Not watching television means I often miss out on little pearls that appeal both to my sense of humor and to my inner nerd, sometimes for as long as a year. Things like this 2-minute bit from Robot Chicken (RSS readers, click through):
Tip of the hat to NewDaddy for reminding me Saturday night to find this clip on YouTube. That was before I was invited at 3am by separate people to accompany them to: (a) Flashdancers, and (b) a Korean "massage" parlor, but after I told a woman who started chatting me up while I was trying to order a drink that she should shave her head.
Don't get between me and my booze. And if you do, try to come up with something better than "My friend has leukemia."
Monday, March 26, 2007
Not watching television means I often miss out on little pearls that appeal both to my sense of humor and to my inner nerd, sometimes for as long as a year. Things like this 2-minute bit from Robot Chicken (RSS readers, click through):
Sunday, March 25, 2007
The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother! I call him Gamblor, and it's time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!"There's a half kill," I noted with some surprise as we studied the board. "It's going to play bigger than I expected."
"You want some extra cash?" SoxLover asked.
"Nah, I'll just play a bit tighter than normal in the kill pots," I said as I fanned five hundred dollar bills on the counter and prepared to take a seat in the 10/20 game. "Thanks though."
Five minutes later I had invested $120 into a kill pot holding 93o, having made a pair of nines on a board showing two overcards. So much for playing tighter than normal.
SoxLover and I had decided to check out a relative newcomer to the New York poker scene on our way to a birthday party at a nearby bar. Overall, it's a nice club, this "new" club, with the usual accoutrements - flat panel TVs, massage service, and food and beverages on premises. The floor and the brush could both charitably be described as "brusque", but that's a minor complaint, and really who cares? I'm there for the action, of which there was plenty. I expect guys playing in the New York clubs to have slightly better skills than random casino tourists, but there was plenty of EV at my table to make it worth my time, even despite misplaying a few hands.
The 10/20 seems to go off every day. In fact, there were two tables last night, in addition to two 2/5 NLHE tables and four 1/2 NLHE tables. There was also an interest list for 20/40. As we were leaving, the floor said he thought it would probably get going a bit after midnight.
I've become such a limit holdem junkie again. It was the game on which I cut my teeth four years ago when I started playing holdem, but at that time capped buyin no limit holdem was sweeping the country, and limit games became impossible to find in New York (at least, at stakes I could afford). With this 10/20 game, and potentially two different 20/40 games, so easily accessible in the city, and with the diamond mine that is the 10/20 and 20/40 games on Saturday at the Borgata just two and a half hours away, there's a real danger that I'm going to turn back into a huge poker crackhead. Online poker is all fine and dandy, but the truth is that it's a pale imitation of the real thing.
Oh yeah. My pair of 9s? They were good.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Since this claims to be a poker blog, it'd be good if I posted about poker once in a while.
(That was your cue to skip this post if you don't give a rat's ass about poker.)
Cutting right to the action, I had pocket 8s in the cutoff and opened the action with a raise, which was called by the small blind and by the UTG player, who had straddled. The flop wasn't all that great: K-T-6, three suits. Action checked to me, and I bet half-pot. The small blind folded, but UTG called. Channeling Dawn Summers, I had already mentally ticked the "fold to any bet" box when an 8 hit the turn, completing the rainbow of suits and giving me a set.
This was a pretty harmless looking card, and oddly the UTG player decided to bet into me, roughly half pot. Given that I held two 8s in my hand, it was unlikely the 8 improved him. 7-9 seemed too implausible (even for this particular game). He could theoretically have had a pair of 6s, but to me it seemed more likely that he had KT and was afraid that, in the absence of obvious draws, I would check behind if he checked the turn.
To sum it up, I put him on a big hand, and I had a very well disguised, even bigger hand, with only 4 cards to dodge on the river. Seemed like a good place for a call, and call behind is exactly what I did.
