Thursday, April 24, 2014

a quick review of paid nitcast

Over at thinkingpoker.net, Andrew and Nate put up a solid 5 part WSOP primer/strategic review podcast and charged $19. So to add some color commentary to that statement, let me just say that part 4 is worth the $19 by itself. 5 hours of content for 4 sawbucks is a pretty good return, especially because the content is geared towards the modern day and the modern era poker player.

I sorta don't like the podcast, as I don't care about poker player's lives and ancillary activities. But their strategy discussion are second to none and the way they look at a poker scenario is the way one should learn to look at situations in the modern poker era.

so to spend $19 bucks for 5 hours of only the strategic parts of the podcast, and to have it based on modern day MTT strategy, well its just too good to pass up.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A statement so basic yet so complete, I had to record it

Your primary goal in a poker hand is not find out where you are at, it’s to VP$IP when you’re ahead and avoid money VP$IP when you’re behind.

Maybe stating it a funnier way, its more important to statistically use your money wisely, especially if that means not creating a scenario that gives you more information, but only when you are wrong.

Monday, March 03, 2014

League Night monkee off my back

Finally won a 3 table league night. Played very well and very straight forward until the final 5... Bill the LAG was on my right, which was a bad place to be on Saturday as he became my personal ATM And I his nemesis. We went back and forth all night. Then, finally with 4 left, I got lucky 3 times. The first time was when the flop was AQT with two hearts and all the money went in A8 vs. my A6 and we chopped. Then, Bill and I had to watch a board spill out when his A7s was all in Blind vs. Blind with my KQ calling it off. Flop was AxK, but the river brought a Q and then I was sitting pretty well. Not a few hands later, 3 handed I raise 2.5x with 65 from the button. Both blinds call and the flop is 668. The SM (short stack) shoves and the BB CALLS. Great for me as I shove over the top. Board runs out and I am way ahead in chips. So why is that 3rd hand lucky? Well, the BB held and 8 and the river would have been an 8. Now results and that run-out aside, I am not thrilled with my over-shove. Sure it worked out, but I let an opponent off the hook with 2 outs vs. my trips. I normally would call behind and try and get more chips out of the side pot. But here, probably because I liked my chances heads up with a chip lead, I got lucky. And I won 3 hands later in an anti-climactic hand where I had an overpair.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Humbled

Played cash for the first time in a long time and dropped over 2 buy-ins over a 4 hour period. Sure I ran KK into AA and a straight flush draw into top pair and lost, but still. I cant focus on that part of the variance. Even with 60 left, I raised with KJ and got a caller, flop is QTx and due to stack size the money gets in. He had a set of Tens. Bad luck? maybe...

But its days like these you have to force yourself to look inwards and realize you are not playing enough to not play the A game. Because your B game is now a D game. And I went specifically to relax and play B game. So I sort of get what I deserve. If you want to play B level poker, then go play on the xbox.

Consider this my poker "confession bear" of the week.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lots of poker this week

A trip to Atlantic city yielded a $65NL at Bally's and a $120NL at Borgata. The Borgata was the superior structure, and I had >20 big blinds all the way down. At Bally's, I was playing "situational" poker, just knowing when to play a hand and when not to. When you are not deep, this is a big skill. But alas, I only could finish at about the 20% mark. I dont think there was a single memorable hand.

The $120NL at Borgata was a different story. 150 runners + rebuys through level 6 put total buy-ins at 210 or so. I was at table 4, so I got to study opponents. most were simply OK locals. But the guy 2 to my left was a weird duck. I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but later it hit me. He was playing the Kill Phil strategy. He would call from OOP and if the flop had no card Jack or Higher, he would shove and each time take down the pot. Later in the tournament with about 34 left (so we are 8 handed), I raise from the button with KdTdand he calls from the BB. Flop is 8d9d3s and he shoves with little hesitation. I look again at my hand of two overs and a flush draw and figure I am in ok shape if he actually hit anything here. I have $50k behind (avg is about that) and he had about $45k, but was playing as if he had about half that. I figure its not that often I am going to catch a guy shoveling in that many chips as we get close to the point where I want to make a final run. If I take down this pot, I'll have $110k when the avg is half that. I call. He shows Js6s for a Stone Cold NADA. Turn is a black seven and the river is a black Ten and he one-card-straights me to short-stacks ville. Interestingly enough, I refused to die and made the money! With 26 left, I shoves my AdQd into what turned out to be 33 and that sent me packing. Winning that had would have restored me to avg.

