Monday, May 10, 2004


Thursday, May 06, 2004
On the grubble

I believe I played this correctly, but I'm not quite sure, being that I'm now classified as dangerous at the tables, a threat to my mental health and bankroll, and in ultra tilt mode playing -EV games like blackjack, video poker (still awaiting a royal), and slots (you cannot win, you cannot win... c'mon, Vinyl Countdown monkeyfaces!).

This hand wasn't the hand that began my downfall (no, that would be the Empire hand from a couple weeks ago), because it's just one of those luck things.

We're at the 5-hour mark in a rebuy + add-on (I did the add-on and zero rebuys) no-limit multi at PokerStars. 19 people left. 1st through 17th receive seats into their big tourney. 18th place receives cash.

We're down to three tables and 19 people. 19th, of course, gets nothing (yes, you already know where this is going).

It's also 5 a.m. on a school night and I'm falling asleep. If not for the startling beeps when it's my turn, drool would've seeped into the keyboard.

Antes are T1,000 and blinds are T10,000/T20,000. I'm UTG with T24,528 and see Q A.

The goal here is to make it to 17th, which in this structure is the same as 1st. Since 24th place, one table has been pulling the stalling tactic, using their full timebank of 60 seconds each. The other table is playing regularly. Our table is a foldfest. Not even the big stacks are calling raises, when they could gang up on and check down the shortstacks.

We're now hand-for-hand with 19 people left.

With the ante, I'm down to T23,528. Let's not mention how I whittled down to that poor number to even be put in this position in the first place.

If I fold, I can survive the big blind but would then be forced all-in on the small blind.

To my left are two people with less chips. But all they have to do is fold twice, hope for the best, and wait for me to bust. I'm also aware of the BB who is about equal in size to me. If not this hand, he will be put all-in on the small blind.

I was getting respect at the table, having already survived two all-ins. Someone else at the table was chiding everyone's tournament play, presumably because no one was calling and checking down to knock people out.

So I did what I thought was the best play.

I pushed.

Would you have played it differently? Would you have folded knowing the grubby curse and penchant for bad luck? Would you answer despite no place to put comments?

But yes, I would've played it the same way had I to do it all over again.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em Tourney, Big Blind is t20000 (7 handed) converter

SB (t287549)
BB (t24887)
grubby (t24528)
MP1 (t190614)
MP2 (t1380)
CO (t3262)
Button (t133240)

Preflop: grubby is UTG with Q A

grubby raises to t23528
, MP1 folds, MP2 folds, CO folds, Button folds, SB calls t13528, BB raises to t23887, SB calls t359.

Flop: (t66302) 8 K T (3 players)

Turn: (t66302) 7 (3 players)

River: (t66302) 5 (3 players)

Final Pot: t66302
Main Pot: t66302 (t66302), between SB, BB and grubby.

Pot won by BB (t66302).

SB shows 5 2 (one pair, fives).
BB shows A7 (one pair, sevens).
grubby shows Q A (high card, ace).
Outcome: BB wins t66302.

hunan chicken with broccoli
fried rice
egg white and shrimp soup (egg drop soup is sorely missed)
NO fortune cookie -- a bad omen, the implications of which are already evident at the tables
Ruffles chips
portable pudding
2 Rice Krispies Treats -- chocolate drizzle and rainbow
peanut M&Ms
blueberry Charms lollipop

3 Diet Cokes
2 Diet Cokes with lemon
1 Diet Coke with lime (like sucking on a rusted nail)
Wild Cherry Pepsi

Wendy's chicken nuggets
fries (accidentally ate the salt packet that they mixed in with the fries)
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Blackjack grub, or how to make $1K on $1 bets

Next week (May 10-15), Intertops (a Party skin) is celebrating their one-year anniversary with a 25 percent bonus, up to a whopping $150.

If you haven't signed up yet, they'll give you a 15 percent bonus (up to $75) on your first deposit.

And yes, Virginia, you can do both!

But that's not the best bonus on the Internet.

The best bonus on the Internet requires you to dabble in the dark side of poker gaming... the evil stepsister that is online blackjack.

Before reading further, you should know that there's no poker content. You should also know that if you are prone to gambling over your head, you shouldn't even consider trying out the online casinos. And you should know that this advice is coming from me, a professed gambling addict.

One day I'll confess my sordid addiction to online blackjack (and, uh, slots), which began before online poker and recently resurfaced after some expensive bad beats and wanting to escape poker for awhile. Big, big mistake.

See, the grub clan has addictive personalities, and it's bad to tempt us with any sort of vice whether food, drinking, smoking, gambling, drugs, or sex. If it's capable of being excessive, it has our name on it.

In the long run, these casinos will take your money. And being unregulated and offshore, who's to say they're not rigged? I've seen many a blackjack hand (usually ones that I split and double-down) that made my 40:1 suckout in hold'em seem like a walk in the park.

So I'll repeat: you cannot win. Do not even think about playing these games of chance online.

That said, let's say you have some poker profits stored up in NETeller. Perhaps you want a change of pace from poker. Or you're in between poker bonuses. And losing $100 or so won't hurt you too terribly much.

Only in this case should you think about the possibility of trying out the online casinos.

Haven't scared you off yet?

Okay. If you stay focused, you'll come out ahead. Enough to build a bankroll for your poker exploits. Enough even to move up a level when you return to poker. And chances are, after your casino whoring adventure, you'll have a new outlook on poker.

