Monday, January 31, 2005

Life is not fair.

Mother: Navin, it's your birthday, and it's time you knew. You're not our natural-born child.
Navin R. Johnson: I'm not? You mean I'm gonna STAY this color?
"The Jerk"

That quote is funnier in the context of the movie. Speaking of which, why was it called "The Jerk"? Navin was anything but! But I'm already getting off track...

The title of this blog was brought to you by Saturday and half of Sunday. Even before I read Sir FWALG thingy's latest post, I fully believed that life was not fair and I had certifiable proof.

PROOF LIFE IS NOT FAIR, EXHIBIT 1: To begin with, my house was over run by females (and one male friend, but he is quite literally gay). While this might not sound all that bad, lets examine which exact species of females we had present:

1 x Bride to be
4 x Bridesmaids
1 x Bride to be's mother.
1 x Bride to be's mother's mother.
1 x Gay friend of a bridesmaid that I spoke about earlier

Add to the mix many bridal magazines, dress fittings and bridal exhibitions, along with a healthy dose of champagne and wine tasting, and life was already looking like it wanted to kick me in the ass. Or was this a blessing in disguise? You see, they would be out all day while I could stay home and play poker clearing the deposit bonus all day long, and even partake in a $5K freeroll while I'm at it. That was my plan.

PROOF LIFE IS NOT FAIR, EXHIBIT 2: On Friday night however, a friend let me know he was moving this weekend. Shit. I hate moving my own stuff, and I hate it even more when it is somebody else's. But when a friend asks, you must. So I gave him my morning as that would be enough to move what was left of the heavy stuff and that was all I was needed for. Not too bad. I got home and fired up the trusty PC for some $1/$2 holdem.

This guy sleeps with Shannon Elizabeth. Someone explain that?

PROOF LIFE IS NOT FAIR, EXHIBIT 4: You know, if believing that when I get dealt pocket aces that every other player at the table should immediately forfeit their entire stacks to me is wrong, then I don't want to be right. Why does it hurt so much when your aces get beaten? And when they do get beaten, why is it always by some crap like 94o? Including the live games, in 2005 I have had pocket aces 8 times, and they have been cracked 7 of them. This shows why I hate limit holdem. I bet preflop, 1 player calls from middle position. Ragged flop, so I bet again, he calls. Now the turn brings what could be a gutshot draw for anybody silly enough to be holding 94o. I bet, he calls. The river brings one of the possible gut shots, I bet and he raises. I look up the definition of "crying call" in my handy pocket sized poker dictionary and scribble out the word "crying" and replace it with "scream for the four horsemen of the apocalypse to take this evil demon from this realm and rape him of his humanity and soul - call". Of course he had 94o. Now, the wise little poker playing philosopher would say "This is the kind of player you want to play against - he will pay you off in the long run." Obviously somebody wasn't listening because it happened again and again and again, and not just to this one guy. I counted no less than 12 times I flopped trips, and not once did they either turn into a boat or were big enough to win the hand. To say it was getting to me was an understatement. It's usually at times like these where you fold crap like 64o and they flop quads or something - I couldn't even hit my folded hands it was that bad. This Saturday cost me nearly 1/3 of my bankroll and I was still 100 hands or so away from clearing the bonus.

PROOF LIFE IS NOT FAIR, EXHIBIT 5: Of those 8 times I mentioned where my aces were cracked seven of them, the other time I took down a $4.75 pot.

PROOF LIFE IS NOT FAIR, EXHIBIT...Oh, fuck it. I'll just continue telling my bloody story: I was not happy, let me tell you. I decided to once again try Omaha hi/lo, and got the same treatment. I do not know what constitutes a good hand in this game. It did not matter what I held, it was not good enough. I was getting pocket pairs that were hitting on the flop but the board would never pair. I learned quickly that if a flush or straight is possible, then somebody has it. I guess with four cards and people love to see a full board in Omaha, it is very likely. I couldn't even win the low half of the pot. If I held A2 or A3, it would be counterfeited. If I had the nut-1 low, you damn well betcha at least one person has the nut. Ok, I think I have got my point across - it was bad.

