FTP Answers 4/21/11

Posted by FTPDoug:

Today's update makes it so players can no longer change their country from the United States to a different country from the Cashier. Support can still change your listed country, but it will require proof of address change. Previous updates that went out earlier in the week without comment from me were also just addressing US player blocking.

For now I'll be skipping all of the questions that came up before Friday (I'll still answer those with the next "real" update) and just focus on the bigger issues at hand.

1. will the thread continue for euro players feedback ?

- Yep, for sure.

2. Has any one been able to get in touch with FTP support? I e-mailed FTP black card yesterday and got no response. I also e-mailed support@fulltiltpoker.co.uk and have received no response.

- The .co.uk address should work fine. As you can imagine they're fairly swamped, but are working as quickly as possible through the backlog. Going forward, obviously we're happy to have fulltiltpoker.com back and support@fulltiltpoker.com will be available again for use once the domain has fully propagated.

3. i am assuming i will get my account money back eventually, but what i am worried about is ft points, medals, and iron man status.

- Yes, you will get your money back. If/when US players are able to play again in the future, we will preserve your continuing months for Iron Man (and Black Card status if you have that). Nobody will be penalized in those programs for not being able to play because of this.

4. as for fulltilt points and medals, either some kind of way to convert to cash if we are forced to cashout or a promise to preserve the current value of the points in our account until the day US players are allowed again.

- One of those two options is nearly certain to be the way it will go.

5. Any word on when and if the "My Promotions Page" will become accessible to US Players?

- Sorry about that, it was just a technical error on our side. It should be cleared up now. Let us know if there are still any issues.

6. I successfully withdrew my money and would really love to play at FTP again, but am scared to do so and a little reassurance would be fantastic.

- I'm still here, if that helps. Probably the biggest reassurance comes from the agreement published by the DOJ yesterday which says:

"The Agreement does not prohibit, and, in fact, expressly allows for, FTP to privde for, and facilitate, players outside of the United States to engage in playing online poker for real money through the Domain, or any other domain names, sub-domain names, websites, or Internet-based means of communication under the control of FTP."

It really is business as usual for players outside the US.

7. I still can't withdraw from ftp using moneybookers.

- It's true that cashouts are a bit slow right now (there is quite a backlog at the moment) but they're being worked through as quickly as possible. Moneybookers and Neteller are definitely where the biggest backlogs are right now. Sorry for the delay, but we will definitely get your money to you.

8. So for the days we were locked out as CDNS or had to figure out on our own how to update what happens this month if we miss Iron Man at no fault of our own?

- If you contact support they should be able to credit you with Iron Man days for the days you weren't able to update and play. That update issue should be fully solved, by the way.

9. the only thing that doesn't work is the FT academy which says under scheduled maintenance, when I click on it.

- This is still being worked on and should be up and running soon (probably very soon after fulltiltpoker.com has fully propogated).

10. Great news about your site entering an agreement with the SDNY to get our funds back so soon. However, when can expect our unused tourney tickets and/or tourney dollars to be converted to real cash? Also, some players like myself, have unearned bonus dollars in our account. Will they be converted to real cash as well?

- Unused tournament tickets and T$ will be converted before you fully withdraw. The exact process hasn't been set up or decided yet, so I can't give real details. I also don't know about unearned bonus dollars, but I will look into it.

11. You people put our money with your operational cash and left it in the US?

- No, that didn't happen. I can't comment too much about this stuff, but this isn't true.

On a personal note, thanks for kind words. While we're all very disappointed with the DOJ action and subsequent blocking of US players, we will continue to do everything we can to provide the best poker playing experience anywhere online.


The Big 3 Indicted

For those who haven't heard: http://www.pokernews.com/news/2011/04/online-poker-big-three-indicted-10218.htm

Remember, I'm not some legal expert. I'm a professional poker player. Please don't bombard me with questions as I probably don't know anymore than you do. I have to figure out my own situation. You might find some of this helpful:

Thoughts from Free Phil Ivey:
So long as Full Tilt and Pokerstars don't freak out they will prevail in court. The government has to prove these charges. Legal precedent is not on their side. The govt.'s case seems entirely circumstantial and appears built around the suspicious behavior of the sites interactions with processors.

