Monday, February 28, 2005

Golden Riviera Poker

Here's a little poker bonus gem in the rough that I've been saving for awhile. Not that you need any more bonuses right now, but hey, what can I say. I love to share. I'm a giver. Go forth and make much bonus money.

Golden Riviera Poker provides a nice little 100% bonus match on your initial deposit, up to $50. So deposit $50, email with your the words 'Download Promotion' in the subject line, and they'll add $50 to your account within 24 hours. To clear the bonus and withdraw it, you have to play 100 raked hands.

Golden Riviera Poker is a Prima site, so keep in mind that their definition of raked hand is one in which you contribute to the pot, with it eventually being raked. For bonuses such as these, I like to play .50/1 Stud, as you contribute to every pot via the ante and nearly every hand is raked. Plus you'll find some truly horrible Stud players there, just as you'll find truly horrible players everywhere on the Prima network. But you can clear it on any table you like, just keep in mind their definition of a raked hand.

So get in your 100 raked hands. You'll get a quick little boost to your bankroll. Go ahead and make a withdrawal or leave it in there. But that's not the end of the story. Every weekend Golden Riviera Poker offers a reload bonus by email (usually arriving in your inbox on Thursday or Friday), offering you an extra $20 bonus if you deposit $50 during the upcoming weekend. Each $20 bonus takes 100 raked hands to clear.

Deposit at least $50, email support to claim it (the instructions will be in the email you get), and let it sit. Here's the wrinkle, and why this is a really good bonus. Each time you get a new reload bonus they reset the raked hands required to clear it back to 100. So the raked hands requirements don't stack, while the bonuses do. And the offer the free $20 reload bonus each and every weekend, like clockwork.

Let's say you deposit $50 to claim the $20 bonus every weekend in a month with 4 weekends. At the end of the month you'll have $80 in bonus money that's been added to your account. To clear it and withdraw the full amount in your account, all you have to do is play 100 raked hands (instead of the normal 400 if you added up the requirement for each bonus).

So in essence it's a $80 monthly bonus, with only 100 raked hands required. Granted, you have to have $200 in money you don't immediately need to deposit $50 each time, letting it sit until the end of the month when you play the 100 raked hands and clear it and withdraw. But if you have extra money sitting around, it's a pretty sweet bonus, and you can stack them for as long as you like, with only 100 raked hands required to clear them, whether it's $20 in bonus money or $1,000 in bonus money.

Support at Golden Riviera Poker is pretty prompt and cashouts are reasonable. Many fishy Prima players to hand you money, too. Pretty dang good little bonus, and not one that gets talked about often.

Blah Blah Monday Blah

I've been sitting here, vainly trying to see the bright side of Mondays. Failing. Miserably.

The weekend was good, if a little grindy. Saw some good live music on Saturday night, as well as Sideways, which I wasn't hugely impressed by. Good movie, good script, good acting, all that jazz. But it just seemed pretty damn unoriginal and formulaic for a movie that lots of people seemed to think was original and un-formulaic. Definitely worth seeing, though, and I suppose I should shut the hell up until I actually, you know, write a screenplay myself.

Only one more day to either think deeply or be funny. So, you know, get cracking. That $25 could be yours, dawg.

One of my side projects is going well, aided by much dumb monkey grunting and poking and prodding this weekend. I should have a stripped down beta version ready to roll soon, with stage 1 of 2 ready to roll. Stage 2 is going to be the bitch part of it, though, with much more grunting and poking needed.

I think I may take a bit of a gambooling break this week, mainly to catch my breath from all thr bonus grinding this last week or so. I'm thinking it may be time to regroup soon, with the poker playing, and retool the strategy. I need to find a better balance between bonus play and more serious play at higher limits, as it's harder these days to motivate myself to grind out bonuses at lower limits. As part of my long term goals, though, I need to keep grinding out those bonuses, as that basically guaranteed income each month needs to keep going into the growing stash that'll hopefully enable me to enter the world of the self-employed in March 2006. But it definitely not with joy in my heart these days when I sit down and start tackling a new reload or signup bonus. And that kind of sucks, as I used to enjoy that very much.

Our last welding class is tonight. Well, sort of, as we're taking the intermediate class next, which starts back up in a few weeks. Not sure the rocket coffee pot will, umm, reach a stage of completion. It's close but the nose cone I made kind of sucks and is too small, and I really should redo it. If I do, though, there's no chance in hell I'll finish it up tonight. Odds of it actually making coffee are pretty small so I'm not sure how much more time to invest in it. It's going to be a big rusted steel, rocket-shaped coffee "maker" no matter what I do, so I may just run with the idea and make it look as burly as possible, instead of redoing things to make it sleeker and more finished looking. So we shall see.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Man. Too much poker. It didn't help that I somehow lost a day, thinking today was February 28th. Which led to to a mad dash to cram a few more monthly Crypto bonuses in, until I finally realized that, umm, yeah, I have one more day.

PokerRoom, I like your site, but man, clearing bonuses there is like pulling teeth.

Let's see if my streak with ridiculous non-sports bet continues.

Best Picture: Million Dollar Baby
Best Actor: Jamie Foxx
Best Actress: Hilary Swank
Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett
Best Director: Martin Scorsese

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

So I get the fact that poker sites make more in rake from short(er) handed tables. Which is why you sometimes see 9 max ring tables on some sites and 5 max tables. The fewer the seats, the more often the blinds roll around, the more potential rake. But by and large the standard is 10 max and 6 max, with some small variations. I'm sure there's some math behind that, as well as some measure of simply replicating what is traditionally played in brick and mortar cardrooms.

Theoretically speaking, though, an online site could offer a table with 23 seats, since there are no physical limitations as far as room for seats, no burned cards, etc. A big fat mega table.

I wonder what the effect of offering that would be, and if any sites have experimented with it. On the one hand, blinds would revolve much slower and hands dealt per hour would decrease, leading to lower rake. But wouldn't the average pot size increase dramatically, more than compensating for rake lost to slower hands dealt per hour?

I'm talking out my monkey ass here but I can't see how the pot size wouldn't be huge at times. You'd have people correctly limping (and cold-calling) from late position with almost anything if there was heavy enough action ahead of them to justify the call.

At first glance I'd think the imagined game would be ultra-tight, with people only playing premium hands, but the more I think about the more I think that wouldn't be the case. If you limp with A2s UTG (or 22, or 89s, or anything marginally decent), immediately get raised, and then get 14 more callers, you have to not only be happy about your odds, but also tempted to raise. Pre-flop you'd end up almost always playing any pair, any Axs, any suited connector, any one gap suited connector from any position, for any number of bets. Basically any hand that has a reasonable shot at being the nuts is playable. Or, in late position, with many limpers ahead of you, any two cards.

It's interesting to ponder, as it's almost a widening and constricting band, with 6 max being loose (due to opportunities to steal blinds and pots), 10 max constricting and tightening up (needing premium hands to win), and 20+ max loosening up again, as the implied odds would make many more marginal calls correct.


Show Me the Money

Note to self: don't say "sucks" in the upcoming team meeting this morning.

Things are chugging along in my little degenerate gambling world. I wish I had useful epiphanies to share, but I appear to be lacking in those. I'm still pulling in crazy sums of money from the casino stuff, still grinding out tidy sums at the poker tables.

If you're on the fence about casino bonus stuff, honestly and truly, from the bottom of my heart, give serious thought about checking out The Beginner's Guide to Casino Bonuses and giving it a whirl. Yeah, it's gambling, and yeah, your results may vary, but I've literally made tens of thousands of dollars, since November, starting with a $100 deposit at StarLuck. Have I been lucky and run well? Yes, very. Should you expect the same success? No, I've been really lucky. Can you expect to show a nice profit if you're disciplined and stick to good casino bonuses, only playing with the +EV math on your side? Yes, yes you can.

I'm finally settling into the 6 max limit groove, as far as almost all of my poker play these days. I've bounced around in the past from limit, to NL, to ring games, short-handed games, but I think 6 max is where I'm going to be at for awhile. It's a bit counter-intuitive, but it almost seems like I have less variance when playing the lower-limit 6 max games, clearing bonuses, as opposed to clearing bonuses at ring games.

Which I suppose makes sense, as you're less dependent on actually getting decent cards at 6 max, given the importance of pressuring blinds, playing aggressively even when the flop misses you, etc. That, to some extent, usually guarantees you a certain amount of pots pushed your way, which isn't always the case in low limit ring games, where you can get cold-decked but also lack the ability to win pots due to naked aggression, given the propensity of players to limp and call with anything. So while you may have larger swings within individual sessions at 6 max, overall your variance may actually be lower, due to the fact that you're less dependent on the vagaries of the card gods as far as what you're dealt.

In brighter corporate monkey news, our bonus was finalized finally, and it's getting paid out on March 15th. 10% of annual salary. Sweeeeeeet. Plus we've got a hefty tax return on the way, too. I think we're going to be good and squirrel most of it away but I should be able to get some sort of toy out of it, either a new dekstop or monitor some combination thereof.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

PartyPoker Reload Bonus: BONUSFEB

Ahh, PartyPoker, how I simultaneously love you and curse your name and your reload offering ways, just when I thought I was done for the month:

Party reload bonus is active February 25th and valid until March 2nd. 20% reload bonus up to a max of $200, 7x raked hands in 7 days. Bonus code is BONUSFEB.

Juicy Juice

Barry Bonds, you can suck my rod.

I like sports. Pretty much any sport. Hell, if I'm truly desperate, I'll even watch golf.

I'm not a purist, I could care less about the sanctity of games or records, I just like to be entertained. That's it. I like watching players compete, like following the action, like being a fan.

In my mind, anything goes, that's not banned or illegal. You want to juice up? Juice up. As long as the rules allow it at the time. I could care less that it makes comparisons between players of different eras different, that it inflates stats, that it supposedly "taints" the game. That's picking nits.

