Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Free Play on ALC Pro-Line

It's been a while. I haven't been active in any area recently. Poker or sports. It's not looking great that I will be doing much in either area in the foreseeable future. It is what it is I guess. I may have something somewhat later to post on but will see.

Anyway after a long dormant period there has been a noticeable increase of late in emails from Atlantic Lotto. I'd guess there is some new manager there and is driving this email outreach.

Usually this is just noise that is easily ignored. However there was an interesting Pro-Line promotion. If you make a $10 bet, then you get a $10 credit from the house for another bet.

Well I couldn't pass up that opportunity. The question becomes how to structure my plays. The way Pro-Line works is you have to parlay with at least 2 plays, betting on individual games is not available.

I unfortunately don't have time for a lot of research so I was thinking of a way to realize the EV of the free play using random picks. I found some "even" NHL totals games to pick. By "even", I mean the price from the house is the same on the over as well as the under. So if the house is indifferent to what you pick, then that's even. With the same price on the over as the under, it's well suited to using a randomized approach to picking, as there's no difference in expected outcome either way.

Although I couldn't help but do a quick cursory research on the games I picked. I ended up taking the OVER at 5.5 for Colorado at Nashville, and the UNDER at 5.5 on Carolina at Edmonton. I didn't do enough research to explain my reasoning here.

I can calculate the EV of the free play. With no research and a random selection there's a 50% chance of winning on each game. I have to win both games to win the bet. So there's a 25% chance I will win the bet using random selection for the games.

Now if I win the bet (25%) I win $20.60 is the payout on these two games. And if I lose (75%) I lose $10. So the EV is -$2.35. So for a $10 wager where the house is indifferent the expected end result in my account is $7.65. So 23.5% vig, thanks ALC. it's horrible they exploit the players like that.

Anyway on the $10 free play it would also have an EV of about $7.65. So the expected end amount in my account is $15.30, so a healthy 53% profit, and it was fun to be back in the game.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Bodog $10 NL Zone

I've been playing $10 NL Zone on Bodog. It went okay. In a small sample of 1,000 hands I made a small profit. About 3bb/100. Nothing special but glad for a win.

Of course anyone can run well or poorly over 1000 hands so can't read anything into it either way. Still I'm going to call it good and move up to $25 NL Zone on Bodog. Whatever happens that will be where I play. If I bust I can reload. I'm a casual recreational player anyway.

Still it's good to win something again and complete a level. I know it's $10 NL and I can't make too much of it. There was more open limping than I expected and less 3-betting. I expect 25 will be tougher and that's fine.

So that's that. onto the next thing.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

+1 for Stars Coin

I saw some email and announcements go by back around December I think it was. Something about Stars VPPs being changed into something called StarsCoin. I didn't pay much attention to it. There was something about a 1.2 conversion rate of VPP to coin which seemed generous at the time. There was also something about FPP, the truth is I could never figure out the difference between FPP and VPP.

As it happened I'm a low volume recreational player and I had about 1,000 VPPs over the years. I remember years ago in 2009 I bought a PokerStars travel mug for 1,250 FPP. I was pleased, I still have that mug and use it. I found the old email from the VIP store. Good times back then.

Anyway I checked the store yesterday for whatever reason and I was surprised to see that I could do a straight exchange of 1,000 StarsCoin for $10 of cash bankroll. That's awesome! before it was not possible for a bronze star to make this type of VPP to cash exchange and it was generally not available or badly priced below at least the silver star level. So that's yay.

The new bonus scheme at Stars seems much friendlier to lower volume recreational players. In the past it was confusing what was available and how to get anything. It's much simpler now coin is coin. And the coin all spends the same in the store, no different prices or availability based on your stellar status. As a recreational player I see these as positive changes.

Now for the $10, well the way I play and run at $10 Zoom PLO I will likely lose it faster than it took to write this post. Oh well at least I was able to get something useful for my VPPs so it's all good.

