Thursday, September 08, 2005

Back in the Saddle again… I had some money moldering in Neteller, untarnished by multiple fantasy football leagues, What-if Sports teams, and pick-em pools. This was MY money, free and clear. So, as any compulsive gambler would do, I started poking around various poker sites, seeking to whore my money out to the most appealing combination of bonus cash, bonus terms, and game selection.

First, let me tell you about the sites I didn’t choose.

Party/Empire– I’m tired of Party… plain and simple. I’m tired of their commercials, I’m tired of their interface, I’m tired of their arrogance. It’s like buying stock in IBM. Yeah, I know, fishy wishy, but with 70K players, 60K of which are schooling fish and 8K of which are sharks, you’re outnumbered and you NEVER get an overlay on tournaments.

Noble – Honestly, I wanted to try this one. I downloaded their software and everything! That 100% bonus sounded wonderful and all of the reviews had been pretty good. I logged on last night at around 10pm (my usual poker time) and there were 800 people. 800! Not a good omen for finding a live table or a quick SnG. Hell, I might as well have gone to Poker Mountain.

Pacific – For my money, better hunting grounds that even Party. I punched up my history, just for nostalgia’s sake. I cashed out over $1K ahead here, but no reload bonuses to speak of. Even a 10% bonus might have earned my money. Those 20-seat SnGs that paid down to the top five were my bread-and-butter for months. But the $16 buy-ins were gone. Oh well…

Full Tilt – I never had good luck here. I blame the garish colors and the circus appearance of the whole site. Also, it takes forever to get a SnG going. I’m looking for quick gratification, not a 20-minute wait. I’ve never been a real jock-sniffer, so the “rub elbows with the pros” angle never drew me in. Their email promos are laughable also, lauding Annie Duke as being “considered by many the best women’s player in history”. Ummm, I think “many” refers to anyone who is employed by Full Tilt. Otherwise, NO.

Ultimate – I absolutely HATE their new SnG structure. For those who haven’t been there in a while, instead of having SnG tables fill up, you go to a virtual SnG lobby with 20-30 other guys and wait for the top ten to be “called” to a table. Apparently, their software waits until a SnG table finishes, and then moves the group over. I’ve seen over 40 people waiting for a SnG to start. Most other sites would just, oh, start the table when ten people sit down. So, despite having the best interface in the industry, they were never a consideration.

Poker Mountain – I just put this here to see if you were paying attention. With about five people there at any one time, they’re probably running this on a 486DX in Daniel Negreanu’s mother’s basement. To paraphrase Al Borland, “I don’t think so, Todd”.

And the winner is… Poker Stars! Ah, the site of my greatest almost-triumph, the 2nd place finish in the WPBT’s second (or third) Monty Tournament last year. A 20% bonus that never expires, tons of SnGs running in multiple games and limits, bad players galore, and in case you hadn’t heard, Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker started there! So I plopped my pittance down (via Neteller) and was playing a $10 SnG within five minutes.

I hadn’t really played in about a month, but did OK. I was crippled early by a flopped two pair getting beat by pocket aces that rivered a set. I can’t bitch about the guy chasing since he had pocket aces, after all. I called a modest EP preflop raise on the button with T8 sooted. Flop of T83 with two spades drew a min bet from the aces, which I promptly raised 3x. He smooth-called. Spade on the turn got him to check. I put him on the ace of spades and bet the pot, knowing he would call, but pricing him into a bad spot. River was the ace of spades, which stopped me dead. With four spades on board, we both checked it down and he showed his pocket rockets which shot down my two pair. Not sure if I could’ve played it differently or better.

And they call it RiverStars for a reason. I ended up busting out on ATs. After a preflop raise, I get a flop of T75. After a bet and a call, the turn is a 6. I push here and get called in one place. By 96o. The river hits his gutshot and IGHN. Again, played it right and lost. I’ll probably get back into my one SnG a night pattern and see how this “free” cash plays out. If last night is any indication, I’m playing correct poker, just not winning poker. Hopefully soon, the odds will balance out and those five and six-outers won’t be hitting twice in a row.


At 1:15 PM, Blogger partyguy said...

glad i stopped by. i dig the blog. i ony have a small site here about party poker bonus, no blog yet.


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