Thursday, March 31, 2005

No Soup for Me

I knew I was in trouble in the blogger tournament last night when I got quad As and quad Ks within the first 15 minutes of the tourney, profiting a grand whopping total of T140 from both.

After that, I basically caught junk the short time I was alive. Stole a few blinds, got blinded down, pushed with a mighty pair of 2s hoping the min-raiser already in would fold, only to have him flip over KK. I think I finished 80th or so. Sweeeeet.

I have a horrible, horrible secret to share. I better just say it, or I'll get nervous and chicken out. I, umm... This is hard...

I don't like NL tournaments. There. I said it. Sweet Jebus, it's like a monstrous weight has been lifted from shoulders, as if I can suddenly breathe again, and hear the chirping birds. When I walk now, it is with a spring in my step, a glint in my eye.

No, really. I know that's a horribly uncool thing to say, as poker badasses are supposed to wear mirrored shades and shove huge mountains of chips around and rip the filters off their cigarettes and only, only play NL, because that's sexy poker, baby, that's where the real action is at.

More and more, though, NL just pisses me off, as far as tournaments go. I'm not referencing the tournament last night at all, as this is more directed at a general malaise I've been feeling towards NL tournaments for awhile. I just get no pleasure out of playing well for a few hours, only to have my KK lose to 79o, when the board conjures up four to the flush and I lose to a 9 high flush. Or to go out on the second hand when AA goes down to J9s when I raise 3xBB and he shoves all-in preflop and rivers a straight.

And sure, logically I know that I want impatient ass monkeys to be making plays like that. It just seems like more and more, though, the impatient ass monkey ratio in NL tournaments is increasing. To the point that I don't even relish sitting down, as I know I'll have to weather a storm of ridiculous to even make the money, much less win the damn thing.

Part of the problem, methinks, is that I typically play the NL MTTs in the $20-$30 buy-in range. Those are always going to attract a fair number of crazies, who play especially crazy early on, trying to either build a stack or bust out so they can go run around with scissors in the middle of traffic, sucking on razor blades. I should probably either bite the bullet and play in the bigger buy-in ones or, you know, just not play at all.

Man, absolutely no motivation for the day job right now. Like, umm, none.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Mmm, Ketchup

So in all the weather-related craziness lately, I've been woefully remiss in updating on assorted fronts. I suck.

We had a pretty amazing turnout for the last Omaha 8 tournament on Noble, clocking in at 98 players. I'm still baffled, amazed, and vey grateful for everyone that's made it to one of these. Here are the top ten finishers from the last event:

1) LucidMoment
2) Ubestfold
3) TooSexy4You
4) 1rainbow1
5) CompFreak0089
6) cubixguy7777
7) Slayre
8) SophiesMuse
9) cparsley
10) Hench1818

And here are the top ten on the leaderboard after two tournaments, with total points included:

1) scurvydog...........142.99
2) LucidMoment.......125.57
3) MrSquirrel.........96.35
4) 1rainbow1.............91.61
5) Ubestfold.............88.09
6) salmonman...........78.79
7) cubixguy7777........76.72
8) TooSexy4You.........71.92
9) peacecorn...........68.52
10) grassdaq.............57.41

I'll have the full leaderboard updated on later tonight. Still working out the details for the next one, and I'll holler when it's finalized. There's the possibility that we may skip this Friday if I don't hear back soon enough, but we shall see.

On a related note, Noble just upped their signup bonus to a maximum of $500. While not quite as quick to clear as the very best bonuses, that's a nice, hefty chunk o' change that is more than manageable to actual clear and tuck away into your grubby monkey wallet, as opposed to fruitlessly Tilting at windmills for weeks and weeks, only to discover that you've unlocked exactly $1.89 of bonus money.

(Did you notice that I managed to mention the fact that I'm on top of the leaderboard without a bit of gloating? Did you see that? And don't think for a second that I'm not going to pocket the $60 first place prize, plus the $25 gift certificate to Omaha Steaks. Screw that, boss. If you want it you better get busy, hoss, and pry it out of my monkey fingers.)

Things are going pretty damn well on the degenerate gambling front. I like coasting in at the end of the month, a bit leery of playing so as not to disturb the monthly numbers that I've booked which are shaping up nicely.

If I shut things down now, this will be the fourth straight month that my degenerate activities have produced net income that is a multiple of my day job income. Interesting, that. I'll probably ramble on a bit more about that in a few days, when I actually crunch assorted numbers for the month and year-to-date.

Probably going to take it easy on the poker front for a few days. I may take a few shots at some satellite qualifiers for some big cheese tournaments here and there, but I'm a wee bit pokered out at the moment. Rest and recharge, get ready to come back strong in April.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Guessing Game

Guess what I did tonight? Did I qualify for the tournament in Aruba like DoubleAs? Did I win a seat to the WSOP main event like Jan at 50 Outs?

Nay. I spent the whole night sweeping/scrubbing/mopping the damn floors. And I'm damn proud of myself.

Lest you think I've been completely emasculated/domesticated, I've already half burnt myself out on poker this week, trying to cram in the last three or four bonuses, reloads, and what-not. Plus our house has been in a state of semi-thrashed for the last week or so, what with hail from Jebus and ripping out the carpet in the living room and other sundry goings-ons.

But now, now she is clean and sparkly. Until, you know, a couple of days from now. But now I shall sit here and revel, the smell of victory (Pine Sol) in the air. And, you know, get a few hands of poker in before bed.

Monday, March 28, 2005

And I Shall Smite Thee Down With Hail

On the bright side, the poker/casino gods were kind to me this weekend.

That's about it for the bright side.

Rewind to Friday, which was a typical, normal Friday night. I was playing in the Omaha 8 tournament on Noble, wife was watching television, all was well. It was supposed to storm, fairly bad thunderstorms, but nothing seemingly too burly. So it started to rain, then rain a little harder, then, basically out of nowhere, suddenly ping-pong ball sized hall is coming in almost horizontally and slamming into the back of my house, where the patio is.

I also had the pleasure of burying the half dozen dead doves in my backyard, that didn't manage to escape the wrath of Jebus' hailstorm. Which is odd, as I thought Jebus was cool with the doves. I guess these were Satanic, heathen doves.

Assorted potted plans outside were completely destroyed. Pots and all. Just little lumps of dirts where plant + pot used to be. Crazy.

Here's to the rest of the week not sucking so much.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Sweet Friday

Man, don't take much to make this monkey happy. It being Friday is more than enough. The fact that I hit my parlay and every other assorted basketball bets last night is just, as they say, gravylicious.

Hope to see all you kids at Noble tonight at 9:00 CST for the Omaha craziness. don't be shy. You know you want to spank me at the tables.

I should have kept my mouth shut about running well on the Party reload, as I managed to get AA cracked four times in the span of an hour yesterday, all in ginormous pots, usually by hands like 84o that the BB felt was worth cold-calling three bets pre-flop with. Sweeeeeet. Still on track to emerge relatively unscathed, though, with the bonus plus a few extra paltry bucks. I have to say, playing on Party is more and more a struggle these days. I know, I blaspheme, I know, Party is the greatest gift to pokerkind since sliced bread, full o' fish, yada yada yada. I just make much more per hour on half a dozen other sites, which makes it harder and harder to run the Party gauntlet these days.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Simian is a Six Letter Word

Just as a quick reminder, stage 2 of the Omaha 8 Limit Tournament League gets underway tomorrow night at 9:00 PM CST at Noble Poker. I'll be at the Omaha $5 SnG tables at 8:00, handing out cash to people like a drunken monkey. I've got the leaderboard up at now, at the following link: Omaha 8 Limit League Leaderboard. If you're a blogger and I missed you, holla at me and I'll link you up.

