Monday, August 28, 2006

Mansion Poker is a Complete Rip Off Site! Do NOT DEPOSIT Money There!

In the review of almost 200 poker sites on-line, it was only a matter of time until I ran across an actual bunch of thieves.

Mansion Poker took my deposit thru Net Teller - but would not allow a cash out unless I sent them my driver's license number or passport number.

Now I don't know about the rest of you out there in poker land, but I am not about to send my picture and either one of those two pieces of information to some bunch of minimum wage phone jockeys half way around the planet. Not in this day and age. Who knows how my ID could be used and by whom.

They gave me the speel about in the fine print they state they require it. I told their on line chat people that it was a farce and the information cannot be used for what they SAY they are trying to use it for. I told them they would not be getting my #'s or my photo. They told me I would not be getting my money back.

If Mansion Poker was not trying to steal money or collect ID's for who knows what reason - they would ask for the information BEFORE taking deposits. Very underhanded and very slimy. May they all rot in HELL at Mansion Poker!

Oh well, chalk it up to a bad beat and use all my poker connections to try and ruin the site every way I can. That work starts tomorrow. Count on it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Poker Driving Artificial Intelligence

"The Canadian Press has a story about a University of Alberta team that is using Texas Hold-'em to study artificial intelligence. Poker seems to be a much more useful game for this research than chess. From the article: 'Poker has what are currently some of the biggest challenges to (artificial intelligence) systems, and uncertainty is the primary hurdle that we're facing,' said Michael Bowling, adding that the University of Alberta program was able to use its opponents' actions to infer certain things about their hands. 'The same techniques, the same principles that we're developing to build poker systems are the same principles that can be applied to many other problems. The nice thing about chess as a property of the game is what we call perfect information. You look at the board, you know where all the pieces are, you know whose turn it is — you have complete knowledge of the game,' he said. 'But in the real world, knowing everything is just so rare. Everything we do all day long is all about partial information. So poker's much more representative of what the real world's like, and in that sense it becomes a much harder problem.'"

Hints to Winning Big (Large) Tournaments On-line

As a four-time winner of large field tournaments on-line, I think I can speak with a little authority. Not a lot of authority – but a little.

The first thing you should look for is tournaments or sites that start you with an ample amount of chips. The more chips you have in relationship to the size of the blinds, the more skill comes into play – and less ‘bingo’ betting has to employed.

You should look for tournaments with the starting chips at 50 times the starting big blind or bigger. The bigger the ratio, the better it is for the skilled player.

NPP guys should find tourneys with only 3 starting chips and the blinds at 1 – 2, with blinds going up every 5 seconds. But I digress.

Blinds that go up every 15 minutes is a good time limit for on-line. Live tourneys should have at least a 30-minute gap.

Personally, I also hate re-buy tournaments. I got in an unlimited re-buy tourney at at the Mirage in Las Vegas and a loose cannon at my table lost his starting stack 8 times before the first blind increase! I didn’t win any of those stacks from him and was at a distinct disadvantage right off the bat.

In other words, re-buy tourneys are another possible luck factor for the maniacs to pad their chip stacks before the the re-buy period ends and the ‘real’ tournament begins. You can play in them, but be aware that gambling a little or maybe a lot, may be the best strategy in them.

The last issue is the payout. Some experts want the money spread out to between 15 and 30 percent of the field, getting some return to as many as possible. Some experts want only the final table or at the most the final two tables cashing.

I have no preference really as you have to ‘go deep’ in a few tourneys a year in order to make money anyway. Well maybe I do prefer it more spread out as I hate big swings in my bankroll.

But I think – for the good tournament player – he will make just about the same amount regardless of how the tournament directors set it up. The gaps between paychecks might be longer with the one or two table payouts, but the end result of money I think would be almost the same if you play in enough tourneys and are good enough.

But you need to be aware that if it is a big spread of cashing players, you must be very patient and think of survival at all times. You still have to be willing to attack other ‘scared’ players at the right time – near those dreaded ‘bubble’ finishes (just off the money).

If only the final table or two get paid, be aware that you NEED chips to have any hope of getting there. So gambling at some point will be required. Up to you to pick when, but with practice you will figure it out. I will make it a topic for another article. – Nik Faldo