Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy 10th Birthday

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of this blog. I started this little adventure thanks to the prodding of the late Bob Lassiter, a friend from a past life.

The deck was stacked against my reaching 1 year, let alone 10. I've never owned a computer or had internet access, and have relied on the good graces of the Clark County public library system. It was no easy feat playing a 6-hour session of $0.05-$0.10 NLHE in the halcyon days of pre-UIGEA online poker, when the time limit per user was a ½ hour. I wish to thank all the shushing librarians who turned a blind eye to my frequent loud and obscene outbursts which inevitably accompanied a bad beat or felting.

Las Vegas is not an employment friendly city, especially if one has no connections. As you know by now, I have been struggling on this front for many years, and hopefully the New Year will see a turnaround.

I wish to express gratitude to my fellow bloggers for their support and encouragement, and to my faithful readers for having to put up with my constant tribulations.

Here's to poetic license and the next 10 years!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Job search update

The past week was devoted to some serious job hunting. I participated in no less than 14 interviews, justifying my rental of a cheap suit. Out of the 14, 3 expressed minimal interest, 9 showed complete disinterest, while 2 tore up my handwritten resume even before I had left the room.

I would get my resume prepared and typed by a professional, but there is a limit to what can be crafted with my checkered work history. And next time I'll rent a decent pair of shoes as well, rather than relying on the suit pants to cover up my worn out sandals.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Take me back

I have no recollection of what happened these past 10 weeks, only what I see posted in my blog, allegedly by me. The aliens must have wiped my mind clean just before depositing me back.

Once again, I'm pounding the pavement looking for work. The bastards at Panda Express did not believe my story and fired me promptly upon my return. Real pity, because my promotion prospects there were looking extremely promising.

Meanwhile last night, in an act of desperation, I returned to the very same spot where I was abducted, hoping I might get snatched away again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Galactic game design

Since they have trouble playing any form of poker, except for open-face Chinese, I was commissioned to come up with variations of hold'em which they may find more entertaining. I proposed the following 3 :

1) "1-card" hold'em, in which each alien looks at 1 hole card only, with the option of looking at the second at any later stage during the hand.

2) "Surrogate" hold'em - the aliens cannot read our human minds, so each will appoint a human to look at the cards and play for them.

3) "1-card surrogate" hold'em, also made up of alien-human pairs, where the alien looks at 1 card only, the human at the second card, and then they are free to do whatever they like.

Can you guess which one is the most popular?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Still here

They are the only inhabitants of their planet. No other life form exists. They survive by breathing an atmospheric gaseous concoction not dissimilar to our own, and thankfully my respiratory apparatus is functional.

They do not communicate by speech, but rather by some form of telepathic interchange. There is full transparency, and no secrets can be withheld from each other.

This presents a problem when they wish to engage in recreational activities such as poker. Which brings me to the reason why I'm here...

Monday, September 08, 2014

Out of This World

I have no idea why and how they singled out my blog from all the millions in the blogosphere. By "they", I am referring to the aliens from the Messier 109 galaxy, who beamed me up into their waiting spaceship on the night of August 26th, while on my way home from another losing 1/3 session at the Aria.

They were very courteous, apologized profusely for the abrupt interruption in my life, assuring me that it was a matter of critical importance to the survival of their civilization. Their leader is called 助ជួយляйלعدة, which to earthlings would sound something like gohfzhmmb.

What am I doing here? When will I return? More in an upcoming post. And yes, they do have the technology to post to Blogger from 85 million light-years away, but if I told you how, they would cut off my 계란గుడ్లు.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Another milestone

There is a Las Vegas-based company, Love Cloud, that caters to those that want to join the Mile High Club (MHC). For $799, one can fly above Sin City in a specially outfitted Cessna 421 for 40 minutes.

Joining this exclusive club has always been a dream of mine. It took me 7 months of hard work to raise the required $799, and I am pleased to report that, as of this afternoon, I finally am a member of the MHC. I couldn't convince anyone to join me and took the flight by myself, but technically I still qualify.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Skill and luck

If you have a spare 50 minutes, please take the time to watch the keynote speech of Michael Mauboussin, Head of Global Financial Strategies at Credit Suisse, presented at the 17th Asian Investment Conference on the topic "The Success Equation - Untangling Skill and Luck".