I know the freeroll format is a little annoying, what with absent players and maniacs who raise, re-raise, and cap with anything, but I wanted to cast as wide a net initially as possible to gauge the potential interest, and freerolls are a good way of doing that. Plus, you know, they're free. But keep in mind that soon these will be $5 or so buy-ins, so hopefully you'll both have a bit more incentive to win, cash-wise, as well as better competition across the board.

Wonder of wonders, this latest Party reload is treating me very well. Shhhh...

With my NCAA brackets officially busted, I'm resorting to degenerate sportsbook wagering to get my fix. Taking West Virginia +2 and Arizona +1.5. Based on my results so far, that means you should simply bet your mortgage on Texas Tech and Oklahoma State and laugh all the way to the bank.

If you're looking for a good online sportsbook, Bodog gets my vote (and my action). They offer regular reloads, process withdrawals at the speed of light, and have nice bonuses for their poker room, too. And sweet Jebus, the tables at the poker room are almost always groaning under the weight of many, many fish.

Time to go be a good corporate monkey.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Humpy Hump Day

On the bright side, this week is flying by. On the less than bright side, Jebus, I have a lot to get done this week and it's approximately half gone.

Details for the second stage of the Omahatastic Tournament League are finalized and here they be:

What: Omaha 8 Limit Tournament
When: Friday, March 25 9:00 PM CST
Where: Noble Poker
Cost: $0 ($50 freeroll provided by Noble Poker)
Who's Invited: You (bloggers, readers, whoever)
Tournament Name: Omaha
Tournament Password: hammer

I bumped the start time back an hour, as a few people mentioned that being slightly more convenient for them. Like the first one, this is a freeroll so you've got absolutely nothing to lose and, oh my, so very much to gain. Remember, too, that I'm adding an overlay to the overall points leaders when the first series is done (3 freerolls followed by a buy-in tournament), with the following prizes to the top 3 at the end of the first leg:

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

I mean, come on people, if a monkey like me can win the first one only Jebus knows how well you would do.

I'm also going to add a wrinkle for this one. Starting at 8 PM CST (an hour before the tournament start), I'll be sitting at an $5 Omaha PL Sit n Go table (my username on Noble is scurvydog). If you knock me out of the SnG, you get a $10 Amazon gift certificate. I was hoping to get more hot blogger on blogger ring game action going last week but didn't organize it well and everyone got dumped out of the tournament chat when the tournament finished. So come take a shot at me at the SnG table. We'll squeeze as many in as possible before (or after)the tourney, with a bounty on my scurvy-ridden head for each one. Until, you know, you people break me and I have to go back to peddling my ass on South Congress.

Leaderboard is mostly done, save a little formatting. Thanks for bearing with me until everything is up and running at

In other news, I got a new desktop PC for home yesterday. As much as I like shiny gadgets and tricknology, I'm also kind of stubborn and will continue to use something as long as its functional and does what I need it to do. I'd had my old one five or six years, it was pretty clunky at time, still running Windows ME, would go through spells where it'd periodically freeze up exactly once shortly after booting, etc. But, you know, it worked. So I kept using it. And kept using it. And kept using it.

But Dell finally wore me down with assorted deals so now I've got a sleek, shiny new computer. I'm keeping the old trusty HP desktop I had, basically sitting exactly where it was, as the plan is to still use it to work off Crypto bonuses while I'm doing other stuff on the Dell. While I know there are sleeker ways of pulling it off (KVM switches, etc), I'm rocking the two monitor, two mouse world right now. It's actually fairly easy, as I only really need the mouse for the old PC, as far as pulling up poker sites and clicky-clicking, plus it has a wireless keyboard stashed on the filing cabinet for the rare times I need to actually typey-type on it. Test run last night went pretty well, two tabling a Crypto on one while four-tabling on Party on the other.

All of which my wife is finding infinitely amusing, especially yesterday when I was still getting used to it, grabbing the wrong mouse and/or typing away on the keyboard, staring quizzically at the screen, monkey brow furrowed, confused as to why what I was typing wasn't appearing where it should.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

May You Live in Interesting Times

It's crazy to think that I've only been "online" (as far as a regular user of email and Internet services) for ten years or so. Jebus only knows the things we'll take for granted ten years from now, embedded in the fabric of our every day lives, that might seem like so much science fiction right now.

Many ideas bouncing around in my monkey skull right now. Ahh, the sweet blissful manic energy of caffeine...

I've been dipping a cautious toe into exploring the waters of offshore incorporation, as far as business stuff. If you have any significant income from poker or affiliate programs and live in the US, it'd likely behoove you to at least consider the opportunities offered by incorporating offshore. As long as your source of income is largely virtual (e.g. online poker play, revenue generated from online affiliate programs, etc.) you can in many cases completely eliminate any taxes on profits. Yes, it involves a certain amount of rigamorole, yes it costs money, yes, if you do it but still reside in the US after incorporating you're walking a fine line with the IRS, but the long-term savings can be enormous. Especially if you're wise with those savings and immediately re-invest it smartly.

DoubleAs has some great recent posts about NL strategy, if you haven't read them. I've been playing a bit more deeper-stack NL lately, which is both a humbling and eye-opening experience. More and more I see the value in "playing wrong", limping with trashy hands more often. It's hard to do, and you have to be able to accept the fact that you'll post some empty, wasted sessions where you piss away lots of money limping with less than premium hands that get insta-mucked on the flop. But there's a lot to be said for it, and it makes me appreciate the seemingly ridiculous loose and lucky play of the Gus Hansens and Negreaneus of the world more, when it comes to NL. There's the obvious value of deception you get, when your opponents have no clue what two cards you might be playing this time, but there's also the fact that you're playing in the lower end of the spectrum when everyone else congregates in the higher end. When you get a piece of the flop you're almost never counterfeited or dominated, as is often the case when playing only premium hands with multiple people involved in the hand.

Still working out the details for the next Omaha 8 tournament at Noble, which should be finalized soon.

I'm still on a pretty incredible run at the online casinos. I'm not going to post all the crass details, but, umm, yeah. Crazy. I still have to pinch myself, looking back to where my bankroll was in November, right before I signed up at StarLuck and started my jaunt into the world of online casinos, and seeing where it is now. I was lucky to hit it fairly big with the first two and never really looked back, riding out the occasional inevitable bumps in the road.

I guess I do believe in luck. And, as much as it pains me in some ways to say it, I'm pretty lucky. I'm a fairly analytical monkey but I've run out of ready explanations for some things in my life that work out much better than the mathematical expectation would suggest. Yeah, part of it is hard work, and putting yourself in a position to be "lucky", and I do work pretty damn hard at nearly everything I would say I'm "lucky" with. But there's something more to it, methinks, in the end. Maybe you can explain it away scientifically, as far as studies that suggest that some people are subconsciously able to pick up on minute patterns, differences, and other tells that aid them in, more often than not, making "lucky" choices.

