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Old 04-09-2012, 03:46 AM   #26
tannenj
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Honey Badger
I will give you one example investing...
Your example is very flawed.

The best investors can increase their bankrolls by 20%-30% a year due to the nature of investing. The best poker players can increase their bankrolls by way, way more than that. That's why I used the phrase "relatively immediately." Why you chose to ignore those words is curious to me. I find your agenda to be a strange one.

A more analogous example is trading, though it's much less of a meritocracy than poker because 1. you need significantly more starting capital to make money at it than poker and 2. things such as commissions and software cost act as barriers that render it quite difficult to beat without the right resources (meanwhile, a serious online poker needs only Hold'em Manager or PokerTracker, the one-time cost of which is less than $100, and a reliable Internet connection).

Still, if one of the top 1,000 traders in the world were to release a polished 70,000+-word writeup providing his reasoning for hundreds of trades in excruciating detail -- the trading equivalent of SFH -- it would sell quite well at $500+/copy. You wouldn't buy it, but many other individuals would.

Besides, literally anyone can make money at investing with very minimal effort. The stock market returns 5%-10%/year depending on how you want to slice it. Throwing some money in a few index funds doesn't take any skill.

Quote:
You may think I am quoting Mason out of context but I am confident the same applies to your book as well...
Not only have I come across this post, I've seen it reposted by you. You're providing me with points of view with which I'm already quite familiar. Do you think I came up with a price for SFH spontaneously? I did my research and hit it from several angles. This sort of discussion is neither helpful nor insightful. It's ultra-redundant. But I'll take a moment to humor you with a plan to ignore your pricing-related posts from here on. I hope you won't continue to make them in this thread thereafter; I happen to know that, for some reason, you're obsessed with this subject.

Mason is a very smart guy, obviously, and his point of view here is an interesting one, but his post is a vast oversimplification of reality. His thought process -- and yours, to some extent, because you insist on parroting it in this forum relatively constantly -- is flawed because it assumes that every poker publication has a similar target market. Books like Harrington on Hold 'em and The Theory of Poker have sold thousands and thousands of copies because their target markets are gigantic. Those books are accessible to just about every individual who's interested in poker because their purpose is to teach readers the game from the ground up. They're not going to help anyone begin to beat, say, $50 NL or higher online or transition from, say, $100 NL to $200 NL. This is the case because its authors aren't capable of playing high-level cash game poker themselves; given that, they couldn't possibly provide readers with a level of material comparable to that of the e-books we're discussing.

Please note that this isn't meant to be interpreted as a slam. I have a lot of respect for Mason, David Sklansky, and the other authors on the roster of 2+2 Publishing. I bought HoH Volume 1 in early 2006. I loved reading it and it was crucial to my game. Dan Harrington is still one of my favorite poker players. I still seek out Mason's and David's posts on the forums. Would I read a NLHE cash game book put out by 2+2 Publishing next week, though? No chance. I might browse it in a book store if I were bored. As arrogant as this will probably come off, it wouldn't be worth my time to read one of their books. In general, their authors have no noteworthy cash game NLHE ability. Again, this isn't meant to be a slam. The authors of 2+2 books are really, really smart people. Guys like me would crush them in NLHE cash games only because guys like me have put dramatically more time into studying and playing NLHE cash games than they have. From late 2005 through late 2010, NLHE cash games were more or less my life. If I hadn't gotten to a point where a book like HoH was light reading material for me, it would arguably be pathetic. By buying SFH, in a way, you're getting five years of my life.

The exception to what I've written above seems to be Analytical No-Limit Hold 'em: Crushing Mid-Stakes Short-Handed Games by Thomas Bakker. I believe it launched at ~$30. I haven't read the book, but I've read discussion about it. It seems alright. It also seems to feature some ridiculously fundamentally-flawed thinking, such as the recommendation to 4-bet preflop to committing sizes. What I'd like to know is: where are the author's results? Has the author beaten NLHE cash games for $100+/hour over 1,000,000+ hands? His results are nowhere to be seen. There are relatively few individuals who have "crush[ed] mid-stakes short-handed games." I'm one of them. I suspect that the author isn't.

$150+ e-books and video series don't have the same sort of target market that 2+2 books do. SFH is meant for people who are already breakeven or better at, say, $50 NL and/or are extremely dedicated to improving their NLHE games (if you have to ask yourself, "Do I fit into that category?" the answer is "No"). That's a tiny fraction of the poker-playing population. If a losing $10 NL player were to ask me whether he should buy TToP, I'd tell him, "Absolutely." If he were to ask me whether he should buy SFH, I'd tell him, "Absolutely not." SFH has a tiny fraction of the target audience that something like TToP does -- it's meant for players who have already put lots of time into their games and who are already relatively dangerous -- but it offers way more value to the players in its wheelhouse than something like TToP. TToP explains the concept of expected value. SFH assumes that its readers are already quite familiar with expected value and immediately dives into complex NLHE hands to which the concept is inherent. Hopefully you see the difference. Comparing $15-$30 poker books to e-books written by players who have won $100,000+ in online cash games is like comparing apples to oranges.

That's the reason e-books from successful online cash game players tend to be priced the way they are. Their target audiences are much smaller, but the individuals in those target audiences are much more willing to pay good money for the information within (see: elasticity). You seem to think the authors of e-books set their prices randomly or are all scumbags who are hoping to rip a few people off. You're guilty of 1. not thinking very much about the subject and/or 2. not thinking clearly about the subject (honey badgers are diggers; please dig a bit deeper ). There's reasoning behind the pricing methodology of guys like Tri, shootaa, and me. It has nothing to do with trying to deal to "suckers" (a bunch of people have already bought the biggest SFH package and I'm certain that some of them are very smart; if you knew anything about their backgrounds, you'd feel silly for insulting them the way you have) and everything to do with markets and elasticity.

Quote:
Also, just because they are over priced does not mean that the information they contain is not of value or not accurate. My suspicion is that is where you are getting confused.
Your suspicion is wrong. We're on the same page. I understand your (Mason's) point and certainly never thought that you were suggesting the product contains weak information. Hopefully this post clarifies things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth
And finally, assuming I'm right, we should begin to see lower priced material that is at least as good becoming available in the not to distant future. And when this happens, our opinion about being questionable will go away.
This hasn't happened. It's been three years since MM's post. I don't know what sort of time table he had in mind, but my estimate is that it's not going to happen any time soon. The information is too valuable. When it comes to the target audience, the pricing is too inelastic.

Last edited by tannenj; 04-09-2012 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:30 AM   #27
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
Originally Posted by tannenj View Post
Your example is very flawed.

The best investors can increase their bankrolls by 20%-30% a year due to the nature of investing. The best poker players can increase their bankrolls by way, way more than that. That's why I used the phrase "relatively immediately." Why you chose to ignore those words is curious to me. I find your agenda to be a strange one.

A more analogous example is trading, though it's much less of a meritocracy than poker because 1. you need significantly more starting capital to make money at it than poker and 2. things such as commissions and software cost act as barriers that render it quite difficult to beat without the right resources (meanwhile, a serious online poker needs only Hold'em Manager or PokerTracker, the one-time cost of which is less than $100, and a reliable Internet connection).
Your missing something my friend..... it's called compounding.

