Friday, March 19, 2010

Slow Climb

Strange what having no cash in your account can do.

My Full Tilt balance was down to $0.64. The next day I got $1.08 in rakeback. Well I'll be damned if that isn't just enough to buy into something.

An 18-man $1 SnG to be exact.

Made some cash on that.

Then a 9-person $1 SnG... cash.

Some $1 hyper turbos. Some 2nd places.

$10 in there now. More $1 games in my future.

Who needs reloading?

At this rate, I'll be able to afford a Mookie buy-in in no time!

Micro-sized numbers aside, this is as good an excuse as any to remind myself how to play this game with minimal risk while enforcing proper bankroll management. We'll see how long it lasts this time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tasty Quiche

I once made some crustless quiche. It was good. Last night I opted to go with the more traditional version. Why? because I had a bunch of broken eggs. Sadly, I waited to long to use them and they got tossed instead. I opted to crack some fresh eggs since I'd already started.

Quiche can be pretty simple, even if the ingredient list looks long. It's really just eggs (I've seen anywhere from 2-6, with most recipes in the 3-4 range), a cup of dairy, and 1 1/4 cups of cheese. Everything else is whatever filler you like. Here's my version from dinner:

Single shell pie crust (half of this recipe works nicely, but you could also just go store-bought, or use your grandmother's recipe, whatever. Note, the recipe I linked to comes together quickly, but needs at least an hour in the fridge)

5 or 6 or so slices of peameal bacon

2 oz butter
2 large leeks, chopped
1 medium cooking onion, chopped
fresh ground pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup water
A few leaves of fresh basil, chopped

3 eggs
1 cup half-and-half, or milk, or any cream % you like
dill (I used dried, but fresh would be better)
basil (I used dried, but fresh would be better)
smoked paprika
cayenne pepper
pinch of fresh-ground nutmeg

Around 1 1/4 cups of your favourite cheeses, grated. 1 cup of a Swiss variety + 1/4 cup parmesan are standard. I used gruyère, applewood smoked chedddar, 6 year old white cheddar, roasted garlic havarti, jalapeno jack, and parmesan reggiano.

- Preheat oven to 350F

- I'll assume the pie crust is in a pie pan. If not, put it there. If you're using your own pie pan, greasing it first might be a good idea.

- If the pie crust is raw, put a sheet of parchment paper or greased foil (slippery-side down) on the crust and weigh it down with ceramic pie weights or dried beans. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes, take out weights and paper/foil, and bake for a few more minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool while working on the rest.

- Cut up the bacon into small squares. Whatever size you're comfortable having in the quiche
- Fry the bacon pieces in a large frying pan over medium heat until cooked
- Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel

- Melt the butter on the same pan. If the bacon was particularly fatty, you can use less butter. Mine left almost no fat behind.
- Once the butter is melted, add chopped leeks and onion to pan. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper. Sauté for around 5 minutes, until leeks are softened and onion is turning transparent
- Add 1/3 cup of water and bring to boil
- Stir, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add minced garlic, cook 5 more minutes, covered
- If still watery, remove cover and cook away liquid. You should have a moist, but not soupy, mass of leek and onion and garlic.
- Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Turn off heat, add chopped basil, and let cool slightly.

- In a large measuring cup, mixing cup, or high-sided bowl, combine eggs, milk, and remaining seasonings
- Using an immersion blender or whisk, beat mixture to a froth. A hand-held mixer will also work here.

- Put the pie pan on a flat baking pan to protect from overflow

- Layer half the bacon and leek-onion mixture in the pie crust
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over this layer
- Pour half the egg mixture into the crust
- Layer the rest of the bacon and leek-onion mixture
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over this layer
- Pour the remaining egg mixture in
- Top with the remaining cheese

- Put the whole thing, baking pan and all, in the oven, and bake 30-40 minutes. The quiche is done when the top is lightly browned. There should still be some jiggle to the filling.

- Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

- Enjoy!