Gambling is such a freaking interesting phenomenon, especially the psychological side of it. Last night I was clearing a blackjack bonus, clicking away, doing my normal thing of mentally calling for the card I need when I would draw a card, when I realized, out of the blue, that I never mentally call for the card that gives me 21. If I have a 15 and the dealer is showing a 10, I hit, but I always mentally call for a 5. As if it's asking too much to call for the 6, despite the fact that drawing to 21 is obviously > 20. That somehow it's more beneficial to be less greedy, in a cosmic sense, to ash for more than enough but not too much.

Interesting, that. Especially since it took me playing probably > 20,000 hands of blackjack to even realize I did that.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Why Home Depot Can Suck My Ass

Pretty good weekend, as far the poker goes. My love/hate relationship with Party continues, as the BONUSMAR reload (7x raked hands, up to $200 maximum) hit at a fairly inopportune time. I can't justify not knocking those out but I'm always scrambling at the end of the month to get all the Cryptos done.

So the wife and I were ready to buy a patio set. We'd wanted to for awhile but I finally got my fat bonus at work, so this weekend was designated spend-lots-of-money-on-a-patio-set weekend.

After browsing around (with an emphasis on browsing) at a swanky place that had nothing under a couple of thousand dollars, we end up at Home Depot. All we want is a decent wrought iron patio set, with an umbrella. That's it. Nothing fancy and/or schmancy. Well, we liked some of the fancy (and a little of the schmancy) but were shopping on the lower range of the patio set spectrum, able to spend $500-$600.

Home Depot had one we liked, we could afford it, decided to get it, end of story. Right? Nay, nay...

It quickly became apparent that no one was willing to deal with the hassle of selling us something unwieldy like a patio set. No one. Responses ranged from a blatant ignoring of my wife by a gaggle of employees who were just sitting there talking and staring at the floor ("Ma'am, we're busy, you'll have to wait") to an assorted neverending daisy chain of "No, see, Outside Garden handles all that stuff" -- "What, they told you we did that? No, you need to talk to Inside Garden" -- "No, see, Building Materials handles all the patio stuff because they're set up in their area".

So we finally just left. No patio set. For some bizarre reason, I thought it'd be better at the Home Depot we normally shop at, despite the fact that the customer service there lately has been even more blatanly rude and bizzare. (An employee actually argued with me that no such thing as a welding cap even exists, when I asked if they stocked them. I was tempted to actually go back with one, when we bought them from a welding supply store, and start smiting him about the head and shoulders with it, screaming "See, beeyatch! Welding cap! Boo ya!")

But yeah. We go to another Home Depot and try to buy the exact same patio set. This time a high school/college ageish kid actually tries to help us, seems to understand what we want, then disappears into the back for half an hour or so, looking for the patio set. Five minutes after he leaves I locate said patio set, which, unfortunately, is on the second level of their built-in wall shelving, about twenty feet off the ground, in a ginormous box. To be fair, it'd be a bitch to get it down, and I understand why he'd rather locate one in the back instead of retrieving it.

Half an hour later, though, he finally comes back, admitting defeat. He swears they have 3 of them in stock but that he just can't find it. When asked about the one on the shelf he mumbles something about it being the wrong color. Umm, okay. My bad. Didn't realize that one was a shade of Way-Up-On-A-Shelf-And-I-Don't-Want-To-Deal-With-It, intead of the normal black color that the patio set comes in. He claimed he'd call me in an hour when he found the set and insisted on writing my phone number down in magic marker on the back of a paint samle card. Uh huh, sure you're going to call me.

Next morning we went to Lowe's and found a patio set, purchased it, had it loaded in my truck in less than fifteen minutes.

In short, hello Lowes. Home Depot, suck my ass.

Saturday, March 19, 2005


So wow. We ended up with 76 entries for the Omaha tournament I organized on Noble last night. Granted, a lot of those were no-shows who blinded off but still, not bad at all for something I banged together at the last minute on a site not many people had played at before. I've said it before but I'll say it again: all of you who showed up to support it (and those who wanted to but were waylaid by other obligations) rock, and rock mightily. Many, many thanks.

As far as results, here be the top 15 that made the money, with links to the blogs of those that I know (if you were a blogger and I don't have you linked, holler and it shall be done):

1. scurvydog
2. MrSquirrel
3. salmonman
4. bigace55
5. peacecorn
6. street51
7. grassdaq
8. REdwing
9. Tamster
10. xiaojiang
11. acesfulkings
12. tobyleah
14. Cable
13. 1rainbow1
15. Runaway

Obviously online poker is so rigged, seeing as I won the damn tournament I organized (with an assist from MrSquirrel at the end, due to how long a heads-up battle would have taken to resolve). I would like to say it's due to my mad Omaha skillz, but we all know it's more to do with the handy button I was provided as organizer, the Give-All-Chips-To-ScurvyDog one, which I was pounding madly with my monkey fist the whole night.

I should have the details nailed down in a few days as far as the time and date for the next tournament in the series next week. I'm still working on the permanent home for all the league stuff, which will all eventually reside at, but it should be up and running in at least bare bones fashion in a few days, with the leaderboard info, time of next tournament, prizes, etc.

If all this proves to not be too much of a pain in the ass, I may try to do the same thing for Razz and Stud tournament leagues. Still feeling all this stuff out, but I think it'd be cool to run ongoing leagues in assorted games like that. A tournament every week may be a bit much but every two weeks might work, with prizes for the top finishers every three months. Or something like that. Still need to work assorted details out and all that jazz.

Switching the channel slightly, umm, hello, Full Tilt? That withdrawal I requested almost a week ago? Any sign of it? I don't mean to be an impatient monkey but that's a little ridiculous. I expect delays like that from some of the shadier casinos I occasionally play at but not from an otherwise reputable site.

Not much exciting going on, other than a lot of basketball watching and a lot of poker playing. Best damn time of the sports year, right now. Woot.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Be There or Be Square

One last reminder.

What: Omaha 8 Limit Tournament
When: Friday, March 18 8:00 PM CST (Server time of 22:00)
Where: Noble Poker
Cost: $0 ($50 freeroll provided by Noble Poker)
Who's Invited: You (bloggers, readers, whoever)
Tournament Name: Omaha
Tournament Password: hammer

Even if you can't make it for the tourney, though, hopefully a few cash games to follow, with all the normal blogger hilarity to ensue.

In addtion to the previously announced prize money for the top three in the standings at the end of the first round of tourneys, the winner gets the added bonus prize below:

1st place: $60 + $25 Gift Certificate to Omaha Steaks
2nd place: $25
3rd place: $15

Mmm, steaky. If you finish atop the leaderboard and are a vegan or consume only grass clippings, well, there's no better time than now to start embracing the goodness that's a tasty hunk of cow.

(We'll work something out.)

I need a monkey butler or a clone of a monkey butler or something related to monkeys and butlers and clones. Too many things to do. Too little time.

March Madness isn't treating me well, as far as bracket picks. I'm almost glad, though, as it frees me up to stop caring about what I picked and root for any and all underdogs.

