arizonabay's avatar


682 points

Comment | arizonabay commented on Specifically Poker

For the record: I think it's fair to ask a coach about his results. I think it's fair to ask a coach about his past results. I think it's fair to ask students of said coach if they are happy with the coaching he has got. I think it's fair to question the price and value of content. What I don't think is fair is to come into a coach's journal/blog and completely derail it from the intended purpose of the thread. Someone mentioned cherry picking students results to show and how that's not fair and transparent, yet at the same time cherry picking my results as some sort of proof of poor coaching, talking about how poor my thought process is from a video that was recorded in either late 2015 or early 2016. My thought process was terrible, it still needs work (I think that is what we are all here for - to improve our thought process). I was a mental game train wreck, now I like to think I am just a mental game fender bender. Again, it doesn't seem fair to take my failures as a player and lay them on Nick, the improvements I have made in poker are huge, the improvements I have made in my mental game are even bigger if it was possible to graph mental game before and after I would.

Let's get back to coaches and results for a minute. It is getting harder and harder to show proof of results, the community is cynical, (with some reason imo - fake graphs are real) but beyond fake graphs, you can't even data mine Pokerstars Zoom anymore (at least to my current understanding, again I have not played on Stars since Black Friday), there are sites that don't even produce HH's. But it is still fair to ask a potential coach about his results - I wish it would be done somewhere other than a coach's journal. Maybe start a thread "Are Nick Howard's coaching packs worth the money" or something similar. It's going to continue to get harder to get rock solid proof of any coaches results moving forward, imo. So I think we should try to find a better metric of a coach's ability to teach, the first one I would use is to ask people that have been coached what they thought of the experience. Don't just post Russian ptr graphs of mostly old hands and say "see he can't coach" - Nick has addressed his results on stars, he doesn't hide anything - he has said "I wasn't very good then" - then he posted a more recent sample on hsnl bovada but that's also not good enough for a lot of people, well I highly doubt Nick is going to go jump in Pokerstars games with the sole purpose of putting out a recent sample for Russian ptr, so what can you do as a potential student to know if a coach is right for you? Well, you can start by watching a coaches video library and get an idea of how he thinks and approaches the game, and also if he has been around long enough, how his thought process has evolved. It should have evolved, I think we can agree on that. What originally drew me to seek out Nick as a coach was he was making posts in the forums, he was asking about hands and short, he was a coach who I saw as trying to get better and better, I liked that idea, I liked the idea of having a coach that was going to stay active and seek out advice to expand his knowledge, that would mean when he got better as a player, he would get better as a coach - that was just what I thought.

Anyways, we are RunItOnce, we are better than twoplustwo - we should start to act like it again. 15 months ago I shocked someone with how poor my thought process was, I didn't hear about this until today. There was a time when RIO was a place where if someone thought your thought process was poor they would respectfully try to help you improve (maybe this is just a "Rosy Retrospective" on my part) but I wish we would go back in that direction. Go ahead and make an "Is this coach worth that money" threads, ask the coach to produce receipts, if he doesn't play on stars and you are jaded by past scandals that you don't trust hm2 graphs or that coach plays on a site where even hm2 tracking is difficult then ask (in this hypothetical new thread) for past students, past purchasers of products (preferably someone who didn't get a bootlegged version of product) what their opinion is, you can even ask to speak with the coach if you want (coaches are busy people but if your interest is genuine and your motives are just to make sure your money is being spent well, that coach should be able to make some time for you at some point) if your not satisfied with what you get out of this process, then move on to the next coach on your list. I think the only thing that can be said from this discussion is: Don't get coaching from arizonabay, he is nowhere close to being able to teach you how to win @ poker, he has too many flaws to correct in his own game - which I am trying to do and will always try to do, growth as a player and human has no end game, you just try to do better today than you did yesterday. You might not be happy with my improvements, but I am, I am excited about the future and my life for basically the first time ever (not counting that one magical summer when I was 19 and took LSD for the first time - that was exciting and the future also looked bright then, the difference between then and now is: I am excited about the future and it's not a side effect of any drug). (Also someone could make a point about how I can't keep my word.....I have now made 2 posts since my "last post" - I would like to be a part of the RIO community again, I want RIO forums to be a place of hope and a place to go to improve, not a place where you get flamed without constructive advice - please don't give me that advice in this thread though :) let's leave this thread for Nick to drop posts and advice, and for positivity, please make a separate thread about coaching products - and please talk with other students of Nick's as well, you know my opinion but my results don't reflect well on Nick but that is on me, you can choose to believe that or not. I have even spoken with Nick a while back about that exact thing, about how I didn't want my poor results to hurt him.....looks like I was correct at least to some but I have spoken with many of the guys that have gotten Nick's packs and the overwhelming majority are really pleased.