It was delicious. It SHOULD take about half an hour to assemble if you're using a pre-made crust, and another 30-40 minutes baking. If you make your crust from scratch, factor that into the time required.

As I said, the fillings are your choice. No peameal bacon? Regular bacon is standard. Basically, anything that goes well with eggs works here too. Asparagus? Broccoli? Tomatoes? All great options.

Next one I make will follow Michael Ruhlman's recipe, which involves a 2" cake pan, and 8 hours of refrigeration...

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Love Craps

I play craps for fun. While winning is awesome, as long as I get a good long run for my money, I consider it entertainment.

With that in mind, I devised a new (to me at least) strategy for playing my favourite game involving dice and betting and 7. At a $5 table, the most I can lose with my general strategy (pass line, full odds on a 3-4-5 table, and come bets with full odds) is $155. That would only happen if every point was rolled only once, followed by a 7.

This scales up easily. $10 = $310 loss, $15 = $465 loss, $20 = $620, etc..

So, once I show a profit of $310, I planned to up my betting to $10 + full odds. This way, a total loss would bring me back to even, and I'd drop to my $5 betting. Remember, I'm doing this for fun, and don't mind losing the house's money. The plan would then lead to a $775 profit meaning $15 bets (drop to the $10 level on a loss), $1395 profit means $20 bets, etc..

Yesterday, it didn't start so well. There were a couple tight spaces on the table to fit into, and I dropped my usual $500 on the table (I just don't think less than 10x the min bet gets you enough space to play on craps if you don't start out winning. And reaching for the wallet is a sure way to kill your mojo). This promptly started dropping as the table was a bit chilly. Not cold yet, but certainly not a winning environment. Some bad shooters, yours truly included, kept that chip stack dropping. I was soon looking down at somewhere around $200, while X had already bought in three times (having gone in for less than me to start... see what I mean?). $200 isn't nearly enough for comfort with the way I play.

But then the old guy got the dice.

I love old guys at a craps table. Especially when a wife isn't around. Craps isn't a game you pick up when you're 70, it's a game you've played for decades at that point. These guys have seen ups, downs, huge runs and terrible losses, and they keep coming back for more. I'll let some old, slow, toothless guy in a faded baseball cap roll the dice any day of the week. And I'll cheer for him twice as loudly.

This one didn't disappoint. A 4-point firebet, with 7 points hit, later, I was looking at my first profit of the game. And with me and my posse (6 of us in total) at the table, he ended up with a smile splitting his face with all the cheering and pointing and high-fiving coming his way.

From there, there was a steady climb. Up a bit, break-even, up a bit more... and I kept track of my profit rack. It passed the $310 mark and on the next roller, I upped my bets.

And didn't really go anywhere. It was a break-even roll. Then I lost some on E's roll and dropped below the threshold.

Then the mean old supervisor announced that they'd be upping the limit after 3 more shooters.

Well, damn.

X was rolling next, and I have to have faith in my friends (except Recess "The Iceman" Rampage, screw that guy at the craps table). $5 on the firebet, and the $10 bets continue, despite being below the $310 profit mark.

And X promptly got me back over that mark, but only hit a single point on the way.

Next shooter was a quick bust, and we were down to the last shooter before the table price doubled.

He did everything in his power to hold off that rate increase. 4 points hit, and loooong rolls between them, with me betting $10 the whole way. I was quickly in "cruise control" mode, where all I had to do was take the chips being offered me and watch my rack fill up. $70 on every roll came my way. When the 7 was finally rolled, and we all coloured up, I had the biggest stack going into the middle. Just under $1700 in green and reds getting turned into a nice stack of blacks. $1200 profit baby!

Which of course meant that I should have upped to $15/bet $400 earlier. Which would technically have increased my profit approximately another $200. I can live with missing out on that opportunity.

So yah... I love craps.

Slots? Still the abusive sugar-momma in my relationship with gambling. She pays me just enough to keep me coming back, but likes to remind who's boss by slapping me around when I get too cocky. $200 lost to that gaping maw. Which is actually lower than average when the wheels don't spin my way.

