Friday, April 29, 2005

This is rapidly turning into one of those days where I could have saved a lot of time and effort if I'd immediately gotten out of bed, grabbed a fork, and started jabbing it in my eye.

Busyness Abounds

Quick plug:

What: Omaha 8 Limit Tournament (Event #2 of 8)
When: Friday, April 29 9:00 PM C.S.T
Where: Noble Poker
Cost: $5
Tournament Name: Omaha
Tournament Password: hammer

I'm going to have to be AWOL yet again this week, due to the fact that my wife and I are going out on the town to celebrate our 6 month anniversary. Which is pretty crazy, in all sorts of ways, not the least of which is that she's still putting up with my monkey shenanigans and hasn't (yet) run screaming.

I like staying busy but, man, sometimes it gets to be a bit much. These days I can't help but look at my poor computer with an odd mixture of love and hate. Yes, you're very cool, and allow me to do many fun and profitable things. You're also always freaking there, reminding me constantly that there's yet another thing that needs doing. Such is life, I suppose.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

It Just Gets Better and Better

I just got out of a "coaching" session. Apparently at a meeting today I acted "negatively and in a destructive fashion" towards my fellow team members, deeply offending one of our team leads while he was trying to make a point.

I did all of this by slightly shaking my head from side to side.

Didn't realize that I had that much power, that a little head shake could carry so much clout.

I'm not sure how I can top this one, flexing my enormous, involuntary negative and destructive powers. I've stopped talking. Now I'll have to stop moving any of my extremeties in any fashion. I suppose I can shoot out eye beams of negativity, bombarding the unlucky soul sitting directly in front of me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Focus, Daniel-San, Focus...

Poker-wise, I've been all over the damn place lately. It's partly my own fault, as I haven't had as much time for the cards and the chips and the poker lately, so I end up running around willy and/or nilly, clearing a chunk of a bonus here, playing a MTT over there, mindlessly grinding out a Party reload, etc. It also doesn't help that I'm still doing the slightly schizophrenic split schedule, where 25% of my play is at 10/20 and the remaining 75% is grinding out bonuses at lower limits.

For some reason I enjoy causing myself pain, so I've been playing 2-7 Triple Draw on UB to clear my bonus there. Sweet merciful Jebus. That game is more frustrating than Razz at times, and I didn't think that was possible. I got my monkey arse handed to me playing 2/4 last night, at a short table where two of the monkeys would cap every hand pre-flop, and then both draw 4 cards the first round. That should be a recipe for a profitable session but I kept getting stuck with second best hands and they kept getting there, leaving me about -$200 for the session when I finally threw in the towel. Sweet...

I also played the Stud Bracelet Race satellite on Futile Bonus Tilt last night, which was a complete waste of $24. I got kneecapped pretty early when my straight went down in flames to a runner runner flush, and then the rapidly escalating blinds ate me up. Finished 80th or so. Sweet...

I did, though, manage to make it to Step 4 at Party in the WSOP Step SnGs. After toiling for forever in Step 1 I managed to run the table in three straight, winning to go to Step 2, winning the next one to go to Step 3, then winning that one to go to Step 4. I wish I could say it was due to my mad skillz but good lord, I was laying some monstrous suckout wood on people. Especially in the last one, as I was outchipped about 10-1 when it was heads-up and just started pushing with any two cards. Five hands in a row I had no better than 10 high and I won four, splitting one. Umm, sure, okay, I'll take it.

Many thanks to everyone who've stopped by to kick the tires at 'Tis very much a work in progress but I'll be fleshing it out a bit every day, especially on the forum side.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I'm a Big Wheel at the Cracker Factory

Work is literally inserting a straw into my brain and sucking it out, with much vigor.

My quarterly review is looming. For this I'm supposed to compile a document that contains both my primary Aspirations and my sub Aspirations. I must have 4 primary Aspirations and at least two sub Aspirations. I think that's about all I need to say about that.

My annual review is also looming. I honestly and truly, for the first time in my working life, have no idea what's going to happen. I'm not sure I can actually sit there and keep my mouth shut, when I'm told that while I greatly exceeded all of my personal performance metrics, my actual performance rating is quite low, due to my unwillingness to "lead with confidence on my own personal journey up the most Trusted mountain".

And, you know, they're right. I'm way too busy getting work done to spend much time charting my ascent up Mt. Trusty. This is true. Bingo.

I don't mind the insanity so much when I'm not required to actively participate; I mean, it's pretty damn amusing most of the time. Lately, though, they're getting increasingly jiggy about demanding that you jump right in there with your pick, boots, and caribiner, ready to start climbing. Well, no, not even that; that'd be actually doing something. The expecation is that you'll not really ever actually do anything, just that you'll sit in meetings and endlessly talk about what you think the best route is, what the weather might be, and just how damn excited you are to be climbing with such a great group of people.

I'm not sure what the over/under is on me making it until April 2006, as planned. If any of you Austinites see the old ButterKrust building in flames on the news, you'll know that I finally snapped and got the hell out of there with my trusty Swingline stapler.

Calling All Those Bitten by the Bonus Bug

Allrighty then. Announcement time.

As you should know by now, I likes me some bonuses. Poker bonuses, casino bonuses, I likes them all. This is partially due to my greedy monkey nature, but also due to the fact that for most people, bonuses are a great way to build and sustain a bankroll, especially when just starting out. I can say, without a single flicker of a doubt, that I'd never be where I am today if I didn't have bonuses to sustain me through the lean, frustrating times.

I've had a lot of good feedback about the poker and casino bonus guides I banged together, which led to lots of email exchanges with all sorts of folks. Which is cool, as I like feeling somewhat helpful, putting to use all this wacky knowledge I've accumulated from chasing bonuses on about 127 kajillion different sites.

One frustrating thing, though, is that I kept having the same conversations over and over and over. Which I don't mind personally so much, but it seemed a waste, as other people could have definitely profited from listening in, yet I didn't want to turn the ol' blog into a mouthpiece for just bonus related stuff.

