Thursday, January 06, 2005

Dancing with the Devil.

This year has started out with nothing but pain and suffering. Not a winner all this week, and now I am sweating out this double size bet in the NASDAQ. I only need it to rally 2 points in the next 20 minutes in order to win my bet. If it does, it saves my week...If not, I end with a tough loss that will take a few winners to erase.

The poker Gods are not treating me much better. I lost my buy-in 3 times today as long shot draws hit again and again. Top two pairs beaten by runner spades to leave a flush, trips beaten by an inside straight draw, and finally the nut straight beaten by a full house as the board paired on the river. 2005 is not starting out very well at all. It is at times like these that you look at your play for mistakes. If you can honestly say that you got your money in with the best hand each time, then there is nothing more to do but shrug your shoulders and move on. Them's the breaks.

Betting NASDAQ for a change...

The odds on the Dow are terrible today. But the book gave me -120 on a green close for the NASDAQ 100 here as I feel it bottoms for the day. I have some losses to make up from earlier this week, so took twice my average size on this bet. I just can't believe that the NASDAQ will close in the red after selling off so hard.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

2005 starts out in the red.

The bulls ran away and hid yesterday instead of defending support as I thought they would. I was getting 3 to 1 on that bet, so the edge was good but no payday to start out the year. I still think the bulls are in charge of this market and are just waiting for the proper spot in the pullback to begin buying again.

It is even money at the moment for the Dow and S&P 500 to close out the session in the green. I think the odds of a reversal today are well above 50%, so am taking the bet. Again, anytime I feel I can lay money at a premium to my handicapped odds, I will put my money on the line.

Let's see if today can end up a winner.

Have not played poker in a while...Think its time for a few hundred hands. Will see if lady luck favors me with some strong hands.

Monday, January 03, 2005

2005 begins...

Hope you all had a great new years! Today is my first day back since the holidays began.

The market was up big off the open, but has been crushed now by bad economic numbers that were released at 10:00. I think the market has reached support here, and the book is laying me 3 to 1 odds against a +50 Dow at 1pm. I think we could easily be +75 or more by 1 O'clock, so this feels like a rich premium. I am taking it.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Santa Claus came to town.

Wow, that was sweet. The Dow closed in the red, so I got paid off at more then 3 to 1 with double size!

Ok folks...This is why I am so insanely in love with the stockbets. With every other beatable game, (Poker, Sportsbetting, Blackjack)you are basically backing with a mathematical edge. You know that X out of one hundred times the proposition will pay out.

With these stock bets, not only can you add to your risk when you think the odds are shifting in your favor, but more often then not when you do THEY WILL GIVE YOU BETTER ODDS! Its freaking amazing... They just don't seem to get it. It makes me paranoid. How long will the honeymoon last before they figure it out and stop offering me these "no brainer" bets?

While the stockbets have been paying me recently, my poker has been a dead end. I played 3 200 hand sessions today and only ended up +5 big bets. The black ink is all due to one perfect flop. I down pretty bad when I caught J-10s in the big blind. The flop came...

Js Jh 10h

...which gave me jacks full of tens! I bet out and got 3 way action. The turn came up a heart, and one of the callers had caught his flush draw. I bet, he raised. We put as much money in as the caps would allow us, and I took the pot down to save my day. (Damn it, I should have been playing no-limit!)

I quit after that and have been catching up on some of the poker blogs I keep up with. The year end recaps have been a lot of fun. Scurvydog over at Sound Of a Suckout put up a must read post.... (Especially items 3,7 & 8!)

Top Ten Poker-Related Lessons I Learned This Year

1) Poker is a grind. It just is. There’s no magic bullet to cure your poker ills, no panacea for horrible beats, suckouts, and bubbling in tournaments. Moving up (or down) in limits won’t cure it. Playing SnGs and MTTs won’t cure it. Playing NL won’t cure it. Playing PL Omaha won’t cure it. Successful poker players win money in the long run by grinding it out. It’s just that easy. And just that hard.