I checked my bonus account balance and I was still a few hands short. It will have to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday would be different, I told myself. I have the welcome free roll to compete in, and I love a good tourney. When I started, I thought I would even try a $5 tourney to get warmed up. Sadly, I was out early on when my flopped trips (AGAIN?) were beaten by a guy who pushed all-in with a flush draw. He didn't get it. He got a runner-runner straight though. I could feel the blood rising, but never fear because the free roll was around the corner, and first prize would be over $1K.

It's a fucking limit tourney. With 20 minutes rounds. And 700+ people. I no longer want to live.

After 45 minutes I have played about 4 hands and have climbed to 1200 chips out of a starting stack of 1000. Wow. Before long I get chopped down and down and at the first break I have 800. First hand after the break I get The Hiltons, and decided that due to the size of the blinds (and my current hatred of everything) I am already pot committed before the betting has even got to me. We eventually get all-in with me, another small stack and one large one. I have QQ, small stack has JJ and the big stack has AA. Nice. A Jack hits and nothing else, so it is all over for me.

I decided to try $1/$2 Omaha (not hi/lo) to complete the needed hands for the bonus, after which I will cash out what is left (if any at all) and buy cyanide pills. I was two tabling 6 max to get it over with.

I can't explain it, but everything changed. I remember thinking "Why do I hear everyone else say 'The deck was just smacking me in the face' and never me?" Well, I could do no wrong this time around. I had Trips become a boat at least 6 times. Even once when the big stack across the table showed 7's over Queens, I showed Aces over 7's. You bet I got paid off on that one. I was so proud. It all happened so quickly - and when I had an open ended straight-flush draw I thought it couldn't get any better. Unfortunately the SF didn't come, but my jack high flush was good enough today. I tripled my buy in on one table in less than 30 minutes, and nearly doubled the other. It was a very welcomed change - I turned around 40 hours of bad luck into one hour of good and by the time I finished the bonus requirement, I stopped and took stock of what was left. A week ago I deposited $370 with the best of intentions. Now, after clearing a bonus and one good hour of play, I have $369.24.

Now all I need is my 2% in AlCantHang to pay off, and I can will no longer need the pills.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Home Games and Leaving Home Games

Bernie Focker: Can you believe I fathered him with just one testicle?
"Meet the Fockers"

I've got some poker playing to talk about, so buckle up.

Predictably, after that last post I decided to take the advice of another blogger and ply my trade back into Party and try to clear another bonus. So far my three sessions have been up $10, down $30 and up $10 - so not too bad so far. I did make my favorite mistake YET AGAIN and signed up for a limit SNG. I think I came in about 5th or something, but I got some good notes on the other players. Absolute calling stations, unbelievable. I did not see one 3-bet during this tournament. It was amazing but at the end of the day I did not have the cards to pull it off. Eventually I was gone when my small flush was too small.

I did try a little of Omaha pot limit, and was happy with my results. I usually like Omaha Hi/Lo because for some reason I rock and getting the nut low and betting it so I take down the high as well. Happens all the time, but for this game I decided to only play normal Omaha and look after the high. First hand I get dealt A247, and regret it already.

After the second hand, my lovely distraction wakes up and informs me that we will be leaving the house in T minus 5 minutes. Great, what a way to plug a session. Then after another few folds, I get pocket fours and decide they are golden. "These fours", I say to myself, "represent my retirement plan." I raise pre-flop and get four callers. And what do you know, a four pops up on the flop. Another player across the table bets the pot limit, which was about $4 or something, and gets two callers to me. I have a distraction standing at the door holding three bags of rubbish and waiting for me to relieve her of them. So what do I do? Raise the pot limit $17 out of my $23 stack. Did I mention this was high limit poker? No? Good, cos if I did I was lying. One guy thought and thought about it until he folded. Don't know if this was a good move or not on a 4TQ rainbow flop, but I had to leave and the pot was already big enough to give me a profit for the extremely small session. Not a bad way to spend our national holiday.

The night before however was home game night! We always play $15 entry SNG with massive starting stacks to get full value out of the games. In the past, my finishes have been 4th, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 6th - with the top three getting paid. As the new host of these games, I was hoping to put up a decent showing. I failed. I came in 4th in both games, but I lost on decent hands so I guess I can take that with me. 3 hands deserve a mention.

