Archive for February, 2008

Ongame/Bwin vs Rakeback

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Ongame Ntwork haven’t allowed Rakeback for their partners for quite a long period. Many of the partners have had repetitive bonuses of different kinds though and these have been available on Rakeback sites. For legal reasons Ongame and the owner Bwin disagrees with this and are now making the rules a bit tougher. From now on Ongame partner aren’t allowed to be mentioned on Rakebacks sites. The question is how the poker rooms can handle this. They can of course stop paying CPA to the sites offering rakeback but if someone wanted to make trouble for a site in the Ongame Network they can just start a rakeback site and link to the site in question. It would be especially funny if it was to one of Ongames own sites, how will they handle that? Will they kick Pokerroom out of the network?

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The Dream of the perfect hand

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

There are those who will claim that poker is just a game. Others will claim that they are just in it for the money. There are of course those who play because they consider it relaxing and fun but is it really what drives a player to spend day and night in front of the computer or in the casino?

Playing poker

Are those reasons substantial enough to put all these players through the hell that we call the nightly grind? I don’t think so, I think it’s something else. Just as the band Moder Jords Massiva dream of the perfect sound the poker players dream of the perfect hand. You might not know it yet but so do you. You are sitting relaxed on your stool in front of that pale screen, maybe a soda in your hand, clicking fold over and over again but deep within you there is a small dream hiding.

Am I not right? How much would you give to hit the full house on the WSOP main event final table when Daniel Negreanu flops a flush? I know I would give quite a lot to do it. Even if it’s not big dreams like that there is the search for the perfect hand. Poker is very similar to painting or figure skating when it comes to perfection. There are some that do it for fun and some that spend years to improve their skills just for that one perfect painting or play. Maybe you disagree but the small winnings from the freerolls can’t possibly be the thing that makes you spend all night playing and exactly how fun is the grind?

The perfect hand has it’s lure, the promises are plenty. One perfect hand is enough to put you on the map of terra poker. It will not make you the biggest star of course, there are those that have a double perfect hand combo. As you might have guessed I’m talking about a certain Brunson and the ten-deuce in -76 and -77. What it will do though is making a lot of dreams come true, if you are lucky enough to play that perfect hand at the right moment. If you manage to be lucky and smart enough to do the perfect play where it matters it can change your life.

I’m certain that every poker player will play a perfect hand at least once or twice in a career, some get lots of them but for all of us that aren’t superstars once or twice is enough. It is only a question of when, it is a sad thing to waste the play of your life on a play money tournament. Better make sure that you play where there is at least the possibility to win. Play where your perfect hand can make a difference because if you get just one or two, you want it to be at the high rollers table.

Eat right and improve your game – Part II

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Part I, Part II, Part III

Eating for memory and concentration.


In poker, memory is all. You have to remember your opponents’ betting patterns, their behaviour throughout the game, the cards dealt. Discover how some foods can improve your memory and concentration, and get the memory edge on the competition!

Your brain cells (neurons, if you prefer) age along with you, as you would expect. Through time and use they become more susceptible to inflammation and oxidation – that’s medical jargon for swelling and rusting – both of which make it more difficult for the cells to communicate and restore themselves. And as cells deteriorate and stop communicating, your brain has a harder time creating new memories and accessing existing ones, and your attention span and concentration levels decrease too. As they say, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” This is perhaps why all those Scandinavian teenagers are taking the online tourneys by storm: their brains are young and fresh, ready like sponges to remember everything and not afraid of any learning curve, steep or otherwise. But not all is lost – with age comes experience, and with a proper diet that experience can be aided by a youthful, nimble brain that will memorise and focus as well as any youngster. Are you ready to teach an old dog new tricks and to show those kids who’s the “daddy” at the tables?

A quick drink improves your game


Oxidation is a big issue, and the best way to combat it is by making sure you get enough antioxidants. No duh! Antioxidants are the chemicals that give bright colour to vegetables and fruits, and they do just what it says on the label: they prevent and combat oxidation. By eating at least 5 (but preferably 9) portions of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables a day, you will be significantly improving your brain’s condition to resist age and stay nimble and fresh. Do you absolutely loathe salads and fresh greens? Then try adding vegetables to stews and stir-fries, order a grilled vegetable antipasto or try some spinach or pumpkin ravioli. Another easy and tasty solution is to “drink” your antioxidants in the shape of fruit and vegetable smoothies or juices – sorry, while tomato juice is great for you, Bloody Marys don’t count! Don’t even bother forking out cash for supplements: most experts agree that they are nowhere near as efficient as eating the real thing. Go on, add strawberries to your breakfast, a side salad to your lunch and some pineapple to your barbecues – your brain (and bankroll) will be all the healthier for it.