Rock on. Hopefully I'll see all you fine folks at the tourney tonight. Many thanks again for the turnout. Ya'll rock.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

People That Rock = You

First things first, many thanks to everyone who's already signed up for the Omaha 8 tournament at Noble. You guys rock. Really and truly. I've wanted to try setting up a league like this for quite awhile, but was honestly worried that I'd bug someone at a site to get it setup and then find myself sitting alone in the tournament lobby when it came time to play, with nothing but the sounds of crickets chirping to keep me company. So yeah. You guys are awesome and you definitely don't make the baby Jebus cry.

Here are the details again, just to float them up above the fold, followed by some additional details:

What: Omaha 8 Limit Tournament
When: Friday, March 18 8:00 PM CST (Server time of 22:00)
Where: Noble Poker
Cost: $0 ($50 freeroll provided by Noble Poker)
Who's Invited: You (bloggers, readers, whoever)
Tournament Name: Omaha
Tournament Password: hammer

KingSix noted that the 22:00 server time start for the tourny would equate to 9:00 CST. I checked this morning before work, in my sleep-deprived, non-caffeinated state, and I still get a 8:00 CST start time, when I count it up on my monkey fingers. I'll check again later at home when I can access the site.

Apologies for those who can't make it. When the league truly gets rolling after the first round of tournaments, I'm going to see if it's possible to do a staggered schedule, so that one week the tournament is on Monday, the next week Wednesday, the next week Friday, then wrapping up the month of tournaments on Sunday. But for the first run it had to be on one day, so I went with Friday. Hopefully people will stick around afterwards for some hardcore blogger/reader Omaha cash game action, so even if you can't make the tournament you can still get your Omaha fix.

Also keep in mind that it's a freeroll, so go ahead and signup if you think there's any chance you can make it. If you can't, no worries, no money lost.

Keep in mind that while the first few of these are $50 freerolls, I'm going to be kicking in cash for the top three finishers in the first stage of this. I'll just go ahead and go out on a limb and say that I'll pay out the following additional prizes, for those who accumulate the most leaderboard points (still working on this, coming soon) after the final stage:

1st place: $60
2nd place: $25
3rd place: $15

That's the minimum, though, and could be more, depending on how I do at the tables myself the remainder of the month. Heh. That's also gravy prize money, on top of the actual prize money for each tournament.

And with that we now return to ScurvyDog's regular poker programming...

Man. Full Tilt, you hire some great people to work for you, but you have to do something about that bonus structure if you want to significantly expand your player base. I'm not saying that solely as a greedy bonus whore. I completely understand the economics and risk/reward ratio involved in both offering bonuses and the corresponding rate set at which they clear. The problem is that you generate a steady, unending stream of negative publicity by offering your current 100% match up to $600 bonus, which I don't think is your intention. Yes, the terms are on your site, yes, this is true. But player after player saves up their pennies, finally scraping up $600 to get the full bonus, only to deposit and discover that they'd have to play approximately 4 hours a day for 2 months to clear the bonus at 1/2. 9 times out of 10 they get discouraged, abandon your site, and speak poorly of it to anyone who will listen.

You can easily solve this problem in one of two ways, neither of which will cost you substantially more money. Either keep the exact same system and lower the maximum bonus to something like $100 or $200 or ease the bonus clearance rate but cap the maximum bonus at $100. Offering the $600 bonus at the current glacial clearance rate isn't differentiating you from other sites. Well, it is, but in a negative fashion, as it almost seems like bait and switch tactics, when people discover how long it takes to clear in real world conditions. It's the size of it that's problematic, as people fixate on it, especially those trying to build a bankroll. That size and attached importance, though, more often than not bites you in the ass when people feel jilted after getting up close and personal. Just my two cents, though. Worth exactly that.

On the bright side, clearing bonus money at Ultimate Bet seems like a breeze after Full Tilt, which, umm, is saying a lot, as UB isn't exactly ripe bonus territory itself.

Things are picking up lately, on all sorts of fronts. I've been pretty busy, with no end in sight, but it's the good sort of busy. So yeah. Rock on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Omaha 8 Tournament: Friday, March 18 8:00 PM CST

All righty then. It's on like Donkey Kong.

What: Omaha 8 Limit Tournament
When: Friday, March 18 8:00 PM C.S.T
Where: Noble Poker
Cost: $0 ($50 freeroll provided by Noble Poker)
Who's Invited: You (bloggers, readers, whoever)
Tournament Name: Omaha
Tournament Password: hammer

The good folks at Noble Poker have set us up with the first of a series of Omaha 8 tournaments. The first 3 or 4 will be $50 freerolls, followed by a $10 entry no juice tournament to cap off the first leg of the Omahatastic series. It's a Omaha 8 limit tournament, so we should get plenty of play with no early exits, and the tournament structure at Noble is pretty reasonable as far as blinds and starting chips.

I haven't quite worked out all the fine details, but the plan is to run this as an ongoing league with weekly tournaments, if we can drum up enough interest. I'll maintain a leaderboard at (nothing there now, but coming soon) and kick in some additional cash/prizes for the top 3 at certain junctures. You'll get leaderboard points for participation and finish, but I'll try to weight it so that missing a week here or there doesn't kill you, as I know it's hard to schedule something weekly like that, with assorted life stuff going on and all.

Sorry about the hassle of hosting it on yet another site to sign up with, but Noble Poker is a newer site that's working hard to build a player base through cool promotions and private tournaments such as this. While you don't have to deposit for the first freeroll tournaments, they're currently offering a nice 100% signup bonus for March, up to $300. The site can be low-traffic at times but it's usually not too hard to find a table at lower limits, and they get some crazy gambooler casino players that drop in to play some cards. The bonus clear fairly quickly and is added in $10 increments to your account, with weekly emails letting you know how much of the bonus you've cleared, how much remains, etc.

We need to have a minimum of 15 people to get the tournament going, so if you can, I'd appreciate assorted spreading of word and pimping and what-not. Like I said, anyone is welcome, and hopefully we'll generate enough interest to make this an ongoing thing. Many thanks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now

First things first, a poker guru I ain't. Let's just get that out of the way. Yeah, I've played a lot of hands, yeah I'm a pretty good poker player, yeah, yeah, yeah. I make money playing poker. I read books. I think about poker far too often. All that said, I'm probably only about 60% of the way up ol' Mt. Poker. I'm only just starting to regularly sit 10/20 and 15/30 games, and even those make me slightly soil my monkey diaper at times. So yeah, still very much learning, still climbing.

It's been interesting lately as I've been helping assorted people get started with playing poker online, trying to distill assorted things I've learned into Grand Poker Truths, as far as giving them a simple, basic foundation for not immediately losing their ass. I think that's a pretty good startng goal, as so much of success at poker is sheer stubbornness, sticking with it and sticking with it and sticking with it until you accumulate enough practical knowledge and experience to start winning.

The interesting part is that as part of that process I've been paying more attention to my own game, as it's far too easy to pop off and recycle general poker wisdom that really isn't reflected in your own results. It's one thing to say that it's a good idea to play medium suited/one gap connectors in a multiway pot but quite another to do it profitably yourself. The process is doubly interesting when you have a handy poker blog to read back through, wincing and grimacing at things you boldly proclaimed that you now completely and utterly disagree with.

So, in no particular order, here are a few things I have recently realized the true importane/unimportance of, in the I Wish I Knew Then category.