To make more, than last year a poker player has to play more hands or move up in stakes most probably effecting his win rate. This caps his earning potential without even looking at the risks of being an online poker player. What games are you crushing online today as a US player? If you are playing on Merge good luck getting your money. Can you say Full Tilt or UB take 3. You need to factor these risks into your plan. 10 years ago there were few NL Holdem games and no real online poker. What will the game look like in 10 years who knows?

You have to keep playing day after day as well. That or become an poker e-book author to make money as a cash game pro. Investors can take time off and not effect there profit potential. In fact it might enhance it.

An investor earning 16%, (very well attainable if you know what your doing and we are not talking index funds,) will make his 35k into about $325,000 in 15 years without adding a dime through the magic of compounding. The best part is you don't need to work that much harder to keep the money growing then when you started. Poker player face better opponents each year and must work very hard to stay ahead of the competition.

Second your poker playing student has to pay taxes on his winnings every year robbing him of a good portion of his bankroll. Secondly our tax code is very friendly to investors allowing them to offset gains with losses and carry over losses from the previous year. The poker player is out of luck with such treatment from the tax code.

Dividends from investments are taxed at a lower rate then earned income. You can choose when to be taxed as an investor not as a poker player. The deck is stacked against you as a poker player compliments of our tax code and treatment of gambling by society, including unfavorable laws. We haven't even discussed the rake.

Also, your poker player, like the trader you allude to has to deal with random events out of his control. That's why poker players talk about variance continually. Traders face the same issues. Based on the fact many traders use leverage it only compounds the risk. Take a look at 2008 and derivatives if you want to see how that can workout. Not good.

So no trading is like poker. Far more losers then winners in both games and only the very best can make a really profitable go of it in the long run.

One hundred people that I teach how to invest well, 90% will beat 100 poker player coached by you over 15 years each starting with 35K. Most of my students would have over 250K in 15 years and a few 500k. Your poker playing students????????
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:47 AM   #28
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

So much wandering off topic ITT.

I've had this material for about a month now. In that time I've only played 40K hands, but I've also gone from a -1.5bb/100 loser to a 2.5bb winner. I'm not going to claim the stuff will automatically tack on 4bb/100 to your winrate (as I don't think you can quantify that sort of thing accurately as there are bound to be other influencing factors, variance, etc.) but this has paid for itself in quite short order. There are a lot of spots that were trouble for me before that I breeze through now, not through getting advice on a specific hand or spot, but by improving my thinking about the game.

I think that's what I'm liking about it so much at the moment - the fact that instead of just offering generalized advice, it's helping me build a solid framework to work from going forward.

Pretty sure I said it ITT earlier already, but if you play the game seriously at NL200 or less and do kind of okay but just can't seem to bust through to long term profit, SFHiYCD is definitely worth the buy (it might be worth it at NL400 and beyond as well, but I'm not there yet, so I don't want to overstep).

This e-book (e-material, really) will definitely sit in my library in the small category of poker related stuff that actually paid for itself.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:48 AM   #29
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
Originally Posted by tannenj View Post
Your suspicion is wrong. We're on the same page. I understand your (Mason's) point and certainly never thought that you were suggesting the product contains weak information. Hopefully this post clarifies things.



This hasn't happened. It's been three years since MM's post. I don't know what sort of time table he had in mind, but my estimate is that it's not going to happen any time soon. The information is too valuable. When it comes to the target audience, the pricing is too inelastic.
I am sure your information in your publication is very good.

You clearly are a talented poker player and a quality poker coach.

That said have you priced some of the past expensive e-books recently?

Baluga Whale's "Easy Game" a book that has received some good review is available for 20% of what he was charging before Black Friday. Mason was spot on about e-book pricing.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:59 AM   #30
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Honey Badger View Post
I am sure your information in your publication is very good.

You clearly are a talented poker player and a quality poker coach.

That said have you priced some of the past expensive e-books recently?

Baluga Whale's "Easy Game" a book that has received some good review is available for 20% of what he was charging before Black Friday. Mason was spot on about e-book pricing.
"Easy Game" has also been on the market for a long time. It's the way of, well, everything: It's most expensive when it first comes out, and the longer it's out, the more the price goes down.

I've read a bunch of your posts ITT and I can't help but wonder: What's your point? Obviously some people will find the price too steep, others won't, just like paying $XX per hour for coaching.

I guess I just don't get why you have such a huge chip on your shoulder - or do you wander into all e-book threads so you can complain about the price?

I've browsed tons of e-book, coaching, and staking threads, and for probably 95% of them, I've thought, "well, this price/style/product isn't for me" and moved on. If I complained up a storm every time I found something that wasn't a good fit, I probably wouldn't have actually played any poker in the last year.

Do you find this a satisfying use of your time? I'd love to discuss it, please feel free to send me a PM. This thread (afaik) is for book reviews, and talking about pricing issues is pretty off topic.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:39 PM   #31
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Honey Badger,

You can have the last word, my man. I hardly care. This is a thread about poker e-material (starvingwriter is better with words than I am). You've now hit on investing (note: I understand compounding and took it into account in my analysis; I majored in finance in college and it's a simple concept anyway), trading, and the US tax code. You have no interest in discussing SFH in any legitimate capacity. The chance that you'll buy it is nonexistent (I'd consider giving you a discounted review copy due to your vocalness, as zerosum79 did with his e-book [lol], but I'm already waiting on another 10-20 reviews).

I wrote you a long, thoughtful response about pricing. As far as I know, it was way more input than you've gotten from the other authors you've pestered about the subject. You ignored the bulk of it. I'm done now. I'll leave you with some food for thought, though ... not because I'm trying to stifle you or something, but because it might be helpful for your next target ():

-This isn't the first time I've seen you suggest that Merge money is unsafe and difficult to withdraw and that, therefore, depositing there is silly. FWIW, I'm not playing any online poker right now, though it's likely that I'll make a deposit on Merge sooner or later if it continues to be the best option for US players. You'd do well to think outside the box when it comes to Merge and the American online poker environment in general.

You have somewhat of a point, obviously, but Merge is an option worth strong consideration for winning US grinders nevertheless (here are the results of one of the guys who's been making it work). The reason is that Merge allows transfers and there's an active market for Merge currency. Withdrawing $X,XXX or $XX,XXX from Merge is actually pretty easy, especially if you have a decent reputation in the poker world. One simply needs to be willing to 1. make use of 2+2's transfer threads and 2. pay a 5%-10% vig.

-As starvingwriter points out, what you've posted about Easy Game is unanalogous at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. BW is selling the third volume of EG for $60 because 1. it's a modified version of a publication that was released almost three years ago and 2. it's been pirated significantly (BW has posted this on 2+2). EG's lower price isn't representative of a fundamental change in the market, as you're suggesting. It's a result of factors of which you're either unaware or have made a deliberate choice to ignore.

-For some reason, you approach this issue from a US-only perspective. The US government has twisted things around regarding online poker. That's obviously not the fault of the authors of poker e-material. There's a world and a market outside of the US that must be taken into account if one's goal is to perform a thorough pricing analysis.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:25 PM   #32
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

I would like to post my two cents. It is my opinion so take it for what its worth.

