Friday, February 13, 2009

Lungfish's Poker Challenge

My online sportsbook account has been tapped out for a while now. I'm loathe to redeposit any more money since a) getting payments from these guys seems to get increasingly more troublesome and unreliable (it's taken over three months to get a check the last two withdrawals I've made) and b) I'd rather buy undervalued stocks with any spare cash I have right now.

Therefore, I'm going to try to build up a bankroll with purely house money. How? Well, a couple of weeks ago, I placed 75th out of about 2500 players in an Omaha Hi-Lo freeroll tournament (not bad for my first time ever playing that game), winning $1.30.

I figured that was enough of a bankroll to get me started on the micro no-limit hold'em tables. I sat down at the $0.02-$0.04 tables, and after 26 hands, I'm now at $3.03.

I'm going to grind it out playing freerolls and the micro limit games and see how much scratch I can generate. Also, it will keep my poker game sharp, so I don't get slaughtered at the cash games (which has been the case my past few outings) in the poker rooms of Atlantic City.

My muses for this idea are Chris Ferguson (who turned $0 into $10K in 16 months) and Daniel Negreanu (who is attempting to turn $10 into $100K playing only no-limit ring games). Let's see how I fare!

Monday, February 9, 2009

25 Random Things About Me: Gambling Edition

I don't have a Facebook account (a popular guy like by just can't be handcuffed by that cap of 5,000 friends; I can't tell my other 15,000 buddies to just go take a hike). Therefore, I'm not part of this '25 Random Things About Me' fad sweeping the digital world... which is probably all for the better. After all, who cares about which Jonas brother is my favorite and my hackneyed stories about chasing the dragon in that underground opium den in Chinatown.

However, my pal Mudmucker tagged me to do a special gambling version of '25 Random Things' on this blog, so without further ado:

1) I'm afraid to shout out "monkey" when rooting for a face card in blackjack (part of the blackjack lexicon for those uninitiated), just in case a black guy just happens to walk by and misconstrue the context.

2) I got sucked into a gambling ring in high school. A friend of a friend knew an actual bookie, a Mr. D'Agostino. My neighbor and I became runners, getting paid $20 for each new client we recruited and relaying their bets up the chain.

3) My neighbor and I started pulling in quite a bit of volume, so we ceased to operate as the middlemen. Instead of passing along the bets to that guy in touch with the bookie, we started acting as the house and covering the bets ourselves. We had a short-lived, but profitable two week run. Things ended abruptly when my neighbor's mom got suspicious of the suddenly heavy call volume to their house.

4) The gambling ring as a whole got blown up a while later, when an "in over his head" student turned snitch and ratted out the primary conduit to the bookie. Thankfully, none of us underlings were implicated. However, that student ended up going to the same college as me- whenever I saw him, all I could think of that he was a rat fink.

5) I've lost $200 on the past two Miss Universe contests (Miss Mexico in 2008, 4th runner up, and Miss South Korea in 2007, 2nd runner up).

6) When I throw dice in craps, I arrange my dice with the '3's facing up and forming a '/\' that points towards the back wall like the tip of an arrow. When I'm throwing my come out bet, the point of the '\/' faces away from the back wall.

7) I once had to talk a buddy of mine out of hitting a hard '21' in blackjack. By the way, he's a doctor.

8) We once saw Pete Rose signing autographs at an appearance in Caesar's Palace in Vegas. I shouted at him, "Pete, who do you like in the Reds game?".

9) If you know anyone going to Las Vegas between now and the start of the baseball season, I will give them $50 to plunk down on the Seattle Mariners to win the AL pennant (at 50-1; $50 to win $2500). While they are going to struggle to score runs, they are going to be Rays-like in their run prevention and solid defense. King Felix and Brandon Morrow have ace potential, the bullpen has a variety of interesting arms with different looks, and their front office is now run by very smart people. If Jeff Clement can blossom, and if Beltre and Ichiro can squeeze out a good offensive year, they could win a weak AL West.

10) Out of all the times I've been to the track (horse racing, about 10-15 times), I've only won money once. However, I'm still up and in the black over my lifetime off the winnings from just that one time (and one bet actually). I'll post a detailed write-up at some point.

11) Whenever I play mini-baccarat, I only bet on the banker. The other Asians at the table are writing down whatever it is they write on those cards, and I don't even bother with it. Always bet on banker.

12) The largest bet I've placed on a single hand of blackjack is $200.

13) It was on online blackjack. I have a gambling problem when it comes to online blackjack (yes, I know it's rigged).

14) How's this for Black History Month? I've won money betting on Denzell Washington (Oscar), Kanye West (Grammy), and Barack Obama (DNC nomination).

15) A few years ago, a former co-worker got involved with a bookie, and maxed out his line of credit. He fronted me a bit of cash, and had me use my name to place bets for him instead.

16) I once had to go to the bar at Chili's to collect my co-worker's winnings, since they were under my name. The bookie passed me a rubber-banded wad of cash under a USA Today and told me to go into the men's room stall to count it. This bookie, Pat, was a real shady guy. I remember being nervous that I was going to get set up and rolled by another lowlife waiting to ambush me in the bathroom or the parking lot for the over $1500 in cash I was holding. What can you do? You're either dealing with a shady bookie or a shady online sportsbook. Pick your poison.

17) This bookie we were dealing with actually had muscle backing him up. No joke, this enforcer's nickname was "King Jack Moose".

18) I've dropped $40 in a sitting playing the Top Gun slots machine.

19) The night before I won a 200 person no limit tournament at The Taj Mahal, I was throwing up from drinking too much at an afternoon barbeque with my co-workers.

20) I've never won any money from playing the March Madness brackets pool.

21) I've bet on simulcast greyhound racing at Mohegan Sun. I bet on the only dog that didn't have his tail between his legs in the paddock. Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, said that a dog with his tail between his legs is in a tentative and scared state of mind. My dog got crashed into by another dog on the turn and finished last. I lost two more bets after that, and swore off betting on anorexic dogs for the rest of my life (I would however, bet on fat dogs in an eating contest though).

22) I'm unclear on tipping etiquette for winning fantasy leagues or office pools. Generally, I tip 10% rounded up to the nearest $20 increment.

23) When a casino has its air conditioning on too high, I like to order a hot chocolate with whipped cream.

24) I like to play in the Borgata poker room from the hours of 1am til the early hours of the morning. My purpose is to prey on the drunk guys that come stumbling in straight from club Mixx.

25) I have a weakness for betting on grey horses at the track.