So I decided to put together a website/forum, just for the sort of stuff. And finally, finally, it's finished enough to take off wrapping materials. Poker Bonuses, Casino Bonuses, Bingo Bonuses, Oh My!

Keep in mind that this is basically a beta release, and that it'll eventually look much slicker, you'll be able to sort by criteria, and all sorts of other cool jazz. I've also only added about 25% of the bonuses that will eventually be there, so there'll be many more bonuses added on an ongoing basis, as well as site reviews, etc.

The real meat of the site is (and will be) in the forums. I'll list breaking news on poker relaod bonuses there, new bonuses that crop up, trip reports for specific bonuses, as well as general advice and strategy for both poker and casino bonuses. The basic idea is to bring all the necessary info to make a ton of money from poker and casino bonuses into one place, so that people don't have to hop over here, hop over there, etc. to find what they're looking for.

Very soon I'll be adding a email bonus newsletter (likely weekly), as well as a monthly sweepstakes. You'll basically get one entry into the sweepstakes each month for being an active member on the board (at least one post), as well as one entry for every bonus you click through the links on the site and complete. At the end of the month all the entries will go into a hat and winners will get chip sets, KEM cards, gift certificates, etc. Still working out the final kinks but that'll be the basic format.

So, if you have a second, kick around the site a bit and let me know what you think. Like I said, it's still very much beta at this point, so any and all suggestions are greatly welcome. While part of me wanted to wait until I added more content, I also wanted to get this thing out the door so the tires could be kicked a bit.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Backseat Railbirds

I think fold equity is probably the least understood concept out there, as far as MTT and STT play. If you're grousing and moaning about getting bounced by that bastard who raised you with crap and got lucky and sucked out, you might want to read and absorb this:

The Importance of Fold Equity by Poker Nerd
First things first, big props to Bob, Patron Saint of Nut Cancer in taking first in the WSOP blogger satellite. I literally got home, fired up the computating device, and managed to log on and find the table just in time to see the very last hand. Nice work, sir, and congratulations.

I'm full of props (and coffee) this morning. Many thanks to those souls who made it to the O8 tourney at Noble on Friday night. Here be the top three finishers.

1) Heafy
2) Cardozer
3) salmonman

The second leg of these will run for eight tournaments, with mad, crazy prizes to the top 3 on the leaderboard at that point.

In other news, my yard officially kicked my ass this weekend. Kicked it good and proper. Phase 2 of the Great Landscaping Project is about to get started (with three tons of limestone being delivered this week), which meant that I had to, umm, finish up the lingering odds and ends of Phase 1, including finishing up the fish pond, shifting crushed granite around, and other assorted fun.

It's also our semi-annual Bulk Trash Day, that joyous time of the year when you drag and and all ungodly bulky trash to the curb and the poor schmucks who work for the city come and haul it away. They need to institute some sort of method of tipping those guys, as I always feel bad each time, leaving what looks like the mangled wreck of the Lusitania at the curb, only to have it all magically disappear. I'm proud to say that, once again, I retain the crown of Bulk Trash King in our neighborhood. Boo ya.

I got a little poker playing in this weekend, but not too much. I've been chipping away at a lingering UB bonus. Sort of slow going but at least it's going. I've finally gotten one of my many side poker projects nearly to the unveiling point, details coming soon.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Holyz Crizzap

So Party just added a new series of SnGs, called Step Highers. Just like the other Step SnGs they offer, but, umm, higher. The top one is a *cough* $15,000 + $500 buy-in (or you can start at the bottom for a $30 + $3 and win your way up). If you win at the top level, you pocket a cool $100K.

That's umm, a lot of money.

I Loves Me Some Fridays

Much poker to be played, seeing as today is my "telecommuting" day. Heh.

Party is at it again, with their monthly reload (20% reload up to $100 maximum bonus). Enter code BONUSAPR and play 7 raked hands for every $1 in bonus money within 7 days to receive the bonus. Bonus is valid from 12 AM April 22th through 11:59PM ET April 27th.

For you Omaha 8 fiends, the league tournament at Noble is a go for tonight, same time, same place.

When: Friday, April 22 9:00 PM C.S.T
Where: Noble Poker
Cost: $5
Tournament Name: Omaha
Tournament Password: hammer

I won't be able to make it tonight, as the wife and I are going out on the town, but hopefully much fun will be had. The plan for now is to extend the next series of tournaments out to 8, with crazy cool prizes (yet to be determined, but at least equivalent to the last batch, which was a decent overlay of about $150 smackers that I kicked in) awarded to the top 3 finishers on the leaderboard. I'm going to wipe the slate clean for the next series, as far as previous points, so that everyone gets a fresh start. Pushing it out to 8 tournaments should buy a little leeway if the tournaments don't make the minimum number of players every week, plus it'll bankrupt me slower. I kid, I kid...

Not much else shaking in my little world. We finally got our living room carpet replaced yesterday. Ended up spending a bit more than planned after getting suckered by the carpet salesman into getting slightly nicer carpet. Sadly I have to report that carpet is just like wine; no matter how much you try to pretend that cheap wine is just as good as the expensive stuff, umm, it ain't, not by a long stretch. Now the rest of the cheaper carpet in the house is going to develop an inferiority complex, and start sulking, listening to depressing music all the time, never coming out of its room...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Everybody's Working for the Weekend

I’m starting to get amused at my inability to get out of the Party WSOP Step 1 SnGs. I don’t have the exact stats in front of me, but I’ve played about 30 so far, and I’m still at Step 1. I’ve also only paid the actual $12 entry fee twice. So, umm, yeah. I suck, but I suck only enough to not win one of the freaking things. I’m at least getting a decent amount of play for my buckage, so there is that.

(To be fair, I’m having an odd streak of cards, as I’m a decent SnG player and I’m playing aggressively, I just can’t cobble together enough hands to win one. Yes, I know, still pitiful. Agreed.)