An offering like this strikes me as a serious product for a very select market. It seems like something that someone would buy if they were looking to make improvements at the mid-stakes and beyond and needed some fresh perspective. For $500 it is reasonably priced compared to the cost of coaching at this level and the amount of material that appears packed with it. But remember, this is probably not aimed at the 2+2 book crowd. Most of the 2+2 books are more like primers to get you started. I would guess that is intentional to appeal to a wide audience. This is not to say they are bad. They are actually the best out there for this purpose.

A lot of the old ebooks that garnered such high price tags and vitriol really seemed subpar to me based on what I saw and the comments they received in the forums. I have seen copies of a few and there was not nearly the level of professionalism that seems to be in the more recent products from Daily Variance and independents. There was a whole thread about typos in one of the $1K+ books (forget the name).

These days the material that seems to be coming out from independent players seems targeted at the market that they coach to in an effort to reach more people at a better price point. If the price tag for this offering or the narrow focus do not appeal to you, it should not be a big shock. I doubt the author expects to sell 1000 or 10000 copies. There are definitely people out there that will be excited to buy this product and likely get their moneys worth out of it. But it will be a select few.

If it is found to be subpar (which I would find shocking based on the strong reviews by respected posters at the beginning of this thread) then 2+2 will eventually reach that conclusion. That is really what 2+2 does best.

Anyways, the arguments about mass appeal and mass sales really don't hold any water for me. They are not even really relevant and probably a big thread dis-rail.

Regards,
zero
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:31 PM   #33
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

I have nothing to add to that. I think the whole post is dead on and acts as a solid summation of post #26.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:44 PM   #34
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

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Originally Posted by zerosum79 View Post
long solid poast
I couldn't agree more with this. If someone told me that they were starting the game, or needed to brush up on the fundamentals, or wanted to ingest some poker theory, there is no way I would recommend this material.

I like SFH specifically because it takes a unique approach - I'm of the opinion that e-books on general poker theory have greatly diminished value simply because it's highly unlikely that most players and coaches can reproduce and exceed the quality of printed texts such as Professional No Limit Hold'em and Small Stakes No Limit Hold'em.

Those books are great for getting you started, but if you want to excel you have two choices: Learn the advanced stuff yourself, or be taught by someone who is very focused on your niche, and for learning how to overpower opponents at NL200 and below through superior thought process, SFH is excellent.

I doubt it would sell well as a mass market paperback, and in fact, I'd be almost embarrassed if it did, as it's just not going to be that useful for a lot of the poker playing population. But for people looking to master what SFH is teaching, it's invaluable.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:33 AM   #35
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

TannenJ,

I am very impressed with how you have handled all questions ITT, and especially the latest allegations of being overpriced. This obviously isn't the first time Honeybadger has chosen to tell an author their material is overpriced. And obv not the first time he quoted the same MM quotes and regurgitated info, which IMO is not nearly as relevant as he thinks.

To offer a different perspective from a poker player also outside of your target market, I would like to post my thoughts. I"m a US player on Merge (have cashed out 5figs this year btw, lol at not getting money) playing SNGs, and I am very seriously considering purchasing your product. The reviews have been phenomenal. I also know starvingwriter a bit and value his opinion very highly. As a poker player who is always interested in improving my cash game (have studied and played a lot of cash), I think your product is priced very fairly. If it can take a player who is small loser at 100nl and make them a winner like it did for starvingwriter, then it is worth way more than what you are charging imo.

If I was playing 25nl I would still very seriously consider buying it in hopes that in the long run it would get me to 200nl+ quicker. I don't need the book to pay for itself the first week or month, but if it helps me become a better player and beat the next level, it will pay for itself sooner than later and eventually be a blinding value. It appears as if that your product is capable of that and much of the material in your samples has proven that you teach players how to think through situations, which is very exciting to me.

When purchasing poker materials, I dont want the basic 30 dollar 2+2 book. I am beyond that level and thus understand that with a deeper theoretical basis for the material I will be purchasing, will come a steeper price tag.

Your stuff is not over priced. Its just not priced for guys in the micros and certainly not guys who aren't willing to deposit on poker sites. It appears everyone who has purchased your product has been more than happy with it at the price they got it.

I think it is really unfair you have to deal with someone telling your product is overpriced because the price doesn't work for them, and especially unfair you have to be told the guys who did purchase your product are suckers. Thus I wanted to drop in and offer an opinion from another outsider that likely is a bit more in line with most serious poker players.

I wont be purchasing SFH this week and likely not this month as I do not have time to put into studying a game that isnt my main game at the moment. But when I do have that time in the near future it will definitely be spent with SFH.

I am looking forward to it.

GL with your endeavor.
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:20 AM   #36
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Hey,

Very nice of you to post that. Much appreciated. Gonna shoot you a PM in a minute.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:42 PM   #37
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
Originally Posted by tannenj View Post
Honey Badger,

-As starvingwriter points out, what you've posted about Easy Game is unanalogous at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. BW is selling the third volume of EG for $60 because 1. it's a modified version of a publication that was released almost three years ago and 2. it's been pirated significantly (BW has posted this on 2+2). EG's lower price isn't representative of a fundamental change in the market, as you're suggesting. It's a result of factors of which you're either unaware or have made a deliberate choice to ignore.
I am not going to derail the discussion into an investment discussion. You made the point about poker information being unique, thus worthy the premium pricing. I just wanted to make the point in an area I have had more success then 90% of poker players posting on 2+2, investing, why your statement about poker being unique is just not correct.

I am not trying to troll your thread, but as a regular on this board that would be pretty confident in saying I have read more poker books than most people on 2+2. (I read a lot on a ton of topics) and pricing is something that should be discussed and defended.

Every author coming on this board with there overpriced offering wants to focus on just how darn good the material is, and not defend pricing. I disagree. If we were talking about $39 to $49 I would agree. But $500 bucks?


This reminds me of the get rich real estate packages you see on late night tv right before real estate collapsed. You offering is really late to the party compared to many of the other past offerings no-one even bothers to post about anymore. AEJones ridicules priced memoir comes to mind.

Easy Game is another prefect example. If this book was so good why would the price keep declining? The author has admitted the games have changed and he added material in later editions. This strongly refutes what you posted above. The material if really great should stand the test of time. Every one of the investment books I alluded in my past post none are under 10 years old. All are still worth way more then the list price, decades in some cases, after being published. So are you saying your book is a steal at $500 today but will be worth only $60 two years from now?

The bottom line is we have author's trying to cash in on presenting something cutting edge, that will help the purchaser crush the games they want to play. I have read a few of the offerings, Bobbo Fitos the first notable. Sadly the material was not cutting edge by the time it was published, and what games is he crushing today? Bobbo Fitos stuff was not bad or flawed, but there were close substitutes not far behind that in many cases were better than his overpriced offering. Including his own 3 part DVD series which you can buy for around $60 (it's been out for years) which has most of the good stuff from his e-book.