The river was a disaster: another T for a board of K-T-6-8-T. He checked to me. Despite the fact that I'd put him on KT, there was no way I could check behind with my full house, right? Right? So I made a small "value bet", about a quarter of the pot. He promptly check-raised all-in.
"God, that is *such* a sick card," I moaned.
"I think you should fold," he replied.
"I think I should fold too. And do you know what I have?" I opened my 8s to show my full house. Several other players at the table looked at me like I was crazy.
"You're not going to call?" one asked incredulously. "This would be an insta-call for me."
"He has KT!" I shot back. "Don't you?"
"Pretty close, anyway," the villain said.
I went back and forth for a while on whether or not to call, but finally I figured that it wasn't really much money that I was calling for, and who am I to lay down a full house?, so call I did. Sure enough, UTG opened KT and took down the pot.
Now, apart from displaying my mad Danny N.-esque reading skillz, what's the lesson of this hand? KT looks like a monster on the turn. There are two ways to play my set from there. (1) Put in a raise right away; (2) Wait until the river. I think both lines can be correct, but the choice depends on the stack sizes of each player at the time.
With small- to medium-sized stacks, there's no reason not to put in a raise on the turn. There is little to no chance the villain is going to release his hand if he can't get too badly hurt by the raise. On the other hand, if the stacks had been much deeper, I think waiting until the river is generally the better play, because a large turn raise on this board, with a deep stack behind, looks pretty damn fishy and may make the villain edgy about taking his hand all the way to a showdown. Besides, there are only 4 cards to dodge on the river. It's unlikely that the villain's hand will improve to the point where he beats you, but he will probably be quite happy to put more money into the pot.
So for anybody who says stack size doesn't matter, and that the trick is all in how you use the stack you've got, I say bullshit. Stack size can totally influence the best line to take in any particular hand.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Listening to Matusow talk about losing money is like listening to a hooker talk about losing her virginity. You expect it to be interesting- but all you end up thinking is God I'm glad I'm not you.Amen to that. If we were, we'd have a rap sheet rife with drug convictions, not to mention an irritating personality, a complete lack of common sense, and a list of creditors longer than Enron's.
--Apefish, on 2+2
I shouldn't harsh on the Mouth too much though. He provides entertaining table talk.
Speaking of talk, I've heard quite a bit of talk the past few weeks about a 10/20 limit holdem game in Manhattan that goes every day and a 20/40 game in Brooklyn that goes on Wednesdays. My completely uninformed opinion is that the 20/40 is juicier than a tree-ripened peach on a hot summer day, but there's a problem. Wednesday is the day of the Crackhouse game. As many times as I have tried, Dawn Summers has warned me that I'm never getting banned from the Crackhouse. "What would the Crackhouse ho's do without their pimp?" she always asks me. "We'd fall into a frenzy of playing hands like king-three offsuit. Offsuit!"
That's usually about the time that I slap the bitch. Hard. I may only be 130 pounds, but that's 130 pounds of FURY. You don't want that coming down on you, believe you me.
Dawn's got a point though. As the pimp, I have responsibilities. I can't go chasing the first pretty 20/40 game I see. Until I find myself a sub-contractor, a like-minded businessman, an entrepreneur, if you will, my primary obligation is to my ladies -- which means no 20/40 for me.
Three 6 Mafia had it right. It's hard out here for a pimp. Be glad you're not me.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Bet you thought I forgot that I needed to wrap up the AC tale from last weekend. Maybe you were just hoping it.
Mary was up early. Aspiring Captain Toms, take heed: penis on the back is not an acceptable trade-off for early risers (and I'm resisting the obvious double entendre here to prove that I don't *always* act like a 12 year old boy). But once I'm awake, I don't usually go back to sleep, so I grumblingly joined Mary for some breakfast before heading over to the Borgata.
When I got seated in the 10/20 must move game, who should I see sitting a few tables away? CK. You remember CK, right? The "stunning Asian woman" seated next to SoxLover in the 2/5 game who left a comment to my previous chapter of this saga?