I got to end this rant, and I really hope this is the last time I have to address anything like this in this thread and we can move on to better things here and move the discussion of value to another thread, it probably deserves another thread anyways. Maybe we can turn this into something positive and find a better way to vet a coach before actually spending the money on a coach, not just Nick but ANY coach you are thinking of spending additional, hard earned money on.......ouch, shit I just slipped and fell right off my soap box. I think I have completely spent my 2 cents worth (I am probably severely in debt to the rants bank now).

May 26, 2017 | 2:50 a.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on Specifically Poker

I support Phil and the coaches on RIO 100%, they all work their asses off.

May 24, 2017 | 7:15 p.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on Specifically Poker

Ok, I feel the need to break my RIO non-post streak because all of this is getting absurd, for one I don't think I am on any of Nick's youtube videos, for the second point my failings as a player have all been my own fault and lack of strong mental game, I am lucky to be considered a friend of Nick's and I know his motives are pure, does he want to make money? Sure, he does. His primary motivation is to help though. If you don't want his products, don't buy them. Simple.

As for me, I don't really care what you guys think about me - I had a very long near break even stretch on Ignition 200nl, that hurts if I am being honest because the games are soft. The games @ 200nl aren't much different from 100nl and I have a semi-decent results there but my mental game spun out and continued to get worse the longer I was break even, I was also incredibly burnt out and didn't realize it - I never took days off, when I say never I mean it literally I played almost 500 days straight (I forget the exact number). The video you are referring to as some sort of indictment on Nick's coaching is ridiculous because that session with him was amazing and blew the lid off many mental issues holding me back, I agreed to have Nick post it as RIO video because it was my hope it would do the same for at least one other person, I certainly didn't agree to it because I thought it would make me look good. It makes me look terrible, I am glad we did it though - the video got good responses and so I am happy with it. I have been focusing on mental game a ton and am at the happiest I have been in years, I like the direction I am headed as a player but more importantly as a human being. There is a ton of hate lately in this thread which is incredibly saddening because it should be filled with positivity, not people pointing fingers at others flaws.

This will be my final post at RIO (which is also sad, RIO was a home for years to me) because there is too much bull shit, if you stray from the group think then you are a quack, it seems there are only a handful of guys looking to take responsibility for themselves, most just want someone to blame for their misfortune. My failings in the past are a direct result of my inability to trust completely, my inability to work and fix mental leaks, not recognizing burnout (also a mental issue) and my over insistence on trying to remain semi-balanced in an environment where you can use a hyper-exploitative style. Again, I am taking responsibility for my poor results and look forward to continuing my journey to better things as a player and human being, I was such a hard nut to crack. I was so stupidly stubborn and it hurt me, it restricted my results. My results since "A Truthful Conversation" have been night and day different, I am not going to post a graph, I don't need to prove anything to anyone other than myself, and if I did the haters would say "Oh it's fake" or "if it's not Pokerstars it's not real" - imo, if your playing on PokerStars @ ssnl or msnl you need to work on your mental game, you need to ask yourself why you are playing in the toughest player pools in the world when there are softer games available to every single one of you. Are you playing there so you can prove your results to strangers on the internet? Are you playing on there because you are fearful if you play soft games that when you get to hsnl and have to play on stars (at least some) that you won't be ready and will get crushed because you didn't perfect GTO @ ssnl? That's backward, why don't you get there first? I am not there, not even close but I am happy with my progress since I got out of my own way and I have zero doubts I will get there. Anyways, goodbye RIO forums and maybe I will meet some of you non-haters in Vegas this summer.

May 24, 2017 | 5:29 p.m.

Oh, and I would love to get on a DMT train.....

Dec. 25, 2016 | 11:02 p.m.

If time is not structurally real then nothing is structurally real and we are the imaginations of ourselves.......Here's Tom with the weather........So good to see you.

Dec. 25, 2016 | 10:59 p.m.

I just want to chime in w/ my 2 cents. I get the arguments for perspective being the most valuable but I don't think anything supersedes time as the most valuable. If you have zero time, then you can't even have perspective (or anything else). Having time available is the only way you can even have perspective, therefore, imho, time is clearly the most valuable commodity, it makes happiness possible, it doesn't create happiness on its own but without it, you have no chance of being happy or of having any perspective at all.

