Saturday, September 30, 2006

Internet Gambling -- Why am I not in Vegas?

You done fucking good.

I did fucking nothing.

That's an awful tough one, in aid of the larger purpose.

... Which is laying head to pillow, not confusing yourself with a sucker?

Far as I ever get.

'Cause that's going to be a project tonight.
-season finale, Deadwood

My Friday evening was a lot less productive than others, it would seem. While I was out busting fish at O8 and PLO on 'Stars, Congress was seeking to change the face of Internet gambling.

Looks like they succeeded. 2+2 has a good link here.

With hindsight, thinking that it wouldn't pass seems like a really silly thing. As Scurvy mentions in his post,

It may be painful to admit, but we were in the minority on this issue, opposing the Internet gambling ban. If you're not an elected official from Nevada or New Jersey, it's pretty idiotic for you to take a public stance that is pro-gambling, even if there's a great argument to be made as far as the revenues created from regulating and taxing the industry. That applies to Democrats just as it does to Republicans. This ain't going to be revisited or modified, regardless of who controls Congress.

Sometimes you have to stop and look around the room. We poker players didn't notice that we were the suckers at the political table.

It may not be over for Internet players, but the fishy face of online poker may be changed. Do you love the game enough to continue playing online? I imagine most blogers will.

Everyone has to get through life by adapting to the changes. There are plenty of changes around us. I've learned a lot more about risk, when to take chances, about arbitrage and finance. From that I have a nice bankroll, a new car (partially funded by the bankroll), a commuting bike (funded by the bankroll) and a different outlook on things.

Online speculating is only one way to get my points. The door has been open wide to other possibilities. This is America, the land of opportunity. If you love money, you'll do more than just plink around an online poker room everyday.

And life in Las Vegas, the land of fish and juicy, +EV gaming ventures, is only two time zones away.

Cat's bag of goodies

I am totally thankful for because I completely messed up the free $100 bet promotion from last week. Supposedly you had to click on the promotion tag while signing up (I didn't). And only bet $100 on the Falcons. I bet $120 (the deposit plus the bonus).

The Live Chat lady refunded my $120. So it was a free $120 bet! Yay!

Hedge opportunity. This fight is Oct. 7. Pinnacle lists Barrett at +451 and BetWWTS has his opponent, Valuev, at -450.

Free Super/System 2 online: This link goes to the Web site, where the chapters of this excellent poker tome are located. Great if you want to find out how to play 2-7 Triple Draw on Ultimate Bet!

Also, Delta is giving 250 SkyMiles for answering a single survey question.

Friday, September 29, 2006

New Orleans -- When the Saints Go Marching In (and take my money)

NEW ORLEANS -- "I have to call," I tell Morpheus in the Sham Seat (Seat 10) after he makes it $15 from the small blind and three other people call his pre-flop raise before it reaches me (Seat 9) at the button.

And the flop: KQA, two clubs (the king and queen). Morpheus makes it $60, one guy folds, this old guy who I called "Carolina Dolly," since he had the same facial features as Doyle Brunson, except he was all decked out in a Carolina blue shirt, jacket and hat, calls. This Asian guy to my right also calls the $60.

I have A9 of clubs.

"Hmmm," I say, bouncing my head from side to side as I re-check my cards, doing my best Daniel Negreanu imitation.

"I think I'm all in," I say, as I shove $179 into the pot.

Then the pot takes on a dreamy quality. Morpheus calls. Carolina Dolly is all-in for $600 more. Asian guy calls. Morpheus calls for $600.

After my terrible move last night online where I folded top boat thinking I was beat by quads in a $1/2 pot-limit O8 game on Poker Stars, I wandered across the street to Harrah's New Orleans where I quickly found an open seat in a NL$1/2 game. I figured I might as well play until Kelley was free.

The casino, as can be expected on a Thursday night, was lively and loud. A full-on band of trumpeteers and trombonists came right by the rail of the poker room blasting that local favorite, "When the Saints Go Marching In." It was lively and basically a good time.

I thought my reraise was going to do a few things. My equity was really good, but I wanted to make sure that I would be able to see both turn and river cards. I thought there was a chance that I could push Carolina Dolly and the Asian guy out of the pot since they only called with a very real flush draw threat on the board. I put Morpheus on a good ace.

When everyone called, I was excited that this would be a defining hand of the trip, just like the nice all-in draw I made at the Excalibur a week ago with 45s to win a huge pot.

The turn card came a Q. The river a K. No help.

Carolina Dolly flipped over JT, for a flopped straight. No help, since Morpheus had aces up on the flop with AQ and ended up with queens full of kings. Carolina Dolly tried to say that he never said he was all-in preflop (which is what someone would do with a flopped straight) but everyone disagreed. He counted out $600 in chips for Morpheus.

But Morpheus wasn't the only winner. The Asian guy had KJo, for kings full of queens.

Breaking it down on the flop:

Carolina Dolly: 45 percent chance to win, 6.95 percent chance to tie with flopped straight
Morpheus: 13.29 percent chance to win, 1 percent chance to tie with flopped aces up
Asian player: 1.22 percent chance to win, 6.95 percent chance to tie with pair of kings
Kurokitty: 33.05 percent chance to win, 1 percent chance to tie with top pair, nut flush draw.

My all-in bet (called by so many people) was less than a quarter of the pot. It would have been really nice to win the $800 pot but I was glad I made the right move.

Later the table broke when both Morpheus and the Asian player left with pretty much everyone's money. I left feeling like the Falcons at the SuperDome. It's so hard to win on the road, especially when it's New Orleans' week.

O8- Hated to fold

I totally hated to fold here, twice my hand went to raise all-in. But I felt like the player easily could have had TT in his hand for a quad. I let it go. Thoughts appreciated.