Got knocked out in a turbo satellite on Stars yesterday, two spots from getting a free entry into the $160 double shootout qualifiers they’re running for the WSOP main event. The BB (who’d built a huge stack and was folding his way for the last half hour to a seat in the bigger satellite) suddenly woke up from the BB when I pushed with AJs from the button. His hand? 82o. Umm, okay, thanks partner. I realize it was only 14K more for you to call, and that was only a fifth of your stack, but, umm, yeah, thanks a pant load. He of course flops two pair and I’m a bubble monkey.

So the wife and I have a prior engagement for Sunday night. Which of course is when the blogger satellite tourney for the $1,500 WSOP event in Vegas is. I briefly entertained the notion of begging off but the wife has been really, really understanding about all the degenerate time I’ve been logging lately, and this thing is more her deal than mine, so I just don’t think I can beg off, all things considered.

That said, there’s an outside chance we’ll be back in time for me to only be AWOL for a half hour or so. So I’m tempted to sign-up and hope I don’t blind off too far. Which is what I’ll probably do, as worst case scenario I’ll completely blind off and at least donate to a good cause.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Actually work on a draft of a post with some honest to Jebus poker strategy and what-not.

I was just cc'd on an email by a supervisor, to handle part of an update to our database and then pass it off to a co-worker, so that he can finish the rest. That co-worker hasn't worked here for two and a half years.

Don't let anyeone ever try to tell you that the corporate world isn't a lean, mean operating machine.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tuesday's Gone With The Wind

I've been at work for 5 hours and have been in meetings for 4.5 hours of that time. That math is all kind of messed up.

Work. Man. Isn't it time for the corporate world to go through some sort of paradigm shift in which acronyms are suddenly un-cool? Haven't we been neck deep in acronyms for too long? Please Jebus tell me that the corporate acronym market is, indeed, cyclical. 'Cause I'm going to cut loose with a monkey caterwaul if I have to keep balancing my LDP and LAP goals, balancing them against the S.M.A.R.T. methodology as I achieve my TIP aspiration.

Finally got off my monkey arse and updated the Omaha 8 league results for the first stage of tourneys. Drumroll please...

1st Prize ($60 + $25 Gift Certificate to Omaha Steaks ): grassdaq
2nd Prize ($25 + copy of High Low Split Poker, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha Eight-Or-Better by Ray Zee): peacecorn
3rd Prize ($15): Cardozer

Once again, congrats to all the winners, and many thanks to everyone who made it out for the tourneys. 'Tis truly appreciated and you are truly wonderful beings, each and every one of you. (Cardozer, if you're lurking out there, shoot me an email at so I can get in touch with you; grassdaq and peacecorn, I'll be getting in touch with momentarily as far as details of getting you your hard-earned prizes.)

As far as the Omaha 8 league moving forward, well, I'm not exactly sure. I was hoping we'd get more of a turnout and I feel bad that some people felt obligated to play the last few, just so that we had the minimum of 10 to get the tourney underway. Don't get me wrong, I like the league idea, and I'm more than happy to keep offering prizes. The tournaments are also automatically set up for us now every Friday at the same time, so there's no additional administrative work to do. Personally, I'd love to see them keep rolling, and like I said, I'll keep handing out assorted cool prizes. But if there's no demand, well, there's no demand, and I don't want to keep twisting assorted arms. So I'll likely let 'em sink or swim and see what happens the next few weeks. I'll post reminders here, and, by all means, come out and play, but, you know, don't feel obligated just because of little ol' me.

This has been posted elsewhere, but Ultimate Bet is offering another 50% reload bonus, up to $100, good until Wednesday April 20. For all you obsessive dataminers out there, there's also a new handy tool that lets you automatically import Ultimate Bet hands, as well as observed ones (just like on Party), available here at the PokerTracker forum.

I'm actually, gasp, about to catch up on assorted bonuses I had piled up everywhere. I worked off two lingering ones I had on PokerStars last night, finishing up with a tidy little profit when it was all said and done. That site baffles me sometimes, as far as the tight passive play, even at the short-handed tables. I swear to Jebus I pimped some poor dudes BB from the SB every single time, for like 20 orbits, and he never once called my raise. Not once. I'm not even sure he would have defended (unless he had KK or AA) if I told him, point-blank, that I was going to raise his BB every time no matter what two cards I had.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Degenerate Investing

I've mentioned it a few times, but I've been pretty good lately about drawing out poker profits each month and socking it away in either our savings or brokerage account. Most of it's gone into savings so far but I've been stepping up what I've been rolling into stocks lately. Money is money is money, but it definitely is satisfying rolling some of the crazy casino bonus money I've made into much more tangible things such as stocks, CDs, and savings.

Based on the very basic principle of investing in what you know, my first impulse was to stick to gaming stocks of assorted ilk. That plan got stalled a bit though when faced with the larger issue that traditional gaming stocks have been on a tear over the last few years, with many of them at or near 52 week highs. And yeah, business keeps booming in Vegas, and people will always love to gambool, but it's hard to see a ton of upside with the Harrah's and MGMs of the world.

It's also annoyingly hard to invest directly in poker, as your options are pretty limited (at least until Party floats an IPO, as has been rumored for awhile). WPT Enterprises is about as pure-play a poker stock as you can find, but that one's an odd bird in many ways. Yeah, it doesn't look like the poker bubble is about to burst immediately, but a P/E ratio of 282 isn't exactly overwhelming, or a ROE of 4.9%. It's also a low-float stock that yips and yaws around a lot, as momentum traders move in and out. Maybe they'll roll out their online poker site on time, maybe they'll make tons of money, maybe I'll kick myself for not buying into this one now, but to my monkey eyes this one looks overpriced at ~$15 share, with its underlying fundamentals and future growth potential.

I do, though, really like CryptoLogic, and have been loading the boat every chance I get, picking up shares when it drops below $30. Yes, granted, annoying software interface, but this company has pretty decent underlying fundamentals, with a forward P/E ratio of 20.34 and ROE of 22%. Better yet, the company's got no debt to speak and is sitting on roughly $80 million in cash. It has been on a tear the last two years, running up from 4 to 35, but I think there's still room for growth. Especially given the fact that poker revenues currently account for only 20-25% of sales, with its online casino licensees accounting for the bulk of revenues. The Crypto sites have been doing a good job of growing traffic, so there's some decent upside with their existing licensees, not to mention assorted legislation happening in the UK that could give CryptoLogic a leg up on new potential licensees setting up shop in the UK proper. This stock won't be a ten or twenty bagger but at some point within the next two years will hit $50/share.