The government will argue that PS and FT acted suspiciously and thus must have known that their conduct was illegal. That will not hold water in court, however, because FT and PS will attack the heart of the law and argue that online poker simply is not prohibited under any federal statute and therefore their suspicious activities with payment processors is utterly irrelevant.

The government is basically prosecuting a "thought crime" (PS and FT acted as if they knew what they were doing was illegal therefore it "was" illegal"). That is not how our legal system works. Even if you "think" you are committing a crime - no crime is committed if what you did actually was not a crime in the first place.

Yes I am pissed off. Just read the press released by the DOJ and you can see it is a publicity stunt. It actually reads more like an advertisement for future political careers than a serious prosecution of criminal conduct. Yes I play online poker for a good % of my disposable income. Yes I am an attorney. Yes my firm will be defending anyone charged under this bull**** law pro bono.

The FBI and DOJ better be hoping and praying that no terrorist attack or other major crimes hit within the near future or heads will roll (as they should). What a disgrace.

In order to be convicted of money laundering the funds have to be involved in a crime. If FS and PS prove that operating an online poker site is not a crime than they cannot be convicted of money laundering.

I stand by my statement that DOJ has zilch and will be humiliated by competent counsel. When the dust settles the Govt. will be lucky to get anyone from the poker sites unless it is a minor plea to save face.

As to the fraud and allegations re: Sun Bank - First of all the government has to explain how the bank was actually defrauded. No bank was ever financially harmed in any material way according to the complaint. The DOJ is missing a critical step. This is not a case where a bank was "defrauded' resulting in a loss of FDIC insured government backed funds. The banks were not harmed. All the government can prove is that payments were processed for companies who were not operating according to their stated purpose. So what? Thousands of companies do the same thing everyday. This is very common and does not constitute a crime in and of itself.

The banks had clearly set up their own rules and guidelines for which payments to process. It is not a crime to violate an internal bank policy. The defense argument remains that there is no underling crime upon which to base a fraud charge. This was not money used for drug traffiking being run through a middle man. Instead it was a bank transaction using a middle man business who was dishonest about his business activity. The money from that transaction was then forwarded to online poker sites. No crime is committed at any step in that transaction UNLESS the DOJ can prove that operating an online poker site violates some federal law. The DOJ MUST be able to prove that operating an online poker site is unlawful gambling and as such online poker sites cannot lawfully do business with US banks. I personally do not believe the DOJ can bridge that gap because online poker does not affirmatively violate any federal statute I have seen or reviewed.

The purchase of Sun Bank does not seem directly tied to the poker sites themselves. Even assuming that it is - purchasing an interest in a bank to provide a service processing a certain type of lawful transactions is not a crime. Does it look suspicious? Yes. But the DOJ needs to prove more than that.

The DOJ's prosecution is based on suspicious activity not actual criminal conduct and that is why I have called it a "thought crime" prosecution. If the DOJ cannot prove that running an online poker site violates some federal law and constitutes unlawful "gambling" this indictment will result in acquittals after trial in my opinion.

Originally Posted by doctesseractyl View Post
Just give your opinion on this part of the indictment, if ur really a lawyer. Will this part of the indictment hold up?

"Paragraph 32 [...] defendants [...] violated titled 31 of the USC Section 5363" http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-...SCSIV&PDFS=YES

The interpretation of this particular section is CRITICAL. The first question is what does it mean to be involved in "the business of betting or wagering" pursuant to 31 USC 5363. To find the answer you first look to 31 USC 5362 for the definition of the term "bet or wager". The definitions from Section 5362 for "bet or wager" can be found here. The definition is long or I would post it here but the first part states:

(1) Bet or wager.— The term “bet or wager”—
(A) means the staking or risking by any person of something of value upon the outcome of a contest of others, a sporting event, or a game subject to chance, upon an agreement or understanding that the person or another person will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome;

Remember this law was originally intended to ban sports betting. That is clear from the statute. Is poker "a game subject to chance" or is it a game of skill? All things in life are subject to "chance". Chance is a term usually used for lotteries. Furthermore, federal courts have already ruled that poker does not fit this definition.