PokerStars Game #6457527072: Omaha Hi/Lo Pot Limit ($1/$2) - 2006/09/29 - 00:00:25 (ET)
Table 'Dolon II' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: GalatiaKid ($218.65 in chips)
Seat 2: #1 Fiend ($112.90 in chips)
Seat 3: kurokitty ($211.70 in chips)
Seat 4: Sheepman ($193 in chips)
Seat 5: ultpkrstar ($190.05 in chips)
Seat 6: Frickster604 ($26.75 in chips)
Seat 9: jobber123rd ($219.10 in chips)
Frickster604: posts small blind $1
TheRazorface: is sitting out
Yeshua_Won: is sitting out
jobber123rd: posts big blind $2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [Ah Ac 6h Kc]
Yeshua_Won leaves the table
GalatiaKid: folds
#1 Fiend: calls $2
kurokitty: calls $2
Sheepman: folds
ultpkrstar: calls $2
nikii joins the table at seat #8
Frickster604: calls $1
jobber123rd: checks
*** FLOP *** [Jh Ts Tc]
Frickster604: checks
jobber123rd: checks
#1 Fiend: checks
kurokitty: bets $7
ultpkrstar: folds
Frickster604: calls $7
jobber123rd: calls $7
#1 Fiend: folds
*** TURN *** [Jh Ts Tc] [As]
Frickster604: bets $17.75 and is all-in
jobber123rd: calls $17.75
kurokitty: raises $17.75 to $35.50
jobber123rd: raises $118.25 to $153.75
kurokitty: folds (after requesting TIME)
*** RIVER *** [Jh Ts Tc As] [3d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
jobber123rd: shows [8s Js Jd 8d] (HI: a full house, Jacks full of Tens)
jobber123rd collected $35.50 from side pot
Frickster604: mucks hand
jobber123rd collected $81.25 from main pot
No low hand qualified
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $119.75 Main pot $81.25. Side pot $35.50. | Rake $3
Board [Jh Ts Tc As 3d]
Seat 1: GalatiaKid folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: #1 Fiend folded on the Flop
Seat 3: kurokitty folded on the Turn
Seat 4: Sheepman folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: ultpkrstar (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 6: Frickster604 (small blind) mucked [7h Jc 9h Th]
Seat 9: jobber123rd (big blind) showed [8s Js Jd 8d] and won ($116.75) with HI: a full house, Jacks full of Tens

Thursday, September 28, 2006

New Orleans -- The French Quarter at Dusk (low content)

NEW ORLEANS -- After checking the NL fish traps at the Beau Rivage and the Imperial Palace in Biloxi, I pointed the rental in the direction of New Orleans and headed back, because I had a mission to complete.

I threw on my running shoes and shorts, clipped on my fanny pack with my cash bankroll and, with my back to the shiny casino lights of Harrah's New Orleans, headed into the French Quarter.

According to the Internet, my mission would be nearly impossible to accomplish -- River Road Barbecue Shrimp Seasoning was a hard commodity to find because the company that makes it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Last night, Kelley and I wandered through the most shallow of waters of the Quarter, clinging to Bourbon and Canal streets and not veering a block or two from either, darting into souvenir stores and rummaging past cheap beads and Mardi Gras masks to try to find this spice that her boss wanted.

I promised her I'd have some time today to find some. But after I left her, I drove to the next state. I wanted to check out the Island View Casino, which in part used to be the old Grand Casino-Gulfport. The old Grand Casino Hotel still is across the street, still looking ravaged by the elements. A walkway over the highway connects the old and new properties.

There's not much to say for the new building, which looks like a cross between a modern express hotel and a retirement home. The casino's innards were packed with slots, some table games and no poker. It doesn't look too much different from the Palace Casino on the other side of the Strip in Biloxi.

Disgusted, I drove the dozen or so miles to the Beau Rivage in Biloxi. The remants of the old Treasure Bay ship is gone, although an electronic sign still was offering late night diner specials. Where? Across the street, on dry land? Even still it wasn't apparent to me where I'd dine. Maybe Treasure Bay is a ghost ship and offers ghost deals.

At the Beau, I was back in my comfort zone, eating a pretty decent linguine in the casino's cafe. I waddled over to the poker room, which was full and full of grey hairs. So I drove over to the Imperial Palace, which had a few NL tables open but there was a decent sized list. So I decided to put up with the rush hour traffic out of Biloxi and just return back to the Big Easy.

In the French Quarter, I wandered in and out of several shops, inquiring each time about this mythic spice but each time coming up empty-handed. The architecture and bright colors reminded me of strolling through Nassau. The peacefulness of the interior streets reminded me of Paris but without the dog poop on the sidewalks.

As the sun went down, many tourists seemed to melt into the woodwork, in an anti-vampire kind of way. So I was pretty much by myself on some stretches, with plenty of time to admire the architecture.

The French Quarter is a strange place to me. It's one of the few cities where I can find myself hallucinating -- in one instance, I gazed up ahead into a store to see this sort of pudgy middle aged guy sitting on a stool behind a register. When I passed the store, I turned and looked and saw a rather skinny young woman sitting there in the pudgy man's clothes.

Another time I walked out of a tourist shop across the street to look at a po'boy shop, then turned around, saw an interesting tourist shop and ambled all the way to the middle of the store before I realized it was the shop I had just been in.

So as to not look more like a tourist, I left my laminated folding map in the hotel room and instead scrawled out a primitive map of a place my map said was the "Gumbo Shop" at the corner of St. Peter and Royal. Of course that same map lists the Old Bank of Louisiana at Royal and Conti; at that very spot, Kelley bought me a Diet Coke this morning from a Walgreens.

