June 2010
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The best selling book in its class - fact!

The Gambler’s Book Club wants to re-order supplies of The Ultimate Video Poker Pocket Book!

This means that, depending on their re-order level, the number of people who have already discovered the joys of having pages and pages of gambling strategy tables in a handy, take-anywhere format could be as many as twelve.

That’s a pretty solid average of nearly two copies per month flying out the door since I sent them the first batch last November.

Actually, it’s slightly more than that.  At least one copy has been sold through – and it had even had such an impact on the reader that he left a review:

Try reading that aloud without doing air quotes.  I bet you can’t.

But wait – the iPhone version is doing even better!  I’ve sold a whopping 44  units.  And only one of those, as far as I know, was accidentally to myself 🙂

It’s surely only a matter of time before my mug shot is used to endorse some shady off-strip casino.  (Anyone interested: I’ll accept food comp or matchplay coupons for the image rights).

If you don’t already have a copy of what must surely be the best selling small format video poker strategy guidebook in the world (just show me another one that’s doing better) what are you waiting for?

Visit for more information.  If I sell another dozen copies, I might even finish that web site…

Cheap Trick baseball cap arrives…

… cleverly disguised as a CD.  (Courtesy of Paris Las Vegas)

I still think it’s a bit weird that this is even a thing, but it’s actually quite good.

Here’s a taster:

Dream home

Claire just found our dream Vegas house.  5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (is that enough? really?) on a fifth of an acre, and a steal at just $149,000.

The icing (terrible pun, sadly intended) on the cake is that it looks like someone got whacked in every single room.

“Needs some restoration”, reads the description, perhaps understating it ever-so-slightly.

Anyone know where I can find the CSI report?

More photos and less-gory details here:–Seal-Ct_Henderson_NV_89074_1119676035

Betting on the World Cup for the totally clueless

Here’s my tip: use someone else’s money.

BedFred just waved a free £5 bet in my face.  It’s really rude to say no to such things.

I don’t know the first thing about football these days.  In fact, I think the last game I watched was probably the last time England played in the World Cup.

So, here’s how I’ve almost certainly managed to turn a massively +EV proposition (taking someone else’s fiver) into the least profitable play possible (stupid accumulator based on guesswork).  I just clicked around a bit until it looked like there would be something worth cashing out.

I don’t feel quite so clueless after seeing things like this though.  Matt Goss and international football on a boat.  Just one of a million things that makes Vegas great.  But they could at least try to find out a little about which team the USA is actually playing…

Caesars did quickly correct this in their next post.  And then went on to brag that in addition to Guinness the 9am drinking party would feature such other speciality English beers as KilkennyHarp and Smithwick’s.

So grab a lucky shamrock and cheer for O’England!

And come on whoever the fuck else I picked above too…

Americans worse than average at poker - official

This week, I’ve been working on processing the World Series of Poker results to generate some stats for discussion on a well known poker web site.

All the information is out there if you want to try this at home.  You can get the full player lists in a PDF file for every event, and the list of winners is on a web page.

The challenge is that the player details are prone to mysteriously change from one list to the other.

For example, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi appears to have moved from Miramar to Miami in between buying his ticket and picking up a $1.5 million second place prize.  A whole bunch of players also seemed to suddenly move to Las Vegas from all over the country as soon as they picked up their cheque.

I expect their occupation also changed overnight, to “professional poker player” (or “adult movie star”) in anticipation of an inevitable Full Tilt (or Ultimate Bet) sponsorship deal.

Even having to contend with these delusions of celebrity, I don’t think I’ve done a bad job of getting some talking points out of the data.  A handful of players will have their wins recorded against someone else with the same name (but that happens to the best of us!) but mostly it’s a decent set of figures.  I’ll link to the full thing once it’s live.

But for now, the item that caught my eye the most is actually one where the player’s names don’t even matter, so I’m pretty confident in these stats.

In aggregating the entry fees and winning, and then calculating a return on investment by country, we can see that players from the USA are, as a whole – gasp – long term losers.

It’s not really any surprise to see a loss here.  Americans make up about 80% of the field and it’s a negative expectation game.  There’s juice of 6%-10% taken from every buy-in, no prize pool guarantees, no sponsor money added.  So, having the largest number of results available by far, you’d expect to see Team USA’s ROI tending towards this range sooner than any other country.

But it’s much worse than that.  After 16 events, they’re down a cool five million (about $350 per entry), with a combined ROI of nearly 20% in the wrong direction.

Across all players, the ROI comes in at roughly -9% (it’s skewed towards the top end of the range by the massive field sizes in the cheaper events, which are taxed more heavily).

Here’s the soundbite: Americans lose twice as much money at poker than the global average.

Sample size, yada yada yada.  Yes, possibly – but most of these events don’t have seven-figure prizes to quickly turn around that $5m national deficit.

I just thought it was an interesting number, and I’ll be watching it to see if the trend continues.