Sunday, April 30, 2006


I really, really like Sunday mornings. Someone needs to bottle that stuff and sell it, because I would buy the hell out of it. Or, you know, I need to win the lottery so that every morning is Sunday morning. I usually get 70% of the work I get done in any given week on Sunday morning, getting up early, drinking the hell out of some coffee, and just grinding away. All that's missing is a full slate of NFL games, instead of a weird melange of baseball, basketball, and dudes on ice skates.

I hope my post on PageRank and blogs wasn't taken in the wrong light, or inadvertently added fuel to recent assorted blog fires. I was trying to stay pretty agnostic and to just throw some stuff out there, as far as mechanical stuff going on behind the scenes that not everyone is aware of.

As far as assorted blog fires, not much to say about that. I think as long as blogs exist, communities of like-minded people will form. Inevitable, like the tides.

Although the members may share a certain percentage of like-mindedness, pretty much any "successful" community I've ever seen is also, simultaneously, headed in ten billion different directions and composed of people with ten billion different motivations. If you demand that everyone conform and follow a rigid set of expectations, well, that ain't much of a community, really, besides the fact that such endeavors usually fall apart pretty quickly.

In "successful" communities there's usually just enough of a common thread to keep things from spinning haphazardly out into the ether, but very few other demands that might cause friction. With poker blogs, that common thread is, der, poker.

Ain't nothing wrong with blogging for yourself, and no one else, whether it's to improve your writing or to simply capture your thoughts. Ain't nothing wrong with blogging for the sole purpose of building an audience and sharing thoughts and words with someone other than your brain, to get satisfaction from having an audience and to bask in that attention. Ain't nothing wrong with blogging for profit. Ain't nothing wrong with blogging for yourself/others/profit, simultaneously.

You can analyze and formulate and postulate until the cows come home but in the end it really doesn't matter. If you want people to read your blog, post things that people are interested in reading. If you want to improve your writing skills, post well-written posts. If you want to profit from blogging, post valuable content that will enable you to profit.

Getting caught up in PageRank and rankings and reciprocal linking is ultimately a zero sum game. It's really much simpler than all that. Here's the million dollar secret to fame, riches, and mad writing skillz that make all the hotties swoon at your feet, ripping off their panties:

Find something you're really, really interested in and write about it every day.

That's it. That's all there is to it, no matter what your motivation is. Do that and whatever else you're looking for will eventually land smack dab in your lap.

(Shoot me your email address so I can provide wire transfer information for the $1 million dollars to be transferred to my bank account.)

In other news, is Matt Millen the dumbest human on earth? Seriously. Leinart lands smack dab in your lap and you're too stubborn to admit that you've completely and utterly botched the QB position your entire tenure, choosing instead to pretend that Kitna/McCown is a long-term solution, and drafting a LB with a cracked noggin', who could be one more concussion away from never playing another down? For years your crow eye seemed fascinated by shiny, gaudy WRs, which you kept drafting, year after year, yet you somehow seem intent on ignoring that you need a QB to consistently deliver the ball to them.

The Knicks or Lions seriously need to scrap management and run a reality TV series with the winner getting to serve as GM for two or three years. Because, honestly, I think any sports fan with two brain cells to rub together could do as good a job as Millen or Isiah has, and they'd at least get some cash/ratings/ticket sales out of it.

Poker kicked my ass yesterday. No two ways about it. I picked up a few tokens at Full Tilt in the peep Sex SnGs (you guys are right, good lord those things are soft) but that's about all that went right. Dropped 150 BBs in a matter of twenty minutes at TopRankedPoker, when the crazy monkeys at the 6 max games suddenly caught fire and I couldn't win a hand, despite many overpairs and sets and flopped straights. Boo, poker.

ScurvyWife fired up her new kiln last night and the house didn't burn down, so thumbs up for that.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Friday Ramble

These honest-to-Jebus five day work weeks are killing me, what with telecommuting still on hiatus at HyperMegaGlobalCorp.

Not much to relate on the degenerate front. Still grinding away at the TopRankedPoker signup bonus, trying to get it done before the end of the month. Pretty much boring, breakeven play over the last few days, without much excitement. Played in the Omaha Hi/Lo Bracelet Race last night but never really had chips or cards and went out 40th or so.

I always find it interesting to post poorly played hands, as far as the comments they generate. It makes sense (and I'm guilty of it, too) that we gravitate towards sharing in great detail the difficult hands we're involved in that have a happy outcome, but quickly gloss over (or just ignore) the hands that we butcher pretty badly. Maybe I just suck more than the average monkey, but I can't remember a session or tournament of late that I haven't played at least a hand or two really poorly, including hands that ultimately worked out in my favor, due to the activation of luckbox powers.

I just find the reaction and comments to sharing such hands interesting, as they usually run the gamut from very helpful, valuable advice, to advice to keep such horribly played hands under wraps, to the "Der, take up knitting instead," one liners. And those are all valid, natural responses, that I've had myself when commenting on hands. Just interesting, is all I'm saying.

ScurvyWife has been kicking much ass at work lately, getting a promotion recently and is basically being groomed to replace her boss, when boss retires in a year and a half. Obviously makes me happy and proud, in and of itself, but it's also a larger relief in many ways to see her succeeding and making longer-term commitments to work and career, instead of looking at it as a temporary evil that hopefully would be replaced in the future by being a full-time, stay-at-home mom.

I'm still really, really far from wanting to get on the kid trolley, and fighting it tooth and nail, but it's a pretty large relief to see her back down a bit from the insistence that the only way to properly raise a rug rat is for her to not work and be at home with said rug rat, on a full-time basis. I realize that's an entirely different debate, with all sorts of valid, differing opinions, but I'd be lying if I said it hadn't been looming and nagging at the back of my mind, as far as how to plan for that and to financially make it feasible, if it had to be that way, when push came to shove.

I've been dipping my investing toes into the options waters of late, with decent success. I've been taking sort of a Jekyll and Hyde approach to investing of late, as far as the bulk of our portfolio dollars getting parked in ostensibly solid, long-term funds, ETFs, and equities. Basically the boring, smart stuff you're supposed to do, with a 25-30 year time frame in mind, blah blah blah.

I've also, though, been setting aside a much more speculative chunk of investing money, from some of the profits generated via all my degenerate activities, the idea being that I can scratch the speculative itch and not "risk" money parked in much more smart places. (Yeah, I know, that logic is very flawed. What can I say, I'm a very flawed monkey.)

So far I've been on a nice roll on the speculative side, despite a few bonehead moves here and there. A lot of the gains came from getting into a couple of Kazakhstan oil and gas juniors in mid 2005, both of which proceeded to run up 200% or so in a matter of months. Gave some of that back shorting Google twice at inopportune times, then doubled up on Fronteer Development Group, getting in before uranium stocks started getting hyped all over the place.

Lately I've been loading up on May $25 Calls in CryptoLogic (CRYP), buying in the 1.80-2.00 range. 'Tis more than a little risky, especially with the short window due to the nature of options, but they're releasing earnings on May 8, and all signs point to a pretty good quarter, based on recent earnings releases from Party and Playtech. CRYP got as high as 29 just a few weeks ago but has given a good bit back over the last week, dropping down to the 25.50 range, mainly from a kneejerk reaction to a downgrade from some largely unknown analyst. Good earnings could easily punch it back up to $30, which would make me a very happy monkey.

Pretty busy weekend looming, what with much grinding at assorted poker bonuses and other general monkey work.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gah, The Poker Bonuses, They Are Too Strong For Willie!

Despite my recent lemur activity in the degenerate challenge, things are cruising right along poker-wise. I'm nearly done with the Bowmans signup bonus, and am pretty solidly in the green. I'm going to try to blast out the TopRankedPoker one I mentioned yesterday, finishing it up in April hopefully, and went on a tear there yesterday, mainly at the baby .50/1 NL tables.