Say hello to CK, everybody.
Well, kids, CK looked to be in the 10/20 main game (or maybe a 2/5 game - it was difficult to tell) and was showing the clear signs of someone who spent all night gambling - slightly baggy eyes, slumping in her chair, and wearing the same clothes as the night before. A woman after my own degenerate heart. I went and found Mary in her 1/2 game and told her that she was free of any further Captain Tom huggling because I had found someone even more cracked out than her - SoxLover's new friend CK.
CK didn't stay long though. By the time of the first dealer push at my table, she had disappeared. Foiled again.
10/20 was going well - I was up $340ish - before I got moved into one of the main games and started giving some back. It was populated with some solid players, and after about an hour or two I decided to rack up and hit the B-Bar for a drink. You see, during that time, AlCantHang and Big Mike finally made their triumphant arrival to the Borgata. Al, Mike, Derek, Mary and I got the booze flowing around 4pm. We were there for a while. Those four people are great drinking companions, but they weren't the only thing keeping me in the B-Bar. I was literally stuck to the floor.
Now ladies, I know that I'm an imposing specimen of masculinity - I mean, 130 WHOLE pounds of fury! - but when I go to a bar, I expect the management to keep their floors clean of broken glass, vomit, and MOST importantly, super glue. What made it worse was that I didn't realize I was stuck to the floor until I tried to move away from the bar (my first mistake, clearly) and almost fell over.
With some effort, we managed to extricate myself from the situation, but made sure not to warn anyone else so that the mirth could be repeated for our own amusement later on.
Heather arrived a bit later. Someone mentioned that Jordan busted out of the WSOPC $300 event before the first break, but Hoy was still alive. Gus and Kat were on their way to town. And who knew what the crazy IHO girls were up to?
Back to the poker room and the 10/20 game. 2.5 or 3 hours later, up over $350, bringing total 10/20 winnings for the weekend to an even $1,000. Time to call it a day and commence the boozing in full.
I went to B-Bar, fully expecting to find Al and Mike still there, but they had vanished. If not at B-Bar, where's the next closest source of alcohol? Gypsy Bar, of course. Some cover band was playing a gig there, and Al knew one of the guys in the band. They played about what you would expect - GnR, Journey, etc.
Overall not bad, but of course we did have to deal with certain standbys. At the first Bruce Springsteen number, I turned to Derek and said "How do I know we're in New Jersey?" He laughed. At the first Billy Joel number, I turned to Derek and said "I guarantee you that three songs from now, Bon Jovi will make an appearance." He laughed again. I didn't let it rest though. After another song, I told Derek "Bon Jovi in two songs." Another song went by, and I told Derek "One more song til Bon Jovi."
You know where this is going. If this had been a prop bet, I would have forced Derek to take odds *against* the next song being Bon Jovi. It just wouldn't have been right to take his money like that without giving him a fighting chance. But, no bet, and sure enough, the next song was Living on a Prayer.
Around this time I got a very strange text from SoxLover - something about having dinner with "CK your mark" and that he was coming by the Gypsy Bar to find me. I waited for 10 or 15 minutes, but when he didn't show I decided to bail and go find Mary. Turns out that I missed having dinner with THE CK, who was STILL awake and playing poker and had wound up in the 10/20 2-way game (O8 / Stud8) with SoxLover. I think that was three strikes, and I hadn't even pulled on my batting gloves.
Whatever, a FatBurger milkshake at the Borgata food court hit the spot, and with Mary, Someone Who Is Dead to Me, Karol and Alceste assembled, we headed to Showboat for the blogger happy hour. Milkshake before booze is never a good idea, but somehow I fought my way through it and even consumed the double SoCo shot that Al dumped in front of me without "blowing Technicolor chunks", as I believe he phrased it.