2) Party Poker is not where it’s at. This is sure to cause raised eyebrows and counter-arguments but Party (and assorted skins) isn’t the most profitable site to play at for skilled players. It just isn’t. Playing at the assorted Cryptos (InterPoker, Caribbean Sun, Will Hill, PokerPlex, Total Bet, UKBetting, et al.) is far more profitable. No, really. Even if you discount their monthly bonuses they’re more profitable. The simple reason why is that they have casinos that constantly feed gambling idiots with money into the poker room. Which is exactly the same reason why Pacific > Party. As far as tournament offerings, you can make a good argument for Party, but as far as ring games go, Party ain’t the place to be.

3) SnGos are fun but –EV. MTTs are fun but –EV. I fought this battle for a long time but I think I’ve finally made peace with it. I really enjoy SnGos and MTTs but they don’t make me money. Or, more importantly, they make me much less money than I’d make sitting in ring games. I know people occasionally post amazing SnG results, showing them to be highly profitable, but almost everyone I know (and trust) that’s played in a significant number of them usually ends up break-even overall. The variance is through the roof and while you have great runs you also have back-breaking dry spells of no cashes.

4) Discipline > patience. I used to equate these two but I think that’s a mistake. Patience is good but it leads to nut-peddling too often, leaving too much money on the table when aggression would pay off. Discipline, however, is much more powerful. I used to remind myself to be a patient player but now I battle to be a disciplined one. Patient players wait to be paid off; disciplined players punish others for making mistakes while constantly fighting to avoid the same mistakes themselves.

5) Bonuses are your friend. If you’re building a roll, building experience, building confidence, poker bonuses can be your very best friend. You won’t show a profit on every bonus you chase. It’s not guaranteed money and it can be frustrating at times, playing on sites you don’t particularly like, carefully managing your bankroll, etc. But bonuses are the best way to rapidly build a bankroll and greatly speed the learning curve, as it buys you time to make mistakes and learn without having to dip back into your wallet repeatedly.

6) Be aggressive. This is hard for me and doesn’t come naturally. I’ve posted about this more in-depth elsewhere, but aggressive poker really does win. I think the key is realizing that, but, more importantly, finding the level of aggression that fits your own playing style. Don’t just mindlessly follow the guidelines and suggestions in SSH. I’m not saying they’re wrong or that the style the advocate isn’t optimal, but that you have to be comfortable with the level of aggression you employ. Amping up the aggression knob from 4 to 10 will likely result in one thing: turning you into a frustrated, losing player, even if 10 is the theoretically correct setting. Gently turning the same aggression knob from 4 to 7, though, might make a huge difference in your results.

7) Life > poker. Poker will always be there. Yeah, I know, when you’re in the grip of poker addiction you want nothing more than to be slinging chips. But guess what? Poker will always be there. That’s the beauty of online poker. It’s not a trip to Vegas where you have to cram in the maximum number of table hours into a small window. Online poker ain’t going anywhere. Enjoy yourself. Get exercise. Do other stuff.

8) Only play when you can play. I used to hop on for quick mini-sessions, trying to squeeze in a few orbits before work, before going out for the evening, etc. And would inevitably find myself getting involved with marginal hands, not pushing hands as hard as I should from fear of losing too much in ten minutes, etc. To the point where that would be bouncing around in my head, even when I was sitting down and firing up the computer. The simple solution is just don’t do it. If you have any doubt, just avoid it. Remove it from the equation.

9) Set specific goals. Don’t just wander aimlessly around from table to table. Don’t tell yourself that all you want is to “improve” your game. Even if money doesn’t motivate you, use it to set specific goals and targets. It may be arbitrary and results-oriented but you’ll go crazy if you don’t set yourself demonstrable, transparent goals. Argue against being results-oriented all you like but it’s virtually impossible to set an aggressive monetary goal (and reach it) without your game improving as well.

