Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I'm No Iron Man

96 hours in Vegas. 4.5 hours of sleep. Gallons of Captain Morgan consumed.

Yet I couldn’t make it past the beginning of “What’s Hot in Vegas 2006” on TLC at 7pm. Man, I feel like a whiny professional athlete who put himself on the IR for a hangnail. I remember making dinner (Pork Chops and Taters) for the lovely wife and Little Drizz. Then, I crashed on the couch with anticipation of firing up the new Gateway and logging in another night towards the Iron Man contest on Full Tilt as soon as they both retired for the night. But, true to wuss-like form, I woke up to Ken Barlow on the 10pm news telling us about the mild winter that continues today and quickly diving into my bed. In Minnesota, mild winter temperatures being in the teens rather then the usual snozz busting 20 below.

Can I still blame these flu symptoms on Monkey Patient Zero?

I await the the 103 degree temps, inability to move, cold sweats, constant smokers cough mixed with a barrel of lungbutter. Instead I get the slow burn of headache, fatigue, and leaky nose faucet. More annoying then painful, kind of like listening to Mr. Britney Spears’ new single while receiving a dual VIP lap dance at Scores.

Tomorrow night is the DADI: PLO8 tourney at Stars (8 o’clock CST, password: blogsaregay). Anyone have a PLO8 primer I can borrow?

Here’s primer everyone should be reading, you can’t go wrong with JoeSpeaker’s advice on Pauly’s site.

Simply fan-tab-u-los-sus!

What Tom Emanski does for youth baseball, John Basedow does for home fitness, JoeSpeaker does for teaching the ins-and-outs of low buy in Multi Table Tourneys. GOLD BABY GOLD! And he does it while not mentioning his back-to-back-to-back AAU championships or making the Crime Dog look like a dufus in a $.49 trucker’s cap. The post contains flair without the cockiness that this MTT crusher could show. Titled “JoeSpeaker’s Low Buy-In Online Tournament Manifesto Version 1.0”, the post takes you through the important parts of any large low-buy in freezeout MTT.

Personally being an unsuccessful tournament player, my greatest weakness (besides losing coin flips with NASA-like accuracy) is his tip #3 subtitled “Hour Two”

3. Don't Be a Pussy. By the end of the second hour, you are likely within sight of the bubble. Don't take the tack that cashing is your first priority. Going deep is your first priority. You are not going to get a solid return on investment from multi-table tournaments if you settle for minor awards. The big money is at the Final Table and a couple trips there can pay for months of bubble finishes. Yes, it can be frustrating to bubble, especially if you have a stack that was comfortably positioned near par. But that stack is going to get eaten up quickly while players accumulate around you. While protecting it may get you a small profit, you'll be at a disadvantage once you are in the money, as the large stacks will happily call your all-ins with garbage and suck out.

I tend to look at “cashing” too much since it doesn’t happen very often for this self-proclaimed Sleprock of tournaments. Woe-is-me. Granted I don’t tighten up to the point where I only play AA, KK, AK nor do I give up many prime blind stealing chances, but I do play like a pussy sometimes when I shouldn’t. An excellent example of this happened in a SnG over the weekend.
With four players left (three make the money) I was left with T52 while in the BB after posting, a fellow shortstack with only T48 more in chips goes all-in UTG and gets called by the two large stacks. What’s your play here (cards are inconsequential)? Fold, and there’s a 2/3 chance of the shortstack getting bounced and taking home 3rd place. Call and there’s a ¾ chance of losing $XX.XX for 3rd place. Can I cop out and say the play was +EV? Probably not. Sadly, the fold button was too enticing as I committed the cardinal sin of poker.

I looked at the money instead of the win.

Plays like that hurt a player more then losing a bucket full of coin flips and bad beats. It’s a reminder that YOU control the action pre-flop, not the cards. So, take the metrosexual’s advice and “Don’t Be a Pussy”, your bankroll and sanity will thank you.