I also broadened by definition of degenerate a bit to include "junk", and have been sinking some more bucks into New America High Income Fund. Now, first things first, high yield bonds (or junk bonds) have been on an unprecedented tear for the last two years, and all the macro economic factors point to taking whatever money you've made from them and running, as fast as you can. So why the hell am I not running, and instead picking up more? The New America High Income Fund is a bit of an odd bird for a fund, as it pays out a monthly dividend. Which, for the last year or so, has yielded 10.40% on an annual basis. The share price has stayed pretty stable lately, even with assorted economic specters looming, and I'm basically willing to gamble a bit and give it another 6-9 months to keep churning out nice monthly dividends that I sink into other equities.

I really wish I had a handle on NETeller. The speculative side of me says it's a good buy right now but it was ~700 just a week ago, and there's no apparent reason for the crazy downswing (or, honestly, no real reason for the crazy run-up that proceeded it, either). They just released 2004 results, which were pretty damn good across the board. I really can't see any downside here and they seem pretty uniquely positioned to capitalize off the poker boom without a lot of the normal risk or liability involved. Just for kicks, here are some general numbers from their 2004 AR:

New Daily Signups: 2,072
Total Members as of Dec. 31st: 1,251,031
Average daily receipts from members: $2,348,669
Average Fee per Member Dollar (i.e. what Neteller makes for each dollar you as a member transfer): $0.125

That last one is pretty insane, if you stop and think about it. NETeller pockets roughly 12.5% in fees (paid by online casino and poker sites) of the total amount of every deposit AND withdrawal you make. Which is pretty insane and not a bad business to be in.

I think I may have just talked myself into buying some NETeller stock, volatility be damned.

Some Sort of Poker Stuff About Poker

So yeah. Poker. Hmm.

More and more I find myself struggling with things to relate that I consider useful, as far as teh poker goes. This wasn't always the case, as I used to regularly opine about things such as table selection, analyzing betting tendencies, site selection, and other assorted meta poker issues. Lately, though, I gots nothing, when I sit down to insert words into this blog thing.

It's not that I'm not playing much; I am. It's not that I'm in a poker funk; I'm not. Other than quick and dirty bonus clearing here and there, I've been sitting 10/20 on a regular basis and doing well.

And therein lies the rub, methinks. There's just really not a whole lot to say, when you get over the rush of moving up in limits, when you realize that you're playing with the same monkeys, that the only thing different is that the chips equate to more virtual dollars. And it doesn't take long to become numb to even that, to some extent. On the flip side, grinding out an Empire reload at 4 shorthanded 1/2 tables is just a mindless exercise of alternately clicking the raise and fold buttons thousands of times.

Here's the real problem. I'm not a great poker player. I'm just not. Yes, granted, I'm a pretty good poker player. I've studied enough and ground through enough hands to assemble a decent little bag o' tricks and skillz and bankroll that enables me to play poker and make pretty decent money. Which is very cool and is something I'm very grateful for.

But at the end of the day I'm also a lazy monkey, in many ways. Give me a nice little comfort zone and I stay pretty firmly esconced in it. Even thought I fully recognize the dangers of stasis, I can't help but shrug a bit lately when confronted by it. If what I'm doing is working, well, you know, cool.

Which I guess, by and large, is just a long-winded quasi backwards apology. Things are going well in the poker world for me lately but by and large not very conducive to thought-provoking posts.

In other news, many thanks to everyone for making it to the Noble O8 tourney on Friday night. I'll post the final leaderboard standings later tonight, but congrats to grassdaq for taking down first place and th juicy prize money and steaks that accompany it. nice work, good sir.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Sweet, Sweet Friday, How I Love Thee

One quick last plug. Be there or be square.

When: Friday, April 15 9:00 PM C.S.T
Where: Noble Poker
Cost: $5
Tournament Name: Omaha
Tournament Password: hammer

Mrs. ScurvyDog is going to be representing the ScurvyDog clan tonight, playing under the handle "sarahys". Due to my mad Omaha skillz, I thought it best to sit out myself, so that you other kids win the crazy cool prizes. While I hate to jinx it my mentioning such possibilities, on the off chance that we don't get 10 peeps signed up to play in the tournament (if you don't have a minimum of ten it's cancelled), look for sarahys sitting at a Omaha limit table, and we'll work out details for a SnG or something similar for those cool folks who do make it out. But hopefully we'll have plenty show for the tournament and all will be well.

In other news, I broke down and started playing the Party WSOP Steps SnGs. I've played nine so far and am still at, cough, Step 1. On the bright side, I've only paid to enter once, and have finished 2nd five times, 3rd twice, and 4th twice. it's been an odd run, as I'm really not wussing out, and playing to win, but can't get over the hump to actually win one. For the most part I just play safe early and let the crazies knock themselves out, ratcheting up the aggression when it gets down to 5-6 left. In all but 2 or 3 of them I've had a decent shot at winning, just haven't had the cards fall right.

I also got my withdrawal from Gamesgrid back in Neteller in less than 24 hours, for all of you kids possibly on the fence about depositing for their 1000% bonus. Remember, putting "scurvydog" in as your referral when you sign up basically guarantees that you'll not only never suffer from micropenis, but that you'll also one day finally discover just how many licks it does take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Friday, Hurry Yo' Damn Ass Up

Longest. Week. Ever.

Quick little post, before I run off to yet another meeting at work in which I sit silently, mouth clamped shut for fear of saying something unprofessional, drawing cartoons of exploding monkey heads and rocket cars blasting across the alkali flats.