10) Use thy tools, but don’t abuse them. PokerTracker is great. I love it. You should love it, too. But don’t be obsessed with it. Far too often I see people posting constantly about improving their aggression rating, lowering or raising their VP$IP, etc. Don’t let yourself be consumed by the tool. It’s great for harvesting data on other players, great for identifying trouble hands that you tend to become involved in too frequently, and great for showing your positional stats. But when you find yourself acting at the table in a way with the effect on your PokerTracker stats in mind, you’ve got a problem. Tools like PokerTracker are great for when things go awry and you’re looking for leaks but not so great when you’re trying to address larger strategic issues in your game.

Merry Christmas.

Been busy with the holiday, but now its time to get back to "work". The Dow is very extended and formed a reversal candlestick on Friday. The book is laying 2 to 1 that it cant close today under Friday's close. I am bearish for today as I think there is a wave of profit taking on its way. 2 to 1 sounds like a rich premium to me, so I took it.

Now I am off to see what the no limit tables have to offer. Going to play 200 hands and will risk 2 full buying if I have to.

[Update] This lower high in the indexes confirms my position. The line now stands at +525 for a bearish bet. I can't stand to pass that up, so just doubled my bet. Today is either going be be a big winner or a bit of a stinger. I still have absolute confidence in my bearish opinion, so at those odds I have to try it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A long shot.

The book offers me 8 to 1 if the Dow can rally up 10 points and be +75 at 1 pm. Its a long shot, but at 8 to 1 the odds are too good to pass up. Lets see if I can get lucky!

[UPDATE: Missed by about a point. Too bad, an 8 to 1 would have made my week!]

Coin flip

3 minutes before the bet is resolved and I got even money on the Dow being +25 by 10 am. Looks like a no brainer to me, so took the bet.

Betting on follow-through.

The book offers -150 for the bulls, and this seems like an even money premium for me. Going to take it as a bit of a gamble, and so will only bet half my normal amount.

Monday, December 20, 2004

A big fat nothing.

So, 300 hands of poker yields a loss of 13 big bets, and both my stock bets end up as losers. Not a great way to start off the week. No problemo, its just a nasty thing called "variance".

One down, one more to go.

Lost on my 10 am bet, but again I got a little less then 4 to 1 for a continuation of the uptrend. If the Dow is +75 or better at 1pm, my day will be profitable.

160 hands of poker so far, nothing playable yet. I am getting blinded to death.

Found my edge.

The book is offering 4 to 1 now if the Dow can be up less then 25 points by 10 am. The ticker on CNBC shows an open in the +28 range, and I know most large gap opens tend to fill early. So it seems to me that there is at least a 40% chance that the fade will be large enough for this bet to pay. If I believe it's 40% likely, then a 4 to 1 payout offers a substantial premium.

I'm all over it.

Good opinion, Bad odds.

I was looking for a bullish day today for the Dow, but it seems so was anybody else. The bull side is currently offering 7/3 which is not rich enough for my taste. I will watch the intraday wagers to see what they offer, but I want as close to even money as I can get. It's just not worth it for me over the long haul to bet $500 to win $220. That's just a huge headwind...Not one I am willing to go up against.

Will see what the poker Gods offer instead.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Day one was kind to me.

Played 58 hands of Hold 'em with a 28% win rate and tripled up my buy in.

Both index bets paid off for a 2.68 total unit gain.

That was easy, I just wish every day ended up with a clean sweep like this. Nice way to start the blog off, thank you lady luck!

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

I Don't think this rally will hold.

The book is offering -103 if the Dow can be more then -25 at 1 pm today. With the bad news from PFE and the profit taking that should come after being up so many days in a row, this seems like a good bet.

So, if the Dow closes red I win my morning wager, if it is more then -25 at 1:00pm EST I win my 2nd.

That's my action for this day, off to play poker for an hour, then finish up my Christmas shopping....

I'm going to Hell...Whose comin' with me??

It all started with a book on card counting.

