Friday, July 25, 2008

Media Nailed for Bias

In a recent editorial column by William Tate in Investors Business Daily the bias of media is called out towards left leaning candidates.

I found this editorial funny and saddening at the same time and granted I believe Barak Obama has done a good job of making his own good luck, it would be asinine for any of my friends on the left to make a good case that he hasn't had a lot of help from the media after reading this article.

A few items I found interesting were that donations from Fox News Channel, who is consistently criticized for having a right wing bias, actually saw 100% of their donations go to -- wait for it -- can you guess -- Democrats! Now that doesn't seem fair and balanced, does it? I think Fox gets this wrap from other media outlets due to their commentators - not their reporters and considering the bias that the media shows to democrats the picture is starting to get clearer.

As the old adage goes, follow the money and boy what you learn when you do. I encourage you to read William Tate's entire editorial by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Binomials and Poker

In a March 2008 blog post by Phil Gordon called "Binomial Love" on ESPN's Poker Site he talks about the probabilities of winning and losing tournaments. Now Phil is a very smart guy. He attended very good schools and I personally know some of the crowd he runs with it doesn't surprise me that he posted a blog based on the binomial formula.

What the heck is a Binomial Formula you ask? is the answer:

P(k out of n) =- n! / k!(n-k)! * (p^k)(q^(n-k)) Here, "P" represents the probability of something happening "k" out of "n" times, given that the event has a probability of happening of "p", with the probability of it not happening equaling "q". To nut it down to 8th grade math - it is Algebra.

Still with me or ready to lay down from your head spinning? Let me sum it up for you so we can get out of the mire of mathematics. The binomial formula simply states the probability of something happening in the form of a percentage.

For example, in the poker league I play in called API, if we assume that all the players are average and there are a certain number of players in each event we can figure out how often you should win that game, but let's look at what some of us are planning on doing this year.

A small group of players I met in API are focused on playing in WSOP circuit events for the remainder of 2008 and 2009 leading up to the 2009 WSOP in Las Vegas .

Assuming we are average players with a 10 percent chance of cashing in an event, and plan on playing 10 WSOP events this year what are the chances of getting shut out?

n=10, k=0, p=0.10, q=0.90
P=34.86 percent (almost 35%)

Keep this in mind next time you hit a cold streak playing tournament poker and it will help you get back sooner rather than later and remember that tournament poker is a game of failure with only fleeting glimpses of winning - don't get discouraged and keep working on your game.

ESPN WSOP Coverage Begins Tonight

ESPN airs the first coverage of the 2008 World Series of Poker tonight on ESPN at 8:00 p.m., but if you are expecting to see the main event don't get too excited just yet.

Tonight their coverage is of the $10,000 pot-limit hold'em event - # 1. Their main event coverage doesn't come on until September 2nd so that they can run it right up to the Final Table Pre-Show on November 4th before airing the pre-recorded final table on November 11th. Check the World Series of Poker site, BLUFF,, or if you want to know who won the final table before ESPN edits the final table for "excitement".

Here is the actual schedule:

July 22 -- 8-10 p.m. $10,000 pot-limit hold 'em - Event #1
July 29 -- 8-10 p.m. $1,500 no-limit hold 'em - Probably Event #2
Aug. 5 -- 8-10 p.m. $5,000 mixed hold 'em - Event #4
Aug. 12 -- 8-10 p.m. $1,000 no-limit hold 'em with rebuys
Aug. 19 -- 8-10 p.m. $50,000 HORSE - Event #45
Aug. 26 -- 8-10 p.m. $10,000 pot-limit Omaha - Event #50
Sept. 2 -- 8-10 p.m. $10,000 no-limit hold 'em main event - Event #54
Sept. 9 to Oct. 28 -- 9-11 p.m. $10,000 no-limit hold 'em main event - Event #54
Nov. 4 -- 8-10 p.m. WSOP main event final table preview show - Event #54
Nov. 11 -- 9-11 p.m. WSOP main event final table - Event #54

To read more about my experience at the WSOP and previous blogs click here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Props Panned By Health Inspector

I am not one to kick a person when they are down, or wish ill on others - so before going off the deep end and assuming I have it out for Props and Hops keep in mind that I am just posting facts...followed by my opinion. As Paul Harvey would say, "and now the rest of the story".