So this Friday is the last leg of the Omaha 8 tourney league at Noble Poker. Here are the details for the tourney Friday night:

When: Friday, April 15 9:00 PM C.S.T
Where: Noble Poker
Cost: $5
Tournament Name: Omaha
Tournament Password: hammer

This one is for all the dang marbles, kiddos. The big bucks. Remember, top 3 finishers on the leaderboard after this tourney win the following, amazing, head-exploding prizes:

1st place: $60 + $25 Gift Certificate to Omaha Steaks
2nd place: $25 + copy of High Low Split Poker, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha Eight-Or-Better for Advanced Players by Ray Zee
3rd place: $15

In case you're curious, here's the current top ten on the leaderboard:

1) grassdaq: 154.88 points
2) scurvydog: 142.99 points
3) NYLds: 137.85 points
4) peacecorn: 137.45 points
5) LucidMoment: 125.57 points
6) salmonman: 118.58 points
7) tobyleah: 111.26 points
8) SophiesMuse: 100.32 points
9) MrSquirrel: 96.35 points
10) 1rainbow1: 91.61 points

Aside from the always fun blogger banter, if you played last week you even got to stare at AlCan'tHang's generous cleavage for the entire night, which was easily worth the price of admission in and of itself.

I'm working on some additional booby prizes (haha, I'm so punny) for this week, to reward all of you people that rock who've supported the tourneys thus far. 'Cause, you know, you rock.

Meeting time. I will not use the word "sucks", I will not use the word "sucks", I will not use the word "sucks"...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Poker and Psychology

Pretty damn interesting article on the psychology behind enduring bad beats and what-not here, at

Being Beyond Pain by Lou Krieger

I'm always a sucker for stuff like that, as I find the psychological underpinnings of poker endlessly fascinating.

I forget exactly where I saw it (somewhere out there in the poker blogsphere, I think a thread on 2+2), but there was an interesting related discussion, touching on the long-term effects of playing poker and serotonin levels in your monkey brain. The basic theory was that when you first start playing, your brain supplies you with a nice jolt of serotonin when you do well, making you happy happy. So while you also suffer the inevitable bad beats and suckouts, the feelings of anger and depression caused by them are always mitigated by the serotonin-fueled joy when you win.

The problem is that you start developing a tolerance to the happy happy serotonin producted by winning at poker over time. What used to bring you great joy only produces a half-hearted golf clap in your brain. At the same time, though, you never really develop a tolerance or immunity to the pain caused by suckouts and bad beats. So you continue to get the anger and rage and depression, when the cards run cold, without any of the happy happy upswings. The real danger is that you start pressing too hard, playing limits that are above your bankroll in a misguided attempt to recapture the magic you used to feel when raking in what seemed like big pots at the time.

Forgive me for likely butchering a lot of that, but it rings pretty true to my monkey ears. I fall prey to this more on the casino side of things, not content to book a nice little profit of $75, pushing harder, and harder, and harder, until, well, you know... But I have to admit to occasionally experiencing the same at the poker tables, to a lesser extent. I'm pretty good at keeping it in check, and being mercenary and focused about why exactly I'm playing, but it is a hard battle, as some of the simple joy leaks away, and you sit there pressing clacking buttons, over and over, doing nothing but capitalizing on the general ignorance of other people who push the same clacking buttons, just not as optimally.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Little of This, Little of That

Played a little more on GamesGrid yesterday. Still on the fence, by and large. I don't mind the fact that it's still extremely low-traffic and hard to find a table, as I can usually work around that and am not of the school of thought to obsess too much about table selection at smaller limits, by and large. The bonus clears fairly slowly, somewhere between the glacial rate at FullTilt and Paradise. Actually, it's pretty dang close to Paradise, as far as the speed and fashion it clears at.

My biggest gripe is that the software is pretty slow, as far as action at the table. For some reason it is coded to take forever to deal the damn flop, and the action buttons don't always seem to work at first click. Total hands per hour were really low when I was playing, like in the 20-40 hand/hour range at a full table. Which is pretty meh in my book. So yeah. Meh.

I'll likely hang around and chip away at the bonus when bored, as it is a decent bonus, and not a bad one to lock in if the site takes off and the games/software improves. I went ahead and chunked in $500 for the full $5,000 bonus, just to lock it in in case they lower it after their grand opening. I'm going to withdraw most of that deposit later today and will report back as far as cashout time to Neteller, etc.

Not much shaking elsewhere. I got a nice schwag package from Absolute in the mail yesterday, containing a deck of promotional cards and a decent baseball cap and polo shirt. I'd deposited a goodly bit a week or two ago to build up points for their freerolls and I guess I tripped some sort of high roller (ha) threshhold, as I got a phone call offering the care package and a free entry into a WSOP satellite later in the month.

So far I've managed not to play any online WSOP satellites, but I'll definitely be hitting up the blogger one for the $1,500 event in Vegas. This sounds arrogant, and honestly, I don't mean it as such, but I've avoided the online WSOP main event satellites for the very dumb reason of not knowing what the hell I'd do, if I did indeed win a seat in the main event. I think I'd have to hock it and take the $10,000 in cash, as much as that would pain me, as the odds would strongly indicate that's by far the most +EV option. But it'd cause me great monkey pain to do that, passing up a free (sort of) shot at the main event.

Yeah, I know. I'll just shut up now and return to debating in my head whether or not being married to Jessica Alba would be worth the hassle of having to lug around a fat, heavy wallet all the time, along with the necessary beating stick to keep all the gawking, slobbering CroMags in line whenever we went out in public.

Monday, April 11, 2005

GamesGrid Poker

As if there aren't enough poker sites out there, lo and behold, GamesGrid Poker.

I was a little suspicious, as there have been assorted attempts to shill for the site on 2+2, but so far it looks pretty legitimate. The poker room has only been open for a few days, so it's still extremely low-traffic, but they seem to be making good on the promtions thet're offering, which include a 1,000% signup bonus (yes, kids, you read that right, a $5,000 bonus on a $500 deposit), as well as a frequent player program that pays you hourly if you play more than 10 hours/week on the site.