The following hand came towards the end of the run, and I thought was fairly interesting. It's a 6 max .50/1 NL table, and I have €150 or so. The button is the only player that's been remarkable at all, as everyone else seemed fairly weak/tight and nondescript, but the button has been pretty active, overbetting marginal hands pre-flop (re-raising to €10 or €15 pre-flop with hands like 85s or J10o), and bluffing at a lot of pots, especially when he has the button/position.

I'm UTG and get dealt 1010. Which I'm obviously happy to see, but it's got the potential to be problematic, especially with the hyped-up monkey on the button. I'd normally raise to €3 or €4, but he's likely to come over the top with all sorts of hands, and I'm not sure I want to invest €20 with 1010 and bad position, just to see a flop, as I have to fold on lots of flops if he plays back hard at me.

I end up just limping, as does UTG+1. Folds to button, who bumps it up to €8. Folds to me. I call and, surprisingly, so does UTG+1, who had the habit of limping a lot pre-flop and folding to a raise. I've got around €140 or so at this point, UTG+1 has €125, and button has €70.

Pot is €25 or so, and the flop comes 4c 5h 7s. I check, planning on check-raising, UTG+1 checks, and button insta-bets €25.

Hmm. Button is capable of having just about anything, and only has €50 behind after his flop bet. I'd be more than happy to shove here if it were heads-up with the button, but UTG+1 is lurking, and his smooth-call of a sizable raise pre-flop worries me a bit, as the only other time I'd seen him do that he had QQ.

Shoving here might clear up some outs by folding out UTG+1, as well as generate some fold equity versus the button. But the button's €25 bet is likely enough to fold out UTG+1 anyway, even if I call and sweeten the pot. If I just call the €25 bet and UTG+1 does have a bigger pocket pair, he'll likely check-raise, at which point I can possibly (maybe) find a fold, depending on button's reaction.

I end up just calling, as does UTG+1. Damnit.

Turn is 8d, putting 4c 5h 7s 8d on the board. Pot is €100 or so. I check, UTG+1 checks, and button checks. Hmm.

River is 2c, for a board of 4c 5h 7s 8d 2c. I check, UTG+1 checks, and button insta-bets €30 of his remaining €45.

Do you call? Fold? Shove?

I dwelled for forever and finally folded. Yeah, I know, the pot is laying me pretty juicy odds with my overpair and a crazy monkey on the button who loves to bluff at pots, but UTG+1 is still hanging around. I didn't like the size of the button's bet, either (or the check on the turn, for that matter), as he's perfectly capable of having a 6 in his hand, as well as some sort of junky two pair. Heads-up, I probably make the call, clutching my junk. With UTG+1 lurking, though, I'm not certain that it'll just be €30 to call, and I think I have to fold if I call and he comes over the top for €70 more.

I fold, and UTG+1 ponders for forever, and finally calls. Button rolls over J10o for jack high and UTG+1 has Q5s, taking down the €160 pot with a pair of 5s.


Still not sure how to play that flop, given the way things played out. In hindsight the easy answer is to check-raise it up, like I planned on, but nothing in UTG+1's play to that point suggested he could have anything like Q5s, so I'm still not sure that lumping in more than the button's €25 bet gains me much either in the way of position or information.

But, you know, I have the capacity to suck at NL, too, so there is that.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mmm, TopRankedPoker Poker Bonuses...

TopRankedPoker (on the B2B network) just changed their signup bonus to a pretty juicy 5x bonus. It's a 100% up to 600 euro signup bonus (deposit $750 if you're in the US), with 30 days to clear it, paying out 20 euros for every 100 VIP points you accumulate. The bonus code is SIGNUP600.

You can also get an extra 25 euro referral bonus. Use referral name "scurvyTOP" when creating an account, then use the above bonus code when you make your first deposit. If you try to use both when cretaing an account, it won't work. Use referral when creating, bonus code when depositing. You'll get the 25 euro referral bonus after clearing 200 VIP points, then the signup bonus will be paid out 30 days after creation of your account, based on how many VIPs you accumulated.

They're also giving away 2 decks of BEE cards for anyone who signs up right now. Create an account, deposit, and "...send a mail to, with your user name, name and adress, and we will send you the decks the same day."

On top of all that, the site is part of the B2B cashback program, that pays you a cash reward based on your play each month. If you accumulate 3001 VIPs in a month, you'll get an extra 50 euros back, on top of everything else, for your play. Note, though, that it's based on the calendar month, so if you split your play up over two months you might not get the full 50 euros, as they play less for lower levels of play.

These 5x bonuses on B2B sites usually don't last long, so you might want to hop on it while it's there, if you have any interest at all. If you clear the full 3001 VIPs in the same calendar month it ends up being a 675 euro bonus, plus two free decks of cards, which ain't bad at all.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Google PageRank and What It Means to You

I've mulled the pros and cons of babbling about this, as both exist, but in the end I think it's something bloggers should know about, if they currently don't.

We've seen a trend towards more paid advertising deals for bloggers of late, as well as more freerolls with decent prizes set up solely for poker bloggers. Both of these trends are a good thing and I'm the last person to stare a gift horse in the mouth. I've taken part in both phenomenons, aside from the fact that I've shilled all sorts of sites here on the blog, for financial gain.

While it's hard for those of us personally involved to see it sometimes, poker blogs are increasingly building up a decent amount of clout. No, really. Not in the traditional sense, but in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

One of the key drivers of Google's success has been something it calls PageRank, which is basically the way that Google incorporates popularity of a site into other factors that its algorithm uses when ranking results for a certain search query. If lots of sites link to a page, that page (and the site as a whole that it is part of) will have a high PageRank. If no external sites link to a page, that page will have a low PageRank. The more links, the better.

(To see PageRank in action, download the Google Toolbar, and once installed, go to toolbar Options and tick the box to display PageRank. You'll see "PageRank" on your toolbar now, and it'll show a green bar when you visit sites. Mouse over the green bar and it'll pop-up text that tells you the actual PageRank number of a site, which is on a scale of 0-10, with ten being the best.)

PageRank is also a measure of not only how many other sites link to a certain page, but how popular those other sites are, too. So a link from a really popular site with a high PageRank is better than a link from an unknown site with a low PageRank. By "better" I simply mean that it gives the page it links to more of a boost, PageRank-wise.

When Google tries to decide which to list first between two pages on different sites that have the phrase "drunk midget porn" on each of them, one of the primary factors as to which gets the #1 spot is which page has a higher PageRank. Everything else being equal, the #1 spot in search results goes to the page with the higher PageRank.

That's where all of the above comes into play. If you want your pages and site to show up in Google results, you want as high a PageRank as possible. The best way to boost your PageRank is to get other sites that focus on a similar topic with high PageRank to link to you.

You may see where I'm heading with this. Because poker bloggers are good about pimping other blogs (and because there are so damn many poker blogs), we've built up a nice network of links, that give lots of blogs pretty juicy PageRank in the eyes of Google. This means that not only do random phrases on blogs rank surprisingly in search results, but that links from blogs to other sites carry a decent amount of heft and weight.

So if you're noticing an upswing in interest from advertisers, that's really what's in play. They see the juicy PageRank attached to many blogs and want some for themselves, as links from lots of sites with high PageRank will boost their site higher in search engine results.

It's not really about the visibility of the ads, in a traditional sense, as much as it is about buying PageRank. The real value is in the link itself, and the text of the link, not in whether or not it's an appealing ad that will tempt a certain percentage of people to click through.

It seems odd but you really can view PageRank as currency, in every sense of the word. An incoming, on-topic text link from a site with a PageRank of 8 is worth more than the same link from a site with a PageRank of 7, and so on. And people do indeed pay cold, hard cash for such links, based solely on PageRank. It's not really an efficient, guaranteed market and you can't go to the PageRank bank and ask for money because you have a high PageRank, but it does have value.

Which is something you should keep in mind, when offered an advertising deal or the chance to participate in a blogger freeroll. Those offers do have strings attached, and they're being offered to you because you have a blog with good PageRank, not because the sponsors are great, generous people. The links and ads that you post for those sponsors are valuable, not really because of the message or the brand-awareness or marketing aspect of them, but because they're links from a site with high PageRank. That's what the sponsors are really buying, when it's all said and done.

