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This report is a little overdue, I actually took this trip in October. But I guess late is better than never….. I got to travel to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Shanghai for work. Altogether it was almost a 2 week trip. I had never been to Asia before so I was obviously pretty excited about it. This first part is just going to cover Singapore.
Getting to Singapore is a pretty long trip. First I had to go from Denver to San Francisco which isn’t too bad. The next leg from to Hong Kong, which was a 14 hour flight. When I booked the trip I had window seats the whole way. As I was boarding I realized they had stuck me in a middle seat. The realization that I was going to spend 14 hours in a coach middle seat on a full flight was a pretty big soul crush. It turns out my company’s travel software lets you pick seats, but that info never registers with the airline. That’s pretty retarded, but I guess I know for next time. Fortunately I was seated to 2 small people and I had a neck pillow so it wasn’t a big deal. After a short layover it took another couple hour flight to make it the rest of the way to Singapore. I think the total travel from my house to the hotel was over 24 hours. Yikes!
One of the advantages of corporate travel is they tend to put you up in nice places. I stayed in the Pan Pacific. Someone I didn’t know about Asia is they like to have the shower visible from the bed. This came in handy because I could watch the World Series at 9am while in the shower. But I’m pretty sure that isn’t the intended purpose of the open shower. I guess you can lay in bed while watching your woman wash her mysterious lady parts. That’s seems kind of weird, but whatever turns people on I guess……
One of the great things about this trip was in every city we met up with a local person from the company. They all wanted to take us to their favorite local places to eat, so we were able to get well out of the business and tourist areas. Singapore is known for its food and I got the chance to try their pepper crab and chili crab:
The only problem for me is I’ve had stomach problems since I was a teenager, so if I eat anything remotely spicy I can have issues. I enjoyed the meal but I woke up that nice with some pretty vicious heartburn.
I’m not going to go into detail about the business meetings, but I learned a lot and met some interesting people. There wasn’t really any time to do touristy stuff, although we did take a stroll through China town and another part of the city. Next time I go back I hope to get a chance to stop at some of the museums. I’m a huge history buff and would have loved to check out some of the WWII exhibits. I did walk past this memorial, but that was about it:
On the next post I’ll talk about Hong Kong.
I’ve got some interesting trips coming up this fall, which will hopefully make for some good blog posts. I’m not going to give away all of the destinations but the highlight will be Singapore. I’ve never been to Asia before so I’m really looking forward to this. It will be interesting to see how the trip over there goes. It is going to be extremely longggggg… My plan is to right some PLO8 articles on the plane. The longest leg of the trip is San Francisco to Hong Kong which is 14 hours in the air, so God knows there will be plenty of time for writing. This is a business trip so the sightseeing will pretty limited. But hopefully I’ll be able to get some good pictures.
Lately I started playing on Carbon Poker again. I did a cashout a month ago, but after the transaction still showing ‘pending’ and Carbon not responding to emails I figured I may as well cancel it and have some fun with my play money. I’m really disgusted at the state of online poker in the US and can’t wait for the day when we get regulation and I can play on MGM.com.
The PLO8 Poker app was completed recently, you can find it here.
Basically it is the PLO8 Revealed book on an iPhone. There will also be an iPad app pretty soon. In addition to having the book content, there are some training videos embedded into the app. I also do a brief audio intro to each chapter.
In the future I think we’ll see more poker apps like this. At this point its pretty unique and there aren’t many poker training apps in the iTunes store. Poker training has evolved a lot over the years. Originally it was books, and then training sites (like Cardrunners), and then you began to see a lot of private coaching. I think apps will be the next big innovation in training. This app is a book with a few extra features, but I’m sure over time these apps will evolve quite a bit. Please check it out and let me know what you think.
