Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Boo Empire

So Empire decided to be ass monkeys and reverse the $500 match bonus that was available yesterday. Which isn't completely surprising, as that was too fat a bonus to be completely intentional on their part, especially since it wasn't advertised anywhere and, for all intent and purposes, not meant to be offered to the general public. Their official excuse is that it was a "system error".

Here's the rub, though. They did send a confirmation email when you deposited using the code, which spelled out the terms, conditions, etc. So it wasn't a complete glitch, as they'd already set up a system of some sort to deal with that bonus. What's worse is that in the email they sent out, rescinding the bonus, they try to claim that they're sorry, and as a token of their appreciation they're "rewarding" people who signed up for that bonus a replacement HOTSEP bonus, which is a 10% up to $100 bonus.

Except the ass monkeys immediately applied that replacement bonus to your last deposit. So if you deposited $500 to take advantage of the $500 match, you only get $50 for the HOTSEP bonus. You don't have the option to deposit $1,000 to take advantage of the full bonus. It's already done. To add further insult to injury, the HOTSEP bonus is available to any Empire member, and advertised on the log-in page. So not only is it not exclusive, to make up for their being ass monkeys and reversing the $500 bonus, but they force you to qualify for only half the potential bonus. To be fair, they're waiving the raked hand requirements for the HOTSEP bonus, but most people chasing the $500 bonus weren't exactly worried about that anyway.

But it gets better. Apparently if you signed up for their VIP program and signed up for the $500 bonus, you get to keep $400 of the bonus they offered and confirmed but claim they never meant to actually offer. And yeah, sure, being a VIP should be worth something, but I can't help but see it as another form of ass monkery. That's not how you treat customers, especially when there are plenty of online forums for people to post on.

I honestly don't mind losing the bonus, as things that are too good to be true often are. But their handling of this is pretty damn poor.

On the bright side, I had a good run of cards and was +$140 last night on Empire, not including any bonuses, so I can't really gripe. It just annoys me when online companies that rely heavily on promotions play loosely with the rules, backing out when it could cost them too much money with no real explanation or concern, and not really thinking through half-assed attempts at remediation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Empire Reload Bonus

The Grubster gets credit for this catch, but all you bonus whores should check out Empire's latest reload bonus. 100 percent up to $500 using the bonus code MATCHBONUSEP. You get 30 days to work off 2500 raked hands. I don't know how long this bonus will last but I just did it 15 minutes ago and the code is still good. Cha-ching.

It's Been Tuesday all Week and it's Tuesday Again

Not the best showing as far as football pickin', but not the worst. 8-6 overall and 3-1 on money games. That brings me to 27-19 for the year overall, and 10-2 in the ones that really count. I like how the season is shaping up so far. Last year was my worst handicapping year ever but this time around I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on things. Now if the freaking Chiefs would stop killing me every week I'd be set.

Not much shaking in the world of poker. I've been playing a decent amount of Omaha and dipping my toes back into the Party $25 NL waters. My small monkey mind is still regularly boggled by the play that goes on at the $25 NL tables. I know it's blasphemy but it's almost too fishy for my liking. Omaha still makes me giggle at times. I've been good about tagging the fishes that play low limit Omaha at Party, as there aren't a ton of them, so it's much easier to identify and track them down. The funny thing is that I'm starting to feel sorry for a few of them, as they continue to not adjust to the fact that what are normally decent hold 'em hands get the crap kicked out of them in Omaha. And happens over and over and over. And I just shake my head. Dude, that pair of aces isn't going to hold up, not now, not ever, no matter how many raises you slam in there, and keep slamming. My home improvement projects appreciate your money but come on, dawg, really...

SSH has already paid for itself, which is cool. I've still got a few internal quibbles with some of the sections but it's definitely been a worthwhile read, especially in two broad areas. I definitely had fallen into the trap of discounting gut shot straight draws far too often, regardless of the pot size. I basically insta-mucked them, which isn't the worst sin but definitely not good poker. Seeing the actual odds and math and what-not was pretty eye-opening, as they aren't always the huge dogs I assumed they were. They've also got extra value when they do hit, as not only do they hit big, but they advertise fish to the whole table.

The other big leak that has been repaired is that I folded far too often to one bet on the river, when I assumed I was beaten. Again, it was mainly just the blind adoption of assorted poker credos we somehow pick up along the way (never chase gutshots, know when to fold 'em, etc.) but there's a lot to be said for calling one last bet if you have any chance in hell of winning a big pot. I've found this to really be true in Omaha, as far as calling with two pair (on a board that hasn't paired). In any given hand you'll have someone betting a flush draw or a straight draw (or both), along with people who flop a set and bet hard, etc. I find myself limping with two pair a good bit, trying to fill the boat and missing. In the past I'd almost always muck at the river, even if there was no flush potential on the board, but that's a pretty bad play. With the average Omaha pot size you only need to win 1 out of 10 hands to make it +EV to call one last bet on the river, even with marginal hands.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Friday Friday

Currently having my ass handed to me in PL Omaha. Such is life.

Re-reading SSH and WLLHE. It's time well spent, in many ways, if for no other reason than to confirm that I'm not that far away from where I want to be. My biggest hole right now (other than not being aggressive enough pre-flop with raises) is not raising enough early with a probable second best hand at the moment in order to eliminate opponents, thus improving overall odds to take down the pot. For whatever reason my monkey brain has a hard time getting itself around that concept. I understand the maths but it just doesn't make intuitive sense to me.

So last week I went 9-7 on my NFL picks, and 3-1 in the money games. For the season, that puts me at 19-13 and 7-1 in the games I actually wagered on. Not too shabby. Here be the picks for this week, money games first.

Detroit Lions +3.5 Philadelphia Eagles

I have no clue what's up with this. Yes, Detroit is 2-0, yes, they tend to play better at home, yes, they're better than in recent years. But in response to all that I can only say: EAGLES EAGLES EAGLES!

Washington Redskins -2.5 Dallas Cowboys

Have you actually watched the Redskins play? I like Joe Gibbs a lot but the Skins just aren't a very good football team right now. They might be, later in the year, but I think the Cowboys handle them pretty easily with the Tuna getting them fired up for a Monday night football appearance.

Minnesota Vikings -9.5 Chicago Bears

I usually shy away from ginormous spreads but I think the Vikings will beat the crap out of the Bears. Bears secondary has been decimated, Vikings are pissed from their godawful showing last week, and so on and so forth.

Tennessee Titans -6.5 Jacksonville Jaguars

People, come on. Repeat after me. The Titans are not a good football team. They're decent, and their defense will keep them in every game, but they're not a good team. And why are the Jags getting no respect in games like this? Granted, they're offensively challenged in a huge way, but 6.5 points is insane.