I live in Cherokee County, Georgia - BridgeMill to be specific. I keep my boat and WaveRunner at Victoria Marina on the "A" dock. I have been eating at Robert's Hideaway and now Props and Hops for many years - long before there was poker at either incarnation. So today, when a good friend of mine sent me this out of the Cherokee Ledger News I was a bit disgusted. If you don't want to click on the link here is the report on Props and Hops from the Cherokee County Health Department:

Props n Hops
1001 Victoria Landing, Canton
Inspection date: June 5
Current score: 61-U
Previous score: 98-A (opening)
Violations: Person in charge must maintain managerial control in food prep areas (multiple cooling, temperature, sanitization issues). Employees must wash hands between glove changes and after hands become contaminated. No bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food. Can opener, meat slicer must bee kept clean. Dish machine not sanitizing, use three-comp until serviced (ran six-seven times). Expired food must be discarded. Do not cool large portions of chicken together, use shallow pans, single layer and place in walk-in cooler 135-70 in two hours, 70-41 in four hours. Par-cooked fries must also be properly cooled. Keep wipe cloths in solution at 100 ppm chlorine, replace when soiled. Multiple food items (potentially hazardous) at 48 degrees to 54 degrees in three-door cooler (all discarded). Cooler must be serviced. Coolers in need of maintenance. Ambient temperature should be 36 degrees. Cooler by grill and flip-top cooler leaking excessively. Condiment cooler needs servicing. Walk-in needs to be turned down. Unnecessary equipment must be removed (inside and outside at back door). Need thorough clean-up in food prep and storage areas.

I went to Props and Hops last night and ate dinner there. Although the food wasn't bad I am glad I read this after I ate it and not before. Fortunately I do more drinking at Props than eating and apparently the beer cooler and ice machine are operating within health guidelines. I must say that the service at the place has diminished greatly and I am soon to introduce a new side game for all the players called "catch the waiter".

This is all a shame in my eyes - I like this game, I really like the players and I really love the location, but it seems to me that Props is in the early stages of implosion. Maybe I am wrong. I take that back - I hope I am wrong and they pull it together.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

HTU TLA's and FLA's

I work in technology for a great company, Cisco (CSCO) - and no we don't sell food, and from the beginning of my career I bet I have dealt with more acronyms than any other career path or profession (save maybe government and medical).

Long ago, my friend and former roommate, Jason Steele coined a phrase for these acronyms. He called them "Hard To Understand Three Letter Acronym's and Four Letter Acronym's" and to be appropriate in the world of techno geeks we ran around with we shortened that up to HTU TLA's and FLA's.

Over the years this has never quite caught on, but I am now toying with the idea of putting this saying on a t-shirt along with one of my other friends favorite sayings which I won't disclose here just in case we decide to trademark it (we have been threatening to do this for 2 years).

What I find funny is that when you use a TLA or FLA how people just nod like they know what you are saying. Are we too proud to ask someone to speak plain English anymore? What I find even funnier is that I put "HTU TLA" and "HTU FLA" on my resume and no one even bothered to question it (must be how I got my current job!).

Now you are in on our little secret, so don't be afraid to tell the next person that throws an acronym at you to cease and desist with the HTU TLA's and FLA's and watch the expression on their face change from smug to confused and feel free to put it on your resume to see if your future employer is really paying attention.

Friday, July 11, 2008

WSOP Update #2: Survive 3 - Make Bank

Day 4 starts with 474 players. The money broke on day 3 (yesterday) with hand for hand play starting at 10:30 a.m. PDT and #667 - a.k.a. as "bubble boy" - being some guy named Steve Chung. Wouldn't it suck to be the bubble in a tournament you paid $10 dimes to play?

The news wasn't all bad for Steve. Milwaukee's Best Light ("the Beast") awarded him with a $10,000 seat in the 2009 main event. After the money was cracked the fever pitch of players getting eliminated sped up as many players claimed their $21,230 and happily trotted off to Sapphire. Play wrapped up at 2:00 a.m. so day 4 will not start today until 1:00 p.m. allowing players time to rest.

