Saturday, September 05, 2009

Deuce-four crushes again

An excellent deuce-four story here:

Guess the casino, #256

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Sunset Station (You knew that Hooters would be too obvious, right? There's a Hooter's restaurant inside of Sunset Station.)

Friday, September 04, 2009

Deuce-four makes the nuts. Ho-hum.

CK of the BWOP blog (who, for readers who still wonder about it, is the brilliant discoverer of the fact that "crubs always get there") pointed me to this post from Kurokitty:

Of course, 2-4 making the stone-cold nuts on the river is not exactly stop-the-press news around these parts, but it is nevertheless nice to see that the word is gradually getting out.

Guess the casino, #255

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Riviera

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Guess the casino, #254

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: O'Shea's

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Blast from the past

I'm in Minnesota, staying at what used to be my house, and now is the ex-wife's. (Fortunately, we have remained friendly.) Using my old computer here, I was reminded of the one and only time I got a royal flush in online play. (Still hasn't happened in live play.)

I saved the hand history. Here it is:

Hand #11575310-35 at Thu740pmUBNet-051 (No Limit tournament Hold'em)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 02/Feb/06 20:25:55

TuckerB13 is at seat 0 with 4060.
eric1975 is at seat 1 with 12725.
Kenmeister1 is at seat 2 with 4490.
mike4902 is at seat 3 with 3935.
drock69 is at seat 4 with 1270.
sluggie is at seat 5 with 1835.
Rakewell is at seat 6 with 5065.
KOChief is at seat 7 with 6950.
Picaroon is at seat 8 with 2990.
ImJohnnyBlade is at seat 9 with 4425.
The button is at seat 3.

drock69 posts the small blind of 20.
sluggie posts the big blind of 40.

TuckerB13: -- --
eric1975: -- --
Kenmeister1: -- --
mike4902: -- --
drock69: -- --
sluggie: -- --
Rakewell: Qh Ah
KOChief: -- --
Picaroon: -- --
ImJohnnyBlade: -- --


Rakewell raises to 160. KOChief calls. Picaroon
folds. ImJohnnyBlade folds. TuckerB13 folds.
eric1975 calls. Kenmeister1 folds. mike4902 folds.
drock69 folds. sluggie folds.

Flop (board: 2c Kh Th):

Rakewell bets 340. KOChief calls. eric1975 calls.

Turn (board: 2c Kh Th Jh):

Rakewell bets 840. KOChief folds. eric1975 folds.
Rakewell is returned 840 (uncalled).

Hand #11575310-35 Summary:

No rake is taken for this hand.
Rakewell wins 1560.

Guess the casino, #253

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Harrah's

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Poker gems, #309

Tony Guerrera, in Poker Player newspaper, August 31, 2009, p. 9.

In the end, we can only control two things when playing poker: our emotions and our decisions. In the short term, being stable emotionally enables you to weather bad streaks and to evaluate whether poor short term results are the result of bad luck or bad play--even if the short term is too short to make any sort of judgment. Being stable emotionally also allows you to focus on what really counts: the decision-making.

Stripping everything away except the decision-making process can be scary because when you do, the only one you can blame for bad long-term results is yourself. Bad long-term results are then only a function of bad table selection and bad playing.

A small mystery resolved

I occasionally get "match play" coupons. For any even-money table-game bet of $5 or more (that's the usual stipulation, anyway), they match the bet amount. For example, you can use it on odd/even or red/black at roulette, which is my usual approach. It's definitely a +EV (expected value) thing to do.

The question I have wrestled with, though, is exactly how much EV is there in, say, a $5 coupon? This should be a completely straightforward question, but I had difficulty with it. My instinct at first was to say, "Well, it adds $5 to the bet, but only pays half of the time, so the EV is $2.50." (For present purposes, I'm assuming it's exactly an even-money payout and odds, disregarding the small chance of 0 or 00 on roulette.)

But when I did the math, I kept coming up with it being a $5 EV. Suppose we have two such coupons, and we bet $5 plus the coupon on red both times. The ball lands on red once, black once. When it hits red, the payout on a $10 bet is $20. I.e., you get the $10 bet back plus $10, net gain of $15, after investing $5. When it hits black, you lose $5. The sum of these two events is +$10, so the EV of each coupon is $5--in conflict with my first conclusion.