If you want to pick nits, modern day salaries of professional athletes do exactly the same thing, as far as making comparisons well-nigh impossible. You simply cannot be a professional athlete and eat three boxes of Ding Dongs a day, never working out, if you want to continue to be a professional athlete and retain the salary that you're provided. Thus you work harder, train harder, and condition yourself to a level that was largely unheard of in the past.

So yeah. Do whatever gives you an edge, as long as it's allowed. But if you're going to take steroids, be man enough to admit it. Not just when you're in front of a grand jury and forced to.

Get off your high horse, Barry. Look at yourself. Better yet, look at some photos/video of yourself earlier in your career with the Pirates. Then look in the mirror. We all know where that body came from. You know it. Hell, you've already admitted yourself that you "accidentally" took steroids.

For someone who has repeatedly claimed, in both behavior and words, that they could give a damn about records, could give a damn about whether fans like or respect them, you're suddenly coming across as an awfully scared, selfish little man, beneath all that bluster. Is it really that painful to consider that hitting 756 home runs may be tainted now? That instead of being considered the all-time home run king you'll be considered an insanely talented baseball player who took steroids and hit a ton of home runs?

Well, dawg, guess what? It's door number for you now. And it's no one's fault but your own. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it. You can, though, stand up and be a man and at least accept the responsibility for it. Or was all that talk just more bluster, about what a man you are, about how you depend on no one but yourself, about how hard you've worked to be the player the you, the man you are?

To recap: suck my rod.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

No, the Poker Bonuses, They Are Too Strong For Me!

InterTops is offering a sweet reload bonus (first one from them in ages), 25% up to $100 max reload bonus valid until midnight February 28th. Bonus code FEB25, 5x raked hands for each dollar in bonus money (500 raked hands for maximum bonus).

PokerRoom is back at it, offering a 30% up to $300 max reload bonus through midnight February 27th. Bonus code MONACO, must accumulate 7 Player Points for each dollar in bonus money.

If it Looks Like a Donkey, Brays Like a Donkey, Acts Like a Donkey...

Yesterday was not my finest gambling day. Someone needs to invent a service that, when you exceed certain pre-set parameters, they come over to your house and kick you in the junk. Direct negative reinforcement at its finest.

It's interesting, peeling away the behavior that leads to stupid donkey behavior at the tables. What seems to get me in the most trouble lately is simple, unadulterated boredom. Playing without a bonus overlay of some sort. Because then I get stupid and greedy and too prone to saying "That's my money, dawg, hand it back" and press too hard trying to make that happen.

I did get much done yesterday, though. Initial tussles with MySQL stuff weren't very successful but I'm getting my monkey head around the general concepts. I can't say I exactly challenge myself on a regular basis as far as learning new stuff goes but it's always pretty rewarding when I break down and force myself to learn the rudiments of assorted things like Perl, PHP, website design, etc. Anything to get the brain sludge stirring, at least a bit.

Hopefully I'll have some interesting announcments in the next few weeks. No, I didn't get hired by anyone cool to do anything cool. On the poker blogger announcement scale, these hardly register. But cool nonetheless, and hopefully useful and/or profitable for assorted gambling monkeys.

Monday, February 21, 2005

President's Day, I Love Thee, I Wish to Marry Thee

I loves me some ridiculous holidays.

I can't decide if ol' Hunter went out the right way or not. In some ways I think certain writers set themselves up for an exit like that, that it's somehow a natural end, and all that jazz. But it's also pretty cowardly, when you get down to brass tacks. To each their own, I suppose.

This weekend's been crazy busy. In a good way, but still. I've been a good little Grindy McGee at the virtual tables, grinding away. Nothing really remarkable at all to report. Just about done with the Cryptos for the month and hopefully will have time to work in some initial signup bonuses that I haven't yet gotten to.

Things have been intersting on the affiliate front as well, as far as making some potentially profitable/rewarding connections over the last week or so. It's time for me to get serious about my little side ventures. While I largely joke about my monkey corporate job and it's assorted travails, it truly is starting to get to me. I know it's pretty endemic to cubeland, but I've worked my ass off for that place the last 4+ years. Grade my performance on any production metric and I'm in the top 1%. I've consistently covered for other peoples' monkey asses, volunteered for projects, all that jazz. And all that results in is my current manager systematically building evidence against me that I'm "negative and destructive", simply because I refuse to say that everything is great and smile. (That actually was in my last performance evaluation, that I need to "smile more".)

So yeah. Sorry. I need some cheese with my whine.

Anywho, yes. Time to amp up efforts to produce a steady, comparable income from my degenerate pursuits. Less saying it, more doing it.

Friday, February 18, 2005


So I got written up at work today. For saying the word "sucks" in a team meeting. Yes, that's right. "Sucks".


That place just gets better and better. I keep waiting for it to totally regress to 7th grade, with parachute pants suddenly becoming required attire, Motley Crue blaring out of the intercom.

The sick, twisted thing is that it makes me want to hang around there longer. It's like an irresistably gruesome trainwreck, each and every day, as the molten, slaggy heap of a once reasonably cool company slides farther and farther into the corporate abyss, the monkey conductor whooping and hollering, waving his smoking hat at all the gawking onlookers.

Pride Goeth

I was very proud of myself yesterday. StudioGlyphic posted a link to an amazing deal on a Dell 2001FP LCD monitor yesterday. The very same monitor that I've been lusting over for months now. Before I knew what happened the coupon codes had been entered, it was sitting in my shopping cart at the Dell site, all I had to do was clicky-click a button or two and it was mine.

And instead I closed the browser and turned off my computer before the siren song could lure me back.

I'm still adjusting a bit to the whole marriage thing. I'm still not quite used to the fact that I can't buy a fifth of Makers and hole up in my apartment all weekend, doing nothing but play poker. Not quite used to the fact that the next big ticket item I'm going to buy is a comfortable expensive chair and ottoman for the living room, so that my mother-in-law will stop complaining about the lack of proper seating.

But adjusting I am, I suppose. Plus I need a new desktop more than a new second monitor right now. We'll see if I can finagle that concession when it's chair-buying time.

Still plugging away on assorted projects. Part of me tells myself to take a few weeks off from the poker and casino whoring, just to knock out some work on things, but they're just too damn lucrative. I'm a greedy whore.

A guy meets a hooker in a bar. She says, "This is your lucky night. I’ve got a special game for you. I’ll do absolutely anything you want for $300, as long as you can say it in three words."

The guy replies, "Hey, why not?"

He pull his wallet out of his pocket, and one at a time lays three hundred-dollar bills on the bar, and says, slowly, as he lays them down: "Paint…my…house."

Sweet Jebus. I just found out we get next Monday off. President's Day? Really? That's a holiday worthy of me not having to go to work? Not that I'm bitching, but that just seems odd. What the hell is one supposed to do on President's Day?

So like two years ago I put up some random products on a website I did, for all kinds of oddball affiliate programs. They were all really expensive, limited edition products, stuff like gold and jewel-encrusted chess sets, etc. The idea being that if I'm going to get 10% commmission as an affiliate, pick insanely expensive merchandise to hawk.

The obvious problem with that is that not many people buy such things online. So I moved on to another project, forgot about the links, never made a penny. Until yesterday. Some silly monkey bought not one, but two limited edition Monopoly sets through my link, forking over $1,245 for them. Umm, okay. I can't even get my head around order one of those online, much less two.

I never, ever thought I'd say this but I'm actually enjoying the fact that my wife is crazy about animals and hoodwinked me into getting a pet rat. I wasn't exactly pro-rat. Something about disease and vermin, gee, I don't know. And while the rat tail still creeps the hell out me, the little sucker is pretty amusing. We'll let him out to run around on the couch when we're watching tv and he's just a complete little demon, running and whirling and jumping and running and whirling and jumping. Right up until the point when my wife grabs him and holds him hostage, scratching the back of his head. And he completely morphs into the biggest pansy rat ever, eyes rolling back in his head, absolutely incapacitated by scratch-love.

Time to stop ignoring my corporate monkey work. Meh.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

And a freight train running through the middle of my head...

I say, gotdamn. On fire. Me.

It would be interesting to track net poker blogger profits over time, as far as net income resulting from time at the tables. I say that for no real reason, other than it'd be interesting to see. I feel slightly ashamed to keep posting good results here, when other bloggers are encountering the ass end of variance and seeing their bankrolls vanish. But it does raise the interesting question of whether the poker blogging community is, as a whole, increasing its net income over time (making the possibly large assumption that the community as a whole is playing poker profitably to begin with).

This loops back a bit to my silly awards idea and the broader idea that a community of poker bloggers is a +EV thing, as far as providing the necessary pool of knowledge and support to play poker profitably. My gut tells me yes, indeed, the community as a whole is generating net income each month. But my gut also tells me that that's probably only due to results being skewed on the high end, with a few whales pulling more than their fair share of the load. I bet if you threw out the top 10% of winners and the bottom 10% of losers that we'd be about break even as a whole. Probably losing a bit of money.

Is this is a bad thing? Probably not. Poker is a hard game to consistently beat, even online. Most players lose money. It's also much, much easier to get pissed and tilt away months of work building your bankroll than it is to have a great night and quintuple your roll. It don't always swing both ways, poker. And the very best thing about poker blogs is to reinforce that, to keep you from going crazy when the cards run cold, to always remind you that you're just a flop away from running hot again.

I do think we can do better, though. Poker is a game of skill. Games of skill can be consistently beaten when you accumulate enough knowledge and experience. There's way, way too much distributed knowledge that's sometimes really hard to find, a bit over here, some more buried in the archives over there. And, even when found, it's not ordered, nor is it searchable. Somebody needs to step up to the plate and start aggregating all this great content that's been produced, putting it together in an accessible, searchable format.

