Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Noble Poker bonus chase continues....

It has been profitable so far; I've almost doubled my $100 deposit as of tonight, and have about 400 more crowns to earn. At .50/1.00, that's 200 more raked hands, and at 1/2, it's 140 or so hands. Not bad for a 100% matching bonus. Definitely a great deal - go get you some easy bonus money!!

One note though - the players on this site aren't just fishy. I swear that half of them have no idea how to play poker. Literally. I mean, I've seen bad play, and we all know the "any ace or face" type players. But I can understand why the AAoF players play that way - they haven't learned the importance of the kicker. Fine. Or, the player who gets Ace-King and bets/calls all the way down to the river with nothing, because they can't believe they can lose with AK. Those are rookie mistakes. But some of the plays I've seen on Noble are beyond dumbfounding. There are more "any two cards" players than I've ever seen in my life! And even more are loose-aggressives - but not just "loose" aggressives; any-two-cards aggressives! They'll re-raise you down to the river with absolutely nothing! No pair, no draw, no high card (unless ten counts as a high card). I just can't figure out where these people learned to play, because it's not even WPT TV quality play. Who thought it could get worse than that?? Not me! The suckouts are brutal, but the winners can be huge.

An example: I saw pocket Aces four times tonight (yeah, weird - in two hours' time, no less). Three times, they got cracked; one time, they held up - for a THIRTY DOLLAR pot on a .50/1.00 LIMIT table!!! I would have ditched the aces with all the action and the multi-way pot, but I'd already seen these people play all aggro with nothing, so I gritted my teeth and plowed through - and won a pot that made up for the previous suckouts. It was sick.

Some more observations about the Noble software...

It's not friendly for multi-tabling. It could be, but it needs some tweaking. All talbes load into the same window. (I can't find a way to change that, so I assume that's just how it is). At first, I thought I liked that setup, but quickly became annoyed that I could only watch one table at a time. I usually spread my two or three tables out around my screen, so I can see most of each table, all at once (with only their corners overlapping). Being unable to watch all of the tables really decreases the information I can pick up watching my opponents, and also makes it very hard to follow the action and my turn to act at each table.

When it is your turn to act on a table, the software automatically pulls that table to the foreground. At first, I thought that too was a good thing. But, it pulls the table to the front (thereby covering the table you were on) immediately, regardless of what you were doing on the other table. So, if you were getting ready to click your move on one table, and the time-to-act table pops into place at just the right moment, you end up clicking the wrong action for the wrong table. My first night, I accidentally folded several hands by making that "mistake." I figured with some practice, I could avoid it (ie. wait a moment before clicking). But, that doesn't help - because that moment can just as easily be the one that causes another table to pop up in front of you!! I only made 2 such mistakes tonight, but one was calling a pre-flop re-raise with 10-4 offsuit. What a waste of money - not because I misplayed a hand, but because the software got in my way. This issue is so frustrating to me that it really could prevent me from playing there very much (except to chase bonuses!)

I was able to find the player notes feature - you left-click on your opponent's name to access the notes about them. Most sites use right-click. I'm not sure I understand the departure from convention, but I guess if I got used to it, it wouldn't bother me. But, every time I tried to take notes on a player, another table would pop up in my way, closing my notes and leaving them unfinished!! Frustrating. I gave up trying to take notes.

When I mentioned the other day that I like the speedy interface - that too has its downfalls. Showdowns are so fast that you don't really get to see your opponent's cards - or, if another table happens to pop into place in front of you right at showdown, you miss the end result of the hand. The sidebar, where the dealer-spoken hand history resides, is frustrating to read because it rarely shows you the players' hole cards at showdown; instead, it shows the best five cards for the winning hand. So you have to go back and compare it to the flop/turn/river to see what your opponent had. Doing that is no piece of cake, either, because when you scroll the sidebar up, it doesn't STAY up - it auto-jumps back to the bottom of the text as each new line of action is added to the history. I gave up trying to see the end results of hands, too, in the instances that the table pop-ups got in my way (which was frequently).

If you only play one table at a time, these issues are a moot point. But for multi-tabling, they are very frustrating. Gaming software should be transparent; it should facilitate ease of use and gameplay - not be a distraction or hindrance to play. When multi-tabling, Noble's software is really hard to work with.

But with such a lucrative bonus and such fishy players, it has definitely been a profitable site for me thus far. With any luck, I'll clear the rest of my bonus tomorrow.

The Noble online support continues to be top-notch. They're very quick to respond. At the end of each session, I stop to ask how many crowns I've earned. (Unfortunately, that's the only way to find out). Without fail, they answer within two or three minutes and have been quick and polite. I do wish I could get a crown count via the software or their web site, though.

All in all... the software is OK, but I really don't like it for multi-tabling. Their bonus program seems really good though, and if you can dodge the suckouts, the fish are like ATM machines. Part of me wishes I'd put more money in for the bonus, and another part of me can't wait to get back to Full Tilt's software!! :)

In other poker-related observations.... MAN do I disklike limit!! Who'da thunkit? Well - maybe that statement is a bit strong. I dislike it at these low levels. Or, I dislike it when I'm playing with a sea of fishes who disregard pre-flop raises and call down with anything. I suppose those are the players I should LOVE, but suckouts are gut-wrenchingly frustrating. I think I'd rather play my tight aggressive self on a no-limit table, where you rarely get 5 people calling pot-sized bets to the river. I feel like the ability to manipulate the pot might just be THE most important aspect of no-limit hold'em.

I've been playing two $.50/1.00 6-max limit tables and one full $1/2 table on my Noble bonus quest. The combo seems to work well, though I almost want to kick it to two 1/2 tables and one .50/1.00 table. But, this is my very first foray into the 1/2 zone, so I'm trying to properly acclimate myself. The larger bet sizes always jump out at me as DOLLARS instead of units - which results in me playing a little scared for a while. But, since I plan to go back to NL anyway once I finish this bonus chase, I suppose it doesn't really matter!

Finally... in my last tidbit of poker news for the night... Armando and Kathie are hosting a JackHammer game Saturday night. Sweet! The plan is to start out with a cheapo tourney, then run the $20 buy in tourney a bit later. Looks like we should have one full table of participants. I am looking forward to it - there hasn't been nearly enough live poker in my life lately. Randy and I have yet to check out the local Indiana poker rooms. One of these days.... I can't believe the WPBT Vegas trip is three weeks away. I don't think the reality of it will hit me until I start my summer vacation from work (May 20th). Then it's party time!

Ahh well. Time to hit the hay. 'Nite!


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