Now, don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, either on your end or on their end. I just think it's important that everyone understand the situation, as I'm not sure sponsors are always really clear about their motivations.

Yes, indeed, I have the Full Tilt ad up there in the right. I like Full Tilt, and I like the fact that they showed initiative by buying PageRank from poker bloggers. More importantly, I like the fact that they were democratic about it, offering all sorts of bloggers the chance to sell them PageRank, and not cherry-picking only the bloggers who had a certain minimum amount of PageRank.

That's the reason I opted out of the PokerSourceOnline offer. They cherry-picked blogs that had a PageRank of 4 or better, yet didn't disclose that fact in their offer. Don't get me wrong, that's perfectly reasonable, and is a smart way of doing business. There's nothing wrong with that, or with accepting their offer. I just personally chose not to support it, as the reason poker blogs carry PageRank clout at all is because of the sense of community and interlinking and pimping, so it seems wrong to me to profit personally from that while not everyone is offered a chance to profit equally. (And, lest I sound too high and mighty, if you're going to discriminate based on PageRank, fine, but you should also pay more for blogs with a higher PageRank, and not just offer one flat deal to everyone who makes the initial cut.)

I was happy to do the original Stars freeroll for bloggers, as they were offering a pretty huge overlay far in excess of what they would have normally paid for all those incoming links and resulting PageRank boost, but I've opted out of the other smaller "freerolls" that have been offered. Again, there's nothing wrong with taking part in those, and it's very smart business to offer a $1,000 freeroll for bloggers if you would normally have to pay well in excess of $1,000 for the resulting PageRank boost you get.

In the end, it's entirely up to you, and there's no right or wrong answer. Money is nice and freerolls are nice so it'd be perfectly reasonable to take any deal and offer you can find. The odds of negotiating or finding a better deal are pretty slim, so you're really not sacrificing anything by taking assorted sponsors up on their offers. I just think it's important to understand what's really going on, and to know that the myriad gay poker blogs of the world actually have a decent amount of sway in the eyes of assorted search engines.

Where Does the Time Go?

Even with taking last Friday off, it seemed like the weekend lasted all of 0.9 nanoseconds. My noggin' is just so completely not into the work I do at the day job of late, so I end up clinging more desperately to the weekend these days, which I suppose only accelerates the disappearance of said lovely, lovely weekend when Monday morning rolls around.

Poker has been a bit uneven of late. Dropped a couple of buy-ins at 20/40, which isn't fun, but got a good chunk of it back grinding at the current B2B poker bonus I'm working off. Tournaments were pretty much a complete washout, as I played a few satellites to assorted WSOP events but got no traction. Finished 20th or so in a Razz Bracelet Race, but never really got going, busting out when A24 suddenly turned into a brick magnet and couldn't take down 38J.

A bit of impatience is creeping into my mind of late, which is a bit of a new phenomenon, and probably not a good thing. I find myself suddenly signing up for reasonable expensive tournaments/SnGs on the spur of the moment, and cramming in sessions right before bed, trying to grind out something substantially profitable for the day, instead of being content to not play, or to finish about even. You can pretty much pin this one squarely on the aforementioned job malaise, even though it's a pretty silly connection. I'm not going to quit my job to play poker full-time, and no single days' result is going to make a whit of difference in the long-term necessity for a job, but there I am of late, trying to make something happen, instead of just being content to grind away.

Can't complain at all about April results so far, though, knock on wood, especially on the degenerate challenge side of things. Just gots to keep the eye on the grinding prize, stashing money into other +EV vehicles as I go, focusing not so much on the skull-numbing drudgery of the day job but on the future opportunities it's funding.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sometimes Poker is Teh Suck

Was rolling along nicely last night, playing in a Bracelet Race and a satellite at Stars for the big WSOP qualifier they run on the weekends. Top 4 got a seat in the Bracelet Race and top 9 got a seat at Stars.

Down to 50 or so players left in each and I had slightly above above average stacks. The following two hands literally happened simultaneously on their respective site, within seconds of one another:

Bracelet Race: I've got JJ on the button and a 4K stack, with blinds something like 200-400. UTG (who's pretty much played like a retard so far but has luckboxed his way to a 9K stack) raises to 700. MP+2 (who barely has me covered) calls. I debate on whether I should jam or not but decide to see a flop, as I can get away from it if it's truly scary and I'd rather hope for a juicy flop and get a potential double instead of picking up 1,400.

Flop is J 7 2, rainbow. Can't get much juicier than that. UTG checks, MP+2 shoves all-in, I dwell a bit, trying to sell UTG on the fact that he might want to come along, too, and call. UTG insta-calls.

UTG rolls over 6d6s, MP+2 has KJd. My 96% equity evaporates as running diamonds come to give MP+2 the flush and IGHN. That would have given me the chip lead by a good 2-3K. Well played, fellas, well played.

Stars: I'm in the BB with QQ and a stack of 4K or so, with blinds around 200-400. Folds to MP, who raises to 1,200, and who slightly has me covered. Folds to me. I shove. MP calls with AKo.

Flop is Q 5 4, rainbow, giving me about 98% equity. Turn is J. River is 10, giving him the straight.

Whee, poker.

Friday, April 21, 2006

B2B Poker Bonus List

I've had more than a few requests for a list of some of the B2B poker bonuses I've been grinding of late, so here it be. (I stuck them on pages over at TPTK as Blogger doesn't seem to like to deal with tables that are more than a few columns/rows).

B2B Poker Bonus List
FAQ for B2B Bonuses

It's definitely a work in progress but I thought I'd go ahead and put it up. I've got tons of more sites to add, and I also plan on listing all of the bonuses that each site offers. For the first pass, I listed the bonus for each site with the best terms, but many of them offer a few different bonuses, of various juiciness as far as clearance rates.

I also listed a lot of the common questions in the FAQ. So if you're having trouble getting more than one referral bonus, hit the FAQ. Also keep in mind that you can absolutely get a referral bonus + a signup bonus for each site. Claim the referral bonus only when creating an account, then use the bonus code when making your first deposit.

The B2B sites are definitely an acquired taste but they've been really, really good to me. A lot of the really big 5x signup bonuses on the B2B network have expired, but there are plenty of good smaller ones to grind through, which definitely add up when you're clearing the referral bonus simultaneously.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Short and Sweet

I've been easing back into the 20/40 LHE trenches, with pretty good results so far. The drill of late has been to play one table, for exactly thirty minutes a session, and to concentrate fully and not open any other windows, or distract myself with any other work or browsing or baseball scores or porn or anything else.

The 30 minute time limit/session is pretty arbitrary but it's a nice change of pace, as I basically just focus on playing as well as I can, for the time I have, and then closing out the table, no matter whether I'm stuck or flush with profits, getting up, and doing something else for awhile.

Yes, indeed, this flies in the face of my recent embracing of the poker hobbyist mentality, as far as playing mid/high limits. All I can say is that I'm a stubborn monkey sometimes, and that I'm still grinding out bonuses and profits at much lower limits in the majority of the time I've been playing of late.

Still lugging much decomposed granite gravel around the homestead, slowly working down Mt. Granite from a massive towering heap in my driveway, where the landscape supply people dumped it, to a mere bump. This should be pretty much it, though, as far as major outdoor landscaping projects. That leaves the kitchen and bathrooms to remodel and then, wonder of wonders, most of what we want to upgrade at Casa Scurvy will be finished with.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Gratuitous Rat Photo, Avert Thine Eyes

Apparently ScurvyRat has been running micro limit home games while ScurvyWife and I are at work...

Danger, Danger, Ramble Alert, Code Red!

Many thanks for the comments and advice regarding limit/NL musings. One that I forgot that Badblood describes much more thoroughly is the willingess to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar, and the fact that you're not playing correctly if you don't occasionally look stupid from time to time, bluffing with J high into the stone cold nuts.

