Saturday, March 05, 2011

Predictions, rounds 2 and 3

Three of my four divisions are already completely dead; I cannot win any more points in them. Luckily, though, in the Clubs bracket there are two left, and they are exactly the two that I predicted. This makes me feel like something of a genius, in spite of all of the other evidence to the contrary.

Play roshambo against a computer

This is more interesting than it has any right to be. Try the "veteran" version. It's positively creepy to feel the computer analyzing your moves and guessing what you'll do next--especially since it's so good at it. Out of 100 trials, I won 25, tied 41, and lost 34. It seemed not to matter whether I tried to be random, or tried to deduce what the computer would be expecting and then counter it. Either way, I lost more than I won.

For the second round of 100, I decided to enlist a little computer help of my own. I used Excel to generate a random number 1, 2, or 3, and entered my choice accordingly. That allowed me to improve to 37 wins, 32 ties, and 31 losses. Ya gotta fight fire with fire.

Tax court decision

Mayo v. Commissioner.

I was alerted to this case by a column in Poker Player Newspaper (March 14, 2011) by Shari Geller. It appears to be an important decision regarding a couple of previously ambiguous and contested areas of tax law for gamblers--specifically, the deductibility of gambling losses and non-wagering expenses incurred in the course of gambling. Worth reading if this is something that might make a difference in how you do your taxes.

My results, first round

No spoilers here; for all the winners and losers in the first round of the NBC Heads-Up Championship, see here. I'm just here to report that I got right 3/8 Diamonds, 4/8 Clubs, 1/8 Hearts, and 7/8 Spades, for 15/32 overall. Two of the four people I picked to make the semifinals are out already. I think it's gonna be hard for me to win this $10 bracket thingy.

Guess the casino, #790

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

Answer: Planet Hollywood

Friday, March 04, 2011

Guess the casino, #789

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

Answer: MGM Grand

Heads-up predictions

The NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship match-ups have been set, and I have made my predictions, as noted above. This time I did it without the help of Ambien.

My picks are completely unscientific. Sometimes it's just who I like better or would like to see win. Sometimes it's just voting against somebody I despise. Sometimes it's just a whim or a hunch. Not too surprisingly, I tend to run about 50% in these predictions every year.

I'm picking a dark horse--Olivier Busquet--to win it all.

The ever-amazing KevMath has already set up a place where you can enter your predictions for the entire event, and will be taking $10 entries. Point system, etc., all explained here. I decided to add a little spice to my life and submitted my guesses along with my $10. Maybe I'll clean up. More likely, it's kissing the money good-bye, but it will be fun.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Guess the casino, #788

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

Answer: Hard Rock

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Guess the casino, #787

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

Answer: El Cortez

A calculation mystery

So I played VeryJosie a quick series of four heads-up matches tonight, of which she won three. Nice job, congrats, etc. Not surprisingly, she quickly writes up a blog post about it, in which she claims that in one key hand she got her money in "goot," and that she was "very slightly ahead."

It's true that she was ahead in terms of having the best hand on the flop (when it all went in), but I was actually a favorite to win, with 15 outs twice. She had As-Kh versus my Qd-9d on a flop of 6s-4d-5d. In order to provide her proof of the math, I went to and entered the cards into their odds calculator. I was puzzled by the results:

It says I'm only 39% to win there, which I was sure wasn't right.

For confirmation, I went to PokerStove, which provided what I was confident was the correct answer:

That's 55% me, 45% Josie.

But I'm left with this mystery: What's wrong with the CardPlayer odds calculator? I really can't figure out how it came up so far off.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"Wait" means wait

Almost forgot a little incident from the Palms last night. I should have saved my purple felt picture for this post. Oh well.

The Palms has a long-running promotion that they call "Diamonds Are Forever." If you hit a diamond flush, your name is entered into a drawing. The next day they randomly select three names from the previous day's list of players who made diamond flushes, and those three people win $100 each. It's not a lot of money, and it's pretty rare to both make a diamond flush and then get chosen for a prize, but hey, something is better than nothing. I have been selected exactly once in the past.

Last night I called a flop bet with a flush draw, made it on the turn, and called another bet, hoping he would fire a third time. He didn't. I bet and he quickly folded.

As soon as he mucked, I said to the dealer, "Wait," because I could see that she was about to scoop up the board cards. She heard me, but continued with her task, and to my horror I saw the board cards gathered up, turned over, and put in with the muck. As she did this, she explained, "It's OK, he folded."

Obviously, she had concluded that my "Wait" request was because I thought she was mistakenly cleaning up the table before the hand was over. She knew that that wasn't the case, so felt free to disregard my plea.

I don't think I've ever seen this before. In joints that offer bonuses for high hands, bad beats, etc., dealers are usually extremely alert for signs that somebody has made one. They will often pause a bit before clearing away the cards, to give a player a chance to reveal his hole cards for proof of the hand. Some dealers will even ask if there is a qualifying hand, should the board cards make one possible. Motives for this conduct aren't hard to figure out; in addition to wanting to be helpful to the players, the dealer can usually expect a nice tip if the player wins free money.

It turns out that the young woman from last night is only a part-time fill-in at the Palms, and, in fact, this was only her second shift there. She usually deals at the Venetian, where there are no bonuses or jackpots, so no reason to keep the board intact for verification when a hand is over. She seemed not to even know about the diamond-flush promotion.