Happy with my play, I came home to play in the Monthly Foley league and felt good going into an event that historically I just cant concentrate at. But today I did. Entire night, I got my money in behind just twice: 6 handed I ran AQ in AA and because of that and a short stack, I had a steal go GOOD, where Any Two came from behind to beat a solid BB calling hand. Even after the AA crippling, I refused to die (as it should be) and in the end it took an AJ to come from behind to knock me out holding AQ. The difference in this game, was timing. I choose the 2 or 3 spots that I ran scary bluffs very well, and got away with the ones I needed to get away with. Sometimes you can put you opponent on a hand. Good for you. I really want to get better at that part of the game more than any other. But I am a savant at situational awareness, understanding how a bet size in relation to the table and your stack tells a story, as does your timing and other ancillary information.

Ok, having patted myself on the back, here is the silliest blunder ever. I am concentrating so hard, I completely flam-boozle myself. I raise with QcJc and guy on my right calls. The flop is AcKcXc, so I flop the nuts. wow. I bet and then watch him carefully as he thinks. I am starting at his hands and thinking about his decision time. Its longer than I expect and what does this mean? Probably if he calls, I can make a value bet on the turn, but how much. He folds. Ok. I am in the 9 seat and move my cards towards the dealer and go to rake the pot. The dealer stops me and I look over to the left and a player had RAISED me after I bet on the flop! I did not know we were even 3 handed! (I hate the 9 hole). So I take my cards back and he protests that they were mucked. Now they had not touched other cards in the muck, nor had the dealer touched them, so I felt I was good in picking them up. We saw FAR WORSE in the WSOP last year. Director agreed and I call.
But something happens in my brain and I BLANK OUT for a moment. He bets and I call and sit there waiting for the last street. Then I look again and there is a full board out there! He turns over 44 for a bluff and I turn over the nuts! No raise (penalty in the WSOP) and no explanation to give. Players tell me when I turned over the QJ, my face was so sullen that assumed I had lost. But then why would I call with Q high? More hilarity ensued, well after I racked the pot. How I got so lost is unknown, but later because I mishear a "call", I'll slow roll someone with KK. He had actually shoved and I had not looked at my cards yet. So I had to look (but everyone assumed I already had looked). Thus, the perceived slow-roll. More fun.

In the end, I finished 4th and even then it took AQ making the dreaded counterfit 2 pair with Ace kicker on my 44 to knock me out.

I am going to take some time to reflect on why I was so in the zone this week and concentrate on that in all upcoming events. Including a 90 field $200NL MTT next weekend.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What has happened to poker?

Its really a shame to watch the interest in poker wane, but I see it everywhere but in Vegas. And even there, how much of the recent excitement is around the new online rooms and the poor players giving free money to the decent grinders?

I started the WSOP DVR shows and I still subscribe to the relevant podcasts, but my play has disintegrated over the last few months with a dismal showing in my recent two efforts.

If I were to introspectively venture a guess, I would say its related to not pulling the rip cord in a live game because I feel like I need to accumulate chips. So I value bet on a turn and the river (both just called) and get Top Pair 3rd kicker beat by top pair second kicker. Just not tournament level poker from me. In the past, I would work through the issues online. but now, I suffer in silence.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

catching up

Continuing to work on Level 3 of my game. I feel more out of place at the low stakes cash tables now, and dropped a bullet in Omaha last Wednesday.

This past weekend was the first league night of the season and it started out with a bang. Lots of players dropped early, and I doubled up when I got JJ in vs. QQ and AT. EP all-in short stack, MP all-in from a stack about 60% of my size. I push with JJ to shut anyone else out. Marginal play, but I did not expect to see QQ based on what I knew.

