Saturday, July 12, 2014

Second promotion in as many weeks

After 2 weeks of bagging orders to go, I am now actually greeting and serving customers. It was only a matter of time before management finally recognized my great people skills.

In other news, I am entertaining the idea of a possible poker cruise sometime in 2015.

I've been dreaming of this for years now, and would be interested in hearing from readers who have any experience in stowing away on a ship.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Promotion at work

I knew my 6-week Mandarin language course would eventually pay dividends. My shift manager at Panda Express just informed me that effective today I am being promoted within the Service and Kitchen team to a customer-facing position. Till now I was restricted to the confines of the back kitchen with strict orders not to ever appear within sight of the public. Last week, however, one of the patrons heard me reciting a Hamlet soliloquy in Mandarin, which I sometimes resort to when steam frying the rice. Apparently he wrote to corporate headquarters lamenting the fact that such talent should not be wasted, and demanding an immediate promotion for the yet unseen and unknown employee he had been so impressed with.

In other news, I am now a little closer to the required entry fee for a $150 satellite to Event #55 ($1,500 No-Limit Hold'em), which I will be playing on my only day off for the month, June 28. As posted earlier, I am confident of a very deep run which in turn will provide the bankroll for my much anticipated trip to Macau. I can already picture the look on my shift manager's face when I hand in my immediate notice of resignation.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

I turn on the WSOP live stream and who do I see?

At this time of year, I usually persuade the librarian in one of Clark County's public libraries to let me stay after closing so that I can enjoy the WSOP live stream, not to mention the airconditioning. As I sit here, there are 3 players left on the final table in the Seniors Event and one of them is none other than Memphis MOJO!!!

He is putting on a clinic and I hope he takes it down.

Update : MOJO finished in 3rd place for $279,412. Congratulations, great job and well deserved!!

Friday, June 06, 2014

John Grisham's statistical flub

I'm going through a John Grisham phase, having recently finished "The Last Juror" and "The Racketeer". I'm now reading his first work, "A Time to Kill", and like with all his books I just can't put it down once I start. His legal research, not surprisingly, is impeccable. However he appears to have made a mathematical error in Chapter 28 :

           "I hope you do the right thing, Joe Frank. I just hope
            they put you in that jury box. We need some people
            with some sense."

           "Wonder why they picked me?"

           "I heard they fixed up a hundred and fifty summonses.
            They're expectin' about a hundred to show up."

           "What're my chances of gettin' picked?"

           "One in a hundred," said Lela.

           "I feel better then. I really ain't got time to serve,
            what with my farmin' and all."

 There remains the small chance that it was intentional and meant to highlight Lela's lack of numeracy, but I doubt it.

Friday, May 30, 2014

WSOP here again

My, how time flies! The town is once again filled with poker-playing hopefuls about to get their dreams shattered and their souls crushed.

My next day off from Panda Express will be on June 28th, enabling me to play in Event #55 ($1,500 No-Limit Hold'em). I am confident of a deep run and wouldn't be surprised if I made the final table. There just remains the minor detail of overcoming a $1,462 cash flow shortfall.

Friday, May 09, 2014

The poker ecology

Every few years I happen to stumble upon and reread the excellent paper written by Lawrence Harris entitled "The Winners and Losers of the Zero-Sum Game : The Origins of Trading Profits, Price Efficiency and Market Liquidity".

Trading is a zero-sum game when measured relative to underlying fundamental values. No trader can profit without another trader losing. People trade because they obtain external benefits from trading. These benefits include expected returns from holding securities, risk reduction from holding correlated assets and gambling entertainment. 

Three groups of stylized characteristic traders are examined. Winning traders trade for profit. Utilitarian traders trade because their external benefits of trading are greater than their losses. Futile traders expect to profit but for a variety of reasons their expectation are not realized. 

Winning traders make prices efficient and provide most liquidity. Utilitarian and futile traders effectively underwrite the winning traders' efforts. 

In the paper he mentions the similarity between trading and poker. He lists the many types of traders and how, even among the winning styles, one group will profit from another but will lose to other specific styles.

So informed traders will profit from market-makers but lose to bluffers, while parasitic traders will profit from upstairs traders but lose to informed traders. Note that informed traders, market-makers, bluffers, parasitic traders, and upstairs traders are all classified as winners i.e. if skilled, these traders will profit from trading in the long run.

It would be interesting to see a similar analysis for the different poker playing styles.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

One step closer to Macau

I successfully completed the 6-week Mandarin language immersion course last week and immediately tested my linguistic prowess by making some very late night phone calls to Chinese sounding names I randomly pulled out of the phone book. Not only did I manage to effortlessly communicate with the parties involved, but I also picked up a few choice curse words that, not surprisingly, weren't on our syllabus.

Paying for the aforementioned course, however, has put a severe dent in my bankroll and may delay my plans somewhat. In the meantime I am frantically trying to raise some funds to at least cover the cost of the cab ride to McCarran, and a standby ticket to Macau. To this end, I am pleased to report that this post is sponsored by Spreaditfast, and I sincerely hope that other sponsors will step forward to help me realize my dreams.

Speaking of dreams, I now dream in Chinese. This is what 6 weeks of immersion does to you. Upon completion of the course, my mind was so clogged that I had forgotten simple and basic skills like peeling a banana and tying my shoelaces. The good news is that these all can be relearnt fairly quickly. In fact I had even forgotten the hand rankings in poker and how to play Texas Hold'em, but thanks to the following video, a great introductory tutorial produced by our friends at PokerStars, I will now be able to hit the ground running when I eventually touch down in Macau.