Friday, November 05, 2010

V for Vendetta in Kinetic Typography

Rather appropriate for tonight.

Aside from politicians, I'd also chuck the loons who are still setting off fireworks at 11.30pm on the bonfire.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

They Don't Write Them Like This Anymore!

Proper sports reporting from the past.

Monday, May 31, 2010

What Is The Difference Between Israel and North Korea?

Not much so far as I can see. Though North Korea seems more efficient in the art of high seas terrorism.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Election Time Again

Before the last election, I actually managed to put together a post I was quite proud of. Alas, nothing changed for the better in the last five years, and now I can't even motivate myself to put my thoughts in print.

Instead, I'll offer up some comedy genius from long ago, with a political slant. (Hint: Stick with it til the end!)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


The "Honest Mistake" Files from lovethesfa on Vimeo.

Match fixing, anyone?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More On Poker and Luck

I've finally gotten round to dipping my toes in the world of Rush Poker. Initially, with some success, but latterly I seem to have ended up with scalded feet.

It all started so well. On my way back from a training course in England, I finally managed to get my wifi connection to the T-Mobile hot spot on the Virgin Train working.

Which meant that as I whizzed northwards at 125mph or so, I was able to fire up Full Tilt on my little Samsung netbook. Since the screen on this is tiny, and I'm generally used to playing six tables simultaneously, Rush Poker seemed the ideal compromise. One table, but many more hands per hour.

My initial impressions were that it's great fun, but I am not convinced that it will supersede multi-tabling regular games as my preferred mode of play.

This feeling should be qualified against yesterday's experiment, where I worked my way up to four-tabling Rush Poker, by which time I seemed to be averaging over 1200 hands per hour! Absolutely incredible.

I did play, by my standards, very tight (11%/8%) but the results were execrable. I finished the day, after three hours play, a whopping eight buy-ins down.

Which leads me to luck. Looking over the results, I was able to attribute one buy-in to bad play on my part (3-bet from the blinds with AK, c-bet a whiffed flop and got a bit carried away on a K turn versus oppo with KQ who flopped top pair and turned two pair).

However the overall loss was primarily a combination of cooler situations (set-under-set, QQ v AA on a low flop, flush vs top set who fills up on the river, bottom set vs top-two who fills up on turn, etc.), and some teeth grindingly neanderthal play (cold calling a 4-bet pre with 97s, floating the flop with nothing and back-dooring a straight on a flushing board, etc.)

Encouragingly, I didn't even stack-off in most of these situations. But taken together, they all added up to a hefty loss!

Which, to me, seems like a hellish run of luck. However, fortune WAS smiling on me in one way.

As I was experimenting, I was playing lower than normal. A mix of $25 and $50 buy-in, instead of $100 and $200.

So, whereas I could easily have been looking at a loss in excess of $1000, the actual damage was more like $300.

Not ideal, but well within the tolerance of my bankroll - and even $25 buy-in games generate some rakeback when you are getting through 1200 hands per hour!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Missives From A Pretend Professional Poker Player - Part 4. Luck

I've spend the last few weeks working in Belfast. Cosily ensconced in a nice hotel that was at the upper end of acceptable walking distance to the office.

This meant than on Mondays I took a taxi back to the hotel, as hefting a fairly sizeable suitcase was both impractical, and an open invitation to be mugged.

Belfast rush-hour traffic is much like any other city, with one rather complex junction in particular causing a backlog, as the lights rapidly cycled. Meaning that to my eyes only a few cars got through on each iteration.

Next morning I crossed the same junction on foot. As I waited patiently for the green man to appear, a lengthy stream of cars passed by along the same route I had taken the previous evening. 'ffs', I thought, 'Those lights let LOADS of cars through!'

This simple lesson in perspective took me back to a few hands I've recently played, in both of which, I got lucky. But in very different ways.

Hand A is a classic cooler. KK v AA Effective stacks 80BB deep. Having raised my KK then 4-bet when re-raised, I did get a sinking feeling when my opponent shoved, but his range was wider than just AA, so I had to call.