I could tell you that AlCantHang didn't kiss me at all on Saturday. I could tell you that he wasn't at all egged on by "my LA boyfriend" during a dial-a-shot from the House of Blues. I could tell you we all didn't laugh when Speaker told Al to "give them all a kiss from me", Al counter-proposed "how bout just the girls" and Speaker said "ok -- and F-Train." But I would be lying if I told you any of that.
And so it was, at somewhere around midnight Saturday night, I was kissed by a somewhat drunk, somewhat fat, very hairy hippie. Really, my night was complete at that point, and my Under Suspicion title had been fully restored. I don't know why I even bothered staying awake another four hours. The night could not get any better - or worse. However...
Around 4am, Someone Who Is Dead to Me, Fisch and I wandered over to the Taj poker room to check up on Mary, Karol and Alceste. In the large hallway between "Rim", a restaurant that wisely does not serve any tossed salads, and the poker room, we passed a kid in his early 20s. He was seated in a banquet hall style chair, with his jeans partially down around his waist exposing his skivvies and his shirt completely unbuttoned, revealing his bare chest. His head was slumped slightly to one side, resting against the wall, and in front of the chair was a large puddle of vomit. I didn't take a single photo the entire trip to AC, but I have to admit that with my digital camera on me at the time, I had to fight the urge to rob kid of what little dignity he might have had left. You don't puke and pass out; you puke and rally. What a fucking rookie. He'll never aspire to a life of true degeneracy that way.
Speaking of which, it would be remiss of me not to mention that CK was going to drive back to New York after her dinner with SoxLover, before he graciously insisted that she crash in his room for a few hours while he and his friend were out gamb00ling it up. Even more remiss would be not to mention how "a few hours" meant "all night", and how she decided she might "hit the table for a few hours" Sunday morning before she left AC. 1-800-GAMBLER was made for these kinds of people. My kind of people.
This concludes the $1,000 writeup. Let us never speak of it again.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I yelled at someone today for the first time in 3.5 years. It was so loud that I'm sure everyone in my office thinks I've snapped and am going to come out of my office with guns blazing any moment now.
If you're curious, the target of my wrath was my douchebag landlord.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Things pick up steam now. I promise. As the sharpest of you already figured out, the whole point of Part 1 was not that I had much that was interesting to say, but rather to publicly shame Dawn Summers. Considering I got a "fuck you motherfucker" at our 24-watching party last night, I'd say I was successful. Hearing those words was like feeling the sun on my face on a pleasant spring afternoon.
What did our first night in Atlantic City bring us?
* We checked into a really nice suite at Fairfield Resorts. Two bedrooms with king beds, two bathrooms, kitchenette, living room with sleeper couch, and balcony with ocean views for the low (by AC standards) price of $175/night. I normally despise staying overnight in AC -- it's such a depressing place and the casinos charge obscene weekend rates -- but for $30/person/night, this place was a steal. Even despite the fact that there were only two elevators for a 30-story building, and neither of them could fit more than six normal-sized people (or ten me-sized people) without everyone having to suck in their guts.
It helped that I got to share a bed with Mary, although claiming that we shared a bed is like saying that Los Angeles is "near" Chicago. I also had to promise that "there will be no Captain Tom action". Now I've always thought that hot chicks who play poker are giving me a standing invitation for a huggle-fest, but since I like Mary, I did my best to respect her wishes. It was much easier in a bed that was so huge there was a gaping chasm between our sleeping forms.
(Note to Mary: sorry if I "kicked" you during the night.)
Sharing a bed with Mary was probably the only mitigating evidence against my Under Suspicion title that was produced all weekend. There was, however, some damning evidence the other way...
* Played 1/2 NLHE for a half hour waiting to get into my 10/20 game at the Borgata, finishing with a $52 profit.
