Thursday, August 31, 2006

What a day, what a month. It's been a long time, but I finally had one of these at NL:

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $10 BB (6 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com (Format: HTML)

saw flop|saw showdown

BB ($1017)
Hero ($4649)
MP ($2789)
CO ($2410.50)
Button ($1163)
SB ($960)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with 4d, 4s. SB posts a blind of $5.
Hero calls $10, MP raises to $40, CO calls $40, 1 fold, SB (poster) calls $35, 1 fold, Hero calls $30.

Flop: ($170) 9d, 4c, 4h (4 players)
SB checks, Hero checks, MP bets $110, CO calls $110, SB folds, Hero calls $110.

Turn: ($500) Kc (3 players)
Hero checks, MP checks, CO bets $400, Hero raises to $1373, MP folds, CO calls $973.

River: ($3246) 9s (2 players)
Hero bets $2432, CO calls $887.50 (All-In).

Final Pot: $6565.50

Results:
Hero has 4d 4s (four of a kind, fours).
CO has 9h 9c (four of a kind, nines).
Outcome: CO wins $5021. Hero wins $1544.50.

It's always 50/50 on Party. I think the rule is this: the bigger the pot, the more likely you are to get sucked out on.

But despite that, I ended up having my best month ever. Most of that was within the first two weeks, with these last two weeks being a slow crawl upwards. Well, actually, it was more of a violent vascillation that ended slightly upwards. But overall, I can't complain.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I made my triumphant return to limit this morning, playing 5/10 and 10/20 6max. Wow what a silly game. I actually won (despite more rivered two-outers than I care to think about) but I still think it was just silly.

Bet, call, bet, call, bet, call, showdown, hand after hand after hand. No one folds a pair or A-high. I got called by K-high a couple times. You'd think games like that would be like printing money, but it's limit! They almost always either have odds or nearly do. And Party's RNG doesn't help things either.

And wow, the rake. Brutal--I played about 1400 hands, had a decent winning session, but still payed more rake than I won. Gaah. I'll gladly return to NL for the rest of the weekend.

Friday, August 18, 2006

All right, it seems to be getting a lot of flak, so let me go on the record as actually liking this new Party promotion. I can't speak for low-volume and/or lower-stakes players, but for players like me who play a lot of hands at decent-sized stakes all on Party anyways, it's great.

For people who don't know, Party's new promotion is that for the next two months, any Party points you earn can be traded in for cash at a max rate of 2.5 cents/point.

But they take your points which you could have used to get stuff! And it only amounts to a 25-30X bonus! And they discontinued bonus points! It's horrible!

They do take your points, and it does amount to a 25-30X bonus, and they did discontinue bonus points. But it isn't horrible. In fact, I think it's great. At least, like I said, for me. Here's why.

First, and foremost, they bumped me up to Gold, which means I earn points at a 33% greater clip than I did before. They also increased the points given at the stakes I play from 12 to 15 per 20 raked hands, which is a 25% increase. This adds up to about a 67% increase in the number of points I earn, which more than mitigates the loss in bonus points which was only a few thousand per month anyways (a couple deposits, and the occasional time I play very late night/early morning). So I still earn 25-50% more points than I would have.

I expect to play enough hands to earn 50K-70K points over the next two months. Let's assume I only achieve the very bottom end of that range, so 50,000. That means I get $1250 at the end of the promotion but give up those 50,000 points.

Assume they didn't offer the promotion and they kept things as they were. They might have offered two reload bonuses at $100 each, and I would have kept the points. So I would have gotten $200 plus 50,000 points worth of stuff, which is, for example, a 2GB iPod nano, valued at about $200. Total: $400. So, net gain over the status quo is $850.

Now, let's compare this promotion to previous VIP promotions from earlier this year. Well, the first one (which may have been December, can't really remember) was really a crazy-great promotion. IIRC, I got $930 for about 10,000 points, which I got to keep. So yeah, this promotion might not be as good as that one, but that one was out of this world and will never happen again.

Then there was the weekly one where I got $670 for about 16,000 points for each of four weeks, but had to give the points up. Now $670 for 16,000 points is better than $1250 for 50,000 points (multiply by just 3 and that's $2010 for 48,000 points), but that promotion came with two caveats: 1) I had to earn all those 16,000 points in a given week, and 2) I couldn't earn more than $670 in a week--once I hit it, that's it and then the counter would start over the next week, where I'd get nothing for anything below about 8000 points. Now, at that time (February), I played limit which gave out a lot more points than NL, so earning 16,000 points in a week was annoying but not outrageous. But for me now, earning 16,000 points in a week would be quite an aberration.

Similarly, the acceller-8-or (or whatever the hell it was called) was one which had a pretty nice high-end possible bonus, but again you were forced to play a lot of hands every single week for 8 straight weeks in order to pass the return of this current promotion.

This current promotion has no forced hands every single week. It's open-ended (at least within it's own imposed limits, if that makes sense). I can miss a few days and not have screwed my chances at any high paydays. I get linear rather than exponential returns for my play, which might not sound good to all those mathematicians out there, but think of it as comparing two equations where the linear equation is 10t and the exponential equation is 2^t and while the maximum value of t might be 6 or 7, the expected value of t is about 5, and is more likely to be below 5 than above.

So for the heavy, but not back-breaking, loads of hands I'll be playing, this promotion is superior to the last two VIP offers because I'm given freedom of when I get to play my hands, as well as no cap on total possible bonus earned beyond simply time--all for what will probably amount to about the same or more total bonus money.

My own personal bottom-line: I get an extra $850 (up to perhaps an extra $1350 if I manage 70K points) for doing what I was going to do anyways. I'm happy.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Woah.

So I've started playing the 1000NL regularly on Party. And all I can say is, woah. The first few days were great. Win, win, win, and I tied my best week ever, from back when I played limit. Heck those three days were as good as all of July, which was a pretty good month.

And then...

Woah.

I know I only have a small sample size, but it seems the variance at the 1000NL game is much greater than at the 600NL game. Moving up from the 400NL to the 600NL was a clear, but small, step up. Going from 600NL to 1000NL is definitely a large jump. People don't give up nearly as quickly as they do at the lower levels. They're willing to fire multiple barrels with regularity and C/R bluff at will. So, yeah, things went real well for the first few days and then all of a sudden I ran into guys who, well, weren't quite bluffing (or if they were, they got there anyways by the river).

I generally try to avoid posting specific results, but here's last night's graph:













Yeah, I hung on for a long, loooong time. It was one of those sessions where I knew I was buried so deep I'd start throwing things if I actually stopped and checked the cashier. So I kept playing just to save my monitors from a 20 ft. trip down into my living room. Only after I finally stopped (from exhaustion, actually--finishing even was just a coincidence) and graphed the day did I realize just how deep I went.

So yeah, 1000NL. Fun times.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The move went good. I think I'm just now realizing just how much more expensive a house is than an apartment, even aside from the mortgage/rent comparison.

Poker has slowed down for me. The last week of July was my first losing week since playing NL. As soon as Party started that ridiculously stupid Monster promotion I stopped winning. I can't beat that extra $0.50 rake!

Seriously, though, that new Monster promo is wretchedly bad. Don't even get me started.