Cincinnati Bengals +3.5 Baltimore Ravens
New York Giants -3.5 Cleveland Browns
Atlanta Falcons -10.5 Arizona Cardinals
St. Louis Rams -7.5 New Orleans Saints
Kansas City Chiefs -8.5 Houston Texans
Miami Dolphins -1.5 Pittsburgh Steelers
Denver Broncos -10.5 San Diego Chargers
Seattle Seahawks -10.5 San Francisco 49ers
Indianapolis Colts -5.5 Green Bay Packers
Oakland Raiders -3.5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


So hmm. I feel like I'm at a temporary poker crossroads of sorts. Which is odd, as the last three months have been solid, +EV months. I'm usually a lazy monkey and only driven to change when something is obviously, painfully not working. But I'm also a pretty critical monkey. I've got plenty of flaws but self-awareness and the ability to appraise myself honestly isn't one of them.

Despite playing profitably I feel like I've peaked out, or, if anything, backslid. The Blogfather has a recent post dealing with that very subject, and the Complacent type fits me to a T. Especially in regards to finding ways to compensate for inherent holes in my play, so that the creaking machine rolls on, and gets along pretty well, if you ignore the smoke and the rattle. As long as you keep it on the side roads, it'll rumble on for forever, but the instant you steer it onto the expressway you're in trouble.

The biggest problem is that I've fallen into the dangerous habit of using passivity as both my crutch and cudgel. My game works and is profitable at low limits where the betting is rarely capped pre-flop, where many people limp in, and where people will call to the river with middle pair. Under those conditions, I make money playing poker, and will make money until the end of time.

So what's the problem, you ask? Well, simply put, I don't make a ton of money. And, more importantly, low limit games are starting to bring me more annoyance than pleasure, despite the profitability. You know you have a problem when you're dealt AA and your first reaction is to sigh, wondering who is going to suck out on you this time with 85 offsuit. Low limit poker is both a grind and a grinder. Lately I'm feeling ground down, despite steadily building the bankroll.

It's just not creative nor very strategic, playing at those levels. It just ends up being basic math. Play solid starting hands and maximize the value of the hands you catch and you'll make money. Nothing creative. Grind grind grind.

The problem is that I don't have the game for higher limits, despite having the bankroll. I just don't. I hate capping the betting pre-flop with anything less than a monster, can't fire that third bullet on a steal attempt, hate calling to the river with A high, hesitate firing when I've got a pocket pair and an overcard hits the flop. I've got weak tight writ large on my forehead.

So I think a hold 'em (limit and NL) break is in order. I'm going to wipe the slate clean and spend some time with all the poker books we know and love. Because I can't quite playing completely cold turkey, I'm going to focus on Omaha, as I've got fewer bad habits to eradicate there, for the most part. Regroup and retool. Start from scratch, back in low limit purgatory, but with a new game.

Absolute worst case scenario is that I can always relapse into Passive McGee mode, and go back to grinding the fish. Despite all my babbling and griping, I've averaged $12.67/hour for the last six months, which is a little misleading as that includes tournaments and SnGs, as well as ring games (but it's also not completely misleading as the ring games fund the tournament entries, etc.) But yeah, 13 bucks an hour for playing poker 10-15 hours a week is a decent part-time gig.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Ordering six tons of assorted patio stone to be delivered to ones house is surpisingly satisfying, if somewhat expensive.

Digging out a hole (by hand) for a 150 gallon water pond is, not surprisingly, not much fun, yet slightly satisfying, in the way that physical exhaustion can sometimes be.

That I spend my vacation days from work doing such things is downright depressing, yet strangely satisfying. I've become one of those guys. Shit. Cool.

Poker is still treating me well. I won a little over £200 in a NL MTT at InterPoker over the weekend. Which was sweet, but, being the dumb monkey I sometimes am, I didn't realize just exactly how sweet it was. See, umm, I get pounds and euros jumbled in my head. I know the difference but for some reason I mentally convert pounds at the same rate, roughly, that euros convert at. I don't know why I do this. It even comes up somewhat regularly in my day job and I still do it. Long story short, I won even more money than I originally thought.

Today somehow became Omaha day. Not sure why, really, but I started playing 2/4 Omaha at Pacific and did pretty well, so I hopped onto Party for an early morning Omaha Hi/Lo MTT. Annoyingly enough, I bubbled out at 11th. It was one of those annoying bubbles, too, as people kept going all-in but managed to quarter the low, etc., to barely stay alive. It looked like I would coast into the money but my cards dried up and craziness ensued and I went out 11th. Meh.

I made up for it, though, in a $30 NL MTT. I joined on a whim, mainly to avoid having to go back to digging up the backyard. I told myself that I'd press hard early and either build a big stack or bust out so I could go back to my chores. Thirty minutes or so in I was in the BB with Q 10 and two people limped in. Flop comes Q 10 4, rainbow. First guy pushes all-in, next guy insta-calls, and I sit there thinking, hmm, one of those guys likely has a set, I'll need help, I should just fold...and of course I call. Turn out both guys had sets (10s and 4s) but I catch a Q on the river for the boat, to much deserved bitching and moaning.

It was one of those strange tournaments when my cards held up and I kept catching just enough to stay averaged stacked, or slightly below. Never caught any monsters but kept winning with medium pocket pairs like 9s, 10s, etc. I ended up 17th or so, pocketing $180 bucks. Went out when it was do or die time, calling all-in with AJo. The guy who pushed has A9s and of course catches the nine on the flop, and that was that. Such is life.

Omaha is a baffling game. I mean, aside from the play itself, I just don't understand who the fish are that play Omaha and where they come from. I'm pretty fishy myself, but I've been consistently pulling money out of the limit Omaha games for the past two months. PL Omaha is a different story, and I still get my clock cleaned there, but the limit games, good lord. How do these people stumble into a 2/4 Omaha Hi game where they see every single flop, for the better part of an hour, dropping 200-300 bucks? I mean, dude, I know you've got something in those four starting cards, but you have to have something, when you start with four cards. I'm glad you're sitting at my table but how the bajebus did you find your way here? How can it be fun for you to sit here, see every flop, and bleed money away as fast as you can hit the call button?

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Big Honking List of Casino Bonuses

The Big Honking List of Casino Bonuses

I've listed these roughly in order of potential value, as far as the good casino bonuses out there that have favorable terms. But be aware that some are cashable bonuses that blackjack is allowed, some are sticky bonuses, some are video poker bonuses, and some are a mixture of all of the above. With the general info for each group, I've linked to the appropriate strategy guide for playing the bonuses. For the sake of simplicity, they're listed by either their name or owner or by the way they're promoted, as many of the casinos within a group share the same owners and terms, etc.

Party Gaming: Cashable bonuses where blackjack is allowed. Great bonuses, should be the first ones you do. Use the strategy in the Beginner’s Guide to Casino Bonuses to clear the bonus at blackjack.

  • StarLuck: up to $100 free

  • PlanetLuck: up to $100 free

  • Bet365: Great cashable bonus, blackjack is allowed. Use the strategy in the Beginner’s Guide to Casino Bonuses to clear the bonus at blackjack.

  • Bet365: up to $200 free

  • Casino on Net: Great cashable bonus, try to do it by depositing with a service other than Neteller to take advantage of lower WR. Use the strategy in the Beginner’s Guide to Casino Bonuses to clear the bonus at blackjack.

