The entire concept of a “bull market in stocks” makes little sense. Sound crazy? These days, certainly, because we’re always hearing about a perpetual bull market in stocks. Valuations increasingly disconnected from economic reality, asset bubbles in one class or another, armies of speculators moving like zombie hoards descending on the next fad and blowing it up to infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear-like.Why is the whole concept of a bull market generally, nonsense? Because if the value of everything is going up simultaneously, then nothing is going up. If everyone is a superhero, nobody is. If, in an imaginary economy, absolutely everything costs, say, $5, (labor, land, capital whatever) and then the next day everything costs $10, then what’s changed? The answer is absolutely nothing.The only thing that matters is relative valuations between asset classes. Let’s divide them into three of the most basic ones. Equities (stocks), bonds (debt), and commodities (consumer goods). If all three are going up in tandem, then there is no “bull market” in anything. If commodities are going up faster than stocks and bonds, you have inflation, or even hyperinflation. Ask anyone in Venezuela whether they care that their stock market is doing great, nominally. They don’t. They’re looking for their next glop of gruel or morsel of moldy bread to survive the day.But if stocks and bonds are rising and consumer goods are static to falling, you have a bull market in financial assets. This is where we are now. And boy are we really hard and deep into it now. Below is the ratio of the S&P 500 to the CRB Commodities Index.And I’ve got news for everyone. This bull market in stocks relative to consumer goods in dollar terms is already over. It ended almost a year ago. On April 20, 2020 to be exact. Red circle blowoff top above. That was when oil crashed to negative $35 a barrel and we all lived in an alternative financial freakhouse universe. But I have more news than that. This entire “bull market” in stocks has been one gigantic illusion from the very beginning. Stocks aren’t going up. They haven’t gone up for 21 years. Money is going down. Here is the graph of stocks relative to the prime monetary commodity, gold, over the same timeframe above.We can see here that from 1990 to 2000, we had a real bull market in stocks. Equities rocketed in gold terms and in terms of consumer goods generally. Everyone felt richer. Portfolios up, expenses down. But since that time, money has been dying at an accelerated pace and the standard of living has fallen.The bull market in stocks over the last 21 years has been an illusion, a tiny echo of the bull that ended at the turn of the century. We have spent the last 21 years trying to reinflate it, but gold has exposed the lie. We are now at the point where the illusion is about to collapse completely. In my view, we have only a few months left until it all hits the fan. Until then, the bubbles will keep coming in staccato frenetic fashion, moving from one asset class to another faster and faster, until we all get so dizzy we can’t follow it anymore. Last week I speculated that maybe the next target for the zombie hoard will be in penny gaming stocks. I was close. It’s in Macau stocks. It may already have started two weeks ago. The frenzy has started over news about China opening up again. I mean, just look at this crazy chart of the Macau proxy ETF:That last surge higher is just since February 1. We could be at the beginning of a crazy but brief ride higher in Macau stocks right now. New all time highs again, and Macau isn’t even fully open yet. The latest full month statistics for December show a 78.6% drop in visitors year over year. And yet we’re at new all time highs in these stocks already. It’s just completely crazy. I can understand the Macau opening up again trade, but to argue that this factor is being priced in at these levels, at new all time highs? As if none of this full year shutdown hurt any of the casinos fundamentally at all? That’s just totally bonkers crazy. It’s a reflection of the value of the currency these stocks are priced in, not the stocks themselves.What’s happening is that the zombie hoard of bubble chasers is reading the headlines regarding China starting to open up again, and they’re slamming buy orders and call options like they’ve been doing with tech stocks and Gamestop and BTC and all the other fads. We just got news out of Bloomberg that China’s Imax had a face-ripping rally due to exploding ticket sales. China is, indeed opening up, and the zombie hoard of speculators is now going to spray their money hoses at anything Chinese. Macau might be at the center of it.How high can this Macau bubble go, if that’s what we just saw start two weeks ago? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you get into it, you’ll get hooked and keep levering yourself up, counting your paper gains, unable to separate from them until you get caught in a vortex. At some point, my view this year, it’s all going to come crashing down when all the damage from 2020 is finally revealed all over the world. You can’t paper it over forever. The damage to Macau casinos doesn’t just go away. It festers in the form of more and more debt, and a damaged consumer base that can no longer patronize casinos in the way it once could. Festering wounds need the paper bandage removed and they need to be operated on. That is painful. And it’s coming.When we think of the word “bubble”, what are we really talking about? A bubble is something that looks, from the outside, to be really big and stable. The shape of it, a sphere, is the most stable shape in the universe. It’s why planets, stars, moons, and possibly even the spacetime continuum itself, spontaneously shape themselves into spheres. The force of gravity equalizes at every point on the sphere, forming equilibrium. Nature always seeks equilibrium. And so bubbles take on the illusion of stability, but unlike a real sphere, there’s nothing inside them. When they pop, they are gone almost instantly. This one is about to pop. Macau appears to be the next victim sucked up by the bubble. Macau will survive and rebuild. The question is, in what form? I wouldn’t take a bet the depended on me getting the answer to that question right.