First game, five people left and I am coming second by a small margin. Dealt in late position The Hiltons. Ok, my best hand so far. The small stack UTG pushes all in. Brilliant, I hope to take him out and anybody else who calls. The next to act is the chip leader, who too goes all-in. Ah, shit. This was the one thing I did not want to happen. He didn't even hesitate on it. I have the third best starting hand possible. There are two other's in this hand. What are the chances one or both of them have the cowboys or the rockets? I contemplate what I should do - if I win, I not only knock out another place but I will also cripple the chip leader. If I loose, well then I bubble out in my own home game. I decided to fold, thinking I just made a brilliant lay-down. I think this was the first sign the beer was catching up to me. The short stack flipped over 88, while the big stack showed 99. Damn it - and wouldn't you know it, the very first card on the flop was a Queen. The turn brought an 8 so the short stack doubled up enough to play properly again. I hated this hand.

Hand number 2 worth a mention in the first game, I am dealt those lovely red aces. I can't over bet here because it is way too obvious, so I make a pre-flop raise of about 4BB - enough to show a little strength I think, but easy enough for everyone to call if they are feeling lucky. The flop comes Ten high, and I check. The player to my immediate left makes a very big bet indeed. This was at the stage of the game where all-ins were not uncommon and scaring people off with TPTK was not uncommon. I decided that this was what he had, or at best an OESD. I decided to go back over the top for everything, and he calls. I show Aces, he shows 66 - you know that ten high flop? Well it too had a 6 in it. Shit. I'm out as he has me covered.

Hand number three, in the second game I am dealt AQh and again raise pre flop. I get two callers on a Queen high flop. I check to see the action, and so does everybody else. An ace hits me fair in the face on the turn and I again checked. The same player who knocked me out in the first game goes all in. Isn't there some rule about not going broke in an un-raised pot? I decided my top two pair would have to teach him this rule. The alcohol had definitely hit me by now, and it was about 2am. I say "I have to see" and call. He has the Hiltons for flopped trips again. And again, it is good enough to kick me in the ass. I became dealer after this and couldn't even do that right as I showed cards, miss called bet amounts and suffered premature dealings a few times. It was all in good fun though and nobody was adversely affected by it.

Again, it was great fun but I was disappointed that I lost in the same way two times in a row, and that lay down of the Queens pissed me off even more. I did play some good hands though, but I can't remember what they were. One player at the table was being accused of becoming a calling station, and I managed to make him fold to me three times when I had rags. In fact, I can't remember winning many hands at showdown at all for the night - it probably did happen but my memories are really centered around the three worst played hands I had during the night.

On the GWR front, we have all the info we need to get started, and the record we plan to break is very doable, just as we had hoped. I will post more as it become available.

On another non-poker front, I got a new mobile phone today. I'm such a sucker for a new toy. My old phone was one of the crappiest on the market, even though I had programmed in the theme music to "Leisure Suit Larry" as my ringtone. Now the new phone has everything you expect these days for a free phone on a plan - mp3, picture and video capture, I can assign pictures and specific ring tones to different people - but best of all, it looks just like the one Jack Bauer used in the early seasons of "24". I already took a picture of my desk top wall paper here at work and made that my phone's wall paper. Is that silly?

UPDATE: I couldn't help myself. I now own 2% of AlCantHang. I had my last drink more than 38 hours ago, so can somebody come up with an excuse for my behaviour for me?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Crossroads, again.

Ethan: You know, I'm this close to buying one of those knockless doors. You know, the big rubber ones.

That quote is from Ctrl-Alt-Delete, a web comic that has been around for a few years but I have only just found. If you are a fan of video games, check it out. Gave me a laugh and I have read the entire archive in the past few days.

I have come to a cross road in my little quest here at Poker On Film. How should I play? Except for one hand, my limit play has absolutely sucked. So shoudl I continue on no-limit play then? Sure, but I can't afford to go higher really that the 25NL tables, and last time I tried that I think I lost something like 7 buy-ins in a row. That hurt my little bank roll. So what about tournaments? Well, I left myself $100 at Pacific to play in the tournaments, but during the week the only ones I can play in a $5 fast tournaments, where I end up doubling up early and then going all in on a mediocre hand because of the high blinds. Through this I have whittled the stack down to $35. The really good tournaments at my level ($10 are best for me, but I will dabble in $20) are only on Saturday and Sunday mornings - and our weekends are already booked out for the next month and a half.

