April 2019
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Put a dime on it

The award for best sports betting promotion ever goes to Mansion, who have set up this little gem for the start of the NFL season.

Place a bet of $1100 on Pittsburgh to beat Miami on Thursday and they will refund your stake if you don’t win.

You can’t bet less than $1100, and if you bet any more the maximum refund is still $1100.  And you have to back the Steelers.  But if you can bankroll this bet a, it has a huge risk free return.  The bet you have to make is a point spread handicap at -110, therefore paying $1000 for the $1100 wager.  That’s a free shot at a grand.  Or, as I’ve done, you can hedge it (as long as you use a different site) and lock in nearly $500 profit guaranteed!

The point spread was actually zero when I placed the bet, so I backed PIT with $1100 to win $1000 and then hedged betting MIA using their promotional -107 line at CanBet, risking $535 to win $500.  Except really there’s no risk:

If PIT win, I win $1000 and lose $535, net profit $465.

If MIA win, I win $500 but do not lose on the other bet.

So I guess I’ll be cheering for Miami on Thursday, to try to win the extra $35.  That’s about as much as I’d normally put on a game…!

Cheapo update

The mission to not pay full price for food failed when I had to fend for myself at the Rio on a break, and I ventured into the "Poker Kitchen".  This is a token effort, basically a tent plonked just outside the emergency exits at the back of the convention centre, and it’s far from great.  I queued for ten minutes at the hot dog and burger counter.  The hot dogs were "still frozen" and the burgers were "going to be a while".  So I had to grab a really stodgy sandwich for $6, a bag of crisps for $2 and a snickers for $1.50.  Poor value, poor service and it made me miss three hands because I was waiting around so long.

Anyway, we were back on form yesterday at Ellis Island.  This place is fantastic value even without a discount, but with a 2-for-1 it’s unbelievable.  I had a Frisco Burger, which is served on sourdough bread and sliced in two like a sandwich.  Yummy.  Claire had fish and chips, which she said was great.  In total with drinks the bill came to $9.54.  Total bargain.

Then it was matchplay time.  We had no luck with the matchplays last trip and particularly at Terrible’s where we lost every single one.  Things started the same way this time at Ellis Island with a $5 and a $10 matchplay.  We both lost.

So back to Terribles and not expecting much, we had two coupons for Roulette – bet $5 win $7 – which we played on red and odd and hit red 21 for a $14 profit.  Almost back even.

For blackjack at Terribles we were on the "coupon table" as the dealer pointed out.  Three of the four players were there for a single hand with a matchplay!  We had 2 x $10, one won one lost for a profit of $10.

Also had $5 free slot credit at the Venetian, which didn’t do any good.  Four max bet spins at 25c video poker and it was gone in a flash.

So far: Up $9 and well fed !

Double bonus!

For as much as I don’t like InterPoker (probably a separate rant) their monthly $100 deposit bonus is good and when you can clear this in conjunction with a second bonus it’s really too good to turn down.

The second promotion was a bonus payout each time you are dealt poket kings.  After submitting your account number and the hand number, they promise to credit your account with $10.  The only condition is that the hand must have generated some rake.  In theory this is a great promo.  $10 free every 220 hands on average is worth roughly 1 big bet per 100 hands at $2/$4. I played 676 hands last night (ended up clearing about half of the bonus) during the promo period and was dealt KK just once, yet I saw AA and QQ 4 times each, and JJ a whopping 9 times.  A cynical player might say that all the KKs turned to JJ for the duration of this promo, and I did see others chatting about how they hadn’t seen KK the whole time.  But this was an InterPoker promo only, so I can’t believe that even if it was possible the whole Cryptologic network would put on a crooked deal just for one skin!  Of course, when they run this offer for just 5 hours at a time you’re not really getting a very big sample of hands, and those that are seeing a rush of Kings aren’t going to be complaining…

So, let’s just see how badly I messed up the one KK hand I did see:  Remembering that the hand has to be raked to get the bonus, and with everyone folding to me leaving just two players and the blinds still to act, I decide to just limp in to make sure we get the flop and the hand is raked.  Just the big blind stayed in for a free play, and of course flopped 2 pair with his Q5o to relieve me of $20.

Only myself to blame, though I still think limping here is probably right.  With any other player already in the pot I’m raising, and from early position you don’t want to encourage limpers to play against your big pair.  An open limp in middle to late position on a tight table gives up your the edge on a $2 bet preflop but locks in the extra $10 win-or-lose bonus.  It’s just a question of whether the bonus compensates for letting in opponents with crud hands.  In my case it didn’t, but I did only have one chance to find out.

Kerching – Party Poker Reload Bonus

You just can’t beat free money from Party Poker!  Their reload bonuses are very easy to clear even at the low limits, so when a 20% up to $100 bonus popped up on my account yesterday I got busy.

I decided to play for this bonus using $25NL only.  I wanted to see how no limit compared to fixed limit hold’em as I’ve mostly played $1/$2 to clear these bonuses so far.  Because the wagering requirements are based on a number of raked hands, regardless of the actual amount of rake paid, the limits do not really matter.  In fact a quirk of this system is that you have to play less hands at $1/$2 to clear a bonus than at $2/$4 – although you pay more rake in total, $1/$2 games are raked in 25c multiples, whereas $2/$4 is raked $1 at a time.

I thought you would probably need to play more hands at $25NL than $1/$2 as there would be fewer flops, but really this doesn’t seem to be the case – I’d usually bank on slightly more than 50% of hands being raked at $1/$2.

Stand by, stat fans – here’s how I did :)

Hands played:  1540 (for 1000 raked hands)Hours played:  23.63 (approx 6 hours @ 4 tables)Rake paid:     $30.10 (so Party Poker lose $69.90 on this promo!)

Amount won:    $35.52 (4.61 BB per 100 hands)Win rate:      $5.92/hrBonus awarded: $100

Rate w/ bonus: $22.60/hr

Certainly not bad for the smallest game in town.  And for those who like even geekier stats, here’s how I was playing:

Vol. Put $ In Pot:       14.29%Pre-flop Raise:           7.21%Post-flop Aggression:     3.72Won $ When Saw Flop:     33.59%Went to Showdown:        20.99%Won $ At Showdown:       50.91%Folded SB to Steal:      87.50%Folded BB to Steal:      80.00%Attempt to Steal Blinds: 18.57%

So it’s a fairly small sample size, but the diagnosis looks pretty good – firmly rooted in the Tight/Agressive camp.  Poker Tracker gives me a little cash bag icon – result!

If I try to be objective, my blind play looks kinda weak, although 8 times out of 10 is probably nothing to be concerned with.  Need more input.  When there are a lot of limpers, as you get in these low limit games, there’s not too many opportunities to steal.  I could be raising a bit more pre-flop, but again with lots of limpers I’m aware that my range of hands to raise with is tighter than usual, and limping into multiway pots with small pairs and suited aces becomes attractive.

Oh, and I appear to be rather aggressive post-flop.  That one really surprised me as I still think I check/call too much on the river.  The aggression factor is calculated as the number of times you bet or raise divided by the number of times you call (checking is ignored).  A number between 2 and 3 – betting twice to three times as often as you call – is thought to be nicely aggressive.

Grrrr, then.