  • Casino-On-Net: up to $200 free

  • SportingBet: The following casinos are all owned by SportingBet and all offer good cashable signup bonuses and reloads that can be cleared with blackjack. Be careful about doing them all at once, though, as they sometimes close your account if you have signup at multiple casinos and refund your deposit with little to no warning. Use the strategy in the Beginner’s Guide to Casino Bonuses to clear the bonus at blackjack.

  • $50 free for downloading casino

  • $50 free for downloading casino

  • up to $30 free for downloading casino

  • $50 free for downloading casino

  • Super Vegas Casino: get up to $100 free

  • Cryptos: The following casinos are all Crytpologic licensees and almost all offer great signup bonuses as well as great monthly bonuses. You’ll have to wait for a PIN to be snail mailed to you before you can cash out, but these are all great cashable bonuses that can be cleared with blackjack. Many of them also offer really good poker bonuses, if you’re a poker player as well. Use the strategy in the Beginner’s Guide to Casino Bonuses to clear the bonus at blackjack.

  • InterCasino: up to $90 every month

  • Littlewoods Casino: up to £50 free

  • VIP Casino: up to $90 signup bonus

  • Omni Casino: up to $100 free

  • William Hill: up to £50 free

  • TotalBet: up to £25, monthly

  • UKBetting: up to £25, monthly

  • Peach Casino: up to $200 free

  • Golden Palace Group: The first two listed below are great bonuses that can be cleared at blackjack. They’re sticky bonuses, though, so use the Strategy for Sticky Casino Bonuses.

  • GoldenPalace: up to $300 free

  • Grand Online Casino: up to $200 free

  • The next group offers the same $200 sticky bonus on a $100 deposit, but they don't allow you to play blackjack. These can still be very lucrative bonuses, though, with the best games to clear the bonus being video poker. Use the Strategy for Video Poker Bonusesto clear these, aggressively doubling up until you hit your target or bust out.

  • Flamingo Club: up to $200 free

  • 24Kt Gold Casino: up to $200 free

  • Aspinalls: up to $200 free

  • Triple Win: up to $200 free

  • Topcard Casino: up to $200 free

  • SixShooter Casino: up to $200 free

  • StarOnline Casino: up to $200 free

  • Grand Riviera Casino: up to $200 free

  • Online Vegas Casino: up to $200 free

  • Merlin's Magic Casino: up to $200 free

  • Go Casino: up to $200 free

  • Fortune Lounge: The following casinos all offer good cashable bonuses, but ones which must be cleared at a combination of blackjack and video poker (or solely at video poker). Be sure to check the current terms before signing up, as currently only a certain percentage can be cleared at BJ and only certain video poker games are allowed. Use the Strategy for Video Poker Bonuses for the video poker part.

  • Vegas Villa: up to $300 free

  • Vegas Palms: up to $150 free

  • 7 Sultans Casino: up to $100 free

  • Desert Dollar: up to $100 free

  • Havana Club: up to $110 free

  • Royal Vegas: up to $100 free

  • Fortune Room Online Casino

  • Vegas Towers

  • Platinum Play

  • Casino Pays: These are all good bonuses but they’re also all sticky bonuses, so be aware of that. Most allow blackjack but be sure to check the current terms, as a few don’t. Use the Strategy for Sticky Casino Bonuses to clear these.

  • Club Dice Casino: up to $500 free

  • Carnival Casino: up to $600 free

  • New York Casino: up to $212 free

  • USA Casino: up to $600 free

  • Casino Rewards: The following casinos all offer bonuses, some better than others. Most can only be cleared at video poker and you can typically only claim a bonus at one casino within the group. You can sign up for more than one but are often barred from collecting a bonus at more than one casino in the group. Use the Strategy for Video Poker Bonuses.

  • Blackjack Ballroom Casino: up to $400 free

  • Golden Tiger Casino: up to $250 free

  • Yukon Gold Casino: up to $50 free

  • Captain Cooks Casino

  • Casino Classic

  • Casino Kingdom: 100% bonus match up to $100

  • Casino Profit Share: The next group of casinos offer type 2 sticky bonuses which are played in a separate bonus account. While you can't withdraw the bonus itself (which makes it "sticky"), once you complete the wagering requirement on the bonus account, you can transfer cashable money into your real money account, once the bonus account money reaches a certain level (almost always $50 more than the bonus amount). One slight difference is that some of these casinos offer larger bonuses for second and third deposits, which gives you multiple shots at juicy bonuses. All of these use Microgaming software as well, with autoplay available. You can clear all of these bonuses playing blackjack. Be aware, though, that the WR is very high for these, and that you also must complete the WR for any winnings transferred from the bonus account to the real money account (even after you clear all the WR on the bonus account originally.) Use normal blackjack strategy and employ the autoplay feature the software supports.

  • Phoenician: up to $1,200 free
  • Nostalgia: up to $100 free
  • Challenge Casino: up to $1,000 free
  • Aztec Riches Casino: up to $850 free
  • Music Hall Casino: up to $500 free
  • UK Casino Club: up to $125 free
  • Golden Reef Casino: up to $100 free

    Playtech Stickies: The next group all use Playtech software and all offer good sticky bonuses. Be sure to check the terms, as some allow blackjack and others require that you clear the WR at video poker. Use the Strategy for Sticky Casino Bonuses for the ones that allow blackjack and the Strategy for Video Poker Bonusesfor the others.

  • Casino Tropez: get up to $100 free
  • Vegas Red: get up to $200 free
  • Europa Casino: get up to $100 free
  • Casino Del Rio: get up to $100 free
  • Swiss Casino: up to $400 free
  • Casino King: up to $300 free
  • Casino Las Vegas: up to $400 free
  • MagicBox Casino: up to $567 free
  • Royal Dice Casino: up to $200 free
  • PlayGate Casino: up to $1,000 bonus
  • Giant Vegas

    Affiliate Lounge: The next three offer small bonuses, but they’re monthly ones that can be cleared at blackjack. Use the strategy in the Beginner’s Guide to Casino Bonuses to clear the bonus at blackjack.

  • Cherry Casino: 30% match up to $30

  • Casino Domain: 30% to $30

  • Casino Euro: 30% to 30

  • English Harbour Group: This group has some nice cashable bonuses, but blackjack isn’t allowed to clear the bonuses. Check the terms and conditions for currently allowed games, the best of which at the moment is single coin video poker, which must be played manually. Use the Strategy for Video Poker Bonuses.

  • Caribbean Gold

  • Silver Dollar

  • English Harbour

  • Super Slots

  • All Poker Casino

  • Millionaire Casino

  • Wager Junction: These all offer good bonuses that can be cleared at blackjack (be sure to select the bonus coupon that allows blackjack, as some coupons are slots only). The WR is high for the bonuses that allow blackjack, but still +EV. Use the strategy in the Beginner’s Guide to Casino Bonuses to clear the bonus at blackjack.

  • Geisha Lounge: get up to $100 free

  • Grand Aces: get up to $100 free

  • King Solomon's: get up to $100 free

  • Trident Share: These are good bonuses that can be cleared at video poker on autoplay. Use the Strategy for Video Poker Bonuses.

