Tuesday, January 4, 2011

MySpace Downsizing

I coined a phrase long ago when comparing Facebook and MySpace to friends it goes something like this:

"MySpace is the trailer park of the Internet"

It appears many people have agreed with me over time and while Facebook is hitting an all time high with users and valuations, today I came across this article talking about how News Corp's MySpace is downsizing.

I think they should have talked to me before making that purchase.

Monday, May 17, 2010

WSOP Single Table Satellite Structures, Binion's Poker Class and The Grand

Some people have asked me about tournaments during the Top 3 Poker trip to Vegas for the WSOP, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts on getting into one of the WSOP events which are echoed by one of the Full Tilt Pros I have previously met.

First, you don't have to spend $1,500 to play an Event or even $10,000 to play the Main Event at the WSOP. There are a number of multi-table and single table satellites that you can enter for as little as $65 and win enough chips to buy into a WSOP Event. My preference is to play the $175 Single Table Tournaments, because in many cases if you can get down to the final 2 there is enough to split and make it worth everyone's while, but strategies differ.

One thing I would not recommend is buying directly into a high dollar single table satellite. Win your way into it through a $275 STS or lower and take your 1 in 10 shot from there at a $1000 + $30 single table satellite to make it into the WSOP Main Event since the value of tournament chips is less than the value of the actual equivalent dollars. I did and it almost landed me in the Main Event in 2008!


Another great event that mirrors the WSOP is Binion's 4th Annual Poker Classic with much more affordable buy-ins than the WSOP. This is especially relevant in the current economy. These events range from $100 to $1000 to play in large fields with some pretty decent players. The structure for the 4thAnnual Binion's Poker Classic is available here.

If you are staying with us at the Golden Nugget, I'd recommend you take a look at The Grand Poker Series. This is another affordable event that should have good players. You can view the schedule for this event here.

No matter what you decide to do during your time in Vegas get out there and play!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In Memory of Bertha Balan-Olenik

This is the eulogy I gave in remebrence of my grandmother, Bertha Balan-Olenik on what would have been her 94th birthday and I now post it here to honor her memory.

"Today we gather to warmly remember, honor, and share our grief as we celebrate the life of my Grandmother, Bertha Balan-Olenik on what would have been her 94th birthday. She leaves behind a loving husband (Samuel Olenik), three adult children (Arliene, Barry and Elinore), eight grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren, cousins, relatives, people she touched throughout her life, and a beautiful legacy.

Beginning life in 1915, grandma saw so much of what was right and wrong with our world. She had so many memories that she shared with us all and we have so many of her. Each discussion with her was a treasure - especially our last.

My sister Jody and I remember fondly grandma's cooking. Things like Fried Matzah, chopped liver, and that soft boiled egg thing. As my sister recalls, if it had an egg in it, Grandma could cook it. We remember sleeping on the patio in Century Village, riding the gigantic tricycle, The Grammy Scale, and how Grandma always anticipated our arrival so she could show off her grandkids to all her neighbors. We both recall walks along Deerfield Beach, which in time evolved to sitting on a bench, visiting and talking. Her wisdom was endless. Although all of the memories my sister and I have of Grandma are precious, let me share two specific stories with you.

The last time I saw Grandma was on Saturday, June 6th of this year. I flew with my girlfriend, Meredith, to see Grandma after she had broken her hip. We joined my mom and Sam to visit with her at the rehabilitation center. After a long day, my mom decided to leave to run errands and allow Sam to get some rest leaving Meredith and me with Grandma. She was as sharp as a tack - very clear and very coherent. Meredith and I sat with Grandma for several hours. At some point during that time I left the room and Grandma looked at Meredith and said, "Meredith you have a gem right there, a real gem." We feel the same about our grandmother.

Another special memory occurred with Grandma and Sam in early 1999. After my Papa, Irving, passed my grandmother suffered from a severe broken heart - her world was in disarray - so I made every effort to visit her frequently to lift her spirits and comfort her. Then I heard she had a boyfriend so I flew down to Deerfield Beach to meet her new beau and evaluate him on behalf of the family. I left that trip thankful that my Grandmother had met a man who renewed her zest for life and treated her with the love and support she deserved. Since then Sam has become a very special part of our family, we love you and will always be there for you.

I would like to close with a portion of a poem that I believe would echo what my Grandmother would say to us today. It is called "I Am Always With You"

"..be thankful we had so many good years.

I gave you my love, and you can only guess
How much you've given me in happiness.

I thank you for the love that you have shown,
But now it is time I traveled on alone.

So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust
That it is only for a while that we must part,
So treasure the memories within your heart.

I won't be far away for life goes on.
And if you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can't see or touch me, I will be near
And if you listen with your heart, you'll hear
All my love around you soft and clear

And then, when you come this way alone,
I'll greet you with a smile and a "Welcome Home".


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Writing Removed

I haven't updated my blog lately and it hasn't been for a lack of desire. Over the last month or two I have been inundated with items at work, items at home and other items of a personal nature. In short I have been removed from the opportunity to write, but now I am back.

Late last month I lost my grandmother and will soon post my eulogy to her as my final act of public mourning.

Also, today is my Mom's 64th Birthday.

So for now...adieu.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

WSOP Single Table Satellite Structures, Binion's Poker Class and The Grand

Some people have asked me about tournaments during the Top 3 Poker trip to Vegas for the WSOP, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts on getting into one of the WSOP events which are echoed by one of the Full Tilt Pros I have previously met.

First, you don't have to spend $1,500 to play an Event or even $10,000 to play the Main Event at the WSOP. There are a number of multi-table and single table satellites that you can enter for as little as $65 and win enough chips to buy into a WSOP Event. My preference is to play the $175 Single Table Tournaments, because in many cases if you can get down to the final 2 there is enough to split and make it worth everyone's while, but strategies differ.