To get the full feel for the "bubble" and what it sounded like check out this podcast from Tao of Poker.

According to notable knockouts from Day 3 before the money included Scott Clements, Jennifer Harman, Erik Seidel, Phil Gordon, John D’Agostino, Alex Kravchenko, Toto Leonidas, Noah Boeken, Chris Moneymaker, Barny Boatman, Steve Zolotow, Jason Strasser, and Nenad Medic.

Notable KO's after the bubble included:

651: Men “The Master” Nguyen
645: Pat Pezzin
635: Jason Gray
625: Vanessa Rousso
618: Brandon Adams
616: Bill Gazes
600: Thor Hansen
536: Farzad Rouhani
526: Bob Slezak
518: Chau Giang

Pros still in the tournament of note include Johnny Chan, Hellmuth, Mike Matusow, Jean-Robert Bellande, Allen Cunningham, Evelyn Ng, Jeff Madsen, Brandon Cantu, Hoyt Corkins, Adam Levy, Jon Friedberg, and Victor Ramdin.

There is a list of the money finishers from day 3 from at Tao of Poker if you care to take a look.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

WSOP Main Event Update - Event 54

This years main event had 6,844 entrants. It was going to be 6,845, but I was not able to undo my cracked pocket Aces; therefore, never made it into the starting field.

Of the 6,844 that started a about half - or 3,068 - remained in the field as of 12:42 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, July 9th. This year players started with 20,000 tournament chips and 2 hour blinds which has led to a slower tournament and for the most part a more deliberate pace. Each of the first days (there were 4 of them) lasted 10 hours, or 5 levels.

The payouts were announced as well - here they are:

666 get paid - ironic, I know.

1st - $9,119,517
2nd - $5,790,024
3rd - $4,503.352
4th - $3,763,515
5th - $3,088,012
6th - $2,412,510
7th - $1,769,174
8th - $1,286,672
9th - $900,670
666th - $21,230

Some notable players no longer in the tournament are Scotty Nguyen, Alexia Portal, and Erick Lindgren (Chased down by ESPN cameras for interview. "Hey America I'm so fuckin happy right now!". He then flipped the bird).

Ray Ramono of "Everybody Loves Raymond" is still in and has been moved to the feature table (for TV).

Quote of the day:

"At least four hundred players were stuffing their faces with pizza. The geniuses at PizzaHut makes out like fuckin' bandits. Installing those stands in the hallway was a grandslam. $6 for cold pieces of stale bread, government cheese and fourth-rate ketchup? Disclaimer: I consume at least three or four per week but I am not a paid endorser, nor do I own any stock in Tricon Global which owns PizzaHut, Kentucky Fried Pigeons, and TacoSamonella."

I ate one of those little disks last week and this is the best analysis I think I have seen!

From TaoPauly's Blog - you should follow this guy on Twitter.

For updates check, Bluff Magazine, WSOP, and Tao Pauly's Blog. I used all of these sites to complile this information - some more than others.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our Visit with the Rat Pack

Here in Vegas there is evidence everywhere of the love and admiration of the “Rat Pack”. There are streets named for Sammy, Dean, and Frank all close to the strip, but what I have noticed most is that behind Elvis impersonators – impersonators of the Rat Pack run a close second.

On Tuesday evening after we arrived here in Vegas, the “API Rat Pack” attended the World Series of BBQ Party at the Golden Nugget hosted by Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey. The event was tremendous and we all felt privileged to attend and get our photos taken with, and to speak with the limitless supply of celebrities and professional poker players in attendance. Jerry Yang, the 2007 WSOP Winner approached us, introduced himself and spent a few minutes encouraging us to believe that we too could win at the WSOP. Mike Spencer had his wet dream come true when he got his picture taken with Shannon Elizabeth and Jennifer Tilly. Mike Matasow took individual and group photos with us and spent some time telling us how he got back into shape and every time we saw him this week has said hello to us. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy that has the “brat” image only on the stage he plays. Raphe Furst introduced us around and answered our poker questions – yes Mike Spencer asked about playing pocket 3’s! I finally met my favorite poker player, Phil Gordon, and got a glimpse into his life as he brought his newborn child to the party along with his wife and mother. I spent a good amount of time chatting with Phil’s wife Barbara and his mother talking about the impact of having a newborn in their life, and with his mother about their life back in Georgia when they lived in Stone Mountain. All of this was fantastic, but there was one surprising person we met that all of us related to immediately.

