Thursday, December 30, 2004

It's still poker, isn't it?

Prince Edmund: Percy, you are dismissed from my services.
Percy: Me? why?
Prince Edmund: Because Percy, far from being a fit consort for a prince of the realm, you would bore the leggings off a village idiot. You ride a horse rather less well than another horse would. Your brain would make a grain of sand look large and ungainly. And the part of you that can't be mentioned, I am reliably informed by women around the court, wouldn't be worth mentioning even if it could be. If you put on a floppy hat and a furry cod-piece, you might just get by as a fool, but since you wouldn't know a joke if it got up and gave you a haircut, I doubt it. THAT is why you are dismissed.
Percy: Oh, I see.
Prince Edmund: And as for you, Baldrick...
Baldrick: My Lord?
Prince Edmund: You're out too.
"The Black Adder"

One of the presents I was lucky enough to get over Christmas (lucky as in I picked it while my fiance wrapped it) was the four seasons of the Black Adder seires. What can I say, you either like Biritsh sitcoms or you love them.

Scury Dog's Casino bonus challenge has certainly been somthing different. I have cashed out of Planet Luck casino a fair bit in front. Aside from the one time I threw $100 out on the table, I had an amazing run towards the end. When I finsihed the WR of $1600, I was ready to cash out my $280. But you have to wait 24 hours after meeting the requirment before you cash out. This normally isn't a big problem, but I was about to leave for Melbourne for a few days and that would delay the whole process more. So just before we were ready to head to the airport, I fired up the casino and tried to make the withdrawal - only 20-21 hours not the required 24 after passing the requirement. Naturally, the withdrawal was denied. Why then, why don't I try to make them pay for this insolence? Why don't I try to make the $280 bigger? I could see the mafia bosses no doubt behind this casino laughing, thinking another punter has been drawn into their little plan. Wait 24 hours? Why, that's just enough time for them to get the itch and loose the lot.

I even ventured away from Blackjack.

I wanted to play poker. 3 card poker.

On the first inspection, I coudn't see how this game was -EV. Basically if your 3 cards beats the dealers, you win - right? Well, yes that is right, but only if the dealer has a King. Otherwise, no matter what I've got it is a nil all draw. I was less than happy about that fact. Welcome to the world of qualifying hands! I had played a little of 3-card poker in the free-play, just to get used to it. I even hit a striaght flush, which was nice.

I set myself the task of giving it a shot, if I fell below $250 then I would stop. Naturally, I went straight down in quick fashion, and on the last hand before I fell below the mark (always playing pairs plus) I hit a Flush. Brilliant, now I was back right where I started. Before long, I also hit a straight, even better. I decided my little dash was over so I made the withdrawal at $321. Below I will compare my results with the "expected" results of SD.

Casino Expected Profit
SD.......................................... HEAFY
StarLuck $90.00..................... $40
CasinoCounty $81.00 .............$221
PlanetLuck $90.00
William Hill $70.00
AceClub $63.00
Casino-On-Net $193.00
Reef Club $175.00
InterCasino $88.00
Omni Casino $88.00
GoldenStars Casino $110.00

So I am a little ahead at this time. I have already started at Casino County, and after 300 hands I am up to $210. I am keeping track of this one very well, even on how many times I get blackjack, the dealer gets blackjack and how many times we push with it. Interesting to me at least.

I am trying to organise a home game for the new year, hopefully 1st or 2nd of January to co-inside with the public holidays. No word on them yet.

Had fun down at Crown Casino in Melbourne, by far Australia's best casino and host of the Austrlian Poker Championships next month. Their poker room is impressive by Aussie standards, with about 20 tables and well organised. We were there at lunch time to find out the poker room doesn't open until 4pm. We had to catch a plane that night so we were leaving the casino at about 4.30pm. I watched from the rail for a little while at what looked like a $2/$4 game. Passive enough, everybody either limps or folds pre-flop. They had some $10/$20 games just starting as we left.