What about the casino challenge? I firmly believe the variance is too great and the "expected value" from Scurvy is at the higher end of the scale. While I did get above it in some cases, it was from breaking the rules and betting $100 on a hand or from sheer luck that they waved the WR for me. Don't get me wrong, when I started the challenge I had $100 invested and now it is $400, but some referral bonuses are included in that and I think I have risked enough of it. Besides, all the casinos I have left to hit are the higher risk ones and there is a goo dchance I could walk away with nothing.

The other major problem I have is the wedding. The disraction and I have decided to have the wedding in my home town to save on the costs. We had a budget in mind, confirmed with each other, and set along our ways. Last night, after the distraction allocated a cost to everything she wanted, the budget had been blown out by 50%. That's a big price explosion. I had a look at the budget and had it back down to where it should be in five minues (table decorations, $800? Try $150. Disposable cameras on every table? BYO. I mean seriously, why do we need to spend $500 getting personalised little boxes to hold some lollies? Cross that out too). Even with my grand budgeting skills, we need help. I need to make some winning moves, and you can imagine how good playing with all that in mind goes. Yep, definately a good way to start out a game. I have considered pulling the $400 out, but it really won't put a dent in it. I have also considered going back to Party to try the jackpot tables, because if the jackpot hasn't gone of yet (and it probably has by the time you read this), the play should be pretty loose. And who knows, I may even be the one that hits it. But my limit play really sucks, and with $400 at $2/$4 level, I really can't afford much variance.

The smart thing to do would be to grind it out at .50c/$1 tables and learn the limit game. I may just wait until my Pacific account is dry to decide though. I did finsh 65th out of 400 in a $2.50 tournament though. Average stacked, I went all in with the jacks against the chip leader who had AKh. He had the flush by the turn. Thi shas happened a few times for me lately, I guess the 50/50 will have to fall my way eventually.

Big congrats to Double A's and his mightly tournament win. Wow, these blogger's keep the big events coming. On a non-poker front again, I have some exicting news on the work front. For the first time in a long time, I have something to be excited about at work - a store opening. Now a store opening itself is not a big deal, I have been organised 4-5 since I started. But this one is different. I am going to organise for us to break a Guiness World Record on the day, and it got approval from my boss just yesterday. Woo Hoo! I've always wanted to be a GWR holder, and now I get the chance. I'm not allowed to say which record we are having a crack at, and I won't even know the full details for us to qualify until next week but from what we can gather, it is very doable. I'm looking forward to posting more about this later.


Friday, January 14, 2005

The Little Games

[Bob notices the little boy on the tricycle staring at him for the second day in a row]
Bob Parr: What are YOU waiting for?
Little Boy on Tricycle: I don't know. Something amazing, I guess.
Bob Parr: Me too, kid
"The Incredibles"

I had one of the best SNG games ever last night, I just had to write about it. Sure, I won 20 cents doing it, but it showed me how much I have learned in the last 6 months and was one of the most fulfilling victories I've had in that time. All for 20 cents profit. Funny that.

Anyway, it was at Poker Pages again in a 10 person SNG. I had the big blind for the first hand. On a tangent, the seating is random in these but I don't really mind getting the big blind first up. I mean, the cards are random anyway right? So off we go, and one guy wins the first three hands, 2 of them at showdown, and he's talking it up in the chat box. Nothing major, just the odd "nh", "gg", "thought you had me there hey?", like I said nothing major. But he walked to chat every single hand. Obviously he got some nice cards very early, but he also got the maximum out of them and busted two people in those hands. He would raise pre-flop to isolate and then induce the opponent to push with TPTK on the turn to his made flush or to two pair. It was well done, and I decided to attach some notes on his screen name. I did not play a single hand for 1 1/2 orbits until I was dealt AQo. In early position the other player (I don't know if it was a he or she, but lets just call them "Spin") raises it again, and I went for the pre-action click on "raise pot". I believe raising the pot was a good move, but I wanted it to be the instant raise variety to show that I didn't even have to think about it. I don't know what other people think about players when they do the auto check or fold or raise, but I always take notice of it at least. Anyway, it gets folded around to me, I raise the pot, and then folded back to him. He thinks about it and then chats "nice bet" and folds out. It was a nice little pot and my tight image certainly helped.