2017 is here! It’s time to reflect on the past year and plan ahead for the future.What a roller coaster year 2016 has been! Ahhhh, the highs and lows of tournament poker life! From winning my first live tourney(no chop), to traveling all over the country to play tournaments, to getting my ass kicked at the World Series of Poker in Vegas, it has been one hell of a ride. I haven’t had any MAJOR scores this year but I would be crazy to be too bummed about it, as I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to play this amazing game for a living. While I’m sure it’s not anything crazy for a lot of pros, I still have to recognize how lucky I truly am, I have been living the dream! I’ve traveled to more places, played in stakes both live in online that I never dreamed I would, I’ve sat at tables with some of my poker heroes and finally played my first World Series of Poker in Vegas. I’ve made my share of mistakes, blunders and missteps, but they have forced me to learn, and to continually better myself as a player. While all were not positive, every experience I’ve gotten this year will last a lifetime! I learned a lot last year, hopefully I can carry those lessons I’ve learned into the next year ahead and make 2017 the best year ever!I was unsure where to go with my plan for the future, but Intertops was supportive of all my ideas, and I think we have come up with a great plan! I could not be blessed with a better situation or working with a better company than Intertops Poker! I could not be more fortunate and grateful for the amazing opportunity they have given me and I plan to make 2017 great with them!I thought about following a few different tours, trying to decide what was the best value and at the same time, more entertainment for our followers. After a lot of back and forth, I decided I will attempt to hit at least one WSOP circuit a month, with it all leading back to what will be my second World Series of Poker in Vegas! Hopefully I’ll be able to play some other tournaments in between including going to Austria again this year with Intertops! I could not of had a better experience last year, going to both Seefeld and Velden, so I can’t wait for round two!! As far as the circuit goes, I’m going to go start off with the Choctaw in Durant, Oklahoma (nice and close to home), then hitting up the West Palm Beach Kennel club stop in Florida. Next, luckily enough for me, the WSOP is having a new stop this year, in Tulsa Oklahoma at the Hard Rock Cafe. It’s still going to require some more planning, being about five hours away, but overall much more practical for driving then some of the other stops. Then, in April, that much anticipated stop in Cherokee North Carolina, which is been the highlight of many of my friends WSOPs, including one who just final tabled the last stop for a huge score! I’ve heard many great things about this stop, so I’m very excited. After that, in May we will be at Harrah’s New Orleans stop which is also within driving distance or a quick flight for me from DFW. I’ve never been to the stop either but between friends that live out that way, and hearing other players talk about the juicy cash games that run there, I’m sure it will be a blast! So considering I’m not made of money and I want to be as smart as possible about bankroll management this year, my plan will be to play the kickout events for all the stops listed. They are $365 buy ins with most of them having very large guaranteed prize pools. I’ll try to get the most bang for my buck, and if I do well, consider playing the Main events the following weekend!So it will be Oklahoma, Florida, Oklahoma again, North Carolina, and then Louisiana before heading back out to the Mecca of Poker that is the WSOP in Vegas. On top of all this, I know I’ll be going to Seefeld Austria for the last week of February which will for sure be another amazing trip! Back to the place that started it all for me with Intertops and life as a full-time professional poker player! Hopefully, there will be other satellite wins again this year through Intertops as well. I’m sure everyone would love going back to one of their many exotic satellite destinations for more incredible experiences, as well as high-stakes poker tourneys! lolIf you want to get in on the fun, Intertops just started running satellites yesterday for as little as two bucks! It leads to a final, $109 buy in satellite tournament on January 22nd for a $4000 package! It’s a winner take all for a trip to Seefeld, Austria to play in this amazing spot with me in a $2200 main event! It also includes a five nights stay in an amazing bed-and-breakfast up the mountains of Austria and $500 in travel expenses! You can follow along with all the action at www.twitch.tv/2fit2fold or my fellow streamer and sponsored players at www.twitch.tv/chrisp200. The streams have been growing steadily and we have quite a few loyal followers so we just started a super fun free roll challenge! It’s Monday through Wednesday at 7:30 pm. You can check out the all the details at www.killedavariance.com.I hope you fall along on my action and shenanigans for the coming months, as Intertops Poker and myself have big things planned for the future! Be sure to stop in to the blog and to twitch to for all of the latest updates and promotions! PS: Read about Tim’s Aruba action or his previous article here!PPS: Want to know more about our current promotions?
