much fun they have playing poker on your site.

You have the power to make the next great poker boom— through inspiring the 50% of the population that’s often overlooked in poker.

And that is a holiday we all want to celebrate.

GL us,



Latest DragTheBar Videos

Latest DragTheBar Videos

For my two videos on DragTheBar in January, I had fun reviewing a $3.50 Rebuy 180-man!

A Piece of the Pi: Hotjenny314 plays a $3.50 Rebuy 180-man

Part one of this two part 180-man series follows the game from the beginning leading up to the final table. Key concepts discussed inclue: early play, rebuy 180s versus non rebuy 180s, speculative hands, adjusting for the ante, adjusting based on stats, using your HUD, and 3 bet percentages.

The second part of this two part series begins at the final table and takes us to the conclusion of the tournament. This video focuses on: 3-bet shoving ranges, Nash ranges, ICM, ICM as a mid-stack, and exploitive heads-up play.


Fun Hand vs. Vanessa Selbst

Fun Hand vs. Vanessa Selbst

This hand is from the weekly 15,000 FPP SNG on PokerStars where the Stars Pro has a bounty of $350. Since they open for registration at different times every week, I don’t always get to play them as the majority of the time when I check for them they have unfortunately already filled. I enjoy the challenge of adjusting to the single large bounty though, and would play them every week if I could!



This hand played out entirely different versus Selbst because she had the bounty!


Which unfortunately I didn’t get! But I did end up cashing in 3rd this time for $300.

On to the next one…or at least on to the next time I manage to register!

Pump Up the Volume!

Pump Up the Volume!

Last week, Collin had to make a last minute trip back to Maryland to see his family, and I had to stay to watch our pets. So, I decided to grind my heart out:

That game count was composed of mostly 180-mans, and some 45-mans, 27-mans, MTTs, and one single table. The solitary SNG was one of the two weekly 15,000 FPP VIP One Tables that run on Stars. These SNGs have a $350 bounty on the Stars Pro, and $1k for first (with 4 places paid).

After scoring the knockout of the Stars Pro early when I cold 4-bet shoved close to 50 BBs with AQ>QJ, I really wanted to get the win! At the same time that tournament was short-handed, I was heads-up in the weekly €55 EPT Ladies satellite, where I took second the prior week for around €200. This week though, only 1st place had a prize, of €500. After losing a few flips, the ladies table didn’t pop back up to the top of my stack, but I did take down the VIP one table, for a total cash of $1,350 in that SNG!

Most importantly, I found that focusing on putting in my highest volume week so far for 2014 helped me to maintain playing my A+ game, even when getting up to my total peak of 55 games running at once!

Being home alone, meant that I could sing (scream?) songs without anyone hearing—well except for Wilbur, who was camped out next to me while I played.


The song I sang more than any other:

The successful week underlined to me the importance of focusing on volume: both of my number of games and of the blasting music! It can be easy in poker to be very results-oriented, whether that is winning a tournament and thinking you’re the best ever, or having a downswing and thinking you’ve forgotten what the point of a c-bet is.

For me, focusing on volume (as well as studying) helps me to be driven by what I can control in poker. I’ve played almost 23,000 tournaments this year and am so excited to cross the 30,000 goal that I set for myself at the beginning 2014—while singing along to whatever song blasts from my speakers!

There’s No Place Like Home!

There’s No Place Like Home!

To say I had fun on my combo San Diego/Vegas trip would be a dramatic understatement! In Mexico, Collin and I live a pretty isolated life, which comes as a surprise to many that think of Mexico as being very crowded. Rosarito is actually a quiet coastal town, where the focus is on a laid back life with time to enjoy the same enviable weather as Southern California!

I made a detailed account of my trip in my CardsChat thread here!

My favorite part of the trip was when my Mom came to Vegas. She came on the first day of the Monster Stack, and it was the first time she had ever seen me play live poker. If you’ve never been to the Rio during the WSOP, there is simply magic in the air—perhaps it is the force of thousands of players dreaming of winning, or the crackling sound of so many chips being shuffled. Having stood in that room years ago as a micro-super turbo grinder (to watch Collin play), it was part of my inspiration to become a full-time player.

My Mom, despite my protestations that watching me play must have been very boring, watched me for hours. Every time I looked over at her, she would smile broadly, and I was reminded once again, that I have the best Mother in the whole world! It also helped that I had a friendly, talkative table that day—I even got everyone to wave to her on the rail!

Because of the massive turnout in the Monster Stack, dinner break was cancelled—but Collin and my Mom brought me a plate of food on one of the 20 minute breaks!  This was especially thoughtful because eating quickly on a ketogenic diet is tough, since I don’t eat processed food.

dinner break
















When I made day two of the Monster Stack, I was initially annoyed that they shortened the day one, and changed the restart from noon the next day till 3 PM. This meant that there was a much higher chance that I would be unable to play the Ladies as a result of still being in the Monster, and that I could bust out of the money without being able to play the ladies. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened, but considering that it meant I got to spend more time with my Mom I was actually happy with the result!

Poker wise, I had a fun winning cash session, but bricked 4 WSOP events. I’m a firm believer that nothing makes you appreciate playing online quite like playing live does—so I guess it’s not too surprising that I’ve played almost 2,000 tournaments since getting back home to grind online. My Hot $75 win was an extra nice victory, since if I had opted to stay in Vegas for the Main, I wouldn’t have played in it!

So for me online poker > live poker, but the experience of seeing my Mom and so many friends made the trip a definite win! Here are some of my favorite moments:

My Mom took this picture while I was being interviewed by Mark Hoke:























Jayne Furman for PokerNews capturing me grinding a short stack:


The TwoPlusTwo That’s What She Said (Ladies Forum) Annual Meetup:











With Jamie Kerstetter:



At the San Diego Zoo with Collin:


Thanks to everyone that rooted for me on the trip! I’m excited to be back home and grinding online! :)