Saturday, September 09, 2006


I've started doing some bonus whoring, and thus far it's been reasonably successful. Not as successful as it should be, mathematically, but I've still cleared about $450 in the last three days. At someone's suggestion, I've done a good chunk of it at casino sites, playing straight-up "Basic Strategy" blackjack. They tend to have obscene play-through requirements—as high as twenty-five times the total of the deposit plus the bonus—but even so, perfect Basic blackjack play is +EV.

I've come to exactly two conclusions about blackjack, since my entire casino blackjack play is less than $50 worth. First, blackjack is boring. I suppose playing hunches and the like could make it exciting, but since Basic Strategy is demonstrably the best way to play, that's the way I play. Second, I've come to believe based on my experience, that playing more than one hand at once against the dealer actually reduces one's EV. Initially I assumed it merely increased volume, and then I was told it also increases variance. But my experience the last couple of days leads me to believe that it reduces one's EV. The argument isn't this simple, but an example is that if you are dealt blackjack, you win one hand, where if the dealer is dealt blackjack, he wins three (or whatever) hands. I'm sure math exists on this topic, but I'm not privy to it; feel free to clue me in.

And Poker . . .

I've only just started working off some of the poker bonuses out there. Because I'm trying to accumulate rake to work off points at various sites, I've been playing a bit higher than normal of late, and determined one thing:

My blind play sucks.

No other part of the game makes me more likely to feel like I've been outplayed than headsup, blind-vs-blind or on a steal attempt (mine or the other guy's). Whenever I fold I'm sure I was bluffed off the best hand, and whenever I call down the other guy has something nice. If I tighten up in the blinds, the people to my right start stealing every go-round. If I loosen up, I lose even more money.

The thing is, I'm not really sure what to do about this. The literature doesn't seem to cover blind play well enough, at least not what I've read. Trying to learn from experience is costing me big. I'd appreciate some direction in this matter.

(Before someone asks how I got to this point in my poker "career" with such a large part of my game in shambles, I'll just answer that mostly I don't play in games where it comes up much. Since I went to Vegas I haven't played online, and live I've been playing $2/$4 to $4/$8 where enough people take every flop that steals, and their defense, isn't an issue.)