  • King Neptune's Casino

  • Trident Lounge Casino

  • Vegas USA Casino

  • Sports Interaction: This one is a cashable bonus that allows blackjack (be sure to check the terms, though, to see if blackjack is still allowed.)

  • Sports Interaction Casino: get up to $125 free

    Vegas Partner: These all offer nice bonuses that can be cleared at video poker, but the WR is really high, so you may want to employ the double up first strategy listed in the Strategy for Video Poker Bonuses.

  • Crazy Vegas Casino: up to $100 free

  • Sun Vegas Casino: up to $60 free

  • Cinema Casino: up to $70 free

  • 777Dragon: up to $100 free

  • Arthurian Casino: up to $75 free

  • Casino US: up to $350 free

  • Maple Casino: up to $60 free

  • Golden Riviera Casino: up to $200 free

  • River Nile Casino: up to $100 free

  • Miami Paradise Casino: up to $100 free

  • Jackpot Factory Group: These are decent bonuses, but most have to be cleared at slots. Use the Strategy for Slots Only Bonuses.

  • All Slots Casino

  • All Jackpots

  • First Web Casino

  • Wild Jack Casino

  • Capital Casino

  • RTG: You’ll have to check the terms on these, as offer bonuses that can be cleared at blackjack, some offer only slots only bonuses, some are cashable, some aren't, etc. One nice thing about RTG casinos is that the software is very fast, so clearing bonuses goes quickly, even at minimum bets.

  • Gold Key Casino: up to $200 free

  • Vegas Frontier

  • Windows Casino: get up to $150 free

  • Palace of Chance: 100% bonus up to $333

  • Roxy Affiliates: These are good bonuses that must be cleared at video poker or slots. Use either the Strategy for Video Poker Bonusesor the Strategy for Slots Only Bonuses.

  • Roxy Palace

  • Spin Palace

  • Ruby Fortune

  • Stanley Entertainment: This is a sticky bonus, blackjack allowed. Use the Strategy for Sticky Casino Bonuses to clear.

  • Acropolis Casinos: get up to $400 free

  • Casino Fortune: These offer nice sticky bonuses that allow blackjack, but with a twist. While you can’t cash out the bonus, it isn’t removed from your account when you withdrawal, as is the case with most stickies. This means that with a little luck, you can make some nice scores with these, as you can win, withdraw deposit plus profits, then still have the bonus left in your account to continue to play and win with, repeating the process. Use the Strategy for Sticky Casino Bonuses for these.

  • Casino Fortune: get up to $200 free on your first deposit

  • GoldGate Casino: get up to $200 free on your first deposit

  • Mapau: get up to $200 free on your first deposit

  • Miami Beach Casino: get up to $100 free on your first deposit

  • Rich Webmaster: These can usually be cleared at blackjack and/or video poker, so check the individual terms and conditions. Also check to be sure that the bonus is cashable and not a sticky bonus.

  • Sterling House Casino

  • Grand Banks Casino

  • Black Widow Casino

  • PlayGate Casino

  • Casino Onliner

  • Luck N’ Roll

  • BelleRock Gaming: These offer big bonuses but they’re slots only. Use the Strategy for Slots Only Bonuses.

  • Aces High: $15 free, no deposit required

  • The Gaming Club: get up to $200 free

  • Home Casino: get up to $50 free

  • Jackpot City: $25 free, no deposit required

  • Lucky Nugget: get up to $200 free

  • River Belle: get up to $250 free

  • Showdown Casino: $25 free, no deposit required
  • Saturday, September 18, 2004

    Huffin' and Grinnin'

    I spent most of yesterday staining the deck in the backyard, more than a bit loopy and sweating my ass off. Good times, let me tell you, good times. The only thing slightly better is that I get to install the fiberglass shell for the water garden today. Which involves digging and shifting a metric assload of dirt somewhere or other.

    This is when a trained monkey helper would be very, very useful.

    Friday, September 17, 2004

    Pickin' and Grinnin'

    Week 1 of the NFL season was very good to me. I meant to post all my weekly picks, just to have a record of it, but got lazy and/or forgot. You'll have to trust me, but I went 11-5. I was 4-0, though, in games with actual real dinero on them.

    I'm sure it'll jinx me (and bore the hell out of anyone sane enough to not be inetrested in football), but here are the week 2 picks, for the world to see. First four are the money games, then the rest for the sake of being complete.

    1) Kansas City Chiefs -5.5 Carolina Panthers

    Carolina got manhandled by Green Bay and it's just going to get worse with the Chiefs. Carolina is getting a little too much respect from the oddsmakers based on last year's performance, methinks.

    2) Dallas Cowboys -4.5 Cleveland Browns

    Granted, Cleveland looked pretty impressive, but Baltimore's offense could make a good high school team's defense look impressive. Vinny is a good lick away from eating banana pudding at the old folk's home but he can still throw the damn ball. Parcells gets them motivated and they win big over the Browns.

    3) Jacksonville Jaguars +3.5 Denver Broncos

    This is a trendy pick this week, and, honestly, I don't feel so good about it. I'm following the lemming herd for all the obvious reasons (Jacksonville's been on a roll dating back to last season, tough defense at home, Denver isn't really that good and only the Chief's lack of any defense at all made them look that good) but I don't feel so good about it. I'm just worried about Jacksonville being able to find enough offense.

    4) Tennessee Titans -1.5 Indianapolis Colts

    I just don't think Tennessee is very good this year. They'll grind out wins against the teams they should beat, but I can't see them taking down teams like the Colts, even at home.

    New York Giants +3.5 Washington Redskins
    Green Bay Packers -8.5 Chicago Bears
    Baltimore Ravens -4.5 Pittsburgh Steelers
    Atlanta Falcons -2.5 St. Louis Rams
    New Orleans Saints -7.5 San Francisco 49ers
    Detroit Lions -3.5 Houston Texans
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5 Seattle Seahawks
    Arizona Cardinals +7.5 New England Patriots
    Oakland Raiders -3.5 Buffalo Bills
    San Diego Chargers +3.5 New York Jets
    Cincinnati Bengals -4.5 Miami Dolphins
    Philadelphia Eagles -3.5 Minnesota Vikings

    Thursday, September 16, 2004

    Stupid Cowboys

    My cowboys kept getting the crap kicked out of them last night. Every dang time. Which was even less fun than normal given that I was playing 3/6.

    That said, I was a lucky donkey in a couple of huge hands with suited connectors, so I managed to scrape back to dead even for the night. Which seemed like a big victory at the time. Which I suppose it was.

    I play too passively in general. I know this, yet continue to ignore it. To some extent, I don't mind, as I'm comfortable with the groove I've fallen into the last few months, loosening up my overall starting hand selection by not ramming and jamming pre-flop with hands like AKo. My game is decent enough to dance around a bit after the flop and generally come out ahead, so playing a larger sample of starting hands has been a good thing.

