Monday, July 17, 2006

Slow Ho; go, Smo; oh no!

Slow Ho: For the last couple of days, I've been playing at the awkwardly named Dr. Ho 888 casino, based out of Macau. The name kind of makes sense, once you realize that 8 is some kind of lucky number in China, and that owner Stanely Ho, nicknamed "The King of Macau", is the worlds 84th richest person.

They offer a 125%/$125 20x non-sticky bonus, with no restrictions on the games to be played (other than prohibiting even money bets, or unreasonably safe bets such like red and black in roulette).

They offer games with live webcam dealers, but I'd heard that those games run pretty slow. They also offer what looks like Playtech software-run games, which is why I signed up.

Unfortunately, I didn't check it before I paid my money, and the Playtech tables are down. So, I've been playing simultaneous blackjack and baccarat, at the shockingly high minimum bet amount of $10 a hand. It's really slow, about a hand every minute or so. The dealers are decent to look at -- a few scuds -- but they've got that fake plastic "I'm on a webcam" smile, which really means, "Yay, I have all the dullness of being a dealer without the human interaction. When's my break?"

Because we're looking at real cards from a real blackjack shoe and real shuffles, I'm thinking that this has got to be a prime opportunity for card counting (normal online blackjack shuffles after each hand).

Go, Smo: At our irregular home game on Saturday, my cousin Smokey mentioned that he wants to try bonus hunting. I wish him the best of luck. I fear that he might be the kind of person who thinks that the roulette wheel has some kind of memory, or that a certain craps roll is "due", which will doom his efforts, but I wish him the best of luck.

If you're reading this, Smokey, a few more notes:

  • It took me 20 casinos offering free chips to get the $100 I started with. The list is on my May 28 blog entry. Truthfully, playing with these free chips are good training for the play that you'll do later at the non-sticky casinos.
  • Don't forget to read FlopTurnRiver and's postings.
  • Acropolis Casino has a good bonus, but an even better description of what a sticky bonus really is.
  • The forums at CasinoMeister are a good source of opinons on the various casinos; so's his Rogue's list. The Online Blackjack Guide is another resource, but much less useful.

Oh no!: I was playing super loose at the home game on Saturday. While Bill was urging himself with the mantra, "Don't play crap cards. Don't play crap cards," I was taking hands like Q9 and paying to see the flop with them. I lost my first $10 fairly quickly, then rebought another $10, winning a few small pots, then ending up decently ahead with a monster bluff against Phil. I was playing 83 and missed the board entirely, but my large bet on the river, representing top-card-top-kicker, prompted him to fold.

Eventually, though, the TV came on, playing a doumentary outlining a conspiracy to cover up the events of 9/11. I could have cared less, but three other players at the table were deeply into it, making each hand last 3-8 minutes long. Frustrated, and ready to go, I started playing my hands even stronger. I dropped back below $20, but eventually, I got pocket aces -- and ran into a straight on the river. A few hands later, I'm dealt A3 with a flop of A39, and bust out to an A9. $20 for five hours of poker, though -- not a bad evening.


Bill said...

New rule: No watching TV or laptops at the poker table. Those two things more than anything aggrivate me.

Trestin said...

I concur. Background music is ok, but I prefer to actually play cards instead of hear James and Phil go back and forth on their conspiracy theories.