By Nick Sortal
11:35 AM EST, January 4, 2013
I’m not that great at winning money playing poker. But I’m pretty good at not losing it.
That’s what I glean from my 2012 gambling log, which I totaled up this week.
I keep a gambling log for two main reasons: I may see patterns that can help me, and if I ever hit the big one, I want to have any possible loss documented to offset all that taxable income.
Even though there were very few adrenaline-packed highs, I still had a nice year: I ended up winning $916 over a span of about 100 gambling experiences (including the lottery).
I sat down 42 times to play $1-$2 no-limit Texas hold ‘em, almost always buying in for $100. I left a loser 22 of those times, for an average loss of about $40. My wins, though, more than offset the losses, averaging about $75. Overall, I was up $752 playing poker cash games, and only got “felted” — cleaned out — once, when I shoved all-in with ace-king suited after a re-raise behind me. Yep, he had aces. Doh.
Where specifically did I win? I was up $355 at Mardi Gras, $191 at the Isle, $188 at the Hard Rock and $112 at Gulfstream. But at Seminole Coconut Creek, I lost all six outings, costing me $201. The other places were less than $100 one way or another.
You can argue that I lost money by not hitting a high hand. With card rooms raking $1 from each pot to apply to a jackpot, the math would dictate that a regular player would hit one now and then — getting his own money back. But no such luck this year. (You can also argue that I need to chase the jackpot more.)
I also lost money in nine of the 13 poker tournaments I played in, but, again, my few wins put me way in the black, highlighted by a $400 score at Studz Poker Lounge at Calder. Overall, I won $508 playing tournament poker.
But the rest of my gambling experiences were losses. All told, that’s minus-$304 playing blackjack, video roulette, video poker (some day, I’ll hit that royal flush), slots, pari-mutuel and the lottery. I try to get in on the action whenever I’m out on a story, just because I consider myself an immersion journalist.
Even if I had ended up a bit in the red, I would argue that it wasn’t a bad year, purely on the basis of all the entertainment I had. Here’s hoping I have news at least this good to report at the end of 2013.
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