There's also a point of critical mass where someone should take the initiative and approach major poker sites about sponsoring poker bloggers as a whole (or at least those that agree to sign on). You have no idea how much money some sites are splashing around to attract and keep new players. It wouldn't be too hard to put together a fairly compelling sponsorship pitch to a poker site, especially one trying to dent Party's marketshare, given the number of collective eyeballs that poker blogs reach every day. Granted, the money per blogger wouldn't enable anyone to quit their day jobs, when it was all said and done, but it'd probably be a nice little bonus, each and every month.

So, you know, somebody do it. And get me some damn coffee while you're at it. If I only had a forty pound steel rocket coffee pot, sitting by my desk right now...

Piercing the Veil

Apologies for using this damn thing in such a crass way, but I have a quick question for you smart programmer/web developer types out there.

I need suggestions for the best way to implement a searchable database into a website I'm working on. The site is hosted on a Unix box with a MySQL database.

What I need to do, in a nutshell, is be able to make a database of bonuses searchable by a dozen or so parameters, from a single web page. The database itself will be relatively small, likely less than 1000 entries. Each entry will have a dozen or so fields. I'll need to update the database fairly frequently as terms change. I'd like some control on the website side, as far as how the results of the search are displayed. Users simply need to be able to view results of the search, with no editing permissions necessary.

Being the tightwad I am, I'd prefer a freeware/shareware solution. Or at least something under $100. I'm also a grunt monkey when it comes to this stuff, so the easier to implement the better. I do know how to get most PHP/CGI scripts up and running, though, and can modify permissions, and related jazz, so I'm not a total nitwit when it comes to this stuff. I just have no experiences with databases at all.

Many thanks for any suggestions. Rock on.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Stalk Me Baby One More Time

Sometimes the Internet scares me. No, really.

I am so not stalk-worthy. The only time I've been interviewed for print media was in seventh grade when I tied for first in the national junior high chess championships. My bling consists of the simplest silver wedding band possible. Last night for dinner I had an entire box of Velveeta Shells and Cheese.

In the last week, though, two different people from my past have tracked me down, largely from a circuitous path of Google results that you get from putting in my name. One of them wasn't really noteworthy but the other was. I'm still not sure exactly what to think, depsite trying to wrap my monkey head around it for a week or so now.

I met N my freshman year of college. You can already probably guess where this story is going. Stories that start like that end in one of two ways:

1) The happy couple gets married, birth many childrens, and spends summers volunteering as missionaries for Jebus in Equador.

2) Things explode in dramatic boomstick fashion and leave numerous, longlasting psychic scars as neither party is ready to deal with anything resembling a relationship, especially one that gets heightened importance attached to it due to the cicumstances.

I'll take door number two, Monty.

I won't even go into all the gory details, as we all know the story. We were always about two-thirds there, but never made it. I was too stubborn and too much the infatuated monkey to walk away. She was into it just enough not to kick me out the door. All of which would normally have been fine and would have petered out in the normal adult way if not for the added, looming sense of this being VERY IMPORTANT and both of us being really young and dumb.

So it went on and on and on. And off, and on, and off, and on. For the entire damn time we were in college. Four years. We'd go months without speaking to one another then spend all our time together for months. Over and over and over.

Things pretty much spun completely out of control when I got accepted to grad school in Texas and we both knew I'd be leaving. True to form, though, the final ultimate explosion only came when I devolved to the point of pawing through her stuff when she was at work, convinved I'd find hard evidence that she was bumping uglies with a suspicious character that she'd been hanging around with. And, like in 99% of the cases in which you find yourself reduced to the point of looking for such information, that's exactly what you find.

(This is the point of the story where briefly break down and I stop being measured and fair, and revert to Angry Grunting Male. This girl fucked with my head pretty soundly. For whatever reason I decided she was THE ONE and that I would, by sheer persistence and effort, convince her of this, always swallowing my own injured pride, always taking her back. The worst part of it is that I almost became conditioned to playing that role, seeking it out. I know, cry me a river, but still. Shit. Fuck. Fuckity fuck shit fuck.)

So boom. We had it out, I left, and we never really commmunicated again, except for a couple of emails and letters here and there. End of story.

Except I got an e-mail from her last week. Completely out of the blue. To say that she'd been wrong, that she made a mistake. That she was only writing in the hopes that I'd tell her that I was perfectly, wonderfully happy, so that she could completely bury the idea that there might be something to salvage, that it might not be too late, yada yada yada.

Umm, excuse me? Cripple that pig and run it by me again. All this time I've been referencing that situation as the Great Fuckup of 1992-1996 and now you tell me I was RIGHT?

Just to be crystal clear, I am indeed perfectly and wonderfully happy right now. To be honest, it's a great relief to me that I found an incredibly amazing and wonderful woman that'll put up with my monkey ass, and that I somehow hoodwinked her into marrying me. There's absolutely no part of me that desires to rekindle any sort of relationship with any old flames from the past.

The best part of this story, though, is that N was only able to track me down because some kid at Princeton plagiarized a story of mine for his thesis. And he was only able to somehow find and yonk it because it was published on a fairly obscure online website. (And I won't even go into the fact that the original publication of the story itself resulted in my one, brief taste of true stalkerdom/groupiedom.)

What's the point of all this, you say? No point, really. Just be careful about taking it out of your cyber pants. Once you do, it's hard to put it back in and anyone who wants to can rise up and kick you in the junk.

References to monkeys in this entry: 3
References to Jebus in this entry: 1
References to bumping uglies and junk kicking: 2

Monkeys > bumping uglies and junk kicking > Jebus

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Hit Me

Shamelessly lifted from here:

Saul is working in his store when he hears a booming voice from above: "Saul, sell your business." He ignores it. It goes on for days.

"Saul, sell your business for $3 million." After weeks of this, he relents, sells his store. The voice says ‘Saul, go to Las Vegas." He asks why. "Saul, take the $3 million to Las Vegas."

He obeys, goes to a casino. Voice says, "Saul , go to the blackjack table and put it down all on one hand." He hesitates but knows he must. He’s dealt an 18. The dealer has a six showing.

"Saul, take a card."

What? The dealer has -- "Take a card!"

He tells the dealer to hit him. Saul gets an ace. Nineteen. He breathes easy.

"Saul, take another card." What? "TAKE ANOTHER CARD!"

He asks for another card. It’s another ace. He has twenty.

"Saul, take another card," the voice commands. I have twenty! Saul shouts.

"TAKE ANOTHER CARD!!" booms the voice.

Hit me, Saul says. He gets another ace. Twenty one.

The booming voice goes: "un-fucking-believable..."

Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta

My rocket coffee pot project for welding class is proceeding nicely. Well, ignoring the fact that it's going to weigh about forty pounds when it's done. Steel is heavy, dude.

My Crypto £5/£10 excursion continues to be mas worthwhile. I'm liking that particular limit as you pretty much avoid all the bonus chasing on the lower limits as well as the potential full-time sharks on the higher end. I know I've said it before, but Crypto be where it's at, if you're looking for fishy play.

I do a lot of my scheming in the shower. This morning was one of those breakthrough scheming showers. Let it so be written in stone.

Speaking of scheming, I haven't quite let go of the idea of licensing a poker site. Still wading through the initial feeling out stage with two different software providers (Prima and Dobrosoft). Encouraging developments include the fact that both host and manage much of the required hardware, and that both (I think) take their licensing cut on an ongoing basis (e.g. each month they get a 20-35% cut of the total rake you take in). Both those factors greatly reduce the initial capital you'd need to get a poker site off the ground. Still to be determined is how much they charge for an initial license, any fees on top of the ongoing percentage, what (if any) level of customer support do they offer, etc.

About to move a chunk o' money into our Orange savings account that the wife and I just set up. I thought it'd make me sad to see my Neteller hoard dwindle dramatically but it's almost a relief. Well, not so much a relief but more a sense of satisfaction, as far as justifying the time/skill/energy put into my degenerate activities. And yeah, it's basically dead money, even drawing 2.35% interest, but it's there, damnit, tangible and safe.

I am going to be a little more aggressive with this month's profits, though. I'm still a bit skittish about the market but it's stupid to ignore it, especially in areas that I know more than the average monkey about. And I knows a good bit abouts teh gambling. So, moving forward, I think I'm going to start building a Degenerate Portfolio, comprised of assorted gaming and gambling stocks. I like the symmetry of reinvesting my gambling profits into gambling-related companies, as well as knowing that each and every suckout on a Crypto site is, in reality, boosting the rake and bottom line of CryptoLogic, Inc. Yeah, I know, diversity, blah blah blah, but I'm not necessarily going long on every position and the gaming and gambling umbrella is pretty broad and includes many companies you'd never ordinarily think of. Once it gets rolling I'll incorporate the portfolio into the sidebar, including positions, results, the whole nine yards.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Giving it Up

So I've been rolling this idea around in my ahead a bit and decided, you know, what the hell. It's been an interesting few months in the poker blog cosmos, as far as assorted flame wars, questions about the merits of new poker blogs, about what the meaning of an online commmunity exactly is, and all that jazz.

If you boil away all the extraneous crippety-crap, I think the root cause of a lot of the above is that there's a basic inbalance inherent in poker that gets extended to blogging about poker. It's one of the few pursuits that you can work really damn hard at and get a negative return from. Negative dollars and cents. Negative anonymous assholes leaving comments. Negative feelings of rage when J4o cracks your AA for the eighteenth time that month.

And yeah, sure, shit happens, and there's no magic cure. But we all work really hard at these damn blogs and put in a lot of time. And in many cases it's largely for naught, from both an economic and a more amorphous, feeling-satisfied point of view.