    I'm leaving a lot of money on the table at the river though, turtling up when a scare card hits the board. Especially when a third suited card hits the board and I'm not holding a flush. I almost always instantly go into check and call mode, afraid of the re-raise. Which isn't the stupidest thing in the world, but -EV in the long run, especially in games where people will call middle pair all the way to the river. Having to occasionally call a re-raise, weeping, isn't the worst thing in the world. In fact, it's much worse to never be faced with a crying call to a re-raise in that situation, as it means that you're playing way too tightly.

    Knock on wood, but it's been a good poker month, taking stock at the midway point. Bankroll is approaching the 2K mark, which isn't bad, given that it's built from a $200 deposit back in May. That said, the wedding is probably going to take a huge chunk out of it soon, but such is life. That's why I'm building it, that's what it's there for. But it would be nice to have enough to fund a trip to Tunica for the WPT event in January. I think that's still doable, though, even if the poker funds get wiped out at the end of October. I was only planning on playing some satellites and smaller events anyway, so that's not outside the realm of possibility.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2004

    Schemey McGee

    So I'm a perpetual schemer. It's embedded in my DNA. You name it, I've schemed it. Miniature donkey ranches, audio porn businesses, vanity book publishing, the whole shebang. All legal scheming, mind you, but usually a bit off the beaten path. Well, okay, way the hell off the beaten path.

    The last couple of years I've worked pretty hard at the affiliate marketing businesses, designing and building websites to hawk virtual goods, memberships at online sites (ala the Party/Empire affiliate system), generating leads for people looking to buy cars, stuff like that. I'm pretty good at it and have made decent money. I've got a dedicated server for hosting, plenty of bandwidth, and competent Web design and marketing skills.

    Lately I've been thinking about launching a poker-related site. For a couple of reasons. One, obviously, is hopefully to make a little scratch, via affiliate programs to online poker sites. But much more than that I think it'd be fun and potentially useful. Most of the Web stuff I've done is purely mercenary in its focus, as far as building sites to hawk things like body jewelry, alternative smoking products, assisted living products, pet medications, knives and swords, etc. Nothing I personally had an interest in, just stuff I knew people buy online, in affiliate markets that aren't yet oversaturated. But I'd actually enjoy building a poker site, which would be a nice change of pace.

    So yeah. A poker site. The real question, though, is does the world need another poker site? Or, better yet, what would YOU like to see in a poker site, that isn't already out there?

    I think there's a good bit of low hanging fruit to be plucked. Given that there are ten kajillion awesome poker blogs out there, content wouldn't be hard to come by. I've monkeyed with some content management systems in the past and could likely bang together a way for all of you kickass poker bloggers to have your own featured blog on the site (similar to the Blogger setup, as far as the ability to publish entries remotely, edit content, etc., just not tied to Blogger or other online services). It'd be a bit of a pain in the ass, blogging at two places, but not horribly so. I think it could be interesting, too, as it'd give people the chance to play with different personas, etc. Classified and searchable by different paramaters, including game predominantly played (1/2, 15/30, Omaha Hi/Lo, Stud), location, age, sex, etc.

    Trip reports would also be a nice feature to have. I always enjoy reading them and think it'd be cool to have a huge archive of them, that people can search by location, game type, etc. They'd also generate good search engine traffic, as they'd be laden with targeted location-specific keywords (i.e. "new orleans poker rooms").

    Book reviews would be easy. As would reviews of online sites. It'd take a bit more work, but I also think it would be cool to have a feature where you could view and print aggregated info from all the major online sites, as far as upcoming tournaments. So that you get, in a single place, a list of all the online tournaments (prize money, starting times, entry fees) being held in the next week for tournaments with over $10,000 in prize money. Or of satellites for major prize packages. Or of all upcoming Omaha MTTs. It'd be a bit time intensive but not horribly so, as most online sites stick to a fairly standard tournament schedule, so the work would be on the front-end, as far as loading the data and checking it on a regular basis for changes.

    Strategy articles would be easy, too, given all the great stuff that people write on a regular basis. Arranged and classified in a sensible fashion, searchable, all that jazz.

    In a nutshell, nothing earth-shatteringly new or novel, but basically just aggregating and arranging all of the great poker-related content out there, in one convenient place. It'd be a ton of work, in many ways, but the bulk of the content would be user-driven. It wouldn't be a money maker, in any fashion, but it'd probably pay for itself from affiliate links to online poker sites. And it'd be fun.

    Whee, fun.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2004

    Interpoker = Bling Bling

    At the risk of sounding like a shill, sweet Jebus the InterPoker games are juicy. Not only do they offer reasonably fat reload bonuses every month, but the general skill level is pretty mind-boggling low.

    That said, there are some negatives. No NL ring games and the withdrawal system is a pain in the ass at first, as they have to snail mail you a pin number that you must have before you can withdraw. It takes about ten business days to get it in the mail, so don't deposit any money you'd be inclined to withdraw immediately. Their customer service is also reportedly spotty, if you have an issue to resolve, but I haven't had any problems at all.

    On the positive side, the MTTs and SnGs are some of the fishiest I've ever seen. People pushing all-in a couple of hands in with K7o in early position. People calling all-ins with just A high and a scary board. Just truly bad play, all the way around. I've logged a decent number of hours there and can count the number of tricky plays I've seen on two hands, with a finger or two left over.

    Other than InterPoker, I've been playing lately at Poker Plex (another Crypto skin like InterPoker) to clear their monthly bonus, plus some 2/4 at Pacific. Why Pacific won't let you multi-table is beyond me. It's simply got to be an issue with their craptacular client, despite their claims that it's due to their concern about people "gambling too much." Yeah, right. Thank Jebus the good people at Pacific are looking out for us.

    Monday, September 13, 2004

    Like, Dude, Online Poker is Rigged

    Heh. I knew I was cursing myself when I thought yesterday, "You know, I haven't had any really horrible beats at NL ring games for awhile."

    And it was true. I nearly posted about how amazing NL ring game play is to me sometimes, and how people will literally hand you money if you have the patience to only play strong hands. People who will raise A7o and shove their whole stack in when an A hits the board. People who will re-raise all-in pre-flop with JJ, even when two (or more) others have already shown strength. Literally just handing you money, over and over and over.

    I had about $50 left in my Paradise account after shifting almost everything over to Neteller. I'll sometimes keep a few bones in an account just to challenge myself to build it up to a decent bankroll (which is usually followed by busting out within a few hours.) I'd left $20 in the Paradise account originally, played it up to $150, then lost my ass at PL Omaha. So I sat down with my $50 at a $200 NL game just to see what I could do with it.

    Many folds later I'm in the BB and look down to see AA. The table was pretty loose but everyone had pretty small stacks, with most people in the $20-$60 range. UTG raises to $2, tight player in MP raises it to $5 and it comes around to me. I've got about $45 or so. I didn't want to pop it too hard, as I was afraid I'd lose UTG. I raise to $10, UTG calls, MP raises it to $15. I honestly almost pushed here, but I'd already committed to slow-playing, so I just called, and UTG called.

    Flop is A 7 3, rainbow. I underbet, tossing in $20, still trying to string UTG along. UTG folds, MP raises it to $40. At this point I'm giggling with glee as I push all-in and he calls. I'm thinking I couldn't have scripted a better scenario for AA, especially when he turns over 93o.

