Jeff Tune's Gambling Blog
Tuesday, 29 March 2016
Boy, do I wish my state of PA would allow online poker soon. I quite often play on PokerStars, but like most of the country can only play for play money. It's still fun and keeps up my poker skills. I play mostly tournaments and lately I have been on fire! Here are the results of my last seven tournaments. I cashed in all seven.
1 of 87 players - Stud Hi/Lo
3 of 18 players - No Limit Hold 'Em
2 of 18 players - No Limit Hold 'Em
3 of 9 players - No limit Omaha Hi/Lo
2 of 18 players - No Limit Hold 'Em
3 of 18 players - No Limit Hold 'Em
1 of 116 players - 8-Game
As you can see I like playing many different poker games. My favorite is probably Stud Hi/Lo followed by Omaha Hi/Lo and Razz. I love HORSE and 8-Game which incorporate multiple games. Here is the lineup of games for both:
-Hold 'Em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, 7-card Stud, 7-card Stud Hi/Lo Eight or better
-No Limit Hold 'Em. Pot Limit Omaha, 2-7 Triple Draw, Limit Hold 'Em, Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud, Stud Hi/Lo
Of course play money games are easier pickins than real money games but still, my bankroll is up to $10,700,000. C'mon Pennsylvania--legalize online poker!
Monday, 14 March 2016
This coming Saturday is the Buffalo Raceway WHHC qualifier contest. In past years they have had four qualifying contests and the top five from each of those came back for a final contest. This year there is only one contest!
I did well in last year's contest - finished third which awarded me $250. But here is an update from last year's contest. Last month I received a call from Buffalo Raceway. The winner of the 2015 contest never collected his winnings! Therefore they were re-distributing the contest prize money and I was moved up to second place and received an extra $150. Sweet!
I'm now preparing for this weekend's contest by watching replays. Here are a few tips for playing handicapping contests.
- Get all the contest rules ahead of time. What tracks are included in the contest? Are there any mandatory races? What is the contest format?
- Familiarize yourself with the included track(s). Check track profiles and driver/jockey/trainer stats for the meet.
- Watch replays! For me this means watching last Saturday's races (and the previous Saturday too). Many of the horses who raced last week wil be racing again this Saturday. The contest this weekend includes both Buffalo Raceway and The Meadowlands. As I watch the replays, I make notes for each race and use these notes when handicapping.
- Handicap in advance! You don't want to show up for the contest without handicapping prior. Your handicapping should be done and your time will be spent checking odds for possible plays.
- Map out a contest strategy beforehand. What races will you play? And what horse? At what odds? And maybe most important, what races will you skip? If it looks like a big fave will win a race, it's best to skip it. Of course you will have to tweak your strategy depending on odds and where you stand in the tourney.
- Look for longshots! You don't win these things by playing favorites. For this particular contest I will be focusing on live longshots at the Meadowlands.
- Have an idea of what final dollar amount you will need to win the contest and shoot for that.
- Save your bullets for late races! This way you will have a good idea what you need to get near the top. Even if you happen to be near the top or leading early on, it's still a good idea to save bets for later races.
Ok, I gotta get back to work and watch more replays! I will post next week about the tourney.
Thursday, 3 December 2015
A quick report on tonight's action. I went up to PID to bet some Woodbine harness and hopefully get in some blackjack action. Found a seat at the $5 table. Kamal was the dealer. I hit a double down early on and then placed a $10 bet with my match play. I got a 16 and the dealer had a 9. The play is to surrender so I did and lost my match (would've lost anyway). In fact I surrendered twice during my short session. I also pushed three times. I guess you can't complain about pushes--you're not losing anything. Reminds me of what my ex-wife used to call me - Even Steven. Well, Kamal was pretty lucky and I left down $17.50.
On to harness betting. I had one horse to watch tonight in the 5th race, Pier Ho Temptation. He had a tough first over trip last week getting hung the first half mile in a fast pace and fading late. But he looked to have some pretty good competion tonight and I picked him third. Anyways, I played a pick three for races 3,4,5. A .20 play 2 x 1 x 5 for a $2.00 bet. I had the 4/5 winner in the first leg and then my single in the second leg closed from way back to get up for the win - $6.50. I'm alive to five. It turns out that Pier No Temptation is my longest price and he gets up by a nose to win! He pays $17.70 to win and my .20 payout is $26.17. Not bad as that is about 2.5 times the parlay. So I ended up ahead for the races $17.77. Even Steven!!
P.S. Just for fun, I wrote down a proposed pick four play at Woodbine--races 4,5,6,7. I used Steve Crist's ABC method with multiple tickets. Turns out my three tickets would have cost $16 for a .20 play, and I would have won on one of them! $.20 payout = $289.67. Ouch!