While that's somewhat true of LHE, too, it's a pretty different beast. Not only is there less bluffing in general in most limit games (debateable, I know, but generally true, methinks), what bluffing there is usually comes on the turn, and is often disguised somewhat. If I bluff raise a weak/tight opponent on the turn with a scary board and they re-raise, that's an easy fold, and no one is the wiser as to just how silly my attempted bluff was. If successful, they simply fold, and again, no one is ever the wiser. If they don't fold on the turn, they often fold on the river. Or lead into you again, at which point you quickly fold.

NL seems a bit different, though, as bluffs tend to occur more frequently on the river, which leads to more bluffs being called/shown/mucked. (True? False?) Which doesn't mean you shouldn't bluff, obviously, just that you need to be more prepared to get caught red-handed, for everyone to see, as opposed to LHE when you're often not called out quite so publicly, standing there looking like an idiot for all to see. Personally, I find myself shying away too often from potentially looking like an idiot at the NL tables, and need to get over that bashfulness.

For all you kids into the casino bonuses, you should check out the Casino Blaster group, if you haven't yet done those. These all used to be sticky bonuses but they recently changed them to be fully cashable, and to allow BJ, with a 20X deposit+bonus WR. I waited on posting this, as I assumed they'd quickly change the terms to make it sticky again or to make it slots-only, but they seem to be set on offering this for awhile.

Make sure it's still cashable and that BJ is allowed, though, as they might change the terms at any time. This group also is notorious for taking their time on withdrawal requests, and for asking for all sorts of ID before processing your cashout, including a scan of your driver's license, utility bill, and the top of a bank statement showing your address. They're also allowing people to only sign up at 2-3 of their casinos and getting a bonus before you're flagged as a "bonus abuser", at which point you can't get future bonuses at that casino or others in their group.

Below are the casinos in their group, ordered in terms of juicyness:

1) Golden Palace: 300% signup bonus up to $300
2) Online Casino: 300% signup bonus up to $300
3) Aspinalls Online Casino: 200% up to $200
4) Flamingo Club Casino: 200% up to $200
5) 24kt Gold Casino: 200% up to $200
6) Grand Online Casino: 200% up to $200

Congrats to Maudie for winning the WWdN tournament last night.

Didn't play much poker last night, due to the happy-fun joy of moving 5 cubic yards of decomposed granite gravel into its new resting home along the side of the house that's about to become the kiln/welding/metal foundry home. With a huge assist from a friend/co-worker/boxing kangaroo, 95% of it got done, and all that's left to do is rake it out and smooth out a few spots and find a creative use of the excess granite that's currently occupying our driveway.

Man, the end of June needs to hurry its arse up. Very much looking forward to my first dabbling in the WSOP, and just being back in Vegas again in general.

Good lord, my fantasy baseball team is pitiful. Pitiful. Randy Johnson is finally looking all of his 629 years of age, Junior managed to break himself again doing little more than being bipedal, and Manny is getting off to a typical slow start.

The degenerate challenge is bogging down slightly, largely just from a general lack of poker time, and the fact that I've done the bulk of the good casino signup bonuses, including the sticky ones, and have already hit all the good recurring monthly ones. I'm probably going to grind some more B2B bonuses in the near future, when I manage to sneak in some dedicated time for poker play, as I prefer to blast through them quickly and get them done instead of picking away at them slowly.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hating/Loving TPTK

For whatever reason I've fallen into playing baby NL games of late, usually $100 NL. It's been interesting, especially coming from a background as strictly a LHE monkey for quite awhile.

Poker is obviously poker, so I can't claim any grand epiphanies, but it is interesting experiencing some of the things you've seen bandied about by others, as far as the major differences between the games, and common advice given to limit players who are taking up NL. I repeat, none of this is rocket science, and old, old news to you NL superstars out there. This is more a reminder to myself, than anything.

1) Don't go broke with TPTK : You learn to push TPTK pretty hard in limit, and rightfully so. For every one time it goes down in flames and you lose a big pot, you'll win two pots.

NL, though, is a different story. Consistently shoving your stack in with TPTK will more than likely result in you going broke, over time. Most of your real money comes from sets taking down TPTK/overpairs, not from bludgeoning opponents into submission with just TPTK.

I'm still struggling with this one, especially at some of the crazy Party NL tables. If you're playing with opponents that will merrily shove into you with KJo on a K 10 4 flop (after calling a $4 raise from you pre-flop), AK looks pretty damn good, and it's next to impossible for me not to call. That same monkey can just as easily have K10, though, and be reaching for your stack. As much as I tell myself to wait for a better spot and to not get caught up in the push-monkey game, I still am tempted too often to call in that spot.

2) Sets are where you make money: The logical application of this is to be much more willing to call with any pocket pair, from pretty much any position, even if/especially if it's raised. I have to work to get myself out of LHE autopilot mode, as far as automatically mucking 22 if there's a raise in front of me. Obviously you have to temper this if someone later to act is persistently coming over the top, but baby pairs are a lot more valuable in NL, and you can't be mucking them consistently just because someone has shown strength.

Where I'm still flailing around here is how to play the baby pairs when I'm opening the action, as far as whether to try to limp or to go ahead and bump it up 3-4BB. Being aggressive is almost always better than not being aggressive, but a lot of the value in 22 is in flopping a set, as it's hard to continue otherwise, even when showing strength pre-flop. I tend to open-raise with baby pairs but I feel lost when a couple of people call, the flop comes all overcards to my baby pair and someone leads into me.

3) Don't be afraid to lump it all in on the flop with a really big draw: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but a bit different from LHE. While you'll often pump your big draws on the flop in LHE, the psychology is a bit different, as you've got assorted escape hatches if you blank on later streets.

In NL you might currently be behind on the flop, but have a big enough draw to not mind getting it all in. The dilemma is that you want to see the river, and not be faced with a difficult call on the turn if it blanks. So the relatively simple solution is to not be scared to lump it all in on the flop, with your monster draws, and hopefully pick up some fold equity while removing the temptation to abort the mission on the turn if it blanks.

4) Junk is pretty much junk in LHE, but junk can be valuable in NL: This one is completely self-explanatory, but deserves a token plug. If you're on the button in a LHE game and there are three limpers ahead of you, 68h is a junky hand that you fold 100% of the time, even if you know the blinds will just call.

Give that same hand to a skilled player in that exact situation in a NL game and they can probably extract a decent profit from it, over the long run. It's still pretty much junk but the ability to take someone's entire stack in one fell swoop puts a bit of a shine on otherwise junky hands.

This one is still hard for me, not so much when I can limp in behind a few others but when there's a raise after me, and only a few callers. I realize I need to limp/fold in most of those cases but I get a little greedy at times and call the raise too often.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Whee, April

So far the month of April has been very, very good to me on the degenerate front. To the extent that I'm halfway tempted to just pack it in and wait for May. Which I won't, for all the obvious reasons, but still tempted.

Getting the bad out of the way first, I played like a complete lemur in the Bracelet Race last night and didn't even make the first break. Just bad play. I don't think I won a single hand, donking off most of my chips with AKs in two different hands.

Played in a second-stage qualifier for the WSOP satellite running at Martinspoker, with the top ten or so getting a 400 euro entry into the final satellite. Doubled up early and then proceeded to lose all my chips with 99 on a A 9 3 board, when the BB woke up with AA after just calling my pre-flop 3BB raise.

Which brings us to the happy fun part of the evening. I had something like $22 left in my Party account from the recent reload bonus I cleared there (check your accounts if you haven't already, as most people are getting some sort of bonus from Party at the moment). I was working on some freelance stuff and it was getting on towards bedtime, so I took all 22 bucks of it to a .50/$1 NL table at Party, just for kicks.

I got it up to $70 or so, then couldn't push a guy off his mighty gutshot draw that came in on the river, and got knocked back to $6. Tried to donk that off but kept sucking out, until I was back to $20 or so, and started playing again.