While I can't do much about the more amorphous stuff, I can do a little token something as far as cold, hard, crass rewards. And it also has the nice little side effect of encouraging people to be better poker bloggers. Here's the plan, effective as of, umm, now:

Each month I'm going to give out two different awards, each worth the princely sum of $25. These awards will be:

  • 1) The "I'm A Deep, Deep Poker Thinker, Baby, Just Like That Dude Socrates" Award

    Blogging about poker strategy is good. It helps all of us. The more solid poker strategy out there, the better. For everyone. One of the key purposes of any blogging community is to build a repository of useful, shared knowledge. The more people building and contributing, the better off we all are.

    On the first of each month I'll give $25 to the blogger that dedicated the most effort to providing valuable, strategy-related poker content in the previous month. It can be one entry, thirty entries, whatever. I get to be the final, ultimate judge, as far as intanglibles such as "valuable" and "most". Hah.

    While I could try to quantify this in many ways, I think you get the gist of it. I'll be out here lurking. If you post lots of good strategy content, you'll have a good chance of winning.

  • 2) The Funky Monkey Award

    This goes to the most entertaining poker blog. That's it. That's all. You just have to be entertaining and mainly blog about poker. As valuable as strategy is, it'd get real damn boring if that's all people posted. Thus enter the Funky Monkey award.

    Again, I get to be sole arbiter, judge, and executioner. Muhwahaha. The funniest and most entertaining poker blogger for the previous month gets $25, paid on the first of the next month. It can be based on one entry, many entries, whatever. Alls you gots to do is be entertaining. That's it.

    I'll be lurking. You be funny. Deal?

  • So what do you have to do to be considered for these awards? Not a dang thing. If your blog is listed in the blogroll to the right, I'm reading you, and you're in the running. If it's not in the blogroll and you want to be considered (or you read a blog that you think should be considered), leave a comment and I'll add it to the blogroll.

    All you have to do is think deeply and/or be entertaining. That's it. Many of you already do this naturally. So it's a win-win situation.

    As far as payment details, I'd prefer to do it via a player to player transfer at PokerNow, as I have some mad money sitting in my account there, whispering seductively in my ear to do something wacky like this with it. If you don't have an account there, it's a dang fine site, just like Party, and using bonus code Crown gets you a big fat 20% signup bonus.

    If you don't have a PokerNow account and there's no way you can open one, and you beg and cry and plead and promise to pet small dogs and children when you see them, I can probably be coerced into paying you directly via Neteller. But only if it's a last resort, as I'll have to pay additional fees there for a peer to peer transfer.

    I'll keep a running tally of previous winners and incorporate it into my template here, moving forward, so that people can revel in the glory that is some damn fine strategic and entertaining poker content.

    So yeah. Think deeply. And be funny, damnit.

    German Sausage and SuperSystem 2

    Let's just say that the decision to take every single available bet on Ray Charles in the Grammy's last night was +EV for my degenerate sportsbook activities. While I'm slightly embarassed by the fact that I've made more from betting on ridiculous things such as the Grammy's, the Academy Awards, and NASCAR (as opposed to, oh, say football, something I devote much time, energy, and thought to) it all spends the same way.

    The wife and I spent the weekend at a bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg, Texas, which is touristy little faux German enclave west of Austin. It's a little cheesy but fairly cool, especially if you make it out to Enchanted Rock, which is this big honking rock formation north of town. We mainly just lazed around, hit up some antique shops, drank lots of wine, yada yada yada. I did find what I think my next welding project will be, after the rocket coffee pot:

    You can't really tell from the picture but that sucker is close to six feet tall. That's what I'm talking about, ginormous scrap-metal chickens.

    I also finished up SuperSystem 2. I have to confess that I never read the original SuperSystem, so I can't really speak to any improvements in this edition, etc. As far as general thoughts and impressions:

  • It's definitely worth a read, especially Doyle's section on NL. Most of the book is geared towards higher stakes games, though, despite their claims at time that the advice applies to all limits. More than a few times I found myself seeing the wisdom in the strategy being offered but shaking my head in doubt that similar plays would ever work in the lower limit online world most of us occupy.

  • If you've read any of the 2+2 books on limit hold 'em (or Lee Jones or Hilger), just skip Jennifer Harman's limit section. It's not bad at all but she covers absolutely no new territory that those books didn't cover. None.

  • The only thing I took away from the PL Omaha Hi section by Lyle Berman is that I should liquidate everything of value I have and go play Pl Omaha with him. I'm sorry but there's just some out and out horrible advice in that section. Instead of giving any sort of analysis or math to back up assorted assertions, he just falls back on anecdotal evidence from a big pot he once won, and how that partocular play in that pot backed up what he's asserting.

  • The Omaha 8 section was pretty decent, as was the Stud section. Don't have the slightest idea about Triple Draw so I can't really comment on that.

  • Doyle's NL section was the most interesting, especially as it's the first time I've read it. His main mantra is to be aggressive, steal lots of pots, and get your money in when you have the worst of it. No, really. That's obviously oversimplified, but the basic theory is that if you're aggressive you'll pick up lots of small pots, which essentially allow you to freeroll in marginal situations you'd otherwise never be involved in. While you'll often get a lot of chips in with the worst of it, you're never a huge dog to any hand, so all of those small pots give you shot after shot at breaking someone who's playing tighter, waiting for a big hand.

    Which is obviously pretty damn good advice. It's interesting as I think most of us have the idea of aggression down, and realize the value of stealing small pots, but I'm not so sure about the next step, of willingly calling an all-in re-raise with 67s on a flop of 10 6 3, rainbow. Not just making that call but wanting an opponent to push all-in at that point, so that we can get all our money in and have a shot at drawing out on them and, as Doyle likes to say, breaking them.

    But yeah, interesting stuff. I wonder if it applies as much to $25 NL and $50 NL, as I'm not sure you can steal as many small pots as you need, given the tendency of online monkeys to call with anything and the small leverage your stack provides as far as scaring people out of pots. 'Tis worth a read if no reason other than to remind you how much you have to learn about the crazy game of poker.

  • Still on a crazy tear at the blackjack tables. I need to sit down and crunch some numbers and just see how far I'm ahead of the game, as far as expected results versus actual results. The crazy/encouraging thing is that I'm not sure I'm that far out of line, as far as the numbers go. I'm in the process of putting together an uber guide to degenrate online gambling, as far as using both casino and poker bonuses to turn an initial investment of a few hundred dollars into much, much more. While individual mileage will obviously vary, there's just a ton of money on the table right now between poker and casino bonuses, and it's really not that difficult to grab your share, if you go about it in a disciplined, smart fashion.

    Friday, February 11, 2005

    Clearing Poker Bonuses

    I originally meant to elaborate on this a bit more in the poker bonus strategy guide but never quite got around to it. A combination of clearing a ton of bonuses myself lately coupled with reading SuperSystem 2 finally jogged my monkey brain last night, so I thought I'd finally revisit this topic.

    By and large, if you catch the bonus bug you'll be playing at lower limits. While you can clear a bonus at 15/30, it's more than likely that the extra $100 you get from the bonus won't make a huge dent in your bankroll. But, just like all poker bonuses aren't created equal, neither are all low/micro limit games. There are a few considerations to keep in mind in order to maximize the value of the bonus. In no particular order:

  • Minimize your Risk

  • The real value in bonuses isn't locked in any one particular bonus; the true +EV lies in the ability to clear multiple bonuses. Read that again. If you can multi-table and consistently play break-even poker, you'll make money. In any given month there's usually $500-$750 in juicy bonus money available, through reloads and monthly bonuses. Your goal is to get that money, with a minimum of effort, and with as minimal risk as possible.

    By and large, you shouldn't be clearing bonuses at 2/4 or higher. I'm not saying you shouldn't be playing 2/4 or higher, just that you should separate your bonus play from your other play at those levels and above. Look at the bonus money as hit and run missions, strategical strikes to extract the most money possible in the least amount of time, at the lowest limits possible. Yes, I know, it's boring and frustrating as hell sometimes to play .50/1, especially if you're used to higher limits. But your goal in chasing bonuses is to build your bankroll, plain and simple. Recognize it as such. It's an ends to the means, not the means.

    The lower the limit you play, the lower your risk. Variance is a real issue with bonuses because you're typically playing 1,000 raked hands or fewer. Anything in the world can happen in a sample that small. Analyze each bonus and determine the lowest limit you can play that will allow you to clear it in the available time you have. The balancing act is finding the lowest limit that still produces enough raked hands to clear the bonus quickly, so that you can move on to the next one.

  • Plan Your Mission

  • Be like the A-Team, loving it when a good plan comes together. Don't just run around, jumping on this site and depositing for a bonus, getting bored when it's slow to clear, jumping ship and going over here, then there, then back. Take half an hour at the beginning of the month to plan what bonuses you'll pick off.

    You have all the monthly Crypto bonuses available. You also have initial signup bonuses to work through. You usually have reloads from the major sites, as well. For myself, I pencil in all the Cryptos in the middle of the month (trying to avoid the beginning of the month/end of the month influx of bonus chasing players that typically occurs, which causes the play to tighten slightly). I usually slot a new initial signup bonus or two for the first few weeks of the month. The last week or two is usually reserved for reloads that crop up.

    That said, you'll have to be flexible. Sometimes bonuses pop up with a small window of opportunity to complete them in. You can almost always move the monthly bonuses around in your schedule and the initial signup bonuses almost never expire, so it's usually easy to work in time-sensitive reload bonuses.

  • Step Down, Not Up

  • I know people that normally play 5/10 and higher who clear bonuses at .50/1. Remember, you're there for the bonus. Clearing it at lower limits reduces the swings your bankroll will experience, thus increasing the odds that you'll clear the bonus and show a profit.