Sunday, 29 November 2015
More blackjack! Went up to PID early yesterday in hopes to get in a little blackjack before the simulcast races started. Sat down at a $5 table around 11:30 AM. A fellow player warned me, "You might not want to play this shoe, the dealer has already had two blackjacks." Nonetheless, I bought in for $80 and got my $10 match play coupon. The dealer was Andrew. I hit a blackjack right away and won a double down early on. But yes, Andrew was pretty lucky. After playing maybe half the shoe, I lost three in a row and stood up, down $7.50.
But I still have my match play so over to the roulette table I go! I decide to put my $10 bet w/match play on even. The delaer spins the ball and it starts to rotate but then jumps off the table! Hmm, good sign or bad sign? He spins another one and bingo! Black-6! I take my $20 and wander over to bet some horses ahead $12.50. Turns out after betting all afternoon that's about what I lost, so a break-even day for me, lol.
Incidently, I just read this article about gaining an advantage at the roulette table by identifying a "dealer signature." I may have to try it!
Thursday, 19 November 2015
I've been itchin' to play some blackjack for a few weeks--I'm in the middle of a free $10 match play which I can use every three days. I'm always looking to play at a $5 table ($10 tables can get expensive). There is usually a $5 table going during the daytime and early evening but quite often they are full. Also I like to watch a few hands before I sit down. I will do a quick card count--yes I can count cards a little. If the count is unfavorable I won't play.
Tonight it looked good--it was a little before 7:00PM and there were only two people sitting at the $5 table. Big Mike was the dealer but this was also a handicapped table so Big Mike was sitting down and didn't look so big. I bought in for $80 and won my first two hands. I then upped my bet to $10 and used my match play. Bingo! Won it! Nice to start out $30 ahead. I had pretty good luck--won a couple of double downs. I did surrender a couple times. I've been watching players surrender occasionally, and I'm not sure if it is good strategy--I'm going to have to research it.
I didn't play very long, not even a full shoe but Big Mike started to get lucky. I lost 3 or 4 hands in a row-- that's usually when I will cash out, especially when the dealer gets a BJ. I ended up ahead $30 and tipped Big Mike a $2.50 chip.
I also made a few horse racing wagers. Hit a small pick three at Woodbine Harness and ended up even with my wagers. Gotta make it a point to play more blackjack--I am well ahead for the year (something I can't say for horse racing, lol.)
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
Last Saturday was the Buffalo Raceway final qualifier for the World Harness Handicapping Championship. There were only twenty of us handicappers entered (see my previous post). The top five get paid and the winner gets the trip to the WHHC finals at the Meadowlands. The contest format was the same as before, and as usual I came prepared. I really wasn't in love with the races this evening but who knows - anything can happen.
I had a couple horses at each track I really liked but I was afraid their prices would be too low. My first prime horse was King Otra in the third race at Buffalo. He was 8-1 morning line but I figured he would be half that at post time. Surprise surprise! He was 12-1 at post time! But alas, King Otra ran evenly and finished 4th. The very next race was my other Buffalo best bet, Most Happy Rider who went off at only 9/5. Nonetheless I played him in the contest. He looked like a winner in the stretch but lost by a head to a 13-1 longshot (luckily no one had this horse). Anyways I am on the board with the place money - $390.
I also bet the Meadowlands third and fourth race but only came away with $360 in place money. Then in the sixth I passed on my first Meadowlands prime bet as he was only 3/2 odds (he won). One other contestant hit the 14-1 winner in Buffalo's 7th to take a big lead. However no one else was doing very well at all, or they were saving all their bets untill the late races. My other Meadowlands prime bet didn't run a lick in the 8th, and I lost my bet in Buffalo's 8th. I now only have four bets left. It will be tough to catch the leader but hitting the top five is do-able. Still, I need to look for some prices. In Buffalo's 10th I play the #1 horse, Gary's Party who is sitting at 6-1. But at post time he drops to 3-1. Gary's Party nearly goes wire-to-wire but gets beat a neck. The $410 place money gets me into 8th place but not far from the top five.
In Buffalo's 12th I go with K C COLT, another runner who gets bet down late to 3-1. K C COLT is game as hell going a long first over but loses it by a head. More place money but only $320. Luckily mostly short prices at both tracks so nobody is making up any ground. Contestant Dick H. is still way ahead. I still need to look for a price horse so I land on Relentless Dreamer in the Meadowlands 10th. He is picking up David Miller, one of my favorite drivers. My notes for his race last week say "ok close from last." He's gonna have to do it again as he is from the 9-hole tonight. Relentless Dreamer is sitting at double digit odds when I place my bet. Well, he uncorks a furious stretch run and I'm yelling for him to get up but it's a neck loss. Another close second place finish! He ended up at only 6-1 but the $700 place money puts me in 6th place only $10 behind the 5th place contestant! Buffalo is done and there are three races left at The Meadowlands. I only have one bet left and decide I must wait until the last race to see where I stand.