15 minutes or so later I was up over $200. Cashed out $150 of it and went back to the .50/1 NL tables with $50. Ran that up to just north of $300 in the next twenty minutes or so. Cashed out $250 of that and went back with $50. Ran it up to $125 before calling it a night.

Obvious silliness, really, and much good fortune, but man, those games were soft. And not just people who can't get away from TPTK soft, but shove pre-flop with 22 soft, after a sizable raise in front of them. And I wasn't even getting frisky or pushing things, just waiting for big hands, being patient. I'd be curious to see what sort of hourly rate a decent NL player could pull out of the baby limits at Party, playing 6-8 tables at a time.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Yes, I Am Fifteen Years Old

You know you've been out in the sun too long when you giggle for ten minutes every time you look down at one of your table windows on the task bar and see: "Hog Hunter (No DP)".

Focus, Daniel-san, Focus

Went out 17th or so in the Fullt Tilt LHE Bracelet Race last night. Kind of frustrating, as I was top 10 in chips nearly the whole way, and had a nice healthy stack with twenty or so left, crusiing along, when my tired monkey brain betrayed me in the following hand:

Blinds were something like 400/800 and I had 9,000 or so on the button. UTG+1 had 6K or so, and BB had 5K. UTG+1 seemed to be pretty good and knew what they were doing. BB was pretty much an idiot and run his stack way up and down throughout the evening, playing marginal hands way too fast.

UTG+1 open-raises and it folds to me on the button. I 3-bet with AKh, BB calls, and UTG+1 calls. Flop is A Q 3, rainbow.

BB bets, UTG+1 raises, and I 3-bet. UTG+1 is pretty aware and could be raising with lots of hands here to try to isolate BB, as well as to get a read on just how big an A I might have. I don't have any reason to think my hand isn't the best here so bombs away.

BB caps and UTG+1 calls. Hmm. Me no likee that so much, I think, as I call. BB is capable of playing any A that way but UTG+1 is coming along for the ride, too. I'd have thought that QQ-AA would have put more bets in pre-flop, but AQ is a real possibility, especially for UTG+1, as BB would have raised that up pre-flop, too.

Turn is a 9. BB bets, UTG+1 raises. Which brings us to the point where a tired ScurvyDog should have taken a little more time to think things through. Yes, indeed, that's a nice fat pot, and I do indeed have TPTK, but I have to fold here. If I do, I have a healthy, average stack and live to fight another day.

The problem is BB, and the fact that he could have A2 here and will merrily raise/cap all day, to the bitter end. If I knew it'd just be two more bets to see the river and try to improve (and fold if I don't, as UTG+1 is definitely ahead of me on the turn), then I should call. But I don't know that. If anything, I know that BB will probably 3-bet here, and it'll not be just the two bets to call, but 1-2 additional bets coming back to me on the turn after I make the first cold-call.

Despite all that, I call. BB thankfully just calls. The river is a 8. BB checks, UTG+1 bets. I make a frustrated crying call here, letting the size of the pot convince me that my call/fold unimproved plan is silly, and of course BB check-raises. UTG+1 3-bets and I finally have the much belated good sense to fold. BB caps and UTG+1 calls.

BB rolls over A8 and UTG+1 has QQ. My much depeleted, suddenly short stack goes home ten minutes or so later.

I've played much worse hands, granted, but there was no reason to set 3 BBs (which was basically a quarter of my stack entering the hand) on fire there on the turn/river, when I knew better. Especially at that late of a stage of the game, after playing good poker for 2+ hours.

Need to remind myself that LHE MTTs don't play too much differently than NL MTTs, at the very late stages, as you're often commiting the bulk of your stack to a hand if you take it to the river with lots of action when the blinds get big towards the end.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Wild and Crazy Bachelor Life

ScurvyWife too off for Dallas around noon, and by 12:15 the strippers and blow were out in full force, sound system bumping...

Or, you know, I spent a good chunk of the day in the yard, sweating my ass off, getting a veritable shit-ton of plants in the ground and in pots. Yeah, that's how I roll.

Poker continues to treat me very well. I had two nice cashes in MTTs last night, one at Paradise and one at Prima, of all places. I had some fun money left in both accounts and decided to blow it on MTTs. A combined $1,500 or so later in winnings and I was cashing out a very happy monkey.

Then alien beings briefly inhabited my body and I played some 20/40 at Doyles. What can I say, I was powerless to resist them. Two of my favorite friends that play the 20/40 short games there were out in full force, so I told myself I'd sit for a bit. Which turned into more than a bit, but I ended up booking nearly $2K in profits before calling it quits for the night.

It's interesting playing with the crazy monkeys after taking a break from those games. I don't necessarily enjoy games like that but for whatever reason I felt like I handled the swings well. I got stuck about $800 right off the bat but I hung in there and battled back. Most of the profit came from two hands late in the session, one where I flopped a boat with 32 in the BB (and turned quad 3s) and the guy who limped with AA and let me see a free flop just refused to believe he was beaten, then another huge pot where I got squeezed between the two monkeys but my AK held up, somehow.

Probably just a temporary jaunt back into the mid/high tables, as I've got plenty of bonuses to grind away for the degenerate challenge. Felt good, though, even if it was just one session and indicative of not too much in the grander scheme.

Today has pretty much been a dry run, though. Played a handful of MTTs on Stars and Full Tilt but didn't even sniff the money. Bubbled in a Soko tournament at MartinsPoker, which blew pretty heavily, as I qualified via a satellite and it was an insanely top heavy structure, with the the first spot in the money getting 240 euros, and the next spot, which I proudly occupied, getting nada.

Currently working on a big honking list of all the B2B network sites with decent/good bonuses and referrals for the extra bonus for each, for people who have requested such.

Signed up for the LHE Bracelet Race tonight, which should be interesting. I haven't played a LHE tournament in, umm, forever.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday, My Arse

These half-assed holidays are the worst, especially on Fridays. I always forget that no one will be in the office, because everyone is much smarter than I am and requested the day off, as they knew it'd be a wasted, half-assed day anyway. Boo, me.

ScurvyWife is going to be in Dallas for a chunk of the weekend, so hopefully I'll get much poker time in. Haven't played at all this week and I'm definitely jonesing to play some. I think I'm going to burn some FPPs on Stars on some WSOP satellites, and probably some more satellites at my new favorite site Full Tilt.

Still not really feeling the LHE love, although I've been tempted of late to sit back down at 20/40, for whatever sick reason. Still avoiding the temptation successfully, for all the reasons I've elaborated on in the past, but it is there, lurking.

I also need to get an ungodly number of plants in the yard, plus lug much mulch and dirt around, so it's not going to be all reindeer games this weekend.

Aww, Poker, I's Just Joshin'...

I feel like I've been a little heavy on the doom and gloom of late, in regards to poker. Well, not really doom or gloom, but the general tone has been trending towards the cautious and/or wary end of the spectrum, as sort of a preamble to something or other. Sort of like when you're stuck in a limping, lumbering, soon-to-be-imploded relationship and it's nearing Christmas, and the idealistic part of you wants to put on a brave face and buy her something nice but the realist insists that you buy her a shitty unscented candle, wrap it in newspaper, and pitch it to her, saying "Ho ho ho," and just rip the band-aid off yourself and be done with it.

Part of me has been tempted to just quit poker cold turkey. Not much of me, but there is a portion of my monkey brain that's not convinced that playing poker is +EV for me in the long run, even if I make money doing so. There are a ton of things I want to do in this world and sitting in front of a computer for hours on end isn't one of them.

I enjoy playing poker, though. A lot. And it's something I'm pretty good at. It'd be pretty dumb to quit doing something I enjoy, that I'm good at. So yeah. That's dumb. Let's not do that.

But I'm still undecided as to what form that playing of poker will take. And, by extension, what form this blog will take in future months.

One thing I always took a little pride in was taking the time here to put down thoughts on assorted poker strategry, as I was always frustrated that other people didn't do the same. And it wasn't all golden, by any stretch of the imagination, but most of it was reasonably solid. People seemed to appreciate it. So it felt good to do that, to feel like I was giving something back, and for the simple validation that came from posting it and getting favorable responses.

