Podcast Episode 13 Featuring Russ Fox

Russ Fox is an Enrolled Agent and author of the Taxable Talk blog, which often addresses issues related to poker and gambling. With Scott Harker, Russ is the author of Why You Lose at Poker and Mastering No-Limit Hold ‘Em, and with Nick Christenson, of Winning Strategies for No-Limit Hold ‘Em. His latest book is Tax Strategies for the Small Business Owner.

0:23 Introduction
2:23 Strategy: Open-Limping the Small Blind
36:18 Russ Fox on poker and taxation
1:27:59 Andrew joins Tournament Poker Edge! Sign up here for his latest poker strategy videos.
1:29:30 Thanks and happy new year!


21 thoughts on “Podcast Episode 13 Featuring Russ Fox

  1. fwiw in the vid sauce limp calls 38s in the sb and I am under the impression that he limp-calls any suited connector… the hands he puts in limp re-raise/fold range to balance his limp re-raise/continue hands are KXo AXo garbage blockers.

  2. or I should say that he perceives any suited connector as strong enough to be in the limp-call range, ie he isn’t worried about 76s being a -EV limp-call against even good players, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t include some T9s in limp re-raise to make sure he is uncapped on the full distribution of flops, but in addition to this having blocker heavy hands that don’t flop well make sense to do the bulk of the value range balancing because a) the limp call range is guaranteed to see the flop and therefore flopability matters b) in comparative terms the limp re-raising range is much less likely to see a flop and therefore sacrificing the flopability of a T9s is a pretty high premium to pay to be uncapped on the full distribution of flops when your range already has JJ+AK in a situation with a lower PSR — ie the degree to which a player is exploitable by being uncapped on a certain portion of flops is a function of the PSR and there exists a certain PSR where, should player A have a range sufficiently comprised of top 3% hands, this style of exploitation won’t be mathematically available to their opponent

    • Thanks for this response.

      I am surprised that Sauce is limp-calling 83s. Maybe he agrees with me about the high-card power of the eight. I would not be surprised if he revises that part of his strategy.

      You make a lot of good points here, although the question isn’t really whether a certain exploitive bluffing strategy is available or not at a certain PSR. It matters at many different stack depths whether you’re connecting with a 975 flop, and the ability to cap your range to bluff you out is just one reason. E.g., you would like the other guy not to be able to treat Q5 like the nuts there, and you would like his range not to be so far ahead that he does not have an autobluff with all his air.

      • For what it is worth I think Sauce makes clear either implicitly or explicitly that his sb strategy in the video is for 100x stacks specifically.

        like you said,

        It does matter at many different stack depths whether you’re connecting with a 975 flop and whether your range is capped or not on this flop and the degree to which it is capped.

        All I mean to point out is,

        It doesn’t matter if the pot is 4 and the effective stack is 1 — should your range be constituted entirely of JJ+AK. If your opponent’s range is wide enough that it is able to flop nutted on the set of all flop types it just isn’t going to matter, he can’t do enough in the aggregate to overcome your range’s strength vis a vis the PSR.

        • Sure. That’s definitely correct.

          But then the problem is that you’re LRR’ing very few hands: premiums plus a few others. You would like to be able to reraise with more hands, primarily to give yourself a shot to win the pot preflop but also for all the other reasons that raising is so good. Raising with 4% or 5% of your (total) hands seems to give something up against a guy who is raising 50% of his (total) hands.

          But then again, the whole _point_ of the strategy is to go into a shell out of position; maybe the same reasons to limp the first time around are also reasons to just call the second time around.

          A real lesson here, IMO: poker analysis is still in its relative infancy, or at least adolescence.

  3. Thanks for the informative and paranoia-inducing podcast. Thinking of the mere possibility of being thrust into the Kafkaesque world of an audit (not to mention the further possibility of having to pay even more bux despite having scrupulously paid taxes forever) produces some intense feelings of preemptive despair!

      • Aside from the isolation, lack of hands, and increased likelihood of imminent, violent death, waking up a giant cockroach (so long as I maintained human memory and cognition, Gregor Samsa style) would be way preferable to an IRS audit. First of all, there’s the novelty of the experience. Way more people have experienced an audit than have experienced being a giant cockroach with human cognition. Second, walking on walls and ceilings would be cool beyond words (and yes, I realize this is made possible by insects’ small size but apparently Kafka did not). Third, it would provide complete, terrifying liberation from the strictures of annoyances of social life. The boss hates me and I hate doing the work? NOT ANYMORE, I’M A GIANT COCKROACH! FIRE ME MOTHERFUCKER! Seriously, the idea of waking up a giant cockroach is practically an indulgent shut-in fantasy compared to an audit.