    Turn comes 3. I did that stupid thing where at first it scared me, just seeing the third 3 for him, before I realized it gave me the boat. My victory jig increases in momentum. (Well, okay, it wasn't a full blown jig, as I had my laptop in my lap. It was more of an arm-flailing, head-bobbing sort of sedentary jig.)

    Except the river is a 3. And I just sat there, staring at it. Huh. Runner-runner for quad 3s. And I get that fun little pop-up that tells me I'm sitting out, since I have no chips. And all he types in the chat window is "lol". Three little wee, uncapitalized letters, "lol". After raking in a +$100 pot with 93o.

    Now, I'll be the first to say that if you're going to get hit with a bad beat like that, losing 50 bones isn't the worst thing that can happen. I mean, if you described that scenario and allowed me to wager whatever I wanted after the flop, knowing what we both held, I'd have put up my truck keys and the deed to my house. So in that respect, I got off cheap.

    But really, let's break this down. Let's ignore UTG, as he quickly became a non-factor. We have me, our shining hero, holding AA, versus Mr. RaiseyMcGee holding 93o. Odds are 87%-13% in my favor. Despite that, Mr. RaiseyMcGee raises not once pre-flop, but twice, into obvious signs of strength.

    After the flop I've improved to 3 aces. Mr. RaiseyMcGee has a pair of 3s (bottom pair), with 9 kicker. No straight or flush potential. Odds are 99.9%-0.01% in my favor at this point. What does Mr. RaiseyMcGee do with his 93o and an A on the board? He raises and then calls an all-in push.

    Turn is a 3. Odds now are 97.7%-2.3% in my favor.

    River is a 3. Fat lady sings. Cue lamentation and woe.


    (But yeah, like I said, if anything I got off relatively lucky, as far as sitting down with a short stack to begin with. Poker is a crazy game and everyone who sits down at the table knows that. People hit one outers every single day. Luck flails around impartially, striking us down and lifting us up, with absolutely no regard to how well or poorly we play a particular hand. Them's the breaks. Deal with it and drive on.)

    Sunday, September 12, 2004

    Weekend Blah Blah Blah

    I have to say that the world is definitely a better place with NFL games on Sunday afternoons again. I realize that is a petty, small-minded thought, but thank you, Jebus, for the football bounty you have provided.

    It's been an ass-busting weekend so far, but in a good way. The major deck transformation project went off without a hitch, and a raised, ginormous deck with support posts sunk in concrete became a svelte, ground level deck with hidden supports. And the bastard is reasonably level, which boggles my mind. It took most of two long, sweaty days but it's done, except for staining it. Next step is to go pick up a ton (literally) of Arizona patio stone, some cut limestone, and a pallet of St. Augustine grass.

    Nothing too exciting to relate from the world of poker. I worked off a couple of bonuses, made some good scores in $25 NL at Paradise, proceeded to give it back, plus some, playing PL Omaha. I swear, that game takes the largest cojones of any poker variant. I really need to limit the Omaha play to amounts I don't mind throwing away. I'd worked my Paradise account up to a decent amount (most of my bankroll sits in my Neteller account) but inflicted a mortal wound upon it dabbling in PL Omaha.

    Still running well, overall. Especially at Pacific. I thought I'd completely cashed out there, but was reading the forums at and realized that I'd never even looked at the player points (or comp points, or whatever they call them) at Pacific that you can convert to cash. I ended up having like $3.10 in those, so I played microlimits until I get it up enough for a SnG. I came in second, and kept playing around with the tiny bankroll, until I had about $40. I doubled that up this morning at $1/2, when I got insanely lucky and hit two gutshot straights back to back on the turn. Then I just won three SnGs of various flavors in a row, and suddenly the Pafific account is at $270. Sweet.

    Detroit Lions made me some good money today, as did the Chargers and Jaguars. Now the Vikings just need to come through for me and cover.

    That's all I got. Time for beer and football induced coma.

    Thursday, September 09, 2004

    Life as a Bonus Whore

    So I'm a little hooked on bonus whoring these days. It's a bit silly, granted, but it's hard to turn down free money. And the wonders of Neteller makes it pretty dang easy to shuffle funds around, so, you know, why not...

    I started on my first Crypto site yesterday, signing up at InterPoker. I'm pretty pleased so far, as the 1/2 and 2/4 games I played in were really, really soft. I played a few MTT tournaments and again, pretty terrible play. The software is so-so and the play is pretty slow, but apparently a lot of the poker traffic is from the online casino attached to InterPoker, so the skill level is pretty dang low. gives them terrible marks as far as support and customer service but, knock on wood, I haven't had any issues so far. It's also interesting as they occasionally pay you to play as a prop when they open new tables, so I picked up an extra $10 yesterday sitting at a 2/4 table for awhile. The bonus clears pretty quickly, $1 for every 5 raked hands, and they currently match at 100%, up to $90 (deposit 90$ or more, get $90 in bonus money). So yeah, so far so good. Thumbs up.

    Any fellow bonus whores should also check out a new casino that's opening, Check n Raise It's not live yet but they're running a pre-registration bonus special right now. If you pre-register by October 10th, you qualify for a 50% bonus, up to $150, when they do go live. You also get entered in a 10K freeroll if you're among the first 1000 to pre-register, and other smaller freerolls. Doesn't cost a penny to pre-register or obligate you in any way. The site could turn out to be craptastic but hey, you never know. My screenname there is "scurvydog" if you need a screenmae referral when you pre-register in order to get the extra referral overlay bonus they're offering.

    Wednesday, September 08, 2004

    Stupid Blogspot

    (Quick disclaimer to my previous post: I didn't actually qualify for the WPT Foxwood's event proper. I, erm, *cough*, merely qualified via a satellite to play in the Paradise tournament that provided two trip packages to the event. I should have made that very salient point much more clear. Many thanks for the congratulatory comments, but I, erm, *cough* am so not deserving of them. But hey, on the bright side, it's nice to know that people are reading. *Waves*)

    Thank you, Blogspot, for eating that post. You're a sneaky bastard, eating only the longer, meatier things I post.

    Finished 90 something out of 320 in the Paradise WPT Foxwood's tournament last night, that provided two trip packages to the WPT Foxwood's events. Nothing very exciting, took a shot in a monster 4 way pot with a good drawing hand (KQc) that didn't quite get there. I got in via a satellite so I only had 10 bones invested, which made it a good bit easier to push on such a speculative hand. Lately I've been more aggressive in MTTs, which I think is good. In the past I tended to play to cash too much, letting myself get blinded down in order to limp into the money. Which is great, finishing in the money, but more often than not it ended up paying me something like 8 bucks an hour, when it was all said and done, and sucked up three or four hours of my life that I'll never get back. So lately it's been more balls to the wall (Where the hell did that phrase originate? Is it purely alliterative or is there some kernel of meaning there? Or is that assonance instead of alliteration? That's definitely assonance. But the real question is why do I love ginormous parenthetical ramblings?) play, shooting for a big score instead of a few measly bucks. And I'm cool with that, despite not yet hitting a big score.