    What you have to avoid is stepping up in limits, because you think you'll clear it faster since more hands are raked. This is a recipe for disaster, as you'll be playing with slightly scared money, always watching the raked hand total, watching your bankroll, anxious, wringing you hands.

    If you can't easily clear the bonus playing your normal limits (or below), then don't chase after the bonus in the first place. It's just that easy. There are so many good bonuses out there that you never have to step above 1/2, if you don't want to. Again, I'm obviously not saying you can't clear a bonus at 2/4. You can. But only if you feel comfortable at that level, your bankroll can support it, and there are no other better bonuses that you can clear at lower levels.

  • Understand the Bonus Terms

  • This is probably where people make the most errors, and what leads to the most frustration. Always read the terms and conditions for the bonus and understand how that site's bonus system works. It makes a huge, huge difference if the site requires you to contribute to a raked hand, or if you simply have to be dealt cards initially in a hand that is eventually raked.

    Don't jump on a bonus without doing any research, only to discover that what looks like a great bonus will in fact take you twelve years to clear *cough* Full Tilt *cough*. Not only will you get frustrated and likely not play your best, even if you abandon ship and move on it will continue to mock you, always nagging at the back of your mind. Always make sure you understand the terms and that you have a good sense of how long it will take you in real-world conditions to get the bonus.

    Don't focus on the dollar amount, but instead on how quickly you can clear it. A $40 that you can clear in thirty minutes beats the hell out of a $300 bonus that takes you a month to clear.

  • Expand Your Repertoire

  • If you want to extra full value from the world of bonuses, learn how to play Stud and Omaha. There are more than a few bonuses that require you to contribute to the pot for you to get credit for a raked hand, and Stud is great for those situations, as your initial ante counts as a contribution. Micro limit Omaha games usually have six or seven people seeing every flop, so nearly every hand is raked.

    Omaha is also good for multi-tabling as you will insta-muck many, many hands preflop, so you have to make fewer decisions and see less flops, allowing you to focus on multiple tables more easily. (Stud, though, is exactly the opposite, as unless you have a photographic memory you're going to be giving away a lot by not being able to remember exposed cards that have been mucked.)

    Plus learning a new game never hurts and can even be, wonder of wonders, fun.

  • Stick to Full Ring Games

  • This is debatable, and I flip-flop myself, but I think in general you should stick to full ring games when clearing bonuses. Yes, you can clear them more quickly at loose shorthanded games, due to the simple fact that you see more hands per hour. But it's harder to multi-table all short-handed games, and to play short-handed correctly you have to be aggressive to the point that you'll encounter wild fluctuations in your bankroll.

    At full ring games you'll see fewer hands in an hour, but more will be raked. Your decisions are also easier, especially if you're multi-tabling, as you're playing fewer marginal hands than you do when short-handed.

  • The More Tables, The Better

  • You have to multi-table to get the full value from bonuses. Have to. And, honestly, you really have to play four tables at a time, or at least be working up to it. It's hard at first and yes, indeed, you'll make some errors while getting used to it and cost yourself some money in the short-term. But in the long-term it'll greatly increase your profitability if you can manage four or more tables at a time.

    If you can't fit four tables on your monitor without overlap, start setting aside a certain amount of money from each bonus towards buying a monitor that can fit four tables. I was stubborn for far, far too long, thinking I could get by just fine on my wee little monitor. Don't be stubborn. Having four tables on the screen with no overlap will increase your profitability. It will.

  • You Can't Win Them All

  • Variance is a bitch. Even the best laid plains blow up in your face sometimes. Sometimes you're going to chase a bonus, play a ton of hands, and show a net loss for all your efforts. It just happens. If it doesn't happen to you, you're not taking full advantage of all the bonuses out there. Dust yourself off and go on to the next one.

    I Heart Mental Health Days

    That was a strange variation on the ebola virus I just had. Felt horrible for the fifteen seconds it took me to fire off an email to my supervisor at work, telling her I wouldn't be in, then bam, like magic, I felt prefectly fine again just seconds later. What's a monkey to do but stay home and get assorted chores *cough* gambling *cough* done.

    I did, in fact, get some stuff done. Like renewing my vehicle registration that expired six months ago. Heh. Plus changing the oil in the truck. Amd yelling at assorted people that owe me monies, which are hopefully on the way.

    All I gots to say about assorted bloggerish flames and controversy and what-not in the last month or two is people should realize that by calling people out and posting and commenting and lambasting them, they're just giving these stunted people exactly the attention that they crave. Which is why they act maliciously in the first place. Or, to quote the Simpsons, "Just don't look! Just don't look!".

    Checking out for a few days for a mini-trip. Don't burn the place down while I'm gone.

    Thursday, February 10, 2005


    Severely. Lacking. In. Anything. Of. Import. To. Say.

    I am working on a poker bonus related post, about strategy as far as maximizing the return, playing certain limits for certain bonuses and games, etc. Work at the monkey factory is keeping me busy, though, plus the wife and I are taking a mini-trip for the weekend so I'm trying to wrap up all sorts of other assorted loose ends.

    Things are still running very well at the tables. Other than last weekend being a complete washout poker-wise, the gambling gods are continuing to be kind. I think I may have exhausted the available supply of sacrificial virgins in Austin, though. Doh.

    Wednesday, February 09, 2005

    Heaping, Groaning Plates

    First things first, many thanks for the suggestions for booking Vegas package deals. Looks like we'll probably go with SouthWest, as they had a pretty cheap deal staying at Treasure Island. Pirates are officially teh shit. Argh, matey, argh...

    I perpetually have twelve thousand things on my plate. Usually I like that, like dashing desperately from spinning plate to spinning plate, always on the brink of crashing doom but managing to keep it all going, rotating nicely.

    Lately, though, I don't. I just don't. And I think that's directly attributable to the increasing malaise and burnedoutedness with my day job. And, ironically, due to the increasing success of all my sundry spinning plate ventures.

    I'm just stuck on the proverbial fence. I keep telling myself that I have to keep plugging away until the sum of the outside income (poker, affiliate marketing, freelance writing gigs, audio porn empire) is consistently > day job income. At that point I can start thinking about making the leap to self-employdom.

    Which is great, in theory, and very responsible of me, given the fact that I have a mortgage, student loans, a truck payment, a wife that likes to shop, etc. But it also leaves me perpetually burning the candle at both ends, putting in 60 hour weeks. And, more annoyingly, nothing is ever finished, or done to the extent that it should really be done.

    The real crux of the dilemma is that the bulk of my outside endeavors are, by nature, prone to wild fluctuations, as far as income produced. Of late they've vastly exceeded the income from my day job, but that could just as easily swing the other way.

    I have a half dozen ideas I'm currently working on, any one of which could potentially produce an income roughly equal to what I make as a cube monkey. Given time contraints, though, none of them get fully fleshed out. Thus none succeed to the point to provide a safe escape from cubeland.

    It's not that I can't multi-task. I can. I'm pretty good at it. It's just comes down to an exercise in math. There aren't enough available hours when I work a full-time job. There just aren't.

    But I'm also starting to realize there never will be enough hours, if I keep straddling the fence. I'm going to have to jump. And probably sooner rather than later. Absolute worst case scenario is that I fail miserably and have to slink back to cubeland. And there are much worse things than that.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    Hurry Yo Ass Up, Friday

    Not a ton to report on the gambling front. I chipped away a bit at the Paradise Poker reload but couldn't get anything going. 1/2 6 max has suddenly turned evil on me. Lately my Patience-O-Meter has been a bit out of whack and I think I may need to take it into the shop. While I wouldn't trade my recent run at sticky casino bonuses for better bonus whoring results in a million years, it's having a slightly negative effect at the tables. $150 poker bonuses only seem juicy if I can clear them really quickly, so I end up focusing solely on speed and ignoring everything else. Which is fine and not bad in and of itself, but it strips away all residual poker joy and leaves me especially cranky when I hit a bad run of cards. I need to keep reminding myself that consistently profitable poker results are attainable and scalable in the long run while casino bonus success (no matter how profitable) isn't reproducible, especially when dealing with sticky bonuses.

    We had our welding class last night, which was fun but frustrating. I'd decide to make a steel rocket-shaped coffee pot but, umm, the engineering plans sort of disintegrated under real-world conditions. The galvanized steel I thought that would be so perfect for the body was way too thin, and essentially melted under any heat. So I'm back to the drawing board. It's still fun as hell, though, just cutting and welding and mucking around with stuff.

    It's looking like I'll be in Vegas with the wife on the weekend of June 24th-June 26th. My birthday is the 29th and I've been begging and whining for awhile to go to Vegas, especially since the WSOP is cranking up around them. Assuming they have satellites I might try to finagle my way into the $2,500 PL Hold'em tournament on June 25th. Or, hell, maybe even just buy in, if I'm feeling frisky enough. I've been poking around a bit for cheap package deals to Vegas but surprisingly not finding much. Anyone out there in cyberland have any recommendations for online services they've used? The lazy monkey in me would rather do a package deal but I can also book it separately. Looking for a hotel on the nicer side, preferably on the Strip. Many thanks for any suggestions.

    Monday, February 07, 2005

    Let's just say if you ranked all the things I'd like to be doing right now, the day job isn't very high on that list.

    Caro did have another interesting tidbit in SuperSystem 2 that I forgot earlier, which just resurfaced while I was catching up on poker blog reading. Again, it's not rocket science, but he touches on an interesting concept as far as everyone having a Misery Threshold, both at the tables and away from the tables. Simply stated, we all have our own personal point where things are, literally, as bad as they can get. Once you hit your own personal Misery Threshold you stop caring and become numb, as you can't process things in the normal way. Further individual events that would normally cause great pain become painless. You cap off a horrible session of 3/6 in which you lose half your bankroll by blowing another $600 playing slots. You don't bother paying your truck payment when you girlfriend leaves you and shacks up with the assistant manager at Dairy Queen. And so on and so forth.