  • Assume The Position, Baby

    It really is all about position. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about limit, no-limit, pot limit, Omaha, Razz, whatever. While I don't think I exactly ignored the fact that position was important, I didn't place it any higher on the list than assorted other poker truisms. Yeah, cool, it's good to act last, but it's still all about the flop, and I can still crush you like a bug with my AJo from UTG if I get a good flop.

    That's half right (maybe one-quarter right), but it's ignoring a really important concept, one that becomes increasingly important as you move up in limits. More often than not, the flop largely misses everyone, in a typical game with 2-3 people seeing the flop. If you have position in those hands, you'll win more than your fair share of them. If you win more than your fair share of those hands, you'll win money in the long run. It's just that easy.

    Yes, indeed, hands like AA, KK, and AKs will always be your biggest money-winners. From any position. That's easy to see in your PokerTracker stats. What's not easy to see, though, are all the times you pick up the antes and bets from limpers with A4o on the button when you bet on the flop and everyone folds. It's not hard to win the hands when you overwhelmingly have the best of it. It's also not enough to simply wait for and win with those hands. To be a long-term winner, you have to win a certain amount of hands when you have no cards. To do that, you have to be in correct position. There's no getting around it.

    If you're going to focus on one thing, focus on your position at the table. Sometimes even more so than the cards in front of you, depending on the natur eof the other players at the table. Blasphemy, I know, but it's true. When the poker gurus talk about the value of position in whatever book you're reading, pay attention. They're right.

    Don't let it discourage you, as far as limiting the hands you can play. Look at the flip side of it, as it means you get to freewheel more on/near the button, opening your starting hand selection and playing more aggressively.

  • Know Thy Odds

    I'm sorry, no. That's bullshit. You don't have an "intuitive" feel for odds. I told myself that very thing, too, on many occasions. Yes, over time you'll develop a generally accurate read on situations that are grossly lopsided in one or the other direction, when you're correct thinking "Gee, there's an assload of chips in the pot already, it must be okay to call one more bet with my gutshot straight draw". But by and large it's a mistake to claim any sort of intuitive mastery of odds, as more often than not you're deluding yourself.

    Where you bleed money, though, is on the marginal decisions, where you don't quite have the correct pot/implied odds to call, or where you fold when you you barely, marginally should call. The reason this hurts you is that marginal decisions like that occur frequently, each and every session, so while the wrong decision may only cost you .08 each time you make it, it adds up quickly over time, as you're constantly faced with the same decision. Sklansky has a good example of this phenomenon, where he points out that always folding a royal flush isn't that horrible a play, due to the fact that you so rarely hold a royal flush that it's essentially not costing you any money to fold it, over the life of your poker career.

    Don't skip those sections in assorted books where they get all mathy and start talking about pot and implied odds. Just learn it. Don't be stubborn and fight the battle. Look at it like a savings account with compunded interest. Yes, it's a little work to save up and learn it, yes it makes playing poker "harder", making calculations at the table, but it'll make/save you an enormous amount of money over you poker career. And the sooner you bite the bullet the better.

  • Table, Schmable

    This one may generate some flak, but more and more I think table selection is overrated, especially at lower limits. Yes, with GameTime+, PokerTracker, and other tools you can definitely cherry-pick situations that are more optimal than others. But table makeup changes so rapidly in online poker, with players coming and going, that a "juicy" table suddenly becomes un-juicy.

    The real, underlying point is that you're eventually going to need to be able to adjust and compensate for what's going on at the table. The aforementioned tools help with giving you an initial read, but what you do with that information moving forward is where the real battle and struggle for chips lies. It's not enough to just find and sit at a good table. It's not even half the battle.

    I'm not saying it's a bad thing to spend a lot of time scoping out what you feel are prime tables, just that you can take the notion too far. If you put too much emphasis on the value of it you'll constantly be looking for a better table, jumping up when the current table conditions deteriorate, doing things other than concentrating on playing your best game. You've got enough things to worry about, especially when you're starting out, without worrying if you sat down at the right table, if that one over there might be better, etc.

  • Bring Enough Bullets

    This is a hard one, especially when you're building a bankroll. But you can't play with scared money. It just doesn't work. While it's possible to run $50 into a $10,000 roll in 3 months, the much more likely outcome is that you play for awhile then bust. Then rebuy for $50 more. Then play for a little bit longer. Then bust. Over and over and over.

    Online poker isn't going anywhere. You're going to need years and many thousands of hands before you really start making money, anyway. If you don't have enough of a bankroll to play the way you know you should be playing, save until you have the necessary roll. Spend that time studying, playing freerolls, learning. Wait until you can deposit enough to give yourself a decent chance of success. Don't hamstring yourself by constantly nursing tiny bankrolls. All you're doing is conditioning yourself to play scared, which'll bite you in the ass later on even if you do run your roll up.

    Playing poker seriously is an investment in yourself. If you're going to do it, do it right. Give yourself the best shot to succeed, instead of trying for months and months to bootstrap $50 into a decent roll. If you don't have the faith to invest $500 in yourself, well, where are you going to find the faith to succeed?

    Yes, I know, that sounds harsh. Yes, I know, sometimes you have other bills, other much more important things to take care of instead of putting money into an online poker site. I'm not belittling or ignoring that at all. I'm just saying that it's better sometimes to focus on the parts of your game that don't involve actually playing at the table.

  • Results-Oriented Isn't a Four Letter Word

    Set goals for yourself. Tangible goals. Dollar figure goals. That's why you're playing poker, if you get down to brass tacks. Don't shy away from it or act coy.

    People will say over and over that you shouldn't be results-oriented, that it'll drive you crazy if you are, especially as you see your AA get cracked over and over and over by 74o. They'll extend the argument and say that you shouldn't focus on the results from one individual session, or a week's worth of sessions, or even a month, as it's the big picture you should keep a steady eye on, knowing that your solid play over time will cause more chips to congregate on your side of the table.

    I cry bullshit on that. The warm fuzzy feeling that you're playing solid poker, despite the mounting losses, is worth exactly jack and squat. Poker is a game of winners and losers, and the difference between the two is gaudily visible, impossible to miss. If you play better than the other people at the table, you win. If you don't, you lose. Winners make money. Losers lose money.

    Be results-oriented. Track exactly how much you've won or lost and set specific goals. No matter how you try to pitch it, success in poker is determined by how much money you win. Accept that. Accept the fact that you're going to lose money while you're learning and developing your chops. It's an investment. Not all investments immediately skyrocket and triple in value. Get used to that fact.

    Set realistic goals for yourself. Try to halve what you're losing each month, if you're losing money. Or shoot for 25% more profit than the previous month. Don't just pat yourself on the back and say you're playing good poker and to hang in there. Don't just grin at how well things are going and keep flinging chips. Always have a destination in mind and a way to track progress towards it. If you don't you just stall out, feeling alternately driven and adrift.

    Does setting tangible goals cure variance? Of course not. No amount of setting goals or trying harder will. You'll have some months where your losses will deepen and your goals will like freaking ridiculous in hindsight, no matter how solidly you play or how much you study. The point is that if you're always setting specific, results-oriented goals you're always questioning, always pushing, always keeping your eye on the only visible barometer you have.

    I say this from direct experience, as I spent far too long not holding myself accountable, telling myself I was playing well, to keep on eye on the larger prize, that the cards would eventually turn, etc. When I started making real progress was when I got much more serious about analyzing the state of things, setting real goals, tracking my play to a pretty fine level of detail.

