Poker Update

Early on, got A-A, got my chips in, got a caller, got doubled up. That was sweet.

Much later: Blinds at 150-300. I get Kh-Jd. Bet 700, mostly hoping that others will fold. I get two callers. The flop is J-7-4, all spades. Player 1 checks. Player 2 thinks for a minute, bets 700. I instantly raise it to 1500, about half my remaining chips. I think the odds are good there are no flushes out there (only six players at the table). Player 1 goes all in for 2,150. Player 2 considers for a while and then folds. I have to call – it’s 650 more for a $6000+ pot. He had the flush. I moved down to short stack status.

I never got another good hand. I only had 1500 left when the 600 big blind was on me. With A-2 I was forced to go all-in knowing that I probably had the worst hand. I did, that was that.

It was a fun night with good people.

Tonight: -$20
Running Total: $580

2008 World Series of Poker

Congratulations Peter Eastgate! You may be the most boring person to ever walk the earth, but you won fair and square!

More commentary tomorrow, I need to sleep.

* Youngest WSOP winner ever: I’m curious to see how Phil Hellmuth reacts to losing his title, but I doubt he cares that much. He’s moved on.
* Boringist player ever: C’mon, show some expression. Even after he won he still wouldn’t celebrate. I think I saw him shake hands with a couple buddies. What does it take with this guy? Maybe he was keeping focus with heavy medication.
* Boring table: The players just weren’t very interesting. Rheem was fun. The “November Nine” indeed. Ridiculous.
* Editing: ESPN skips most hands. Last year they showed about nine hands out of eighty or so. I think they showed four hands of heads-up play. I wonder how many hands there actually were? This is unfortunate because it means I can’t decide the most important question:
* Luck: On TV, it seems that Eastgate was ridiculously lucky. He knocked people out with trips after the flop twice, a full house, and won the entire tournament with the wheel straight. On the other hand, he got the straight because there was no pre-raise flop. Generally, people were letting him play cheap, giving him the chance to hit big hands. In coverage from previous rounds he seemed neither particularly lucky or unlucky. Where to place him? Commenters, do your stuff.

Yes, We Can!

Mrs. Muttrox was talking to the five-year old. She was trying to motivate him.

Mrs M: Yes we can! Yes we can! That’s what Barack Obama says and we believe it!
The Boy looked contemplative. He has been following the election and voted for Barack Obama in school election. Mrs M was moved. She was thinking, Wow, he loves Barack Obama. He’s really inspired by him just like us.
“What do you mean Mom?”
“Barack Obama, the new president. He says that. ‘Yes, we can!’. It means that even tough things aren’t impossible. If people get together and work with each other, and really try to do big things and change the world, they can do it. Yes, we can! Yes, we can!”

At this, the five-year old looked very intent. Here it was, the moment where he fully bought into the bigger movement. What a country. Barack Obama had captured something so profound and compelling that even a five-year old boy can understand his message and buy into it. What a truly inspirational figure.

“Mom, isn’t that what Bob the Builder says!?”

Peaceful Transfer

This expresses it better than what I was trying to say before.

Every election year since I’ve been teaching, I’ve told the same story to my students to try to give them perspective. I went to a very conservative college, where probably 80% of the student body were registered Republicans. On the night of the 1992 election, I was walking around campus, and as the results came in, there was a palpable sense of despair; so much so that the next day in chapel, the school president felt the need to reassure people that the election of Bill Clinton did not call into doubt the existence or omnipotence of God.

When I got into my dorm room, I found my roommate listening to George Bush’s concession speech on the radio. My roommate was not a US citizen, but a Liberian who had escaped that country’s civil war and enrolled in college in the US. Despite (or perhaps because of) that, he was very invested in the election and an ardent Bush supporter. But when I saw him, I was stunned to find him not at all depressed at the result of the election; normally very low-key, he was positively giddy as he listened to his candidate admit defeat and praise his opponent. I was thinking he was misunderstanding what was going on; until I realized that I was the one unclear on the concept.

John was thrilled just to see a peaceful change of power. Having lived his whole life in West Africa, he, like 99% of the people in the history of the planet, had never seen a person in political power willingly give it up. What I took as a given was to him a source of wonder.

The point I make with my students is that, as much as the politicians and the talking heads want to convince us that the apocalypse will come if we elect the wrong guy, the reality is that checks and balances, as well as politicians’ desire for re-election, ensure that the vast majority of what happens will be things that the vast majority of us can go along with. No matter what happens in any American election, 99% of us will find our lives 99% unchanged. That’s a good thing, one that’s easy to forget when you watch TV more than once a month.

Poker Update

There were only seven players last night, so I liked my odds. It was a strange night. I couldn’t get people to bet how I wanted. I would have good cards, and they would fold. I would have good cards, they would stay in, and my good cards wouldn’t hit anything. I hit the nut flush and couldn’t get a caller. I would get bad cards and I could still bluff them out, but it seemed to take a lot more work.

I soon found myself with about 40% of my starting stack. There had already been two buy-ins so I was slipping further behind. It felt like time to make a move. With J-10 I raised the blinds 4x. One guy called. The flop was K-x-x, I confidently went all in. I didn’t really care how it went. If he folded that was fine. If he called and beat me, I was going to rebuy and start over with a decent stack. He called me and beat me. I rebought with a decent stack.

All the money was flowing to one guy. The luck was on his side tonight. He’s a value player. I don’t know what he has but I know if he has anything. He had anything all night. He had a huge stack, the other six of us were more or less even. Then the blood-letting began. He knocked out two players, one with the nuts, once with a little help on the river. I knocked another one out with K-K vs. his 4-4. He knocked out another one. Now there were three players left (in the money!). Two of us short-stacked, one guy with most of the money. The other player went all in with a pocket pair. He got counterfeited on the river and lost. Second place!

I started heads-up down 8-1 in chips. Maybe more. But he isn’t an aggressive player, he never made moves to put me away. I doubt he bluffed once in heads up. We went back and forth with him letting me slowly accumulate a respectable stack. I fought my way to even. With 9-9 I raised the blinds. He came over the top. Good enough hand for me! I went all-in, he called me with Q-A. My 9s held up and now it was me with the 8-1 chip advantage. I put him away quickly.

Tonight: $50
Running Total: $600

Deal or No Deal

This is a liveshot from a video game for Deal or No Deal.
Deal or No Deal Game
So I can win twice as much, if I pay over twice as much money? No Deal.

This facility also features a massage chair which is $1 for 3 minutes. It then goes on to tell you that it’s $5 for 15 minutes of $10 for 30 minutes. Is this a clever psychological trick that induces people to spend more money or it simply a crutch for those who can’t multiply? I have a vision of a man with a two-dollar bill staring blankly at the sign, trying vainly to figure out how much time his $2 will get him.