His name is Tom Stevens. Tom came to the party dressed as Dean Martin and anywhere you looked you could see him posing while seemingly playing the fool, so naturally we approached him to learn more. It turned out that Tom Stevens is a singer and impersonator with a show on the strip in the Riviera. As we all got to know Tom better he invited us to his show the next day at 4:00 p.m., told us he’d give us 50% off our tickets, and we decided to give it a shot having expectations that you could describe as limited. As it turned out I think Tom was surprised when we showed up at his show and instead of giving us 50% off told us he liked us and gave us the $50 face value tickets for free. We graciously accepted and headed into the showroom.

In short, Tom Stevens is by far the best, most entertaining, talented performer I have ever had the opportunity to see in Las Vegas. His one man show will not only is energetic, upbeat, fun and you will never believe how well he does the impressions of various performers from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr. to Cher, Sean Connery, and Louis Armstrong. What is amazing is that he not only impersonates somewhere close to 35 different celebrities in his show, he sings some of their songs to a such perfection that if you close your eyes you would swear Elvis had risen along with Ray Charles and many others.

His show may not be the best known in Vegas, but this man is extremely talented and should easily be enjoyed by young and old alike. Thanks for your hospitality Tom. We loved it!

WSOP 2008 Not Complete Bust

Written on 7/3/08.

Today was the day I was going to qualify for the Main Event at the 2008 World Series of Poker, but alas it was not to be this year. By my standards I had good success this year. I definitely did better than last year when I lost 2 single table satellites and exited each early. In contrast this year I won a single table satellite tournament a couple of weeks ago enabling me to stake one of my fellow players into a $1500 No Limit Holdem Event. I won another single tale satellite to enable me to play in a $1030 tournament and I came close, but got a bit blindsided by a set of 6’s that moved ahead of my pocket Aces on the turn. I put the other player on a big pair and called his all in move after time had been called thinking I was ahead given the betting patterns and his previous hands that had been shown down. I was wrong.

One of my main challenges in poker, and in life, is beating myself up for mistakes I make – taking responsibility is not an issue, but I usually take it too far. I found myself very disappointed after the hand, and now 6 hours after busting out, I was discussing it with my roommate, Mike Spencer, and he gave me some great advice that he read on some materials. It was essentially “that you are going to lose and you must live with the reality that losing is going to happen more than winning.” In poker this is a universal truth and a point well taken.

I think it is a good time to put my loss today in perspective and stop beating myself up. I did well. I invested a total of $225 over 2 weeks and came 7 spots from winning a $10,000 seat in the most lucrative, biggest poker event on earth – the one everyone wants to play after only playing poker for 3 years. It is my dream to get into the main event, but there is always next year and I am finding each time I return I am a better player more capable of achieving my goal and I must credit some of the pros I had the opportunity to spend time with like Raphe “The Catalyst” Furst, a Full Tilt Pro and Expert Insight principal, for giving me some advice on how to have success at the WSOP. I couldn’t use all of it this year, but I will apply his tips and tactics to my game plan for my 2009 trip.

Overall this trip has been amazing!! I must say that the professional poker players are not only approachable, but serve this great game and themselves well by graciously posing for pictures and welcoming their fans. Also, Twitter, has turned out to be a great tool for knowing what is happening with other players in the tournaments around Vegas and I especially recommend subscribing to updates from TaoPauly, Taylor Cabby, Bob Buttrey, and me - emeadows. Next year this tool will be fantastic if more players use it to micro-blog what is happening with them.

Tonight I am playing with some other API players in a relatively small MTT at O’Shea’s with my spirits up, my friends around, and very positive memories on my participation in this year’s World Series of Poker.