Make me an offer for 500 poker chips

The story ...

Last summer, I won sixty cents in a free poker tournament at I planned on playing until I lost it all, but decided not to take U.S. players for real-money games when Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. I cashed out and asked my readers what I should do with my sixty-cent check. One suggested I try to trade it for something better. So here I am, trying turn my sixty-cent check into a World Series of Poker Main Event entry through a series of trades. And while my plan may seem ridiculous, it's no more ridiculous than the UIGEA.

Currently available

Limited edition Super Bowl XXXVI football signed by former New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri. Trade includes certificate of authenticity, and also includes autographed picture of Patriots' safety Rodney Harrison. Want more information? Go to the trade post. Want to make an offer? Shoot me an e-mail at . Want to know how I got this far? Go to the trading history.

24 hours of poker ... again

Like a freshman in college waking up with his first raging hangover swear he'll never drink booze again, I swore I’d never play poker for 24 hours ever again after accomplishing the feat last year. And just like that same freshman finds himself out with a cold beer in his hand the next weekend, I found myself playing in a 24-hour poker game for the second year in a row last weekend.

You can learn a lot about yourself, your friends and your poker game if you sit at a table and play poker for 24 hours. Here are a few of the lessons I learned in the latest 24-hour game.

1. Budweiser has roughly 20 percent more alcohol than Bud Light.
After playing for 18 hours without a sip of alcohol last year, I rivaled the rates of consumption seen only in my fraternity days during the final six hours, which led to a long, slow recovery as I found myself unreasonably inebriated at noon on a Sunday.

This year, I vowed to avoid the same mistake by limiting myself to no more than one beer per hour. We ran out of Bud Light after about 16 hours, so I had to switch to regular Budweiser. (Since we were in for the long haul, it was a diet of cheap, canned beer.)

My liver was doing a pretty good job keeping up with the 4.2 percent alcohol in Bud Light, but the 5.0 percent in regular Budweiser was a little bit too much for it to deal with each hour, especially since I’m out of practice -- you don’t really have time (or desire) to do much drinking with an infant in the house. By my third hour on Bud, Ryan noticed that I had become much more “philosophical.” Thankfully, my switch to Budweiser happened in the last few hours, so I was able to hang on.

2. When you’re going to play for a full 24 hours, it helps to play at lower stakes.
Last year we played $1/$2 limit games and I was down more than $100 in less than two hours. That’s a pretty significant loss for me, but there was no way I could quit because I’d organized the game and needed to write about it. But I started doing the math in my head … “Keep losing at this rate and you’ll be down $1,000.” Granted, it would have been almost impossible to sustain that terrible run of luck, but it was possible. Thankfully, I turned things around and was basically even for the rest of the game.

This year we halved the stakes. And even though this was a real poker game and we had winners and losers, nobody walked away feeling bad about how much they’d lost. Since we’re all friends, this is an important aspect of our game.

3. When you’re playing for a full 24 hours, it sucks to play at lower stakes.
We were more than seven hours into the game when I did a quick chip count (breaking Kenny Rogers’ rule) and found myself up a grand total of 75 cents. Yep, I was winning at a rate of a dime an hour.

In the end, I think it was the right decision to play a smaller stakes game, but it did take some of the fun out of raking in a “big” pot.

4. The liquor store near Ryan’s place opens at 10 a.m. on Saturdays.
Thankfully, we merely had this information in our back pocket. Two trips on Friday night proved to be enough.

5. No one will understand why they didn’t have the correct odds to play a hand after 20 consecutive hours of poker if they didn’t understand why they didn’t have the correct odds to play the hand in the first hour.
Note: This did not prevent Ryan from trying to give poker lessons on Saturday afternoon.

6. Never trust the Red Sox schedule on
Part of the reason we decided to start the poker game at 8 p.m. on Friday night was because the Red Sox were scheduled to play Texas at 8 p.m. on Friday and again at 2 p.m. on Saturday. I swear. I looked everywhere and have found 10 different schedules that say the Saturday game was always scheduled for 8 p.m., but those schedules lie. Seriously. I saw it with my own two eyes.

7. Seven poker players who have played through the night cannot eat 17 scrambled eggs.
Especially after drinking cheap beer all night. Twelve is a far more appropriate number, or maybe 14 max.

8. No one likes stud as much as me.
Everyone always bitches about how much stud I try to inject in the game. Everyone else wants to play just Hold’em and Omaha. Personally I’d much rather play a wide variety of games with up to 50 percent of them being stud games. I guess I’m the only one though. Note to my opponents: I’m actually much worse at Stud games … it’s in your financial interest to play these games against me.

9. With eight people, you can easily play a round of two-deck Chinese Poker.
Unfortunately, I was the only advocate for the game so we didn’t play.

10. JimCo can do anything if you bet him $5 that he can’t.
Last year, JimCo passed out on my couch at about 6 a.m. His snoring was so memorable that I made a $5 side bet that he couldn’t make it through the full 24 hours without passing out this year. I felt pretty confident when I returned from the liquor store bearing a bottle of Jack Daniels meant just for him. But JimCo survived (mainly because he wouldn’t let me mix his drinks), so I had to toss him $5 of my hard-earned winnings. It was worth it just to keep him in the game though, kind of like how everyone at the table paid Mike Matusow $1,000 to keep playing in the second season of High Stakes Poker.

So will the group make this an annual tradition? It remains to be seen. I don’t think I ever want to do it again. And oh yeah, pass me a beer, eh?

NOTE: Even though he didn’t play for the full 24 hours, it would be a crime to ignore Noah’s participation in the game, as it was one of several key events in La Semana de Noah.


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