With maybe 16 left, I find myself grinding. but with 12 left, I find myself with 2 giant stacks on my left and no cards. I would try to open pots with KJs or A8 and just get 3 bet smacked in the face. One hand I had like KJ and the flop is 9 high. I am pretty sure he has A-high. Shove? well, now consider its 10% of his stack to call me shove and he puts me on air. Still shoving? Tough spots I just could not avoid. Finished 10th.

Better run next month.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

WSOP 2013 event #40 recap

Ok, I am going to copy and paste my twitters in here also, so I have a roadmap to follow. Its was quite a roller-coaster ride and I will try to be brutally honest as always.

5 at table, no regs yet?
I was there prior to the start. I like to get rid of the nerves by just being there. Only 5 of the 10 seats were filled when cards went into the air. I dont recognize anyone, and there are no "patches" at the table. It doesnt take but 3 hands to know that the other 4 are amateurs.

Picked up a reg, but also have an 8x opener.
Hoodie guy sits down and I recognize him from last year. I decide to tag him as a "reg" for now in seat 9.

Make that 2 regs, seat 2 and 9
The guy in the 2 seat will be possible trouble. TAG and competent, I make a note that I may need to "level" vs. him

Big dog calls it. Reg donk leads, re-raise takes it down
The "reg" in the 9 seat takes a flop with me. I raised 3x (pre antes) and he flats from the SB. Flop is 88x and he donk-leads. 90%+ of the time (99% online), this is a weak pair or draw. I raise (with air) and he folds.

Played trips like a draw, paid 1 street. Now at $5500
So in this hand, I held a small card like a 4 on a board like 844 with two spades. I play it like a spade draw as best I can vs. Reg in seat 2. So, I check behind on the flop, and check on the turn and when he best, I check raise. Online, this always looks like a semi-bluff. But this guy had check raised me on a prior hand and I think he either saw it as strength or he had nada. I did at least get a decent bet out of him on the turn.

Guy on left breathing like a horse... Big hand coming... Limped pre flop Utg, so I bet it's AA.
Here is where I find out the "reg" in seat 9 actually sux. MP limps, reg in 9 3 bets, MP now 4 bets (after LIMPING). He is breathing so hard he might pass out. Seat 9 FLATS. When the MP shoves the flop, he CALLS with a pair. It looks SO obvious to me, yet everyone seemed mesmerized by the AA. NEVER let anyone tell you these $1500 events are not soft.

Lost a reg! he played nut so good

Not reraising on all diamond board cost me a pot to the Kd. He calls anyways?
So I raise with some PP and the flop is ddd. Its the REG in seat 2 again. We both check the flop. Turn is a blank (cant recall board dammit) and he bets the turn. I CALL. River is a diamond and I make two pair and he checks?! I put in a small value bluff here and he CALLS with second nuts (Kd). How does he check-call that river? He bet the turn with air only to check-call with second nuts? WTF? I was sure he was folding to a bet there.

I am wrong and I am now at 4k (4.5k starting), but its early...

So card dead #83o
But then, I long parade of unplayable hands..

Break 1, 3700 but table not bad
I am at the first break with just $3700, but confident that I am the best player at the table. I am not going to get stupid.

After the break, I am in the BB with 99. MP makes it 3x, HJ and BTN flat. I spend a couple of seconds contemplating a 3 bet. But because we are still deep (even at 3700), I decide to call (and thus resigned to set mining). This debatable play turns into ACTION as it turns out the MP had AA, got three callers (1 of which is me) and he shoves the flop. Too bad (for him) I did flop that set.

Now I have chips! About $8k-ish

QQ utg+1, no action.
I get QQ UtG+1 and I make it 2.5x. Perhaps no one had a hand, perhaps I am perceived as dangerous, but other way I get no action.

A few rotations later, I am in the BB and its folded past the button! SM just calls and I have AA blind vs blind. I make a raise and he (reg in seat 2 again) calls, but its OBVIOUS he hates the flop. There are two spades on the flop, not that it should matter. Instead of checking, I bet, hoping he might out think himself. nope, just folds. I dont think I get a bet called on any street with the Ace out there.