I was able to show my two diamonds in the hole, and two other players joined me in confirming that there were three more on the board, so in the end I didn't lose out. We'll see tomorrow if I get $100 worth of lucky. (The flush came just after midnight.)

But, hey, dealers: If a player tells you, loudly and clearly, "Wait," here's an idea. Stop what you're doing and find out why that request is being made. Sure, sometimes it will be due to a misunderstanding, and it will waste a few seconds with no gain. But since that's the worst that can happen, how about giving us the benefit of the doubt? Once in a while, we might actually have a legitimate reason to be blowing that particular whistle.

Unhealthy marriages

I played at the Palms last night. A few months ago they got new felt on the tables--a lovely, rich, royal purple. It might be the prettiest poker-table covering in Vegas. This photo doesn't do it justice. It looks kind of faded here, but it's not.

The play was pretty boring, and I ended up with no good poker stories to tell. There was one odd incident related to life in general, though. My table had five friends who were in town for a convention. One of them told the others that his 13-year-old daughter had "busted" him that morning. She apparently noticed that his golf bag was absent from the garage, and mentioned it to her mother.

That's all I know of the story, but you can sort of guess at the missing pieces. The whole thing baffles me, though. A couple of years ago I wrote about seeing a slice of a strange marriage, in which a guy called his wife in order to get permission to receive a back massage while playing poker, and was told no. This golf story puzzles me in the same way. What kind of marriage is this?

In what kind of marriage is playing golf while in Vegas something that a husband needs to be secretive about, and a wife gets upset about? Of course, his primary purpose is the convention, but so what? Most people attending meetings here take some time off to relax as part of the trip. It's perfectly normal. And since the weather here makes golf possible in February, when much of the country is in the middle of forced abstinence, who can be surprised that it's such a popular part of winter Vegas excursions?

I think of the women who have been important in my life, and imagine a few other hypothetical ones with various arrays of qualities that I might appreciate. Not one of these real or imaginary women would be bothered if I said that I was going to take advantage of a convention in Vegas to play a round or two of golf. They might be terribly surprised, since I don't golf, but never mind that little flaw in my musing here. I can't imagine getting any reaction except along the lines of, "That's nice, dear--have fun," or "Good--you've been needing some exercise," or, "Well, it's cheaper than you losing money at poker!"

Similarly, I can't imagine ever wanting or needing to try to conceal such plans from my wife. I've learned the hard way that doing things one's partner disapproves of, and trying to keep it a secret, just isn't worth the guilt and anxiety and fights and loss of trust that result. Live your life as an open book to your spouse. Where you have disagreements about activities, work out compromises that you can both agree to in good faith and stick to happily. Cheating on promises and/or going behind each other's backs is cancerous to a healthy, happy relationship.

If this guy reneged on some sort of no-golf promise, and/or if this wife made him enter into a no-golf promise, and/or he lied to her about not playing golf while on this trip, and/or she would disapprove for any reason of his playing golf while in Vegas, well, I just can't see any of those things being compatible with a marriage worth having.

I can understand a wife being bothered if her husband's Vegas convention did or was planned to include a strip club or excessive drunkenness or a side trip to a brothel. But being upset about golf? Or a husband being willing and/or feeling the need to be clandestine about a game of golf? That is one screwed-up marriage, if you ask me.

Incidentally, here's a bit of Palms news. Through February they offered double comps ($2/hour) while playing poker, plus their ongoing promotion that you additionally earn a ticket to the buffet for every 8 hours of play. I learned last night that this offer will continue through the month of March. So for all you nits who plan your play around free food, line up!

Guess the casino, #786

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

Answer: Texas Station

It just gets uglier and uglier

I don't follow the minutiae of the ongoing UltimateBlecch/Absolute Puker investigations, but I do read what shows up in places like Pokerati, and, especially, Haley Hintze's blog. Her latest installment, here, drops what was for me an unexpected bomb (though I gather that it won't be as much of a shocker to those who have been following things in more detail)--and that is that the main cadre of cheaters may have included TWO former WSOP Main Event winners, not just one.

It's all just so disgusting. What's most disgusting of all is how the company still goes on pretending that its hands are clean, that it was a victim, that a paper transfer of ownership somehow wiped all the muck and stains away.

No wait--what's even more disgusting than that is that there are apparently tens of thousands of people who continue to play on this site, who continue to hand over their money to these lying, thieving criminals. That I really, seriously, just cannot comprehend. What is wrong with you people?

Might be a poker player

Seen at the Palms tonight.

Monday, February 28, 2011


I'm booked for a trip to Florida for several days in mid-March. It's theoretically possible that Cardgrrl will be in the same vicinity at the same time.

I've never been to the gulf coast, so suggestions for fun/interesting things to do in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and the Ft. Myers area are hereby solicited. This includes needing basic info about poker rooms in that part of the state.


Fellow bloggers, you might want to look at and see if they are stealing your posts the same way they are stealing mine. Predictably, there is no contact information, so nobody to complain to.

Thanks to HighOnPoker for alerting me to this.


I wrote to the site owner and asked him what he was doing. He replied: "Sorry Ill remove it.. I was just messing around with auto blogs.. I don't even have any ads on the sites.. sorry about that." And, in fact, it does appear that the site has now removed the material.

Guess the casino, #785

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

Answer: Paris

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guess the casino, #784

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

Answer: Mandalay Bay