Two metals that will work wonders for your brain are iron and zinc, and while we are certainly not suggesting you swallow some nails or snack on roofing, a higher intake of these nutrients will definitely improve your concentration, attention and memory. Just imagine this: scientists gave zinc supplements to a group of 7th graders – probably the people with the shortest attention span in the universe – and after a few months it was proven to increase their concentration and memory. If it works on a 7th grader imagine what it will do for you! To get more zinc into your system treat yourself to a “surf & turf” before a big tourney: meat and seafood have great quantities of zinc. If you are a vegetarian, despair not: you can get some zinc from eggs and milk, as well as miso soup, black eyed peas and pumpkin seeds.


Iron, on the other hand, is immensely important for your brain’s good functioning, because it carries the oxygen that cells use as fuel. If you remember the brain is the highest oxygen consumer in the body, you will see why iron is crucial to keep it working well… kind of like petrol to an industrialised country. Not enough oxygen, and your brain will become sluggish, with low levels of concentration, a shortened attention span and even some memory loss. Prevent this potential disaster by making sure your brain always has all the oxygen (and iron) it needs, especially before making great demands on it like that H.O.R.S.E. tourney with the big buy-in. The good news is that increasing your iron intake may be easier than you think. Don’t laugh now: cooking in an iron pot can make a difference in the iron content in your meals! Iron can be found in extra-lean red meat and pulses, as well as dark leafy greens such as spinach and chard – before you frown at the greens, try them wilted in a pan with some butter and a bit of crumbled blue cheese! Another tip for maximising your iron intake is to drink orange juice with your meals, as it increases absorption and makes sure every last bit of iron makes its way into your bloodstream.


The gourmets among you will be pleased to hear that two spices have been proven to make a significant impact in your memory. The first one is a garden herb, easy to grow and delicious to eat: sage. Add sage to your chicken and fish dishes, or to baked zucchinis and green beans, and if you’re feeling adventurous try coating the bigger, thicker sage leaves in a light batter and frying them – Italians call this “Stuzzicchini” and eat them crispy and lightly salted. Sage oil capsules will also do the trick for you: medical tests showed an improvement in subjects’ memories almost immediately after consuming sage oil. Stock up on sage – fresh, dried or as oil – and make sure you get enough on the weeks before a big tourney or a trip to Vegas.


The other condiment that can improve your memory is good old curry. Bring on the Murg masala! Studies have shown that Asian people who eat curry regularly are less prone to Alzheimer’s disease, a sure sign that their neurons are battling inflammation a lot better than those of their Western counterparts. This is apparently due to curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, the powdered spice that gives curry its distinctive yellow colour. Enjoy your curry takeaways with the knowledge that you are doing a good thing for your brain!


Read on for the last part of this series, where we will tell you about the miracle nutrients that will make you smarter, healthier, and more attractive.

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Jörgen Sandahl, PokerOffice CEO

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

PokerOffice is the leading poker software when it comes to instant statistics and data presented as you play. The award winning software is constantly being improved and we got to meet the CEO. Jörgen Sandahl is the new CEO of PokerOffice and just moved to Malta.


Jörgen Sandahl started playing poker during his years at uni, he has a master degree in science engineering, industrial economics. It all started when he and a friend started to do the whole casino bonus thing, playing the casino rooms just to cash out the bonus. The friend is someone you might recognize, he is now a pretty well known poker player named Bo Sehlstedt. When they had finished almost all the casinos for bonuses Bo started looking at poker. A few poker strategy books later he convinced Jörgen to move to poker too and in just a year Jörgen felt confident enough to start playing professionally.


After a year and a half as an online pro Jörgen got sick of it. The online poker pro doesn’t live a very social life, it’s quite lonely playing poker all night at home. Another feeling that started to show up was that he didn’t want to waste his education and a job at Ongame (Bwin today) was a natural step. At Ongame he worked with several of the big brands as Bwinpoker, Europoker and Pokerroom with business development and leading projects. Jörgen liked the job a lot but after two years PokerOffice contacted him.


PokerOffice was exciting, it’s still in the poker business but not an actual gaming company. That it was a smaller company was also a positive thing, it gets more interesting when things can change a bit quicker. The placement in Malta was of course something that had to be considered but it was not only negative. Comparing the weather in January with the Swedish weather Jörgen is used to makes the advantages obvious.

When I ask Jörgen what PokerOffice really is his answer is that it’s a world leading software for players that want a better picture of theirs and other players game. This both in real time and after the game using PokerOffice as an analytics tool. If you compare it to the competitors it’s also easy to use and it doesn’t take a windows programmer to set up. PokerOffice both offers the depth demanded by the more advanced players and a good support for the beginners. Even though PokerOffice offers lots and lots of statistics you can choose to use the parts that make you a better player, like pot odds on overlay when you play and information directly on the table of how your opponents play their hands. A good way for a beginner to become a stronger player is to let the use of PokerOffice grow as the poker skills get sharper.


What PokerOffice actually does is just putting structure to and presenting the information that the pokerrooms make available. The advantage is that compared to a human, PokerOffice can keep track of quite a lot of information, there are thousands of variables to keep track of and getting them presented in a good way as you play really makes a difference. The benefits of being able to use all this information can make you a top notch player.