OBV not called on turn, but won $2k pot
We get a player in seat 3 now. He talks about poker and the main event and how he cashed and how great the structure is. (Turns out he is a doctor, but I KNOW he is not more than a good recreational player). I flat one of his raises and make a strong hand. He bets out $1225 on the flop and I have like $6k behind. I consider raising the $3k, but with $3k behind it looks so strong if he isnt oblivious. So I shove, trying to look like a flush draw. He tanks, makes comments about how bluffy it looks, hems and haws and then folds. I tag him as possibly a bet-fold guy (and he is).

I have TT in EP, raise, and get 2 callers (1 blind). The flop is 773 and after a check, I make a 1/2 pot bet. ACTION follows and I know I stepped on a mine. I make an easy fold. Players get it in Trips vs. Aces.
down to 8700 and its break time.

Ok, so in the 777 vs. Aces hand, the guy in the 10 seat has made a ton of chips. He has like $12k. I raise from EP with QQ and he flats. He is talkative and jovial and has chips, which means he is going to spew. Its just a matter of time.

QQQQ ding ding ding #wsop #quads not a huge pot though, had to squeeze out value
Flop is QQx where x is who the hell cares. I flop QUADS in a WSOP event. I check, he checks. Turn is something and there is still no other paint or Ace on the board. I check again and he makes a smallish bet, which I call. Then river is a King and I bet $2000 into $4k just hoping he hit that King. He did and paid it off. I say "it was worth a call to see this" and show the quads.

Back door nuts worthier than quads! Chip up
But even better is a few hands later. I am deep enough to take a flop with a suited ace against him and flop a flush draw. Bet and I call. Turn is a blank and instead of betting, check checks. River makes the backdoor nut flush for me and he BETS! I make a significant raise to $4k and he just cant put me on the flush and calls. Won 3 times what I did with QUADS.

They announce field size: 2160 runners. (my Q>1)

Now that the deck hitting my face is over, I start to make some smaller mistakes. I 4 bets with AK and the German on my left min-raise 5 bets me. Now I am pretty sure he has QQ and we are very deep, so a AK shove is just not what I consider a great move. NOTE: Foley won a bracelet fining himself in this spot and shoving (twice and won both). Me? I just cant bring myself to take that volatility. I CALL, OOP to see flop, knowing I'll check fold a flop without Ace or King. THAT is an awful mistake for 1125 in additional damage. Not the lack of shove, I like that. But I should FOLD, not CALL if I am only going to see three cards because he must know by now I have AK and he is not going to pay off an A or K. At the TIME, I called expecting he would not get away from the QQ if a K flopped and I could win a huge pot.

Solidly ranged a reg and caught him firing second bullet with check raise all-in.
Again with the 2 seat I think. I called a raise pre-flop, check called his c-bet and was sure he had a made hand. But then when and over card that also completes a draw comes, he doesn't check behind. That struck me as funny. And he bet was too big to be for value. So, I come over the top and he quickly folds.

QQ in SB blind, no caller.

$17.5k at dinner. Starting next level at full chip utility (>50BB).

Damn table is tight, KK not paid off. I just made a 2.5x open.

Yet, I get to watch others clash willy-nilly: QQ vs AK continues to dominate the big hands.

History repeats itself and I bet TT from EP. 4 f'n callers. 883ss flop. I check and LP bets 2k. I tank. Why? Because what is he representing here? He cold called my open (he would be the first caller) with an 8 or a 3? MAYBE a set of threes. MAYBE. But that why bet when someone else will bet for him? I continue to tank and then CLOCK is called by a player not in the hand! I shove. Now he tanks. I had him on AK. We exchange chat. He says that he put me on 77 here. I say "that would be a good bet if I had 77. I'd have to fold." He folds 66. Had I suspected, I would have kept my mouth shut. But I wanted AK to fold here. Not sure why in retrospect. I should want the AK to call here.

KK again, but I 3bet the EP limper and no callers. Hands are getting scare, blinds are going up and I really needed this hand to win something. Too bad.

