Thursday, March 16, 2006

March Madness, WSOP Satellite, and MC Hammer's Blog

I'm going to stop blogging soon. After discovering that MC Hammer has a blog, I realized I can't keep up with the legend himself.

What has our world come to?

So it's March Madness and thanks to everyone who joined my pool this year. It's going to be a wild ride over the nest few weeks. I like North Carolina and I pick them to win every year. I'm always wrong and I can't ever pick Duke. I have UCONN in one sheet and UNC in the other.

Way before I started blogging about poker and improved my poker skills, I gambled exclusively on sporting events like pro football and college basketball. I always did well dating back to my days in high school. After college, in the late 1990s every year around late March and early April I'd clean up and have enough money to cover my summer travels. One year it was a trip to Europe. A big score in 2000 covered expenses for an epic excursion to Japan with Senor. Another nice payoff in 1999 allowed me to see almost forty Phish shows that year, all funded through successfully wagering on March Madness. A few years I lost and the rest of the year was rough. Sometimes I'd be covering my losses from the NFL season. Other times I was gambling with house money. When I win in March, I know it's going to be a bonus year.
Today's Bets:
Montana +6
Gonzaga -6
Marquette -3
Tenn -7
Oklahoma -3
Syracuse -1
LSU -7.5
San Diego State +2
I definitely like the Grizzlies from Montana to upset Nevada today. I hope that Syracuse gets hot in the first round. So how about some March Madness betting strategy?

I start with small test bets in the first round. So on the first two days of the tournaments (Thurs & Fri) I'm betting no more than $100/150 on a game. I don't bet on all 32 games, Although I'd like to get 20-25 bets down with 4 or 5 bigger sized bets.

The second round or the weekend games are where I'd bump up my minimum bet. With 16 games, I'd like to get action on 12 for $200/300 a game. At least 3 or 4 will be too tough to call or trap game. You want to focus on 4 or 5 teams with solid advantages. The only stats I look for are FT% and rebounding. If there's a toss up between two tough teams, I always go with the team that shoots better free throws, especially down the stretch. Millions of dollars from bettors are won and lost during the last few seconds of a March Madness game. A missed free throw might mean a loss for one team, but it means a brick full of cash for the dude sitting at the sports book at the Mirage who dropped four dimes on the winning team.

Round 3 or the Sweet 16 usually has 5 decent games to bet on out of 8. I bump up my betting limits to about $500/600 per game and I pick the four best teams and press my winnings (if I got any). If I'm up.... I'll double my current tournament winnings. If I'm behind, I have a shot of getting unstuck. I've seen them play twice and hopefully seen their opponents twice. At that point, you have to stick with the hot teams and the hot players.

The Elite 8 games are tougher to win money on than you think. With 4 games left to bet on in that round, there's the temptation to bet on all 4. I avoid that and pick 2 teams to wager on again focusing on the teams playing the best and the one team that's been the luckiest.

The Final Four is a dangerous time for gamblers, where you can lose your entire tournament bankroll on one bad call or walk away with enough money to buy into the main event at the WSOP. If the games are good, you're lucky that you good opportunities to make money since there's technically only three final games to find action on. If there's a tough matchup in both of the Final Four games, you're screwed. I usually like to put out the biggest bet of the tournament on one of the semi-final games. I'll bet 75% of my winnings on one game and 25% on the other, letting it all ride. And for the Championship game, I always scale back my bet. Anything can happen in those and I don't want to lose too much dough on some 19 year old kid who can't hold his mud on national TV.

That's my basic betting strategy for March Madness. Round 1 and 2 are always done through the local bookie or my account at Bodog. (If you set up an account, use my referral code: P1B5DB7) I'm always in Las Vegas for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 and I'm usually placing bets at the Mandalay Bay sports book.

* * * * *

Don't forget to sign up for the WPBT WSOP satellite that takes place on Sunday night. Thanks to Iggy, the organizer of the first satellite of the year to be held on Paradise Poker. They are offering up a 25% bonus with your first deposit.

Here are the details:
What: WPBT WSOP NL Satellite
When: Sunday March 19
Time: 9pm EST
Where: Paradise Poker
How Much: $30
Password: email iggy at allimcbeal_69 -
Restrictions: Bloggers only!

First place wins a seat into the 2006 WSOP $1500 event of their choice. Because of Paradise's software, we need 55 players to pull this off. The $30 buyin fee includes the juice, so in reality its a $27 + 3 event.
Paradise Poker: The world's premier online poker room

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today. Any questions? Shoot either me or Iggy an email.

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