My brother sat down at $10 blackjack with only $50, just to waste some time. First hand, blackjack. Nice start. Then he hit 20, 20, 19. All wins. A push on 19, then another twenty and already he has doubled his money. The little asian lady next to him stopped playing her own hand and bet on his. It was a nice run, and he pocketed his initial outlay plus a $20 gain and then plaied the remainder until it went dry. On one hand the dealer showed a ten, when my brother had A7. Now, my little strategy card says hit here. Dealer called "18" though, instead of "8 or 18". My borther said hit. Dealer says "Hit? On 18?". Yep. So he gets his third card, another ace. "19. Smart Arse." He stood on 19 and the dealer got blackjack anyway. While it may seem in writing that the dealer was being nasty, it was pretty funny and good to see they can show some personality in what must be a pretty hard job at times (remember, you can't tip your dealer in Australia).

The only other activity that got close to poker was a few games of echure we played. 6 handed, the game ends when one team hit 15 points. Out of the 5 games, the scores were 15-1, 15-0, 15-9, 15-12, 15-4. Of course, my team won them all. It was uncanny, we just couldn't loose. Even the one close game when we were loosing 2-12 we never looked threatened. If only there was money on the line...

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Weather is here, wish you were beautiful

Rusty: Holy crap, Wayne Newton's hittin' on Mom!
Clark Griswold: It's all part of the act, Russ.
"Vegas Vacation"

What can I say, I'm a fan of the Griswolds. Not many people liked the forth installment, but I did for whatever reason. And I don't really like Chevy Chase - go figure.

I have lost count of how many write ups I have read about the WPBT event in Vegas over the last few days. Jealousy is runnign through my veins like you wouldn't believe. Everybody has a differnent perspective on the time spent in Sin City, I felt like I was there anyway. I wonder how many times the people where drinking it up and rasing the hammer, all the time thinking "I can't wait to blog about this!" Or perhaps such peril thoughts never even entered the ever-inebriated mind of the poker faithful present.

I have one full day of work left before I leave for Melbourne to meet up with the whole family for Christmas. Man, am I looking forward to that. besides all the obvious reasons surounding Xmas, this will also be the first time I will see my family since I got engaged. This means there will be lots of wedding talk (which I have become used to) and showing off of the ring so on and so forth. But it also means I get to show off one of the coolest engagment
present ever. I can't wait to tell mum to just push the button because it says funny stuff and then see the look on her face when the volts go through. Tormenting my dear mother is fun, espeically around Xmas time.

The Blackjack gods have gone mad. Firstly, after my little rebellion last time at the table, I went back yesterday to get a few more hands in to meet the WR. After about an hour I was down to $210 and had enough for now. Later on I had to go back online for something else and I thought I would just check in for a little while to show the others in the house what the program looks like and how I am going with it. Very first hadn I get dealt blackjack! This is good, because I have been keeping track of the blackjacks for me and the dealer (part of my ongoing investigation into how ever online gambling and poker site is rigged when I loose and legit when I win). So far the dealer has recieved blackjack 128 times. I have received blackjack 47 times. Out of that, 15 have been a push. That's a little lopsided methinks. Anyway, in this one session, I hit it 4 times to his none. I has happy. It was an amazing little run for 30 minutes that I played. I would sit on 14, and he would bust insted of drawing 2's and 3's until 17 like it had been for so long. When I doubled on 11, I got a picture card to make me look good. Eventually I stopped when I hit $250, and around $550 short of the WR. This looks like being a good little venture now, hopefully I can cash out about $200 in the nest few days. Oh, and my roomate also commented on the more than ample cleavage of the dealer. It's funny, because there is absolutely no need for it what so ever, yet somebody has taken the time to give you the option of a male dealer in a three peice suit or a female dealer in a cocktail dress giving her visual display of the prowess of her surgeon. Why? Seriously, this sprite would not look out of place in a Lesuire Suit Larry game.