So of course the "Gumbo Shop" was not around. But across the street was an A&P grocery store. When's the last time you've been in one of these? I pulled open the door and scampered inside.

Inside it reminded me of grocery stores in London -- very small and cramped places. The A&P's back aisle actually dead ends in a cul de sac of bread, luncheon meats and prepackaged cakes. It was like being in a hedge maze. I traced back my steps, running my hand along one wall, which was the store's entire freezer section, pulling out a few Diet Cokes from a refrigerated case.

I had already scouted out the grocery store -- with no success. Almost immediately when you walk in the first aisle is a row of hot sauce. Nothing there. In one of the middle aisles is an entire section of Cajun seasoning -- they had Louisiana brand and others but not River Road.

After this search, I was consigned to getting things for myself. What would I need? A few Diet Cokes would be nice for the hotel room. I eyed some bananas in the corner of the produce section. As I went over there to compare some green bananas, this really hot woman reached over my left to grab a plastic produce bag. As I moved out of her way, I saw a few boxes of riper bananas behind me.

When I moved to tear a few off, I set my two Diet Cokes on this ledge, which was an entire section of River Road seasonings.

No lie. It was like a Zen moment. Find the thing you are looking for only when you're not looking for it. I found "River Road Barbecue Shrimp Seasoning," removed the store's entire stock (seven bags) and immediately text messaged Kelley with my important find.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Another fallen domino (William Hill)

Another Crypto has fallen because its operators cannot bear parting being able to go shopping in the United States without being arrested:

An e-mail I received today:

William Hill plc has taken a decision to withdraw our online casino and poker services from all existing US clients and will refrain from offering them to US residents in the foreseeable future.

We regret to inform you that we have therefore suspended your account and you will not be able to access our casino or poker room in the future. You should also note that we do not take sports bets from US residents.

New Orleans -- I should have told him I was Canadian

NEW ORLEANS -- I knew I was in trouble when the rental car shuttle driver asked where I was from.

"That was sure one heck of a game. I didn't think the Saints were going to win," he says to the person who stupidly said he lives in Atlanta.

"Yeah, but they had motivation," I say, parroting off a term used in Stanford Wong's Sharp Sports Betting to describe why an underdog team may show up with enough mustard to beat the favorite. "Plus home underdogs traditionally have done better in the NFL," I add, quoting from the Wizard of Odds' sports betting section.

Sure, I didn't lose anything by betting the Falcons -- it was a $100 free bet on I totally thought about hedging but didn't.

Later, at a $1/2NL game at Harrah's New Orleans, people were talking about the game unprovoked -- I didn't say a word of where I'm from.

"They could have beat anyone there -- it was their day," Seat 8 proclaims. No one seems to mention the shoddy officiating.

And then, of course, it came down to how New Orleans is viewed by the outside world.

"Can you believe the Saints are an 8 point underdog to Carolina," the dealer sniffs, almost sounding hurt. "We get no respect."

Pokerwise, the two hours and 40 minutes I spent at the table while I was waiting to check in to my nearby hotel was a lot like the Falcons game. At one point I was down $100, just missing everything. Open-ended straight flush draw in late position against a fishy raiser with a free card on the turn? Nothing.

I had to kick someone from Georgia in the teeth to win a pot and climb back to even -- he tried to slowplay AA in a multiway pot and allowed me to draw my 4-flush and get runner runner Broadway by the river.

Sometimes Georgians get no respect.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

More SNG follies

Makes no sense to me why people are blind with aggression when a much smaller bet can tell you the same thing -- whether you are beat or not. Thanks to his contribution, I went on to win this one.

PokerStars Game #6407435669: Tournament #32517022, $30+$3 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2006/09/24 - 19:59:17 (ET)
Table '32517022 1' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 3: AAESAA (5770 in chips)
Seat 4: alishik (2360 in chips)
Seat 5: kurokitty (5370 in chips)
alishik: posts small blind 75
kurokitty: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [2s 2d]
AAESAA: raises 150 to 300
alishik: folds
kurokitty: calls 150 (I thought about raising here but just decided to see the flop)
*** FLOP *** [2c Ts Kd]
kurokitty: checks
AAESAA: bets 900
kurokitty: raises 900 to 1800
AAESAA: raises 3670 to 5470 and is all-in
kurokitty: calls 3270 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [2c Ts Kd] [8d]
*** RIVER *** [2c Ts Kd 8d] [9d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kurokitty: shows [2s 2d] (three of a kind, Deuces)
AAESAA: shows [Kc 8c] (two pair, Kings and Eights)
kurokitty collected 10815 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 10815 | Rake 0
Board [2c Ts Kd 8d 9d]
Seat 3: AAESAA (button) showed [Kc 8c] and lost with two pair, Kings and Eights
Seat 4: alishik (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: kurokitty (big blind) showed [2s 2d] and won (10815) with three of a kind, Deuces

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Tales from the rail

I was just railbirding what looked like a very loose 3-handed PLO $5/10 game at 'Stars. The Muppet guy went on tilt shortly afterward, saying "How can you call?" I think I'd call too with my boat.