Going into the 13th and final race nothing has changed - I am still in 6th and $10 away from 5th. The leader is about $3000 ahead of me. I have somewhat of a dilemma in this race. Triple Major is a horse who has been on my horses-to-watch list for the past two weeks as he has had two tough first over trips! But Triple Major is 1 for 45 over the past two years! Plus he moves out to the 8-hole tonight, and maybe most importantly, goes from driver Andy Miller to Andrew McCarthy who is only winning with 4% of his drives this year. Triple Major opens up at 18-1, enough to probably make me the contest winner. But his odds drop to single digits making my decision much easier. I cannot play Triple Major, and I decide that I can't catch the contest leader and I am going to try to finish in the top five. There are three other horses vying for favoritism Of the three I decide the most likely winner is Gratias Deo, a winner last week. I'm a bit concerned that last week's driver Corey Callahan has jumped to another horse and is being replaced tonight by Vincent Ginsburg, who is batting only 6% this year. However he is 2 for 5 with this trainer so I'm crossing my fingers.
Gratias Deo wins easily at 5/2 and the win place money for me is $1060 which vaults me to a third place finish in the contest! Good for $250 in prize money. Ironically, it was Gratias Deo who I bet in the last race of last month's contest which ended with me in third place. Deja Vu all over again!
It's actually quite a shocker that I ended up in third with only one winner on the night and five small place cashes. In fact my final total was only $3240. That is actually a losing night when you consider I'm betting $4000 total! I'm just lucky no one else did very good except for the top two. Still a surprise as there were seven horses who paid double digits.
Monday, 9 March 2015
Last Saturday night I ventured up to Buffalo Raceway for the first of their four qualifier contests for the World Harness Handicapping Championship. They hold four of these in the month of March and the top five finishers from each contest return on April 11 for the finals.
Here is the contest format: You must make ten mythical $200 win/place wagers. Five of the ten wagers on any of the Buffalo Raceway races and the other five on any of the Buffalo Raceway or Meadowlands races. As usual I came prepared - I had handicapped in advance, watched replays, and had plotted out my contest strategy - which races I would play/pass.
My first bet was my best bet of the night at Buffalo. ELITE was coming off a long, tough first-over trip last week where he only missed winning by a neck. Tonight he had the rail post and he was going off at an unbelievable 8-1. I played him in the contest and put some real money on his nose also. He looked like a winner at the top of the stretch but could not get by the 4-5 favorite, and lost by a neck again!
My next bet was in the 4th at The Meadowlands. SMART ROKKER was shipping in from Freehold where he won his last race with a very tough first over trip. And for that effort he received the highest last race Trackmaster speed figure of this bunch! Despite this he was being ignored in the betting and was 14-1 at post time! Driver Brett Miller got him up to win by a neck, and my resulting win/place total was $4640 which vaulted me into first place. Only one other contestant in the contest had him (there were 44 players in the contest tonight). I added to my total on five of my next six bets. The other contestant, Dick H. moved into first with a 10-1 winner. He and I were way ahead of everyone else and with two bets left, I needed only $700 to pass him. I struck out on my ninth bet and decided to go with my original pick in The Meadowlands finale - GRATIAS DEO, 5-1 ml odds.. It was getting late and I placed my bet and left early to head back to Erie. I checked the results when I got home. GRACIAS DEO finished second to a 37-1 longshot winner. I got the $600 place money - not enough to pass Dick H.
Well, I didn't see the official final results until a couple days later but someone had that 37-1 winner in the finale and as a result easily won the contest (there should be a cap on longshots in this contest). I ended up in third so I qualified for the final on April 11. I really can't complain about my results - out of my ten bets I had three winners and five seconds. Three of those second place finishers lost by a neck! Stay tuned!
Friday, 23 January 2015
Another Thursday night, another match play in hand, and a couple of $5 blackjack tables going. I started out the night betting some Woodbine harness races but kept wandering out into the casino to check the BJ situation. I didn't find a seat (or a desirable one) right away. But soon it was after 9:00 PM, and being a school night I figured I better sit down and play pretty soon. I sat down at a $5 table and dealing was Matthew. I got a blackjack my first hand! Matthew was a friendly, fun dealer and the table was friendly and fun too. These are the BJ tables I like and it was no surprise I had some good luck.
I played almost two shoes of blackjack - that's a long time at a table for me. And Matthew dealt the whole time! I got three blackjacks along the way (Matthew got zero!). One hand I wasn't sure about. I had 99, dealer showed an 8. Should I split? I wasn't sure but I thought I should. I had brought my BJ cheatsheat along but it was in my jacket which was back at my seat in the simulcast area. I asked the table and dealer if should split it. Dealer said no, player next to me said yes. I split. Got a 8 on one hand and a 2 on the other. I doubled that one and got a 4 for 15. Dealer busted! Turns out a couple hands later I realized my BJ cheatsheat was in my back pocket! Yes, you should split 9's against the dealer's 8.