    The interesting part of it is that it made me think about the phenomenon of tilt, and how it's often not quite accurately described or defined. Looking back on a disastrous poker or blackjack session (usually one where I stop playing intelligently and chase losses in donkey fashion), I'll often tell msyelf I tilted. By that I mean I let raw emotion, usually anger, get the better of me, causing me to ignore warning signs and raise with hands that are beaten.

    That's really not usually the case, though, for my truly disastrous bankroll-emptying sessions. Those are usually accompanied by an eerie lack of emotion, not by anger, culminating in almost numb disbelief when it's all done, when the account shows zeros. Which sort of makes sense, in relation to what Caro says. Not to say you can't get angry and go on tilt, as you obviously can, but only that there are much more sneaky, dangerous forms of tilt. At least when you're angry you're sometimes unintentionally playing correctly, as far as upping your aggression factor. You'll still lose in the long run but your losses will be mitigated by unintentional good play at times. Plus you usually encounter plenty of warning signs, including, but not limited to, the screaming of obscenities, threats of involuntary flight to laptops, and the well-nigh irresistable urge to put a boot up a pixellated opponents ass.

    When you keep playing after hitting your Misery Threshold, though, you've entered truly dangerous waters, as it simply stops mattering. There aren't any triggers to pull you out of it or snap you back to somewhat normal senses. That part of your brain that cares greatly about the results turns off and you suddenly find yourself pushing larger and larger stacks of chips towards someone, anyone else. You become pot-commited in the worst sense, unable to stop until you literally have nothing left to wager.

    You Are a Fickle Mistress, Lady Poker

    Total hands of poker played this weekend: 6,128
    Total bonus money cleared: $750
    Total profit: -$27.00
    Experience of getting kicked in the junk repeatedly at the tables and frigging playing for frigging hours and hours on end only to show a net loss: priceless

    Yes, indeed. I managed to clear assorted Empire and Paradise reloads, grinding and grinding away. I even received special dispensation from the wife to be a poker hermit, to aid me in the quest of knocking all these "juicy" reloads off my plate. Umm, yeah, juicy...

    And I just couldn't get anything going. Nothing. Spending the weekend generally card-dead didn't help but I just couldn't string together any momentum. I'd finally start building a stack and the table would break, I'd get sucked out on at a NL table, something, anything. I tried mixing it up, playing 6 max 1/2, full ring 1/2 and 2/4, NL, Omaha, Stud, you name it. Nada. Nothing. No soup for me.

    No Party cruise for me, either. My KK didn't hold up when the chip leader at my table cold-called my all-in bet of 2,120 with J8o, and rivered the straight. Sweet.

    So yeah. Add in the bonuses and I'm $27 poorer than I was on Friday. I suppose that's better than being $777 poorer.

    There was a silver lining, though. I was waiting for the Party semi-final to start and thought I'd knock out a blackjack bonus. I've worked through most of the good ones and am hitting the remaining dregs, usually sticky bonuses that require you to wager a ton of money. So I deposit $200, get a $200 bonus, and start playing. I start out pretty well but don't get too excited, as I have a lot of wagering left plus I have a pretty aggressive target for sticky casino bonuses, so odds are it'll all end up going poof.

    The Party tourney starts, plus the wife is coming in and out of the office, and I'm trying to sign up for one more poker bonus reload before it expires, etc. Basically doing all of this on auto-pilot. Lo and behold, I finish the blackjack wagering and hit my target. For the hell of it, I bet one last hand at $200/hand. And I win. And I win again. And I say I'll let it roll until I lose a hand, and then I'll cash out. Except I don't lose a hand for quite awhile. I finally cash out +$2,200. Which isn't bad for about 45 minutes of "work".

    (Don't get me wrong, the last thing I'm saying is blackjack > poker. And sticky casino bonuses are especially dangerous, as you have to be willing (and financially able) to suffer through losing your entire deposit over and over and over, before recouping it (plus some) when you hit it big. But yeah. Woo. Me like money.)

    Watched the Super Bowl, which was a bit disappointing. Lucrative, in that I loaded up on the Eagles, but it was a pretty sloppy game that the Patriots had in hand the whole way by doing little more than playing solid, workmanlike football.

    I started SuperSystem 2 last night. Can't really say I'm disappointed with it but I also can't really say I'm impressed. Once you read enough general poker strategy books there's not a whole lot new to glean from similar tomes, and you generally end up taking away a few nuggets from here, from there, and I didn't find any nuggets in the Caro section or Jennifer Harmon's limit section.

    Well, that's a lie, as Caro did have an interesting tidbit about playing marginal hands, that I'd never really thought about in that light. His point was that if you're a good player, it really makes no difference whether you play all the marginal hands that you find or none of the marginal hands, as far as your net profit. Your net result is about the same over the long run. You don't profit from playing marginal hands, as the wins simply offset all the wasted antes and bets. Most top pros play all the marginal hands, though, as it gives the impression that they're giving action, allowing stronger hands to extract more value from the table. Not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination but I'd never seen that stated that way, as the normal justification for playing marginal hands is that if you're a better player, you're a better player, and can outplay people after the flop even with marginal hands. Which always seemed a bit dodgy to me, as, umm, they're marginal hands for a reason.

    Saturday, February 05, 2005

    Bless You, Empire

    Taking a small break in the Thank-You-Empire-For-Buying-Me-A-New-Desktop bonusathon weekend. I decided to give a couple of single table qualifiers a whirl for the last Party Poker Million qualifier tomorrow. Lo and behold, I won one of them, so we'll see if I can conjure up some good mojo for the semi-final tomorrow.

    Friday, February 04, 2005

    Perpetually Scheming

    For the love of Jebus, no more reload bonuses! Stop the madness! I now have 123,182 raked hands to play this month!

    (PokerRoom is offering a reload now too, in addition to the Paradise and Empire ones.)

    Going to a strip club with the wife tonight. That's not a sentence I get to type every day.

    So yeah, scheming. I got bored yesterday at work (gasp), and my mind started to wander. Which usually means that I sit here and try to think of ways to get rich. I'm not picky, when it comes to getting rich. Pretty much any quasi-legal avenue will do. I'm equal opportunity when it comes to grubbing for gold, turning no one away.

    But yesterday when I was poking around doing research for my entry about poker sites and networks and what-not I started pondering just how much it would cost to get an online poker site up and running. Let's set some parameters, though. I'm not talking Party or anything in that ballpark. I'm not talking about developing your own software. I'm talking about the lowest entry point, probably as a Prima licensee.

    Even then it'd be expensive. You'd still have to get a gaming license in a jurisdiction that allows gaming, work out the arrangements for the hardware and bandwidth, etc. Depending on the license, you also might have to handle customer support and transaction processing. And it'd be just another low-rent poker site, jockeying for the same players, getting the snot beaten out of it by Party.

    Ahh, but suddenly there is a glimmer of light. What if it was owned by poker bloggers? And, more importantly, played at by bloggers?

    You'd be surprised/horrified at what you pay in rake. It really adds up, even at low limit tables. That's why online poker sites are so insanely profitable. While they have the obvious overhead, they also have a rakish cash cow that is being unobtrusively milked every second of the day.

    If you play two table hours a day on average (1 table for 2 hours, 2 tables for 1 hour, 4 tables for 30 minutes, etc.) in a full month of playing you'll pay the typical site the following approximate amounts in rake at the limits listed:

    .50/1: $155
    1/2: $275
    2/4: $390
    3/6: $620
    5/10: $930
    10/20: $1,100

    Now for the fun part. Let's play pretend and say the site exists. We'll call the site HammerPoker. Let's extend that playing of pretend and say that we have 100 bloggers/co-owners who'll play on the site. Remember, HammerPoker part of a larger network, so it's not bloggers playing bloggers on a tiny site with no games. It's basically the same as playing at The Gaming Club or any other Prima site. The only difference is that the rake goes to HammerPoker.

    Of the 100 total bloggers/co-owners, 25 bloggers are willing to play at .50/1, 25 willing to play at 1/2, 20 willing to play at 2/4, 15 willing to play at 3/6, 10 willing to play at 5/10, and 5 willing to play at 10/20 and up. Keep in mind that they're all just playing 2 table hours per day, on average.

    That works out to the following in rake generated each month:

    .50/1: $3,875
    1/2: $6,875
    2/4: $7,800
    3/6: $9,400
    5/10: $9,300
    10/20: $5,500

    Total: $42,750/month in rake

    That's a decent chunk of change, just from the rake produced by the co-owners. Remember, that's just the rake that you normally pay anyway. You'd keep any winnings.

    So you'd have ~$43,000/month in income locked in. That's $516,000/year. Keep in mind, too, that that's completely ignoring any non-blogger players signing up and playing at the site. Given the collective reach of all the blogs and the eyeballs that view them, I think it'd be a safe bet to make that we'd be able to get a decent number of outside players onto the site.

    The big question is the obvious one. Expenses. Especially start-up expenses. Kahnawake Gaming Commission charges a non-refundable $15,000 to consider your application for a gaming license, as well as a refundable $10,000 annual fee if accepted. So that'd be a cool $25,000 just for the gaming license.

    I have no clue what Prima charges for a license. None. I would guess it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000-$100,000 annually. I would guess that they'd want this upfront, but they might allow you to pay on a monthly basis.

    You'd have fees associated with processing deposits and withdrawals by Neteller, FirePay, etc. I'm not sure if they charge you initially or annually to sign up as a merchant. I know they charge a fee on each end of a deposit/withdrawl but that's all I know. These fees would be less than a normal site would incur, however, as the core blogger group wouldn't be shuffling money in and out like many normal players do. I'll guesstimate fees of $5,000/month, or $60,000/year.