PokerStars Game #6397407112: Omaha Pot Limit ($5/$10) - 2006/09/23 - 23:30:29 (ET)
Table 'Ninina IV' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: Pingpang863 ($300 in chips)
Seat 5: scottiecards ($1079 in chips)
Seat 6: TheMuppet1 ($566 in chips)
TheMuppet1: posts small blind $5
Pingpang863: posts big blind $10
*** HOLE CARDS ***
scottiecards: calls $10
Dreamcrusher has returned
TheMuppet1: raises $30 to $40
Pingpang863: folds
scottiecards: calls $30
*** FLOP *** [Jh Qs 2d]
TheMuppet1: checks
scottiecards: checks
*** TURN *** [Jh Qs 2d] [5d]
TheMuppet1: bets $30
scottiecards: raises $149 to $179
TheMuppet1: calls $149
*** RIVER *** [Jh Qs 2d 5d] [Qh]
TheMuppet1: bets $347 and is all-in
scottiecards: calls $347
*** SHOW DOWN ***
TheMuppet1: shows [Ts 6h 8d As] (a pair of Queens)
scottiecards: shows [5h 5s 9h Ac] (a full house, Fives full of Queens)
scottiecards collected $1141 from pot
TheMuppet1 said, "/??"
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $1142 | Rake $1
Board [Jh Qs 2d 5d Qh]
Seat 1: Pingpang863 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: scottiecards (button) showed [5h 5s 9h Ac] and won ($1141) with a full house, Fives full of Queens
Seat 6: TheMuppet1 (small blind) showed [Ts 6h 8d As] and lost with a pair of Queens

How impatience kills in the SNG

Near the bubble, it's jab, jab, jab until someone makes a stupid mistake. Let's race all the chips on a draw.

PokerStars Game #6396250367: Tournament #32458258, $30+$3 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2006/09/23 - 21:58:16 (ET)
Table '32458258 1' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: CHECKCALL (4700 in chips)
Seat 3: kurokitty (3265 in chips)
Seat 4: ed said (5535 in chips)
ed said: posts small blind 75
CHECKCALL: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [7d As]
kurokitty: raises 300 to 450
ed said: raises 5085 to 5535 and is all-in
CHECKCALL: calls 4550 and is all-in
kurokitty: folds
*** FLOP *** [2h Th 8d]
kurokitty said, "wow. I had A7"
*** TURN *** [2h Th 8d] [2c]
*** RIVER *** [2h Th 8d 2c] [Ts]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ed said: shows [Ah Jh] (two pair, Tens and Deuces)
CHECKCALL: shows [Ad Ac] (two pair, Aces and Tens)
CHECKCALL collected 9850 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 9850 | Rake 0
Board [2h Th 8d 2c Ts]
Seat 1: CHECKCALL (big blind) showed [Ad Ac] and won (9850) with two pair, Aces and Tens
Seat 3: kurokitty (button) folded before Flop
Seat 4: ed said (small blind) showed [Ah Jh] and lost with two pair, Tens and Deuces

Free at last

Finally, days after the BetWWTS promo and a Live Chat session that lasted more than 20 minutes, the Web site released my free $100.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Another Roadside Attraction (free $100 bet)

So another free $100 bet has popped up, this time at site It's a sister site to BetWWTS, which introduced its free $100 bet last week.

2+2 posters have said they've contacted support and have been able to get the free bet at both sites.

That said, BetWWTS is like the Klingon technology of the online sports 'verse. It has a clunky interface and it's not real clear whether you've actually won or lost a bet.

Plus -- I'm still waiting to receive the free $100 from Monday's game, which the Steelers lost. I contacted Live Support twice, and both times they said it's taking them a while but promised that I'd have it within 24 hours.

It's been 24 hours, klunky Web site.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A stake in Aruba

Blogger and poker extraordinaire DoubleAs is selling 2 percent stakes of his upcoming Ultimate Bet tourney in Aruba for $125 each. Here's the details (which includes his poker accomplishments) on his blog.

I bought a share.

I think it's good to support bloggers who represent in big tourneys and a big win could spell a nice return.

Vegas -- A Defining Hand

LAS VEGAS -- This is what I get for not paying attention.

In late position, I limped with a bunch of people with 45s. The guy next to me raises it to 10. The guy next to him makes it 40. One guy calls. Another guy, a loose Asian player to my left calls.

Me, not really paying attention (but also gambling that it doesn't get raised), calls.

The original raiser pushes all-in. The re-raiser calls. The third guy folds. The Asian guy calls.

I have $76 in chips left at this $1-3NL game at the Excalibur, and I'm thinking, shit.

I call.

All-in guy, of course, shows AA.
The reraiser has AKo.
The Asian guy has 33.

Flop is Q4J. I have a chance.

Turn is 6.

River, of course, is 4.

"Trips," I say cheerfully, as I flip over my cards and take down the $481 pot, pushing me ahead for the trip.

Looking at's odds calculator, my call of $76 for $406 was nearly right on the money. Pre-flop, my suited connector has an 18.35 chance to win, with a .39 percent chance of a tie.

My call is 18.85 percent of the pot.

Aces, of course, is in the lead with a 58.06 percent chance to win and a 1.08 percent chance to tie.

AK, the reraiser, makes a huge mistake. His chance of winning is 5.51 percent with a 1.08 percent chance to tie. The Asian guy's pocket threes is way better, with a 17.09 percent chance to win (and .39 percent chance of tie).

It was the most Sith arts play I've done in a while. I was gambling at the time and thinking, "I'll take the low." My thoughts that I was facing two people with big cards for a big pot was right on the money.

AA got to spin the wheel for money (an Excalibur promotion for aces cracked), he received $70 and came back to give the rest of his money to me when he raised me all-in on the flop with a str8 draw. I had KK.

The rest of the table must have thought I was a donk because this other big stack called me to the river when I had a set of 4s on the flop. He had 45o.

I wandered to the other side of the street and jumped in a $2/5NL game at the MGM Grand where I made about $200 on a hand in which I had KK and this newbie called me with a pair of tens and some kind of gutshot draw.