18k @break 200/400/50 level. Avg is 18.5k

I 3 bet BTN raise, I get 4 bet shove. I fold the only hand I played this entire level. Now I am getting short. That is the tough part in these events. You need to max value hands and I did neither in the last two.

11850 with 400/800 level coming. Need double now....

After Color-up, its going 400/800/100 I think. I have nearly 15 Bigs, but it plays closer to 12 with the 8:1 ante on this level. It's that thinking that is going to trick me into an awful spot.

UtG opens. Folds to me in the SB with AJs. Now it is VERY common, especially live, that a short stack will open UtG as a steal. Often with Ace rag of KQ or even a small pair. He has about the same stack size as me, but I have been folding so long that I let it all affect my judgement. I shove and he snap calls with AK. Out 324/2161. I think I had about 12 Bigs at the time and if I folded, I was down to 11 bigs, with the blinds now past me. There are SO MANY other spots that I robbed myself with here.

In all my previous WSOP events, I went out on a race. This time, I just faded away. I fell bad about that, but I learned my lesson (I hope). Other than the race I bowed out of with AK, I never had a flip the entire event.



Sunday I play the Caesar's $130 rebuy and rebuy once because the field was so soft. The funniest hand was when this guy on my right is playing but talking like he is some poker professor. Mumbling odds to himself, commenting on others play under his breathe. I am a big short and I open for a steal with Q8s, but get 2 callers. The flop is T98 and I check, but they do also. He checks the turn and I just shove. He not only tanks, but goes all "Beautiful Mind" on me. He talking about how I cant be good here and blah blah blah. I realize his hand is now face up (not literally) and he has AK. So obvious. He says that I must be bluffing and so I reply, "only 1 way to find out". This seems to escalate his instability and his desire to show everyone how smart he is with his hero call. It's quite a show and I actually enjoyed listening to it. The call was hilarious. He is SO SURE he is right, and I table bottom pair with a gutshot and he is basically 6% to win the hand. I said that was quite a play, required a lot of heart. But he continues to be un-humbled and states that I have never played against a player like him before. I have zero idea what that meant. He would continue to talk about it until he loses his last 2000 chips and leaves.

I would love to report a cash here, but with 50 players left, the avg. stack had 15 bigs and I had 11. I made a living for a while shoving on limpers, but eventually a guy with AK limps hoping to get shoved on and I oblige with 55. In my ONLY race of the entire Caesar's MTT, I lose. It was funny, because people would shove with AJ and get called by 77, then I would shove with AK or AA and get zero action. That's how it works sometimes.



Recap coming from WSOP

Until I get the chance to post it, memorize this one thing: Do NOT Fly Spirit Airlines. We as a nation need to stop giving them money so they go away.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

WSOP Event 40

Like so many other players, this weekend is my "weekend warrior" WSOP event. I have spent considerable time reviewing level 3 concepts that I should have been FAR more familiar with and practicing them:

Ranging hands, floating, c-betting, bluffing, value betting, short stack, deep stack, 3 betting, and "having a plan" for a hand.

Of course, that is alot of information to have to bone up on, and I am remiss as a player that I have not been doing it all year. Perhaps (most probably) this accounts for my poor showing in league 2.

All this being said, I know two things about these donk-ament events:

1. There will be times where you will ship it with a flush draw and 2 overs, and get called by a hand where the two overs are no good (set, st8, 2 pair). In those cases, you have to hit your flush as a 2-1 dog.

2. There will be times where you flop enough of a hand that you have solid showdown value, and the other player is going to check-raise you with a flush draw and you are going to have to hold.

In order to go deep, you have to be on the winning end of these > 50%. otherwise, you have to be so good that you are accumulating chips at an astounding rate to compensate and that means variance anyways.

Nevertheless, I know the difference between playing well and playing foolish, and I'll try to avoid that latter.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monkey Tilt

So I realize at this point that I am well beyond the learning stages of poker and deep into the implementation stages. Which has affected my desire to blog about lessons learned. But for the sake of edification, I am recording this for my own posterity. I think I have a tilt issue...

This is BIG news to me. I think of myself as detached as I play, unemotional and calculating. But after making a SERIOUS amateur blunder on Friday, I was forced to reevaluate everything I assumed about my process. And I came to the conclusion that I not only have this issue in poker, but in life itself.

