Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bad beat of the year

Very. First. Hand.

Full Tilt Poker Game #_: $28 + $2 Sit & Go (Super Turbo) (_), Table 1 - 15/30 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:03:08 ET - 2008/07/31
Seat 1: (300)
Seat 2: (300)
Seat 3: hero (300)
Seat 4: (300)
Seat 5: villain_a (300)
Seat 6: (300)
Seat 7: villain_b (300)
Seat 8: (300)
Seat 9: (300)
Seat 1 posts the small blind of 15
Seat 2 posts the big blind of 30
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Kd Ks]
hero raises to 300, and is all in
Seat 4 folds

Later on, Seat 4 claims he folded an ace. That will be significant later.

villain_a calls 300, and is all in
Seat 6 folds
villain_b calls 300, and is all in
Seat 8 folds
Seat 9 folds
Seat 1 folds
Seat 2 folds
hero shows [Kd Ks]
villain_a shows [Qs Ac]
villain_b shows [Jc Ad]

You just LOVE to see that when you've got kings. I didn't see Seat 4's comment that he folded an ace until later. If it were true, then that means that, barring a set, there was only one card left in the deck that would beat me. That's just a great spot to be in.

And yet...

*** FLOP *** [As Js Jd]

To quote young Eddie Murphy in "Raw,"

"And then he kicked him in the ding-ding!"

*** TURN *** [As Js Jd] [Td]
*** RIVER *** [As Js Jd Td] [2h]
hero shows two pair, Kings and Jacks
villain_a shows two pair, Aces and Jacks
villain_b shows a full house, Jacks full of Aces
villain_b wins the pot (945) with a full house, Jacks full of Aces
villain_a stands up
hero stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 945 | Rake 0
Board: [As Js Jd Td 2h]
Seat 1: (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 2: (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: hero showed [Kd Ks] and lost with two pair, Kings and Jacks
Seat 4: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: villain_a showed [Qs Ac] and lost with two pair, Aces and Jacks
Seat 6: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: villain_b showed [Jc Ad] and won (945) with a full house, Jacks full of Aces
Seat 8: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: (button) didn't bet (folded)

Monday, July 28, 2008

There but for the grace of the poker gods...

I've been playing the super turbo tournaments at Full Tilt lately. It works well with my short attention span.

Full Tilt Poker Game #_: $28 + $2 Sit & Go (Super Turbo) (_), Table 1 - 15/30 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:15:54 ET - 2008/07/27
Seat 1: villain (330)
Seat 2: hero (255)
Seat 3: (300)
Seat 4: (270)
Seat 5: (300)
Seat 6: (300)
Seat 7: Luigi (300)
Seat 8: (300)
Seat 9: Mario (345)
Seat 4 posts the small blind of 15
Seat 5 posts the big blind of 30
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Ts Td]
Seat 6 folds
Luigi calls 30
Seat 8 folds
Mario raises to 345, and is all in
villain calls 330, and is all in

Well, shoot.

Against one caller, I'd figure my tens would be good to go. I'm probably against either a smaller pair or an ace. Only if my opponent has a bigger pair am I in any real trouble.

But with two opponents, the chances are much better that one of them has a bigger pair or an ace with a better-than-ten kicker (if two opponents have an ace and neither has pocket aces, the odds go up a little - each has one of the other's outs, after all). Besides, there is the early position limper to consider. What's he gonna do?

This is a hard one, but I've got to give it up.

hero folds
Seat 3 folds
Seat 4 folds
Seat 5 folds
Luigi calls 270, and is all in

Sure enough, he did join the party.

Mario shows [7h 7s]
villain shows [4h 4c]
Luigi shows [6s 6c]


FOURS?! You CALLED all-in with fours?!

I mean, being the third in with sixes is pretty dumb too, but if you're second in with fours, you're at BEST a coin-flip.

Uncalled bet of 15 returned to Seat 9
*** FLOP *** [5d Tc 4d]

Holy dog shit.

At this point, the 4s would have one out to beat me had I made the call - That's about 19:1. It has to come runner-runner 9 for the 9s to win. That's also about 19:1, it turns out.

Of course, as it happens, he's in fat city. There are 4 cards in the deck left that beat him, so he's about a 5:1 favorite.

*** TURN *** [5d Tc 4d] [4s]

Wow. Nice catch, Eeyore.

*** RIVER *** [5d Tc 4d 4s] [9d]

Had the river been a ten, and had I made the call, this hand might have gone down in history as the ultimate cooler. 4 pocket pairs all-in before the flop, two of which flopped sets, and both of which made quads.

Maybe next time.