Another repost but it's a gem:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
I believe in the free market. If what you say is true, then these ebook sellers will put us out of business, perhaps even quickly, and then you will be rid of us.

On the other hand, these very expensive ebooks remind me of the very expensive blackjack systems that were being sold in the late 1970s. By the early 1980s, the better of these systems were incorporated into books that usually sold for about $10.00 to $12.00.

As for our books not being worthwhile anymore, if that's the case, I don't take it as an insult. Our work was part of the process, and probably the major contributor to the process, of revolutionizing how poker/gambling is approached by most of the top players today. (And assuming that you are in this group, that would most likely include you.) So if you have a problem with this, don't blame me.

By the way, and this is for everyone else, part of the reason I'm responding to this post is that I have been reading and hearing comments like this for well over twenty years. I have no objection to them since it's my experience that almost all of those people who have made these kind of attacks are now broke and gone.

And finally, I don't object to people producing ebooks and trying to sell them for what appear to be insanely high prices. (But self-promotion is against our forum rules and will not be allowed.) It's my opinion that people should be free to do what they want. When I first came along and self-published back in 1987, many people told me that there would be no chance for success for the statistical based approach I was using, and that my company would never be able to get the type of distribution we would need to have any chance of success. But since that time, Two Plus Two has sold approximately 2 million books and paid out approximately $25 million in royalties. Not bad considering we sold a total of 984 books during our first year of business. So if we see this ebook business model working, we will definitely take a serious look at it ourselves.

MM

Last edited by Honey Badger; 04-10-2012 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:07 PM   #38
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

For a dedicated student of this game, the question one should ask is "would this be worth my time?" rather than "is it priced right?".
All too often i see comments about "it's only $20, you will make that back in no time". Well my main concern is not those $20 but rather the time investment i have to make and the potential harm flawed advice could do unless i can spot them via logic.
If you simply can't afford the product it's probably not aimed towards you.

tannenj,
I'm impressed with how you're handling yourself in this thread. Unfortunately(?) for you this book is coming in the wake of several questionable coaches/authors being put on the spot. I guess it's to be expected you will receive some of the backlash even if it's uncalled for.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:33 PM   #39
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

HB,

Alright. I get the point. You continue to repeat the same few things in slightly different language. I know I posted that I was finished with this discussion -- and I considered PMing the content below to you -- but I'm going to write one final public response containing the last bit of pricing rationale that comes to mind for me so as to be certain that potential customers will have the ability to understand my pricing thought process completely if they so desire. This is officially the final pricing-related post I'll make to you in this thread. If you insist on continuing this discussion, please PM me ... seriously.

Quote:
If we were talking about $39 to $49 I would agree. But $500 bucks?
You're showing your ignorance about my offering. It's baffling to me that you're willing to engage in this discussion without having any understanding whatsoever of what I'm selling.

You obviously haven't read the product ad, yet you have the gall to repeatedly post that the product is overpriced. If you'd read the ad, you'd know that everyone who buys the $500 package also gets a half hour of coaching. My coaching rate is $105/hour. That's not a rate I came up with, it's a rate that's been set by the coaching market. I began coaching at $60/month in September. I was getting more students than my schedule allowed me to handle, so after a few weeks, I raised my rate to $80/hour. In mid-January, I again began getting too much business and raised my rate to $105/hour. You'd never pay $105/hour for poker coaching, but my students see very good value at that rate. If you don't believe me, check the reviews in my coaching thread.

The half hour of coaching available to each customer who buys the $500 package of SFH is a $52.50 value. Thus, by suggesting that I sell the $500 package for $39, you're suggesting that I give people the written material for -$13.50 (in other words, you seem to think that I should pay people $13.50 to take the material on which I -- someone whose historical earn rate at cash game NLHE is ~$140/hour -- spent hundreds of hours writing. By suggesting that I sell the $500 package for $49, you're suggesting that I give people the written material for -$3.50.

Do you see the absurdness of your suggestion? My suspicion is that you don't care; "[you] just [post] what [you] want" ():


Here's some more rationale for you. I charge $315/written 45-minute video analysis. My customers don't like these written analyses, they love them (again, check my reviews). Each of these written analyses clocks in at 10,000-15,000 words.

The written material in SFH is ~70,000 words and its quality is significantly stronger (that's not because I don't do my best on each personal video analysis [I do, obviously], it's because I spend 6-7 hours on each personal video analysis and poured hundreds of hours into writing SFH). Each personal video analysis covers 45 minutes of student video, costs $315, and includes neither my strategy articles ($75) nor a half hour of my coaching ($52.50). SFH covers 180+ minutes of student video, is significantly more thorough/polished, and includes my strategy articles and a half hour of my coaching. $500 (the price of the full SFH package) - $127.50 (the price of my strategy articles plus a half hour of my coaching) = $372.50. $372.50 is an ~18% increase in price from $315 and gets the customer ~450% more content.

Quote:
I am not trying to troll your thread
I don't think you necessarily have bad intentions, but my opinion is that you're inadvertently trolling the thread. What you don't seem to understand is that even if my product was a ****ty deal, it would be none of your business. The price of SFH is my business and that of the individuals who might buy it. Beyond the fact that anyone can post in this thread and therefore guys like you are allowed to influence the direction of its discussion, I couldn't care less what you think of my pricing. If you want the thing at $500, great. If you wouldn't touch it even at $200 or something, great. Don't buy it. Period.

Would you walk into a Ferrari showroom and tell the other customers there that the cars' price should be ~$25,000 instead of ~$250,000 in the presence of the dealer? You might, but I'd say that would be obnoxious. You're free to post whatever you'd like wherever you'd like, obviously, but as I said, this will be the last public response you'll get from me, as I'd like to preserve the chance that this thread will discuss the content of my work rather than trite issues like pricing and marketing.

Quote:
Every author coming on this board with there overpriced offering wants to focus on just how darn good the material is, and not defend pricing.
I've provided you with a relatively huge amount of pricing logic. I spent over an hour of my time composing post #26. You straight ignored 99% of that post and then rephrased the same things you'd posted earlier. You're in no position to reasonably question my pricing, especially in light of the facts that 1. you have the gall to engage in this discussion without having the courtesy to read my product ad and 2. you wouldn't think of buying what I'm selling even if it was going for 20% of the price.

Quote:
This reminds me of the get rich real estate packages you see on late night tv right before real estate collapsed.
Yeah, except this isn't a "get rich package" and isn't marketed that way. Again, you might have the ability to discuss the issue more intelligently if you'd read my product ad. At the very beginning of it, I write,

Quote:
Originally Posted by me
I'm not going to ... attempt to convince you that I have a "system" that'll turn you into the next Phil Ivey ... This stuff is difficult. There are no shortcuts to a strong hourly earn rate.
It's interesting that SFH reminds you of a "get rich real estate package." I don't think there are many "get rich package(s)" that state outright at the beginning of their ads that "this stuff is difficult" and "there are no shortcuts." Forget reason and fairness, though, you're "a regular on this board that would be pretty confident in saying [he's] read more poker books than most people on 2+2!"

Quote:
Easy Game is another prefect example. If this book was so good why would the price keep declining?
I've answered this question -- you've even quoted my answer (!) -- and you've chosen to ignore it. Why? Honey Badger don't care.

