Archive for June, 2008

We’ve all seen’em.  You know…those new games at the casinos.  Of course we’re all familiar with black jack, craps, roulette, baccarat.  But what about all the new ones…war, three and four card poker, Caribbean Stud, and even a Texas Hold’em table game.  Well my two esteemed travel-mates this trip partook in one of the probably worst house games known to man after Keno….Let It Ride!!!  Keno sports a vigorish (house edge) a deceptive 3.5%, meaning for every dollar wagered, your EV (expected value) in return is 96.5 cents, i.e., you’ll lose only 3.5 cents for every dollar you wager.  Not good but not horrendous.  Blackjack is about 2%, craps is about 1-5%, roulette if you play inside numbers, 5-6%, and the slots you play are programmed to take about 2-10% of every wager you make.  But most know these ‘odds’ and play anyway.  It’s the side bets that get you….mini-three card wager will get you in the 15% range and the bonus buck is nearly 30%.  So if you wager say, $200 a spot or $801 total, your EV is $755.70 for a ‘new’ vig of 5.56%.  My numbers are from limited research but you get the idea.

I used to card-count as a hobby and played perfect basic strategy, so when I play, I ‘may’ come out about even with the house.  If I played larger stakes, I could possibly be a 1-2% favorite over the house with optimal circumstances…single deck, regular 3-2 payout on blackjacks, dealer stays on soft 17, surrender available, double and splits after splits, etc.  I get a little feisty when people I know…you know, double their soft 20 (A9) versus a dealers 6 even….but what smart guy would do that?  Someone remind me to ask my esteemed friend from WSB ’bout that.

Anyway, back to Let it Ride.  The premise is simple.  You get three cards.  You have five opportunities to put down wagers.  The four main ones…three regular bets and a fourth bonus bet ($10-$200) and then a bonus dollar should you be dealt three of a kind or higher.  You want to get at least a pair of 10s or higher by then time your three cards and two dealer cards are exposed.  After being dealt, you can pull back one bet.  After the dealer exposes one card, you can pull back another.  Then the dealer exposes the second card.  She flips up your cards and if you have 10s or higher you win.  Simple enough.  Well too simple.  C’mon, anything that is that simple in life cannot be that good! 

But my travel companions decided to play and won significantly…I think Mark won $1,100 and Jim several hundo (that’s American for one-hundred by the way).  Well how often does lightening strike twice?  They got reamed at around 6am the next night/morning wiping out their gains.  But at least Arum had the Rio call to the Luxor to ensure they were able to cover his table max bet of $200/hand!  What?  You did that?  Until the pit-boss reprimanded him to leave….go home….go play blackjack, lol!  House game through and through.  But still fun.

We played and I donked off about 300 before it got old.  Jim hit a full house with $20 on each spot and so won about $800 on the hand.  Almost got him even….almost.  Played a little blackjack afterwards won back a little and then called it a night (after a small round of poker).

Let it Ride!



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Played Friday night in my regular game and then on Sunday at a buddy’s game.  I seemed to be snake-bit a little hitting my two pairs, only to be outdrawn four times on Friday.  Sick really.  Fortunate only to lose the amount I did really.  Played fare, but still am in a little rut overall.  Sunday’s game brought a loose aggressive game with lots of cash to win.  Again, getting outflopped and the occassional river, but that’s poker.  Notable hand.

I’m under the gun with just A9, but raised to 20.  Six to he flop!   AK8 rainbow.  I lead out with 35 to see where I’m at.  “Only” four callers!  I’m done with the hand unless I hit my 9.  Turn…a 9.  Ok, back in business.  I lead out with a biscuit, or hundo (that’s American for one-hundred) and still three callers!  There’s now 660 in the pot and I’ve now got a good idea where I’m at.  I put one of them on two pair (A10, A8 for a weaker two pair, and likely one on AJ or AQ).  C’mon…no 10,J or Q….river….J…..argh!!  First to act puts out 100.  I call and so does the guy behind me.  First guy mucks and the guy after me shows AJ.  Damn it.  I knew I had him.  Coincidentally enough, the last guy folded for the last 100 smartly folding his A8.  Three of us with two pair with AJ, A9, A8.  Sick.  Had a guy later call my all-in preflop when I had QQ on the button wih five in front of me (all $25 callers) so with $125 in the pot on the button I shoved and 55 called me down and flopped 5’s full of deuces.  Nice for $300.

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Poor Shaner.  Would you believe he got a case of pneumonia?  During the summer?  Coughing, nasally and poor sleep and we took him to the doc.  They immediately put him on oxygen and they immediately told us to go to the hospital.  Kind of scary, but the good news is that he’s fine now.  Antibiotics, steroids and rest doing the trick.  Still scary nonetheless.  He was such a good kid though through the whole thing….I mean…how many kids do you know that are smiling in their hospital bed?

Shane in the hospital

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Due date – fast approaching.  We have two girl and two boy names, but nothing etched in stone…not even close.  We’d love to have some solicited suggested names, serious or not.  I’d probably guess that 95% of people find out what the sex of their child is.  I understand it’s a personal choice, but what I get a kick out of is when people say they have to find out because they have to plan…they have to paint the baby’s room….  C’mon, face it….you want to know because you have no sense of adventure, no patience. 

It’s sometimes a chore since so many people ask you if it’s a girl or boy.  There is 1% of me that is curious, but with Shane, the focus was always on the health of the baby.  With the first one, I didn’t concentrate at all on the sex….or for the name for that matter.  I gave Mindy the liberty of coming up with a name provided I had veto power, which unfortunately I had to invoke several times when it came to girl names.  But funny enough, we were set on a boy’s name early on.  We even went to the hospital without a girl’s name and still did not have one upon delivery.