**Bayne pointed out a miscalculation on my part. The $5 I have on the come wins 1:1 on a 7-out. I always forget this because it's so minor compared to the loss. But it does adjust the total possible loss at $5 to $145. This makes the next level up $290 profit, then $735 profit, then $1315, etc.. Same idea applies, just my numbers were off.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Changing of Seasons

Hey, remember when hockey was totally awesome and amazing and fun? It was a couple weeks ago at the Olympics.

But here in Toronto, we all knew that The Leafs would be returning and we'd get disappointing, boring, uneventful, meaningless games again.

Well, they're meaningless, but they're also surprisingly fun.

The team is a bunch of kids now. Most of the veteran players have been dumped to other teams for youth and late-round draft picks. So now the guys like Bozak, Hanson, and Caputi are getting lots of ice time with no pressure. What better position to be in for players who would be in the minors for any other team? You get to play in the NHL, and nobody cares if you stink up the joint for the next 15 games? Okay, so they care, because you're basically playing for your spot on next year's roster. But the team isn't about to go out and land a bevy of high-priced free agents, and there isn't a lot left here to trade with. So if you've got any talent and work ethic, you've got a good chance of cracking the squad. So they're having fun, working their butts off, and actually winning some games.

A bunch of overtime wins of late have shown that a little determination can go a long way. The Leafs aren't going to see the playoffs this year, but they could have some fun in the meantime.

Which leads to the next season - baseball. The Jays have their home opener in less than a month. Here's another team that nothing is expected of in Toronto. Nobody's making proclamations of a wild card spot or big surprises. The optimism stops at which players might make a comeback, or have a good year, or that exciting baseball may be played.

It's a team that could surprise. We've still got a pretty strong rotation of young arms, although who knows what our relief situation could look like. Our lineup has some pretty big hitters in it, and there's always the possibility of Vernon Wells actually earning his exorbitant paycheque. Are they the Yankees or Red Sox? Hell no. but this is a team that's capable of throwing together some decent streaks, putting up some good numbers, and generally making a few hours at the 'Dome worthwhile. Too bad the fans in Toronto can't appreciate the game for the game's sake, and only show up if they think the team can contend.

I suppose there's the Raptors too. 6th place in the East, although really tied for the last playoff spot. The could be good for a round or two of those games that some teams play after the regular season... whatever those are called. Playofs or something? It's been a while since we've seen any of those in this town.

Regardless, as the season on the ice winds to a close, I'm looking forward to seeing that green of the diamond again.

Time To Reset

I blew through my last $30 on Full Tilt last night in one hand on a super-turbo SnG. Once I looked at the $0.64 left in my account, I decided I wasn't going to reload until April.

But I'll still be in BloodyP's Benefit for Anna tournament on Monday night though (Full Tilt, $5+$5). I signed up for that a couple days ago.

But why no reload? Because I don't deserve to. I've been generally playing like ass and counting on luck. Why blow through another reload when I don't actually crave winning? Playing as something to do is just stupid. Instead I'll use the money for things I'll actually enjoy and care about.

It's not that I don't still enjoy poker, but I just haven't had the desire to set aside the time and focus to play properly. This leads to turbos and hyper-turbos and rush poker, and other avenues that rely more on luck than skill. And while I won't argue that I have more luck than your average bear, I'd like to think I have some modicum of ability as well. If I'm not going to apply it, then why bother?

So I'll play in the the charity game on Monday. I may toss in some FTPs once or twice. I expect I'll see some rakeback and a deposit from that little ad on the side there as well, so it's not like I won't have SOMETHING in the account. I'm just not going to actively contribute to it until Easter. No, this has nothing to do with Lent. I gave up giving up stuff for that a looooong time ago.

And when I finally do pull out the ol' card again, I think I'll attempt to stick to games that actually involve decisions beyond push-or-fold.

Now to go blow through my Stars account. Then Bodog. Then Mansion. I don't think I have anything on Absolute anymore...

Actually, first I'm going to go drop a reload on a craps table this weekend.