Thanks for dropping by, now here’s an article on how bad web applications can cause bad publicity. Take note PartyPoker.

Wal-Mart Sees How Fast Bad Press Spreads Online
By Frank Ahrens
Sunday, January 8, 2006; F07
Used to be, when you were angry with a corporation or a government or even a person, you had to stand outside the building and hold a sign, or at least yell a lot.

Your distribution -- and potential impact -- was limited to the range of your voice or the size of the letters on your sign. If you hoped for a wider audience, you had to hector the local television news to show up. If you got really lucky, its feed was picked up by the networks, and you'd get 30 seconds at the end of the evening news.

But now, you can go from zero to global in a matter of minutes, as Wal-Mart painfully found out last week.

Early Thursday afternoon, some bloggers discovered a horrifying sight: Wal-Mart's retail Web site was telling potential buyers of "Planet of the Apes" DVDs that they might also like to buy DVDs featuring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., black boxing legend Jack Johnson and black actress Dorothy Dandridge. In another nasty linkage, those titles were also recommended to buyers of a "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" DVD.


Perceived racism is like anthrax to a company: potentially deadly and hard to clean off. The graveness of the situation was reflected in Wal-Mart's quick public apology, in which it said it was "heartsick" over the incident.

As of late Friday, the Bentonville, Ark., retail giant insisted its site was not hacked. Instead it called the unfortunate product linkage a problem involving its "mapping" technology. On a retail site, mapping takes product titles -- books, CDs, DVDs, etc. -- and thematically links them to other products. It has turned out to be a powerful consumer theory, made popular by Amazon.com, based on the assumption that consumers will buy other stuff if it's similar to the stuff they just bought.

The first time I noticed this practice was nearly a decade ago on one of the early versions of http://www.allmusic.com/ . I'd look up a signer, say, Joe Jackson, and the site listed "similar artists," such as Elvis Costello and Graham Parker. I thought, "How'd they know I liked those guys, too?" Turns out, like most of us, I'm pretty predictable. Only rabidly self-conscious and eclectic hipsters can outsmart The Map. Wal-Mart's mapping technology is based on the same cross-referenced affinity-link assumptions as Allmusic's.

But as mega-corps such as Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target profit from the Web, they are discovering it has drawbacks, as well. Indeed, Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, has found a bull's-eye on its back bigger than Target's.

Anti-Wal-Mart sites, such as http://www.againstthewal.com/ and http://www.walmartwatch.com/ , blast the company for what they consider poor practices and all manner of evils, from driving local retailers out of business to paying its employees low wages.

As happened with the supposed Air National Guard service records of President Bush and countless lesser stories, the Web -- bloggers, alt-news sites and so forth -- can now drive mainstream news coverage. Folks who never read a blog but read papers and watch the news now know that significant anti-Wal-Mart sentiment exists.

Thursday was a bad day for critical thought. It was amazing, frankly, how quickly some bloggers were ready to believe that Wal-Mart linked its "Planet of the Apes" DVDs to black-themed DVD titles on purpose. Aside from kiddie porn and e-mail scams, this is perhaps the most troubling trait of the Internet: Rather than opening minds, it can close them, thanks to echo-chamber Web sites and blogs.

Which, coincidentally, works on the same premise as retail-site mapping. We like to read Web sites and blogs that we agree with and that reinforce our opinions. Aside from the few of you who practice "know your enemy" browsing, how many of you liberals read http://www.nationalreview.com/ ? How many of you conservatives frequent http://www.thenation.com/ ?

People who hate Wal-Mart are going to flock to anti-Wal-Mart sites and blogs. And they did in droves on Thursday, writing sentiments along the lines of, "Well, what do you expect from a company that has non-progressive labor rules?" In other words: "Well, of course Wal-Mart is racist. Look at how they engage in various practices we don't agree with."

Kind of makes me nostalgic for the old days, when the only damage a kook with a sign and a bullhorn could do was annoy people on the sidewalk.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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