Dec. 25, 2016 | 9:56 p.m.

This post is so devious, like the best kind of troll, I kind of like it :D - get Nick to change his thumbnail on youtube, but make sure to record that thumbnail and post it on RIO blog so it will endure for all eternity. Well played.

Dec. 2, 2016 | 5:33 a.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on Software advice

but in 5 years you will have to pay 5x$230 for snowie, and I am not sure about bad habits. I know Snowie has never had their results tested for equilibrium distance and I personally dont trust Snowie and I do trust PIO, if PIO gives me some bad habiots its because I created some terrible trees and/or used terrible ranges.

July 26, 2016 | 9:45 p.m.

I dont think the pool is unbluffable on later streets although if you bet too big on the flop you sometimes narrow their range down too much, and "let them off the hook" on later streets because now their range is much more natural. I would say if you feel their range is too strong OTT/OTR after you cbet flop start checking much more often OOP (some might say to always check OOP in a SRP) and cbetting for a smaller size IP which will force them to call w/ hands they are not used to defending thus making their range OTT/OTR uncomfortable. If they don't call more hands vs the smaller sizing then that is good news too because your bluffs do way better and now you can bet much more frequently.

July 26, 2016 | 8:36 p.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on Software advice

In my opinion you would be much better off spending $250 on PIO than $230 per year on Snowie. I have used both - I have not used crEV since they implemented the solver into it, so I dont have any thoughts on it.

July 26, 2016 | 8:29 p.m.

Full disclosure: I still have a hard time always following through on the exploits I know (or at least think I know) to be good and true @ all times. When running bad I often fall back into the balance trap.

July 24, 2016 | 3:20 p.m.

I think it still boils down to a strictly population read, for me the only reason to approach balance if the population is playing very well in a certain spot; so I would ask myself, are they folding too much vs a raise? If the answer is yes, they I am going to raise a ton of bluffs and very few value combos (maybe zero value combos in zone, because again they can't know I have zero value). If the answer is no, then I ask Do they call too much? If the answer is yes then I will raise very few bluffs (again @ zone maybe zero bluffs) and a ton of strong hands and thinner value hands. If they answer is they defend very reasonable with strong frequencies then I will try to approach balance. But even then it might be unnecessary because you need to see how they respond on future streets, if they call a solid frequency on the flop but fold too much OTT then you can still go very bluff heavy. I would bet my house on the fact that the average bovada zone player is never playing balanced enough across all 3 streets in any spot to incentivize you to play balanced flop strategies.

If your bound and determined to be balanced anyways because you don't think it's true that you can exploit a complete unknown single player by using average player tendencies then I think there are tons of videos and tons of posts about building a balanced range, you just think of your value hands and then bluff some of your weaker showdown draws to balance that out (or at least that is what I would do).

I think it is a pretty scary decision to decide to step on a full exploit train and actually fire away and know what it means, basically if a guy is over folding by a non-marginal % then you can raise or bet ALL your bluffs, every single one of them and print money until he realizes it and adjusts. Bovada zone......they can not realize it or adjust, they have a hard time recognizing it @ Bovada regular tables @ Zone its impossible.

July 24, 2016 | 3:18 p.m.

I also assumed that @ zone balance was key, my results suffered for that assumption.

July 23, 2016 | 5:06 a.m.

This is actually not true, Bovada Zone is ripe for exploitative play. It doesn't matter if you dont know if this guy is a nit or a fish. You can study the player pool figure out what the average player is doing - figure out how to exploit the average player and go nuts. You can get away w/ so much because no one can get a read on you, not even session reads. The key is to study the pool and pay attention to stack size reads, and bet size reads, which again comes down to study your hands. If you play primarily zone then you have a good amount of hands (or soon will) use them. Don't try to play balanced in a notoriously unbalanced environment.

July 23, 2016 | 5:05 a.m.

Have you tried setting a filter for saw showdown = false and seeing if you get any results? You could also try saw showdown = true and see if the results are identical. This would confirm if it was only hands that went to showdown (which seems like a pretty poor way to do what they are trying to do, measure luck).

July 21, 2016 | 4:27 a.m.

