There is luck in poker. There simply has to be, otherwise my buddy Charles would never have made 3 nut Full Houses and 1 set of Quads in the first 90 minutes of our home game this weekend. But the fact that luck is not the only factor in being a winning poker player is held up by the fact that all that money was redistributed pretty evenly around the table by the end of the night. Dad managed to get himself into the game $100 deep at one point, finally cashing out around ten bucks down. Between the wife and myself, we buried ourselves for $110, but cashed out down a whopping $6. So short term luck does not necessarily equal long-term success. Charles did finish the night up a bit, but nowhere near where he had been.
Played a little more over the weekend, knocked out my Party bonus for $100, and I think I was about even for the ride, so it actually was a bonus. But I’m starting to doubt the usefulness of chasing $100 4-tabling NLHE when I can make more than $100 in a couple of hours playing two tables of $2/4 or $50 max NLHE. I guess that’s the contradiction inherent in bonuses – if you’re playing levels that the bonus is a serious bump to your roll, the bonus is difficult or impossible to clear, and if you’re playing levels that make the bonus easier to clear, it’s hardly worth chasing. Not that I’m going to stop chasing them, but I’m not sure how many new rooms I’m going to sign up for just to chase them.
Still donking around on World Poker Exchange, currently hanging out there because the rakeback is covering my losses. That place is playing seriously tight, so it’s not going to get a ton of my playing time right now. The tightness of that site is easily attributed to their marketing plan. Promoting a site with 100% rakeback is not going to appeal to the fishies that are getting into poker on the internet because it looks neat and fun, it’s going to appeal to serious players who understand how much they are paying out to websites for the privilege of playing. And those are typically going to be tougher players.
It’s very similar to a conversation I had with Lou from PokerTek when I was over there last week. They have endorsements from Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson and Antonio Esfandiari about how great it is to not have to tip a dealer, and how many more hands you get in per hour, and how much more money a grinder will make over the course of a year just in tips and extra hands. That’s all well and good, but grinders aren’t your bread and butter market. Your leather-assed road dogs who sit for 14 hours a day in a casino are a part of the market, but they’re a niche market. Right now, to market things to the poker player, market to the casual player. Market something about how you don’t have to be able to chip tricks to sit at our table. Something about how it’s casino poker, but as simple to learn as a computer game. Something that is appealing to newbies.
Because we want newbies to come into casinos, feel comfortable and have fun. We want them to get bitten by the bug of raking a pot, of pushing all in, of winning a coin flip on the river. We want them to feel that excitement and energy. But we have to reach them. If I’m marketing a new poker site or a new poker product, I’m going the Bodog route or the Party route, shooting for either “cool” or “fun,” not “rakefree” or “tokefree.” So that’s my marketing suggestion of the day, for what it’s worth (nothing unless anyone uses it, then send me free toys!).
I played a couple of heads-up SNGs yesterday, after reading Harrington’s heads-up chapter in HOH:II. Out of a ridiculously small sample size, I’m ahead, 3-1. In these things, you pretty much have to win 75% of them to be profitable, because of the juice. I’m enjoying them, so I may add them into my rotation of games. I’m not in any hurry to take on the Yoyo or Waffles, I just wanna play random donkeys for a bit.
I’ll be back eventually with a post about teaching my 77-year old father Texas Hold Em yesterday, and goal of turning my poker-illiterate sister into a profitable internet Limit Hold Em player.