POKER CATS NOTEBOOK: The money really opened up my passing game. I went to the Rio to check out the NL game (not so donkish as the other night and full), then drove over to the Venetian to hopefully play in its gorgeous poker room. The NL$1/2 and NL$2/5 games were full, unfortunately. There wasn't much of an interest list for its Mixed Game, or I would have stayed. I went across the street to the Mirage to check out the action there, but the games didn't look that good.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Vegas -- Return of the Snowman

LAS VEGAS -- Punky Swedish guy bets out $20 on the river at a $1/2NL game at the MGM Grand on a board of 79J63. Two people fold before it gets to me on the button.

The good news? I paired my 3.

Punky Swedish guy raised it pre-flop from the small blind and checked the flop. He bet out about $20 on the turn, getting three callers, including me.

I don't even look at him as he bets out his chips. I have him.

"I call," I say.

I wait for him to turn over his hand -- KQo -- before I flip over mine: 83o. The blogger's champion.

"Snowman Taterlegs!" I yell out, scooping up a $160 pot, the hand name not getting any kind of recognition from the table.

"Good call!," this Asian man with part of a snake or dragon peeking out from under the right sleeve of his knit polo shirt.

The Snowman is back, picking up chips, as he did in July during the blogger's weekend when I busted Full Tilt and Tales of the Tiltboys pro Perry Friedman with it, as recounted in this July 9 post.

It's good to be back but strange to not see all of the bloggers running around, as in July, donking it up in a 1-3 spread limit game at the Excalibur or the $2/4 HORSE game at the MGM Grand.

It's good to see that despite a few decades after Mike Caro published "The Book of Tells," not much has changed.

"You looked like you were going to pass out," I tell a guy in the 4 seat after he call-re-raised this college kid from Georgia State University all-in. The college kid made the right move -- he folded his AQ. The 4 seat flips over KK and loses to a shortstack with AA.

Dude was breathing so heavily he looked like he was doing one of those breathing exercises for pregnancy.

"I was trying to look worried so you didn't think I had a hand," he tells the Georgia kid in Seat 3.

"That's how we knew you had one," me and the kid both shout back at the same time.

Intimidating Guy in Seat 8, the chip bully, puts the Georgia kid all in on another hand after the kid raises in early position with JJ and flops J9T.

Chip bully keeps staring at him and tells him "I promise to show you if you fold."

Typically these are nice tells for bluffs but it turned out he had some kind of hand -- 9T -- for two pair. But he was representing the straight. Georgia kid made a good call and doubled up.


POKER CATS NOTEBOOK: I finally made it back to the Rio to eat at Gaylord Indian, one of my favorites. After dinner and before the MGM I actually made it back to the Rio's poker room. There was one $2/5NL game going and it looked very juicy. Memo to self: Must return another time.

Kelley's room at the Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay is awesome (but I think the room Ryan and his wife stayed at the MGM during the blogger weekend in July was nicer). The room overlooks the Strip and the airport (which of course I totally love). I wish I had a camera- I'd take a picture of it and the part of the hotel wing on the other side that says "Mandalay Bay" like a postcard.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Vegas -- At the Excalibur

LAS VEGAS -- I'm at Sherwood Forest Cafe right now, having some lunch before jumping in a hopefully juicy NL table here. Not sure when Kelley will be free from her convention duties. Hopefully will give me a bit of time to play. :)

As soon as I got in, I went to the Rio because I thought I'd be able to grab lunch at Gaylord Indian Restaurant, one of my favorites plus one of the restaurants that's participating in the 25,000 SkyMiles promotion.

But no luck. I ambled by the Rio's poker room (after checking out the lines in the sportsbook -- Hughes -250 for Satty's UFC) but not a single person was there.

So I came to the always dependable Excalibur. One NL table, looks juicy enough, a combo of gray hairs and kids. Not bad for Tuesday morning.

I escaped with a small profit after Sunday's NFL day. I went 2-5 there, winning Atlanta (of course!) and Kansas City. Everything else, the juicy double-digit point spreads held up because those teams (such as Houston) are really, really sucky.

But on Monday, my under lines for The Black Dahlia and Gridiron Gang came through. I put a double bet on The Black Dahlia (it was +137), so that's how I got two good wins to cancel out three bad NFL picks. These movie lines may be some of the more stable picks right now, since, movies have really sucked lately and movies have a lot of competition out there (good cable TV, Netflix, for example).

I'm happy that I came out unscathed, given my neophyte, random picks. I had about a grand out there and I was happy that it all (and then some) came back. This week I plan to place far less bets.

I hope.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ah, suckout

Hmm. In 6-max, I guess my opponent is just thinking that a pre-flop raise caller is just calling with high cards...

I busted, but I'll take a 76 percent chance to win any day.

WPBT Blogger Tourney

PokerStars Game #6324881625: Tournament #31785111, $20+$2 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2006/09/17 - 21:49:08 (ET)
Table '31785111 2' 9-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: hoyazo (2545 in chips)
Seat 4: smizmiatch (855 in chips)
Seat 5: SoxLover (5425 in chips)
Seat 6: badblood44 (4010 in chips)
Seat 8: FishyMcDonK (1640 in chips)
Seat 9: kurokitty (2435 in chips)
SoxLover: posts small blind 50
badblood44: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [7s 7c]
FishyMcDonK: folds
kurokitty: raises 250 to 350
hoyazo: folds
smizmiatch: folds
SoxLover: raises 550 to 900
badblood44: folds
kurokitty: calls 550
*** FLOP *** [6h 6s 2d]
SoxLover: bets 1600
kurokitty: calls 1535 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [6h 6s 2d] [4c]
*** RIVER *** [6h 6s 2d 4c] [Ah]
kurokitty said, "gg"
*** SHOW DOWN ***
SoxLover: shows [Ac Kh] (two pair, Aces and Sixes)
kurokitty: shows [7s 7c] (two pair, Sevens and Sixes)
SoxLover collected 4970 from pot
FishyMcDonK said, "oh dear"
SoxLover said, "sorry, nc"
badblood44 said, "wow, tough call"

Trading results

And it turned out ... I broke even. I'm still burning a $200 bonus at Pinnacle so this is ok with me.