The answer is piracy. People aren't going to pay $500+ for brand new content when they can hop on the Internet and download the old version for free. That's why 1. BW is selling EG for $60 and 2. I take the issue of piracy seriously and password-lock every product I sell (again, see my product ad for more info. ... FWIW, this isn't automated; it takes me time to password-lock every product individually).

Quote:
The bottom line is we have author's trying to cash in on presenting something cutting edge, that will help the purchaser crush the games they want to play. I have read a few of the offerings, Bobbo Fitos the first notable. Sadly the material was not cutting edge by the time it was published...
Who should decide whether the material in SFH is "cutting edge?" You -- a SnG player who will never get his hands on it -- or the individuals who read it?

I'm not looking to be secretive about the extent to which the material is "cutting edge." The opposite is the case, actually. I'd love nothing more than to see dozens of thorough/honest reviews in this thread because I believe that will be great for my sales. That's why I'm selling a handful of discounted review copies and have sent out a handful of free review copies to individuals I believe are trustworthy and on whom I believe I can rely to provide unbiased writeups.

kingofcool,

Thank you. I understand that. War Fedor.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:02 AM   #40
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
Originally Posted by tannenj View Post

Here's some more rationale for you. I charge $315/written 45-minute video analysis. My customers don't like these written analyses, they love them (again, check my reviews). Each of these written analyses clocks in at 10,000-15,000 words.
Also fwiw: I haven't recieved a personal 45 minute video analysis, but if SFH didn't exist (but I somehow knew the written analysis had the same quality of analysis as SFH) I would definitely consider it a worthwhile buy even at $315.

The analysis presented in SFH is less useful only in that it isn't personalized (45 minutes of analysis on my sweat has more value than analysis of someone else's, after all).

I would say those analyses are the lion's share of value in SFH. The strategy articles are sound but nothing that's going to make you flip your **** if you're experienced with NLHE math and theory, the half hour of coaching is certainly worth the money but coaching is coaching and there are plenty of options out there (I would say tannenj is a quality choice for a coach, but he's certainly not the only one), but the written analyses were the part that made me go, "Hmmm, this is really useful and I'm not sure I can get this anywhere else."

Assuming I finish the material in SFH (there's a ton of it, and a lot of it has merited rereading) and I find myself in need of more coaching, I will probably opt for the $315 written analysis. That's more than I've ever paid for a single poker related item except for SFH, but I'm confident it's worth a buy, provided of course that it's the same level of quality as what I've seen from Jon already.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:17 AM   #41
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Couple of things....

First of all I am impressed with your responses. I don't 100% agree with everything in the above post, but I don't want to post about that at this point, because it takes away the sincere compliment I am offering.

You need to be careful with this board. I would never go into the coaching board and "badger" coaches about there hourly. Coaching is a different animal and a way different product then a book offering.

Digging deeper, I understand how the package works now. That said, this board usually discusses a book and maybe a video or two that is offered; like zero's publication which you have commented on. I know you are cross posting from the coaches forum, but without you taking the time to hammer this home to me, I think there would have been many that would misunderstood exactly what you were offering as well. Everyone is not going to read everything in detail before forming an opinion on you or the product. This board is for book discussion. Video discussion usually is put in the training site thread in the 'Coaches Advice" discussion board, and you know where coaching discussion occurs. Your offering is different then the usual e-book discussed here.

Your promotional video is entertaining. Without being really researching about what is involved, and trust me not everyone is going to read everything in detail about the product, it looks for $75 bucks you get 10 articles. Ok if they are good no problem. $300 will get you the "mini-product" consisting of the 10 strategy articles and 50 pages of your written analysis on a 90-minute student video. Pricey but not lol absurd.

I missed the part about 30 minutes of Skype discussion with you about any of the scenarios that come up in the videos, any of the content in the strategy articles, politics or MMA, or any combination of the aforementioned subjects. Going back, I do see it now.

The HUD setup is video is interesting as well.

Interesting offering, and you have done a very solid job of defending your pricing.

I am not sure I am ready to issue the: "you would be a fool to not grab this package", but if the product is as good as the job you have done defending it, for the first time in one of these threads I might actually declare one of these products worthwhile.

I would suggest you offer a full hour of coaching. What I could fire at you in a half hour would hardly scratch the surface. And your right, I wouldn't be paying $105 for additional coaching after shipping you $500 for the book unless I was completely blown away.

One small bit of advice. Careful about making assumptions about the level of player you are dealing with. Yes, I currently am playing 50 cent sng's on merge with money I won in freeroll's. That's because I don't think it is wise to deposit on Merge right now.

I have played little online cash but you know nothing about my live cash results. I am at a point in life that I don't need to define myself by pretending I am some "high stakes poker baller". Nor would I want to be. I out earn 90% of poker players in my day job and that includes all the top pro's, giving me time to play online sng's at my desk and post on 2+2 and a whole lot more.

I am well past the point of needing to have 16 tables flashing away for hours at a time to earn a living. I play for fun and have no desire to be a professional poker player. That dose not mean I don't take improving seriously. I have had one down year playing live poker in a timespan longer than many posters on 2+2 been alive. So no, I am not 22, but I am smart enough to be hanging out with poker players that are.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:10 PM   #42
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

^ what a dbag
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:49 PM   #43
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Hey Oldschool interesting handle, I watched that entertaining intro video on your website and it told me everything i need to know about you. Love the suit.

There is an "oldschool" saying in poker, "a game with a tie in it is a good one". Keep up the good work.

To your credit your not offering a several hundred dollar e-book, but your previous post in this thread thinking that your book is even in the zip code of this package, is to use a new school expression. LOL
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Old 04-12-2012, 03:56 AM   #44
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
Originally Posted by starvingwriter82
I haven't recieved a personal 45 minute video analysis, but if SFH didn't exist (but I somehow knew the written analysis had the same quality of analysis as SFH) I would definitely consider it a worthwhile buy even at $315.
FWIW, the quality of the writing in my personal video analyses isn't as strong as that of the writing in SFH. As I explained in post #39, that would be impossible. SFH contains three student video analyses. I wrote these for the individuals who bought them in late 2011 prior to coming up with the idea to create SFH. I began organizing SFH's components in mid-December. From that point through the beginning of March, I spent 5-10 hours per day adding to and polishing the content I'd already written (I didn't tend to SFH daily, but it was a massive project and I took relatively few days off).

It doesn't surprise me that my readers are telling me that SFH is demanding to get through. One of them was nice enough to let me know that he began reading it the other day and immediately got a headache. It's tough to read because it was designed to be tough to read. It was very tough to write.

I'd liken it to lifting heavy weights in the gym. Curling five-pound dumbells is a hell of a lot more pleasant (and a hell of a lot less likely to cause subsequent soreness) than squatting a 250-pound barbell, but the former is going to waste your time and the latter is going to build muscle. SFH is the latter, obviously. And just like it would be a significant mistake to transition abruptly from lifting weights casually to squatting 250 pounds, it would be a significant mistake to transition abruptly from playing and reading about poker casually to reading SFH.