The bonus is released in increments of $5, with 365 days to clear the full bonus amount. You get points towards clearing the bonus for being dealt cards in a hand that's eventually raked, so you don't have to contribute to the pot, as is the case with some slower bonuses. That said, it's pretty slow to clear, especially at lower limits. I haven't been able to find a game in anything higher than 2/4, so I don't know if it clears faster at higher limits.

You can also withdraw most of your deposit, leaving just enough to play, so you're not tying up a bundle of money in a new, low-traffic site. Software interface is decent enough. it's kind of different, though, and the flop is dealt painfully slow, so if you don't like "different" interfaces (i.e. non-Party interfaces), you probably won't like this one.

While the poker room is brand spanking new, the site has apparently offered backgammon since 1997, so it's not a completely new operation.

I played a bit yesterday and will probably hang around, as the games are pretty dang soft. Very low traffic right now, so be forewarned, but it's only been open for a few days, so hopefully that'll improve.

If you give it a shot, feel free to put "scurvydog" in as the referral nickname. If you do, you'll be blessed with great luck and fortune and your toast shall always fall butter side up.

Search Terms that Make You Want to Claw Your Eyeballs Out

Umm, whoever is looking for "Sklansky gigolo" and keeps finding my blog, erm, there's nothing here to help you in your quest for whatever in the world you're questing for. I'm just going to pretend I didn't even see that little gem of a search in my logs.

In depressing and completely and utterly horrible news, my previous step-mom (wife #4 of my dad's five wives) died last Friday. From the fucking flesh eating virus. In Cookeville, Tennessee. Part of me still can't get all of that through my head. They originally thought she had the flu when she went to the hospital, sent her home, thought she had strep when she came back, sent her home, and finally realized what it was the third time around. They amputated her left leg, then wanted to amputate the rest of her limbs when it kept spreading, but her family didn't want to put her through that, and she didn't want to live like that, so they rolled the dice with the ~5% chance that her body could fight it off, and lost. Despite she and my dad not getting along on a permament basis, she was a very, very cool woman, and was always very kind to me, and definitely did nothing to deserve such a terrible bad beat.

In happier news, I didn't play much poker at all this weekend. Blasphemy, I know, but I'm developing a bit of a case of burnout, as far as the computers go. Not so much poker specifically, but just sitting in front of a damn computer all the damn time. It doesn't really help that my day job consists of that, and nothing but that. Then I usually go home and put in at least 2-3 more hours at home, sitting in front of other damn computers. And then I get up at 7 on the weeken and sit in front of a damn computer for even more hours.

So yeah. The wife and I drove out to San Saba on Saturday, as part of a dual purpose trip to go look at wildflowers and check out the San Saba area, as far as potentially moving their someday and buying a miniature donkey ranch. While I think I'd very much like living out in the fairly remote Hill Country country, San Saba leaves a lot to be desired. But we had fun driving around, getting lost, so it was a good time, all in all.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Thank Jebus It's Saturday

Many thanks to the bloggers (and non-bloggers) who made it out to the Omaha league tourney last night at Noble last night. We had a much lower turnout but the quality more than made up for the quantity.

Congrats to NYLyds on the win, coming back from a chip and a sitting implement to win the whole dang thing.

Here are the top ten finishers from last night, followed by the updated top ten for the league as a whole.

Top Ten Finishers for Tournament #3

1) NYLyds
2) grassdaq
3) tobyleah
4) peacecorn
5) TripJax
6) SophiesMuse
7) sarahys
8) aboutmattlaw
9) Cardozer
10) alcanthang

(As always, if I missed any links to blogs, lemme know and I'll hook you up.)

And here be the current top ten, as far as total leaderboard points:

1) grassdaq: 154.88 points
2) scurvydog: 142.99 points
3) NYLds: 137.85 points
4) peacecorn: 137.45 points
5) LucidMoment: 125.57 points
6) salmonman: 118.58 points
7) tobyleah: 111.26 points
8) SophiesMuse: 100.32 points
9) MrSquirrel: 96.35 points
10) 1rainbow1: 91.61 points

One more of these to go (next Friday, same time, same place) and we'll wrap the first series of these up. Who's going to take home the top prize and be chowing down on Omaha steaks? Is that bastard scurvydog going to continue to rig the events in his favor? Only time will tell...

Friday, April 08, 2005

Save Me From the Chirping Crickets

Last reminder/shameless plug. Omaha 8 limit league tourney tonight at Noble, 9:00 CST. I'll be a bit incognito, as I don't want that bastard scurvydog to end up on top of the leaderboard and pose a moral quandry for myself. But yeah, good times, good prizes for the top 3 at the end of the first leg, all that good stuff.

I have to go get a haircut. I hate getting haircuts. My damn hairline's been receding since I was about 13 years old (truly), but it keeps hanging on in that annoying in-between stage, where it's still kind of there, obviously fleeing the scene but not quite desperate enough to just shave it all off and frighten small children and dogs with my big, lumpy shaved noggin'. Hair is one of those things that I value and worry about right about at the same degree as worrying about whether Proust is an overrated writer (yes), or if Top Gun is a better movie than Cocktail (no). But now I get to go and feign interest in said hair, nodding and smiling, and pay $15 for the privilege.

That's about all I have. Exciting, exciting stuff. Yep.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Omaha 8 Limit Tournament: Part Tres

Allrighty then. As the wise philosopher Tone Loc once set, "Let's do it."

What: Omaha 8 Limit Tournament
When: Friday, April 8 9:00 PM C.S.T
Where: Noble Poker
Cost: $5
Tournament Name: Omaha
Tournament Password: hammer

The first leg of the fledgling league is at its halfway point, and this'll be the 3rd of 4 initial tournaments. After the fourth tournament the top three finishers on the leaderboard get the following prizes (in addition, of course, to the admiration and awe of Omaha 8 players throughout the universe):

1st place: $60 + $25 Gift Certificate to Omaha Steaks
2nd place: $25 + copy of High Low Split Poker, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha Eight-Or-Better for Advanced Players by Ray Zee
3rd place: $15

Really kids, that's a pretty decent overlay. And the scoring system I'm using makes it very easy to make up ground, even if you haven't played in a single tourney in the league so far. Couple of good finishes in the last two and you might be right there, chomping on a nice steak, smoking a fine Cuban Swisher Sweet.