Mario shows two pair, Sevens and Fours
villain shows four of a kind, Fours
villain wins the side pot (60) with four of a kind, Fours
Luigi shows two pair, Sixes and Fours
villain wins the main pot (945) with four of a kind, Fours
Luigi is sitting out
Luigi stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1,005 Main pot 945. Side pot 60. | Rake 0
Board: [5d Tc 4d 4s 9d]
Seat 1: villain showed [4h 4c] and won (1,005) with four of a kind, Fours
Seat 2: hero didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 5: (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 6: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: Luigi showed [6s 6c] and lost with two pair, Sixes and Fours
Seat 8: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: Mario showed [7h 7s] and lost with two pair, Sevens and Fours

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Statistical stupidity

ABC News recently had a video on My Yahoo that had the "worst" foods purported to be good for you (alas, I don't have a deep link to the video). First on the list of diet soda. The silly woman said that those who drink diet soda are heavier than those who don't, so you shouldn't drink diet soda.

Uh, newsflash: You've got the cause and the effect backwards there. People who are heavy drink diet soda because they know they're heavy. The ones who aren't heavy drink whatever the hell they want because whatever they're doing is working for them (or at least isn't a problem).

It's like saying bariatric surgery causes obesity because only obese people have it done.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Solving the CableCard / OpenCable conundrum

One issue I've always had with satellite TV is that before recently, every tuner has required so-called "home run" wiring. That is, a coax run all the way from the receiver to either the dish or a multiplexer, with no splitters in-between. The reason for this is that there needs to be a communication path from the tuner back to the dish (or multiplexer) so that it can select which set of transponders it wants to tune at that moment. If you've got a couple of dual-tuner DVRs, that's quite a lot of coax. The latest little innovation from DirecTV is the SWM-8, which neatly solves this problem. It allows you to connect up to 8 tuners using as many splitters as you need (with the caveat that you need to have at least one branch of the splitters pass DC power from an indoor mounted power supply module). The way it works is very similar to SDV cable TV systems. There are 9 channels set aside - 8 of them provide one tuner's worth of signal down from the dish, and one is a shared upstream request channel from the tuners back to the SWM. Each tuner requests a channel to be allocated to it from the SWM at startup, and as the channels are changed, it requests a different satellite transponder be sent down its allocated SWM channel.

With this system, the satellite system itself can become arbitrarily complex, but the complexity can be hidden behind the SWM. Already the SWM can handle a single 5 LNB Ka/Ku dish plus two auxiliary dishes (one for international programming and one for carrying local channels for some markets).

As I've previously noted, this system is somewhat similar to SDV systems for cable - the only difference being that SDV channels are shared by all subscribers, not allocated solely to a single downstream tuner.

Verizon's FIOS offering already includes a box that transitions from fiber to coax for the household. In principle, that box could also provide addressable decryption so that the house simply sees all of the subscribed channels as clear QAM - no need for CableCard at all.

This same idea could apply in the world of cable TV as well. Each household would have an addressable box that would perform pre-tuning and decryption for a set of tuners within. There would be a spec for the channelization and for the upstream communication protocol. The channel data would be clear QAM. The same box could also have an Ethernet jack and provide IP service as well, for subscribers to cable-delivered Internet. Since the box obscures the cable infrastructure, it offers greater flexibility to the cable company in laying out their networks.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Got my iPhone 3G!

Well, I gave up on getting an iPhone 3G today, but my lovely wife Scarlet didn't. She called up the Valley Fair Apple store and they still had some. Clearly Apple has managed to prepare for the launch better than AT&T.

For the most part, the new phone isn't really that distinguishable from its older counterpart. It's a little bit lighter, and the 3G network is noticeably faster. The bad news is that in my house, the phone only gets EDGE (well, it really gets WiFi, of course, but if I disable WiFi for testing, I get no 3G coverage).

The GPS functionality works well. As long as you're outside (and in some cases, inside) you get a blue dot on the map that follows you around. Unfortunately, Apple didn't turn the google maps app into a full GPS turn-by-turn app. The official excuse is that the GPS receiver isn't "good enough" to properly deliver turn-by-turn navigation. I still don't know why Apple didn't go with a bluetooth GPS solution. The receiver could be plugged into a car's power jack (remember when they were called cigarette lighters?) and basically left there. But as it is, the GPS functionality that is there is an improvement. At my parent's house on Point Loma in San Diego, the old phone always decided that we were near Lindbergh Field in downtown (an error of over 5 miles and across two bodies of water).

I still would not have bothered with the upgrade if it wasn't for the broken screen. The only appreciable difference between the two generations is the 3G networking and GPS. The rest of the updates were in the 2.0 firmware, which means they're available for users of both models.

I've bought a few things from the App store so far: ICE, which is a small app intended for emergency responders who find you unconscious (say, laying near a set of railroad tracks), and check your phone to see if there are any clues as to who you are. The icon is a giant red cross in a white field, labeled "ICE," which means "in case of emergency." At $1, the price is right.

I also fetched the PayPal app, the AIM app, Remote, and I bought the Apple Texas Hold'Em game. I also bought Bejeweled 2 for my wife's phone. The Texas Hold'Em game is beautiful and functional, but the AI for the computer player is rather annoying. They tend to be calling stations.

Has Apple lost their tiny little minds?

Go click on this link.

It's a 404 page now, but it used to be the home of Apple's retail stores. Why they'd move that page is a giant mystery to me, but whatever.

Go to the bottom of that page. There's a link to click on to visit an Apple retail store. That link takes you to -- wait for it -- that same page.

