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I’ve realized that the amount of blogging I do is inversely proportional to how busy I am. When I have a lot going blogging doesn’t happen at all, its been like that for the most part over the past 6 months or so. Last September my workload basically tripled and its been difficult to keep up with everything. One of the benefits of the busyness is that I’ve been able to travel a decent bit. About 2 weeks ago I was able to go to Australia for the first time. It was a 1 week trip with stops in Brisbane and Melbourne. I was lucky the trip even got started, as my flight left about 5 hours before a blizzard was supposed to hit Denver.
After connecting flights in LA and Sydney I finally made it to Brisbane:
I don’t understand why these are so popular in souvenir shops, but I resisted the temptation to buy any:
This was an awesome run in Brisbane. I always make a point to keep running and working out when I travel.
The Crown Casino in Melbourne… My hotel was very close by to this but unfortunately I didn’t have time for gambling. One thing about business trips is that they are extremely hectic. Lots of running from meeting to meeting, and then trying to keep up with the regular email traffic and other goings on at work. I generally use what little spare time I have for working out.
We ended up staying 1 extra day, so I actually had a Saturday to rent a car and explore the area around Melbourne. This was from a petting zoo where you could feed the kangaroos. I didn’t get a picture of it, but I nearly hit a kangaroo with the rental car. It was fairly close and I’m glad I was able to avoid it as I would have felt really bad….
We drove out the Great Ocean Road to the 12 Apostles. Absolutely spectacular scenery:
The 12 Apostles is a few hours outside of Melbourne. There is no way to make it out there without figuring out that you need to drive on the left. This was first time I ever drove on the left side of the road. It was weird at first but not nearly as hard as I was expecting.
Got back to Colorado just in time for more snow…..
It had been several years since I’ve been out hunting, but I was finally able to make it this year. The main purpose of the trip wasn’t so much to kill anything as it was to spend time hanging out with my Dad. My Dad and his friends have a hunting camp in north central Pennsylvania. The camp itself isn’t anything special, but they own 84 acres and their property borders state game lands, and its an awesome area for hunting. I had licenses for deer (buck only) and bear. I saw 5-6 deer, but the only one I could have potentially shot at was a doe. That was a little disappointing, but one of the guys was able to get a bear. Besides hanging out with my Dad, the highlight of the trip was running around on his new 4-wheeler.
My Dad sighting in his rifle:
View of the camp. This was originally a farm house back in the 1920′s:
The camp has a coal furnace, which required some shoveling. Made me appreciate how nice it is to have natural gas at my house.
Sighting in my rifle went pretty smoothly. I very rarely get to do any target shooting these days. Back when I was about 12-13 years old I used to be on a junior shooting team. That was fun but then I got into golf which is way better….
Gun + 4 wheeler = awesomeness……
Me decked out in orange to reduce the chances that a drunk hunter shoots me by accident:
The view from the neighbor’s tree stand. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of it from the ground. The stand was about 30 feet up in the tree and the boards to climb up it were spaced a lot farther apart than I would have preferred. It was a little sketchy but the view was great.
This is the view from my favorite hunting spot. The first time I ever hunted when I was 13 I shot a deer from here.
These days I spend a lot more time on my family and my corporate job than I do on poker. While a lot of poker players have zero interest in corporate life, there can be some cool benefits. One of them is I get to do some international travel. This past week I got to make a quick trick to Denmark. I attended a user group conference in Silkeborg, which is in central Denmark nowhere close to Copenhagen. I flew out of Denver on Monday night and back by Friday night. Not exactly a leisurely trip, but I had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and got to see some cool things.
The conference center I stayed at:
My room was in this building, which was supposedly built in the 1700′s although the inside is completely modern:
The food and drinks were awesome. Basically meat and potatoes and smoked fish. On the way home through Frankfurt I was able to grab some schnitzel which is on of my favorites.
After a 2 day conference it was time to go home. One of the interesting things about my job is I get to work and interact with people from all of the world, so I’ve been able to learn about the different business cultures. One thing I’ll comment on is that I like the way people in Northern Europe operate. They’re very friendly and polite, but also very direct. You know exactly what they are happy with and what things they are unhappy with. Its a pretty efficient way to do business.
Thursday night I headed back to Frankfurt and then Friday headed back to Denver on a 10+ hour flight……
The other week Scott Clements was on the 2+2 Pokercast talking about Omaha 8 strategy. If you don’t know who he is, Clements is one of the best Omaha 8 players around and has been at it for many years. He gives some great advice on how Omaha tournament strategy should vary from cash game strategy.
This is a super long podcast, if you want to skip straight to the Omaha part it starts about 1h20m in. Here’s the link: http://pokercast.twoplustwo.com/listen_and_browse.php?episode=212
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Middle rundown hands are ones like 4567 or 5678. In Omaha High Low games they are basically garbage. Once a player gets a little experience with hilo they will figure this out pretty quickly if they didn’t already know before they started. While the concept of these hands being pretty much unplayable is really Omaha 101, it came to my attention recently that a lot of players don’t know this so I thought I would make a quick post to discuss it.
The first reason not to play them in Omaha High Low is that they will basically never make the nuts. There are very few boards that will give you the nut straight. Even when you make the nut straight there will usually be better low hands out there and you will end up with half. As you should now by now the name of the game in Omaha High Low is to scoop, so getting half the pot won’t get you anywhere in the long run.
The second reason is when you manage to make a flush, it is almost never going to be good. If you make a 7 high flush and get a lot of money in the middle, you are going to be praying that the other player has a low and you can get half the pot. Again, even in the best case scenario you will not be making any money. If you manage to make a full house, it usually won’t be the nut full house. So you are pretty much screwed on any board where a flush or full house is possible, and that’s a lot of boards…..