I needn't have worried, as a K on the board saw me right. Whereupon my opponent went off on an enormous 'how could you call that' type rant. Rather than explain how exploitable it would be to fold KK whenever someone 5-bet shoved pre-flop, I played dumb while gleefully enjoying the suck-out.

Hand B is the stuff of dreams. AA v KK Effective stacks 170BB. All-in pre. I deliberately played this one very fast, to give the impression of AK rather then AA, and it worked perfectly, as my opponent couldn't wait to get his chips in the middle.

No suck-out and a healthy pot to rake.

To me, both these hands are extremely lucky.

I doubt anyone would deny the outcome of Hand A merits that description. But I do think many people lack any sophistication in their appraisal of the entire situation, as opposed to the outcome alone.

To lose with AA v KK is clearly unlucky, but it's also pretty damn unlucky to run KK into AA in the first place. Especially against a fairly aggro opponent.

Having lost the hand, I could have pointed out to my opponent that since he hadn't topped up recently, he'd actually saved 20BB through tardiness.

Taking it to another level, I could have considered that he was still lucky to be playing against people such as myself, who are not good enough to put a stone-cold read on him and (correctly) fold KK pre-flop.

Hand B, conversely, isn't just lucky for being AA v KK that holds, it's doubly lucky because we were both fairly deep-stacked, so the successful outcome was highly rewarding.

How many times have we been dealt AA and got it all-in versus a shortie with 77? In that case one could argue we are actually unlucky when we win (because the profit is < 20BB) and lucky when we lose (because it's only 20BB).

There's a lot more to luck than the RNG running true. Something it pays to bear in mind when grinding a large number of hands, and working hard to manage tilt.

While it's good to understand the odds, a little rationality and perspective can go a long way towards an improved and profitable game.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back To The Real World

So I'm back in the world of 'proper' work again. Albeit on something short term.

Spent a few days in Belfast this week (no I am NOT Gordon Brown), and I'll probably be over there again soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Missives From A Pretend Professional Poker Player - Part 3. Tilt

I've never had much of a problem with tilt. At least not in the 'smashing the lot in with entirely irrational play' sense.

I'm sure I've occasionally suffered from 'winner's tilt' and made over optimistic plays when running good.

Equally when running bad I DO get frustrated. I DO curse at the monitor. I DO bemoan my luck and swear vengeance on the villains.

What I don't do is throw my money away in an entirely random manner.

I'm not sure whether I've just got a good temperament, or whether I'm so stingy I simply can't bear to drop any cash unnecessarily. Either way, I know it's a good way to be, and I was worried that playing much more intensively than I'm used to might have a negative impact on this trait.

Fortunately, so far it seems, so good. Which may have been helped by a striking incident I was a beneficiary of in more ways than one...

A new Scandie player joined one of my many tables and was seated directly to my right.

Almost immediately we tangled in a few blind v button type hands, where he raised me off a couple of hands post-flop with what I soon came to realise were most probably 'moves'.

Having dropped a few dollars to him, I paid close attention as his aggressive style chipped him up to double his buy-in.

My thoughts were that he seemed a player, but I might be able to trap him if the right hand came along. I needn't have worried. His implosion was imminent.

His downfall began in what probably seemed like a dreamily perfect scenario, as he picked up KK v QQ in an all-in pre coup. His all-action style no doubt ensuring his opponent was eager to commit pre-flop.

The dream was shattered, however, as a third queen returned him to parity.

Ouch, I thought. That's got to hurt. Which it clearly did, as he immediately open shoved 100BB pre-flop in the next hand, and the next, and the next...

Whereupon my prayers were answered as I picked up KK and crushed his Q3o, to almost double me through. That was the end of my Scandie pal, as he disappeared without a word.

We tend to remember the bad beats and gloss over the good ones, but I think the memory of this little adventure has served me well over the couple of weeks since it happened.

The lesson I drew was that talent and skill alone are not enough. A dispassionate temperament is required too.

There's no point winning money with good play, only to throw it away through tilt. Two steps forward followed by two steps back equals a long walk to nowhere.

That's a path I do not intend to tread.

All Aboard!

Online Poker

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Yep It's A Bit Chilly In These Parts

I picked a REALLY bad week to be driving 70 miles per day for a training course!