One strange thing about poker is that I think many of us exist in a weird limbo land of indecision, unsure if we're simple luckboxes who have been dodging the odds or if we're veritable superstars who are just running poorly. There's just no short-term measure of success or validation. So we end up glomming on to anything we can find, grasping at validation wherever we can find it. Validation through results, through friendships made via poker, through what we post on these gay Internet blog diaries, through whatever we can wrap our monkey paws around.

And the sad truth is that for most of us, it's never going to be there. It's always going to be slightly out of reach. We're never going to be as successful as we dream of being.

The long run definitely exists, but it's a hell of a long run. I guess that's the one thing I've learned in the last four or five months, more than anything. I didn't really understand just how poorly you can run at times, and just how thin any edge you hold is. Didn't grasp to what extent we're at the mercy of random chance, especially at fairly crucial points in ones poker development. Didn't understand that simply being good at poker isn't enough to propel oneself ever-upward.

Improving at poker is definitely an incremental journey, and you will definitely see positive results in the long run if you focus on making the correct decision, each time you're faced with a decision. No arguing that. If you make consistently make +EV decisions, your results will be +EV. Dead true. Carve it in stone.

But if you persist on that journey you'll eventually come to an abyss of sorts, that few poker types like to discuss. Suddenly you're brought up short and realize that you're woefully under-equipped, and that the only way you're going to traverse it is to take a flying leap, and put much trust in your leaping ability. Because you're not quite as in control of the situation as you were lead to believe.

Peronally speaking, my abyss was to finally realize the sheer randomness of what I was engaging in. That sounds over-simplified and dumb but there you go. I wasn't prepared to get my teeth kicked in and lose thousands of dollars on a weekly basis, playing my best, while watching someone cap preflop with 36o and keep jamming until the river, when they hit their straight. I wasn't ready to see some monkey with a VPIP of 89% show a $22,000 profit over 18,000 hands in a month, playing 10/20 short. I wasn't ready to see that I had no idea what it meant to truly run badly at stakes capable of inflicting pain, when "good" play netted me a huge loss while others played any two cards and made many grandusands.

Should I have seen that coming? Of course. It was there to see before, but easy for me to ignore, until the dollars involved became meaningful and painful.

But guess what? I digress. Ha.

Here's the point. I'm going to keep playing poker, and blogging about poker, and telling people they should play poker. But the only grand advice I have is to watch your corn hole out there at the poker tables, and prepare for the worst. Because it's not as easy as it seems and it's not as simple as playing good poker. And at certain points you just have to jump and hope you land on the other side.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Three of a Kind Beats a Flush, Right?

One of the reasons I've been absent from the tables of late is that I've been writing a lot of freelance poker content for Ongame, which offers a variety of fine poker sites, the most prominent of which is PokerRoom.

It's been pretty simply stuff so far, mainly geared towards beginners and for publication in assorted mainstream media outlets like magazines and newspapers. Short, sweet, and to the point. (Stop snickering. Seriously. I can be short and sweet, if need be, and am not always bloviating endlessly, ad nauseam.)

Aside from the extra cash, it's been a nice change of pace. It also feels good to write about something I know, something that I'm relatively good at. Everything I write for the day job is completely and utterly uninteresting, closely akin to pulling teeth, so it's been cool to write something that doesn't immediately make my eyes glaze over from boredom, even as I type.

At the same time, I've been feeling strangely conflicted, as I've been putting together assorted articles designed to not only introduce people to poker, but to prep them for the sweet, sweet rush when the poker crack hits their bloodstream.

The interesting thing is that much of what I've written so far originates from a cautionary sort of place. An article about good bankroll management is spawned by so many stories of people going bust, playing over their roll. Advice to not play angry stems from my own poor play when the monkey rage overcomes me and I want to throw feces around. Cautioning people to moderate their playing time and to not ignore family and friends comes very naturally, having done that myself.

Or, more simply, if a good friend came to me and said that they needed a new hobby, I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend poker. As far as advising complete strangers, sure, knock yourself out, it's a great game. But if a good friend asked me, hanging on my answer, I'm not sure that it would be yes, take up poker. Blasphemy, I know, but there you go.

From a sheer numbers perspective, only 10-15% of the people who play are net winning players. So your friend is likely doomed to lose money if they take up poker. Likely not tons of money, but the odds are not good that they'll be a winning player.

If they're married or in a serious relationship, odds are that at some point or other, to greater or lesser degrees, their poker playing time will be an issue with their husband or wife. So by encouraging them to play poker, you're basically tucking a time-delayed relationship explosive in their pocket. Not guaranteed to be a lethal or even dangerous explosion, but it'll go off, at some point in time.

Playing poker well consumes a massive amount of time. It just does. Most people don't have enough excess free time to take up playing poker without sacrificing in other areas. Most people who catch the poker bug end up spending inordinate amounts of time indoors, hunched over the computer, instead of any number of activities they used to pursue.

On the bright side, poker is an awesome, awesome game, which can be tons of fun if you can manage all the pitfalls. So you could very well be introducing them to a hobby that will bring joy and satisfaction for many years to come.

More and more, my hesitation stems from the fact that it's a rare, rare monkey that can balance all of the above issues and emerge happy and unscathed. Not impossible, by any stretch of the imagination, but a longer shot than I'd like to bet on, if I were put on the spot and forced to encourage or discourage someone to play poker.

Does that mean I have to turn in my poker blogger card now? Doh...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Poker? What's That?

Things are pretty dang quiet on the poker front. Other than a mini-session at Razz I haven't really played at all the last few days, mostly due to other deadlines and yard work and other fun life stuff. But I have to admit that it is sort of nice, as far as the feeling of getting a chunk of my life back, with all this "free" time.

Don't see much of a decrease in busyness looming on the horizon, either, as I need to get the kiln and welding stuff set up, and my little mini-foundry operations rolling. We've also been kicking around the idea of either buying a second house or investing in commercial property, or maybe a combination of the two if we could find the right property. Still pretty much pie in the sky talk at this stage but fun to ponder.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Move Your Ass, #4

On the bright side, kicking ass at the degenerate challenge so far. But I also sort of managed to completely burn myself out grinding through the WasaPoker bonus way too quickly, as far as putting in ridiculous hours to get it done. So I may chill on the poker a bit and catch up on some assorted work I keep shoving on the back burner.

Went to the tiny local horse track at Manor Downs with ScurvyWife and a friend today, which was lots of fun. ScurvyWife and I finished up +$40 or so, which is a pretty major coup given my past inability to do much other than gleefully set my money afire at the horse track. Normally I chase silly longshots and superfectas but I was mostly good today, trying to pick decent values and sticking to $5 place/show bets. It also helped that we hit on the one quinella box I allowed myself, as well as both of our individual place and show bets that race.

ScurvyWife took her camera and we went down on the rail near the finish line for one race, so she could take a short video of the action. She seemed to find it pretty amusing that she managed to record me saying "Move your ass, #4", but was concerned about putting it on her website/blog, which her pretty damn conservative family reads. And I'm like, "Uhh, he really needed to move his ass. And if your right-wing family can't see that and appreciate the urgency of the situation, screw them."

(I may, in fact, have only said the first sentence and merely thought the second.)

Back to the world of normal people at this time, dreading having to roll into the office on Monday. I'd gotten spoiled with telecommuting on Fridays/Mondays, which is temporarily on hold due to our silly reorg at work. Yeah, I know, it's hard to gripe about having to go to the office five days a week like normal folks but dude, I liked my three day work week. Here's hoping I can grit my teeth and not burn the building down until we get our telecommuting privileges back, after we prove that we can be good, dutiful monkeys.

In other gambling news, yeah, I'm the sucker that bet $50 on Zab Judah last night. Looked like a good bet for about three rounds but that was about it. Stupid boxing.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Winning is a Lot More Fun Than Losing

Many thanks to all for the congratulatory comments. Haven't even been tempted today to fire up the poker machine, not wanting to harsh the feel-good buzz.