  • Have Fun

  • No, really. If you aren't having fun anymore, you're playing too much poker. It won't always be fun, granted, as that's the nature of the beast, but one of the worst things you can do is to keep grinding and playing when you're not having fun. One of my biggest regrets is all the time I spent playing when I wasn't in the right state of mind to enjoy it, for whatever reason.

    Turn off the computer. Read a book. Go outside and throw rocks at squirrels. If you truly enjoy playing poker, the itch will return. If it doesn't, well, that's not the end of the world either, as you'll likely save yourself the constant love/hate relationship that many people have with poker.

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Horses are Crazy

    So, umm, yeah. On the bright side, I managed to somehow scrape my way into a 14th place finish in the H.O.R.S.E. tournament last night on Full Tilt. I'm still not exactly sure how that happened, as I was in danger of being the first monkey booted out the tournament door for a bit there, and nursed a wee stack of 300-400 chips for what seemed like forever. Which is especially unfun when the blinds start getting up there and you keep having to bring in with craptacular hands. Despite being on the brink of doom, I only had one bad suckout, when my A2c took down AKd during a HE round when I had to shove from early position with only 300 or so chips with the blinds approaching. Other than that I caught just enough to hang around, until I finally built up a bit of a cushion. Finally took a shot in Stud/8 with A26 suited but couldn't fill my flush and hit running bricks that prevented me from qualifying for the low. But yeah, all things considered, 14th ain't that bad.

    What else, what else... I managed to kick the collective asses of both our garage and yard this weekend, which was way overdue. Felt very good to get out and about and get some stuff done. 'Tis far too easy to lapse into a sedentary monkey lifestyle, especially when I log as many hours in front of the computator as I do.

    Many cool ideas bouncing around in the hopper right now. Bounce bounce bounce.

    Many thanks for the response on the possible Omaha tournament action. Sounds like we should have enough interest to make it fly so I'm going to submit the request to set the tournaments up and we'll see what happens. Still working on a permanent home for the league info, leaderboard, and all that good stuff, and will holler when it's up and running.

    The poker gods finally saw fit to bless me this weekend with slightly better cards. Still digging my way out of the hole the first two weeks of the month put me in, but I'm getting there. In some ways it's a bit of a blessing in disguise, as up until now I'd managed to avoid a protracted cold spell in the higher stakes Crypto games I've been regularly playing in when not chasing bonuses. While I can't say it's fun, taking beat after beat, losing session after losing session, for fairly sizable sums of money, it's also not the end of the world. I managed to stick with it, with no stupid donkey behavior, and hopefully ride out the worst of it.

    Back to the joys of cubeland.

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Omaha HiLo Tournament League: Yea or Nay?

    Man, Blogger has been taking a big dump on my head all morning. Stop breaking, you stupid completely free services that I use and pay not a cent for yet demand to work flawlessly 100% of the time!

    Last night was ugly. Fugly. I'm in that bad poker place where no matter what I do I get beaten down. You all know what I'm talking about. I know that this too shall pass but Jebus, enough.

    Drizz caught me at the tail-end of last night's debalce, playing Razz. I thought that'd be a decent way to wind down the evening with no more damage done. Hah. Whatever substance attracts bricks, I was that substance. Especially running bricks. Running running bricks, even.

    But enough whining. On to the good stuff.

    I've been talking to the good people at Noble Poker (who are currently running a pretty sweet $300 signup bonus) and they're happy and willing to set up private tournaments for people. Better yet, they're willing to run the first 3-4 as $50 freerolls, which would be followed by a $10 buy-in tournament with no juice. If at that point we'd proven able to get 20 people or so to show up for the tournaments, it'd be a weekly, recurring thing.

    I thought it would be cool to do it as an Omaha HiLo limit league, what with lots of bloggers expanding into Omaha of late and the fact that most of the blogger tournaments so far have been NL affairs. I'd put together a leaderboard similar to the WPBTOnline one, and bang together a point system that would reward you for participating as well as place of finish. The leader(s) at the end of the month would win some sort of cash prize, as well as the year-long winner (if it runs that long).

    Mainly, though, I just thought it'd be cool to have a weekly blogger Omaha tournament, and possible ring game after the tourny. Noble is very responsive to setting it all up and the first few would be freerolls, so no worries about depositing and playing at a new site, etc. It'd also be a nice way to get your feet wet in Omaha if you haven't played a lot of it but are curious.

    The only catch is that we need 20 or so participants, to make it fly. So, gentle readers, what say ye? Would you be up for that? A weekly Omaha HiLo limit tournament, with a leaderboard and all that jazz, as well as extra cash monies for the GOBW? (Greatest Omaha Blogger in the World)?

    If you have a second, lemme know if you'd be interested, so I can get a rough count of peoples before sending the request to Noble to set it up. Keep in mind the first 3-4 tournaments would be complete freerolls, with the ones following that likely only being $10 buy-ins. Many thanks.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Razzy Razz

    So I bit the bullet and put some cash into Full Tilt last night. Now, don't get me wrong, it's a fine site, fine people work there, everything is very fine. My problem is a very unique personal one.

    Hello, my name is ScurvyDog, and I'm a bonusholic.

    No matter how bad a bonus is, once I get a whiff of it, I can't let go, and stubbornly stay until I clear the damn thing, come hell or high water. Usually this stubborness serves me well, as most bonuses can be cleared in a reasonable amount of time, no matter how onerous the terms. Except for *cough*, Full Tilt, *cough*.

    It's the scene of my one and only aborted bonus mission. That's right, folks. I deposited for the bonus in the past there, attempted to clear it, and fled like a wee little girl, hanging my head in shame. Never to return, turning my back ont he siren's call of hundreds of dollars of bonus money. Until now.

    The plan is to stick to my guns, play a little razz (which I'd never played a single hand of) in preparation for the upcoming blogger tournament, then get the hell out. Because the last thing I need to do is get stubborn and try to work that damn bonus money off, with some money other juicy bonuses out there. We shall see.

    But yeah, razz. I had a lot of fun playing last night, despite the fact that, umm, I didn't know what the hell I was doing. Not that it's rocket science, obviously, but I have a feeling my starting hand selection was a little too loose. I made a few bucks (literally, I think I finished up $3.00) but that was only due to some fishy luck, staying in hands I had no business even being in and catching the runner runner low cards I needed. It's a nice change of pace, though, and I wish more online sites offered it. I'll never be a good Stud player I fear, but razz seems a little easier on the mind and easier to play solidly.

    I'm sort of catching the ass-end of variance right now, as far as general poker playing goes. Not much to do but suck it up and deal. Starting this month, I'm trying to pretend that I've actually made the leap, as far as doing the degenerate stuff as a full-time job (instead of looking at what I make as yippee, fun money). So far I'm having a hard time getting my head around the concept.

    While the cold cards are a part of it, I keep pushing too hard in individual sessions/days, trying to make something happen, trying to book the necessary profit for the day. I know, rationally, that it's a big long session, and that in any given profitable month(s) the actual profits come in spurts and bursts, instead of being evenly distributed. I can look at my past results and see this with my own monkey eyes. But it's hard to remember that when you're booking losing session after losing session, feeling like the world's biggest idiot for ever considering you could do this full-time.