Either way, the blackjack games are a nice little change from poker, which it is getting harder and harder to find the time to play. I'm not giving up by any means, and when I read every one else's blogs I still get that little itch that makes me want to run out and play right now. I still enjoy playing poker, I just won't have the time for a proper tournament run (at the right level) until early next year. We had a few hands on the weekend in a live game at home (free play only), and after a while it degenerated into a "Chinese Poker" game. At least that's what I think it is called - it's when you get dealt only one card and you put it on your head so everyone else can see it but you then bet wit hthe high card wining. Not only do you need a good poker face to win this game, but everyone else needs one too. On about the third hand, my future sister-in-law looks at my future wife and immeidately folds. Stevie Wonder could have seen that tell. Of course, she had an ace and every one else folded. One poor guy at the table had nothing above a five for about 10 hands. Ever time he thought he was due a good card, he bet big and everyone laughed. Another great tell, and he looked at his 2 of clubs with disgust. It was a great waste of an hour or so, and by then the alocohol was working it's magic.

52 little peices of plastic. Who would have thought they could mean so much fun?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Rebel without a Clue

Lisa: Promise me you'll never die.
Gary Johnston: You know I can't promise that.
Lisa: Promise me you'll never die and I'll make love to you right now.
Gary Johnston: I promise I'll never die.
"Team America: World Police"

Hello sports fans, and I hope that Santa brings you all the good river cards you asked for. In case I've never said so before, Christmas rocks. Mainly because here in Oz, it's the middle of summer and the weather is hot, Australia always plays a kick ass game of cricket on boxing day in Melbourne (which I will be attending this year) and we get a massive amount of public holidays. Oh yeah, and presents too. Got to love the presents. It's just an awesome time of year.

Work as been very hectic and so have the weekends with various other plans, so poker has not been played for some time now. I have completed the first step of the Casino Bonus program as I alluded to before. I think I cleared the $1600 wager limit in about 5 sessions, and only one of those sessions was I up (a massive $10). My worst was down $30. In the end I cashed out with $140 from my initial investment of $100 plus the $100 bonus - so all is good for step one. Step two is under way at Planet Luck casino, and it is a little different. At one stage I was down $70 after only wagering $350 - sticking to the rules, playing every hand exactly as I should and betting the minimum. That was a shitty session. I did hit blackjack 3 times in four hands at one stage (but one of them was a push, which has happend no less than 8 times so far). I've forgotten how many times I have been dealt 11 and then doubled againsta 6 only to get 12 or 13. Of course, he has 16 and hits a 3 to win. Hmpf. I guess that's how it goes.

So with $1300 to go and only $30 left in profit, I knew this was not going to be my site. But thanks to the first casino bonus (and some other referral bonus') I have more than the initial $100 in profit already. In other words, even if I totally bust out here at Planet Luck I can still continue with the rest of the bonus program. So then a little voice started in my head...Go on...Break the rules...Be a the MAXIMUM!

I thought about it. Chances are if I keep betting the minimum, eventually I will bust out before the $1600 mark. What if I put everything on just one hand? I thought about it some more, then when it came to the crunch, I couldn't do it. I bet the minimum, and lost that hand. Phew, imagine if I bet the maximum then? The next hand, same again. I lost 6 in a row, before a push. After a short time, I was down to $120 and nearly eating into my initial deposit - in other words, very soon I would be betting with my money and not the casinos. Then the voices started again. You may aswell, come on, give it a go. So I did. And I swear, it hurt; it physically hurt seeing $100 being put out in front of my virtual seat getting ever closer to the virtual dealer and her virtual massive cleavage. A normal blackjack hand I estimate takes 1.68 seconds to deal. I could swear these cards were in slow motion, and I had an age to think about the possibilies and consequences of each card as it fell.

First, to me, the King of spades. Excellent, thats a ten count straight off the bat. Could be the first card for a blackjack even. Or I could get a small card putting me in trouble of busting out. Or perhaps I could press the hit button by acident and hit on 18, or 19 - and maybe that will draw a 3 or a 2 to get to the promised land of 21?