Not sure if I'll still buy-in to Event #4 like I planned on and use the Bracelet Race seat for a second event, or just play the one event and treat it like a freeroll. I'd like to play as many events as possible but I'd be lying if I said I was totally comfortable with the idea of ponying up $1,500 to play, so there's a certain appeal to just playing one event and letting it all hang out without worrying about justifying the expense.

I'll probably take some more shots at the Full Tilt Bracelet Race satellites, too. If you're even halfway interested in playing one of the WSOP events, you should give these a shot. They guarantee two $2,000 packages and usually only get between 200-250 entries. Half the field is usually gone by the first break and you'll see all sorts of, umm, unusual play.

Most of my chips came from pretty head-scratching, overly aggressive plays from opponents, along with a few fortutitous flops. I doubled up early with KK when 99 decided to go over the top of two different preflop raises, and doubled again shortly thereafter with AA when a guy called off all his chip with an OESD.

I got lucky and flopped a boat with 66 and a 996 board, and tripled up when Villain #1 shoved all-in on the flop with KJo (?) and Villain #2 called with A10o (?). That put me well in the chip lead with 65K or so, with 2nd at 40K.

Not long after that blinds were something like 400/800 and UTG (who had 33K or so) raised to 2000, everyone folded, and I called on the button with J10d, feeling a little jiggy. Blinds folded and the flop comes Ks Jh 10s. The pot was about 5,000 and UTG quickly shoves all-in, making it 30K for me to call.

My gut impulse was to fold my bottom two pair and let him have a relatively wee pot but the more I thought about it, the less sense his overbet meant. Yeah, there are tons of hands that are crushing me, that he'd play from UTG for 2,000, such as AQ, KK, QQ, JJ, 1010 (although those last two are unlikely due to my hand and the flop), and KJs. And yeah, he might also be playing those fast because of the possible flush/straight.

But the massive overbet screamed draw to me, or AK or AJ. The more I thought about it, the more I thought he had AK or was drawing to the flush/straight. I just couldn't seem him shoving there with a hand that was was ahead of me, when he could bet the pot and see what happens. It could very well be a coinflip for me (or slightly worse) if he had both a straight and a flush draw but I still had a hard time seeing that, as far as the immediate shove on the flop.

So I managed to talk myself much closer towards calling, as my time ran down. If I called and lost, I still had 30K to work with. If I called and won, I had a pretty sizable lead on the field.

With a few seconds left to act, I finally said fuck it and called, holding my breath. What does UTG roll over? J9o. No spades. Turn was a 10, followed by another 10 on the river to give me unneccessary quads. Suddenly I'm well in first, with nearly 2.5x chips as second place.

I'm still not sure I should call there, despite it working out, but I do know that it's gotta be +EV to play with folks who will open-raise with J9o from UTG and shove all of their chips in on that flop. Not to mention the guy who ultimately went out in 4th who simply shoved all-in every third hand when it got down to four handed. He had a more than healthy stack and a M of about 40 but if he bet, he shoved. Every third hand or so. With any two cards. Until he inevitably runs into someone with a medium/big pair and that's all she wrote.

But I digress. Play them Bracelet Race satellites as they're really, really soft.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Jewelry is Gay

...but winning a seat in a Full Tilt bracelet race is decidedly ungay.

Man, that was stressful. I had the chip lead for forever towards the end, and was about 30-40K in the lead when it got four handed. I went completely and utterly card dead, though, and the guy to my left kept re-raising my steals, so I ended up turtling a bit too much and not playing as aggressively as I should have. Plus another guy was shoving all in for 70K or so every third hand and no one would look him up.

I finally got AQs and Mr. All-In went all-in again, I called, and of course he has AK and I don't improve and get bounced down to 40K or so. Then I started playing poker again and scratched and clawed my way back to 80K or so, and all four of us were roughly even.

Finally caught Mr. All-In with 1010 when he pushed with 10 4, and suddenly I was back up to 120K again and in first, with three of us left. Smooth called with AQ when the short stack (he had 60K or so) raised me. Flop came something like A 10 7, rainbow. He bets a decent amount, I smooth call again, not too worried about giving him free cards. He'd also drop hands pretty quickly when I showed strength so I was willing to gamble a little and just smooth call.

Turn is Q, giving me top two pair. Boo ya. He checks, I bet about half the pot, and he insta-shoves. I sit on my hands and stare at it for awhile but see no way to get away from the hand, as it's 35K or so to call and even if I lose I'll have 60K or so left. If he slowplayed a set or hit his straight, so be it. I call, he flips over KJo for the straight, and before I can even start chanting "Q or A, Q or A", a beautiful black ace comes on the river, sealing the deal.

Pretty ugly way to clinch the seat but I'll take it.


(Um, yeah, poker, sorry about my post earlier today. We're cool.)

Bah, Poker

Yesterday was one of those spirit-crushing poker days. And aye, I over-exaggerate, but man, poker is sometimes just not much fun. Not being able to get away from flopped two pairs and set over sets gets expensive, as does flopping a boat and losing to a rivered bigger boat. It also doesn't help to get slightly tilty after all of that and go to war with the bully at the Soko tables, who keeps hitting, hand after hand.

I've still not really been able to break out of the poker doldrums that have been plaguing me since late January, when results in general turned south. It's not a precipitous downturn but I feel like I take one step forward, then immediately take 1.2 steps backwards.

The strange thing is that I really don't feel like I'm playing that poorly. Definitely not playing optimally 100% of the time but some of the beatdowns of late are pretty spectacular, in the ugly sense. Generally lumping my money in when ahead, which is all I can really do.

Yeah, I know. I'm just venting, more than anything. I know. Nothing to see here.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Condensed Version

Blogger eat post. Blogger bad.

Lost good, but better not be all in someone's head. Island and people better be real. Otherwise Lost bad, too.

Poker infrequent but good.

Work bad.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Interest List for B2B Bonus Cannonball Run

I've been rolling around this idea in my head for a few days and thought I'd throw the idea out there and see if there's any interest.

There's a whole ton of poker sites on the B2B network (60+), and nearly all of them offer a refer-a-friend bonus. (Not all are available to US players, but at least +30 are). Some offer signup bonuses as well, but for the sake of this let's just focus on the refer-a-friend bonus.

If you use a current member of the site as your referral when signing up, you're eligible for a 25 euro (~$30) bonus, which is credited to your account after you accumulate 200 VIP points from play at the tables. You get 1 VIP point every time the pot reaches €7.00 and is raked €0.30 (that's for NL and PL games; for fixed limit the pot has to be €10.00), so long as you were dealt into the hand.

If you play 2-3 tables of 100 NL simultaneously, you can rack up the 200 VIPs in an hour or two. Ditto if you play fixed limit at 2/4 or higher. That's generally speaking, so your mileage may vary slightly. Lower limits take a little longer but you should be able to clear the 200 VIPs pretty quickly, regardless.

So that's $30 in your pocket for 2-3 hours of play. Given that the games are really soft, you should hopefully add a little profit.

On the other side of the equation, the referrer (the player whose username you used in the referral field when signing up) gets a 50 euro (~$60) bonus when you reach 200 VIPs.

Hypothetically speaking, the referrer could return some of that to you as an incentive. If they kick you back half of it back, you'd be making a $60 bonus for each site, for 2-3 hours of play. If you do 30 B2B sites, you'd be making $1,800, just in bonuses.

The kickback payment could be made to any number of poker sites that allow transfers between player accounts, or through Neteller as a last resort (due to the fees incolved for account to account transfers).

Speaking further hypothetically, the referrer could also arrange it as a contest, and set aside part of their money from the referral as an extra incentive. So maybe they'd set aside 5 euros from each signup and add it to a pool. The top three players who completed the most bonuses would get a piece of this pool, split up something like 60-30-10.

