Poker On line

It’s nearly 2:00 AM as I write this. I have played on and off since 9’ish.

My first mistake was entering a $30+3 Pot Limit Hold’em tournament. I had never played pot limit before and it immediately adds something new to the game. If you show weakness, other players in better position will take advantage and raise like crazy.

Now a pretty good hand becomes suspect. It might have been worth a bet… but your whole stack? As it is, I finished in the middle of the pack. I went “all in” with a two reasonably good picture cards only to lose.

Next it was a one table No Limit Hold’em tournament for $10+1. I don’t know what I was thinking, because I had just done so poorly with pot limit. I came in third, again going all in with a reasonably good hand only to lose to someone with a reasonably better hand.

Third place pays $18, so that’s $7 net, minus the $33, leaving me down $26.

Helaine played a $10+1 Hold’em tournament. Nada. Now down $37.

I decided, before bed, to try some low stakes non-tournament poker. After all, this is what I play in casinos. The advantage of tournaments is you limit your risk. But, I decided to play $1/$2, so how wrong could I go? How much can you possibly lose playing $1/$2?

It should be noted that I’m playing at pokerstars.com. Earlier, I had played at partypoker.com. There’s really not much difference. Competition makes them all match each other. I met some folks from pokerstars at The Orleans in Las Vegas at a tournament and they seemed nice.

Maybe the biggest difference here (and I haven’t been to Partypoker in a while) is the very, very low stakes games you can find. You can literally play $.01/$.02 pot Limit Hold’em, and $.02/$.04 with fixed limits.

Of course, there are also free games, but the play is so different when there’s no real money on the line that it’s just no fun.

I played around a half hour at $1/$2 and got very hot, very quickly. By the time I was done, I had gone from $37 in the hole, to $12 up. Moving $49 to the positive at these stakes is pretty unusual… so luck and the other player’s lack of skill certainly had to enter into it.

Poker obsessed

This is ridiculous. I have become poker obsessed.

I have a few days off and went to try and play on-line. Pokerstars.com have some free tournaments, with 1,000 entrants. Before I could figure out how to enter, it was full!

I’m willing to put some cash into this, but my credit card company will not approve payments for Internet gambling (they being smarter than I). There’s a method where you tie your checking account… need I go further? That’s not happening.

What I will do is bring some money to Stop & Shop and wire it to Costa Rica via Western Union.

Even as I say this, I realize this is probably a dumb thing to do. However, I will limit my loss to less than what I won this past weekend and see what happens.

Southwest VISA revisited

I got to the bottom of the credit card flap thing morning.

In 2000, three years ago, my mutual fund says they sent me new checks and had me sign for them. This May, they stopped honoring the old checks. I’ve been using the old ones all along, so they could have told me I was headed for a tree.

Bottom line – they’re wiring $5,000 into my checking account. They will waive any fees. Southwest’s VISA will refund my bounced check fee and will wire $5,000 from my Wachovia checking account. Wachovia, an innocent bystander, will probably charge me to receive the wire transfer (and make a huge profit on it).

Is this chapter closed? It should be. It probably isn’t.

Poker at Mohegan Sun

Helaine asked if I would be interested in brunch at Mohegan Sun today? I said sure… though I sense diet time is just around the corner for me.

This is one of those incredibly decadent brunch buffets with virtually everything you can think of that’s vaguely related to breakfast. Add to that amazing desserts and coffee and I’m there in a heartbeat.

I stuffed myself on raw clams, shrimp, lamb chops, freshly cooked pasta (with sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms but very, very minimal sauce) and a passion fruit crepe with mango ice cream for dessert.

Before breakfast, I walked into the soon-to-close poker room and put my name on the list. As I returned, a new $5/$10 Hold’em table was opening, and I was called. It was a nice group of people; lots of fun.

More importantly, over the course of the afternoon I won $292. I continue to feel my poker skills are going up. I’ve won the past 3 or 4 times I played. But, it is very possible to be lucky for a run like that (and more profitable to be lucky than skillful).

It’s a shame Mohegan Sun’s poker room will close in early September. It is a very nice room; smaller than Foxwoods but a little more nicely appointed and sedate. A poker room can make good money for the owner, but nowhere near as much as slot machines… and that’s what will go in. I sense Foxwoods will change the rake structure, in essence raising the price to play poker, once the MS room is closed.

Rebuilding the website

I’m not sure why, but I’ve finally got the bug to build this website correctly. whether I can accomplish that is another question.

I figure the first thing I need to do is establish a style, and that means CSS, something I don’t understand 100%. That makes it a bit more difficult.

I also worked on getting some dynamic weather data, specifically forecast model data. That meant shell programming, in BASH. Again, this is something beyond my expertise. Luckily, I have the guidance of Bob Hart at FSU. His knowledge of ‘ix’ languages and GrADS (which I’m using to produce the graphics) is scary.

There is also a version of HAMWeather running, though not customized at all.

This will take time. But, there is a huge amount of satisfaction (as I got a few minutes ago when a PHP enabled include worked) in writing and debugging code.

My last computer class was 1967… and then in Fortran.

Southwest VISA card

Our Southwest Airlines VISA credit card, from First USA, has become a royal pain in the ass. The problems started almost immediately when we got the card in March. We were ‘declined’ more than once for security purposes and now because our magnetic stripe wasn’t read correctly (2 different cards in 2 separate readers) declined again.

Even in cases where First USA knew they would ‘decline’ our next transaction, they never called, leaving that responsibility to the gas station attendant or grocery store clerk.

What service does my yearly service fee buy me?

Today we received a letter saying that a $5,000 payment by check had been returned to them, account closed. I immediately went to the computer, checked the account, and it’s fine. This being Saturday, there’s no one at the bank to speak to. The woman at First USA was incredibly rude and made it clear that First USA is too big to service it’s customers on a personal basis.

This will be fixed, but I am steamed.