Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ending of the Vending

If you somehow happen to read about a Greenville county male who killed a random person without provocation, please direct all donations for bail money to Mrs_Blood.

I just wanted a Diet Coke.

I work on the 3rd floor in a 3-story building. On my floor, there are two soda vending machines: Coke products and Pepsi products. Given the choice, I prefer Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi. Sue me. Occasionally, I like to have a bag of fucking pretzels with my soda during lunch. It's not too much to ask, I don't think. However, the snack vending machines are on the 2nd floor.

And that's really not a problem because also in that second floor vending area are two soda vending machines: Coke products and Pepsi products. I like to kill two birds with one stone. In an ideal world, there would be snack vending machines on the 3rd floor too. But we don't live in an ideal world. I'm OK with that. I've come to terms with it.

I generally suck it up and walk down to the second floor and satisfy both of my vending urges at the same time. The snack vending machine is great because it's see-through. Snack empty? Don't put any fucking money in. But not so with soda. It's opaque. And because I'm not Superman, I can't see through the goddman plastic. When do you know your selection is empty? Well, of course, right after you put your money in and select "Diet Coke."

In our building, the cost of a 20 oz. bottle of soda was $1. A simple American dollar. Four quarters even. But then something happened. Six months ago, it was $1.05. Who the fuck carries around an extra nickel? Nobody, that's who. So us corporate monkeys trained ourselves to treasure those nickels. Seriously, who wanted to put two dollar bills in and get back 95-cents? Like I said, nobody.

When the vending machine fuckfaces couldn't phase us with the nickel, they figured they could double their extra profits and hose us even more by charging $1.10. And like lemmings we mindlessly began carrying around extra dimes.

But that's OK. I just want a Diet Coke and pretzels with lunch.

For the past week, the second floor vending machine was out of Diet Coke. The first time, there's really no way to tell. I put in a dollar bill....AND MY DIME....and pressed the button. This machine has three, count 'em three, Diet Coke slots. All three greeted me with the red light of stupidity, taunting me, blinking in code that said, "Ha ha moron! No Coke for you!" I pressed the change return button and was greeted with eleven dimes. Who the hell wants eleven dimes?

So I'd adjust. I'd get my soda on the 3rd floor, walk down to the 2nd and get my pretzels, then walk back up to the 3rd floor and eat. I waited a week. A week's a pretty good amount of time to wait for the vending machine to fill back up, don't you think? We have perhaps 1000 employees in the building, you'd think the vending machine company would take advantage of that fact.


I tried the 2nd floor machine again. Three buttons, three red lights. But because the vending machine had been near empty for so long, I didn't get back eleven dimes this time.

Yeah, that's right. Twenty-two fucking goddamn nickels! Fuck off Diet Coke, fuck off and die.

So I resigned myself to the fact that I'd from now on get my soda on one floor and my snack on another.

Until today.

Third floor soda vending machine, why have you forsaken me? I put in a dollar....AND TWO NICKELS....and pressed vend. Bang, a soda comes down. But it's not Diet Coke. It's regular Coke. If I wanted regular Coke, I'd have pressed the regular coke button. Luckily for me, the machine has two Diet Coke buttons, not three like its second floor counterpart, but still better than one.

In goes another dollar....AND TWO NICKELS...and bam! out comes another soda. REGULAR FUCKING COKE. I'm ready to kill.

I leave the regular Coke's on a counter top, some lucky sugar-based, calorie junkie just hit the jackpot. I hope he takes my free Coke's and goes into an insulin fit.

I hang my head, resolved to the fact that I have to now go down to the first floor vending machine area. The last resort among snackers on the 3rd floor. I grab another dollar out of my wallet and head towards the Diet Coke machine. I stick the edge of the bill into the receptacle and.... won't take.

I give up.


Someday, they'll find the body. What will puzzle the investigators the most will be how someone could kill someone else with an empty Diet Pepsi bottle.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Last Friday, our group at work had a little team-building competition. It consisted of two parts; both of which, luckily for me, involved Unlimited Texas Hold Them.

Our current boss is a recreational player and thought it would be neat to have the company sponsor two types of tournaments: a live one and a computer simulated one. During a weekend business trip, he wrote a poker tournament simulator (in Excel of course, because if you're not sure what your development environment should be, the default is Excel) and gave us access to player functions in which we'd write our "Poker AI" if you will.

We were given a couple of weeks to code our bots using the vbScript within Excel. Whoever's bot won the 12-player Sit 'n Go simulation would take home an 8 gig iPod Nano.

After the simulation was over, we'd convene at a co-workers house for a live tournament where 1st would pay out an 8 gig iPod touch, and 2nd place would earn a 4 gig Nano.

Pretty cool for free shit, huh?

