Friday, July 25, 2008

For sale by owner

Prior to spring training, I placed a bet that the Rays would win the AL (make it to the World Series). In their 10 years of existence, Tampa Bay has only finished out of last place once. The most games they'd ever won in a season was 70 games (which was still 21 games under .500). So understandably, I was getting a good price at 100-1.

Future Wager 12/13/07 22:53 ET
bet 15.73 to win 1,573.00 Result: Pending
2008 American League Pennant - Odds to Win
Tampa Bay Rays 11/01/08(12:00 ET)
100 - 1

Although it was mostly on a whim, I did have my reasons. They'd just traded for Matt Garza, who, along with Scott Kazmir and James Shields, gave them an impressive 1-2-3 punch of young starting pitchers. They had a lot of young talented bats as well- Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Rocco Baldelli (who knew he'd go down in spring training with a mitochondrial disease), BJ Upton, and Evan Longoria. The consensus was that they were probably 2 years away from becoming a serious contender in the AL East, but I figured maybe everything could break right.

Well, everything did break right. As of July 6th, more than halfway through the season, they had the best record in baseball: 55-32. I wanted to sell my bet while their stock was at an all time high, so the week leading up to the 4th of July, I put the word out that I was willing to sell my share of the bet for $500. If the bet hit, the I'd cut a check to buyer for the full amount of $1,573. Despite a few nibbles, nothing materialized and the Rays proceeded to limp into the All-Star break with 7 straight losses. Flash forward to today, and their once impressive 5.5 game lead has dissipated. They're now tied with the Red Sox for 1st with the red-hot Yankees only 3 games back. At this point I'd sell my bet for a six-pack of Coronas. In fact, if you buy now, I'll throw in my 37 shares of Lehman Brothers stock (I bought in March- this just sickens me) for the low, low price of a six-pack and a box of donuts.

Lesson learned: I should've used Craigslist.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jia You! (that's Chinese- look up the meaning)

Due to overwhelming feedback from my first post (read: none), I'll post my action well in advance so you at home can play along as well. Today's featured pick is on the Summer Olympics.

Future Wager bet 200.00 to win 142.86
Result: Pending
2008 Olympics - Most Overall Medals - Odds to Win
China 5 - 7

Why bet China when they've never won the most overall medals? Well, for starters, there is overwhelming pressure being placed on the athletes. Having athletes risk permanent blindness, not letting burned out athletes quit, and forcing women that just gave birth to resume training immediately is the least of it. Would you believe stem cell injections?

You may have heard about the measures China is taking to fulfill its hosting duties to the fullest. In order to stem pollution, they are shutting down factories, forcing half the cars in Beijing to alternative days on which they can be driven, and citizens are volunteering to dredge lakes (in which sailing events will be held) of algal blooms by hand. Well, you'd better believe they are similarly taking drastic steps to make sure their athletes have a great showing.

Is there a moral dilemma being on the same side as a government that will win at all costs? Yup. There's also a moral dilemma with potentially having to root against the my home country, the U.S., China's main rival. Not to mention, I'm from Taiwan. Golly, I'm such a heel. To quote Daniel Day Lewis from There Will Be Blood, "I've abandoned my child! I've abandoned my boy!".

This will be a great sweat when China is tied with the United States in the last few days with like 77 medals apiece, and I'm watching the mixed badminton finals on CNBC at 3am.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I think most gamblers loosen up the reins and bet more aggressively when playing with house money. I'm the opposite. When I'm up, I like to exercise caution and nurse my winnings. The flip side of that is I tend to chase my losses. In fact, if you ever see me playing $50 hands of blackjack or reraising all-in on a draw in poker, it's a tell-tale sign that I'm stuck a few bills.

Tonight I lost a $170 pot playing $0.50/$1.00 no-limit. Long story short, all the money went in on the river when I made the nut flush. Unfortunately, the river card also paired the board and my opponent's 2 pair improved to a full house. (How ironic is it that I play cards online after work to unwind?) The bad news was that I dropped my $100 buy-in inside of 10 minutes. The good news was because I busted so early, none of the slate of baseball games had started yet.

Doing some quick research, I saw that Pittsburgh looked like a good play against Houston. This was what I read up on from

"Paul Maholm is in the process of taking a big step forward. The Pirates left-hander has been very effective since the tail end of May and has notched 17 strikeouts against just two walks in three July starts despite taking the mound against the Yankees, Brewers and Rockies in Coors Field. Maholm has also solved the opposing Astros' biggest threats, allowing sluggers Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee to combine for just five singles in 35 total at-bats."

When I saw he was even money against a rookie converted relief pitcher on the Astros with a 6.28 ERA, I was sold. I liked it so much, I bet it 3 times.

1) Straight Wager 07/22/08 17:54 ET
bet 60.00 to win 57.14 Result: Pending
Pirates(Pittsburgh) Maholm
Astros(Houston) Cassel
07/22/08(20:05 ET)
Pirates(Pittsburgh) -105

2) Straight Wager 07/22/08 18:28 ET
bet 100.00 to win 95.24 Result: Pending
Pirates(Pittsburgh) Maholm
Astros(Houston) Cassel
07/22/08(20:05 ET)
Pirates(Pittsburgh) -105

3)Straight Wager
07/22/08 18:32 ET
bet 250.00 to win 238.10 Result: Pending
Pirates(Pittsburgh) Maholm
Astros(Houston) Cassel
07/22/08(20:05 ET)
Pirates(Pittsburgh) -105

Again, you'll never see me with this ridiculous amount (for me) of money on a single game unless I'm on tilt from a big loss. At last check, things were looking up for me- Pittsburgh was up 8-0 late... and if I end up jinxing them by posting this early, I'll be taking out a home equity line of credit to place a 4 figure bet to chase.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Memorial Weekend 2008

Our latest AC trip was about a month ago. Lungfish and I had been receiving free room offers from Harrah's in the mail for the past few months so we finally decided to check it out. 

I woke up pretty early on Sunday and packed a bag of multi-grain crackers and a bunch of almost all black bananas to snack on. I would later regret packing the latter when we finally checked into our rooms that afternoon and discovered that they had finished rotting and had turned into banana plasma. 

We arrived at Harrah's well before the daily 1:15 poker tournament started. Since we had some time to kill, I jumped on a blackjack table. It was single deck and they dealt the cards face down to each player. I wasn't used to holding the cards in my hand and then to make things even more complicated the dealer instructed me to 1. wave them towards me to hit, 2. tuck them under my chips to stand, and 3. flip them over if I busted.  I was already not feeling so hot about this table but then when I finally got dealt a blackjack I was only paid 6 to 5 on it.  Single deck blackjack sucks.

The buy-in for the tournament was $40+10 and I drew Table 7.  I sat next to a college kid who sat next to a grandma and a couple seats down from her was a heavyset older guy who said he just finished in the money the day before.  

I win a few pots and make it to the first break. Heavyset guy who previously finished in the money is the chip leader by betting aggressively and not being called.  I get dealt pocket J's and make it 5x pre-flop to go. Heavyset guy goes all-in and I call. He mutters "you got me" and turns over his suited K-10. But a K comes out on the flop, nothing hits on the turn or the river and I'm out.  Bad times.