Pinpointing the extent to which the quality of writing in SFH outshines that of my personal video analyses is a difficult task. One piece of information that I'll provide that might be helpful is that the first student video analysis in the package (my analysis of the ~90-minute student video) was ~30 pages when I first emailed it to the creator. I figured I'd never look at it again after that, but ~two months later, I began revising and adding to it, and it was ~50 pages by the time I was satisfied.

I could request that one of the three video creators provide me with a brief written comparison of the original PDF and the new, "SFH-ized" PDF so that I could post it here (I'd never request that he post here himself, as that would "out" him, which would be very unfair) if people are interested. I could also request that someone who's purchased both a personal video analysis and SFH do his best to compare them here.

Quote:
The analysis presented in SFH is less useful only in that it isn't personalized (45 minutes of analysis on my sweat has more value than analysis of someone else's, after all).
Absolutely; that's the advantage of the personal video analysis and is part of the reason its price tag is comparable to SFH's despite the fact that it lags significantly in terms of raw word count. However, with that being said, I slightly regret describing SFH as a written leak finder. It addresses and does its best at patching the video creators' leaks, but I like to think it does much more than that. I like to think of the student videos as a mechanism that allows me to discuss a variety of NLHE situations in a free-flowing format.

HB,

I appreciate that post, thanks. And lol at your use of the words "badger" and "digging." Not that I think it's necessary for me to point this out, but clearly none of this is personal. It's very obvious to me that you're a guy who enjoys discussing written poker material, and I think that's awesome. This is certainly the best place to do engage in that sort of discussion.

2+2 clearly has a witch hunt mentality at times, as zerosum alluded to in post #32. The extent to which this is evolutionary (as opposed to the natural behavior of 2+2ers) is debatable and would probably make for an interesting discussion, but it's clear to me that it's at least partially a result of the fact that it turns out the poker community is rife with scumbags ( -- who could've known?!). On some level, this community -- the biggest and smartest of its kind by far -- has been forced to adapt to that so as to make it more difficult for liars, scammers, and manipulators to screw people over.

This is all well and good, but it's my opinion that it often gets taken too far. A sharp eye is undoubtedly a crucial asset, but I believe "innocent until proven guilty" almost always makes a hell of a lot more sense than "guilty until proven innocent." I certainly don't mean to imply that products like mine shouldn't be carefully publicly scrutinized -- not at all. I do think lumping every author of X in with the authors of A, B, and C because X, A, B, and C all fall under the umbrella of Y is unfair, though. Everyone deserves a chance.

Quote:
The HUD setup is video is interesting as well.
Just a quick bit of clarification so that I'll be sure that neither you nor anyone else who reads this thread will be confused. There's no video that covers my HUD setup or HUD setups in general. The full package contains a file that allows its owners to import my PokerTracker 3 setup, which will modify both one's HUD and the browsable items within the program. I'm an obsessive person and have spent hours playing around with PT3 to the point that it works exactly the way I want it to. My setup is a minor throwin and little more than a gesture; insofar as the owners of SFH 1. use PT3 and 2. want their copies of PT3 to work exactly the way mine does (in my opinion, my copy of PT3 is the perfect companion for those who play the style of NLHE discussed in SFH), my setup will be a welcome addition. It's a shame that I don't use Hold'em Manager, of course, since I know that's the software of choice among 2+2ers and means it's likely that most of the individuals who buy the full package won't get any use out of this inclusion.

Quote:
I am not sure I am ready to issue the: "you would be a fool to not grab this package", but if the product is as good as the job you have done defending it, for the first time in one of these threads I might actually declare one of these products worthwhile.
I feel compelled to point out that I find your apparent need to take a strong stance on the package curious. A few days ago, you knew little about the package and seemed convinced that it was overpriced. Now that you know a bit more about it, you're suggesting that there's a chance that you might declare it worthwhile ... but you haven't read it, lol. To me, it makes more sense to be neutral. Given that you haven't bought it, I find your eagerness to go one way or the other confusing.

As far as the quality of the writing/rationale in the product vs. that of my posts in this thread ... I've spent a few hours writing the posts in this thread; I spent hundreds refining material I'd already written to create SFH (see: the beginning of this post). As I've told a few people recently, I had powerful incentives to inject as much quality into SFH as I could (aside from that, I'm prideful in general, especially when it comes to several things, one of which is writing). I'll not bore people with the details of my personal life here, but please rest assured that it's my best work and something that I'm quite proud to be able to say I've created. That comes off as sales-y to me ... as I pointed out in post #13, I'm not certain what's allowed here and what isn't. If a mod sees this and finds my tone to be that of a self-promoter, it would be great if he could warn me so that I'd have a chance to modify my approach as necessary. It's my understanding that threads have been outright deleted in this forum in the past.

Quote:
I would suggest you offer a full hour of coaching.
How about I continue to offer a half hour but throw in an additional hour of coaching from you?

In all seriousness, I can see how a half hour could end up being a bit slim. FWIW, none of the guys who have bought the full package has used his half hour of Skype discussion yet, so I don't yet know how sufficient it will turn out to be. I will point out that I'm not known for being nitty about time (the opposite is the case; you'll see this if you read my coaching thread). I'm not the kind of person who will insist on wrapping up a conversation that's flowing comfortably on the back of a relative technicality. I understand that $500 is a fat chunk of money and have no plans to shortchange my customers. With that being said, I don't have unlimited time, obviously.

Quote:
One small bit of advice. Careful about making assumptions about the level of player you are dealing with.
I suppose you're giving me this advice because I referred to you as "a SnG player who will never get his hands on [SFH]." I certainly didn't mean to imply that you're not a good player or to insult you. If you found this insulting, I apologize. I know nothing about your game and very little about you. Your poker results are none of my business and -- assuming you won't be writing a poker book or talking poker with me -- I couldn't care less about them. I simply meant to slam home the point that you're not in SFH's target market (relatively experienced Internet cash game players) and that it caters to its audience in an unapologetic fashion; nothing beyond that.

I do happen to think your approach to Merge/playing online poker from the USA is overly risk-averse, but again, that's your business and you should obviously do what makes you comfortable.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:08 AM   #45
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
It doesn't surprise me that my readers are telling me that SFH is demanding to get through. One of them was nice enough to let me know that he began reading it the other day and immediately got a headache. It's tough to read because it was designed to be tough to read. It was very tough to write.
I'm probably the one you are referring to - you forgot to add that I said that I consider it to be a good thing, because it means that the material is deep enough to require full attention and dedication.

As a reader that bought the full package, I feel that the depth of its content is comparable to the depth that one might find in an advanced calculus book, such as this one. I feel the same way about the focus required to study the material absorbing it fully.

Before getting SFH I did get a video analysis done by Jon, that I commented on in his coaching thread. In my opinion comparing the quality of a personalized video analysis and SFH is a little like comparing the experiences of swimming in a pool and in the ocean: it's still swimming, only the depth is vastly different.

In his video reviews, Jon focuses on the individual player's thought process and he explains what the player ought to focus on and think about; in SFH, Jon focuses more on what HE would focus on and think about, as if he were playing the various sessions himself. We get a faithful snapshot of HIS thought process in a wide variety of different real game (and metagame) situations.