Players busted left right and center, and only once by me. With AT, and with Spin already mucked, I just limped with 3 others. The flop was Ten high, and I checked to see if anybody else was interested. One player minimum raised, the rest folded so I called. Calling here - was that the right decision? I'm not sure. The turn was another Ten, and again I checked. He went for a bigger raise, and I was over the top all-in. The player called and showed a smaller pocket pair and got no help on the turn.

As it goes on, I am able to raise pre-flop and get Spin to fold another 3 times. Other than that, I fold, fold, fold, and hardly see any flops. Spin is playing well, and hardly anybody gets the chance to limp.

We are down to three, in the money, and Spin is at $7500, the other guy and I are nearly even at $3500 each or there abouts. We float around for a bit and after a few wins I let Spin knock out the third place to put us heads up and dead even.

We go back and forth for a while. He raises from the small blind, I go back over the top and he folds. This worked a few times, and he only called me once. I had A8 and hit a ace on the flop. We ended up all in and he was holding A6. The board ended up pairing and with over cards so we split the pot - but it was worth the information.

We split another pot later when I limped in with 86, and hit one of each on a 862 rainbow flop. I min-raised and Spin went all in over the top. Beautiful - I call and flip over my 86o only to see his 86o. Oh well, what can you do?

After about 30 hands heads up, I did have him crippled at under $1500, but his auto all-ins pulled off 3 in a row and we were back to even, and then he had me out chipped 2-1 when the deck ran cold. A few all-ins that were folded to and some kind scary flops put me back into the lead, $8K to $7K.

Finally, I get a premium hand. KK, and in the small blind. I call, and watch in joy as Spin raises. I re-raise for 1/2 my stack. Spin thinks, and then pushes. Well, what else can I do? I push and he shows KJo. As they should, the dominate hand holds true, and I take home the bounty. I congratulated him, and it was returned, then the computer was shut down.

I was fortunate, because if Spin was any less of a player, I might have faired a lot worse. I was fully aware what my table image was, and how each bet I made was perceived. When I made pot sized raises pre-flop, my show of strength was respected. I made the same bet the same way a few times and got to show my hand to prove it was worth the bet I made, and it was noticed. Many people take the "Play the players" approach, and I think that extends to yourself (see children, I could have said "that extends to playing with yourself", but that's much too low brow for me. I'm mature now). I couldn't even tell you who else was at this table, as I was focused on only Spin and myself. It was a nice little game that took about 45-50 minutes for only 20 cents profit, but it was great poker and great fun.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Why the Good go Un-rewarded

Sirius Black: Brilliant, Snape; once again you've put your keen and penetrating mind to the task and as usual come to the wrong conclusion. Now if you'll excuse us, Remus and I have some unfinished business to attend to.
Professor Snape: Give me a reason. I beg you.
Professor Lupin: Severus, don't be a fool.
Sirius Black: He can't help it. It's habit by now.
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"

I have spent more time recently reading other blogs than I have doing anything that can be mentioned in my own. Not that I haven't been plying my trade online - for I have, even stepped it up recently. But the blogging community that I am a (not so) humble outsider of is booming. It seems every second blog I read has some massive new event occurring. Whether it is turning pro, winning cruises, getting paid for blogging or hitting your third damn straight-flush in about as many months, things are certainly coming along for the blogging elite. It seems that I read other blogs to learn about poker, and I write my own to purge. I like the self-indulgent style of The World's Greatest Poker Blogger Ever, and I like that it contrasts somewhat to what others are doing. We're a happy little community, are we not?

Been hitting a few more of the tournaments at Pacific of late. Now I know everybody hates their software (myself included), but I just love how the tournaments are run. No re-buys. No bloody re-buys. And the size of them is always big enough to get decent prize money yet small enough to give you a shot at it. I have been unlucky of late, loosing my coin-flips and being out played to be thrown to the tournament lobby.