When Shane was born…he came out and all I saw was his buttocks.  I was simply just in aww.  Here’s a baby…it’s coming out….just stunning…speechless…………tick, tick, tick……………..tick, tick, tick…..15 seconds go by until finally Mindy asks,’what is it’…..I’d not even thought of that.  Turned him over and there it was!

Since we’d settled on a name, we finalized it and laugh when we think, what if it was a girl?  Moot question.  We’ll see what happens this go around.  Baby names anyone?

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So we’re winding down our weekend poker trip, getting pretty much ready to head back to ‘reality’.  It’s Sunday night and many of the tourists and recreational players have gone home.  But honestly we’re fried and ready.  I’d thought Jim and I were going to head to the Gold Coast next door to play some single-deck blackjack but while they were waiting for me, they stopped back in to the Rio’s main poker room to play some $1/3NL.  After playing $2/5NL all weekend, it was tough adjusting back to a smaller game.  I donked off about 200 in 45 minutes (gee – that was fun), and Jim suggested we go play $3-6 limit and jam the pots. 

We sit down on the not-so-lively table and Jim actually announces to the table his plan to raise every single pot…which he did!  Let me tell you…this was funny shit.  It took all but one hand for them to believe it.   He raised, I re-raised, call, call, Jim re-raised, and I capped it.  That was pretty much like four of the first five hands.  The 87 year old woman on Jim’s right said, “What are you doing? You’re going to lose all your money!”.  This was EXACTLY what Jim was talking about!  She got up and left after 10 minutes…reeling. 

The table captain, was humbled, the portly fellow that was sitting there with a mountain of $1 chips (maybe $300 worth) just was pissed off and he left.  I think the remaining folks got it and started to loosen up a little.  But much to their chagrin when Jim told them he was going to play it straight up…they got disappointed, especially when they started losing pots to both Jim or I. 

Jim was actually giving me some pointers a short while later on limit play which I appreciated as I hadn’t played a real limit game in about 18 months since I used to play four tables of $10-20 online (still cannot believe I was doing that), but the dealer reprimanded us when he told me that if I had a certain hand, I should raise with it,….and the dealer said there’ll be ‘none of that’….but I think all at the table knew we weren’t colluding…as he and I punched each other a few times.  In fact, Jim’s quote of “We’re not cheating…just colluding a little” game me a solid chuckle.

One of the funniest parts of this session came on the next day.  I’d given Jim some scratch paper out of my Costanza wallet.  C’mon, we all carry around extra stuff in there we don’t need.  Anyway, I wasn’t paying attention so the action was on me.  I go to play my cards and well…I only have one.  Seriously, we all looked around…maybe it was on the floor, or under the rail.  Apparantly the dealer hadn’t dealt me a second card.  Misdeal.  It was good, because the one he did was a deuce.

Well in going to pay for Starbucks this morning…out pops, the King of Diamonds from my wallet!  Woops…sorry ‘bout that.

I think I won back like $80 playing the $3/6 limit but it did not matter….it was entertaining.

Woopsie, the missing card!

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One of the many reasons I even play the game of poker is the social aspect.  I mean, we all have our own lives going on, working to pay Uncle Sam, having our own responsibilities and simply, just stuff.  Poker is one of the great games as anyone can play.  With sports, you have to have some type of athleticism, although with the obesity of so many American, I think some sports just some people shouldn’t play.  But as long as you have a little bit of disposable income, you can sit with some of the very elite of poker, or at least some of the poker  wanna-be’s.  I personally play as it’s another ‘out’ outside of real life.  It can be a very social and fun game, or for some I saw this weekend, seemingly it was looking like work.

You can earn a living at this game, but c’mon…then it’s literally work, you have to play different taking out living expenses, etc.  For the tourist, if you’re not having fun, then well, you’re losing, even if you win money.  There are so many uptight individuals at the table it’s disgusting. 

Anyway, we’re playing another session, this one going into the wee-hours of the morning.  Arum, McGregor and I are having fun all at the same table (think Chesterfield-South, ala Rounders), with two Asians, I think one Armenian guy, and couiple of others, and this half-baked drunk 20-something sits down and starts us reeling in laughs for the next 90 minutes.  Our personal favorite was his river bet versus another guy, putting a twenty-stack of red $5 chips out there (a biscuit in our home-game), but announces his bet….”…I bet a Hundo….that’s American for One-Hundred” and we started rolling. That’s just some funny stuff.

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With Mindy and I house-hunting in New York, we’re at the beck and call somewhat of our real estate agent.  She’s been doing a great job, but still tough searching for a home from 1,000 miles away.  Enter, the internet.  With all the varied sites, you can really do a house hunting trip from well, your office or your bedroom, or gosh…your restroom (if you have wireless).

The web site www.zillow.com is one of the coolest sites.  It takes Google Earth/Satellite technology and allows you to physically view your home, or other’s homes from anywhere.  Public tax records help establish their “zillow” Z-estimates of what the homes are worth.  Now if you think about it, you can get up close and personal with anyone you want.  Case in point, Tom and Katie Cruise, the home they rented for years is at the following- link.  If you drive by it, you’ll see they have nice shrubbery, but if you go to zillow.com and type in their address, you’ll see a mac-daddy of a home and tax records in what the house was wort…interesting in how the value of their home went up over the last couple of years eh…hm…January ’04 it was worth $4M, and today over $10M.  The couple moved to something ‘larger’ at link purchased for a shade over $30M.  Hm…seems like a good deal.Another notable home – The Bob Hope Estate – link…was another near where we lived in LA.  See, I can’t seem to get the LA out of me. 

Anyway, our house is at the following link and will be for sale in Atlanta should anyone be in the market at a huge discount over the above listed overpriced homes.  Poker tables and chips may be included!



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