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.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Next stop : Macau

I'm wasting my time and potential here in Vegas. The games are no longer a challenge. I have my eyes set upon the nosebleed cash games currently being held in Macau, and am presently enrolled in a 6-week Mandarin Chinese language immersion program jointly run by Berlitz and Panda Express. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

More woes

Microsoft will be withdrawing support for its Windows XP operating system on April 8, 2014. As a long time XP user, I can barely afford the daily bus fare to the Strip, let alone buy a new computer in order to update to the Windows 8 (P)OS. It's true that we were given adequate warning, but Microsoft is abandoning millions of faithful users, so fuck them and the horses they rode in on.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Before you get a tattoo ....

.... make sure the guy can spell.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


After years of searching for the Holy Grail of poker, I think I may have finally found it. No more looking for a career, Easy Street here I come.

Poker Player has been advertising a revolutionary new book, "Average Joe's Method", in which we are shown how to predict future flops based on the outcomes of previous flops :

Reduced probability is the essential ingredient of my method. Let me explain. As we know, all poker decks consist of 52 cards, however each one of these cards contain 4 of kind. 52 divided by 4 equals 13. We are now working with a reduced number of 13 digits. Based on 10 players per table, each player will have two whole cards which add up to 20. Since there are only 13 digits available, we now understand that 7 players must have the same digit as one of the other players, or a pocket pair. Statistics have shown that pocket pairs occur 6% of the time or once every 17 hands. Let us assume that on average, one player will have a pocket pair during each deal. This now means 6 players will have matching cards to one another. This reduces the card ratio by another 10.8%. We are now playing with 11.8 digits .....

And so it goes, getting more complicated as one proceeds, but not to worry :

My book omits all the mathematics of my method so it's an easy read for anyone.

Thank goodness for that, because I had started losing the flow of his logic. Anyway, the book arrives in 2 days and then it's financial freedom.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I posted this 4 years ago

Watching the Winter Olympics brings back fond memories of when I competed in the 1988 games in Calgary. I was lagging at the back of the field in the biathlon and, out of sheer frustration, decided my only chance was to open fire directly above the heads of the other competitors. Fortunately sanity prevailed and I quashed that plan. I haven't competed since.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Posting chip stack pics

It's become fashionable to post pictures on Twitter, Instagram, and poker forums of big chip stacks during a winning session.

For consistency's sake, where are the pictures after a brutal, losing session?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bit of a mouthful

These are the home games you want to be invited to :

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

This post will self-destruct in 10 minutes

Trying an experiment similar to Snapchat's self-destructing mechanism. If this works, I'll be able to retire and not have to worry about finding work again.

Edit (4 hours later)
As can be seen, the post did not self-destruct. Very disappointing, considering I spent over 2 months writing the necessary code which, when applied to the Blogger template interface, should have resulted in this post's automatic disappearance after 10 minutes. Alas, my dreams of retiring were greatly exaggerated and premature.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Queen and Dolly

Queen Elizabeth and Dolly Parton die on the same day and they both go before an Angel to find out if they'll be admitted to Heaven.

Unfortunately, there's only one space left that day, so the Angel must decide which of them gets in. The Angel asks Dolly if there's some particular reason why she should go to Heaven.

Dolly takes off her top and says, "Look at these, they're the most perfect breasts God ever created, and I'm sure it will please God to be able to see them every day, for eternity."

The Angel thanks Dolly, and asks Her Majesty the same question. The Queen takes a bottle of Perrier out of her purse, drinks it down, then wees into a toilet and pulls the lever.

The Angel says, "OK, your Majesty, you may go in."

Dolly is outraged and asks, "What was that all about? I show you two of God's perfect creations and you turn me down. She wees into a toilet and she gets in! Would you explain that to me?"

"Sorry, Dolly," says the Angel, "but even in Heaven, a Royal Flush

beats a pair - no matter how big they are."