In one such tournament, out of 180 starters we were down to 60, and I had doubled up twice but still very much a low stack thanks to the quickly rising blinds. At the $100/$200 level, carrying $960 on the big blind, I had pocket 3's a resigned to pushing if there were not many runners in this one. Luckily, the entire table folded except for the small blind ($1700) who tried for a steal from the short stack (me) and min-raised the pot. Perfect for me, as I was going all-in even if he just called. I did so, and he used about half his time before calling. He showed J8s, so I pretty much think he was on a steal and then thought why the hell not, it's the small stack what is the worst that could happen? The flop came T7x, the gutshot 9 on the turn and it was all over for me. Can't really fault his play on that, my stack just wasn't big and scary enough to throw him off for a heads up battle with the small stack.

Another tournament, in the early stages (about level 2 or 3) I was able to limp into a 5 player flop with ATo. Flop comes KKQ. Ok, not all bad but certainly something to worry about. In early position so I check to see if anybody else likes what they see. Everybody else checks - ok, I say there is about an 80% chance somebody has at least a king and is looking to slow play them. The turn is my gut shot jack, with all suits on the board, so I raise to find out who has the King. I get one guy calling. Ok, he definitely has a King - does he have the boat? I check on the river rag, and he raises. It's a pretty big pot now at over $2000, and I only have $500 left. With a Broadway straight I know I am done if he has a boat, and I need something to boost me up otherwise I'm in the push or fold mode from here on. I check-raised all-in and he instantly calls. He shows KJ for a boat on the turn - sadly, the same gut-shot straight I was looking for gave him the nuts. I bowed out, unable to lay down the straight. Probably not my best play pre-river, but I really had no other choice after that.

I did manage to pull out a win on Poker Pages in a 50c SNG, netting myself $2 for the win. I like playing this micro limit games on Poker Pages because the software is good and the starting stacks are $1500, more than anywhere else I've seen. The major down side is the high level of "professors" at the table. My god, somebody raised against a small stack (2.5BB) and then the small stack pushes, so the raiser calls with K4s going against JJ. A king hits and he takes it down. I don't see a huge problem with this play - why not make the extra call to see the low stack? It only cost him another bet out of a 12-15BB stack. I'd make that call with only one card. But about 4 players at the table berated him for the rest of the game. On of the golden rules amongst the blogging elite - Don't tap the glass. That's exactly what I typed in the chat box, the only thing I typed all game. Apparently no bloggers or readers were at the table, because nobody knew what I was talking about. Oh well, I showed them though. Thought that $2 prize was yours did you? NO! It's mine, all mine! Bow down before me and...Oh, they've left already. Lost the next one when all in with 77 against A2h, got the third heart on the turn. Such is life.

And I haven't forgot about the casino challenge either. I fired up Ace Club, and was absolutely dedicated to betting the minimum and not breaking the rules. Man, I was going well too. After an initial deposit of $100, and with the bonus of another $100, I worked it up to a peak of $230, then held around the $200 mark for a while before dropping to $170 and finally with 26 hands before the $1600 WR was complete, I was at $138. That means no matter what happens, I get a profit of some description. I played the final 24 hands and ended with exactly $140. I went to cash out and then was declined. Of course, you have to wait 24 hours right? No you dumbass - you have to read the rules before you start playing. The WR at Aceclub is $6000, not $1600. I felt so stupid - Scurvy Dog's site even says this. I didn't read it properly, I fall victim again. I tried to get to the $6000 mark but of course the bank roll ran dry before I could reach $4000. Oh well, that's the risk you take I guess.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Little compensation

Abe Sapien: Remind me why I do this again.
Hellboy: Rotten eggs and the safety of mankind.
Abe Sapien: Ah!

Hello boys and girls, and welcome back to another devine session of enlightenment from the "World's Greatest Poker Blogger Ever". Do you think I'm selling myself a bit short there? Let's move on.

A littel bit of help came along with the Casino Bonus stuff. Since Casino County closed down for some reason, they transferred the accounts back to Star Luck casino, and gave me a tenner for the trouble. What they didn't transfer was the WR, as I was only up to $300 out of the $1600. While the cash out took much longer than it should have, it was finally approved today. So here is a little update on how it is all going:

Casino Expected Profit
SD.......................................... HEAFY
StarLuck $90.00..................... $40
CasinoCounty $81.00 .............$120
PlanetLuck $90.00...............$221
William Hill $70.00
AceClub $63.00
Casino-On-Net $193.00...........-$200
Reef Club $175.00
InterCasino $88.00
Omni Casino $88.00
GoldenStars Casino $110.00

So counting the casino I have tried, I am $273 behind. Wow, that Casino on Net really hurt. But I'm still $181 in the black (plus a few other referral kickbacks, if you don't mind). After cashing out at Casino County and busting at CoN, I now have $0 invested in any online casino, and I am ready to get going again. Problem is the internet connection situation at home, which of course has a story attached to it. I call it "Why New Years Eve Sucks". Do gather round.

