Thursday, September 30, 2010

order has been restored.


"Perhaps more interesting is what it says about the current state of Duke's program. Remember when the Blue Devils were faltering? Remember when Duke couldn't get past the Sweet 16? Remember when Coach K was spending too much time with the national team? Remember when the Blue Devils weren't deep enough? Remember when Duke couldn't lure top recruits anymore?

Those days -- if they even existed in the first place -- are officially over. The Blue Devils are the reigning national champions. They're the favorite for the this season's crown, thanks in part to one of the best recruits in the 2010 class, Kyrie Irving. And they just signed the best overall player in the class of 2011 and are all the way up to No. 2 in's updated class rankings.

If Duke "went" anywhere, it is officially back. That's a scary thought."

chronic intoxication

And young thoughts, we used to have those big smiles
We were still so many miles from a broken heart
But nowadays we never think about the change
Really know what we’ve became really ain’t the same
- nieve and cook

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

tourney poker 101

recently, i made it deep into the borgata world poker tour main event, and have been tweeting about my progress.  poker was actually the initial reason why i got twitter, so that people who were interested would be able to follow how i was doing in the tournament without my constant having to text individual people about what happened.

before, i would write blog entries about how the day went.  for example, you can catch my archived world series of poker entries.

now that i have a few followers on twitter that don't know about poker and have somewhat been interested in my live tourney updates, i would like to write a short informative entry about the basics of tournament poker and how to follow my seemingly nonsensical tweets.

most of the references below will be related to no limit hold em.

in poker, there are two ways to make money, playing in cash games, or in tournaments.  in cash games, you start off with however much you wish to play with (there is usually some sort of table minimum to buy in for), chips represent actual cash value.  you can pick up and leave whenever you want, and if you run out of money, you can buy in for more.  when you leave, you cash out with however many chips you have in front of you.

in a tournament, everyone buys in for the same amount, and the casino usually takes a vig (anywhere from 5-10%).  all the aggregate money goes into a prize pool.  the way you "cash" in a tournament, or make money, is finishing in a place where there is a payout.  (most tournaments payout the top 10-15% finishers).  everyone starts off with the same amount of chips, and when you lose all your chips, you are "busted", or you are out of the tournament.

in a tournament, blinds and antes go up every level, and each level lasts for around an hour or so.  in the WPT event i just played, it was 75 minutes.  at the WSOP main event, it's 2 hours.  usually blinds and antes increase by a factor of 20-25% each level.  these level ensure that players bust out in a somewhat timely manner, otherwise tournaments would last for a long time.

so when i write something like blinds 2/4 1a, that probably means the blinds are 200/400 with a 100 ante.  (or 2k/4k with a 1k ante, depending on what came before i was abbreviating)

average stack is calculated by taking the total number of chips and dividing it by the remaining players.  usually this isn't that pressing of a statistic unless it's a certain type of situation, but it's nice to keep tabs on i suppose.  so when i say avg is x, that's what i mean.

there are several special situations in tournament poker, but the most pertinent is the bubble.  this is when say there are 100 spots that pay in the tourney, and there are around 110-101 ppl left in the tourney.  the closer we are to the money, the slower the play gets for the short stacks, because they don't want to get knocked out before the "bubble" bursts.  sometimes certain players will pretty much play super conservative and fold HUGE hands in order to try to sneak into the money and not go broke.  more experienced players will take advantage of this situation and use aggression to steal pots from their weaker opponents.  in some situations, players have folded big hands face up to me, showing me that they're willing to lay down in order to make the money and won't get into big pots with me without a big hand.

a race in poker, is when the money goes all in before the flop, and the odds are pretty much 50-50, (a pair vs. two overcards is such a situation, which is actually closer to 55-45)  this is also verbalized as a flip, because it is like flipping a coin.  so when someone says i couldn't win a race or a flip, they mean they couldn't win one of these common situations.

another abbreviation commonly used is < > = when i'm all in pf.  for example, if i write, won a 500k pot AA>AK aipf, i mean that i won a 500k pot where i had AA and the opponent had AK, and we were all in preflop.

when i indicate position, i'm telling you where i am sitting at the beginning of the hand and where my opponent is sitting.  this gives additional information to the dynamics of how the hand plays out.

positions at a table:
SB = small blind
BB = big blind
UTG = under the gun, or first to act preflop
UTG+1 = one after UTG
MP = middle position
MP+1 = one after MP
HJ = hijack, two before the button
CO = cutoff, or one before the button
BTN = button, or the dealer position

when a hand "holds" that means that going into a situation where all the money is in and there are cards to come, you have the mathematical edge of winning the hand, and you win the hand in the end.  your hand "held down" the winner for you.