You've inspired me to start buying CD's again

Oh buying physical CD's? Thats reminds me of the early 2000's - you should check out some streaming services that have a monthly fee but access to a LOT of music - there are very few albums that I cant find (no Tool on Itunes or Spotify, which obviously makes me sad, but most certainly worth $10 a month or whatever). Lugging around physical CD's seems like it would get tough on your back eventually w/ as much travel as you do yikes.

Ok so this was a rather long pointless post so I will end it with something positive - thanks for working for the community and I feel lucky that the community has you in their corner. Thanks.

May 17, 2016 | 2:11 a.m.

I also wanted to say that I have worked a lot with Nick and I think without doubt, no matter where you are in your poker career that Nick can help you take your game to a higher level and probably faster than you have thought possible.

Feb. 5, 2016 | 5:54 p.m.

Didn't lose all my marbles when I stopped posting......thanks Nick :)

Jan. 30, 2016 | 7:08 a.m.

Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it! Things have been going ok, it hasn't been a smooth sail (but it wasn't expected to be). Been going back and forth with doctors changing meds trying to find the right balance. Seems like they might have it right this time and she is back to work part time and feeling much better than the doctors say should be given her heart rate and other things. So we are optimistic.

Aug. 19, 2015 | 11:01 a.m.

Just wanted to post an update - she is doing a little better now. She is still in hospital, which is a little longer than the original expectation. The surgeon said if all goes well she would be home in 3-4 days and it has now been 6 days. They expect her to be in at least a couple more days. Finally removed the final chest tube today!

We have managed to raise some money so far and I would like to thank anyone who has donated so far. Most donations have been anonymous so I can't thank anyone by name but thanks go out to you anyways. No words can express mine and my families gratitude. While I would really like to raise a lot more money every little bit helps. I know my mom is very worried about missing work and how she will pay any bills let alone the hospital bill. What has been raised so far will help immensely. Obviously I will be doing anything I can for her financially (by paying off small bills and w/e), emotionally, and physically (by giving her someone to go walking with and making sure she does go walking - at the very least).

Also the higher ups at RunItOnce deserve and extra special thanks for allowing me to post this on their site and, again, I don't really have the words to properly express to them how grateful I am. Also a big thanks needs to go out to Phil Galfond for having the vision of creating not just a training site but a community for learning/improving at poker that has evolved to a community of learning/getting better at poker and life in general. This site really does have a "family" feel to it.

Link again - - believe me I understand if you don't have any extra money to donate to someone you have never met before but if you do have a couple of seconds free, please visit the link - every dollar raised reduces the amount of stress my mom faces exponentially.

May 17, 2015 | 6:37 p.m.

Thanks EasyPeasey, very much appreciated.

May 15, 2015 | 12:28 p.m.

Post | arizonabay posted in Chatter: Need Help from Poker Community

Hey RIO,

It's been awhile since I was really active in the forums but some of you might remember me. Unfortunately this is not a "happy" post. Tuesday of this week my mother had quadruple bypass open heart surgery. The surgery went well, she is recovering in ICU still and had a partial lung collapse today which they fixed right away. Now, she is the strongest person I have ever met on this earth (she had a heart attack Friday and didn't even visit the ER until Monday morning and that's when they found the blocked arteries). When she was 18 she was abducted in the middle of winter and spent 3 days locked in a trunk before someone finally found her. This resulted in frostbite and the loss of all of her toes on both feet. She never once felt sorry for herself, never let it restrict her life and I believe that is one of the reasons she has been so strong throughout life. I have no doubt that she will make a full recovery and will probably feel better than ever.

I am not making this post just to tell you all about my mom. I am making this post to ask for help. I have been playing poker professionally for ~1 1/2 years now. I am still playing small stakes though so I don't have a bunch of extra money, my mom has no insurance and not much money in the bank. I will do everything I can to help her emotionally and financially just like she has done for me growing up. As a matter of fact I wouldn't be taking this shot at professional poker if it wasn't for her, she believed I was smart enough to do it and she gave me the financial freedom to take a real shot by letting me live an expense free life while I was learning and building a bank roll (basically all of 2013). Now I want to try to help her out, I don't want her to stress out about this ridiculous hospital bill. My sister has set up a GoFundMe account and I can think of no better place to turn than the poker community. So if you have a few minutes please check out this site, myself and my family will be incredibly grateful for any donations, every dollar counts. GoFundMe Page

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this. I really can't think of a better place to ask for help than RIO. While poker has gotten a lot more mainstream acceptance over the last decade there are still many people who think poker players are just degenerate gamblers looking to hustle everyone. If we were sitting across from each other at a green felted table we would be trying to hustle each other and take each others money but when the game is over so is the hustle. As a community I think we can do pretty impressive things when we put our minds to it. Right now I hope we can raise a little money so my mom can worry about recovery and not about how she is going to be able to pay for the surgery that saved and extended her life. Personally I can think of nothing more depressing than having a life extended only to have those extra years filled with more stress and worry over money.