* During the 10/20 game, I walked over to a garbage can to throw out an empty coffee cup (black decaf, thanks). While there, I noticed SoxLover in a nearby 2/5 NLHE game. More accurately, I noticed a stunning Asian woman chatting with SoxLover in a nearby 2/5 NLHE game. A strange sensation swept over me, and it took a few minutes before I realized that the sensation was me wanting to go talk to SoxLover and find out how he was faring at his table.
(Really, she was *that* attractive. Do you think I'd willingly subject myself to SoxLover's poker tales of woe if she wasn't? I may be Under Suspicion, but I'm not insane.)
To his credit, SoxLover attempted to introduce me to his new friend, characterizing her as "another Manhattan lawyer", but she was involved in a hand and didn't respond. Her Borgata card stood behind her impressive stack of chips, and although it was at tilted at an angle, I could make out her first name: CK. I made a mental note and returned to my game. Without huggling her.
Hot Asian chicks who play poker = swoon.
* Six hours of 10/20 at the Borgata for me, to the tune of $495 profit. Overall, a good Day 1 showing. Phone calls were made during the day to Comrade Al не смогит повиснуть and -EV, but they were both MIA.
* Somewhere around 11pm, Dawn suggested that we (SoxLover, Mary, me) meet up with her, Ross, Karol and Jordan at Showboat. Here's a quick AC tip: if anyone you're with ever suggests you go play poker at Showboat, shoot yourself in the head. Or maybe shoot them in the head. Probably better them. The tasteful naked women on the walls of the Showboat poker room are not enough reason to justify the poker room's existence. It sucks, it's so far removed from the rest of the casino that you could easily get lost trying to find it, and ALL THEY SPREAD IS GODDAMN $1/$2 NLHE.
Well, there was a $2/$4 LHE game too. After vainly looking for a cheap paigow table ($25 minimum was all I could find), you know what I did.
"Double Johnny Walker on the rocks and a rack of whites, please."
Mercifully, everyone ejected from Showboat after only a half hour of that silliness.
* We went back to the Borgata to have a few drinks at B-Bar, where I received a phone call from none other than internet celebrity Derek, freshly arrived in AC on a solo trip from the Big Apple. His traveling companion was supposed to have been The Rooster, but the Rooster flaked out, thereby ensuring that he retains his title as Flakiest New York WPBTer, three years running.
Derek quickly made his way to us and we settled in at a table near the bar for some quality boozing and waitress ogling (I may have made a comment at one point about eating off the ass of our waitress, she/it was that lovely), interrupted only by a Jersey Girl catfight that Borgata security broke up disappointingly quickly and the godawful mash-ups that were playing over the B-Bar stereo system. Derek received a text from Sweet, Sweet Pablo "smoking with your brother". I texted Pablo back "getting drunk with Derek". -EV texted me to say he was sick and would probably not make it to AC. Booze was flowing, cracks were being made left and right, and everyone was having a good time, but there was still one question that was nagging at everybody, and the drunker we got, the more it nagged:
Where the hell was AlCantHang?
Sunday, March 11, 2007
"Whoever wins at least $1,000 has to write up the trip," Dawn declared to Rybka, Ross, Mary and me. To be frank, I'm not really sure I ever agreed to this, but here I am writing up the trip.
0.5 hours of $1/$2 NLHE = +$52
0.5 hours of drunken "Tilt a 2/4 Table" = -$45
11.0 hours of $10/$20 LHE = +$1,000
Total trip earnings = $1,007
Don't think that I didn't consider making a $10 horn bet at the craps table Saturday night to get below the magical four-figure mark. But I'm getting ahead of myself. We should probably start at the beginning of the trip, and the beginning takes place at 1am Friday morning with a text message from Dawn to me.
I'll be at your place at 11:10am.
There had previously been some discussion as to our time of departure for Atlantic City, which we agreed to be 11-11:30am Friday morning. Late Thursday afternoon, the departure time was suddenly shifted to noon via Declaration From On High (aka email from the person with the car). Given what I know of Dawn's and Rybka's punctuality, I preferred the earlier time and said so. Thus, Dawn's 1am text would have been most welcome if I wasn't already peacefully slumbering, with intentions not to wake before 10:30am, when it arrived.