I’m working on a series of articles on PLO8. They are not coming out until probably January, but I’m planning the outlines right now. I’d like to get some suggestions for specific topics. If there is something that I didn’t cover in my book or hasn’t been covered in Cardrunners video that you would like to see, please let me know. Or if there is something I have already covered but you would like to see me expand on it that’s fine too. You can either leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Its been a little while since I’ve made a post, so an update is overdue. Basically I’ve been busy with a variety of things and just haven’t had much time for blogging. Pokerwise I haven’t been doing too much. Playing a little on Carbon here and there, but no serious volume. I have been thinking about some more PLO8 articles, so expect to see some over the next few months. I did get Tommy Angelo’s new book on my Kindle. I’m not too far into it yet, but so far its been pretty good.
Between my corporate job, family, working out, golf, and a side business (not poker related) I’ve been working on getting started, and a little bit of options trading, I haven’t had a ton of free time. This season I’ve really re-devoted myself to golf. I’ve taken 3 lessons this summer, and my swing is getting a lot better. I have a 1 handicap, and really want to finally get it to scratch. The guy I’m taking lessons from is a total badass. He qualified for the US Open at Pebble last year and made the cut. He has the rare combo of being about to play and teach golf at a super high level. I signed up for a tournament that takes place in a few weeks. I used to play a ton of tournaments, and since kids I think I’ve only played one. Next year I want to play a bunch, so I thought it would be a good idea to get at least 1 in this year.
I’m not going to go into detail, but my job has been pretty awesome. After investing all of the time and money into the MBA its nice to see it paying off. There is also the possiblity I’ll get to travel to Hong Kong and Singapore in October. Look for some cool pictures if that happens.
That’s all I have time for right now. Look for me to get back to weekly updates and more poker content.
Had a bit of a bad run last week, and I’m not even talking about poker. First thing to hit was the AC compressor for my house dying. Then 3 days later my TV blew up. A brand new condenser unit was about $2600. Fortunately, big screen tv’s have come way down in price since the last time I bought one. I was able to get a 1080p 50″ plasma for $700, so that wasn’t too bad. Bad things always come in three’s, and I picked up a screw in a tire on the way back from the store with the TV. Not a huge amount of money, but pretty damn annoying.
This last week we saw the final Space Shuttle launch. Its kind of sad for me because I grew up on the Space Coast and watched many launches. It was what inspired me originally to study engineering. While doing my undergrad I was an intern at Lockheed and got to work on the shuttle. I was in the group that was responsible for loading the hypergolic propellants that power the OMS/RCS system, which is basically a system of thrusters that allow the shuttle to maneuver in space. My office was in an a converter railroad car next to pad 39A. I spent about half of my time there and the other half in the firing room. The highlight of the experience was getting to work the firing room for the launch of STS-83 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STS-83). Normally they wouldn’t let an intern do something like that, but for our system there isn’t actually much to do on launch day except for close a valve. We did our propellant loading about a week prior before launch, and if something is going to go wrong it likely will happen before launch. But I did get to close the valve and verify some pressures and temperatures over the radio. I taped the NASA channel of it and I have a cool video of myself behind the console on TV.
After I graduated I worked for Pratt & Whitney for a while doing Solid Rocket Booster refurbishment. It was really neat getting to see what the SRB’s look like before and after launch. As cool as all of the hardware was I decided what I really wanted to do was design engineering, and I moved on from the space center. As sad as it is to see the shuttle program end it was definitely time for it. The shuttles are about 30 years old now, and some of the parts actually were reused from the Apollo program of the 60′s. I still have a lot of friends who work on the program, hopefully they’ll all find new jobs and land on their feet.
I don’t claim to be the master of the World Series. I’ve only made it out there 2 years, and this year I’m not going to make it. Its not baller, but sometimes things like jobs and families get in the way……. Last year I made it out was able to play in the $1500 PLO8. I didn’t cash but I learned a lot. Here are some of my takeaways from that trip, in no particular order:
1) The structure is nice and slow so there is no need to rush- The structure is much slower than a typical online tournament. Also, since this is live poker and you’re playing fewer hands per hour, when you go through a stretch when you don’t pick up any hands it feels like forever. Don’t let that induce you to get impatient and fire your chips in a bad spot.