First card face up to the dealer, ten of clubs. Thats not good. I had an advanatge, and now we're even. She is on a run that no man, women or machine could match. That first King, I swear I just saw him chuckle to himself.

Second card to me, Queen of hearts. This is good, becuase now I have no more decsisions to make. I can't split, because I don't have the money and I sure as hell can't hit on 20. I guess my fate now lies in the last card being dealt to the dealer face down.

I paused, pondering my fate. What happens if I loose this hand? The reality that very little would happen dawned on me very quickly, so I just pressed the stand button and waited for the virtual former playmate flip over her last card. I thought my chances of a push were 70%, my chance that she had blackjack were 20%, my chance that she would draw to 21 were 9% and the chance that I would actually win were somewhere around 1%. Confident that this added up to 100%, I opened my eyes to see what fate had dealt me.

The nine of diamonds.

Great, I bet she draws a 2 and then...Hang on, oh yeah, they must stand on 19. I quickly counted to 21 in my head, and yes 19 came right before 20 still. This was the first time I had ever bet more than $8 on a single hand (a few times I had split, then split and doubled) and it had worked without any effort. My balance was now $220, $20 above the initial bonus dollars and my deposit - and I was also $100 closer for the wagering bonus. I played a few more hands and before long I reached $240 and called it a night. I still have more than $1000 to wager before I can make a withdrawal, but it was very comforting. I broke the rules and won - I'm a rebel, a maverick among men. Of course, everyone else I have spoker to that has tried the challenge has broke the rules too, but most of them lost and none of them did it quite as cavalier as I did. Will I throw my entire bankroll on another hand again? Hell no. I know I have angered the gambling gods already, I figure I'll see if going back to the rules can let me fly under their radar.

For the record, I did try to tip the buxom dealer but she would have none of it. I considered asking her out for dinner, but since she had no head or legs I considered it was a waste of time. Besides, she seemed a little high maintenance.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Like a Phoenix from the ashes

Just a very quick update - we have been extremely busy with the pre-christmas hoopla going on here, as well as moving office so poker and blogging have taken a little bit of a back seat of late. I can report that after trying the first step of Scurvy Dog's Casino Bonus Whore challenge I recorded a profit of $40. I will give a proper update when I have the time, prehaps next week, and hopefully between now and then i will be able to play a little poker and catch up on some blog reading.


Monday, December 06, 2004

If Carl Johnson says, it must be so.

Liz: It's just that with Ed here, it's no wonder I always bring my flatmates out, and then that only exacerbates things.
Shaun: What you mean?
Liz: Well, you guys hardly get on, do you?
Shaun: No, I mean, what does 'exacerbates' mean?
"Shaun of the Dead"

Bloody brilliant movie. My room mate was a huge fan of "Spaced" and forced us to watch this movie - well, to be honest when the marketing describes it as a "Rom Zom Com", how can you go wrong? It'll make you laugh, make you cry and change your life. Well, maybe at least one of those.

I played a grand total of one game of poker on the weekend, a $5 fast tournament at Pacific. Damn, I should have learned my lesson in these. The levels rise up every 5 minutes, so you need some action very early on. I wasn't getting good enough hands to play - well, by my standards anyway. Everybody else was going all-in with K6 suited. And winning. Damn. From the initial 500, we were down to 136 when I was the short stack at the table and limped to see four to my nut-flush. There was aminimum bet in front of me so I pushed. He called with TPTK and I rivered the fifth spade for the win and doubled up - this meant I was $10 above average, the first time in the entire game I occupied such a position.

The next hand I played was very similar - with 77 people left, I had an OESD as well as a flush draw, and if both the turn and river were golden a straight-flush draw. I pushed again and this time got nothing when TPTK held up. Out in 77th, 27 places out of the money. I feel I played just fine, and I couldn't have limped into the money without a pot so I needed this one. I took a chance, and lost. No hard feelings, and for once at least my downfall was my own, not somebody else hitting a 4 outer on me!