Let's look at some symptoms:
I have a track record of going deep when I am not feeling well. (Why is this?)
I play well early, when most players play sloppy. (note: This is not always true in 3 or less tables, but deep it is)
I understand level 3 thinking, but often make decisions based on putting my opponent on a hand that I would have (which is clearly wrong)
I still feel the rush of adrenaline when I play a big hand.

None of this tends to indicate that I am detached. As a matter of investigation, when I am not feeling well, I act slower (thus more time to think), I dont get overly excited about a hand, and I am patient. All of THESE things are good.

When I build a starting stack from $10k to $15k and the blinds hit $200/$400/$50, I am doing alright. That is well over 20 bigs. It's funny, but towards the end of this level, I remember raising to $1500, thinking it was $300/$600 and getting 3 bet off a hand. Lack of concentration.

When I short stack moves in from the button and I have KQ, I was looking for reasons to CALL. and I did. And he showed JJ. and I lost the race. "So what?" you say, easy call. But here is the rub. I did not follow PROCESS. I did not ask for a chip count, which would have been closer to $6k, not the $4k I assumed. I did range him (Ax), but can EASILY find a better spot than with KQ and 37 bigs. And I cant be a favorite in the hand EVER. So, I GAMBLED. Ok. Still, I gambled and lost, no sweat.

I still have $10k and the blinds go to $300/$600/$50. No need to panic. Folds around to me with AQs and I make it $1500. A player who would RARELY 3-bet me light at this level with his stack size, makes it $3200. and I "think" about it, then Shove. Snap call, AK. Duh.

What the hell can I possibly be thinking there? I am not thinking, I am reacting. And then I started to compare this situation to set-back challenges I have in life. Similarities came rushing to me. My recent phone crash, and loss of a RAID drive, a mower I could not get into gear... and in these cases, my "action" (which I now see as "reaction") is to push to get back to working as quickly as possible. To return to the state of what I had. Like chasing lost chips. I throw caution to the wind, pull out a box of hammers, and start hammering on solutions. I'll fail a dozen times, zero in on the solution (which now seems like I could have gotten there without so much carnage) and then "relief". But the cost was too high. In times of stress of "things not as they should be", I need to remember what you are supposed to start with in a stressful situation. First, DO NO HARM.

The coffee maker would not turn on today. Perhaps I will GOOGLE and try something safe before hitting it with my hammer. I only hope I can fix this major impediment to success in both life and poker soon. But the identification has been mind-blowing.

I now am a member of Monkey-tilt anonymous.

Monday, April 22, 2013

90 person MTT

Played well early, and got 2 half stacks, effectively doubling to $40k. Then using my new found aggression and determining when players were sitting on 1 pair hands, I applied the heat. In the first two cases, I got called down thin. I did not expect either as I had showed down two monsters to build my stack. Still, I was at $32k and plenty healthy.

After a table break, I was frustratingly card dead for a while. I managed to take down some hands with marginal holdings (or air), but by the time we reached 1000/2000/300 I still had $40k.

The real tragedy was that with about 32 left, I lost patience and tried a steal raise with JTo and got TWO callers. The flop was AK-rag and I figured I could represent here, but as I review the hand, the button caller had to have an Ace. On the turn there were two diamonds and two hearts on the board and I pushed, which is illogical. Everything calls here. Including Ace-rag, which sent me packing. Terrible, terrible play after a good first 6-7 hours.

If I can lock down this leak, I might stand a chance. BUT, I still did not do a very good job of accumulating chips in middle rounds, which continues to be my Achilles heal.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guess Who's Back... Back Again....

After a minor fiasco with Google terminator bots, the blog is back on line. And just in time too. 2 months to the WSOP. I am in event #40, representing 1 of my poker leagues. (First in 1, last in the other... WTF?)