After ironing out a few minor bugs in the wrapper code, my "bot" lucksacked its way to victory. I had won a 2nd iPod for the week. I wasn't sure what I'd do with it since I had that 160 gig one coming soon from PokerStars. Still, a win is a win, and I felt it more than appropriate to be as unbearable as possible to my co-workers.

Enter the live tournament. Few of the players had any real poker experience; only Random101 had played nearly as much as I did so we were the favorites going in. A few hours later, and it was heads up between he and I. I had a chip lead and won the final hand with a race, my 88 beating his A9s.

I had just won my 3rd iPod of the week. In fact, I'd won each of the different kinds offered by Apple: the Classic, the nano and a Touch. Crazy.

After dishing out the appropriate level of trash talk, I gave away my nano so that the 3rd place finisher in the live tournament wouldn't go away empty handed. After all, how many iPods can one person use? I still have my 30gig video iPod, so having four of them was a little much.


After a weekend of using the Touch, all I can say is that it's an amazing little toy. The most usage it got was browsing the web via the Safari application and built-in wireless connection. It's pretty sick.

Also, I ripped some DVD movies to it and in widescreen format, the quality is pretty amazing. Apparently, Apple is opening up the API so my guess is a ton of 3rd party apps are on the way.

Not a bad six days, $900 in Apple merchandise won through poker.

Now if I could only win some cash.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Karma and iPods

Our lovely town hosts a festival of sorts each autumn. Fall for Greenville they call it. I wasn't going to head downtown last Friday, but I got a phone call from G-Rob saying he could hook me up with some free beer and wine at some VIP tent he had access to. All I heard was "free."

With half of the down town streets roped off, parking was at a premium. So much so, that I had to find a spot in a garage and actually pay to park. I hardly ever pay to park, but this time I had no choice. Being woefully underprepared for this out of the ordinary circumstance, I only had $3 cash on me. Parking was $5. I had a small problem.

I asked the kind lady parking attendant if she would trust me to park and then come back and pay her the remainder. Apparently, I wasn't the first stiff that tried this line on her. I looked her in the eye and said, "I'll make up for it, honest." She reluctantly agreed after telling me that she had to make up any shortages at the end of the night. "I won't let you down."

I parked my 2006 Car of the Year on Level 3 and walked towards Main street and the nearest ATM. I was determined not to let this parking attendant's faith in humanity die. As I approached back towards her, another car pulled up to her and the lone semi-hot woman inside said, "Do you take debit cards?"

I laughed inside. Another poor soul not used to having to pay to park. I interrupted their conversation and handed the attendant a $20. "Just give me $10 back and pay for her parking as well." Confused, it finally dawned on "Little Miss Just as Clueless as I" that I was paying her tab. "Thank you very much," she replied.

"No problem. Merry Christmas." And away I went towards the free alcohol.


I wasn't sure how karma would pay me back. Not until last night.

WBCOOP at Pokerstars.

24th place and 1 160GB iPod. Remind me to pay for someone's cab ride in Vegas next time I see you, would ya?


I almost promised to lead this post off with, "There's some blogger up in Canada..." BamBam up there sweated me nearly the entire tourney, obviously allowing me to luckbox my way into the money. Thanks again man, that was awesome.

Thanks also to the sweaters that I can remember, hopefully I don't forget too many.

Dr. Pauly
....and of course, the host himself, Blogger Brad. :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

SNG Challenge

Ok, I just now completed a month of Turbo SNG's on Full Tilt. I don't multi-table very well, so each tournament was played one at a time. My self-imposed challenge was play 100 of them and then post the results. If I did well enough, I'd move up a level.

Here are the stats for the $11+1 level:

Number Played: 100
10th - 4th place: 50
3rd's: 13
2nd's: 14
1st's: 23

ITM: 50.0%
ROI: 51.0%

Total Profit: $611.70

If you wish, take the challenge yourself and post the results.

I understand that 100 is actually a small-ish sample size for these things. 1000 would be better. But I'm simply not that masochistic.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Texas Holdem Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 8131188

My Precious

It was a Ruby Tuesday's. Back when the Gaelic Game was running and on a night wherein there was no Procedure, I walked into the nearby restaurant chain and found a couple of fellow, local card players already saddled up by the bar.

Rhodes and Eddie were there, like-minded if but for a moment, ingesting sustenance before a long night out seated at the tables. Both of them have different life situations than I. Single. No kids. No real restraints on their lives except their own imaginations. Without much to lose, not much can really hold them back when it comes to an occasional risk.

Me? If you've met me or read this blog for a while, you can probably guess where my risk-aversion falls on the scale of degeneracy. My gambles are calculated and even at the slightest hint of ruin, I hold back. Two years ago, when I began keeping a totally separate bankroll for live poker, I formulated a long-term game plan for my time on the G-Vegas underground game circuit.

