Big Hand Blunder: Greg Raymer vs Aran Kanter WSOP 2005

Well its not often I get to critique a pros blunder, but this one stood out as a whopper, which turned the tables at the 2005 WSOP and propelled a young internet player to the final table in place of Greg Raymer who was on a miraculous path to challenge for the WSOP main title for the second consecutive year.

Down to 26 players, Raymer is one of the chip leaders with around 4 million. With the blinds a very comfortable 20 and 40 thousand, he picks up KK in middle position and puts in a raise to 100 thousand. Does that seem small to you? It does to me, even though it is a well concealed 2 and a half times the blind, it literally invites a draw out. Raising that small, compared to your stack in an internet tournament is tantamount to limping in. What it also negates is being able to judge what your opponent may have later in the hand when it could become crucial, as it did in this case.

With a small raise you are inviting low pairs, low connecters, weak suited aces, weak suited kings, and unpaired big cards. With such a variety of possibilities, you are essentially playing blind, and hoping your kings hold up. Kanter calls in the cutoff followed by Ivey and Hechem folding the blinds. The pot is around 300 thousand including the antes. The flop comes 6c, 3h, 5d. Raymer could look at this as a good flop, assuming Kanter called with big cards. Myself, I see straight chemistry, and definitely something that could jive with a call of ace, 4 suited or 8, 7 suited. When there is chemistry on the board you need to get your opponent out. If he calls a big bet, or re-raises, I am apt to let the hand go if I am playing another big stack. If my opponent is significantly shorter, I will put him all in without fear of jeopardizing my tournament.

Raymer follows up his wimpy preflop bet with an even more pathetic flop bet of 150 thousand. When assessing this flop, you need to bet big, and cut your losses with that. With an over bet here, you either eliminate the danger, or you determine that you are beat, or on way to being beat. But this is also your stop-loss bet. Once a reaction is taken by your opponent, you will know to fold, or check it down, save for other intelligence factors. Curiously, Raymer moves rather quickly through this hand, failing to assess this game critical intersect properly. Clearly, at this point Raymer failed to realized he was not the favorite in this hand anymore. Turn card is 7h. This is a great card for Kanter as it gives him his heart draw, and puts a scare card out there him to take it at the river. Raymer simply seems not to notice.

The odd thing about this hand is that Raymer was in fact, ahead all the way. Kanter played this hand like an internet rookie calling the flop bet with only a back door flush draw, and over cards. He could have been planning to take this pot from Raymer with a bluff on the river, but that doesn’t explain his rash all in call after reraising Raymers 300 thousand turn bet. But when Raymer does make his turn bet and gets reraised, in that spot, with my tourney on the line, and that board, I am out of the hand, even if I still feel I am ahead. It is simply too risky, and too probably that your kings are beat. You think I am over analyzing? I have laid down aces in this spot, several times in money play in online tournaments. Maybe just a couple thousand was on the line, not millions!

I take this situation to reiterate several things here. Play back the hand, and figure your opponents possible hole cards. Investigate the flop by knowing what the nuts are at all times. Do not go up against another stack in marginal situations while moving up the pay scale. Raymers actions here would have been perfectly fine if he were up against someones last 700 thousand chips, but as it turned out, and I quote Norman Chad from ESPN, Kanter makes an horrendous play and puts a big hurt on Raymer. The heart came for Kanter who should have really never been in the hand, but his awful play was surpassed by Raymer in that particular exchange.

The Art of Finding Loose Slot Machines Waiting to Pay Big Payouts

The most famous Zig Zag Method is the most widely used strategy that people use today in search of loose slot machines. It is unknown why it became known as the Zig Zag Method. Possible because the player Zigs and Zags back and forth through the casino looking for a casino that someone is just stopping there play after not winning any and in an ideal situation they have been losing on that same machine for several hours. Either way, the Zig Zag Method has no scientific evidence to back up those claims.

As the Zig Zag method goes, the player is looking for patterns on the slots. For one example, imagine that bananas are a jackpot slot. The Zig Zag method player goes through the casino looking for a slot with the correct set of bananas on the slot reels. If three bananas are on the payline and a third banana is one line off the payline, this is an example of the Zig Zag theory. In theory the slot reels are getting ready to line up and you could soon hit a huge jackpot.

In today’s times however, slots now use what is called a random number generators or an (RNG). These random number generators are internal pc’s which add up the probabilities and then determine what symbols to display for each of the slot reels. Every time you place your bet and pull the handle on a slot machine a random number generator determines the positions of the slot machine’s symbols on the reels.

This lets us know that all spins on a slot machine is independent and on it’s own of any other pulls from a slot machine. The random number generator (RNG) makes each and every spin random. Now you see that that is why that they call it random.

