Monday, February 14, 2005

Time for a poker posting

My luck, she apparently had a good time at Mardi Gras last week and rewarded me with the golden chip in all three games I played this weekend... two Sit-and-Goes (SnG) and one ring game. I cleared around $35, big deal that I am.

Finally worn down by Iggy's constant, merciless shilling of Party Poker (Bonus code IGGY, damnit!) and hypnotized by the flashing animated gifs on his site, I had moved some of my winnings from PokerStars over to Party Poker in January after getting my initial $50 stake there a bit over $150. But at some unremembered point in 2004 I had already signed up at Party so could neither collect a bonus or toss anything Iggy's way.

The humanity.

Perhaps suffering the curse of no bonus code IGGY, I almost immediately went on a losing streak both at Party and at PokerStars, dropping my initial Party stake from $50 to $11 within a few weeks and shrinking my PokerStars stack from around the remaining $100 to less than $60. Admittedly, I had gotten hooked on the "Step Challege" at Party, mini-tournaments where the pay-out could be as much as $9k for a $12 buy-in. The size of my remaining stack should provide a clue on my success to date at the step challenge.

In fact, in the month or so I played at Party, my only winning was a 1st place in a SnG, which I actually accomplished in the first game I played there. As I said, by this Saturday I had $11 left in my stake, and went into a $10 +$1 limit SnG... where I placed third and won $20.

So I'm still in at Party, but unless I continue to stay lucky, when the stack goes, so do I. While Iggy and some other poker bloggers are vocal fans of Party, I'm less than enthusiastic about the site. I don't like the interface, which is like a crude version of the Sims. And maybe I've been spoiled by UtimateBet and PokerStars, where you start with T1000 or T1500 in SnGs as opposed to Party's T800, but that smaller stack means you need loose play right from the git go to stay alive... a strategy which does not suit tight as a tick Mr. Rico.

Loose play is of course the reason Iggy and other poker bloggers crow about Party, a virtual aquarium of fish, according to some. But they're playing ring games, mostly, where you can afford to sit out hand-after-hand, at least opposed to SnGs where the blinds will eventually force you to gamble, strong hand or not. With no rebuy in a SnG, a fish's loose play - where they still win the hand - can make your stack drop drastically, no matter how well you're playing.

And it moves too damn fast! Again, I suspect it's one of the reasons that the younger bloggers like Party, but at age 52 you lose a few steps and half the time the cards are flopping so quickly at the turn and river that I have to scroll back up the Dealer's chat box to discover how I won - or lost - the previous hand.

I had been on such a bad roll through most of January that I was thinking about taking some time off from on-line poker and hit some live charity tournaments instead, but I enjoyed the last World Poker Bloggers Tour event so much that I decided to take the $50 I had bankrolled for live play and drop it into UltimateBet instead. The fact that UltimateBet had sent me a "you used to be a player" promotion with a 100 percent deposit bonus also had a little to do with it, too.

So, I'm back with UltimateBet, where is where you'll find me as ricoM most times these days, as I (very) slowly work to convert my bonus money into real money. I currently have $60 at UB, $62 at PokerStars, and $20 at Party, giving me a grand current profit of $42 from my two $50 investments to date. I've been playing at PokerStars since October of last year, still living the large (at least my version of it) from my 8th place finish in the October bloggers tourney. $100 spent where I've played on the average of two to three times a week for four months isn't a bad investment - one of my cheaper hobbies, in fact.

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