I did notice the coin seem to be earned in a more quantized way now. At this point I have about 150 hands in this month and the slider says I'm 69% to unlocking 7 coin in step 2 this month -maybe I got 7 coin earlier and didn't notice? Thus I guess if I can put in a little over 200 hands a month at $10 Zoom PLO I can get at least this tiny amount of bonus, less than a big blind. I'm sure it gets better if I could put in more volume. Still it's something and very attainable for a recreational player. In the past it was intimidating and it felt like the VPP store was tilted in favour of high stakes and mass multitabling.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

resurfacing as a fish

There was a bummer 2+2 thread about heads up. meh I don't play HU myself so I have little stake in the matter. Still it got me thinking about things. I seldom play cards anyway but from time to time I feel I'd like to get playing again. There's one more barrier away from the tables I need to work through before I really can get back to playing.

The 2+2 thread combined with another thing. On a Saturday evening recently I passed through the local casino to spend $5 on slots to fill some time and get parking validated. Walking past the poker room there were 4 tables going on a Saturday night. Not very good considering when I arrived there in 2009 there were 6-8 tables on any Friday or Saturday. I hope the card room remains open.

It's a different world now it seems. Higher rake, fewer fish. And with that time to close the books and move forward.

Poker Era 1 2005-2014
I've been playing cards longer than I'd realized. I remember hearing some news reports about someone named Moneymaker and some game of poker with two cards. Started out in 2005 play money on Yahoo, then 2 and 3 table play money tournaments on PokerStars.net. Didn't have a clue. Finished 5th in the first 3 tabler I played for a mincash. What a rush. I remember the first of those play money tournaments I'd won, another rush.

Eventually switched to real money, had some success in the pre-UIGEA, pre-Black Friday days with lots of Americans and lots of bad players. Won a $2/90 tournament or two, got up to $0.25/$0.50 LHE and $25 NL, ran well at times over small sample sizes.

2009 appeared at the local casino to play $1/$2 live. Another exciting time playing for stakes that dwarfed anything I'd played online. I remember the first hand I won that night. Live poker is fun and I watched some others seem to be making steady profits. I had ups and downs, played way too tight for live, and like everyone enjoyed the occasional upswing and worked through the occasional downswing. I wanted to and was rolled for it at the time but never took a shot at $2/$5.

It was a good time and now it's run its course.

Poker Era II 2016-present

So when I return it will be as a "fish". Now I don't plan to donate buyin after buyin. What I mean by fish is someone with a losing expectation. A recreational player. With higher rake and tougher competition I have to expect that to play cards I have to put in money. And that's fine. I have a day job and I can still play for fun and the challenge. Even if I have to keep my bankroll up from the outside source. It's a hobby, something I can choose to spend my own money to participate in.

I'm still going to try to play well and improve and do as well as I can. Like the fish, I'm going to focus more on having a good time playing and less on results. Just play the levels I'm bankrolled for and enjoy the stakes. Don't hold back about "beating" some lower levels for however many hands or amount. It's ok if run well over a small sample (disregarding previous results) at a small game and take winnings and try the next level for fun and see if I can stick for a little while before dropping back to the baseline level.

Online play Zoom since I can get in the most volume per limited time available to play. Forget table selecting. That's from a past era. The tables are far worse than in the past so just sit and play Zoom and enjoy the challenge.

So I'm feeling positive about things and looking forward to getting back in the game.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

+1 for Bodog poker

I've been playing on Bodog a bit lately. They emailed me about a $5 free play bonus for some reason so I decided to play cards with the house money. That's just enough to play $5 NL so I did that.

The Bodog card room is very good. The first thing you notice is the anonymous tables. Everything is Player1, Player2, etc. Which is different. It takes a bit of getting used to but you quickly do. The lobby is also different. It doesn't show full tables. So it's more like a casino card room where if you want to play you are escorted to a table with empty seats. You can't refuse action and camp out and cut into what looks like a better game.