Here's what I won:

Wake/Connecticut: Under 41.5 points
Syracuse: +3 (they slaughtered Illinois)
Oklahoma St: -29.5 (they had Florida Atlantic covered pretty much the entire game)
LSU/Auburn: Under 39.5 points

Syracuse and Oklahoma St. were well hyped on the 2+2 forums' Sports betting forum. I picked the Wake game by myself and Mr. Ed in our office is the longtime writer of the SEC Seer and he's 23-0 this year in his picks. He predicted a low-scoring, defensive battle between LSU and Auburn.

Here's what I missed:

Ohio, +15 (Rutgers easily made the point spread. There wasn't a lot of traffic on this pick so I'll have to make sure next time there is).
Miami, Fla./Louisville: Over 53.5. Another kind of pick I'll have to read up more in the future. Miami never showed up to the game. Plus the manager of Pinnacle already said in this Sept. 6 article to expect lower scoring games than in previous years because of a new rule change.
Fresno, -3. They had the lead and the point spread early but Washington came back.
Juarez, +135. (Boxing) This was a value pick, as he wasn't favored. But he had the backing of the pros and boxing Web sites, as his previous matchup was pretty close. But veteran Marco Antonio Barrera gave him "a boxing lesson," as he told our news wire.

Came close with this one, which was cancelled because of a push.
Boise, -7. They made the spread the entire game but a late touchdown by the other side made it 17-10, no win.

I sort of think this is like other kinds of gambling. You have to have a bankroll to bet on anything and if you know how to manage your bankroll, you don't have to fear ruin. Risk is our business, remember?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Game Day

Am waiting with anticipation of my first comprehensive sports betting weekend. Have bets out on NFL and NCAA games, a bet on a boxing match and even bets on how two movies that opened yesterday will perform.

Truly the height of degeneracy.

The PokerStars bonus has taken an unusual turn, given that I cashed out in the + in the last 'Stars bonus and the most recent Full Tilt bonus in SNGs. Currently I'm 2 for 21 in cashes (1st in a $10+1 and a 3rd in a $20+2), which is about what you'd expect if you had a monkey just randomly mashing keys.

Highlights: Lost set over set twice (only consolation at the time was that I was thankful it wasn't for a $400 NL buy-in) and lots of rivering.

Despite that, my spirits are up. LOL. Good thing I hate money.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New Poker Stars bonus

...20 percent to $120, WR is 7x and you have to deposit by Tuesday, Sept. 19.

I plan to burn it through multitabling SNGs. Very quick and +EV. I did the last Full Tilt and Poker Stars bonuses that way.

Ridin' that Steelers train (free $100 bet)

It's not as sexy as Mansion's offer to return your $1,100 if the Steelers lost, but BetWWTS is offering a free $100 bet on the Steelers in Monday Night Football.

You have to place a $100 bet on the Steelers' -1 1/2 point spread ($100 to win $90.90). The promotion ensues:

Free $100 Bet - No strings attached

Congratulations – you are about to make a no-lose bet.

Simply bet $100 on the Pittsburgh Steelers at -1½ against Jacksonville this Monday.

If the Steelers win we’ll pay you out. If the Steelers don’t cover we’ll refund your $100 bet right back into your account. No rollovers, no questions asked and you can withdraw your money immediately.

The Terms and Conditions haven't posted yet to the site. You get a standard 20 percent bonus with your deposit (5x rollover) and a free $20 futures bet on who will win the Super Bowl.

BetWWTS also has a casino side, BetCasino, which looks like it's offering some bonuses that are slightly on the +EV side -- two 50 percent to $250, the T&C say that the WR is 20x the bonus+deposit, or $15,000 for the max. No blackjack is allowed, but if you burn the WR with casino war, it seems profitable:

$15,000 x .0290 (the house advantage for casino war) = $435 (house expected to gain).

$500 bonus - $435 = a free $65 in your pocket. The casino promotion ends Oct. 15.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bloody September (B2B/Poker Club Europe)

Scurvy warned us that the B2B system would soon be off-limits to us U.S. players. An e-mail today from Poker Club Europe:

Poker Club Europe will no longer accept customers from the USA
As of September 18, Poker Club Europe will no longer accept customers from the USA. The reason for this decision is the ambiguous legal situation regarding gambling on the Internet in the US, where authorities have taken legal actions against certain gaming companies.

All existing US accounts will be excluded from the gaming modules, and will therefore not be accessible for gambling. However, the accounts will remain open for withdrawal of funds.

All promotions connected to US accounts will be terminated on September 18. In order to benefit from any pending promotional offers, they must be cleared prior to September 18. Also, VIP-points must be used prior to that date or else they will be lost.

With Best Regards,

Poker Club Europe

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Elves have left the shore (Littlewoods)

I heard about this on 2+2 but also read conflicting posts about it. I guess it's true, that Littlewoods is no longer accepting U.S. players.

Here's the e-mail I just got:

It is with regret that Littlewoods Casino and Poker will no longer be transacting with US resident customers. We would like to thank you for your past custom and confirm that any withdrawable monies in your account will be refunded to you.

With this I lose a monthly casino bonus, one in which you don't have to actually deposit to get (all you have to do is complete the wager requirement).

I can only imagine this may domino to the other planets in the Crypto system. William Hill is a great site for casino and poker bonuses and Sun poker is a true money-maker, with rakeback.