New Years Eve sucks (well, good start so far). I can remember spending more than one of the past New Years Eve trying to find a chemist that was open to help me through some poorly timed sickness. For some reason, I rarely get sick at all. I power on through everything. But when it does get me, man it hits hard. So the big night's of celebration get cut short. But not this year - this year, I'm fighting fit and ready to go.

I'm also not a big fan of massive crowds. I'd rather chill with about a dozen friends and drink alcohol while telling lies than cram into Sydney Harbour and try to fork out $50-$100 cover charges to get into an equally packed club and pay $10 for a beer. Fortuanly, our new place has a gret up stairs balcony, which we could see all over Sydney as several different suburbs had their local fireworks display.

Now my little distraction was also enjoying some refreshing drinks. You could say she was enjoying them a lot. I politely suggested she switch for some lovely ice water for a short period of time. Such a suggestion was rebuffed and scoffed at (all at once). No more than a few moments later she rushed down stairs to get some one else a champagne glass - the time was about 11:30pm. Having reached the third last step on her way to the kitchen, the distraction was distracted and thought she was already at the bottom. She took a huge step forward instead of downward and found out that not only was the sky falling, she was too. She landed the wrong way on her right foot and fell over it. She spent the rest of the night on the couch with ice, missing all the displays we could see from the balcony.

The next day, it had ballooned a little so a visit to the emergency ward was in order. I don't think they should call it the "Emergency" ward. We were told ever so politely to wait 40 minutes before we could "register" then wait some more before a nurse could see my distraction and decide whether we could upgrade to a doctor. This happened in time, and eventually we saw not one but two doctors, and got a cast put on that right foot. 4 hours later, we were on our way home. To get to our apartment, it requires 3 flights of stairs. No lift. Being very uncoordinated, our littel one-legged distraction could not negotiate these stairs alone. I had to carry her up there in a very unlady like fashion. This continues to this day.

As an added extra bonus, this is the busiest time of year for her at work and she had to go in on Sunday 2nd Januaray and also the 3rd, which was a public holiday. Since it is her right foot that is fooked, she can't drive. I have to drive her in and then come back to pick her up at what ever hour is needed. Now, she has been allowed to work from home via her laptop while sitting on the couch. Which is why I can't play online poker or blackjack at the moment - because she has the little laptop running from the lounge nearly all the time.

So I guess it is time to cool my heels a little. Trying to organise a live game again in the near future, see how it goes. Other than that, the silly season is fully over and now back to the daily office grind.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

When a good read is a bad read

Ted Castellucci: Objection, Your Honor! The court is interested in the truth, not the opinion of the defendant's father.
Lenny: You want my opinion? My son is a moron.
Ted Castellucci: I withdraw my objection. Please proceed!
"Big Daddy"

Yes, I have actually played some poker since my last post. Real poker. Texas Holdem poker. I lost my buy-in on a $5 SNG (all in with suited big slick, lost to Qd7h with five diamonds on the board), then pulled out a win on a $15 one. Funny game, we're heads up and on a pretty ragged flop and turn, my opponent bets. I know he doesn't have crap, maybe overs at best but I only have top pair no kicker. I think I'll try a move here - raise. Due to my stack size though, there is only one decent raise I can make so I push. He thinks abuot it then calls. I show my K9 and he shows K8 - we both have a pair of kings and sixes with ten kicker. A split pot, but it means I now know he is full of crap. Eventually I check my set post flop and he bets out. I catch a boat on the turn and it is all over for him.