The reason playing at the online casinos is profitable: first-time deposit bonuses. They want your business. They figure if they dangle a large enough carrot in front of you, you'll sign up, deposit, and play for a long time to come.

You won't do this, of course. You'll adopt a hit-and-run strategy. Sign up, deposit, collect your bonus, play through the waging requirements, and then withdraw and uninstall the software.

It's as simple as that.

These online casinos don't work for me, as I found out the hard way several years ago (they didn't even have bonuses then) and didn't learn enough then to prevent me from playing again the past month. Not just because of bad luck and bad tiltish betting, but because I stay too long and continue playing even after satisfying the bonus requirements.

But they'll work for you, if you learn from my mistakes and follow these rules exactly:

1. Stay away from anything but blackjack. It has the least house odds. If you're playing a Viper room, go with Vegas Strip blackjack.

2. Read the Promotion Terms and Conditions carefully. Make sure you know how much you need to wager before you can withdraw. Is it 15x just the deposit bonus or 15x the deposit plus bonus (it's usually the latter)? Know this before signing up.

3. Make sure playing blackjack is an acceptable game to work off your bonus. Some casinos don't count blackjack or video poker. Others require higher waging requirements for those than slots (15x waging requirements vs. 7x). 15x is normal.

4. Do not play a single hand until the bonus is in your account. Unlike poker bonuses, you get the money upfront to play with. It just takes awhile sometimes, because the casinos know you're itching to play. Be patient. Wait a day if you have to. None of the hands you play count toward the waging requirements until the bonus is in your account.

5. Know basic blackjack strategy. If you don't, read up on it at this site or at Wizard of Odds.

6. Bet small to keep variance low. $1 per hand is best. $2 per hand if you're feeling daring.

7. Always double-down on 11. Feel free to wimp out if the dealer shows an Ace or 10. But all those 10s in the deck that favor the dealer? They now favor you with an 11 showing.

8. Go with the biggest bonus first. Bar none, the biggest is Casino-on-Net (and very reliable too -- they own Pacific Poker). They have crappy software but the waging requirement is the lowest in the business -- 2x on just the bonus (which is 20 percent up to $200). So if you deposit $1000, they'll give you $200, and you can cash out after you've played through $400. The risk of ruin on this is less than .01 percent on $1 bets. Nowhere else will you find a better deal.

9. If you bust out at Casino-on-Net, quit and commiserate with me on the blackjack rail. You and I have no business playing blackjack.

10. After betting $400 worth and following the above advice, you should have all of your deposit left and most of your bonus intact. WITHDRAW EVERYTHING AND WAIT. They'll send you emails offering you more deposit bonuses. Ignore them and keep waiting. You'll be able to reverse your withdrawal within the first 24 hours, playing into the psychology of your desire to continue after a win. Don't. Keep waiting. Uninstall the software if you have to. It'll take a week, but it'll go through.

11. Move to the Viper sites next. There are over a dozen of them, all with bonuses. Because of the autoplay feature -- after some tweaking of the strategy tables -- betting low in bulk is easy to do. You can truly make money while doing nothing. Start with Lucky Nugget, which gives you $200 on a deposit of $50. They have a 20x playthrough for an aggregate total of $5000. Set autoplay to $1 per hand for 5000 hands. Go watch a DVD or take a nap. The most you can lose is $50.

12. Move on to the next casino. Others casinos with good bonuses: Blackjack Ballroom (40 percent up to $400), Golden Tiger (50 percent up to $250), Phoenician (50 percent up to $250).

After a month of following these steps exactly, you shouldn't be surprised to find your bankroll fatter by at least $1000.

Me, I've lost at most of these casinos because I wasn't patient and couldn't follow my own advice.

Learn from my bad example and don't waver from the above.

Or just don't play at all.
Monday, May 03, 2004
Grubby's Hand of the Week #3

No winner for last week, so we add $5 to the prize pool.

I'm doubling the prize to $50 because this week I'm asking you for two hand reads. (If you're the first to correctly guess just MP1's hand, you'll get the $25 prize.)

Suits don't matter. The only hint I'll give you is that this is a clear example of how wild Party is, and if you aren't playing there full time, you're losing money. It's not even worth chasing bonuses on other sites (trust me, I know).

< shameless shill on >
Incidentally, I have zero people signed up through me on Party. It'd be fun to have at least one! How's about a bribe: if you sign up through me at this link and play a few hands for real money, I'll give you $20. As a further incentive, Party will also give you a 20 percent bonus on your first deposit, up to $100. So if you deposit $100, you'll get $20. Deposit $500 and get $100. Just sign up and let me know your username and where to send you the cash.
< shameless shill off >

Onto the hand!

Party No-Limit Hold'em Tourney, Big Blind is t30 (7 handed) converter

BB (t345)
UTG (t1350)
MP1 (t1860)
MP2 (t1020)
CO (t1205)
Button (t1480)
grubby (t740)

Preflop: grubby is SB with 8 8
UTG folds, MP1 calls t30, MP2 raises to t90, CO folds, Button folds, grubby calls t75, BB folds, MP1 calls t60.

Flop: (t300) T 2 2 (3 players)

grubby bets t80
, MP1 calls t80, MP2 raises to t930 (All-In), grubby folds, MP1 calls t850.

Turn: (t2240) A (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: (t2240) A (2 players, 1 all-in)

Final Pot: t2240
Main Pot: t2240 (t2240), between MP1 and MP2.

Click here to post your guess and view other guesses.

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