    Customer support woudn't be too bad, given the nature of the endeavor, since the core group of bloggers/co-owners removes a lot of the headaches. You could probably get away with just email support for awhile, and lord knows there'd be plenty of bloggers online at any point to put out potential fires.

    You'd have to domicile the parent corporation in a jurisdiction that allows gaming. Incorporating actually isn't that horrible and is reasonably inexpensive even if you pay someone else to do it. Let's say $10,000 in expenses in initially setting up the corporation (although you could do it for much less).

    Hardware. This I don't know about, as I have no clue of the load a smallish site like this would put on servers, or what security measures you have to have in place to deal with DOS attacks, etc. I also don't know if the servers physically have to be located outside the US, etc. I would imagine that you could find a reputable hosting company and either go the co-lo or dedicated hosting route and not have to physically own/control the servers yourself. But I really don't know. If you can rent, you're probably looking at around $2,500-$5,000/month.

    Using my wild-assed guesses, that's about $200,000 in annual expenses. As far as initial unavoidable start-up costs, you're looking at $50,000-$150,000, depending on the licensing.

    You've got $516,000 in income locked in from blogger/co-owner rake. Subtracting expenses leaves you with about $300,000 in profit. (This is ignoring corporate taxation, which could or could not occur depending on where the parent corporation is domiciled.) Or, assuming 100 blogger co-owners, $3,000/year per blogger.

    Interesting, no? And that's not even touching on the all-expense paid annual shareholder meeting in Vegas every year. And, like I said, it's ignoring the fact that we have lots of skilled blogger monkeys with other talents, too, to attract and keep outside players on the site. Such as shilling for sites *cough*, offering and managing an affiliate program, handling some assorted programming and IT stuff, accounting, getting tattooed on foreheads, etc.

    In reality, sure, it'd be much more complicated. The all-for-one-and-one-for-all-equal compensation of co-owners wouldn't work, as some people would put more time in than others, etc. But I imagine you could work up a profit-sharing agreement that was fair and equitable. And yeah, you'd have to raise initial capital, and factor that into the equation somehow. And I'm sure countless other myriad details I'm forgetting.

    But dude, that'd be cool, all of us co-owning a site. Somebody make it happen.

    Thursday, February 03, 2005

    The Online Poker Site Cosmos

    This is a bit of a tangent, but I thought I'd bang together a post about some of the inner workings of the online poker world, as far as software platforms, licensing, skins, etc. It does have some effect on the actual play you'll find at the tables but it's also a little tangential, so feel free to ignore.

    While there are tons of online poker sites, many of them share the same software platform that allows for the action to take place. In most cases this is pretty apparent, as the sites will look and function exactly the same, with only slight differences in background colors, player avatars, etc.

    What usually happens is a person (or group of people) decide they want to open an online poker site. Okay. Their most immediate need is an infrastructure to not only offer games but to process transactions and handle customer support. They could hire programmers and build all that out from scratch, investing years and likely millions of dollars. Or they could simply outsource all that and license the rights to an existing platform. Most choose the latter option, for all the obvious reasons.

    Licensing an existing platform also has another huge plus, which is the ability to tap into an existing network of players from day one. Instead of trying to attract players to a brand new site (and keep them, when they first signup and find a tiny number of available games and players) licensees can flip the switch and unveil a brand spanking new site with thousands and thousands and thousands of players and games.

    As a player, it's important to know what type of site you're signing up with, whether it's part of a network or an independent site, as this directly affects the quantity and quality of games you'll find. Let's take a quick look at the major networks of sites, as well as the prominent independent operators.


    Party Poker is the mother of all poker sites and it's no surprise that the network it's a part of dominates the scene, too. Based in Gibralter, PartyGaming (which recently changed its name from iGlobalmedia) owns and operates Party Poker, which everyone is familiar with. They also license their platform to a slew of other sites, including Empire, PokerNow, Intertops, Multipoker, Eurobet, and Coral.

    How does all that work? In a nutshell, all those sites share the same pool of players, so whenever you log on you'll find the same tables, games, and players. The only real difference is whose pocket your rake money goes into. If you signup through Party, though, your rake money goes to Party. If you signup through Empire, Empire gets your rake. That's the incentive for licensees, letting PartyGaming handle the heavy backend lifting while they simply try to attract enough players to sign up through their personalized portal. If they get enough players so that the total rake accumulated > licensing fees paid, they make money.

    That's the basic operating model for most licensee sites. It's also the reason that we see so many bonus offers, especially signup bonus offers. Remember, their goal, first and foremost, is to get you in the door, entering through their door. They know that when most normal players are inside, they're likely to stay and play on that site, instead of hassling with cashing out and transferring money to another site, etc. So the average player will stay and continue to pay them rake money, month after month after month.

    Sites in the PartyGaming network are not only the biggest online poker sites but they also spend the most money on advertising. This means they offer the most tables, the most players, and, better yet, a large amount of fishy players who see a tv ad and suddenly decide they want to be a poker star, too. Cashouts are nearly instantaneous for most sites and customer support is good.


    CryptoLogic is similar, yet a bit different. First things first, CryptoLogic is a publicly-traded software and transaction processing provider. That's it. They don't own any poker or casino sites. Lots of people don't grasp this and talk about Crypto sites in the same way they talk about Party sites, insinuating that CryptoLogic owns and operates some of the sites. All CryptoLogic does is provide the infrastructure.

    The major Cryptologic poker sites are Caribbean Sun, InterPoker, PokerPlex, Totalbet, UkBetting, Will Hill, LittleWoods, and Ritz Club. While these sites offer their own individual promotions and guidelines, they share the same player pool, just like sites in the PartyGaming network.

    While the Crypto poker network has fewer players overall in comparison to PartyGaming, they do attract more European players and more casino players. While a few of the sites on the Party network offer online casinos, nearly all of the Crypto sites do. This is a very good thing for the savvy poker player, as most people who frequent online casinos tend to like to gamble it up, which leads to softer, looser games at the poker tables when the gamblers wander over to the poker tables. The Crypto sites have also been more aggressive in offering monthly bonuses in an attempt to grow and expand their player base. Cashouts are almost always processed within 24 hours and customer support is adequate.

    Prima Poker

    Prima Poker is the third major network of poker sites that share software platforms and player pools. There are tons of Prima sites (20+ and counting), too many to detail, but the most prominent of them is The Gaming Club.

    Many Prima poker sites are offshoots from existing casinos, so the action is a bit wild and crazy at times, like at Crypto sites. Most of the sites offer bonuses, albeit on the small side. That said, beware, because I'm about to make a broad, dangerous generalization. And we all know the dangers of those.

    While the Prima software is decent, as is the player pool, most of the sites are definitely third-tier as far as customer support and cashout speed. I can't state this as fact, but I'm 99% certain that of all the available licensing options, Prima Poker is the cheapest. Which means the barrier to entry is much lower and that you're not guaranteed to be dealing with a reputable site that's doing it's best to provide great service and support. Long story short, your experience will vary widely on sites in the Prima Network, from awesome to much, much less than awesome.

    Independent Operators

    Outside of the major networks of sites, there are plenty of independent operators, some of them quite large. These poker sites have developed their own software, launched their own sites, and accumulated their own players. When you join their site you're playing solely with other players on the site, and not part of a pool of players shared across multiple poker rooms. This has advantages and disadvantages, but, by and large, it's a wash. While this means that some independents are more aggressive with bonuses (they know that they have to work harder to fill their poker tables with enough players to keep new customers happy when they look for a game), it also means that some of their sites are low-traffic, to the point where it's hard to find a game at the limit you prefer.

    I'll list some of the major independents, with a few caveats. I know the least about these and some might, in fact, have links to other online sites that aren't readily apparent. For the most part, though, this list is solid. It's not meant to be comprehensive, just meant to highlight some of the major players.

  • Pacific Poker

  • PokerStars

  • Paradise Poker

  • Absolute Poker

  • PokerRoom

  • Tiger Gaming

  • Bugsys Club

  • Ultimate Bet

  • Bodog

  • Doyle's Room (this is actually part of a much smaller network)

  • Full Tilt

  • Stupid WPBT

    I didn't exactly tear it up in the blogger tournament last night. Nor did I stink up the joint. I think I went out 65th, right there in the middle of the pack. Worse than that is I really didn't even get to play or get involved in many hands, for the most part. Just kept folding dead, dead cards. I stayed about average stacked for most of the tournament, bluffing at a few pots to tread water, stealing blinds a few times. I got some action on a flopped set of kings early, which kept me afloat. I kept getting blatantly pillaged in the blinds but never had anything at all to defend with. I finally had to make a move with 1010 on the button, BB called with AQo, flopped an A, and I was down to T400 or so. Went out shortly thereafter in the BB myself with K7, basically all-in just from posting.

    Looks like the WPT is about to launch its own poker site, which should be interesting:

    World Poker Tour and WagerWorks Finalize Agreement and Set Timetable for Launch of International Online Gaming Site

    WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 3, 2005-- WPT Enterprises, Inc. and WagerWorks finalized its agreement today to develop a WORLD POKER TOUR(TM) (WPT) branded real-money gaming website. The two companies also announced that the site,, is expected to go live in the second quarter of this year. will prohibit bets from players in the U.S. and other jurisdictions where online gaming is prohibited. will showcase a WPT-branded poker room featuring ring games, Sit and Gos, and multi-table tournaments for poker games including Texas Hold'em, Omaha, 7 Card Stud, and 7 Card Hi-Lo. Additionally, the site will feature an online casino with a broad selection of slots and table games including WagerWorks' exclusive online titles Monopoly(TM), Wheel of Fortune®, and The Price is Right(TM)."

    Full article is here.