สล็อต คาสิโน ออนไลน์
คาสิโน ฟรีเครดิต 2020
เกม คาสิโน ปอยเปต…
I was recently honored to host a live webinar with 13-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth Jr. While Phil is a bit of an enigma in the poker world because no one quite understands how he wins on a consistent basis in high stakes poker tournaments, I knew there were countless skills I could learn from him. When you have the opportunity to discuss poker strategy with one of the most successful poker players in the world, you listen!
Since the webinar, I have implemented numerous concepts we discussed, drastically increasing my profits at the table.
One of the most important concepts he discussed was the idea that if you have played poker for a long time and studied the game diligently, as I have, you should tend to trust your reads. Since our webinar, I have worked hard on my reading abilities and they seem to be paying off.
I recently played in a $13,000 high roller event in Barcelona. There was one player at the table who was obviously splashing around. Everyone was making a point to play pots with him. Even though he was clearly playing junky hands, he always had the nuts when his opponents decided to call his large postflop bets.
Eventually I raised with A-T from middle position, the splashy guy called in the small blind and the Big Blind also called. The flop came 4-4-3. The splashy guy made a bet and I decided to call. The turn was a J. He bet again and I called. The river was an 8 and he bet enough to put me all-in, which was around the size of the pot.
Seeing how he had only shown the nuts when he took overly aggressive lines in the past, this would normally be an easy fold. However, something did not feel right. I can’t quite quantify what it was, but he looked nervous. I thought he would play numerous busted draws in this manner. My main concern was that he could be bluffing with a hand such as 2-2 or A-Q, which would be a disaster for me.
However, I went with my read and called. He showed the 5-2 and I doubled up with my marginal A-high.
While this is certainly an extreme example, if I did not have the amazing learning experience with Phil, I would have folded. Instead, I won $13,000 in equity.
To get instant access to this enlightening learning experience with Phil Hellmuth Jr. where he discusses numerous other strategies he implements to constantly win poker tournaments, check out the webinar here: Learning from Phil Hellmuth Webinar
This is my table from a recent $25,000 buy-in event.
Poker tournaments are interesting, especially compared to cash games, because the skill level of your opponents can vary wildly. While there will be winners and losers in a $1/$2 cash game, most of the players simply do not play too well because if they did, they would be playing for higher stakes. In tournaments, especially in major events where many players satellite in, you could be playing with a total amateur who got lucky to win his seat for a small amount of money or a high stakes professional who travels the world and buys in directly to all of the premier events. In fact, when you are playing the “smaller” main events, such as typical $3,500 WPT or $1,500 WSOP events, those could be considered “small stakes” to some of the pros who play $10,000 buy-in and larger events on a regular basis.
This creates an interesting dynamic because you should employ a drastically different strategy when playing against the total amateur compared to the pro. Since most of what I discuss is based on blatantly exploiting my opponent, I thought it would be helpful to use this blog post to share my thoughts about how to play against someone you cannot blatantly exploit. I do not mean for this blog post to be a comprehensive guide for beating world-class players. I simply want to let you know a few of the adjustments I make while playing against world-class competition that you can quickly and easily integrate into your strategy, allowing you to be competitive.
Where does the profit come from?
I have recently been playing primarily $5,000 and larger buy-in events because I have been making a point to travel to the European Poker Tour stops. It simply does not make sense to spend a bunch of time and money for me to travel to a $3,500 buy-in event in America. Because of this, I have been playing in more high stakes tournaments where very few players satellite in, such as the typical high roller events in the EPTs. This has given me the opportunity to hone my skills against some of the best players in the world when there are not many weak players at the table.
