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Name Change and A Poker Parlay

by Steve Zolotow |  Published: Aug 03, 2016


Steve ZolotowThe bridge players who once referred to me as the Bald Eagle have long passed on to that great bridge game in the sky. Most people these days call me Zee or Steve Zee. When I called in to Bellagio or elsewhere to put my name on a list, I always used that – ‘Steve Z.’ Unfortunately there is at least one other Steve Z, and variety of similar sounding player names like Steve B, Steve C, Steve D, Steve E, Steve G, Steve T, and so on. which causes great confusion in noisy poker rooms. To avoid this, I have now christened myself Zebra. Zebra seems like a somewhat appropriate animal with which to identify: strange looking, hard working, and likes to peacefully munch on the local vegetation. This is not to say that all my opponents are vegetables. Some seem more like the lions looking for a little tender zebra meat…

We have all had the experience of entering a poker tournament, winning steadily as the levels of antes and blinds increase, and watching our starting stack skyrocket. This kind of parlay can also be used to take a cash game shot. You can parlay a small buy-in into a big win. A parlay is a series of bets in which the initial stake plus any winnings are wagered. For example, a three-team parlay is a series of three bets so that the initial bet plus winnings are bet on the second team and then all those proceeds are wagered on the third. If you are lucky enough to win all three, you will have about eight times your starting amount. This has been called ‘turning a match stick into a lumber yard!’

Here is one that I accidentally fell into during last year’s WSOP. As mentioned above, I usually call in to put my name on some lists before leaving the house. This is especially useful during the WSOP when the waiting lists get long. Bellagio allows phone sign-ins for $1-$3, $2-$5 and $5-$10 no-limit hold’em, but not for higher games. I put myself on all three lists. When I arrived, the room was packed, but I got a seat in a new $1-$3 game, and I also added my name to the $10-$20 and $10-$20-$40 lists. I bought in for $300 (the max) and played for about 20 minutes, winning a few hands. Then, a $2-$5 seat opened up, and I had almost the $500 max buy-in for that. In the first orbit, I won a small hand, and then tripled up.

Suddenly I was approaching $2,000, and a $5-$10 seat was ready. There the maximum buy-in is $1,500, so I put away a little more than my initial buy-in and still had $1,500 left. I continued winning, and was over $3,500 when they called me for $10-$20-$40, which has no buy-in cap. I had skipped over the $10-$20 game or at least if I played nothing memorable happened. My $3,000 buy-in for the $10-$20-$40 game left me as one of the short stacks at an active table. (By now I had locked up a $600 win, and was freerolling with $3,000.) I think I was playing well. I know I was feeling confident and getting lucky. After two hours, which including flopping a set that held up and making the nut flush, I had won several big pots. I cashed out for just over $20,000.

Obviously this kind of parlay takes a lot of luck, but on the other hand, you can afford to lose a lot of $300 buy-ins after a $20,000 win. I have never duplicated my success of that golden day. Usually I lose a several buy-ins, but I have had a few days where I turned a $500 start at $2-$5 into $6,000 or $7,000 by moving up to $5-$10 and $10-$20. Would I recommend this strategy? It is certainly not designed for a grinder, but it may be more achievable than buying into a tournament for $300, and reaching the final three players to win $20,000. And you can remain at any level if the game is great and you can quit when you want if it isn’t. Best of all, it makes a great story! ♠

_Steve ‘Zee’ Zolotow aka Zebra is a very successful gamesplayer. He has been a full-time gambler for over 40 years. With two WSOP bracelets, over 50 cashes, and a few million in tournament cashes, he is easing into retirement. He currently devotes most of his Vegas gaming time to poker, and can be found in cash games at Bellagio and at tournaments during the WSOP. When escaping from poker, he spends the spring and the fall in New York City where he hangs out at his bars: Doc Holliday’s, The Library and DBA. _



over 5 years ago

First Rule of Fight Club:

You can't give yourself your own nickname.