While we've had an awesome turnout for the first two (clocking in at 100 or so for the last one), they were both freerolls, with this one being the first buy-in. Despite my simian bluster at times, at heart I'm just a shy, shy monkey. I mean, I'm no Iggy, who can muster the organizational powers of the Dwarf Teamster Union, ensuring that hordes and hordes of players show up for tournaments. I still have that lingering fear that I'll be sitting in the tournament room this Friday night by myself, with crickets chirping, watching an A-Team re-run on TVLand.

So if you can make it out for the tourney, you'd have my undying, everlasting gratitude (plus I'll buy you drinks at Vegas in June). It's just 5 measly dollars to buy in, which is less than a Hardee's Frisco ThickBurger combo.

And yeah, I know, yet another poker site to sign up with. And I apologize for that. Truly. But Noble Poker has been very, very cool in organizing all of this (even providing that custom snazzy banner to the right), and, honestly and truly, I do recommend playing at their site. They've recently upped their signup bonus to 100% match, up to $500, which is the largest signup bonus out there that you can actually clear in a reasonable amount of time. I know the interface takes a little getting used to, especially the way it handles multiple tables, and yeah, if you play during non-peak hours your game choice may be limited, but the games are really, really soft. That plus the crazy signup offer makes playing there pretty solidly +EV, especially if you work in your play during down times on other sites you frequent.

If there's enough support for the whole league thang in general, I'd like to extend the idea to Razz, Stud, and Triple Draw. More and more I enjoy playing variants that are a bit off the beaten trail, especially if it's a tournament or something similar to stoke the competitve fires.

In closing, hope to see you there on Friday night. And many thanks to everyone who's shown their support so far. I've said it before but I'll say it again: ya'll rock.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Clone a Monkey Inc.

No, really. The only way I'll ever completely catch up on everything that needs doing is through a combination of monkey clones and an old-school sweatshop, complete with consumption-ridden, knock-kneed eight year old street urchins with Cockney accents, slaving away, grinding out poker bonuses for me.

Guess what time it is? Time for me to give away free money, for no reason whatsoever, other than to encouraging all of you poker blogging fools to think deeply and be funny. Each winner gets $25 deposited into the poker account of their choice.

The Deep Thinker Award in Poker Blogging: April 2005

-EV at A Fool and His Money

Despite a brief abandonment of the virtual tables early in the month, -EV came through strong with solid posts on table selection, finding the fish, and the Hold 'Em Player 5 minute Guide to Razz.

The Laugh Yo' Monkey Ass Off Award in Poker Blogging: April 2005

Al at AlCan'tHang

SoCo-fueled hijinks + occasional MonkeyBoy sightings = good time fun. BoyGenius definitely gets an assist, though, as the email exchange positing desert island survival tactics and the relative merits of Jessica Simpson versus Catherine Bach (dude, Catherine Bach > Jessica Simpson, hands down) is a classic.

Nice work, gentleman, and congratulations. Either leave me a comment with your screenname at a player-to-player transfer-friendly poker site or shoot me an email at with the same info to collect yo' winnings.

I'd been on a nice little sportsbetting run until last night, when the Illini let me down. My gut was telling me to go with Carolina but I couldn't resist Illinois +3. Stupid gut.

HumanHead had the very brilliant suggestion of making card protectors, with my new-found welding skillz. Which I think could be pretty amusing, given what you normally see. I mean yeah, sure, most of the ones you can buy are slick, professionally done, engraved with logos and what-not, but there's gotta be funny stuff I could do. I could pretty easily cut out some spade symbols, out of 3/8 polished steel, which would be pretty cool looking methinks. Or a 2-D hammer, in profile. Hmm.

I sat down for a quick hit and run session yesterday at Absolute, sitting at a 5/10 shorthanded table. It's been quite awhile since I've played that site, but, in short, good lord. Previously I'd just ground out bonuses at 1/2, never even observing higher limits. I imagine it was just a strange cosmic alignment of unseen forces, but one of the players in the game I sat yesterday was, hands down, one of the worst players I've seen in quite awhile. He kept misreading the board, in addition to getting his panties in a wad because he was certain that he should have split the pot twice with his smaller flush, since, you know, a flush is a flush, even if the other guy has the A of the suit and you only have a 4 of the suit. And no, he honestly wasn't being sneaky and building a table image. He'd call pre-flop with any two cards and call all the way to the river, at which point he would only fold if he completely missed; if he had a pair of any sort, he'd call the river, too. He never raised. Not once. He never folded pre-flop. Not once. I watched him burn through about $750 in the half hour or so he played before leaving.

I just can't, for the life of me, imagine the circumstances that would lead to someone that bad playing 5/10 shorthanded on Absolute. Party, maybe, sure, due to their advertising and wider reach. But how in the world do you wander into Absolute and, for kicks and grins, decide to play 5/10, when you barely know how to play to begin with? Craziness...

Monday, April 04, 2005

Bite Me, Monday

So I've been sitting here for awhile, trying to think of something vaguely interesting and/or poker-related. And boy howdy, am I ever failing miserably.

I actually didn't play too much poker this weekend. What little I did play was on Absolute, wonder of wonders. I've been depositing to build up reward points for the bigger freerolls they're running, so I thought what the hell, and ended up clearing a little bonus money there. I'm always a bit surprised when I play there, as I don't think the site deserves the bad rap it gets at times. Yeah, the software is no bueno, yeah, bonus money doesn't clear at Party rates, yeah, there aren't 282,183 players online at any given time. But it's not THAT bad and they hand out bonuses like so much Monopoly money.