Lastly, you are going to get quartered and free-rolled a ton with these hands. Getting on the wrong side of those situations too often in Omaha High Low will make you a massive loser, and playing middle rundowns is a good way to get there.
I was thinking about detailing out some hand examples, and showing some flop fit equity curves to illustrate by points more quantitatively. But its Friday night and I’m feeling too lazy, but I wanted to write down what was on my mind. Maybe I’ll create a more detailed article for Nutblocker.com or put out a video on the topic. If you have interest in that (or some other topic) send me a tweet @campfirewest or an email at email@example.com.
A while back I wrote an article on PLO8 river play for Nutblocker.com. Check it out here: http://www.nutblocker.com/article/46/river-play-in-plo8.html
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Nutblocker.com recently relaunched, and I wrote a couple of PLO8 guides for them. The guide will be released in multiple parts, and the first one was just released. It felt good to back to writing about poker but its nice to have it done. The content is new and its free. Check it out here: http://www.nutblocker.com/article/220/beguinner-guide-to-plo-8-part-1-introduction.html
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Since black Friday I haven’t exactly played a ton of poker. I’ve played enough on Merge to stay reasonably sharp, although given the options available to US players right now I play pretty much for recreation. The stakes are too low, there are too few games, and cashouts are too difficult to play to make money. But I still love the game and am glad there are still some opportunities to play.
While there aren’t as many PLO8 games available as their used to be, the good news is the ones that exist are still juicy. I’m working on a series of blog posts on PLO8 strategy that will be coming out soon. While people seemed to enjoy the travel related posts, this is a PLO8 blog afterall and I’m going to start refreshing the content. I may also make some short (~10 min videos). In the meantime here’s an example of how good the games can be right now. The villain in this hand was playing 90% of his hands, so J235ss was probably the top of his range:
Preflop: (Pot: $0.75)
Flop: (Pot: $9.75)
Turn: (Pot: $68.74)
River: (Pot: $68.74)
Shanghai was the last stop on my almost 2 week trip. I was still pretty pumped up at this point and wasn’t tired from all of the travel.
Any fear I may have had of food with the head on it was long gone by this point.
This was “black chicken”. It was supposed to be a delicacy, but I ended up not trying it. The reason wasn’t because it was gross, but someone ordered it at the end of the meal and I was already stuffed. I still don’t understand why anyone would want the beaks and feet left on their food.
I’m not exactly a big fan of Chairman Mao, but I wanted to get my picture taken in front of his statue at the Bund.
One the more interesting experiences was eating at a Thai restaurant in Shanghai that had a teddy bear theme, and the option to “Build a Bear”. Teddy Bear Thai is a pretty bizarre restaurant concept, but the food was delicious.
An alley where you can reach up and grab the power lines if you want to:
I stayed at the Intercontinental, which was amazing. It was the equivalent of about 120 USD per night, and the quality was on par with a 6 star hotel I stayed at once in Aspen.
The only downside to the trip was trying to get the hell out of the Shanghai airport. Our flight got canceled and I ended up having to stay another night. Long story short the experience in the airport was very frustrating, and I ended up spending 3 hours in line to get another flight. Then the next morning when I came back it turned out I didn’t really have another flight and I spend about another 4 hours in lines until I could get out. If you thought United was bad in the US, you should try United in China……
After Singapore we flew to Hong Kong. Luckily we had a weekend to spend there so I got to see more sights than I did in Singapore. While business travel can take you to some cool cities, the problem is you spend most of your time in office buildings and hotels and only see sights from a distance out of a cab window. The trip was pretty smooth except for the cab driver taking us to the wrong place on the way from the airport to the hotel. He were on some very sketchy looking side streets and I was starting to get concerned we were going to get robbed or something. Then he turned a corner and brought us in front of a nice hotel. The problem was it wasn’t the right hotel. The cab driver didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Chinese so we had a hard time convincing him it wasn’t the right place. Fortunately a lady form the hotel came out and she did speak English so she was able to translate and tell the driver where we needed to go. Of course he then proceeded to argue with her and it looked like we were going to have to get and there and pick up another cab. She eventually convinced him and we made it to our hotel. We dropped our stuff at the hotel and headed out.
My family wanted to me to bring some stuff back, so we started out at Stanley Market to do some shopping and then grabbed dinner.
There was a nice little beach area next to the market.
The person I was travelling with had a friend from grad school who lives in Hong Kong. It was cool to have a local to help show us around. She took us to a restaurant for hot pot. I had never heard of that before but it ended up being delicious. Its kind of like fondue but with meat and shrimp and noodles and other stuff. No one there spoke English and the menu was all in Chinese and didn’t have pictures, so there was no way we could have eaten there with a local.
The next day we took a huge cable car to the giant Buddha. The sign said the it was a 60 minute wait but we decided to go for it anyway. They were a little bit off on their timing and it ended up taking 2 1/2 hours Needless to say I was pretty unhappy. They even did the Disney style thing with the line where it looks like you’re almost there and then you turn a corner and there is another massive line. Some of the signs were pretty funny though. No livestock permitted on the cable car…..
The cable car ride was about 30 minutes, and it had some absolutely huge spans between the supports.
It was worth the wait though, the Buddha was pretty amazing:
Every religion is required to have a donation box. But I think if they really wanted apples they would have made the slot bigger.
Hong Kong at night. We checked out the waterfront and had an awesome steak dinner at Morton’s.
Had to check out the Walk of Fame and the Bruce Lee statue!
Then went to the night market to buy more stuff for my kids. Also had to pick up a Mao/Obama shirt for my Dad to tilt him a little.
Did a little bar hopping as well:
Obviously I didn’t take pictures of the business meetings, but they went well and I learned a lot. I have one more part for this trip report, which will be Shanghai.