2) Most players are bad- In a way this is no different than an online tournament, but being live poker they will be even worse. Just watch out because the PLO8 specialists will be sprinkled in as well. You should be able to figure out who’s who after a couple of orbits.
3) If you recognize someone from TV, they might be really bad- PLO8 is a niche game that few people have taken the time to really learn, so there are going to be a lot of people who aren’t familiar with it. The WSOP event is nice because a lot of pros with big bankrolls will sign up for any event in an attempt to win a bracelet whether they know the game or not. Its funny to watch some people who may be world class hold’em players make some really weird plays.
4) Hang on to a rebuy chip or 2 at least for a little while- The rebuy chips are a cool feature of this event. Opinions vary on the proper strategy for using them. Whatever you decide to do, hang onto some of them for at least a couple of orbits so you can get some sort of read on the other players at the table. In the early goings you have no idea if a players getting all of their chips in is doing it because they don’t know the game and are way overvaluing their hand, or if they are an Omaha 8 nit-reg that only gets it in with the nuts. Usually its the former, but its nice to not have to put your tournament life at risk early to find out.
5) Staying at the Gold Coast is really cheap and convenient- Not the greatest hotel on the face of the earth, but its an easy walk to the Rio from there. There’s never much point in spending much money on a hotel room in Vegas you aren’t going to spend a lot of time in anyway.
My high school physics teacher had a sign above the blackboard that said, “above all else you must love the truth”. In any business its easy to fall into the trap of not being honest with yourself. Outside of poker, there are often other influences that you can’t control. I remember in my engineering career I worked on several programs where we were having serious problems. But the program manager not only wouldn’t assess the problems and get the team working to fix them, but he wouldn’t acknowledge that there were even problems at all. The obvious thing for an engineer to do in this situation is to bluntly point out in a meeting exactly what is going on, but that’s pretty bad politics. For those of you who have ever held a job you’ll know that this is a lot easier said than done. Concerns about your career path or even keeping your job can be a huge influence on how you approach the situation. It can be really difficult to fix problems when you are surrounded by people bent on ignoring reality.
The nice thing about poker is you don’t have any political considerations to worry about. You can actively study your game, find your faults, and fix them. No one is stopping you but yourself. And yet a lot of poker players can’t seem to do it. Like some of my program managers, they just hate to accept that there might be some things going on that aren’t good. God forbid they need to make adjustments in a game they already have figured and are +EV in. I can’t prove it, but I think this is especially true in the PLO8 player pool. There are a lot of players out there who have not adjusted their game in a long time, despite the fact that the game has continued to evolve. That can’t possibly be a good idea. So don’t fall victim to being influenced by your ego. Always be analyzing your play and looking for weaknesses and making adjustments. I guarantee there are some there, and when you address them you’ll be better off for it. Unlike the tons of unaware, degen, busto players who think variance is to blame for their problems.
Last year I started a project to make an equity calculator that was as easy to use as Pokerstove, but for PLO and PLO8. It was a pretty big project and going into it I was very unsure about how well the program would perform once it was completed. For that and a variety of other reasons I decided the best move was to make an equity calculator for Hold’em first. Then once that was working I could update it for Omaha. Well, I got the hold’em version to work, but after black Friday I don’t really see the point in continuing with any poker related software projects. Maybe at some point I’ll get back to the Omaha tool, but if that happens it won’t be until we see regulation in the US and some sort of stable poker market.
For now, check out Hold’em Range Tool. Like Pokerstove its totally free, but the nice thing is its web-based so you don’t have to download anything. It does a bunch of things that Pokerstove doesn’t. For example, you can specify an ‘air range’, which will add random cards to model a bluffing frequency. It also does weighted ranges in a way that is pretty easy.
I felt like there is a lot missing from the current crop of equity calculators. They tend to be either free and missing some key features, or they cost money and are really complicated to use. I think Holdem Range Tool fills in some of the gaps. Hopefully everyone enjoys it. Stay tuned for the Omaha Range Tool in a few years……