when i have hands, i usually abbreviate them by just two letters


so if i have aces, i'll just say i have AA.  if i want to indicate suits, i'll write i have AdAc meaning i have the ace of diamonds and ace of clubs.  if i have something like 76cc, it means i have 7 of clubs and 6 of clubs.

other section:

qualifiers/satellites.  these tournaments are tourneys that have a smaller entry fee, and the finishers in these tournaments win a buy in to a tournament.  for example, to enter in the world series of poker, the buy in is $10,000.  there are several satellites where the buy in is less than that, for example if 10 ppl were to play, the buy in would be 1k + some sort of vig, and one person would win a seat to the event.

steal.  a steal is generally just when you raise preflop in a later position and you take it down.  you "stole" the pot from the players in the blinds.  a resteal is when someone reraises a raise preflop to steal it away from the original raiser.  this is also conventionally known as a 3-bet.

that's it for now...if i have more i'll add it to my next entry, how i play tournaments.

so i was adding music to my feeble collection on my computer and

came across these few sites to quickly gloss over some good songs:

anyone have suggestions of good albums and what not (old or recent, all genres except lame).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

what is truth?

about two weeks ago, a korean/japanese american held the discovery channel hostage with explosive devices and fake pistols as an environmental terrorist.  most people followed the incident during the work day, wondering what the eventual outcome would be as the general internet community, along with twitter, spread the news of the incident like wildfire.  then just like that, a sniper picked him off as he was threatening some of the hostages.

koreans, normally proud of their race when they do well (read: kim yu-na, hines ward, etc.), were quick to banish him off to his japanese heritage, or had some sort of similar reaction of "oh no, not again" or "ah crap, sorry about that bud" like when seung-hui cho went ballistic at virginia tech.  the rest of the world went quickly  back to normal, and the man was dismissed and forgotten.

and by all rights, incidents like these should not be given that much media attention, for it would inspire other would-be copycats to gain their own spotlight.  but reading about james j lee (i won't go into the countless other terrorist inspired events for now), made me wonder about his perspective of truth.  most of these kinds of people don't believe that what they are doing is wrong, they think that they are revolutionaries for a just social cause.  i believe that terrorists are marked by their beliefs that their cause trumps the sanctity of human life.  their ideologies are always stained by some sort of selfish desire that they try to mask with a "for the people" spin.

james j lee had a somewhat admirable cause that he was an advocate of, trying to promote programs that would perhaps improve the environment.  however, if his primary goal was to change the minds of people, he probably came up with the worst plan possible to do so.  he makes a few huge mistakes:

a) resorts to violence to promote non-violence (thinks humans cause wars which produce pollution in the environment)
b) has demands that require a LARGE time frame to accomplish, when his actions are during a hostage situation, something that is usually resolved within a day when there's one gunman and infinity SWAT surrounding a building.  this would make it quite difficult to make sure your demands are met.
d) has an OVER simplified view of how the world works.  #11 on his list says: "You're also going to find solutions for unemployment and housing. All these unemployed people makes me think the US is headed toward more war."  yes, cause if the discovery channel had the answer to that, they wouldn't already have notified the US government.

all in all, his demands and rants make him sound like someone who didn't really give much thought to how to change society, and just wanted people to cater to his beliefs to how the world should be.  he never really proposes a solution that would produce lasting change, and because of that, he merely sounds like a raving lunatic.  but in his mind, he convinced himself that he was doing the right thing by taking people hostage in the discovery channel (i mean who holds the discovery channel hostage?  you can't make this kind of stuff up).

he made up this truth for himself, "if i hold the discovery channel hostage, i can make them change their television lineup, which will in turn make people have less babies, stop war, and stop using oil.  i pretty much will effectively end the human race and save the planet as a result."  sounds crazy, but this sounds like exactly the train of thought that he had (ignoring for the moment that there could've been some other ulterior motive to his actions, i.e. garnering attention for just attention's sake).

sometimes i wonder if there will be a point in time where i fully convince myself of some "truth" that is not grounded in reality.  sometimes the reality that we find ourselves becomes questionable because there's always a "this is the way it should be" thought that creeps into our minds, and how we go about getting our realities calibrated to that utopian ideal could potentially be more damaging than good.

i like to think of myself as a level headed person who will listen to ALL the facts, details, emotions, motivations before making a judgment on something, but there will always remain the possibility that my limited comprehension of the world will fail and that i'll start believing in a lie.  it reminds me of my favorite quote from memento, "we all lie to ourselves to make ourselves happy."  instead of facing reality, it's easier for us to create some sort of lie for ourselves to produce the illusion that the something wrong with the world is outwardly focused instead of inwardly.  in order to inspire real change, one has to understand why things are the way they are, by relating to it with their own personal experience.

i will continue to look for my own truth.  i'll let you know when i find it.