I have no words.

EDIT: At some point later that week, they fixed it. It was, at the time however, yet another thing that was annoying me that particular day (the iPhone 3G launch day).

iPhone 3G anger management

I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant.

- Henry V, Act IV Scene VII

I was confronted with a situation this morning of such effrontery that I can't leave it alone.

A couple weeks ago, I dropped my iPhone and the screen got cracked. I took it to the Apple store and they basically said that it would cost as much to repair it as it would to simply wait for the iPhone 3G and upgrade to one of those.

Now, right away my response to that is that Apple is becoming more and more like HP (and we're not talking about the old, good HP - the ones who are now Agilent). I'd have paid $100 to get it fixed rather than $200 to get it replaced, but no.

Now, I stood in line at the iPhone launch. I was there a couple hours before the launch time, and by my estimate everyone who was in line before the actual launch time got the phone of their choice.

So I was not too concerned about this launch, seeing as how they managed to do things more right than wrong. Surely they can't fuck it up - particularly having done one of these before.

Yes, they could.

I arrived an hour early. 7 AM. I was, by my estimate, perhaps the 150th person in line. When I got up to 6th place in line, they announced they had run out of the 16 GB versions - both colors. By that time, it was about 9:45. Almost 3 hours of my life that I'll never get back. Thanks to AT&T.

Let's say that only 10% of the folks in line wanted the smaller phone. That means that they must have started with fewer than 70 of each color of the 16GB model.

Really, AT&T? 70 of each was going to be plenty?

Now that's even before I rant about how they could have counted people in line at 7:45 and let us know then rather than waiting until they ran out. What could they possibly have had to gain by not telling us 3 hours earlier that we were going to be wasting our time? When they sell concert tickets, they start by handing out numbered wristbands. That never occurred to them at AT&T?

And, naturally, you can't just order them from the Apple store. No. That would be far too convenient. So now, I will be forced to poll the store(s) daily until either Apple or AT&T pulls their fucking thumbs out.

Thanks for nothing, Steve.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Idiot commentators on YouTube

First, we have to start with the video in question:

Oliver Hudson and Sam Farha are playing the very first hand of the WSOP main event. Hudson flops tens-full and loses. Lots of the commentators on YouTube berate Hudson for going out on hand 1, but I think they're wrong. If you don't go broke in that spot, you're not getting full value out of your monsters in the long run. Let's look at the math.

If you flop a boat with a pocket pair with your boat being an under-set and overpair, there are 3 cards left in the deck of which your opponent must have two in order to have you beat. The odds of that happening are 360 to 1. I'll bet my entire tournament on those sorts of odds every time you give me the chance.

Recently, I got a chance to do exactly that:

Full Tilt Poker Game #_: $33 + $3 Sit & Go (Turbo) (_), Table 1 - 20/40 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:25:52 ET - 2008/07/03
Seat 1: (2,385)
Seat 2: (795)
Seat 3: (1,380)
Seat 4: (1,510)
Seat 5: hero (1,520)
Seat 6: (1,500)
Seat 7: (1,500)
Seat 8: villain (1,410)
Seat 9: (1,500)
hero posts the small blind of 20
Seat 6 posts the big blind of 40
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Ts Tc]
Seat 7 folds
villain raises to 120
Seat 8 folds
Seat 1 folds
Seat 2 folds
Seat 3 folds
Seat 4 folds
hero calls 100
Seat 6 folds
*** FLOP *** [Th Ac As]

There's my boat.

hero checks
villain bets 160

Ok. Either he was continuation betting and he's never going to put another nickel into this pot or he has an ace or maybe pocket kings and thinks he has the best of it. If he has an ace, then the only way he's beat at the moment is if I have him out-kicked or have a boat already. If I'm in his shoes, and I have an ace, I have to call unless I have a super-weak kicker. But then, if I had a dry ace, I wouldn't have made an early position raise pre-flop.

hero raises to 1,400, and is all in

My raise is designed to look like one of those idiot bluff plays that you see pretty frequently online.

villain calls 1,130, and is all in
hero shows [Ts Tc]
villain shows [8d Ad]

I thought so. A8 is sort of weak for an early position pre-flop raise. I had him on an ace-and-a-face.

In any event, he has 4 outs at this point - the case ace and 3 8s - plus the board pairing runner-runner. He's a 4.5:1 dog.

Uncalled bet of 110 returned to hero
*** TURN *** [Th Ac As] [7d]

He can also now win with any of the 3 remaining sevens. He's still a 7:1 dog.

*** RIVER *** [Th Ac As 7d] [2c]
hero shows a full house, Tens full of Aces
villain shows three of a kind, Aces
hero wins the pot (2,860) with a full house, Tens full of Aces
villain stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2,860 | Rake 0
Board: [Th Ac As 7d 2c]
Seat 1: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: hero (small blind) showed [Ts Tc] and won (2,860) with a full house, Tens full of Aces
Seat 6: (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 7: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: villain showed [8d Ad] and lost with three of a kind, Aces
Seat 9: didn't bet (folded)