    It's interesting, watch the WSOP coverage. For most of us wannabes it constantly poses the eternal question of "Hmm, they're good, but are they really that good?" And I think it's a valid question. Granted, we're not seeing a lot of the real skill that's employed over days and days, all of the small steals and plays that provide the chips for the all-in thunder that gets televised. So sure, there's a reason that you keep seeing the same names near the top of the heap, time and time again. Pros are pros for a reason. Their skill set and experience is such that they are, simply put, better players than the rest of us.

    But there is a counter argument to that I think, in regards to major tournament play. And it's the obvious, grunt monkey argument that tournament play is, in many ways, simpler than cash game play. The "quality" of your play (for lack of a better term) is greatly compressed, with a much more limited number of hands defining your success or failure. Catching AA (and having it hold up) three consecutive hands is just a blip on your long-term cash game radar, no matter how much you rake in. Catching AA three consecutive hands in a tournament (with favorable circumstances) can give you a dominating chip lead that directly translates to a major cash prize.

    This is more debatable, but I also think tournament play requires less skill, in general. Well, not less skill, but that there are fewer essential lessons to learn. I'm sure I'm missing some, but you can come up with a pretty short list of principles one must adhere to be a successful tournament player in the long run:

    1) Play to win. Your long-term profit depends on big scores, not barely limping into the money.

    2) If the pot is large (anything over 10BB) play to take it down immediately. Do not get fancy and allow people to draw out on you. Unless you have the absolute, uncrackable nuts, don't try to build big pots even more through sneaky play.

    3) At some point you will have to steal in late position with complete rags. Probably more than once. Make yourself comfortable with that fact. If you have to, arbitrarily pick a hand in late position to push, no matter what you have, if everyone folds to you.

    4) If you have a stack of less than 10 BB, never call a bet. Raise, push, or fold.

    5) If you have the biggest stack at the table, never call a bet. Raise, push, or fold.

    6) Learn when to take your shots. At some point you'll have to push (usually pre-flop) with less than the nuts if you want to win. Don't be scared to enter monster multi-way pots with hands that are almost guaranteed dogs but have good drawing potential (KQs, A10s, etc.) You have to get lucky somewhere. Maximize your return when you do.

    7) Play tight early. If you're good, you're good. You don't have to rely on doubling up on the first hand with KK, calling an all-in bet pre-flop.

    8) Be aware. If it's a big field with a small buy-in, expect crazy loose play at the beginning. If re-buys are available, expect crazy loose play as long as they're available. If it's a relatively expensive buy-in (over $100), expect crazy tight play until the first break. In nearly every tournament, expect crazy loose play right after the bubble is reached. Conversely, expect tight play right before the final table, even if the payout structure doesn't greatly reward 10th over 11th, etc.

    9) If you're the big stack at your table, pick on middle stacks. Not short stacks. No, no, no. I see this all the time and it drives me crazy. The short stacks are your friends. Their short stack actually forces them to play better (i.e. more aggressively) than they normally would. The middle stacks are the weak, vulnerable ones who are tightening up, waiting for the monster hand.

    10. Play to win.

    Long story short, the point of this babbling is that I'd argue that if you bankrolled most experienced online NLHE tournament players (all you bloggers out there), removed all financial concern from their minds and allowed them to play all the major WPT/WSOP events with no financial worries or concerns whatsoever, they'd produce damn good results. No, they wouldn't dominate, they probably wouldn't win the WSOP, but I bet the majority would, over a five year time span, produce average annual profits that would equate to a pretty good living. I just don't think that the advantages of the pros are that great to overcome the more simplistic nature of tournament play.

    So, umm, yeah. I'm changing my tune slightly. I think we all could win the WSOP. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Hellmuth. Or, you know, whine about how crappily the pipe was packed, or how lucky it was that someone just happened to have a lighter available, or that it just isn't fair that the Earth has to revolve around the sun.

    Tuesday, September 07, 2004

    WPT Foxwoods

    Just qualified for the WPT Foxwoods tourney on Paradise tonight via a satellite. I'm almost embarassed, given the way I got in. Well, no, I am embarassed.

    Early on I raked in a huge pot going all-in with TPTK on the flop (board was K 3 7 rainbow, I had a pair of Ks, with A kicker) and got called by a guy with K 3. Doh. Except a 7 hit on the river, so I finally benefited from one of the suckouts that always annoys me the most when it beats me down.

    Two hands later I call a 2BB raise from LP with 66, flop comes K 6 8, all spades. Three people are in, checks to me, I push all-in (I know, but it's early and it's a re-buy tournament) and sure enough, sneaky guy UTG flips over A 4 spades. Turn comes 7, then another beautiful 8 on the river. Complete crap, but I'll take it.

    Not much exciting after that. I raked in a decent pot with AA and basically limped the rest of the way. The best cards I saw for the last hour were 99, and someone moved all-in right in front of me before I could even think about betting.

    Some poor guy at my table consistently kept getting punished, bad beat after bad beat. The thig is he re-bought 15 times, at $10 a throw. Finally someone mentioned to him that the buy-in to the actual WPT Foxwoods tournament was only $100 and he said yeah, but this way was more fun. He finally gave up and went out 40th or so, way out of the seats.

    I guess we all have our own definition of fun.

    Texas Hold Em, Thou Art the Devil

    Nothing too exciting to relate. I played a bit too much poker over the last three days, working off assorted bonuses as quickly as possible. I think when your eyes start bleeding it should be taken as a sign to give it a bit of a rest.

    I'm a little conflicted lately, in regards to poker. I need to find a better middle ground, as far as the time it consumes. I seem to swing from extreme to extreme, playing too much or not at all. I need to find a good home game, methinks, as I always enjoy that much more than playing online. I enjoy playing online, true, but it only begets more time in front of a computer, which I do enough of, as is. I wish I lived near a B&M casino. Maybe someday.

    The first round of bonus whoring was pretty profitable, leaving me up about +$250 over the weekend. I hit up Party, Empire, Paradise (reload bonus), and Intertops. I like playing knowing that a certain amount of profit is locked in, as long as I play break-even poker. I would have done better if I didn't insist on dabbling in Omaha Hi/Lo a bit too much. I like Omaha but I need to face up to the fact that I'm just not very good at it. I'm just not disciplined enough with the starting hands I play, wasting way, way too many antes on hands I should just muck. I still need to hit up Absolute for some bonus monies, then I'll probably settle back into one site for awhile. Not really sure where that'll be. I'm sort of fond of Paradise lately, so it'll likely be there. The games aren't that much tougher than at Party, plus I like the tournament offerings more, and there are much fewer asswipe monkeys that love to heckle and abuse people via chat.

    Finally managed to break out of a mini tournament slump yesterday, placing 8th (out of 557) in a $5 MTT Paradise tournament and winning two $10 SnGs. It's nice to get a few breaks from the poker gods, having your hands hold up and catching some breaks here and there. Lately that hasn't been the case for me in tournaments so hopefully things are swinging back around.