This is the best I can do to compare SFH and Jon's individual analysis. I tried to stay as objective as I could, however I will add that I am absolutely enthusiastic and satisfied about the value that I got from SFH (and from the personalized analysis of course, but my feedback on that is in Jon's coaching thread).
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:12 AM   #46
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

I wouldn't compare SFH to an advanced calculus book, but coming from you, that's very flattering. I'm very appreciative.

I think your take on my personal video analyses vs. SFH is dead on.

Quote:
in SFH, Jon focuses more on what HE would focus on and think about, as if he were playing the various sessions himself. We get a faithful snapshot of HIS thought process in a wide variety of different real game (and metagame) situations.
This is a clearer way of describing what I touched on in post #44 ("I like to think of the student videos as a mechanism that allows me to discuss a variety of NLHE situations in a free-flowing format.").

Thanks again. Gonna email you in a minute.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:54 PM   #47
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Product Review; Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

The Knowledge Fallout

In the aftermath of the explosion in poker education, it is difficult for one to predetermine the least inefficient route to becoming a better player. Not only has a desolation been overrun by a cavalcade, but everyone in the procession trumpets their particular offering’s superlatives. No organizing, much less reputable, clerk is to be found. Former CardRunners instructor Jonathan Tannen is marketing, to my knowledge, something entirely unique. This isn’t something completely different mind you, in the tradition of Python (though you wouldn’t know it from its title), but rather a collection of materials bundled into a tidily cross-referenced package.

The wordy Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker retails at 500USD and combines aspects of personal coaching sessions with hardcopy materials one would expect from a book. Smashing contains three student-narrated videos of play at 50nl, 100nl, and 200nl, all six-max. These are accompanied by three PDFs with Tannen’s detailed, time-stamped analysis of the footage. The intensely scrutinized leak-finders constitute the bulk of the package’s value, but are reinforced by ten stand-alone articles, whose topics range from playing exploitable versus game theory optimal poker, to conditions conducive to triple barreling.

While there are only two folders to download with material organized into subfolders, the nature of the medium means this is no book to be read front to back. Hence some degree of organization is left to the buyer, though the author has gone to lengths to make it accessible, including step by step instructions on the best way to proceed. Overall the material, thankfully, is not quite as unwieldy as its title. Tannen recommends printing out materials (or having them on a second monitor) while watching the video footage. Often the notes reference the strategy articles or previous spots. Our humble reviewer, lacking an accessible printer, first chose the alt-tab route. I can therefore by way of comparison conclude that, yes, printing out the articles and following the author’s instructions will serve one well.

Tannen does scatter some attempts at humour through the materials. I was slightly worried all would be lost on me – but there is an uncannily redemptive quality to a Curb Your Enthusiasm reference.

Agglomerating Ideas

For the level of player Smashing is marketed towards, the great theoretical revelations are by and large past. It strikes me that leak-finding material does not have revolutionary aspirations, but is meant, by presenting the vicissitudes of real play, to spark inspiration in the student’s game which might otherwise had been difficult for either the student or the teacher to locate. I would not abnegate this strength of the leak-finding format because it wasn’t me playing -- the players in question got into instructive spots I would not have.

One pertinent example occurred when one hero did not three-bet pocket nines in blind versus blind where I would have comfortably three-bet in order to five-bet all-in on one hundred big blind stacks. As it happens I am acquainted with the small blind initial raiser from the CardRunners forums and having worked with him a little over Skype. The hero – with none of that shared history – decided to simply flat call. What resulted was a single raised pot I would have never found myself in.

I can tell you I spent over two hours analyzing this hand through a synthetic method I used for the entirety of the footage. I first watched the tape while listening to the hero’s reasoning, then I typed up what I thought were the best decisions to make, after which I read Tannen’s analysis, which led to me combining his thoughts with mine wherever they were not superseded entirely. In the case of the pocket nines hand, I talked out a couple points with a friend and further reflected on it during a train ride. Smashing provoked real contemplation.

No Pot Left Behind

The footage contains many forgotten pots that the author refreshingly gives full treatment. I imagine I am not unique among players in having a propensity to examine the big pots, or the spots that could lead to big pots. This is surely a disservice to the small pots who, with their wider and more variable ranges, are worthy of dissection by virtue of their accumulation. Multi-way pots, limped pots, small blind completions, and leading all received cogent analysis that was eye opening at times.

On the spectrum of defending three-bets out of position on 100bb stacks the author leans towards four-betting out of position as opposed to having a calling range (sizing dependent). On the question of three-bet/folding for value Tannen leans towards the opinion that very specific circumstances are needed to obtain for this play to be optimal. In a similar vein Tannen advocates four-bet/calling with AQ/AK over calling a three-bet in position, the overwhelming amount of the time. None of these are contrary to the current state of poker theory and knowledge regarding playing the button and the cut-off in 100bb six-max cash. But they are of a certain view in what is a running conversation. I think it is inevitable that one finds reason to disagree with some of the analyses made. What’s important is that Tannen avoids common pitfalls, whether it be resting an argument on laurels, or presenting potentially specious reasoning in an obfuscating manner. Things are well reasoned. The reasons are provided in point or at great length in a referenced source.

The Full Package

Part and parcel are the ten articles Tannen has included in the package. One can purchase these articles as stand-alone products from his website for $75, but as mentioned, they reinforce the leak-finders by way of embedded reference. Articles perhaps isn’t the best word to describe all ten, documents would often be superior. I am referring to the PDF on suggested HUD layout, for example, which is nothing more than a litany of stats. That is not to say these things aren’t valuable. Surely players struggle with constructing their personal HUDs. Worth mentioning are the 2p2 posts to which Tannen hyperlinks in the PDFs, some of which are article-worthy themselves and formatted more or less as such. These are of course free resources available to anyone, but rooting around for first-rate 2p2 posts, suffice to say, can be a needle in a haystack affair.

A further inclusion in the package is a 30 minute Skype session with the author, whose subject matter is left entirely to the purchaser. I chose to spend this time picking Jon’s brain on specific pre-flop and post-flop concepts. I had issue with his treatment of three-bet folding for value as well as four-bet calling a hand such as AQ. Jon acquitted himself quite well in the discussion and gave me good reason to believe I had been formulating the issues imprecisely.

As mentioned Tannen has included various humourous tidbits, easter eggs as it were, that provide a touch of personality to a collection of otherwise dry, sturdy documents. These may not add value for everyone, but probably don’t detract value for anyone. During the weeks I have been working with Smashing, the author was available through email for the one point of technological assistance I had needed, a point that was resolved quickly and easily.

What’s in a price?

At the least, more than a name, since the former can render the fragrant noxious quite proportionally. And certainly no one will mistake a 500USD price tag for olfactory ecstasy. I think it is reasonably unclear whether Smashing is well priced. One reason for this is that the market for this exact style of product did not formerly exist.