I want to make it perfectly clear that when you are at the table with one or two world-class pros and a bunch of amateurs, you should generally make a point to play very few pots with the pros and lots of pots with the amateurs. You make money in poker by taking advantage of your opponents’ mistakes. If your opponents do not make many mistakes, you will not make much money. Since amateurs make many more mistakes than professionals, you want to play most of your pots with the amateurs. That being said, you should not play like a super nit versus the pros. Simply play a fundamentally sound strategy that makes it difficult for you to get exploited.
I made this 1,000,000 chip stack in a $5,000 buy-in event!
When you are playing at a table full of pros and only one or two amateurs, you simply must get involved with the other pros because if you don’t, you will eventually blind off. In general, there is nothing wrong with playing a relatively tight, aggressive style where you pick your bluff spots intelligently. I think one of the major mistakes amateurs make when playing against pros is that they rarely bluff. When they do, it is often so obvious that the pros can make somewhat easy calls with a wide range. If you only apply pressure when you have a premium hand, you will blind off because the pros will not give you action.
If you happen to be implementing a tight strategy and you have not played many hands in the recent past, do not be afraid to get a bit out of line, especially by reraising before the flop and then continuation betting the flop for about the same amount as your preflop reraise. While this play is quite simple, it is super-effective if you have a tight image. Always be aware of your image and use it to your advantage.
If you happen to be at a table where everyone is playing a tight, aggressive strategy, if you realize they are playing too tightly, especially when the stacks are around 30 – 50 big blinds deep, an effective play is to raise when the action folds to you, even from early position, with an overly wide range. If your opponents will only call or reraise with premium hands, you will find that you will often steal the blinds or win the pot after the flop frequently enough to justify a steal attempt. Of course, once your opponents realize you are raising with a wide range, assuming they become willing to play back at you, you should revert to a tight, aggressive strategy. Old school players refer to this as “changing gears”. I call it “playing intelligently”.
Stealing the blinds
Speaking of preflop stealing, you will notice that in high stakes tournaments the “standard” raise size is venturing higher. In the past, people folded from the big blind way too often so strong players started min-raising preflop in order to be able to steal the blinds with a wider range with less risk. This play was quite effective for a few years, but eventually the best players figured out that they should be defending their big blind with a wide range. If you can put in one more big blind before the flop and perhaps two more big blinds on the flop and see a showdown, which is often against the case against someone who raises with a wide range, continuation bets with a wide range, then plays straightforwardly on the turn and river, you should call the preflop min-raise with almost any two cards.
To counteract this adjustment by the best players, you have two options. You can either fire more turn and river bluffs, which gets quite risky, or you can raise larger before the flop. The problem with firing more turn and river bluffs is that your strong opponents will figure this out and start calling down with a wider range. It should be clear that very few good players check-raise the flop when they defend the blind because they want to keep their check-calling range strong so that you cannot happily fire three bluffs. While amateurs make the mistake of effectively turning their hand face-up by check-raising, pros will keep you guessing. Of course, if your opponent will call the flop with his marginal hands that he will fold by the river when faced with intense aggression, you should happily fire lots of bluffs. However, if your opponent may or may not call you down because they do not turn their hand face-up when they have premium hands, bluffing becomes much less palatable.
Instead, you can simply raise a bit larger before the flop. With deep stacks of 50 big blinds or more, it is quite common to see the best players raising to 3 big blinds before the flop. As the stacks start to shrink, their bet sizes start to decrease, but not too much. With 35 big blind stacks, they will still raise to around 2.7 big blinds or so.
I have been experimenting with raising to 2 big blinds when a weak player is in the big blind and 2.7 – 3 big blinds when a strong player is in the big blind. I have been making this play with my entire range so I am not easily exploitable. It has been quite effective so far because it allows me to play more pots with amateurs and fewer pots with the pros.
One other adjustment I want to discuss is how to bet on the river versus an amateur compared to a pro. Against an amateur, I will often bet an amount that I think will induce the result I want. For example, if I think my opponent is a mediocre player who will assume a small bet is for value, I will bet small as a bluff. If I think my opponent will always call a small bet with a wide range because of his pot odds, I will bet small with my value hands and large with my bluffs. This strategy does not work too well against pros because you will often not be able to out-think them.