Another thing to keep in mind, take a look at Section 2 of Section 5362. It states:

(2) Business of betting or wagering.— The term “business of betting or wagering” does not include the activities of a financial transaction provider, or any interactive computer service or telecommunications service.

This is not cut and dry folks. The DOJ is going to have a hell of a time making this stick imo.

To answer your question the DOJ success rate at trial (which is all that matters) is 77-80%. Contrary to you uninformed opinion that is not 100%. I have experience dealing with DOJ attorneys and have beat them - so have many other competent attorneys. Most of the time the accused cannot afford competent counsel. That is not the case here.

Furthermore, most criminal prosecutions are straight forward cases that are easy to prosecute - they are basically impossible for the government to lose. This is not one of those cases.

Anyone familiar with the U.S attorneys office from the SNY knows that it is nothing more than a bully pulpit for launching political careers by making high profile prosecutions. It is disgusting. You challenge my allegation that the prosecution is nothing more than an advertisement and self aggrandizing publicity statement to launch the political careers of the involved government attorneys. Read the press release yourself - it is chalk full of "back slapping" especially towards the end.

For those already looking for possible workarounds, Satyr's post might be of use.:
I've lived abroad for over two years now. So I know a lot about this. 3 good options are: Buenos Aires Argentina, Lima Peru and The Philippines.

Actually getting a permanent residency visa somewhere is a pain in the ass and generally not easy to do (especially in first world countries). You basically need to prove you are rich and then jump through all these hoops to get a visa.

However, there are some countries that you can simply show up at and stay indefinitely on a tourist visa. These are obviously all 3rd world countries. The ones I know of and have lived in are: Argentina, Peru and The Philippines.

In Argentina you are given a 90day tourist visa however u can simply leave the country and immediately re-enter. In Buenos Aires, it is pretty easy as you just take a 3 hr boat ride across the bay to Uruguay.

Another way is to simply overstay your tourist visa. This is generally a very bad idea in most countries as there are stiff punishments. However, in Peru this is not the case. They simply charge you $1 per day that you over stay. I stayed in Peru for over 8 months once. Upon leaving they tallied up the days I overstayed and charged me a $100 and somethin dollars. No questions asked. You can also do the leave and come back trick if you dont want to technically break the law, but I don't think its necessary. I currently live in Lima and I highly recommend it.

In the Philippines, they let you keep extending your tourist visa. You pay an extension fee every couple months of $30 or so per month and they are happy to let you stay as long as you want.

Most countries allow 90 days as a tourist, however these countries give Americans 180 days: Canada, Mexico and the UK. So you could live half the year in one of those countries and then the other half in another.

Most countries wont simply let a not resident open a bank account. Peru it is possible I hear but technically the banks are not suppose to let you. In Argentina, it is impossible. The Philippines seems like you can open one easily according to google answers. I need to do some research on this as I was always too lazy to bother setting up a foreign account. But now it looks like this is going to be necessary.

In theory, you can take a trip to a country that allows this and open an account. You dont have to necessarily live there. Accessing the money can be done using a ATM card which would work most anywhere in the world. However, you are going to get fee'd 2-3% usually for making a foreign transaction. Accessing larger amounts of money could be tricky though if you are not in the country. There is probably some way around this. You could definitely do international wires to your US account but that usually requires you physically going into the bank which is tricky if you aren't in the country.

Analyzing Your Luck: Factoring Everything In

Poker players like to analyze how lucky they are. Some are delusional players who play mediocre w/ an 8% ROI over 1K games & a selective memory that causes them to whine like little bitches at the tables. Others use luck analyzers such as all in EV on HEM to analyze how lucky they are. No matter which type you are, hopefully this entry will help you understand your luck better.