"I'll never go broke," I told them. Rhodes and Eddie listened, perhaps keeping their thoughts silent for the moment. In hindsight, what I said there was rather arrogant. It was my way of saying that I play within my bankroll and my skill level in relation to the other players we played with was sufficiently larger such that I'll maintain my winning status over the long-term. I didn't need to take a shot at the 5/10 game. I told them about my plan.

Keep a twenty buy-in bankroll, invest the excess, and maintain the status quo. George Peppard would be proud. And for a while, I was loving it as the plan came together.


Somewhere along the line, something happened. I suspect it was the combination of several things. I took some bankroll cash and lost it in Vegas in June at table games. Not only that, but the costs of a Procedure add up. Drinks, food, and unmentionables. When your bankroll is $5k, starting out each night of poker $100 in the hole isn't too big of a deal. But as it declines, the dents begin to stand out more and more.

More importantly, my poker game changed. When you adopt a higher variance style of play, you have to be prepared to swallow larger losses. In truth, what once was a sufficient bankroll may no longer be. I didn't adjust.

My play suffered and it created a downward spiral, the bottom of which was an empty money clip where once there used to be stacks of hundreds and twenties.

I used to treat my bankroll with a near obsessive reverence. It would hold it, hug it, squeeze it, love it, and name it George.

But that was in the past.


Before we get too far in this tale, let's just say it's not finished. I'm not broke.


I've had to make some adjustments. Adjustments to my play, adjustments to my habits, adjustments to my mentality. I don't want to go broke. I don't want to withdraw from the investments I made last year to support this year's poker play. I could. I'd hate it, but I could. I just don't want to.


I learned something about my game during one hand last Friday at my home game. I made a play at the pot with pocket 8's. The flop came King high but the rest were undercards. To everyone watching, including those in the hand, they were all convinced I either flopped a set or turned two pair. By the river, I was all-in. My opponent called me down with top pair, even saying "I know you have me beat" as he threw his call into the pot.

I'll let you guess what adjustment I made.

More to come.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Game Plan

When we last left off I was heading on my way to Charlotte to see the Roth-led Van Halen concert. The Axeman and I snuck up a bit early and met 2/3rds of the blogger formerly known as Falstaff at an Irish pub called Connolly's. The guy's not shittin' when he says he's losing some poundage. I had last seen him in June in Vegas and there's definitely a noticeable difference. Well, noticeable to me because I'm frequently checking out other men in dark lit bars. Wait. That didn't come out right. Anyway, bottom line is, he's looking good and doing all the right things to hit his target weight. I'm rooting for him.

Van Halen was very good. They opened with "You Really Got Me," which sounded decent. Axeman and I were in the second row. From the top that is. Right next to the Bob Eucker memorial seats. Still it was a great time. If you have ever heard a song by Van Halen on the radio sung by David Lee Roth, well then, they played it last Thursday. The only minor quip I had was that Axeman and I both thought there had to be some backing vocals on tape. No way Wolfgang Van Halen can match Michael Anthony's vocal style so well.


Hosted another home game on Friday. On Friday morning when I got into work, there were about 3 players confirmed for the game. By midnight, we had eleven players. I played well early, then poorly late. I'm not even going to go into any hands because right now my game is in the shitter. Sure I've been bad beat and coolered a bit, but the jist of it is that I've simply made too many bad decisions for big pots. And that's killing my bank roll.

Hopefully I can turn things around the last three months of the year. The only solace is that I'm not playing as bad as G-Rob. Woah, low blow there. I kid. He did show up pretty drunk Friday and managed to drop a few buy-in's in record time. Even for him. Both he and I need to get our heads back into this game otherwise we'll be playing nickel-dime poker with the local grade schoolers. G-Rob's focus could be off because he's devoting so much time to kick-ball. No, that is not a type-o.


Sunday, I took the family out to movie night. We caught The Game Plan, the latest Disney movie. It was actually really good. If you have kids in the 7-9 age group, then you'll probably really enjoy this one. Of course, The Rock will appeal to just about any one, guys and gals alike. It was very unusual to see a packed theater on a Sunday afternoon here in G-Vegas for a kids movie like that. Turns out that the movie finished #1 for the weekend. Seriously. Who knew?


More musical recommendations for the faithful:

Himsa - Summon In Thunder

Very, very good. The production quality is a step up from their previous efforts and the vocals/guitar tracks very much benefited from the Devin Townsend production efforts, he of Strapping Young Lad fame.


Tonight - back to the Gooch. G-Vegas medium game at Gucci Rick's with some Monday Night Football. If Cleveland scores 51 against Cincy, then the Pats score how much? 60? Watch them lay an egg after all the hype.