    All of which is good to absorb and learn and adjust to now, when it's still all pretend-like, instead of in the future, when it's real-like.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    Come on Week, Get a Move On

    Trying. To. Think. Of. Something. Interesting. To. Say. Failing. Failing.

    Despite being good this year and already taking care of personal tax returns, I'm dragging ass on filing the corporate stuff that needs to be filed. I really need to work on that in the upcoming year, especially as far as bookkeeping goes. I just get no pleasure from that, none, and always concoct myriad reasons to wait until the absolute last minute to get such stuff done. Not goot. Needs work.

    I invested some of my degenerate winnings in CrytoLogic a week or so ago, missing out a bit on its recent run but doing okay, happy enough with the entry point. Which struck me as funny last night while working off the InterPoker monthly bonus. I can't decide if I'm being a good shareholding by whoring all the Crypto sites on a monthly basis. On the one hand, hitting up their licensees for free money every month doesn't help the licensees' bottom line, which likely isn't good for CryptoLogic in the long run. But I'm also generating nice fees for CryptoLogic by frequent use of their ECash transaction processing system. 'Tis probably a wash in the end. I have to admit that I like the circular nature of yanking steady money out of the Crypto sites and immediately re-investing it in the software provider who is in turn making money from the very same sites.

    It's funny looking at my wee stock portfolio, as I still have something like 50,000 shares of some penny stock company that I got by doing some "consulting" work (i.e. shilling for them on assorted invesor forums and message boards) back in 1999. The company is a corporate shell now, after going through five or six different business incarnations, trading on the Pink Sheets, and worth approximately .00001/share. So my 50,000 shares are worth a whopping total of .50. The funny thing is that even with a discount online broker I'd pay more than what the damn shares are worth to sell them. So they just sit there. I should be an ass and have the stock certificates sent to me and make some sort effigy from them and light it afire and dance around, doing the Monkey Dance.

    Yeah, that's all I've got today. Slow dancing monkeys. Carry on.

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    Another Day, Another...

    I think I should get a calendar for my cube and start gaudily marking off days in huge, black Xs. Ominous, that is. Portentous, even.

    So I finished off the Party reload last night, for a whopping profit of $16. The worst part is that I was +$600 or so, with 200 hands left to clear. A bad streak of second-best-hand-itis reared its ugly head, coupled with the fact that I was playing $100 NL and $100 PL Omaha tables, where such things can get expensive.

    As dumb as it sounds, though, I don't feel that bad about the way I played. Twice I lost big hands to flopped set over flopped set, but in both cases we started with midsized pairs, the flop came seemingly ragged with one overcard that the villain seemingly got a piece of, etc. I just can't see any way to get away from hands like that at the typical Party table, so be it.

    The PL Omaha losses were a bit harder to take, for the obvious reasons. Those games have suddenly gotten crazy on Party, with the changed blind structure, and the monkeys are shoving huge stacks of chips around like so much monkey candy. I'd play tight, patient, build up a decent stack and then get slapped down. It's especially hard when it's multi-way with a bunch of gamboolers, as people will literally shove with anything, once the pot reaches a certain size, so it often turns into a complete, unholy crapshoot. Twice I saw $500+ pots get shoved to someone else, with all my chips included in there, when someone caught runner runner, etc.

    But that's the nature of the game. The PL Omaha sharks must be descending on Party in force right now, as if you have the skill and the bankroll to ride out the variance you'd have to be able to make a killing off those games right now.

    Most of the profit that I frittered away came from one poor soul sitting at a $50 NL 6 max table the night before. I sat down, saw a few orbits, then discovered AA in the BB. Everyone folds around the Poor Soul, who completed. I just checked, because I'm sneaky like that. Another A hits on the flop and I fill up a boat on the river. He kept betting with suited trash, but managed to catch his baby flush on the river, and got his whole stack in.

    So he gets pissed, rebuys, and starts talking smack, the best of which was "You just keep playing like that and see what happens." To which I respond something along the lines of "I'll keep playing like that if you promise to keep rebuying."

    Two hands later I take his stack again when I flop two pair. Rebuy. The very next hand I take his stack again, this time on complete junk when I catch runner runner for a straight. He rebuys again, steaming good. He keeps raising to try to isolate me but I just start shoving with anything decent. Two more rebuys.

    To be fair, this was a pretty ridiculous stretch of cards. I don't claim any great skillz here. I was freerolling with his money and playing like a loose assmonkey, as everyone else at the table kept getting out of the way.

    The best part, though, was after the sixth rebuy. By now he's talking all sorts of trash, and he starts challenging me to go play heads-up, taunting me, etc. And I'm like "Dude, why would I get up and go to another table when I'm taking all your money heads-up right here?" And, to be fair, I did end up donating one of the rebuys back to him before I shut it down for the night. Fun stuff.

    Not much else shaking. Put in some mindless bonus grinding time, saw Donnie Darko finally, cranked out some content for assorted endeavors. It's been raining for forever here so I didn't get a chance to knock out any looming yard/house work.

    Corporate monkey work beckons. Meh.

    Friday, March 04, 2005

    I Came To Get Down, I Came To Get Down

    Raise your hand if you just listened to "Jump Around" by House of Pain six consecutive times? That's what I thought.

    Man, I am a happy gotdamn monkey right now. Why, you say? Because they finally restored our telecommuting privileges at work. Which means I'm sitting at home this glorious Friday. In my boxers. Jumping around.

    Working five day weeks in the office had been putting a crimp on my bonus whoring a bit, as there's only so many hours in the day. Now the mega whoring may resume, in full force. Hide your womens and children. Well, the womens.

    Off to a running start this month, as far as degenerate gambling goes. I'm really liking the changes at Party to the blind structure for NL. The $50 NL game is suddenly mas juicy. Probably not enough to keep me there once this reload is worked off, but much more fertile waters these days.

    I feel very able this days. Potent, even. Which is funny, as my day job (which should be a large defining measure in my life, being a vocation and all) just continues to become more and more ridiculous and emasculating. A large part of that is the crazy run I've been on at the virtual tables the last few months, but it's also more than that.

    I've spent a lot of time scrabbling, scrabbling at poker, at assorted business ventures and projects, trying to make something work, to get ahead, to put myself in a position where my success was dependent on one thing: how hard I worked. And I scrabbled pretty fucking hard for the last five years or so, especially at the beginning, learning HTML, putting in 80-100 hour weeks, saving as much money as I could.

    And I'm not where I want to be, probably not even half way. But it's pretty fucking nice to be getting there, to see all the assorted endeavors accumulate to the point where they provide a legitimate, honest-to-goodness living wage, to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and know for certain that it's really daylight, and not an oncoming train. And to know that I made it happened, through sheer dint of effort, stitching it together out of sackcloth.

    So yeah. Jump around. Jump around. Jump up Jump up and get down. Jump (18x).

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    Slowrollers Make the Baby Jebus Weep

    (Just a quick public service announcment to anyone taking my advice on casino bonuses. Reef Club just changed their signup bonus to a ridiculous 200xbonus wagering requirement to withdraw it, rendering it basically useless. I took it out of the guide but if you're planning on doing it, don't. Unless you just like to gamble, that is, and don't care about the bonus money, etc.)