Seems like only yesterday, but it was a flipping lot longer ago then that. I had an ok life, worked at an ok job, but it was just such a deadly grind. I saw an article in the paper about a group of blackjack players who were beating the game by exploiting the skill of card counting. They actually had an edge and could gain a positive expectancy with some practice and teamwork. Are they serious? Man, free money from a casino? Sign me up!

So I started reading and learning about the ways man has devised to gain an edge over the house. Six months later I was on a plane to Vegas baby! Oh my God did I get destroyed! After one glorious night where I turned $1,000 into $3,500 my luck turned sour and I lost the whole shebang. Not willing to give up the dream, I went back home, saved up my pennies, practiced and came back a few months later loaded for bear. This time I was much more disciplined and skilled....Whadoyaknow? The money flowed in like water. I was raking in more cash then I thought was possible over a single weekend, then flew home in a daze. As soon as I could get off work I headed back to tables where lightening struck twice. My only memory of that trip was that of sitting in the room looking at piles of $100 bills that looked like something from a ransom movie. It felt like I had robbed a bank, and I realized right then that I was staring at freedom. No boss, (he was an idiot) no alarm clocks, (I am NOT a morning person and I had to be at work by 8 am...ick!) never again would I have to be nice to a rude customer. With the money I had in front of me, I could easily live for 6 months.....Could this continue? Was I actually going to pull this off? Or was I (As I suspected.) just a lucky assed bastard about to get body-slammed by lady luck? Aww Hell, I hated the job anyway. I quit and moved to Vegas.

The next few years were fantastic. A smorgasbord of great parties and ever greater money. Which all came to a screeching halt when I got sloppy one night and got banned from a casino for card counting. Within 3 months my career as a card counter was over. The house of cards (literally) came crashing down. My source of income was taken away, and I was left to figure out what to do with my bankroll. I had dabbled in sports betting from time to time and I could always play poker, so that became my source of income. Life was back on track, and actually a lot better then before. When your counting cards, you have to sit your ass down and do time in that chair if you want to earn. Same thing with poker, you only get dealt killer hands a couple times an hour. Believe me, playing poker 4-8 hours a day will earn you a fat wallet, but it quickly becomes like "real work". YUCK! But with a sports bet I could put in an hour or two getting my picks set, then a trip to the sports book and I was free for the day! I would go back the next day to place my bets and collect my money. Life was good and about to get so much better. The Internet brought any number of sports books into the living room of any idiot with a computer. All these idiots loved to bet on the wrong teams, and so the lines just got fatter and fatter for me. It quickly became very clear that I had no need to drive into town to the sports book anymore. I could earn my living on line, taking money from virtual suckers instead of real ones. Wow, what a gift, what a lifestyle change. Three hours of research on the couch and I was DONE FOR THE DAY. Yippie ki ya mofo.

Since I no longer needed a physical connection to Vegas, I sold my place and moved to a Nice Town. It's so much cleaner, quieter, there is none of the degenerate sleeze factor that you always deal with in Vegas. I am back in shape, have had time to read and shoot hoops, and bring a bit of "normal" back to my life. So life is good, it doesn't suck, the problem is that it has become boring. Yeah I know, cry me a river but seriously....think about it. If you could quit your job, work 2-4 hours a day and still maintain your standard of living, what would you do? You would play golf every day, go to movies at lunchtime, hit the beach whenever you felt like it. But after a year of this it palls, its like a kid having a birthday every week. It may be awsome for the first month, then it becames a pain. I needed a new challenge, and found it in the futures market.
Wow, what an edge! With some practice, I think I can predict the direction of the market indexes with much more accuracy then any football game. Many of the on line sports books offer bets on the market indexes. They often offer premium odds on your money. Take this morning...I capped the Dow to have a 70% chance of closing in the red, and took the bet at -120! Easy money when they give you that kind of a premium.

I have always performed the best when I keep good records, and I have really been enjoying many of the poker blogs that chronicle the authors quest to become a pro player. I figured it would be interesting to log my bets/trades for a while as I continue to hone my index capping skills.

Hope you enjoy following along, lets get started.....All aboard!