The only poker nugget I can extract from this weekend is that calling stations like to call. No, really. They're not ever going to fold that third pair (or fourth pair, or fifth pair). No amount of betting will get them to lay down their hand, if they catch the tiniest sliver of the board. It's a matter of principle for them, not volume. The decision to call or not is solely based on whether they have a pair of any sort, with no consideration whatsoever given to the size of the bet they face. For some reason I have the hardest time with dedicated calling stations in NL games, as I can't seem to get it through my donkey head that they will never, ever fold or be pushed off a hand.

Most of the weekend got sucked up into assorted house chores, as far as yard cleanup, house cleanup, mountains and mountains of laundry, and other assorted big-time fun activities. Really exciting stuff. Which is doubly so when you have to read about it.

Welding class was pretty damn cool yesterday, as we got to play with a plasma cutter for the first time. I've got a couple of projects in the works, including a funky clock and a frame that'll turn a huge slab of leftover patio stone into a coffee table/bench. Probably a coffee table, as it looks like I'll have to buy a 4x4 sheet of new steel for it, which is sort of pricy and is going to be fairly detailed, so I'm not inclined to leave it outside to rust and get shat upon by the birds that seem to think our backyard belongs to them.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Ultimate Bet, Empire, and InterPoker Bonus News

The good bonus news:

UltimateBet is offering a one day only 50% reload bonus, valid today, April 1. Deposit $200 to get the maximum $100 bonus.

Assorted rumors point towards an Empire reload coming out on April 6th, 25% reload bonus up to $150, 10x raked hands to clear it. This may or may not happen but the details have been live on the Empire site at various times, so odds are good it'll go live.

The bad bonus news:

InterPoker just raised the hand requirement for its monthly bonus, up to 8x. While the bonus this month is 100% bonus match up to $100, you'll have to play 800 hands to clear it (as opposed to the normal 5x or 500 hands that applied in the past). No word on whether this is a permanent change but more than likely it is.

Thank Jebus It's Friday

First things first, no Omaha 8 tourney action going on tonight. I repeat, no Omaha 8 tourney action tonight. Just taking a wee break for a week, then back in action next Friday.

I wish PokerTracker would let you flag sessions with beer mug or blunt icons, to track your play under, umm, altered conditions. I've been depositing at Absolute to take advantage of the 20% reloads they've been offering the last few days, and had a decent chunk of money sitting in the account last night when I sat down, eating what might have been the absolute best tasting ice cream sandwich in the history of ice cream sandwiches. For some reason it seemed a good idea to sit at a $10/$20 short-handed table. Twenty minutes later it seemed like a good idea to go to bed, up nearly $800.

So, umm, yeah. March was officially a really good month. I'm honestly not sure to handle this, as far as posting crass results and what-not. They're also a bit misleading, as I'm including poker/casino/affiliate profits, and that sort of skews the results. Maybe I'll just stick with general trends and related observations from both the last month and the YTD.

1) Pound for pound, the Cryptos (InterPoker, PokerPlex, Will Hill, TotalBet, and UKBetting) continue to be the most profitable for me, for both the month and YTD. Not only are these some of the best bonuses out there, but the player base is the easiest to extract profit from. Yep. Even more so than Party.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that the Cryptos draw players in from the attached casinos, but I think there's also a more subtle trend occuring. I can't help but think the ability to data mine from observed tables on Party/Party skins is having an effect on the overall profitability of players. Simply put, the logical result of that is that fishier players will go broke faster (due to showing up on the radar of assorted data-mining sharks). A corollary effect is that even winning players will have more pressure put upon them as trends in their own play become apparent to those willing to voraciously data mine observed hands (or subscribe to services that do the same).

With that in mind, it seems a no-brainer to play off the grid, as far as data mining observed hands, as long as you can find equally ripe pickings. For myself, the pickings are just as ripe at the Cryptos. So that's where I be.

2) This is the first month I've logged enough hands at limits > $5/10 to draw any sort of meaningful conclusions. My results have been pretty good, but the real encouraging trends go beyond pure profits. All of that frustrating grinding at lower limits really does pay off. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the same game that can show a loss over thousands of hands at 1/2 can be a solid, winning game at 10/20 and above. Tight, solid, aggressive play can't always overcome the schooling effect at lower limits, especially against loose, passive calling stations. That exact same play, though (once you adjust to the amped up aggression, especially pre-flop and on the flop), can be very profitable at higher limits.

Long story short, don't be discouraged if you're studying, reading, analyzing your play, and still not making much head-way at lower-limits, as far as profits go. In the long run you'll get there, if your game is solid, and the dividends will only increase as you move up limits.

3) I would highly recommend setting up a plan to regularly withdraw and invest a portion of your winnings each month. For me, it's more a psychological trick than anything, but it keeps me much more focused amisdt the grinding out of hands, knowing that even a +$2.67 day, after three hours of play, is a positive contribution into a monthly chunk of money that's going into a Vanguard fund (which has the potential to become a much larger sum of money 20 years from now).

I think a lot of success in poker is internal smoke and mirrors, as far as finding a way to trick yourself into ignoring the short-term stings of bad beats and suckouts, to divorce yourself from all of the factors that lead to a visit from the Tilt Monster, solely focusing on playing each individual hand optimally. It's helped me a lot to formalize the reward part of that feedback loop, as far as withdrawing and investing a certain amount of profits each month, instead of just letting it accumulate in an amorphous fashion in my online bankroll.

4) Casino bonuses can be a poker player's best friend. They're not for suckers and they're not -EV. If you're disciplined and stick to the game plan, you can pad your poker bankroll with hundreds (and yes, even thousands) of dollars. Call me Shilly McGee, but it's true. I've got the Neteller balance to prove it.

5) It's the golden age of poker bonuses. If you're not always playing with a pending bonus, you're leaving money on the table.

6) PokerTracker is the best thing since sliced bread. If you don't already have a copy, get one. Just do it. Then get a copy of Poker Tracker Guide and you'll be armed for chip-flingin' bear.

7) Variance is a bitch. No matter what level you play, if you play long enough, you'll have scrotum-shrinking stretches when nothing goes your way and all you do is bleed money. Ain't nothing to do about that but expect it, cuss at it when it smacks you upside the head, and keep getting back on the horse, no matter how many times you get thrown off.