The only negative was that I lost my match play at the BJ table. I left the table ahead $47.50. One sidenote about this fun table. There was an in-between bet that you can make - dealer's up card must fall in between player's two cards. And if the player's first two cards and the dealer's up card form three of a kind, then the player wins 30-1. Well, the dude sitting at first base hit three of a kind twice in a row! What are the odds??!! Needless to say the table was hootin' and hollerin'.
note: the probability of hitting trips here is .0054, and overall the house edge on this bet is about 3.00%.
Friday, 16 January 2015
Well the winter weather has kept me from heading up to the casino but I finally made it there last night. I wanted to play some blackjack and use my $10 match play coupon! Weeknights always feature a couple of $5 blackjack tables and sure enough I saw an empty seat. It was right between a big guy and a big girl and even though I'm a slender guy, I didn't want to squeeze in next to these two. Plus the big guy was smoking a cigar. A few moments later a seat opened up at the other end. But the guy next to it is smoking a cig and setting it down in an ashtray right where I would sit. Even though this table is winning I take a seat at the other $5 table.
The dealer is Bishari who is a nice enough guy but is beating up on the players. Soon dealer Charles takes over and he is extremely lucky. I get one blackjack along the way but I never win two hands in a row! Needless to say I don't play very long and leave down $18.50. I decide to use my $10 match play at the roulette table! The match play coupon is good for any even money bet at tables games - blackjack, roulette, craps. I figure my best bet is roulette. Odds of winning an even money bet are 47.37%. I'm guessing this is better than winning a single hand of blackjack and sure enough, a quick search tells me that the odds are around 43%. I'm not sure about a pass line bet in craps but I'll pass on that.
I decide to bet my $10 on 1-18. I don't look at the wheel and I hear the dealer announce "11". Nice! I win $20 with the net table game profit a big $2.50. Funny thing is when I go to Las Vegas and have a single red chip left in my pocket I always play it at the roulette table right between 11 and 12. I will report back on my next table game/match play adventure!
Tuesday, 6 January 2015
I've always said I have three goals when betting horses. My goals are to win money, cash tickets, and have fun. Well, I accomplished two out of three in 2014 and you can probably guess which one I didn't. Yes, I lost money in 2014. Cashed lots of tickets (more than in any previous year), had tons of fun, but lost money.
I started losing early in 2014 and never climbed out of the hole. The first five months were dismal, summer was pretty good, and fall was probably break-even. This seems to be a common pattern almost every year so I should probably take it easy until May and then bet with both fists during the summer, lol.
There were some positives. Number one was that I had a winning Presque Isle meet. PID is my home track and I did fairly well betting there this summer. Also, I again did well at Hoosier Park. I really need to focus on this track - it's sometimes tough because of their early post, and also it conflicts with Presque Isle. Woodbine harness was dismal in early 2014 but I did much better in late 2014. So hopefully I can get a good start betting WDB in 2015! I once again did pretty good handicapping the big thoroughbred races. Loved Cal Chrome in the KY Derby and played a slew of exactas with him but didn't have the $340 exacta with Commanding Curve, grrr. I did have some win money on 9-1 Tonalist in the Belmont. I also finished in 3rd place in an online Triple Crown contest (thanks to Tonalist). I won a nice wine sampler from a great Calif. winery!
I finally visited Keeneland! I loved the track and will definitely return. I'm thinking about Breeders' Cup! Also, I would like to get up to Thistledown in 2015 - it's been nearly 15 years since I've been there! I also want to check out the new Mahoning Valley Racetrack. It's not too far a drive for me.
Finally, I only played blackjack a handful of times in 2014. Lost $52 for the year. I'm itchin' to play and I have some match play coupons so wish me luck!
Here is the breakdown for 2014. Actually very similar to 2013. Harness edged out thoroughbred again. Bet type was almost identical to 2013 (again, I cashed lots of small pick threes). Woodbine Harness was number one in cashed winnings but was not a profitable track! Last year's number one track, The Meadows, slipped way down - they race almost strictly during the day now. I cashed tickets at 23 different tracks.
Thoroughbred vs, Harness
Harness winnings - 51%
Thoroughbred winnings - 49%
Woodbine Harness - 17%
Presque Isle Downs - 14%
Hoosier Park - 13%
Mohawk - 12%
Saratoga - 11%
Meadows - 7%
Gulfstream - 5%
Woodbine Thoroughbred - 4%
By Bet Type
Pick Three - 42%
Win - 32%
Daily Double - 11%
Exacta - 11%
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