Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Cash on hand, thinking about stickies

Maybe I've been fortunate, but the speed with which the my bonus hunting cashouts has happened has surprised me.

I hit my Starluck wagering requirements (WR) on May 24. They said to wait 24 hours before requesting a cashout, so 24 hours later, I requested it, and the money was in my Neteller account within four hours.

Planetluck, same thing. Hit the WR May 27, waited 24 hours, requested cashout, and it was in my account late May 28.

WilliamHill, hit the WR May 28, requested cashout, and it was in my account this afternoon.

My previous cashouts at 7Sultans and Breakaway also came through within 36 hours.

I'm now grinding away at InterCasino (offering a $100 100% match for May, 25x WR), and expect to hit the WR tonight or tomorrow. This is supposed to be a monthly promotion with a 90 day time limit, so once I finish this one, I should be able to re-sign up for another $100 100% promotion for June. They've got a 5-spot multi-hand table, and at $5 a round ($1 a hand), my variance will be up a bit. At $183/$2500 into it, I'm ahead slightly, but more importantly, I can now afford the increased variance for the benefit of shortening the time it takes to complete the WR.

Once these non-sticky bonuses run dry, then it's on to the stickies, which take a completely different strategy than grinding away at $1 per hand. Sticky bonuses are money you can wager with, and collect the winnings, but never the principal. They're frequently larger percentages (200%-400%), so if I buy in for $100 and get another $300 (a 300% bonus), I can wager with $400, but when I withdraw, $300 of my bankroll goes back to the casino.

There's two strategies I've read. The first is the simplest: bet all $400 on one hand. There's about a 49% chance of winning $400, and a 51% chance of losing $100. Mathematically, it's a no brainer if you have the $100 to lose. Emotionally, man... $400 bucks on one hand? Butterflies galore, and I'm just thinking about it at this point. If you win, you have $800, $500 of which you can cash out after you meet the remaining WR by playing low variance $1/hand.

The second strategy is to use one of the many long-term defective betting strategies out there (e.g., the Martignale), and start with betting 10%-15% of your stack, aiming for a goal of 1.5x to 2x of the starting bankroll ($600 to $800, minus $300). You'll get to the WR more quickly, and have a few more hands to withstand a down start.


Trestin said...

So, how many hours did it take to come out that far ahead? How close were you to the statistical prediction?

travisl said...

At $1 a hand, playing multiple hands simultaneously, it's usually about $400 in WR per hour. So for Starluck's and PlanetLuck's $1600 WR, it was about four hours each. For WilliamHill and Intercasino, it was about five hours each. 18 hours to make $562 is about $31 per hour. On top of that, it's not fair to compare $31 per hour to my hourly wage at work, because these are hours that I'd otherwise be getting closer to $6 per hour playing poker.

BonusBug says that statistically, with Starluck and PlanetLuck's $1600 wagering requirements, the expected profit is $90 (down $10), with a standard deviation of $45. So, 65% of the time, I should end between +$45 and +$135.

Using my own math, assuming a 0.3% house edge, $1600 in wagers should have an expected end result of being down $48, for an expected profit of $52, SD of $45, ending between +$7 and +$97.

I've ended an average of +$140, so I think my math is wrong (and BonusBug's is right), and that I've been a bit lucky.