Instead, you should choose bet sizes based on the percentage of the time that you will be bluffing versus value betting with your entire range. For example, if you know that in a specific river spot you will have 20% bluffs and 80% value bets (this assumes that your value hands win every time when you get called), you should make a bet that gives your opponent 4:1 pot odds, which would be 33% of the size of the pot, because that way, he cannot make a profit by either calling or folding. You will often see pros overbetting the pot, perhaps betting two times the size of the pot, giving their opponent 3:2, when they have around 40% bluffs in their range.
Of course, this assumes you know how to think about your actual range in a spot. Most amateurs are much too concerned with their own hand. Against pros, you must realize that you are playing your range against their range, not your hand against their hand. Unfortunately, poker is not quite this simple because you rarely know if you are purely value betting or bluffing. As long as you are at least thinking about ranges, you will be able to tailor your bet sizes to specific situations when playing against strong pros instead of simply betting some fixed percent of the pot every time.
That being said, if you do want to bet the same percent of the pot every time, the proper adjustment is to set up your range such that you have the correct proportion of bluffs compared to value bets. For example, if you always want to bet 64% of the size of the pot on the river, you should have 28% bluffs in your range. If you can figure out how to construct your range such that you have exactly 28% bluffs every time, this will work, but you will find that it is often easier to figure out what percentage of your range is bluffs and then adjust your bet size accordingly.
As a quick example, let’s suppose you find yourself on the river after you raised preflop from middle position and the Big Blind, a world-class pro, called. You then bet on both the flop and turn on an Ah-7h-5s-3s board and your opponent called. The river is the (Ah-7h-5s-3s)-Kd.
You certainly want to value bet with your best hands, so you must also figure out which hands to bluff with in order to remain balanced. Perhaps you know that your value betting range is all hands A-Q and better. Let’s also assume that you can’t have K-K because you probably would not have bet the turn with that. You also cannot have A-7o, A-5o, and A-3o because you would not have raised with those from middle position. This leaves you with a value range of this:
Notice that this is 68 combinations of hands. Let’s assume that you want to bluff with all of your busted flush draws. There are 14 combinations of busted flush draws that you could conceivably have. I am going to assume that you will bet with the busted K high flush draws that improved to middle pair as a bluff, which may or may not be a good play.
Since you have a total of 82 total combinations of hands (68 value hands and 14 bluffs) you should bet an amount that gives your opponent 68:14 pot odds, which would be 26% of the size of the pot. Of course, if you want to bet larger, you have to find more hands to bluff with. If you want to bet smaller, you should bluff with fewer of your missed flush draws (the ones with a pair of K’s in this example) or add in a wider range of value hands, assuming your opponent will call with worse made hands.
It is worth reiterating that real-world play is not this simple because you will occasionally value bet and get called by a better hand. You will also rarely know every aspect of your opponent’s strategy. The main takeaway should be that it is important to get out of the habit of blindly betting some percentage of the size of the pot on any betting round simply because that is what you think you are supposed to do. Always make a point to figure out why you make each of your actions.
While this strategy works well against the best pros, it is not a good idea against players who will simply never get to the river with a made hand worse than an A. While the best pros are thinking in terms of range versus range, the vast majority of players, most pros included, simply look at their hand and see if it is near the top of their range and then act accordingly. In the hand above, suppose you know that your opponent would almost always check-raise the flop with a flush draw, meaning that once he gets to the river, he has only top pair. If you know he will never fold his top pair to any reasonable bet, you should bet an amount that your opponent will call when you have a hand that is better than his calling range, which will most likely be around A-T or better. If instead you know that he will call up to a 60% pot bet but fold to larger bet sizes, bet 61% with your bluffs and 60% with your value hands. Of course, this again assumes we know a decent amount about our opponent, which enables us to play in an exploitative manner.
I hope this blog post has enlightened you a bit about how world-class pros play against each other. The deeper you think about poker, the better decisions you will make. To get started with this process, always make a point to think about your opponent’s range, your actual range, and what your opponent thinks about your range.
If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it with your friends! Also be sure to follow me at twitch.tv/jonathanlittle to watch me play live in real time for free. You can sign up for my PokerStars Home Game using #1976954 and Password: playpoker. My PokerStars Home Game will be on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 5pm EST. The Home Game is not for real money, but I will give away prizes. That way, everyone can play (even Americans!) I will stream the tournament on Twitch so everyone can watch. I hope you will join me on the live stream at twitch.tv/jonathanlittle. Thank you for reading.