But the trend has been for one Crypto to act, they all typically follow. This happened with Totalbet and UK Betting's switch from allowing blackjack to having a slots-only bonus. Or the My Poker Points-based approach to clearing bonuses.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Adventures in beta and betting

Royal Vegas Casino is beta testing some of their slots and they are advertising 200 free spins (you get to keep the winnings as a sort of bonus).

I got an e-mail about this yesterday and Mark saw it on Poker Grub. I went ahead and downloaded it and was able to get about 10 spins off before it crashed. I dutifully followed the instructions, played another slotto and it crashed. Apparently the beta needs a little more work.

Using my $1,000 Mansion sports bet winnings, I delved into the world of sportsbook action this weekend and am looking to survive Week 1 of the NFL unscathed, up a little.

Paradise Poker's sportsbook has a promotion in which you can get a free $25 if you transfer $25 from Paradise Poker to the sportsbook. You only have to wager 2x the $25 to release it.

I found an even bet on the NY Jets (+2.5) and bet out $50 and hedged it with something similar on the Titans at Bodog. The Jets won handily and a profit was made!

I also hedged $400 bets on the same game between BetCRIS and Pinnacle, where I have most of my money. Still have $490 bets on tomorrow's Oakland/San Diego halftime score at Pinnacle and Bodog. Should have placed small fan bets on the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Braves, since the Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith was out of the game and the Cubs have had an extremely hard time beating the Braves.

Scurvy's recent post on How to Cash in on Sportsbook Bonuses is a must-read for any degenerate gambler.

It would pay to pay particular attention to some of his points, particularly that sportsbetting ties up LOTS of your cash, sometimes for long periods of time (you have to leave your funds in Pinnacle for 30 days, for example).

It takes huge amounts of funds (some cases $5,000) to get the max bonus (typically 10 percent to 20 percent of your deposit) and I found it's easier if you deposit equal amounts of money at each sportsbook you sign on to.

Finding offsetting lines to arbitrage is tricky and not always doable. I've found the lines at Mansion, although generous with its promotion, and the World Sports Exchange, which offers 100 percent rakeback to poker players, to be almost not worth checking, since they are so uncompetitive compared to a great site such as Pinnacle.

Anyway, these are my initial observations. I'll keep you posted as things develop.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Oh hell yeah! (won $1,000!)

Yes! Pittsburgh won and they covered the original -4.5 spread! Free $1,000, thanks to!!!!!

That said, I don't know how anybody bets significant money on games. It's a roller coaster ride. Pitts was ahead 14-10 at the half, in the 3rd quarter they lost the lead to Miami, 14-17.

Then Pittsburgh was like 1st and goal on the 1-yard line ... and fumbled. But in the next drive, Pitts picked up the ball from Miami and on the next play, turned a 10-yard pass into a TD to make it 21-17. (Luckily the referees didn't see the Miami coach throw in his challenge flag, since it appeared the Pittsburgh player was down at the one yard line. But the extra point was good.

Still wasn't good enough for the spread. Pitts intercepted the ball and drove it down to set up a 44-yard field goal ... that one klunked. But the very next pass was picked off by Pittsburgh for a touchdown!! Final score 28-17.

Bubble madness

(Btw, I've turned to the "moderate comments" function to rid myself of comment spam but don't always remember to check there. I keep expecting to see the comments in my e-mail, so my apologies and thanks for the comments...)

So I'm in about 89th place in Sucky Room's Wednesday night limit ($3,000) freeroll that you get by accumulating points. A clean 100 people get paid (a pittance) and the action is now hand-to-hand since there are 101 people left.

I'm at utg+2 and I get ATo. I totally should have folded but I only had 1,900 chips left and the blinds were 300/600. So I meekly call.

An uber stack to my left predictably makes it 1,200 (that's why I didn't open-raise) and there is another caller to his left, another deep stack.

Flop is KTx, all clubs. I make another mistake and bet it out, since I only have 700-odd chips left. Of course that gets raised by the uberstack and the other deep stack calls. At the river it turns out they both had some kind of kings (Kx for both) and I'm experiencing the unpleasant sensation of being knocked out and waiting for it to tell me that I finished in 101st while all the tables cease firing.

But voila, there was one other person more unlucky than me and the computer tells me I placed 99th, in the money, for a whopping $7.50.


I'm always ambivalent over whether I should play these freerolls, and last night it was a way to keep some kind of action going while I trudged through the Littlewoods Casino (625 GBP wager requirement) bonus.

Earlier in the afternoon, I played in Mansion poker's BB freeroll, a new promotion in which there is a $3,000 freeroll (top 6 places pay) if you play at least 25 hands of blackjack that week. Plus if you bust out poker babe Erica Schoenberg there is a $1,000 bounty.

I doubled up from a big stack who didn't know the difference between having a lot of chips and correct play and he reraised me preflop with A9o, pretty much all in when I had QQ. But I donked myself out when I limped utg later with 66, the sb raised, the bb called and it was all little cards plus a gutshot draw, almost similar to Ryan's hand that busted him out in the Full Tilt FTOPS Main Event. I checked, the sb bet pot, I re-raised him all in and that was that -- he had JJ and I didn't improve.


Today I got a nice e-mail from Sun Poker in the Crypto system. It was a nice check for rakeback! I signed up for rakeback through but it wasn't apparent that I did the right thing and for a while I had thought that I was just playing on the site for no rakeback (which can tilt a cat big time). But yes, it finally came!

Speaking of Cryptos, I had high hopes that Playboy's March announcement with Cryptologic that it would be using the Crypto system software for its own online casino would open up new bonuses. But sadly, Playboy Casino is operating, apparently believing you don't need bonuses to thrive. (And maybe you don't if you deal with naked women for your bread and butter).


