Sunday, August 14, 2011

Like the Phoenix…

From the New York Times “Starved State Budgets Inspire New Look at Web Gambling”:
So district officials want residents to gamble closer to home — inside their homes, actually. Or in cafes, restaurants and bars. By year’s end the district hopes to introduce an Internet gambling hub that would allow Washington residents to play blackjack, poker and other casino-style games.
Read more here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Beauty of Black Friday

My new fave blog, Bill Simmon’s Grantland, has a great article about the unexpected silver lining to the recent shut down of all the US poker sites, written by one of the writers of Rounders:
Until the online poker boom, card players didn't look for anyone's permission, least of all the government's. They were more likely to flout the law than ask for its grace. Poker players used to take pride in all this, like guys in rock bands, but then they became domesticated, like guys with 401Ks. So even as I hate what the Federal prosecutors did, a small part of me likes that poker players, are, once again, in disrepute. Because that means that, once again, poker players are more Doc Holliday, less Davis Love III.
Go read it (it’s not too long)!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Sahara is no more

From the Las Vegas Sun:

We are live from the Sahara casino floor, which is to close forever at 10 a.m. Moments ago, a man asked no one in particular, “Is Jerry Lewis going to be here? He should be the last one out the door.”

Good little article. I recommend reading it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Beat the Rake

The experiment that was "Beat the Rake" took place last weekend and I'm not sure that there was really any surprises. I think we all know that in a 1/2 NL game raked at 10% that we pay a LOT in rake in terms of percentage but it's nice to see the numbers to back it up. Here is the number summary first:

Time span    Rake Tips Total
7:30- 8:30 91 18 109
8:30- 9:30 97 36 133
9:30-10:30 107 50 157
10:30-11:00 45 10 55
3.5 hours 340 114 454
Avg/hour 97 33 130

My back of the envelope calculation of 100/hour in rake was right in line with the actual numbers. We started six handed and I'm pretty sure we went the whole first hour that way so the $91 for that first hour would be like us playing a home 1/2 game then each of us throwing $15 away of the top of our stacks. Or $18 if you want to count tips too. Later on we ended up 8 handed which brings the hourly rake down to a relatively cheaper ~$12 hour. Still, after a standardish five hour session that would mean taking *three stacks of $1 chips* and flushing them down the toilet and that doesn't include tips.

The tips situation is rather noteworthy. The $2 tip per $100 pot is possibly suspect. At the very least I think that a cap would have been reasonable. I would say that a $5 tip is likely sufficient for all but the most monstrous pots in a 1/2 game. $2 per hundred might have even been on the high side but it only kicked in after a pot reaches $100 which mitigates it somewhat. We also did not pay any server tokes out of our stack which could end up being a couple bucks per person over a session. After I noticed that we had to change out racks of greens (tip chips) partway through the night I felt that the tip rate is going to need to be examined. The silver lining to a likely unreasonable no-cap policy on the tips is that we are able to gauge the pot sizes through the night. We got a predictable spike in pot sizes (as indicated by tip total) in the 9:30 to 10:30 hour due to stuck players trying to get even. Would that really add up to $50/hour for a dealer? I think that's on the high side but also not totally unreasonable given the fact that players are dragging multiple red stacks in after some of those hands.

There are a couple accounting issues to address here as well. Firstly, I had announced a total of 452 in rake/tips after cash out but careful observers will note that the numbers in the chart add up to 454. What probably happened was that somewhere in the 3200 chips in play last night a couple chips got swept into the rake box that should not have been. I also was ten minute late swapping out the chip drop box for the 9:30-10:30 period because I got sidetracked with Jeh working the end of tourney selection software (btw, I acknowledge that the process for determining the end was hopelessly over-engineered but I prefer a process that would stand up to rigorous auditing). So I took a straight 1/7 cut of both rake and tips and applied it forward to the 10:30-11:30 chip drop. Not as clean as I'd like it to be but the numbers are still plenty representative.

As for the structure of the tourney, I think Marsh's suggestion helped to keep action going more than it otherwise would have since there is less incentive to just try to coast with a stack that's above water. That's mitigated slightly by the fact that anyone stuck has even less incentive to try to get even. We ended up not really having a tough decision to make since on one was in the treading water category and stacks ended up getting fairly polarized by the time we called it off.

Before the current incarnation the previous structures that I was toying around with were either:
  • Play with the constant blinds but with increasing rake, either a higher percentage and/or higher or unrestricted cap on rake. Players are eliminated when they bust out or after they decide not to rebuy.

  • Play with constant blinds but after a given period of time eliminate either the shortest stack or anyone underwater. This brings up the same issue about having a random end time to minimize the effect of desperation (though correct) kamikaze play as a deadline looms.

I'm sure there are many other options of how to play a pseudo-cash game tournament and I think that the structure from this past weekend is likely not the strongest.

In the end, it's pretty clear that in order to beat the rake you are going to need a never-ending supply of fresh money coming in. Basically, if you get one player coming in every hour, donking off a stack or two, then leaving to be replaced by a fresh fish then the rest of the table (in aggregate) can hope to basically break even. Stronger players will be up some but it's going to be hard to crush the game without loose money at the table due to the constant erosion of your stack by the rake.

Anyway, there's the brain dump from the tourney. Feel free to comment away and we'll improve the format for next time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pass the Trash: Yea or Nea?

There is enough chatter to put forth the discussion of whether or not Pass the Trash should be in the Dealer's Choice rotation. If you have an opinion on the matter then comment below.

Structure for Heads Up Championship...discuss

If you have input on the structure of the Heads Up Championship, now would be a good time to comment on it. You should *not* expect any changes to the format if the only feedback is crickets (see last year's comments). Since the 2011 format is essentially the same as the 2010 format read last year's post if you need any details.

Remember, if you don't vote, you don't count!