Thursday, January 17, 2013

Online site update

In June I reviewed where I stood with respect to the handful of remaining online poker sites available to U.S. players. I noted that quite a bit had changed since I had last reviewed what's available in October, 2011. Well, a lot has changed again. I haven't played online in a few months. Last night I decided to check to make sure that I could log in and play everywhere that I have money on account. The reason for this is my upcoming move to North Carolina. In the process of moving, I will get a new address, new phone number, new email address, and new bank. So I wanted to be sure that all of the sites were working with my current info on file before I go and change everything.

Bovada 

I played on the former Bodog site just once since it made its big changeover, and I hated it. See here. Last night I played a $5 SNG, and felt the same way, even though I cashed. But at least nothing has changed, so logging in and playing was hassle-free.

Black Chip Poker/America's Cardroom 

BCP had been on the Merge network, but a few months ago migrated over to the Winning Poker Network (formerly known as Yatahay). I already had an account on a different WPN skin (America's Cardroom, which took over Doyle's Room accounts when the latter closed up shop). It took a bunch of emails back and forth with BCP's customer service and security people before they would recognize me as the actual owner of the $650 or so that I still have on account there. Apparently the problem was having that pre-existing America's Cardroom/WPN account with the same screen name as I was using on BCP. They obviously can't allow two identical screen names within the same network, so some bozo at BCP arbitrarily decided on a screen name change for me, without having bothered to inform me of this.

What they selected for me was bcp-rakewello. The doofus in charge of this process read the zero at the end of "Rakewell0" as the letter O, so made it "rakewello," then slapped a "bcp-" at the front of it. It's just awful. I pleaded with them to let me change it, but they said I couldn't. Grrrr.

I certainly don't need two accounts on the same network, so I'll close one of these after I move. (I don't want a check to get stuck in the middle of the forwarding process.) Which one? Well, that depends. I hate the new screen name so much that I'm inclined to close the BCP account. But I'll have to look closely to see if my rakeback deal is still in operation. If it is, then it will be worth keeping that, despite the screen name embarrassment, and I'll cash out the AC account. But if the rakeback arrangement didn't survive the move to the new network, then I'll cash out the BCP account and keep the nicer "Rakewell0" screen name on AC.

But in the meantime, I did manage to play a $3 SNG on BCP last night. I bubbled it, but at least I know it's all working now.

Cake/Juicy Stakes 

The Cake Poker network sort of merged with Lock Poker and became the Revolution Gaming Network last year. I had had a dormant account on Cake for a few years, and threw $100 onto it last summer to try out the new entity. I played one SNG and then never went back--not so much because it was terrible, but because I was concentrating all of my online play on BCP for a while.

Since then, Cake stopped doing business with U.S. players, and transferred their accounts over to a skin called Juicy Stakes Poker. See here for details. (Why doesn't anybody consult me on these names they pick? I could tell them how awful they are in advance and save them the embarrassment.)

I downloaded the new software, and my previous Cake log-in worked without a problem the first time, and my account was at $95, where it should have been. I played a $5 SNG to test things out, busted early.

Merge 

It just occurred to me that I no longer have any active accounts on the Merge network. I believe that Carbon Poker is still a Merge skin, so I guess I could use that, though I spent out my money there a long time ago. I'll have to check on the status of it. I'd like to have an account I can use on each of the U.S.-facing networks, even if I don't use them much. ADDENDUM: Yep, Carbon Poker recognized me as an existing player, so I didn't have to go through any security steps. I deposited $100 on my bank's Visa debit card with no difficulty, and am now registered to play a test SNG, though I don't anticipate any problems. FURTHER ADDENDUM: I finished in 2nd place. Yay me.


It will be a PITA to change everything over to the new real-world information after I move, but at least now I know that I can get in and use the money I have on those sites under my current account information, which will hopefully make the transition less of a headache than it might have been if I hadn't taken last night's steps to update and check on the status of things.


Just for a bit of fun, here's a few things that happened in my three SNGs last night:

Three-way all-in pre-flop on Bovada:


I clicked the screen capture command a bit too soon, but you can see that it didn't matter what the river card was--it was a three-way chopped pot regardless. I'm #8.