Hence my conundrum.

Today I had lunch with Cardgrrl at the Orleans, where she is staying. She was given one of these coupons on check-in, so I explained my dilemma. She wasn't sure of the correct resolution, either.

So we took the coupon to a table, put a $5 chip and the coupon on black, and the ball fell on 22 black. The woman placed two more $5 chips on our winning spot, and we walked away.

It took us a bit of thought to realize what had happened. The payout was smaller than expected--$15 rather than $20. And, once it dawned on us, the reason was obvious: They don't replace the coupon with a $5 chip before spinning the wheel. That makes it different from making an actual $10 bet in this crucial way: With a $10 bet, you get your original $10 back plus the $10 win, or $20. With a $5 bet and a coupon, you get back your original $5 plus the $10 win, or $15.

In fairness, I had seen this happen a couple of other times that I used these coupons and won, but I left wondering why the payout was less than I had thought it would be, without ever stopping to think through it all the way.

When you win, your net gain is $10. When you lose, your net loss is $5. Those two things happen with equal frequency, so the EV for the coupon is $2.50.

On the rare occasions that my gestalt sense of what should happen in a gambling situation conflicts with what the math is telling me, it's usually the math that is right and my subjective sense that is wrong. Here, though, I had the math set up incorrectly, which led me astray, and my original thought about the value of the coupon was correct. I suppose that's reassuring in some way, but, on the other hand, it's a bit embarrassing and distressing that I made such a fundamental error in how to evaluate the situation mathematically.

Can you tell that, aside from poker, I really don't gamble much?

A small life victory (zero poker content)

When I picked up Cardgrrl at the airport recently, I got a parking ticket. This puzzled me at first, because there was still time on the meter.

After looking around at the situation for a while, I figured it out. I had parked in what I had thought was the left-most spot in a row. I thought this because, as you can see above, the next space had clearly visible diagonal stripes across it. Faded, sure, but definitely still there. Besides, nobody ever lets you park in a space that would partially block access to a stairway, as that one would. So I put the coins in the left-most meter. It briefly occurred to me that there was a mismatch between the number of spaces and the number of meters, but hey--I'm in the left-most space and using the left-most meter, so anything else isn't my problem.

Well, as the airport sees it, that striping isn't really there, and that space is available. Therefore, the meter corresponding to the space in which I was parked was expired, and I got a ticket.

I wrote a letter of protest, including the above photo and explanation. If you want a space to be considered available, I said, you have to actually remove the striping, not do it halfway. You leave too much ambiguity as it is. Nobody can be sure whether that space is available.

Today I received the following letter:

Naturally, they're not admitting any responsibility for screwing up, nor, apparently, do they have any intention of removing the ambiguity for future customers. I think the rough translation of the letter is, "You're right, and would win if any judge had to decide the matter, so we'll quietly let it drop, without admitting that we did anything wrong."

No $20 fine for me!

Guess the casino, #252

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Excalibur

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bear with me, please

I realize that things have been slow here lately. This is largely due to spending free time handing out with the delightful Cardgrrl rather than sitting alone in my apartment thinking up pokery things to gripe about.

Some might even consider this an improvement in life.

But I have to warn you that things are going to get even slower in the immediate future. Wednesday I leave for nearly a week, heading back to Minnesota. My brother is getting married, so I need to be there. Also, I have a bunch of highly unpleasant but necessary tasks that I left behind when I left in haste three years ago--stuff that needs attending to and cleaning up. I will not be taking laptop with me, though I'll have access to one there. Then when I get back, Cardgrrl will still be here for a few more days.

So it may be a while before there is much substantive posted here, for which my apologies in advance. I know it seems odd, but sometimes actual life has to take precedence over both poker and blogging. This little stretch is going to be one of those times. And after that, I have an out-of-town visitor coming to stay for a while (the ex-wife, actually!), so will be doing some of the tour-guide kind of stuff.

But I shall surely return, as good (or as bad) as ever. I hope you'll stick around through the hiatus.

Guess the casino, #251

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Bill's

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Health insurance for poker players

Not much detail available, but perhaps worth checking out if you have no better options:

Guess the casino, #250

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Santa Fe Station