11:07 found me brushing my teeth when Dawn called. Her statement, "I'm outside," was met with confused silence on my end. Remembering that she couldn't see my puzzled look, I drooled a toothpaste-filled "Huh?" into the phone just before she hung up.
"Didn't you get my text?" she asked.
Glancing at the phone display, I noticed the unread text icon. My eyes narrowed a bit. "When did you send it?" The last time Dawn and I went through this routine, three weeks prior, the text came in at 4:50am.
"Uh... I dunno. 11:30?" Not so much.
"You weren't supposed to be here until noon," I told her, a bit peevishly. "I haven't even packed a bag yet."
"Fine, I'll go get Mary and come back for you."
I hung up the phone, finished brushing my teeth, and hurriedly threw some clothes, a few personal electronic devices, and my bankroll in a backpack. When that was done, I put the kettle on the stove to make some tea to take with me in the car. Given the start to the day, I'd definitely need the caffeine to take the edge off of my normal morning irritability. Within ten minutes, I had tea and backpack in hand and was ready to go. One problem: no Dawn.
Ten minutes became thirty minutes became forty five minutes. My tea had long since been finished. Something was wrong. Mary lives a ten-minute walk from me. I called Dawn, and on the fourth ring she answered.
"Where are you?" I asked, the exasperation plain in my tone.
"I'm at Rybka's place. We're just getting in the car to go get Karol, then we'll come back for you and Mary." Repeat puzzled silence from me.
"I thought you were picking up Mary...?"
"No, we're going to get Karol first and then come back for you."
Karol's family lives much deeper in Brooklyn than Mary and I. In a perfectly sane, logical world, she would be picked up last, on our way out of Brooklyn to AC. Unfortunately, Dawn Summers, as her friends and acquaintances know, is not often a sane or logical woman.
"Look," I told her, "that makes absolutely no sense. Come get Mary and me, and we'll pick Karol up last as we're leaving Brooklyn." I heard her relay these instructions to Rybka. After some mild disagreement, she seemed to convince him.
"Ok, we're coming to get you," she said, and hung up.
Thirty minutes went by. The time on the clock read 12:25, long past the promised "absolutely not later than noon" departure (surprise). I had been sitting around my living room, bored and frustrated, for over an hour. Thinking that maybe she could shed some light on what the problem was, I called Mary.
"Dawn got lost," Mary told me. "I was waiting out in front of my building for her for a while before she called and said she was at Wyckoff and Third. Since I was outside and wasn't sure exactly where Wyckoff is, I couldn't give her directions." Yes, that's right. The woman who spent her entire life living in Brooklyn (except for a three-month stint of insanity on the Upper East Side) got lost driving the eight blocks between my place and Mary's place.
The phone chirped at me. Dawn was on the other line. "I think she's finally here," I told Mary. "See you in a bit."
And so, fully 80 minutes after she first stopped by my house, I climbed into Dawn's car. Dawn's face was dutifully hidden behind her hands in shame. Five minutes later we had Mary, and fifteen minutes after that Karol joined us. We were finally on our way to Cracklantic City.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Ernest Gallo kicked the bucket yesterday, causing four teams to crack the scoreboard. Congratulations to Teams 130 Pounds of Fury; Drinking, Milwaukee Style; DuggleReaper; and Maigrey. Which will be the first team to tally the elusive second death?
(Standings updated on the link at right, as per usual.)
Monday, March 05, 2007
(5:33:53 PM) Dawn Summers: THERE WILL BE NO BACK PENISES
Otis' post yesterday, about miscalling your hand, reminded me of a hand that occurred at my table at the Hustler Casino in Los Angeles last week and that represented one of the most egregious cases of dealer error I've ever witnessed.