I have started studying and practicing again, and I came to a realization. Ok, that makes it sound organic which is disingenuous. I finally started listening to "Thinking Poker" podcast (via a comment by Vanessa Selbst in an interview) found that if I stick to just the strategy sessions, it works great for me. Now, more importantly, a MAJOR piece of my level 3 thinking was missing! The concept of CAPPED RANGES. How the F'N HELL did I ever get this far without studying this to the degree to which it deserves. I feel like a fool!

My hand reading skills went way up (duh). I must have been evaluating holdings based solely on street actions and getting away with it a lot since most players don't bluff well (poor frequency, poor spots). Gez, what an improvement.

Second best adjustment? Trying not to "end" the hand. The concept of "keeping his range wide" is now comprehensible to me! I sorta knew all this stuff, but never QUANTIFIED it. Now I feel like someone took my screwdriver out of my hand and handed me an electric one.

Poker has become interesting again.

And NOT a shill, but I am liking the 6 max games on Seals (bitcoin).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Criswell Speaks

As I predicted close to 5 years ago...

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/feb/21/online-poker-bill-moves-forward-nevada-legislature/

$500k Fee and only be available to a “resort hotel that holds a nonrestricted license to operate games and gaming devices.” i.e. a Brick and Mortar Casino in NV. (again, as predicted)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Adventures in Xbox poker and Bitcoins

I recently downloaded the FULL HOUSE POKER on xbox. It has a few things going for it. The first is that it is available to play... Let's explore the software.

It has a level progression tree where you build experience through defeating either bots or humans. These experience points level you from 1-50. Other than the level indicator, there is little gain in all of this. But it does show you who actually played the game enough to level up and who just came to the table to "donk" as the level is displayed in the lobby. The multiplayer consists of putting your virtual bankroll at a cash or SnG table. You are gifted 200 to start (or when broke) and you build that up. I wish there was a bot cap and the remaining chips would have to come from multiplayer, but that isn't going to happen. If you are willing to play bots for hours, you can build any bankroll you wish. There is a "ranked multiplayer", which I assume ranks you based on winn/loss and not bankroll, but I have no idea how it works. I have finished 3 SnGs, all in second place. I got 4 rank points for each. I still have no idea what it means. On the third one, despite being a ranked event, there were 3 all-ins on the first hand.

There are MTT "Events", but I have never managed to find one. There supposedly 30 minute events where you try to accumulate the most chips, Monte Carlo night style. Ugh.

The real niche of this game is for your xbox friends to get together and play. This supports Headset chat and thus you can have a pretty decent experience, despite the wonky table views (birds eye). If you are interested, let me know. My current xbox friends are all Rockband and Borderlands players, so I hope 9 of you crawl out of the shadows.


Ok, now for the real adventure... BITCOINS. Seals With Clubs poker opened up, which is a online poker room for bitcoins. This means that there is zero jurisdiction for funds, because bitcoins is a non-government backed currency. The equivalent of a community based currency. It works as long as people are willing to use it. It's a bit esoteric to wrap your mind around, so go to the bitcoins.org site and watch there marketing video.

Now that I decide to try this, there is a ton (I mean a crap-ton) of learning. Not just how it works, but how to MAKE it work. There is a virtual wallet, which is like a portable safe. Lose it (or the combination) and it becomes a black hole. Then, there is the issue of how to deposit. Here is where the "risk meets the road" (like that?). There are brokers, merchants, cryptic messages like "Transaction status: Not funded. Seller should send the bitcoins to the temporary transaction address. " and lots of cloak and dagger type instructions featuring two factor authentication. I can purchase bitcoins for just under $30 bucks each, assuming I can find someone or somewhere to buy them from. If I want an easy transaction, I may be paying upwards of $50 for a single coin, which is an insane premium for a virtual coin.

I decide to try the local merchant route and use localbitcoins.com to find a local person to purchase from. Will this work? No idea. I am going to buy 3 coins for like $85 bucks, which is 3000 chips on seal (1 to 1000 conversion). The mission is to meet a broker in Plymouth (over a beer I assume) and trade money for a virtual "code" which contains my 3 coins. That "code" is assigned to me via the broker. At that point, I can "re-assign" the code to Seal, and in exchange for the 3 coins, they give me 3000 chips. Today, I have to arrange a "meet up"... More to come.