Today is GameDay, the time when Charlie Batch will step up and provide early Christmas to the 5,000 gamblers in the online 'verse who used to bet on the Steelers. He will, won't he? Won't he?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

One and done

Went through a quick $5 at Matt's last night. Wasn't feeling the subsequent 3-handed play, so I came home and pretty much instantly won 16 GBP at a table to start off the evening.

Was sad to hear that the Stardust will be closing on Nov. 1; Boyd Gaming (which owns Sham's Town in Tunica and Las Vegas and other LV casinos such as the Cal and Freemont, will be building a development called Echelon Place.

I only played at the Stardust's poker room once in the last few years but always liked the fact that it had its place in Vegas poker history as one of the oldest of the poker rooms.

These older properties -- The Flamingo, the Golden Nugget and especially Binion's (formerly the Horseshoe) have a special place with me, since they are the places where you read the old poker greats played. They are the old stadiums, the Old Course. It pains me to read anything disparaging about these places.

When I think of the old Horse, I think of looking up at 2 a.m. and watching T.J. Cloutier lumbering back up to the elevators near the poker room. I think of making my first big pot, a $455 profit with a boat from 45s against a made straight against some college kid -- I was so excited I gave the dealer a $50 tip!

The old places aren't fancy anymore and the newer, shinier places on the Strip are much better places to play but I'll always enjoy playing in them.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hedge your worries?

So the recent appendix attack/rupture of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger certainly has put a wrinkle in the free $1,100 bet for sure. But maybe there's some evidence not to be too worried (beyond the fact that it's a totally free bet).

His replacement, Charlie Batch, won both of his games he had to start. And the team is no worse than .500 in four games without Roethlisberger.

I'm still going into Thursday's game feeling like the "overdog," as Bill Filmaff says in his last video.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Unlearning to fly

Was up until about 3 a.m. this morning playing at Drew's -- he has this sweet new octagon-shaped wooden poker table.

I'm finding that as I continue to play poker, I'm constantly having to "unlearn" tips I picked up in the early days, namely a tip either from Lou Krieger or Lee Jones for beginners -- "Look for reasons to fold."

Anyway, any thoughts on these hands would be appreciated.

1). $2/5 NL, Beau Rivage, Biloxi, Miss. I'm new to the table and don't have any reads on anyone. I have $1,600 at the table and most people cover me.

Cat: Raise utg with AQs to $20.

Chick in seat #5: Reraise to $120. About the same number of chips.

SB: Calls. Covers me.

Cat: ???

2). $2/5 NL, Beau Rivage, Biloxi, Miss.

Cat: BB with ATo.

UTG: Raise to $65. At least $2,500 in cash/chips. Folds around to cat.

Cat: ???

Friday, September 01, 2006

Biloxi- Christmas at the Beau Rivage

Dealer: It's your bet, sir.
Drunk Guy in Seat 4: Aaagrgah. (Bets $25).
-$2/5 NL table at the Beau Rivage

BILOXI, Miss. -- The drunk guy in seat 4 holds up a wad of about three grand in $100 bills, and starts counting them out.

One, two, three, four ... five. His bet is five hundred. The guy in the one seat instantly calls and takes down the pot with a pair.

Drunk Guy reraises a bet from middle position in this $2/5 NL game to $125 preflop. The other player, an Asian guy calls and bets out the flop when a J comes. He gets reraised $400 more. He calls and takes down a huge pot with AJ, pair of jacks.

Drunk Guy kept the second-day celebration at the Beau Rivage's new poker room going strong, donking off about $1,500 in the ten minutes that I sat down to his right. Sadly, I didn't get to partake in any of Drunk Guy's Santa Claus routine but I was glad to be witnessing it. These are the moments that justify live play over online.

He kept counting out his remaining money (by the swishing sound of the bills, I think he had $1,300 left) in a distressed way and then finally got pulled away by his girlfriend. The table broke soon after.

The Beau's new poker room is beautiful. Like the casino itself, the poker room is like a mini version of the poker room at the Bellagio, the big sister of the Beau. Even the chips look similar, done in the same type font and appearance (the center of the Bellagio chips are white/off-white, while the Beau Rivage's, being in a more humid and tropical zone, are a nice tan).

When I was there, they had three PLO $15/25 tables (a dealer said there was a mandatory straddle). There were three no-cap $2/5 NL tables and a few no-cap $1/2 NL tables and a smattering of $4/8 limit.

The staff was friendly and it was pretty easy to get comps to the buffet. (The Beau uses the same card swipe system at the table that the MGM uses and your MGM Grand poker room account works there). The poker room rate for a hotel room is about $69 weekdays and $89 weekends. Not too bad of a deal.

It almost seemed like the Beau was the only place in town for bigger games. The nearby Imperial Palace had one $2/5 NL table going along with NL $1/2 and $4/8 limit, but parking there is annoying. It looks like the casino's entire parking deck is valet only and there's just a smattering of self-parking in front of the casino. That said, the poker room there is pretty friendly. They don't use tracking cards, I was told "If you're hungry, we'll get you something to eat."

Next door to the Imperial Palace, Boomtown Casino-Biloxi also just opened an eight-table poker room on Monday, they spread 1-4-8-8 and can spread NL but they're really trying to just get the word out, since they're the new guys in town.

A few miles away, the Isle of Capri Casino (where I stayed), usually had at least one $1/2 NL game and limit hold'em going. But the room is pretty small and I didn't play there this time around.

It was an awesome trip down there (took 6 hours from Atlanta including a fill-up break and a trip through a Wendy's drive-thru) and I'm sure I'll be back. The only thing is Biloxi's poker scene seems very local-oriented -- I think Tunica is still better right now in terms of the sheer number of donks playing poker there.

But people like Drunk Guy make playing anywhere very worthwhile.