    WagerWorks is an interesting choice as far as a software platform, as I'm not aware of any major casinos or poker sites that use it. WagerWorks used to be part of Silicon Gaming (and slots-maker IGT, when IGT bought Silicon Gaming) but was spun off on its on after the acquisition. Most of their current offerings seem to be Flash-based. They also seem pretty dedicated to the notion of barring US players (and anyone in jurisdictions where gambling isn't permitted) so it may be a moot point for us US based peoples.

    Not much else going on in my little gambling world. I'm kind of recharging the batteries before leaping in to another month of hardcore bonus action.

    Wednesday, February 02, 2005

    Helllllllloooooo, February

    This gambling month is off to a good start. I hope whatever is in the water stays in the water.

    Is it a bad sign that I'm starting to sigh these days when PartyEmpire rolls out yet another reload bonus? The grubby raccoon in me can't resist free money, obsessively hoarding it away, but man. So many bonuses, so little spare time. Here are the details on the latest Empire reload:

    "The 25% Deposit Bonus will ONLY be applied on your first deposit made between 00:00 hrs EST, February 3rd and 23:59 hrs EST, February 8th 2005. You must use the bonus code "Feb150" on the Deposit Screen where you enter the amount of the deposit. This deposit code will award you with up to $150 bonus.

    Bonus Amount will automatically be added to your Bonus Account where it will be held until you play raked hands equal to seven (7) times the Bonus Amount within seven (7) days of making your deposit."

    Works out to 1,050 raked hands for the full $150 bonus (deposit $600 to max out the bonus).

    Speaking of bonuses, Caribbean Sun just increased the number of hands for their bonus, up to 500. Even if it's just 500 dealt hands (and not raked) that makes their piddling little $40 monthly bonus pretty worthless. All the other Crypto bonuses appear to be intact and unchanged, though.

    Looking forward to the blogger tournament tonight, especially since it's been a few months since I've played a tournament of any sort. For lack of a more creative bounty, whoever knocks me out gets their own copy of the following musical masterpiece:

    Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em

    Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    Riding Out the Poker Doldrums

    One common thread that crops up again and again while reading poker blogs (and see in my own scattered ramblings when I dig through the archives here) is how to deal with bad results, whether they be suckouts, bad beats, extended downturns, you name it. While it's very easy to say "Been there, done that, the cards will turn your way eventually, just stay the course" that's not really helpful. It's especially not helpful when you're doing your damnedest to understand what's going wrong with your dwindling bankroll, to analyze your play and see what changes you need to make.

    While there's no universal answer(s), I think there are some general trends worth noting. They won't answer the eternal question of why the hell is that moron sucking out on me hand after hand with J4o but maybe they'll ease the sting a bit.

  • The smaller your bankroll, the greater the perceived variance.

    Statistically speaking, your AA is no more or less likely to lose to J4o if you have $10,000 in your bankroll or $23.82. You're an 87% favorite in both instances. But that particular suckout hurts a hell of a lot more when you're down to your last $23.82. And we remember pain much more vividly than we remember smug satisfaction when rockets hold up against a crap hand. The times when I've been frustrated the most with poker are almost always when my bankroll was the lowest, and I was fighting and clawing for my life, only to have a mighty 84o smite my Hilton Sisters down. "What the bafucking Jebus am I supposed to do?" I'd think, ready to chunk my laptop out the window.

    The solution? Well, sadly, there ain't one. Suckouts happen and will continue to happen. You can't control that. In most cases, though, you can control your bankroll. Granted, there are some cases where you get down to your last few dollars, and you simply can't deposit more money, can't afford it, and that's all there is and you have to make the most of it. More often, though, it's just stubbornness that causes you to refuse to deposit any more money. You decide that you'll by God get it back, that you'll run that $30 into $500.

    Well, guess what. Ain't likely to happen. For all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is you're not playing optimally when you're down to $30, steaming, seeing monsters lurking everywhere as you cringe when you get dealt KK, already preparing for another beating. If you can, deposit again and top off the bankroll. If you're going to take the game (and your time) seriously, take it seriously. Invest in yourself if you believe it will show a return.

  • If you want a steady yield, trade your chips in for bonds.

    Poker is a strange beast. In the long run, your return is likely directly proportional to what you invest. If you study and analyze and constantly strive to improve, you'll make money. If you do more of that, you'll make more money. If you do less of that, less money. Poker is a game of strategy and skill. The more you possess, the more profitable you'll be over time.

    In the short term, though, there's absolutely no correlation. None. At times the relationship between study and return is even sickeningly inversely proportional, as you cost yourself bets by thinking too deeply and playing too fancifully. No matter how much logical sense it makes that the cards should behave, once you learn to be their master, they won't always oblige you. Especially in the short term. And by short term I mean up to two or three months. Unless you're grinding out tens of thousands of hands a week, your monthly number of total hands will be low enough that normal standard deviation can cause some pretty wild swings back and forth.

    I've never seen hard data to back this up, but I have a feeling that most profitable players make their money in fits and bursts. Looking back over the last eighteen months, about 60% of my profits come from three months. This isn't a problem of execution, per se, as your hard work will, indeed, pay off over the long run. It's more a perception problem, as far as getting your head around the idea that you'll possibly have more losing months than winning months, yet be a profitable player.

  • SnGs and MTTs increase your variance, no matter the buy-in.

    I like SnGs and MTTs. I really do. But I think they're -EV for almost everyone, even if you break-even in them over the long run. I can't count how many times I've seen someone blog something along the lines of: "I was -15BB and sick of yet another losing session so I thought I'd change it up with a cheap $10 SnG." (I've said that myself more than once so I'm guilty as charged here, too.)

    That sentence doesn't really hold logical water, in all sorts of ways. Speaking solely for myself, I'd usually utter it when my bankroll at whatever site I was playing was down to $100-$200 or so. Frustrated at a losing session, it made perfect sense to try to recoup it (plus some) by only investing a total of $11. Plus I'd get some chips to play with and could at least get my money's worth, instead of seeing some assmonkey take down my KK with Q7 sooooted.

    Bzzzt, wrong answer. SnGs are incredibly high variance and you can play perfectly and easily go nine or ten with no money finishes. Willfully putting 5-10% of your bankroll at risk in such a situation is suicide. It works just enough to seduce you into trying it again and again, until it eventually breaks you. Ditto for MTTs. When you feel desperate and short-stacked and convinced that your only shot to make money is to roll the bones and try for a big cash in a MTT, stop. Cash out whatever money you have in the site, because you've already lost it.

    If you need a break, take a break. Turn off the computer. Don't play SnGs and MTTs in an attempt to reverse a bad session or because your normal, preferred game isn't going well. You prefer it for a reason. Stick to your guns.

  • If you're desperately short-stacked, limit is more dangerous than no-limit

    This is going to raise some eyebrows, but I think it's true. If you play poker long enough you'll find yourself down to the felt, in some form or another. Maybe it's your whole bankroll you've run through, maybe it's just what you'll allow yourself to deposit/lose in a week, maybe it's what you put into a certain site for a bonus chase that went wrong. Whatever the circumstances, you're almost guaranteed to be at that stage at some point, where you have $25 to your name, and it's time to sit down at a table, and there ain't no more money to be pulled out of your wallet.

    For most of us, the natural tendency is to sit at a limit table and wait for a big hand, either going broke or not. The problem with that, though, is that you end up playing passively, waiting for the final hammer blow of doom to fall. What usually happens is you get blinded down a bit, waiting for a big pocket pair, get impatient, then find yourself limping in with J10s, catch a piece of the flop, can't get away from it, and bleed off half your stack when you know you're outkicked. Then you shove the rest of your money in out of position on a crap hand like A2s, just because you want it to be over. And it is. And you never even really gave yourself a shot.

    Give yourself a shot. If you get desperately short-stacked, use that to your advantage and play no-limit. The only advantage you have with a short-stack is the knowledge that your whole life is at stake, which allows you to use your entire stack to potentially push someone off a hand.

  • Isolate your addiction.

    No, I'm not getting all self-helpy. But there's a reason why you play so much poker, why you read poker blogs, why you're here. And, in many cases, that reason can be lead to a larger frustration with the game of poker. Depending on what drives you to the felt, recognizing it and facing it head-on can potentially save you some gnashing of teeth.

    When you get down to brass tacks, I'm addicted to making money, not playing poker. Don't get me wrong, I really like to play poker, but what revs me up is the fact that it's an easily accessible, skill-based endeavor that I can make money at, sitting in my boxers, drinking a beverage. All I have to do is consistently be better than most of the other players at the table. Not even the best. Just better. As dumb as it sounds, realizing that made me a better poker player. You can suck out on my all day, slap me around, call me Rhonda, I just don't care if, at the end of the day, I make good money. I'll take it however I can get it. It becomes much easier to see the bigger picture when you focus on the dollars and cents, as they'll inevitable acumulate on your side of the table over months and months of play, if you put in the thought and energy to study and learn the game.

    If the commmunity aspect of poker is what attracts you, the codified rules of behavior, the easy access to other players, bloggers, and thoughts, that's always going to be there, no matter the size of your bankroll. Yeah, you have to have enough scratch to play, but that's not really the point. If it's the larger community and the rituals that you love, then you get let go some of the frustration that comes when your bankroll stalls out or declines. Does saying "But I love the poker community I'm a part of so it's okay that I lost $100 tonight" ease the pain of losing $100? Of course not. But it does at least isolate it, instead of leaving you with a vague, frustrated, dissatisfied malaise towards poker.

    If you're a gamer type and get off on the competitive nature of taking someones lunch money from them, well, you've got the hardest row to hoe. Because there are going to be days, weeks, and months when the fish slap you around with their fishy tails. And there ain't a single solitary thing you can do but grin and bear it. In the end you'll probably be the best player of all the types outlined above, but it's going to frustrate the hell out of you at times, watching idiots rake in pot after ginormous pot.