An argument has been loosely forwarded that, if independent, ebook type materials were of such value at the high prices they are offered then 2p2 publishing would lose substantial business. This is quite far from persuasive; the material 2p2 puts out is catered to an incomparably wider audience than Smashing. Moreover, it is not even a comparable product. Both running shoes and barbells improve your fitness when mixed with a little sweat, but no consumer buys one as opposed to the other. If the 2p2 books are walking tours, Smashing is a callisthenic routine. Purchasing a 2p2 title over Smashing is unlikely, despite a twenty fold reduction in price, by virtue of the fact that anyone buying a 2p2 no limit title is likely unsuited for Smashing and would presumably be dissuaded, if from no one but the author himself.

Whether the price is optimized for author revenue is unclear. But for the player looking to improve, the calculation is simply whether one’s monetary and temporal investment in the materials is profitable when compared to other potential avenues of study. Your reviewer thought as much.

Dost thou attend me?

Who is Smashing designed for? In a conversation with Tannen he agreed that few, if any 10nl or 25nl players are likely at a level where they would be able to enjoy benefits from it. It is indeed made for a “niche market” of players eyeing success at the 200nl and 400nl levels.

The fact is that these materials are targeted towards players winning, or close to winning, at their current six-max stake, whether that stake is 50nl, 100nl, or 200nl, and who want to get incrementally better every day. That already excludes the vast majority of players. Tannen is offering a commodity that is scarce; highly detailed analysis from a winning player who has taken the time to make his thoughts accessible and lucid. With the pace of hold’em innovation the half-life of the product is anyone’s guess. I am inclined to believe it will be relatively long, since Tannen’s foundation is mathematical. Break even fold rates aren’t going to vacillate over time.

Having purchased considerable personal coaching (think low four figures), watched hundreds of training videos, and read perhaps a dozen books, not to mention having consumed all the forum posts, articles, podcasts, and other free materials available on the web that I have, it seems to me that I am qualified to, at the least, not pass over the matter of the price in silence. It seems to me that is the responsibility of the customer to ensure that he or she gets sufficient value out of the package. It may very well be the case that someone purchases Smashing for $500 and receives $100 of value from it.

The good news is that one can, through diligence, make this an investment worth more than the retail price. That’s the best type of poker material with which to expand one’s game, the kind with value as a function of the labour one invests in absorbing it. As I stated I have spent two hours reviewing one hand played in the footage and I have come away with that analysis feeling much clearer on certain points with regards to no limit play. I think that in the hands of a motivated player, Smashing can pay for itself, but only given substantial personal investment.

Parting Thoughts

In a previous review, I may have been a bit harsh in my characterization of the author's writing as rough. Indeed it strikes me that writing well might be the last skill one should expect a poker player to naturally possess. So in that way Tannen should also receive praise, for his gravitation towards clear and organized prose. Holding a reader’s attention is hard enough. Imparting new concepts is difficult. The points themselves are concise, but there are often a half dozen of them. And in the course of a few hours of footage, as is to be expected, numerous situations present themselves, making for lengthy analysis. Thus Tannen achieves concision without brevity. How enviable!

Though the mechanism of studying the materials is cumbersome at times, this is only by nature of working with assorted documents, not for a lack of organization by the author. While I cannot recommend the package to those with limited study time, whether due to a lack of commitment, or because of other commitments, I can recommend it to those who are looking to invest hours off the table to improve their game. What you’ll find is lengthy concision, provoking points, new ideas, and clarifying arithmetic.

Whether this style of product catches on is fairly unclear, it gives up something to a book’s linearity and something to a live coaching session’s intimacy. I can see the less zealous buying it and letting it sit on their desktops unexamined or opening it up a couple times and leaving it unfinished. That’s really the danger in investing in a product like this – it could become that dusty exercise apparatus, levers unpulled. But so is the way of all flesh; toil can reward.

--

This review appeared originally in my CardRunners blog.

Last edited by GarethChantler; 05-15-2012 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:33 AM   #48
starvingwriter82
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Well, I promised myself I would do a follow up, so here goes.

It's a tough follow up to write, because I could tell SFH was working and making me a better player, so I kind of planned to post my old, pre-SFH breakeven graph next to my new, slightly winning post-SFH graph and let the results speak for themselves. That didn't work out, because if I posted the graph, you'd think I was lying.

I spent the first part of April playing NL50 and absorbing everything in SFHiYCD. By the end of April I had made several changes in my game: I branched out among several sites to find the best action, and started playing more shorthanded and heads up poker. I hadn't played short much before, but SFHiYCD gave me a huge confidence boost in thinking through complex situations and varied ranges and spots, so I just went with it.

May was a five figure month for me, the first I've ever had in poker (by a long shot). June is trending in that direction as well. I have gone from barely holding my own at NL50 to being a player regs avoid at NL200 and NL400.

I spoke about this at length with Jon, and we both agreed that it would be silly to claim SFH was the source of all of that epic run. It was kind of a perfect storm of game selection, increased skill (from SFH), run good, and confidence that gave me the biggest month in poker I've ever had.

All that said, I do think SFHiYCD was a crucial part of giving me those wins.

The big thing about poker literature, I think, is that a good poker player is not necessarily a good communicator, so there's always a bit of doubt. I can buy Harrington on Hold'em, but will it really teach me how to play like Dan Harrington? I can buy Play Poker Like the Pros, but is it really going to get me twelve bracelets?

This is where SFHiYCD really shines for me. Jon is a winning player, and after really absorbing all the material, I really feel I have the ability to play like Jon. I almost feel bad for him, as I don't really know where he could go with a follow up title, as I really feel he poured every drop of wisdom and insight he had into this material. SFHiYCD is definitely not some phoned-in title just trying to make a buck.

A few months later, I am also finding SFHiYCD makes for a good re-watch. Even after I know the material, some poker books sit on my shelf and collect dust, but a select few get pulled out again and again whenever I find myself in need of a "refresher course." SFHiYCD is one of the titles that definitely stands out.

The biggest thing I think I got from Jon's work is a genuine feeling of confidence and control. I'm now able to know, even pre-flop, what my plan is going to be on a variety of flops, turns, and rivers. I'm rarely surprised at the tables anymore, and I almost never think, "How the **** did I get here?" (A common problem I had prior to reading.)

I can't say how much Jon's book has made me, directly. I can say with confidence, however, that it has made me well more than its purchase price, and that lets me recommend it wholeheartedly .
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:34 AM   #49
Brother Love
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
Originally Posted by starvingwriter82 View Post
It's a tough follow up to write, because I could tell SFH was working and making me a better player, so I kind of planned to post my old, pre-SFH breakeven graph next to my new, slightly winning post-SFH graph and let the results speak for themselves. That didn't work out, because if I posted the graph, you'd think I was lying.
Well, as they say in BBV: "graphs or it didn't happen"
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:55 PM   #50
starvingwriter82
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Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brother Love View Post
Well, as they say in BBV: "graphs or it didn't happen"


Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Note graph is not 100% accurate as not every site I play on has HHs available, and this is actually a mash-up of about four different sites and three different currencies, and I think HM2 might be a bit generous on some of its currency conversions, but when playing on several sites without HM support and trying to mash them into one graph, this is the best I could come up with.

The graph covers from May 1 to June 14 or so.

According to HM, my AIEV bb/100 for this hand sample is 8.91/100. Yay for playing HU against whales.
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