I decided to keep my poker goign and drop into a $20 tournament. I double up early when again my set becomes a boat. I hand around here for a while then look to make a move when holding QJ in the big blind I limp with 3 runners. The flop comes TJQ rainbow. Two pair is nice, not the nuts but nice none the less. One player bets and all the others fold. I look deep into his digital soul, and I am 99.9% certain he doesn't have big slick. I KNOW he doesn't have it. This was a brilliant read. On this table, I know he would have raised pre-flop with it if he did. I limped from the BB, so he has no idea what I might have. He doesn't have big slick, so maybe I can represent it and beat him holding an ace or king looking to draw to the nut straight. I went all in as the pot was already $700 plus his $300 bet and my $1400 stack. He called, and then confirmed my read. He didn't have big slick. He did only have the king and was looking to draw to the nut straight. Problem was, he ALREADY had the nut-1 straight. He was holding K9. I never improved and ended my tournament there. A little bit of a clumsy move, but you've got to live to learn.

Which brings me to the casino challenge.

A quick "Rounders" reference first. Matt Damon says "Your goal is to win one big bet an hour..." This refer's I think to live play poker. It however does not refer to online blakjack. Remember this for later. I had one of the most unbelievale runs at Casino on Net over the weekend.

I deposited $200 for the 100% bonus. Looking good, had a bit of trouble getting the entire 100% but it got there eventually. Since the WR is so high, I decided that I was allowed to break the rules here and bet above the minimum. My standard bet became $3, but $5 was not uncommon. Pretty soon I was down to just over $300, and the little voice started up again. I decided this was the hand where I would put out the big bet again. I pressed the black $100 chip and went forth.

I'am dealt a 3. Oh shit. Oh shit.

She's dealt a 5. Ok, that could have been worse.

I get an 8. Uh huh, this is both good and bad news. The good news is 11 against the dealer showing five is normally a very good position. The bad news is, as they say in "Swingers" you should always double on 11. I have to double to $200 on this one. But I did it damn it, I doubled to $200 and set my hopes on the next card.

My connection seems a little slow. This couldn't happen could it? Nope, here it comes...

Ten of diamonds. Or it could have been clubs, hearts or spades for all I remember. All I know is that I was dealt a ten. I had bet $200 and hit 21 against the dealer showing a five.

She flipped over her other card to show a 4. A 9 count, and here come the cards...

A deuce, shit, now it's 11 and a good chance for a push.

Another deuce, and into the not-so-lucky 13 spot. Looking good.

A seven, for a grand total of twenty, just one short of me again.

I drew in a deep breath, and then pu tout $3 for the next hand. Ove rthe weekend, I was able to build this up to $550 a few times and then it would drop back to $500 but rarely below. I would be more than happy to cash out at $500, that would be an awesome return but I just had to clear the WR which was $2K.

A quick tip here - some might disagree with this but it worked for me. I don't mind getting a "push" here and there. Sure, I'm not gaining any but I'm also not loosing and the WR is getting closer still. I got bored of blackjack and decided to try Pai-Gow poker. Out of the first 20 hands, I won 1 and lost 2, betting $10 per hand. That means I advanced the WR by $200 and lost only $10.50. That's not too bad methinks. I mean, I wouldn't like to do it for the entire bonus amount, but if you are looking to just get that WR up there wuickly without loosing too much, it seemed ok this time. The majority of the time I would win the low hand and loose the high or vice-versa. Just a thought for you all out there.

The WR was coming too slowly, and all I could think about was how much this would mean to my bank roll. Now, remember that "Rounders" quote from above? I didn't even know it was possible in blackjack, but I went on tilt. I lost hand after hand after hand. I would be dealt 18 and the dealer would get a four card 21. down and down it went, and then I doubled my bets. The streak continued and before long I was down to $200. Fuck that, this was just an unbelievable streak. I estimate 60 hands, he had BJ at least 10 times and I won only 2-3 hands. With the last $200, I put it ALL IN on the one hand. Surely, this was my time to learn my lesson and be spanked by the gambooling gods that had treated me so well.

I was dealt 16 as he showed a queen. Damn, was this sending a message or what? As my BJ strategy card says, this is a "hit" situation. So I did, and got a king to bust me out. He flipped over a 9 to show me it was a lost cause anyway.

So I busted out for the first time, and on the biggest deposit out of them all too. The good news is though my last casino went so well that I m stil very much in the black at the moment. I will continue on.

Read a great post over at
Uwannabet about a little chat log he was a part of. Very interesting game, and I say it shows that the gambling gods believe in karma.