Just as in any other software business it is important to keep developing the product, says Jörgen, and PokerOffice is always being improved. During the spring and summer there will be a number of large improvements, many of them after ideas and suggestions from the PokerOffice users giving voice to their opinions in the forum. One of the news is the support for more languages.


The PokerOffice story started when two students on the Swedish Royal Institute of Science decided to realize their idea. The idea turned in to a real business and in 2006-2007 the company was restructured and the business moved to Malta. The sales and support departments was expanded and rebuilt and 2008 looks like it’s going to be a very good year for PokerOffice. The poker industry has been showing a big interest for the product and if you look at it as a service the timing is perfect. As affiliate to pokerrooms PokerOffice can offer more value to the partners and clients because of the nature of the product. The players coming to the poker sites from PokerOffice are better players than the average. Just compare the statistics, about 40% of the PokerOffice players are winning players compared to about 5 or 10 % when it comes to the general player.


Eat right and improve your game – Part I

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Part I, Part II, Part III

Did you know that your eating habits directly affect your poker abilities? You may not believe us at first, but we are ready to prove to you that a few changes in your diet can make a very positive difference in your attention levels, stamina and memory, giving you an edge over the competition. This three-part series will give you some important tips on when to eat and what to eat for a sharper poker brain.

Eating and Playing

Eating for energy and alertness.

Consider this scenario: you are at the World Series of Poker, deep into a $1000 No Limit Hold’em tourney. You have been playing for hours, accumulating a chip lead, and although you are very hungry you refuse to let it distract you from the game. Finally you get a 30-minute break, and you dash madly off to the buffet and devour a large plate (or two) of everything they have. How do you feel after eating? Chances are that within half an hour of finishing that meal you find yourself feeling drowsy and unfocused, and instead of struggling with a growling stomach you are now fighting off sleep, more ready for a nap than a final table. The Spanish were on to a good thing when they instituted the “siesta,” that lovely short nap after lunch. But you’re not here to nap – you want to play poker! So how can you take care of your hunger and still remain awake and focused after the break?


To find out the answer you need to know about insulin. Insulin is a hormone that lets the cells in your body know when you have eaten, so the cells can start storing the fat and sugars from the meal. As a result of this the amount of sugar (glucose, for the scientifically minded) in the blood will be reduced, as the sugars leave the bloodstream to be stored in the cells. “Enough with the science, what about poker?” you’ll say. Well, this is how it all ties in: your brain cells (called neurons by those on the know) need sugar as fuel. When you eat a large meal, a lot of sugar will enter the blood stream, which will make you feel alert and clever for a short while. But soon after the meal the body will also release a large amount of insulin – because you have eaten a lot,– and it will in turn tell the cells in your body to capture the sugar and fats. This means that the amount of sugar in the blood will be reduced quickly, and therefore your brain will start to run low on fuel, which will make you feel sluggish and groggy – hardly ideal in the last stages of a large tourney, when you need all your attention and energy to finally get that bracelet.


“But a person has to eat!” you can say, and you are very right. We are definitely not telling you to stop eating – the all-important sugars for your potent poker brain must come from somewhere! The point we want to make here is that you should avoid making very large meals after a long fast, because they will set off the reaction we have just explained, and leave you on a “sugar dump.” Besides, a large heavy meal requires a lot of energy to be digested, which means that your body’s efforts will be focused in your stomach and intestines and not on your brain, which is where you need them. Also, the long fast is not good for you and it is even worse for your poker game: have you ever tried to make a difficult decision on the turn while your stomach growls and the chips start looking good enough to eat? Hunger will wreak havoc with anyone’s concentration, and you do not want to risk a bad call or a hasty fold because you were distracted by thoughts of food.


The way forward is to eat smaller portions more often (so the sugar levels in the blood remain steady) instead of going for hours without food and then making a huge meal, which will first raise the sugar levels too much and then bring them crashing down. Snacking is key: if you are playing in a brick-and-mortar tourney remember to request or bring some nuts or pretzels with you to nibble whenever you feel a pang of hunger. This way your brain will have a steady supply of fuel and you will feel more energetic and alert. If you play online then you have absolutely no excuse: plan (or order) a meal before you even sit at the computer, and eat it in “installments” – first the salad, then the chicken, then the fries. Also remember to keep nibbles at hand while you play so you don’t even have to take your eyes off the screen to keep hunger at bay.


If you consistently eat this way you will notice a great improvement in your day-to-day energy levels, as well as your capacity to concentrate and stay alert for long periods. This will give you a great advantage over other players, who will either be playing on an empty, growling stomach or will be fighting off the urge to take a post-meal nap. Easy pickings for a sharp, alert, energetic shark such as yourself!


You now know HOW to eat to improve your game, but we still have not gone over WHAT to eat for optimal brain performance. Visit us next week for the following installment of this 3-part series, where we will tell you all you need to know about what to eat to improve your memory, concentration and mood.


Read part II: Eat right and improve your game – Part II

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