One thing I would not recommend is buying directly into a high dollar single table satellite. Win your way into it through a $275 STS or lower and take your 1 in 10 shot from there at a $1000 + $30 single table satellite to make it into the WSOP Main Event since the value of tournament chips is less than the value of the actual equivalent dollars. I did and it almost landed me in the Main Event in 2008!


Another great event that mirrors the WSOP is Binion's 4th Annual Poker Classic with much more affordable buy-ins than the WSOP. This is especially relevant in the current economy. These events range from $100 to $1000 to play in large fields with some pretty decent players. The structure for the 4thAnnual Binion's Poker Classic is available here.

If you are staying with us at the Golden Nugget, I'd recommend you take a look at The Grand Poker Series. This is another affordable event that should have good players. You can view the schedule for this event here.

No matter what you decide to do during your time in Vegas get out there and play!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Skepticism, Mexican Standoffs, and Electronic Boarding Passes

I am a traveler.  Not your average traveler either.  I am an inquisitive traveler – dare I say a “professional” traveler.  A traveler always looking for new ways to enhance my journeys whether they are for business or pleasure, so at the beginning of my most recent trip when I went online at delta.com to check-in, I was surprised to see an advertisement about the ability use your PDA or Smartphone as your boarding pass. 

When I saw this my thoughts immediately shifted to my Nokia E61i as I wondered if this new capability – nay opportunity – Delta was touting on their web site was real, would even work in the current travel environment and how the heck I would get through the TSA security screening process using my PDA.  Naturally I decided to test out the system and attempt my first paperless trip. 

First off I went to mobile.delta.com on my Smartphone and checked into my flight.  The interface Delta provides is simple and familiar to those that travel with them often.  Simply select “Check-in”, enter your SkyMiles number, pin, select the options such as bags to check and it is off to the races.  The next thing you see is a boarding pass with a strange looking bar code and all the information you would need to find your flight.  Now, let the fun begin! 

When this maverick of travel entered the doors of the South Terminal there was a Mexican standoff with the agent standing in the door.  She had no idea about paperless boarding passes.  I decided to head problems off at the pass and got a paper ticket from the kiosk as backup.  Afterwards I approached my endearing nemesis and bantered with her about “electronic boarding passes”.  I decided to educate her by showing her my own and she was impressed.  At the same time my expectations dropped down to about the same level I have for airplane food. 

Now I was approaching the South Security Checkpoint at Hartsfield thinking in my mind I’d have a better chance of winning at Keno than having anyone even know what the heck I was trying to do with my new fangled technology – let alone a government employee.  My confidence plunged to a new low.  As I approached the first TSA agent I handed her my identification and my PDA, she immediately said, “I hate these things” – darn government employees I thought to myself, but wait – she quickly handed me back my Nokia and requested I scan the barcode over a black box with a red light just to her left.  I did and nothing happened.  She then directed me to hold it lower, which really meant closer.  Ping, the device scanned the barcode from my PDA, popped up my name and she said “have a nice day Mr. Meadows.”  Imagine my surprise – it had worked.  

My skepticism began to fade as I headed to the Crown Room ready to have a celebratory drink before my flight.  Next thing I knew my flight was boarding and I moved like O.J. through the teaming crowds to my gate.  I stepped to the boarding agent with my “pass” in hand.  I showed it to her and she directed me to scan it.   I did, but this time it didn’t work.  Well technically it did work because I had been upgraded and it alerted the agent that they had already printed out a new paper ticket for me.  Score one for Delta!  I boarded the flight content and impressed that the system had worked, the processes to allow it work had been modified, and the people I encountered where it mattered knew in advance about the system and how to operate it.  

With my skepticism abated I tried the system again, this time with mixed results in Las Vegas.  At security the TSA agent hadn’t turned on the scanner for the electronic boarding pass – oops!  Once she figured out what the power button was for the system booted quickly and worked as it should allowing me to pass quicker than my papered counterparts.  At the gate the electronic boarding pass did not work and I gave my name and seat number to the boarding agent without incident – again I was upgraded.  Score two for Delta!! 

Overall my experience with the new system was actually much better than I anticipated.  I would give it a “C” only because of my experience in Las Vegas with the TSA not being prepared to accept it and the gate not being equipped to use it.  

Would I do it again?  Absolutely – and I think within the next 3 years this innovative program that utilizes the technology most savvy travelers already consider common for personal and business communications will become so ubiquitous the paper ticket will become obsolete.  So obsolete that airlines will expand their ala carte pricing models for things like baggage and fuel surcharges to include providing us a paper ticket.  Okay, that is a joke – but tell me you couldn’t envision it? 

In closing, kudos to Delta for having the chutzpah and foresight to transform the travel experience once again in a positive way – and for the upgrades.  Now if we could just convince them to provide their new Wi-Fi service on all flights for free! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In Memoriam: Somber Thoughts on Those We Have Lost


Today, the American Poker Invitational (API) family lost two people close to us. First we found out about the passing of Tammy Oliver's father, who I did not know, but feel badly for Tammy, Paul, her family and close friends. After losing my father as an adult I know the pain and wrenching anguish of losing one's parent. But wait, as if G-d had a bad sense of humor tonight when I arrived at The Tavern I learned that a person that inspired me to become a better poker player, a walking storybook, former player of the year, 2007 Team API Member that represented us at the WSOP and tournament director had passed away as well. We will miss you Jon Atkins. That sense of humor, the stories and the hijinks's now live within us as we mourn your passing.

G-d speed to you both. You are in our thoughts, prayers and your memories will live on in the hearts of all that knew you.