The Mighty Deuce-Four strikes again:


I called a pre-flop raise from #5, then check-raised his sorry butt on the flop you see here. He flashed pocket 10s before folding. Heh heh heh.


In the game on Juicy Stakes, I was getting short-stacked, so when I had A-5 and action folded to me, I shoved with my last 7 big blinds. I got called by the small blind, who had K-K. Oops. But then the flop came a miraculous Q-5-5! There was joy in Mudville! But then, check out the turn and river:



So sick.

Here's a hand from the new version of Black Chip Poker. My opponent there went all in on the flop with just A-K, having missed completely. I snap-called with my flopped set. Then we chopped it when the board ran out to a straight:


You all know that online poker is rigged, right?


Monday, January 14, 2013

Psst--wanna buy some poker chips?

I've got a bunch of 'em. Most of them I will either keep as souvenirs or recirculate at the casinos by playing them. But I think that the collections I have made from the seven casinos below might be of interest to a starting collector, so I'm offering them here.

All of them were picked up from poker tables; amount of wear is highly variable. Shipping is for U.S. addresses only, via 2-3 day Priority Mail. Sold only as the sets shown below; i.e., no individual chips. 8 1/2" by 11" plastic sheet for 3-ring binder included. Prices are not negotiable. If you're interested in buying any of these sets, write to me at Rakewell1 at the email address for Yahoos. Offer good for only about three days, after which they're going on eBay.


Bally's 



Bally's has issued more commemorative chips than you might imagine from playing in the poker room, because most of these have been snapped up by collectors, and it's rare to see them in circulation. Most of the examples shown here I have seen just once, and I immediately took them out of play.

12 different five-dollar chips at $8 each, plus 2 one-dollar chips at face value, plus $5 shipping = $103.


Imperial Palace 



As with Bally's, so with IP. That is, they have issued more different chips than you would know from a session or two playing there. But if you keep your eyes open and put in a lot of hours, you can spot the occasional appearance of the rare ones.

15 five-dollar chips at $8 each, plus 1 one-dollar chip at face value, plus $5 shipping = $126.


Mandalay Bay 



Same basic story. Some of these are common, but a few I have seen only the one time that I plucked them from the table and stashed them away.

14 five-dollar chips at $8 each, plus 3 one-dollar chips at face value, plus $5 shipping = $120.


Riviera 




The Riviera used to be one of the most prolific issuers of commemorative chips. I was happily gathering a few new ones each time I played there, when suddenly, in 2008, they withdrew them all from circulation and replaced them with five of the last six shown. (The sixth, the soccer one, was added later.) So with the exception of the last six, you can now obtain these only by buying them from other collectors or dealers.

33 five-dollar chips at $8 each, plus 1 one-dollar chip at face value, plus $5 shipping = $270.


Stratosphere 



The Stratosphere has not issued a lot of different chips. I really don't know how many they've had over the years. These are all the ones I have seen in circulation. (Though, oddly, I somehow never picked up their standard $5 chip to put in the collection. I guess I always thought I had one already, when I didn't.) As with the other places, most of these I have seen on a poker table just the one time I grabbed them, never before or since.

5 five-dollar chips at $8 plus 1 one-dollar chip at face value, plus $5 shipping = $46.


Sunset Station 




Don't laugh--I used to go out to Sunset with some regularity. Haven't played there in at least a couple of years now, though. The Hooters ones are not a mistake; there is a Hooters restaurant inside Sunset Station, so they issued a few chips accordingly.

15 five-dollar chips at $8 each, plus 1 one-dollar chip at face value, plus 1 one-dollar metal gaming token at face value, plus $5 shipping = $127.


Venetian/Palazzo 



Unlike for the other casinos mentioned in this blog post, here I'm pretty confident that this is a complete collection of all of the $5 chips issued by the Venetian and Palazzo since they have been open. At least, if I'm missing any, I'm not aware of what they would be. Some of these are very common. Two of them are brand new, just issued in the past couple of months (the second "Winter in Venice" and the "Rock of Ages" one). The "Millennium" and "One-Year Anniversary" ones are very rare; I have never come across another example of either of them in hundreds of hours watching chips get exchanged across the Venetian felt.

13 five-dollar chips at $8 each, plus 1 two-dollar drop chip at face value, plus 5 one-dollar chips at face value, plus $5 shipping = $116.