    Sunday, September 05, 2004

    Just got back from a quick jaunt to Port Aransas with the wife-to-be. Yeah, I'm stubborn and refuse to employ usage of the word fiancee. That's on the top of my list of dumbest words ever. I mean, first off, it's all Frenchified. But even more troublesome is that I always forget which word refers to which person (fiance or fiancee). So I just steer clear of it entirely.

    Port Aransas was interesting. I have to say that despite my initial misgivings about moving to Texas when I first moved here, I enjoy it more and more. Not to belabor the obvious, but it's such a freaking huge state, with such diverse territory, from coastal marshes to the wastelands of west Texas, and anything and everything in between. We went to an open house thing the Marine Science Institute (which is part of the UT system) held. Pretty cool, as they took you out in assorted research boats and let you play with assorted sea creatures and plant life.

    For some odd reason I really like those semi-decrepit, way past their prime Texas coast towns. Galveston is probably my favorite, but there's something oddly pleasing to me about hanging out in marginal places like that, with huge old-school buildings and architecture, surrounded by the schlockiest little tourist traps and shacks imaginable.

    Nothing exciting on the poker front. I've been bonus whoring it up good, hitting Party last week. I pissed away a bit of it playing some satellites for their cruise package tournaments, but I ended up +$200 when I cashed out yesterday after getting back from the mini-vacation. I basically played off the whole bonus on Friday (something like 700 raked hands), so that ain't bad. Pretty easy to play tight and multi-table .50/1 and just grind through the necessary number of raked hands. I popped the money back over to Paradise for their September reload bonus, then I'm off to Empire next. Boring, yes, but pretty profitable, especially since I've been grinding .50/1 lately anyway.

    Thursday, September 02, 2004

    Good Donkey

    I was a good donkey last night. All I did was grind, grind, grind at the .50/1 tables. With a little $25 NL thrown in for a break here and there.

    Nice solid profitable sessions. I like starting off the month in the Poker Tracker green. Get thee hence, red numbers.

    Nothing really remarkable about any of the sessions or individual hands. I pulled in a $40 pot in .50/1 with the nut flush, when one guy kept re-raising with a low straight. Board was Kd 6d 7c 8d 9s, he had Q5o, I had A10d. Capped betting on every street. Umm, okay. Thanks for the money, partner.

    Not that such play is all that unusual or horrible, but lately I'm struck by the odd nature of fish gambling online. I mean, okay, say you blow through fifty bucks at a .50/1 table in a night. Not the end of the world, by any stretch of the imagination.

    But that same fifty bucks is two or three months salary in some parts of the world. That's a mind-blowing, ginormous amount of money for some people. Last night I cashed out $500 of my Paradise winnings to go bonus whore at other sites. I didn't think much about it, but that's someone's yearly wage, shifted from one online casino to another in a blink of the eye. So that I can see more pixelated cards flip around, hopefully in a way that makes me even more money.

    Which is cool by me. I'm not lamenting the fact that some people live in mud huts and pray to live to be fifty. I'm damn glad I'm not them. It's just odd, the whole online poker thing, and how quickly we become abstracted from the root nature of things.

    Completely cashed out of Pacific (what a craptacular site, Jebus), bonus whoring back at Party now. I'm still keeping most of the online bankroll at Paradise, as I do like their tournament offerings and I keep making money nearly every time I sit down at the .50/1 and $25 NL tables.

    Wednesday, September 01, 2004

    El Burro

    I'm such a donkey. Couldn't resist firing up the laptop while watching the ESPN WSOP coverage last night. Which led to me playing the $30,000 guaranteed Paradise MTT last night. Which eventually led to me bubbling out at 71st place. Which led me to say, "Dude, you're such a donkey", seeing as I'm unable to kick the MTT habit.

    I can't gripe too much, though. I should have gone out 150th or so, but managed to catch runner runner for a straight with my mighty pair of nines, up against a set jacks. I also made a pretty horrendous call with top pair (aces) but a crappy kicker that I knew was beat but couldn't let go.

    I did, though, manage to bust someone out in amusing fashion. I had AK in early position, raised 3BB, folds to BB, who calls. He's been playing pretty aggressively, bluffing pots and showing his rags, etc. Flop comes 8 8 A. BB bets 400 (blinds were something like 400/800, we each had about T8000). I just called, waiting to see how he played the turn. Turn is a 2. BB bets 1000. I'm a little concerned, but I just don't see him playing the set that way, putting him on something like A10 (or A any, really). River is another harmless brick. He immediately pushes all-in. He's got my slightly covered, by like T200.

    So I ponder for a bit. He could have flopped the set and been setting me up with the small bet on the flop, larger bet on the turn, etc. He is in the BB and could be playing any sort of junk, given his previous play. But I just didn't see it, as that would have been a perfect hand to slow-play, with the A on board and no flush or straight potential to worry about. We're almost to thr first break, too, so worst case scenario I can rebuy if I'm wrong.

    I call and he flips over 35o, and immediately goes ballistic, going on and on about why do fucking morons like myself even bother playing in tournaments, how can I call that, how can I remember to fucking breathe, being the moron I am, yada yada yada. The best part was when he remarked "You've been noted, fishie." As if that's supposed to strike the fear of Jebus into me. All I said the whole time was "Nice bluff" which set him off again.

    I took in a few decent pots after that but never built much of a stack. Cards were cold until just after the second break, when I got KK in EP. Blinds were 2K/4K and I had about 14K. The table was super-tight, as we were near the bubble, but we also had two of the top five chip leaders. Pretty much any raise was taking the blinds. My first instinct was to push all-in but I decided to ease back a bit and try to get some action. I bet 8K, folds to the SB (who has about T 20K), who thinks for forever and finally calls. Flop comes A 10 4. Shit. I had this horrible feeling that I was doomed but fired out my remaining chips. He called, turned over A5s, and that was that.

    I kicked myself later for not pushing all-in originally, but I'm not sure he wouldn't have called anyway. He'd called with worse hands previously in similar situations, but he may have folded in that case since we were on the bubble. Who knows. I felt like I needed to risk a bit to double up more than I needed to take the blinds down, so I don't really regret it.

    Feel like I'm playing decently in MTTs, despite having little to show for it in the last few weeks. I've just been on one of those bad streaks where my pre-flop favorites never seem to hold up, despite the maths being on my side. But that'll turn around, eventually, if I keep putting myself in favorable situations.

    That WSOP episode with Matusow busting out was priceless. I don't wish ill will on anyone, but that toolbox had it coming in a big way. The best part was that he seemed to think he'd gotten a bad beat when calling Raymer's all-in, when Matusow only had middle pair, with no kicker. Granted, he was ahead at that point, but raymer had enough outs to be the favorite. Matusow didn't have to be in that hand at all, though, much less basically bet his tournament on such a dodgy call. I especially enjoyed his pep talks after losing that hand, about how only he had the heart to make that call, only a champion could make that call, etc. Umm, okay Mikey. And nice crying, too, on that last bad beat. Yeah, that one stung, and we all hate bad beats, but most of us don't get down in the fetal position, rocking back and forth, crying on national television. Heart of a champion, baby.