For players without a luck analyzing program the best tool you can use is probably sharkscope. If a player plays multiple buy-ins I think the best to tell if someone is likely running good or bad is to compare their average profit to their avg. stake x avg. ROI. For example, if somebody has an average stake of $100 w/ an average ROI of 2% then their average profit should probably be somewhere between $2 (0.02x100) & $2.40 (since avg. ROI is rounded to nearest whole # 0.024 x 100). Therefore, if their avg. profit is below that range there's a good chance they're running below expectation & if they're above that range they're likely running above expectation, likely due to running good at their highest stakes. Every year you see people towards the top of leaderboards whose avg. profit is 2 to 3x or even more than their avg. ROI x avg. stake. That generally doesn't last over the years. The delusional players will tell you that it's because they focus more at their highest stakes (who doesn't?) or they play better against good players but anyone w/ common sense can realize that's probably not the case. We also need to use common sense & sample size. If your avg. ROI is 6% & the next best reg at your stake has an avg. ROI of 3%, you're likely luckboxing it up.

Now let's talk about those who use luck analyzer. First off, let's get straight what a luck analyzer does. It only factors in 1 form of luck. If a player is all in for a 100 chip pot as a 70% favorite then his chip equity in the pot is 70 chips. If he wins the pot then he ran 30 chips above expectation & if he loses he ran 70 chips below expectation. A program such as HEM will then factor in chip stacks & the prize structure to turn these chips into a $ number & adjust your profits & ROI. It doesn't factor things such as card distribution (constantly calling someone at the top of their range, constantly pushing into the top of someone's range, etc...), which can have just as big of an effect on luck, at least in super turbos. I believe it also factors in the luck of the other players at the table, but I am not sure.

Now that we know what a luck analyzer does, let's look at some #s. I cannot confirm this but some math genius figured that all in EV is like multiplying your sample by 3.9. So if you have 1,000 games played & look at your adjusted ROI, it's like looking at your ROI over 3,900 games. Here's a few important sample size #s to remember:

After 500 games you're 50% likely to be within 5% of your true ROI
After 1,000 games you're 67% likely to be within 5% of your true ROI
After 3,000 games you're 90% likely to be within 5% of your true ROI
After 25,000 games you're 90% likely to be within 2% of your true ROI

Let's say you play 15,000 $50 STs. If we multiply that by 3.9 it's 58,500 games. Aside from the fact that your game & the games you play in may have changed a lot during that sample, 58,500 games should get you pretty damn close to your true ROI.

Now let's say you play 15,000 STs from $35 to $200 w/ an average stake of $72.67. your adjusted ROI #s at each buy-in are as follows:
2,000 $200s: -3.3%
2,000 $100s: -2.3%
7,000 $50s: 2.5%
4,000 $35s: 3%

This should workout to an overall adjusted ROI of 1.22%. However, despite having the same # of games as the 15,000 $50 ST sample, this grouping of games is likely to give you a far less accurate adjusted ROI because it is composed of smaller samples of games from different stakes. Looking at that group of adjusted ROIs & using common sense will tell you that. From $35 to $50 that's an avg. stake of $44.55 w/ an adjusted ROI of 2.68%. With an avg. stake of $72.67, a player shouldn't expect that 2.68% ROI to take too much of a dip, especially a 1.46% ROI dip, or an ROI that is less than 46% as high. This is why you need to look at your adjusted ROI at each buy-in level instead of just looking at your overall ROI, & use common sense. A more realistic estimate of that players' ROIs at $100s & $200s would be something like 2.2% & 1.3% respectively. With these new #s the overall ROI now jumps to 2.43%.

My point is that luck analyzers can be a useful tool IF YOU UNDERSTAND THEM. If you don't understand them they're likely to just cause more headaches for you.

As for 2011, the FTP STs have been ridiculously flooded w/ regs at every buy-in level. The games are definitely as tough as they've ever been. I don't see the worst pros being able to stick around at this rate, unless they live in a country with a very cheap cost of living.