Still waiting on Ultimate Bet to process my withdrawal so I can get on to the Casino Whore challenge. I have never played Black Jack for real money before, and to be honest I never thought I would. I know about the different "systems" and card counting options available to everybody and their autistic brother, but that would require far too much work (and Mum wasn't keen on having more kids anyway). So I downloaded one of these strategy cards that the Scurvy Dog suggested, and looked at it. Pretty, all those colours. I never knew "surrender" was an option at casinos - looks like a good deal for them anyway. I thought about trying it out to see what happens if I follow that strategy for some play money. After all, I know the house always has the advantage. So instead of getting onto some of the online casinos, I tried the "Four Dragons" casino in Los Venturas. That's Los Venturas of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I'm happy to say that my starting stack of $300,000 is now $900,000, and I'm on easy street (even dating one of the freaky croupiers!). Of course, I had to reload a couple of times because I owed the casino more than $1,000,000, but I figured 6 had to come up on the roulette wheel EVENTUALLY. Sadly, it did not. In all honesty, the strategy did work for this little tiny Black Jack simulation over a very small sample of hands. That's good enough to jusitfy the $100 experiment for me. And it it hadn't given me reason to jusitfy the experiment, I'm sure I would have found it elsewhere anyway.

Not much else happening folks. The WGPBE is very hot, very tired and ready to get into the casino action. We spent most of yesterday playing Halo 2 - elliminating all weapons besides the shotgun and running around playing silly buggers with it. Good fun. Now, when anybody is killed, it is a ritual to move over their body and kneel down repeativly. This places the crotch of your character over their head, in a move many drunken college kids have dubbed "The Tea Bag". Nothing could have been funnier to us that having the Master Chief getting Tea Baged by an Elite after haing a plasma grenade explode on his face. This kept us entertained and laughing in hysterics for hours, which says a lot for our maturity levels.

Sorry for those non-Halo folk who have no idea what I am talking about. I'll post more about poker when I play more poker.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Big Choices

Ike Clanton: What is that Holiday? Twelve hands in a row? Ain't nobody that lucky.
Doc Holliday: Why Ike, whatever do you mean? Maybe poker's just not your game. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!

I had to make some decisions lately, and a few of them go against one o fth egolden rules of Poker Bloggers.

I am leaving Party Poker. Again.

I have lost 7 consecutive buy-ins to draws and river cards. I just can not take that variance any more. The latest was when my 99 met another 9 on a rainbow board, 9 high. I bet, somebody raises and then I re-raised all in with my small stack. He called with AKd, and hit runner-runner diamonds to take the pot. In another hand, I had The Hiltons, and put out a decent sized raise, met by three callers. The flop comes AKx, two hearts. Bet, raise, call in front of me, and I don't think I have much chance here. In the end, the turn and river were rags, the pot won by the guy holding TT. Gutsy bet...I guess. I am convinced that Party Poker hates me. If it wasn't for one SNG win, the bank roll on there would be zero.

I have also decided to pull my entire bank roll out of Ultimate Bet. I made a tidy little profit there over the last month, I'll quit it while I'm ahead. I've withdrawn all but $100 from Pacific too. That $100 is all I will use for tournament play from now on, until it grows or runs dry.

There is another reason for this mass-withdrawl from the poker sites. I've just received a few quotes on the wedding for next year. I'm going to need every dollar I can get my hand on. Besdies, after buying the poker chips and table earlier this year, with the money I am pulling out, they essentially become free. If I loose every last cent in the remaining poker bank roll, I still have them for free. Thats something to be proud of.

As for funding for the films, I still have that in mind. I have been saving up but due to the wedding, it too has to take a back seat for the moment.

I am keeping another $100 to try the casino bonus whore challenge ("CBWC" from now on, I love my acronyms) from
ScurvyDog. I will post my results here. I don't see this as a huge risk, after all I am playing with somebody else's money. Who knows, I may even be able to creep over my next goal, $1,000 Australian dollars online.

Here's hoping I can pull out a big win in a Pacific tournament. I am finally going to stick to what works for me.

It takes a while for these lessons to stay with you, doesn't it?