In the very silly $1/$2 $50 max NLHE game, a player was all-in preflop for about $15, having been called by one other player. All-In Player kept his hand closed even as his Opponent showed KK.
The dealer put out a board of Q-3-5-7-6. All-In Player looked at his hand dejectedly for a few moments, then quietly threw it in the muck without opening it, clearly surrendering his hand and the pot. The dealer, perhaps guessing at what All-In Player held, said that it was "too bad we didn't have an ace-ace-ace board." When pressed by the 10-seat, the dealer explained that an ace-ace-ace board would probably have hit a bad beat jackpot.
Without further prompting, he added, "Here, I'll demonstrate." He reached into the muck, grabbed the all-in player's hand, and opened it, revealing Ac4c. "If the flop had come ace-ace-ace," he began, "All-In Player would have had four aces, and his Opponent would have had aces full of kings. Ignoring the problem of All-In Player's kicker not playing, this would have qualified for a bad beat jackpot, since aces full of kings lost the hand."
The 10-seat didn't really seem all that interested in the dealer's explanation, but as he gazed at All-In Player's hand, he asked "Doesn't he have a straight?" Sure enough, the 4c from All-In Player's hand made a 7-high straight.
The dealer looked at All-In Player's hand, then at the board, then back at All-In Player's hand, and said, "Oh, you're right." After another moment of confirmation, he pushed the pot to All-In Player! Opponent, who didn't seem particularly bright and who was undoubtedly drunk, uttered nary a word in protest. Since he wasn't interested in fighting for his pot, I didn't pipe up on his behalf. I did, however, turn to the player on my right and say, "Wow. If I were Opponent, I'd be asking for a floor right now."
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Welcome Red Barracuda to the blogroll. At RTFT, we like the Eastern Europeans.
Here's a question. If someone offered to spread a table game in a casino for you, where you could only bet $1 at a time, and the payouts were as set out below, would you do it?
1:75 winner pays $2.
1:141 winner pays $3.
1:306 winner pays $7.
1:844 winner pays $10.
1:13,781 winner pays $150.
1:15,313 winner also pays $150.
1:689,065 winner pays $10,000.
1:3,904,701 winner pays $250,000.
Overall odds of winning on a single play -- 1:40.
Looking at the numbers, this is clearly a bad play, probably one of the worst that any casino could ever offer. If you had a $100 bankroll, you could easily blow through it without winning a single game.
The odds and payouts listed above are, of course, for the Mega Millions lottery, and looking at the stark numbers, it's very clear why many people refer to the lottery as a "stupid tax". You'd have to be stark raving mad to take those kinds of odds for those payouts, right?
Except - the one thing I left out is the jackpot odds. Jackpot odds are 1:175,711,536. Pretty long odds indeed. So why will I be buying a Mega Millions ticket later today?
Overlay! The jackpot for the next drawing, on Tuesday, is estimated to be $340MM, almost fully double the odds of winning. I likes me some positive expectation, no matter how slim or remote the chances of actually hitting it are. I also likes me the ability to fantasize what I would do if I won the jackpot, and the slight moment of anticipation as I grab my ticket to check the numbers. These things alone are worth $1.
Sure, the naysayers will tell me that my "overlay" ignores the possibility of a split jackpot, or that taxes reduce the overlay, or that the lump sum payment that most people opt for reduces the overlay (although, interestingly, with the jackpot as big as it currently is, does not eliminate the overlay if there is only one winner, since the Mega Millions jackpot lump sum value is usually in the neighborhood of 56-59% of the annuity value). I tell those people to stop raining on my parade.
After deducting taxes, the lump sum jackpot prize of Tuesday's drawing will be worth approximately $114MM, depending on which state the winner is from. That kind of money is unfathomable to me - but it won't stop me from spending a dollar and daydreaming about it.
You might consider this the next time you're playing in a poker game with a bad beat jackpot and have to make a long-odds call on the turn to hit the jackpot.