Since voss is such a cool guy that he tweets he's been bugging me to plug his twitter. If you're the type of person who has been dying to know when voss takes a shit or eats a big mac, just click the link below & your dreams may come true:


GL at the tables,

Happy New Year! 2010 Year in Review

2010 turned out to be a really good year. Total profit-wise it was my 2nd best year as a pro, but that's not all that huge to me because my bottom 3 years are all pretty close together. I think the most important part of 2010 was that my pre rakeback profit was a high # again. In 2009 I lost money pre rakeback, & although my all in EV said I should have made $40K or so, that just wasn't up to my standards either. The majority of 2009 was spent playing my C game & my table selection wasn't nearly as good as it could have been either.

In 2010 I spent a lot of time experimenting w/ different #s of tables, speeds, & mixes of sites. I didn't play $300+ at the beginning of the year because I wanted a little break from the brutal variance that they bring after 2009. I think I not only improved as a player in 2010, but improved my table selection as well, both of which are very important in today's tough SNG environment. Lately I've been 16 tabling on FTP.

Here's the top 5 total profit earners for 6-10 seated SNGs & 5-6 seated SNGs from 2010 based on sharkscope data:

6-10 seated SNGs:
1. jorj95, pokerstars $198,410
2. leoc00, full tilt, pokerstars $165,376
3. josselthekiller/jossel2008, FTP,pstars $143,730 *
4. Jared Hubbard $131,354
5. Spacegravy, pokerstars $128,667

* I can't confirm that josselthekiller & jossel2008 are the same person, but I assume they are.

5-6 seated SNGs:
1. Jared Hubbard $123,554
2. Gramps (luckboxfromhell, etc...) $116,025
3. jorj95, pokerstars $114,738
4. 6maxgr1nder/Pokerpro333, cereus, pstars $ 89,706
5. 666AceOfSpades, full tilt $ 84,131

I've been #1 in 5-6 seated total profit 3 out of the 4 years that I've been a pro now. It always feels great but it arguably feels the best this time around. Normally it would probably feel the best the 1st time or the time you made the most money, but after how 2009 went it feels pretty damn good this time. I heard so many people bash me after last year. "Jhub just made good money when the games were soft, he's just average now, everybody has caught up to him." I feed off comments like that & it feels good to show the meatheads the truth. The funny thing is that no matter how well I do I'll still hear comments like that. I just won't hear as many of them. I guess as leatherass points out in the following article: People would rather just tear a guy down than try to figure out how to beat them. That's the easier route.


I read this article a while back & thought it was good. I just stumbled across it again so I thought I'd post it on here. The article is based on cash games but I think most of it still applies to SNGs.

Pokerpro333 will be trying to break the record for fastest to elite in 2011 & has a lot of bets on it. I am the escrow for these bets. Good luck in your sick quest. I hope he gets on Team Pokerstars Pro Online if he can achieve this.

I'm going to leave you with the greatest interview of all time. Joe Paterno told a recruit this year that he was going to be coaching another 4-6 years. He's currently 84 years old. After reporting this, Colin Cowherd played the following clip on his TV/Radio show "The Herd." Enjoy.


Happy New Year,

December 2010:
158.15 hrs
SNG Profit: $29,634.15
Rakeback/Bonuses: $13,864.29
Total Profit: $43,498.44

Year 2010:
1,759.11 hrs
SNG Profit: $134,514.80
Rakeback/Bonuses: $134,412.98
Total Yearly Profit: $268,927.78

Year 2009:
Hours: 1,577.65
SNG Profit: $(22,746.37)
Rakeback/Bonuses: $213,977.09
Total SNG Profit: $191,230.72
Staking: $42,219.80
Total Yearly Profit: $233,450.52

Year 2008 Online:
Hours: 1510.88
SNG Profit: $277,395.86
Rakeback/Bonuses: $178,589.61
Total SNG Profit: $455,985.47
Staking: $121,573.29
Total Yearly Profit: $577,558.76

Year 2007 Online:
Total Online Poker Profit: $251,388.84 (no staking in 2007)

Career sharkscope:
135,280 $4 $115 4% $557,014