There is a pretty widely-known theory that the casino staff place the “loosest” slot machines closer to the entrance and exits of the casino. Slot machine gamblers going in the casino see other gamblers winning at these slots and decide they want to play. With this theory, slots players should always try the slots near the entrance doors and exit doors of the casino, these may be the loosest slot machines on the casino property.

Another version of this system is that the casino will put loose slots in a high traffic spot. An example would be, close to the cashiers, and the restrooms and of course near the ATM machine, and close to a casino gaming table. Maybe in lieu of gambling at the slots close to the front door, you should play a machine where casino traffic is very heavy.

This theory can have a flaw, the theory that I am talking about is the “hit frequency”. The hit ratio is the percentage of slot machine spins a slot machine pays off instead of taking your money. It’s like this, one slot machine might have a higher hit frequency, but another machine might have fewer hits (wins,payout), but pay off more when these hits take place.

The casino staff may put a slot with a high hit frequency rate near an entrance or exit door or any other high traffic area, like the bar or the ATM machine. That does not mean the machine is paying off more than machines in some of the other areas of the casino. In all truthfulness, it could be the total opposite. Casinos are not in business to just give away free money, they are constantly coming up with new ways to get these type of results

Do not always expect to see the loose slots near the front door of the casino. Trust me when I say that the casino staffers know all about these tales. In my experience, the casino puts the slot machines with the smaller payback percentages where slot players may be more likely to anchor down and play.

Keno Games – Catch Enough Spots and You Could Win Big? A L-O-N-G Shot! Go for the Smaller Wins

Live Game – The Original Casino Version

The game is played by selecting a desired quantity of numbers from a field of 1 to 80 on a bet ticket. A total of 20 numbers are drawn for each game and the win is determined by how many of your picks (spots) are selected (caught). There’s also a “quick pick” wager available in the facilities that use a computer to draw the numbers. Just mark the quick pick spot on the ticket and the computer selects the game numbers for you.

Some casinos use 80 numbered balls in a glass “fishbowl” where air pressure ejects 20 balls one at a time.

Winning payouts can vary from $3.00 for a one spot selection up to $50,000 for a catch of 15 on a 15 spot ticket for a $1.00 game. Multi-game play allows you to play the same numbers up to 999 games. New games run every five minutes. Types of wager selections and payout amounts may vary between jurisdictions.

The odds for catching 1 spot on a 1 spot ticket are about 1 in 4. In contrast, the odds for a 15 spot catch on a 15 spot ticket are 1 in 428 billion! So what’s the secret to winning big? There is none. You’re better off playing fewer spots to avoid humongous odds, like a 3 spot ticket where the payout is $42 for a $1 bet and $210 for a $5 bet.The odds are about 1 in 70 for this wager.

Specialty games are also available for play such as the Way Ticket. This ticket allows you to combine sets of numbers to create more ways to win on one ticket. For example, the birth dates for you and your family could be one five spot game. You could play your anniversary date and year for a three spot game. Check with the writer in the lounge for your options.

Video Version – Faster Play with Lower Payouts

International Game Technology (IGT) has developed and marketed a video version which can be found on their Game King Machines and some Video Poker Machines. All games have bonus features. Three popular ones are Power Keno, Caveman Keno, and Cleopatra Keno.Most games offer $.25, $.50, and $1.00 denominations. Here are the particulars:

Power Keno – Play up to 8 coins (credits) per game. Select up to 10 spots from the field of 80. You may also select a “quick pick”. If the last number drawn is one of your selections, your win, is multiplied by 4. For example, If you were playing a 1 credit 5 spot game and the last number drawn was one of yours, your 100 credit win would be jump to 400 credits.

Cave Man Keno – Play up to 10 credits per game. Select up to 10 spots. It’s like a cartoon with graphics from the Flintstone era. The drawn numbers spew virtual smoke from a volcano. During play, three dinosaur eggs will appear randomly on the drawn numbers. If two eggs land on your picks, your win is multiplied by 4. Three eggs win 8 times the prize.

Cleopatra Keno – Play up to 8 credits, Select up to 10 spots. If the last number drawn is one of your selections, it triggers 12 free games at 2 times the payout for winning combinations.

Downside

Be aware that video games that offer bonus features pay lesser amounts for wins than the live games. For example, a 5 of 5 catch on a $1.00 Cleopatra video game pays $225, where the same 5 spot catch in the live lounge nets you $800. Also, the pace of play on the video games is much faster. You can run through 15 games in about 15 minutes. By contrast, the live lounge calls about 15 games per hour!

Weather in the lounge or on the machines, it is fun to play and offers low betting limits but the house edge is a huge 25 to 29%! Good Luck!