Sometimes when I’m bored, I play on a free poker site PokerAllDay.com. I get way too caught up in the game and can play for hours, making Carrie none-too-happy when I come to bed at 3 AM. The site starts you off with $20,000 in play money for free. When I first started playing, I quickly ran it up to $10 million in a few weeks. Then in one day, I started getting one bad beat after another. I’d get a straight to be beaten by a flush, the nut flush to be beaten by a full house, and once within an hour, I got three full houses beaten by quads each time. In about two hours, my stack dropped all the way back down to $200,000.
Thanks for reading Good Beat Poker (Bracelet Quest)! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
I decided that the site runs what I call “The Algorithm” that purposely gives you bad beats when you run your stack up too high. Since it’s play money, not real money, there are no gaming regulations about it. They want people to buy more chips. That’s how they make money. For $3 in real dollars, you can buy $2,500,000 of phony chips. Because seeing quads three times in an hour is so improbable as to be almost impossible.
Later I ran my stack up to $170 million, only to drop down to $2 million, again in about two hours. Highly improbable. I found the solution was to play sparingly over a week or two, and when I had doubled or tripled my stack, to stop playing for a few weeks. My theory is that if someone isn’t playing for a while, the site wants to reel them back in by initially increasing their odds of winning.
But now, I’m starting to think that The Algorithm isn’t actually part of the PokerAllDay site but rather built into the matrix of the physical universe. I mentioned my extraordinary streak of ongoing bad luck in my previous blog post, and I can’t find any other way to account for the incredibly bad luck I’ve been having at poker.
Yesterday, I played in a multi-day tournament at the Venetian. At about 11 PM, I was four away from making the money. Earlier in the tournament, as typical, I had one of the largest stacks. I then ran card dead for several hours and my stack dwindled. The final 8 people would be in the money and make it to Day 2. There were 13 people left and I had only 8 big blinds. I had been waiting for any good hand and the right position to shove, and it never happened. Until finally, at 11 PM, I was in the big blind with pocket 10s. One player raised. Everyone else folded. I shoved. The player who raised tanked (i.e. thought for a long time) before calling with pocket deuces. I was a four-to-one favorite, but not for long. A deuce came on the flop, and I busted out.
Today I entered the same tournament (there are five Day 1 flights; in other words, five opportunities to get to Day 2). Today I was dealt the best, most amazing hands in the first two hours of any tournament I can remember. I got pocket 9s… and lost to a pair of Ks. I got pocket As… and lost to a set of 7s. I got pocket Ks… and lost to a straight. I got pocket As again… and no one bet against me. And finally, I got pocket Qs, got a flop of J84, shoved my dwindling stack, and got called by a player with J8 to bust me out. I had tried everything from limping in, small raises, and very big raises, but every time, some other player called my bet and out-flopped me.
So I bought back into the tournament. As my stack once again began to dwindle, I got K♥10♥ in the big blind. One player did a min raise and another called, so I called. The flop was K♣7♦4♣. This looked pretty good for my hand—top pair and an okay kicker, so I bet $3,000 (three min bets). One player folded, and a particularly aggressive player with a much bigger stack bet $10,000. Now I figured if he had a great hand, he’d probably want to keep me in, so his big bet implied that he had an okay hand or a draw. Anyway, if I folded, my stack would be dangerously low, so I called him. He turned over A♣J♣. A flush draw, as I had expected. The odds were 51 to 49 in his favor—basically a coin flip. No club came on the turn, putting the odds at just over 2 to 1 in my favor, but the club came on the river and I was out.
I’m going to stay away from poker even longer so that The Algorithm resets. I’m convinced that the universe is programmed against me. In the meantime I’ll be searching out Morpheus for that red pill so that I can finally get unplugged.