    Last night was interesting. I was chipping away at the latest Party reload, mainly playing Omaha, but I had one $50 NL shorthanded table open. I'd pretty much treaded water there for about an hour, up a little, down a little, etc. There was one complete moron at the table, with the standard Rounders-based screenname, who had been acting like an ass for about half an hour, demanding to know what people had, using the entire clock before acting, just generally being an ass.

    I was just a few bucks over $50, about to close the table and call it a night, when I get dealt AdKs on the button. UTG (who'd been playing pretty rightly) bets out $4, everyone folds to me. My first impulse was to just fold, as I hate getting involved in hands when I've mentally shut it down for the night. But then I said "Self, grow a sack", and raised it to $8, just to see where we were. Chattering Moron cold calls from the BB and UTG calls.

    Flop is Qc 2d 3d. UTG bets $5. Again, my impulse is to just let it go, call it a night. But he's substantially underbetting the pot, and I've got overcards, including the Ad. I'm putting him on something like 1010, JJ, maybe AQs or KQs. I just call, telling myself I'll let it go on the turn if nothing promising develops. Chattering Moron also calls.

    Turn is 5d. Interesting. UTG again bets $5 into a ~$40 pot. I decide to get jiggy and try to take it down right here, with the parachute of the potential A high diamond flush on the river if anyone calls. I pop it to $20. Chattering Moron types into chat, over and over, twenty times at least, "Wot u got?". Finally he calls, right before the timer expires. UTG folds.

    River is Kd. Woot. I push the rest of my stack in. Chattering Moron goes off, typing "Str flush, u got owned" over and over, calling me every misspelled variation of every epithet imaginable, using every second on the timer before he calls, flipping over 4d6d, for the straight flush.

    The bright side of the story is that I mainly found it funny, for some odd reason. I didn't point out that he cold called a $8 raise pre-flop with 4d6d, that he literally held the exact two cards that could beat my hand (I had the Ad that completed the lower end of the straight flush). I don't think I played the hand that particularly well and I should have just shut it down for the night when I decided to.

    More than that, though, I just felt sorry for the guy. I just typed "nh" and logged off. Which is interesting, as normally my monkey rage at seeing an idiot squirrel dart through the bars of the cage and steal my banana would squash any such feelings. But man, how pitiful is that, all the way around. Slowrolling is bad enough but it's even more pitiful when that's all you've got, talking smack on PartyPoker. Enjoy that 50 bones, rounderzman. You did, indeed, own me. No arguing that.

    Not much else exciting going on. Still grinding away, still clearing assorted bonuses, still slowly but steadily building the stash. Working on a couple of larger articles, hopefully to be posted soon.

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    The Eagle Has Landed

    Allrighty then. Thanks to the most understanding wife in the world, we'll be in Vegas June 2-June 5th, so I can take part in the live WPBT event and meet many of you fools. Whether or not I summon the cojones to donate to the $1,500 NL WSOP event remains to be seen.

    We're staying at the Stratosphere, which is, well, the Stratosphere. But it's hard to beat a round-trip airfare/3 night hotel package deal through Southwest for ~$275/person, especially when actual time at the hotel will hopefully be kept to a bare minimum. Hopefully some mututal friends of ours will be going, which'll free me up a bit to fully satisfy the poker jones without having to worry about neglecting the wife.

    Noble Poker Signup Bonus: 100% up to $300

    Ha. You thought you were safe from the bonus frenzy. You're never safe. You cannot escape! Muuuwaaahaaahaaaa!

    Seriously, Noble Poker is offering a really, really juicy bonus for the month of March. Deposit $300 and get a 100% matching bonus, up to $300.

    Noble Poker uses a homegrown system to track and release the bonus, in which you accumulate Crowns for raked hands in which you contribute (either by posting blinds or seeing a flop). You accumulate Crowns at the following rate for each raked pot you contribute to:

    .25/50: 1 Crown
    .50/1: 2 Crowns
    1/2 and above: 3 Crowns

    For every 125 Crowns you accumulate, they credit $10 in bonus money to your account within 48 hours. Each week players get a statement showing how many Crowns they've accumulated, how much of the bonus they've unlocked, and what's remaining.

    This offer is good until March 31, 2005. Players qualifying for this unique offer have until June 30, 2005 to accumulate the necessary Crowns to unlock the bonus.

    The Noble Poker site itself is interesting, as it offers a unique 3D table view that's kind of cool. Its part of the IPoker Network, which includes poker rooms at Club Dice, Prestige, Fair Poker, Diamond Club, and other sites. The network has decent traffic, especially at .50/1 and 1/2, so it's not hard to find a game. Since most of the sites are tied to online casinos, the play is super, super fishy. I did this one when it was just a 25% up to $100 signup bonus, cleared it all at .50/1, and booked a healthy little profit of +$378.

    This is a pretty awesome bonus that clears reasonably quickly, with many fishy players. It's also nice in that the bonus is released in increments, so you don't have to play forever to clear the entire lump sum as at most sites. Support is good and cashouts are handled promptly. I'd jump on this one, even if you don't clear it immediately, as you have until the end of June to do so. These incremental bonuses are pretty sweet, as while you have to initially deposit $300, you can withdraw most of that, leaving yourself enough to play a bit, at which point you start unlocking the bonus money and are good to go, all without tying up much of your bankroll.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    A Pox on Your House, Blogger

    Thank you, Blogger, for eating that huge post reviewing the last month in my degenerate gambling world. I like it when you do that. Yeah, just like that. Oh, I may claim otherwise, may shake my fist at you in mock rage. But you know me, baby, all my deep, dark secrets. Yeah, baby, yeah.

    I had a really good month. Insanely good. I guess I'll leave it at that.

    Well, not quite. I've made a ton of money since November chasing poker and casino bonuses. It's allowed me the bankroll to play in higher stakes games, which is increasingly boosting the bottom line. Long story short, never underestimate what poker bonuses and casino bonuses can do for your bottom line.

    Now on to the fun stuff.

    To recap a bit, I decided last month to start bribing poker bloggers with cold, hard cash to be funnier and to think more deeply. The more that happens, the better, for each and every one of us. Which isn't to say that bloggers weren't already thinking deeply or being fun, as they most definitely were. I just thought it'd be interesting to add a little giddy to the giddy-up.

    So, with no further ado, drumroll please...

    The Deep Thinker Award in Poker Blogging: February 2005


    If you don't check out his blog regularly, you're doing yourself a disservice. While he plays slightly higher stakes NL than most of us grinders, he goes out of his way to not only provide lots of juicy strategic content, but also mixes it up nicely, with occasionally hand histories, quizzes, and general thoughts and strategies. While rich in poker strategy, the format is never pedantic and dry and always entertaining and engaging.

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

    Based on years of experience...

    While Bob has yet to learn the simple fact that monkeys > Jebus, he is pretty damn funny, on a daily basis. Throw in a little nut cancer, gangsta rap, and girlish fright at buying condoms and you have a great recipe for a very entertaining read. Plus he sneaks in a fair amount of poker content, too, when you're not looking. Go get you some of that, if you aren't already.

    As promised, both worthy winners get $25 each added directly to their PokerNow account. (If you guys actually read this damn thing, holler at me at to let me know your screen name. Or if you don't have a PokerNow account, whine and beg and plead and I'll get your winnings to you via some other alternative means.)

    For everyone else, hey, it's March, and now it's your turn to be funny and to think deeply. Two winners each and every month. And all you gotta do is keep on doing what you do well.