        Also, it’s been a while since I read The Metamorphosis, but how the fuck does Gregor’s father penetrate Gregor’s chitinous exoskeleton just by throwing an apple at him? Dude musta been packing some Aroldis Chapman heat.

  4. At one point Russ mentioned that an online grinder might have randomly played 2/5 and 5/10 stacks for his game, and not kept track of winnings for the specific stake … just the total winnings. The implication was that this would be bad … does anyone know why?

    In general I just tried to capture the balance on Jan 1st of both years, and then did X – Y = winnings (which includes all rakeback etc.) but as an amateur this hasn’t really mattered previously, but might this year.

  5. Russ,

    You seem to imply that just because Black Friday happened, that you would not need to declare any UB/Absolute or Full Tilt income for the year. I realize that post 4/15 it seemed to be impossible to collect any of your money, but if I am the IRS my first question would be “what about April 13th? what were your winnings until then?”

    Also, for all of the “well it was “impossible” to withdraw,so I did not try after 4/15. Were there not a few players somewhere from UB who WERE able to get some money each week? (A weekly max number comes into my vague recollection”

    I would think ‘constructive receipt’ online happens each and every day you are allowed to request a withdrawal. (so if a site has a restriction of $10,000 per request/x number of requests per (time period) you would start adding up as soon as you “could” ask for the cash.

    Am I mistaken in this belief?

    One other question: Are various gambling activities segregateed? Could I offset poker winnings with Roulette losses?


    • Hi which, thanks for the interesting comment/question. I’d strongly encourage you to post it on Russ’ blog, because I doubt he’s watching the comments here. I’m not at all sure about the bulk of your comment, but I’m pretty confident that the answer to the last question is yes, you can write off losses at one form of gambling against winnings at another.

  6. I am surprised none of hosts (or Russ) mentioned some reasons why Congress might feel entitled to any “foreign income’ generated by it’s citizens.

    How about the various perks that come from actually being a citizen? Voting for one (there are absentee ballots, right?). The protection of the US government if you come to harm overseas? Help from a consulate?

    Perhaps more importantly: The ability to come back into the country and live anytime you like.

    As in anything else, folks have choices. Anyone who thinks a tax burden is unfair is always welcome to attempt to get a passport from another country? Monaco works for many Europeans, and surely there are other tax havens available to dissatisfied US taxpayers.

    Maybe it’s generational, but the bewilderment speaks volumes about the perceived value some feel about citizenship.

    Does being a citizen stop at the border? Do the benefits, and if not, should the obligations?


    • I agree with you that most people overstate the “absurdity” of paying taxes on foreign income. If I recall correctly, I posed the question to Russ in sort of a naive way just in hopes that he would explain it more clearly, not because I actually had no idea what the rationale was. It’s too bad we didn’t have more of a chance to get into this – I tried a few times but Russ didn’t seem to inclined to talk about the “whys” of the current system.

    • Yeah, there was a lot that I wanted to ask Russ about but for whatever reason didn’t–partly an attempt to let Russ say whatever he was going to say, partly probably just suboptimal interviewing decisions.

      Thanks for the comments!

  7. One thing about the capriciousness of Congress/tax law…

    It seems Congress does seem to take into account that being overseas you are without certain benefits, and so the foreign income exclusion allows for that. It may allow for the fact that you do not have access to public parks/Smithsonian and other museams/Federal public areas, access to the public school system and lack of government protection of your Bill of Rights (sorry, limited ‘freedom of speech’ overseas) Not necessarily in order of importance…

    It is inflation adjusted and so has been going up each year.

    Tax year 2012: $95,100
    Tax year 2011: $92,900
    Tax year 2010: $91,500
    Tax year 2009: $91,400


  8. “Do you have any funds trapped on Full Tilt?”

    (Jonathan Little) “I currently have $3,000 on Full Tilt. About six weeks before black Friday, I cashed for $320,000 in a tournament and somehow cashed it all out. Talk about running hot!”

    Read more: http://www.pokernews.com/news/2012/04/black-friday-chronicles-jonathan-little-is-confident-12413.htm

    Here is what was in my mind when Russ was talking about constructive receipt. Jonathan Little had spoken in a podcast (in my dim recollection) about one of the ‘dang’ brothers having won a FTP event closer to April, 15 that year and being unable to cash out (hence, no ‘constructive receipt’ probably)

    I am of the opinion, as a non professional in taxes, that “IF” you are capable of asking for, and then receiving the money you are in effect in ‘constructive receipt’ of your winnings.

    If Russ agreed with this, I am surprised he made such an overly broad statement in the podcast about the differences between years – pre black Friday vs post. (without the required caveats)

    Taxes are hard


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