So if 10 players did this, for a total of 200 refer-a-friend bonuses completed, the player who completed the most bonuses would get an added bonus of 600 euros (60% of 1000 euros), second place would get an extra 300 euros, and third would get an extra 100 euros. That's on top of all the individual $60 bonuses for each site.

There'd be some details to work out but that's the general idea. It's slightly skeezy and money grubbin' but it's completely playing by the current rules for B2B refer-a-friend bonuses. It'd be a bit of a pain as far as administration and coordination but not terribly so. Most of it could easily be handled by email.

Hypothetically speaking, if you have any potential interest in such an endeavor, you could hypothetically shoot me an email at with B2B in the subject line, and this could be discussed further, if there's enough interest in general.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Grindy McGrindsaLot

Things are pretty calm on the poker front. Grinding out another big B2B network bonus and picking off some of the Crypto poker bonuses here and there for the degenerate challenge. I was going to donate in another Bracelet Race at Full Tilt last night but ended up just hanging out with ScurvyWife and watching American Idol and doing assorted chores.

I'm sort of a contrarian when it comes to American Idol, as I mainly watch just to root against selected people that annoy me. ScurvyWife absolutely hates Bucky and yeah, he's not the bestest knife in the drawer, but for some reason Ace is drawing more of my ire. Yeah, I know he's pretty much a lock to make the final 3 or 4 but dude, Jebus, you could not be more boring and pre-packaged if you tried. I even liked that goofy-looking, Fraggle-esque little dude Kevin more. And I didn't like him much at all.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

One of These Days, Alice

Poker, I'm not even going to start with you. If my AA can't outrun K10s and K7o in back to back tournaments to knock me out, so be it. If my set of 9s is going to get taken down by runner runner straight to bounce me from the WPBT satellite, so be it.

If you want me to break down Bedazzler and spend my hobby time putting rhinestones on all my clothes, fine. 'Cause I've already got 1-800-DAZZLE punched into my phone, and am just waiting to hit that last digit.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Very Odd Request

This is completely out of left field, but you guys and gals are an eclectic group with all sorts of strange hobbies and fascinations.

Can anyone recommend a nice general Common Electronics for Dummies sort of book? More in a hobby sense than in a re-wiring your home sort of practical sense, as what I'm looking for is something to get me up to speed on things like building a coffee maker (on/off switch, solid state temperature sensors, resistive heating elements, etc.) and similar things. Basically a primer on gadgety kind of home electronics applications and how to rig reasonably simple things up from scratch.

Many thanks.

Being Dominated is the Key to Success

Not too much pokering yesterday, as ScurvyWife and I spent a good chunk of the day at an artsy-fartsy festival downtown, looking at cool stuff and listening to music. Have to say it's much cooler going to such things after dabbling with welding and bronzing and what-not, as far as having a better idea to what goes into assorted stuff.

I did play a Bracelet Race satellite on Full Tilt after we got home, going out 50th or so. Chipped up early and was rolling along until my AQs couldn't take down QJo, KK couldn't take down KQo, and AKo couldn't take down A6o. That pretty much wiped me out to the point that I had to shove with KQo and got called by A6, which was good enough to send me packing. Whee, poker. I'm probably going to play a bunch of these, hoping that if I keep mashing buttons long enough I might luckbox my way into winning one. If the strength of the field last night is indicative of larger trends, they look to be pretty soft.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Poker, It Hates Me

On the bright side, I'm running abnormally well on the casino bonus side of things, as far as the degenerate challenge goes. So no complaints there.

Poker, though, continues to kick me in the nads. I've pretty much solely been grinding on a B2B bonus at PointPoker, with some play at a few Cryptos mixed in, now that it's a new month and their monthly bonuses are available again.

I was cruising along on the poker front at PointPoker, playing lots of Soko and 7 Card Stud when I could find games, and grinding out some hands at 100 NL. Safe, slow, and methodical. Steady as she goes. I was about 90% done with the WR for the bonus and was 200 euros up, which I was more than happy with, as I'd deposited on the site when they were offering their old juicy bonus of 600 euros.

Feeling a little jiggy, I added a fifth 200 NL 6 max table and bought in for the maximum. Cue ominous music of doom. (And this is the first mistake, for you kids scoring at home. I was very much in bonus grind mode and should have stayed in it. I didn't want or need to drop 200 euros due to the whimsy of cards. I didn't really want to gamble, yet I opened up the table because I could, because I was ahead.)

It became apparent quickly that the table was pretty wild and wooly. If you haven't played a B2B site, well, they can be pretty high variance, as you can encounter absolute maniacs at times. Or drunks. Or drunk maniacs.

Normal preflop raises were in the 10-20 euro range, with 2-3 players usually seeing the flop with all sorts of cards. I don't play a hand for forever until hey, nice, AA. One of the crazies raises to 20, another calls, I make it 60, folds back to original crazy, who min-raises. Second crazy folds. I shove all-in and crazy insta-calls with Q2o. And proceeds to flop a 2 and turn a Q and IGNH.

Reload. I can't say I was happy but I wasn't really tilty. I should have just quit, though, as I really didn't want to be involved in this sort of game, giving my whole goal with just playing to grind out the bonus at relatively low-risk tables, at non-HE games.

Literally two hands later I get it all-in pre-flop with the same crazy when I have KK. This time, of course, he has AA and IGNH.

Reload. (Yeah, I know. I knew then, too.)

This time my reload lasted a little longer, 15 minutes or so. One raise pre-flop to 15, two callers, and I complete from the BB with QdKd. Flop comes 10d Jd 4c. There's assorted raises and re-raises and three of us end up with all our money in the middle and J4h takes down a ginormous pot when none of my 182 outs appear.


Three hands later I get it all-in preflop with AA and can't beat 88, who not only flops an 8 but rivers quads, just to rub it in.

Which is how I managed to dump 800 euros in about half an hour, before finally having the good sense to log off and turn off the computing box.

(And yeah, this really happened, and isn't some belated sort of April Fool's joke.)

So now I'm looking at about a 200 euro loss, when I finally summon the will to finish off the bonus, which has taken forever to grind out. Plus I don't even get the bonus for twenty days or so, as it's paid out 30 days after signup. Joy.

But the point isn't to whine about bad beats or somehow justify my play. They happen. Except for pushing the QdKd hand a little hard, I happily make all the above decisions again, every time. Shit happens.

The moral of the story, though, is that I had no business playing 200 NL to begin with, given my goals. I'd been enjoying playing Soko and 7 Card Stud and feeling good about the whole switch to playing new games, grinding out bonuses. All was going well. With emphasis on "was".

I need to fight the urge to lapse a bit in concentration, fight the urge to gamble. That's what left me unhappy with poker to begin with, the feeling that I was gambling with uncomfortably large sums and assuming too much exposure to risk. Limiting that exposure and trying new games left me feeling pretty happy. Right up to the point where I go and jack with what was working and get smacked down.

So yeah. Hard to complain too much as I'm running well on other fronts, but it's obviously a little disappointing to make nearly all of the profit so far on the casino side, and lose money on the poker front. Not much to do about it but soldier on, though.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Because Drizz Told Me To

Things are still going great. I'm really not sure what the fuss is with some people, because every time I sit down to play 3/6, it's like some creepy old dude keeps slipping $100 bills in my thong. I added up the totals for the month and I'm $19,202 ahead, if you count the $4,182 I got in bonuses.

Some people out there keep accusing me of lying but I just don't get it. It must be that cranky bitch Felicia who's pretending to be all of them. They keep saying that my math is wrong, that there's no possible way I can make that much money at 3/6 playing as few hours as I do. But what can I say, every month I seem to win more and more. I think they're all just inbred like Felicia.

I continue to play 3/6 and just play as rocklike as possible, though I have found of late I am actually having more success by calling more and raising less. I have been calling with AK and AQ in early position, and dropping them if I miss.

I think people just don't understand what it takes to be a pro. Just play like a rock and stick to 3/6 and you'll be living the high life like Pat and I. Every month since I turned pro has been better than the one before it!