Thanks for listening RIO,
- arizonabay

May 14, 2015 | 8:53 p.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on 200 Zoom (and up?)

Good Luck Steve -> Downswings build character ;)

Anyways I have also been considering doing the pokermetrics thing. How far back did you go into your db? I know you want to have a large sample but I would also think you wouldnt want to go back too far in time because of how much your game evolves over time. I was thinking maybe last 6 months? 3 if you can pull 100k hand months?

April 20, 2015 | 4:39 a.m.

Can't believe I missed this - pretty amazing news and wish you both the best - I don't even play PLO but still have gotten help from both of you and ZenFish's Poker Juice work really made me want to play PLO just so I can learn to use Poker Juice ;) - but everytime I try all the hands look so pretty I end up playing a 45vpip when I am trying to play tight!

Still amazing! RIO's first marriage (I assume).

March 28, 2015 | 10:28 p.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on 200 Zoom (and up?)

As another note on Snowie (should be noted I used snowie a good bit a year ago but not really at all since). - It can give what seems to be reasonable advice in very frequent spots when bet sizes are very close to what it uses (like IamIndifferent pointed out). But it really screws up multiway pots and odd bet size pots, I had a hand history imported that involved a limper and an ISO raise in front of me and it wanted me to 3b/fold QQ-88 but 3b/call AA,KK, 77-55. That was when I stopped using it for more than just entertainment or for challenging snowie HU (which I think its HU game is what it is best at).

March 20, 2015 | 1:22 p.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on 200 Zoom (and up?)

Yeah pre-flop is just kind of a mind f* and I have become very comfortable (for the most part) in just doing the best I can pre-flop and then focusing my energy on post flop strategies for that pre-flop range (I am content with the fact that I will probably never know what is "optimal" pre-flop in a 6 max setting).

Feb. 3, 2015 | 3:42 a.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on 200 Zoom (and up?)

Steve is A5s a standard 3b for you BTN vs UTG? It used to be for me, but then I kind of switched styles to a more linear range 3b range without a calling range (I know most people don't agree w/ that) but I will sometimes (villain/table dependant) switch back to a more polarized range w/ a flatting range.....but I am not sure if A5s should be included in a 3b range or not at full weight (probably?).

edit: Just noticed there was a caller inbetween so I.....I am still confused what I should do seems like it could be ok to overcall here or 3b? Please help a very confused guy who plays a schizophrenic button game ;)

Feb. 2, 2015 | 9:35 p.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on 200 Zoom (and up?)

I also try to work on my game away from the table at all times, but, tbh, when things are going well and I am winning - I do far less work away from the table, basically I get complacent and maybe even lazy. When I am in a downswing though I tend to get almost obsessive about my work away from the table.....when in reality I probably should be striving to find a nice groove where I am always working away from the table and my results don't affect my drive to do so.......let me know if you find a way to accomplish this.

Jan. 31, 2015 | 3:48 a.m.

lol - tbh I canceled my elite membership mostly because I just don't watch hardly any videos anymore (I mean why pay $100/month when I watch maybe 3 videos probably less?) but then today I noticed I couldn't read the comments - and that is something I did often and something I greatly miss, so much so in fact, that I will probably renew my elite here in the next week or two ;) - so I guess it was a primo business decision.

Jan. 29, 2015 | 5:49 p.m.

Comment | arizonabay commented on 200 Zoom (and up?)

In your comment below you say "I have noticed it takes a lot less to get me frustrated during a session than it normally does." - This actually adds up and accumulates (it did for me) to the point where you sit down and cbet a flop, get check raised and fold - now you are already feeling a little tilty and it was a meaningless pot. I found a good way of erasing that buildup was after every session I would go through my losing pots (down to maybe 20bb's) and check my thought process make sure I was making good decisions, etc. and it felt like that had a big impact on my ability to let it go and not have a bad session carry over to the next. (Thank you Jared Tendler).

Jan. 29, 2015 | 12:49 a.m.

Load more uses cookies to give you the best experience. Learn more about our Cookie Policy