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Russ Fox

Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

by Russ Fox

The end of one year and the start of a new year is always a time for reflecting back at the year that was and looking forward to the year that begins. Everyone should do this periodically; this is especially true for poker players.

 I did not have a particularly profitable year playing poker. Indeed, adding up my wins and losses from my log, I found I won a grand total of $4. I won’t bore you with the hourly rate; suffice to say, it’s not pretty. So why didn’t I reach my goals (and what I thought I should win)?

 In checking my results across games, I found I won all my money in cash games, and broke exactly dead even in tournaments. I can exclude winning in cash games and losing the profits in tournaments (or vice versa).

 There were a number of outside changes in my life in 2012. I relocated from Orange County, California to Las Vegas. The games in Las Vegas have a far different feel than the games in Los Angeles. Perhaps it took me some time to adjust to the games?

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

An Ode to Fred Karpin

by Russ Fox

I was playing in a $2-$5 blinds, no limit hold’em game at the Aria yesterday. After I folded my junk hand from under-the-gun, the solid recreational player on my left raised to $20. Three players called: a loose recreational player, a solid pro, and the big blind.

 On the flop of J♣ 8♥ 2♣, the big blind checked, the pre-flop raiser made a continuation bet of $35, and was immediately raised to $95 by the loose player. The pro re-raised to $200, the big blind and the pre-flop raiser folded, and the action was back on the loose player. He instantly said, “All-in for $560 more.” He was quickly called by the pro. The board completed with the 6♥ and A♥. The loose player showed 9♦ 3♠; the pro had 10♣ 9♣ to take down the pot.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Shaking the Rust Off

by Russell Fox

 Yesterday, Adam and I decided to play in a no-limit hold’em tournament. Neither of us plays many tournaments, but we wanted to get in some practice before the World Series of Poker.

 The first lesson of tournament poker is that for every player, your most likely result is losing your buyin. I don’t care if you’re the best player in the world, or the worst: Variance is high in tournament poker. Only ten percent of the field gets paid, and most of the money is at the very top of the pay ladder.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Epic Poker: A Tournament Too Far

by Russ Fox

Epic Poker: A Tournament Too Far One of my favorite books is Cornelius Ryan’s A Bridge Too Far. It details the World War II Battle of Arnhem, a failed Allied offensive. With the announcement of Federated Sports + Gaming filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy we have a poker equivalent of Operation Market Garden.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

I Fought the Door and the Door Won

by Russell Fox

 Before tax season hit, I had some fun playing a local casino’s $100 HORSE tournament. HORSE is five limit poker games: hold’em, Omaha/8, razz, 7-card stud, and 7-stud/8. I enjoy playing different forms of poker besides no-limit hold’em, and I especially enjoy stud. It’s a game where you have lots of information, and how you use information helps determine whether or not you become a winning player.

 On the money bubble, I was dealt split kings—one king was buried and the second was my door, or exposed, card—along with a jack. We were fivehanded at the time. The 6c had the bring-in. I completed, by raising to the lower betting limit, and only the 6c called. The door cards that folded were the 6h, Qs, and 8d.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Playing Drunk Can be Hazardous to Your Wealth

by Russ Fox
 Yes, I’m alive. For those wondering why I haven’t penned more articles, I have been busy with a move from Southern California to Las Vegas.
 But in the middle of my move I found some time for watching the Bears lose while playing poker $2-$5 nolimit hold’em. It was a quiet game (sort of like the Bears offense), and I was either up a few dollars or down a few dollars. Then John sat down.
 It was an hour before noon, but John carried two open beers and smelled of alcohol. While at the table, he disposed of five more Coors Lights (my brother, a beer drinker, says that shows bad taste) and a couple of mixed drinks. We also got some poker in.

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The Fox's Den: Another Hand From The Blinds

While in Las Vegas last month, I found some time to play in a pretty good $2-$5 hold’em game at the Venetian. This particular hand was one of the more interesting I played that day.
I was in the small blind with 9s-6c. I mentally prepared to fold; almost all of the hands at this table were raised pre-flop. Calling with 9s-6c for a raise from the small blind is a good way to separate your money from your wallet and that didn’t appeal to me.
However, five of the ten players at the table limped and I decided to toss in the additional $3. This wasn’t a great hand, but it would be easy to get away from if the flop missed me. The big blind checked his option, so seven of us saw the flop.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

The Fox’s Den: Going Broke the Right Way

A few years ago my late friend Ken introduced me to his home game. The monthly game included a no-limit hold’em tournament along with cash games. This past month was my last time in the game (mainly because of the distance from my home).
Four of us were competing for three World Series of Poker seats. They weren’t $10,000 main event seats; rather, we’re low rollers who compete for $1,000 donkament seats. The tournament structure was super-fast. Any time a player was eliminated, or after each orbit the blinds increased. We also started with T5,000 in chips, so the blinds quickly became large.

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The Fox’s Den: Surviving an Audit

Last week a client asked me whether it’s possible to get a refund when you are audited by the Internal Revenue Service. I told him that it can happen: In the twelve years I’ve been practicing, I’ve had three individuals obtain refunds in an audit.


The stated goal of the IRS in an audit is for the taxpayer to be in compliance with the tax laws. When you send a tax return to the IRS, it is accepted at face value. In an audit, you have to prove that the numbers on the return are what they should be.


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The Fox’s Den: Poisoning the Game

I spent an hour commiserating with Aaron. To say he was annoyed would be an understatement; a few of the words he uttered were not expletives.


He was in a $2 - $5 blinds no-limit game, with a $500 maximum buy-in. His stack of $1,500 was typical for the game.


“It was the best game ever,” he began. I was wondering how much money he lost. “There were four drunken maniacs with bottomless wallets. I was up over a thousand. This hand was typical.


Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)


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