I decided to give the Rush poker a try. In Bodog it's called Zone poker. The Bodog implementation of Zoom is very good. There's usually 50+ players action at levels between $5NL and $100 NL. The combination of anonymous and Zoom was interesting. I got used to it and came to like it. It makes you think about strategy as you are playing against a "field" instead of individuals who you may have reads on, or who have reads on you. So I found it was good to have a strategy thought out and try to stick to it.

I know it's still $5 NL so I shouldn't expect too much of my opponents. I was fortunate to run well over a small sample size and win a little. I'd forgotten during the PLO time about actually winning at poker and it does make the game enjoyable.


I think of Bodog as the anti-PokerStars. They definitely try to cater to the recreational player, and reduce some of the unseemly and predatory and (to the casual player) uncomfortable aspects of Stars. Anonymous tables, hiding full tables in the lobby, sensible limits on multitabling, no rakeback, no HUDs. All these things make Bodog different and in many ways friendlier and more comfortable than Stars. The software is pretty smooth and definitely good enough.

It's funny and apropos because recent changes at Stars are moving in the Bodog direction with elimination of SuperNova and higher VPP status, normalizing the value of FPPs, and supposed incoming restrictions on HUDs.


Well I guess Bodog's $5 ploy was a success. I've recovered a bit of bankroll the last few months so I think I'll give maybe $10 NL Zone on Bodog a go with my own money. If I run well and build up some more bankroll then $25 would not be inconceivable. I've played $25 NL online long in the past and it wasn't a disaster.

It's fun to be playing cards again. Over on Stars at $10 PLO though I'm down nearly 20 buyins, I noticed at Zoom I'm only down 1 buyin over less than 1,000 hands. So maybe Zoom PLO is something as well. Will think about that one a bit.

Monday, August 24, 2015

NFL 2015 preseason pics are in

I surprised myself a bit by making some 2015 NFL preseason win totals picks. I haven't kept up with football this offseason and I wasn't really planning to. I like football and thinking about football bets but as usual time to analyze it and bankroll are challenges.

Nonetheless a marketing email from Bodog and I decided to see if I could find anything in preseason win totals. I know from last year it's tough to find value in preseason win total props. From last year's results I decided to look at bad teams from 2014 and see if there are any overly optimistic lines to take the under. These are the 6 teams who were 4-12 or worse in 2014.

Team 2014 Record 2015 Winline Price (under) Diff
Tampa Bay Bucs 2-14 6 -125 +4
Tennessee Titans 2-14 5.5 -115 +3.5
Oakland Raiders 3-13 5.5 +120 +2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars 3-13 5.5 EVEN +2.5
New York Jets 4-12 7.5 -150 +3.5
Washington Redskins 4-12 6.5 -175 +2.5

The Diff column is the difference between the 2015 winline and the 2014 record. Here are some quick thoughts on all of these.

Tampa Bay the gap is 4. At -125 laying 5:4. Still I only lose this bet if the Bucs go 7-9. I don't believe there's a 45% chance the Bucs will be 7-9 or better.

Tennessee another good sized gap of 3.5 and price moved from -125.

Oakland the Raiders last year may be about where the Browns were 2 years ago. +120 premium is nice but gap is only 2.5.

Jacksonville gap is only 2.5 and young quarterback has potential to develop.

Jets since 2002 the Jets have had a number of bad seasons yet never been under 8 wins twice in a row. The last time the Jets had fewer than 8 wins twice in a row was 1995-1996 under Rich Kotite. Price at -150 is not inviting.

Washington steep price at -175 and gap is only 2.5. I think this is one where you wanted to do your research in July and hit the early lines before the price moves unfavourably.

So with that I made 2 plays

3 units Tampa Bay UNDER 6 wins -125
2 units Tennessee UNDER 5.5 wins -115