Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hit by CalTrain - learn from my mistake

This morning on my way to work, I got hit by the northbound CalTrain train that I was supposed to board at the Santa Clara station. I was taken to the hospital to be checked out, but only suffered from bruises and scrapes and needed two stitches on my forehead. Service was delayed for everyone else for 20 minutes while the police investigated. For those inconvenienced, and to the crew of the train, I offer my apologies.

The Santa Clara station is one of the few stations remaining that are so-called "hold out" stations. That is, there is a platform between the two tracks intended for use by passengers boarding (or disembarking) trains on the far track - which are the Northbound trains. Well, today, the Northbound train was on the opposite track. When I heard the train approach ringing its bell, I glanced over in that direction and saw the train approaching and slowing down, but did not see that it was on the wrong track. So I started to cross the Southbound track - where the train was - and got hit. The train was going maybe 5 MPH, but it still threw me 10 feet onto the platform. I thank my lucky stars that it threw me onto the platform rather than onto the tracks.

Generally, I wait until the head of the train passes me before I venture across the crossing. Today I didn't do that, and it nearly cost me my life. I don't intend to repeat that mistake. Please don't anyone else repeat it either.

I'd like to see CalTrain fix all of the "hold out" stations. They're working on California Avenue right now, and they've shut down weekday service to Atherton, but I haven't heard about any plans for Santa Clara.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

WPT Champions Boot Camp

I just spent 3 days at the WPT Boot Camp Champion's camp. There they teach advanced no-limit hold'em tournament strategy. I won't spill the beans on everything I've learned, but I did pick up a few tweaks to my game that I hope will make the difference. I came in 3rd in the STT, and made an early exit in the MTT, but both of those were just cold decks. I've learned first and foremost that you have to have a plan. Chance favors the prepared mind, and all that.

Let's see if things will be a little different now.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Extra class

Passed my Extra today. w00t.

Back in college, the extra was a written exam that was slightly easier than the Advanced class exam, plus a 20 wpm code test. I passed the extra written once, but could never get the 20 wpm code, so I gave up on that. Now that they've gotten rid of the code requirements, the extra written is a little tougher than before (since it has some of the Advanced stuff, I think). I tried a couple weeks ago to pass it without any study, but that didn't go well. Since then, I've taken practice exams on the AA9PW exam page, and every question I got wrong I took the opportunity to learn something new. Some of the questions were formula based. For that, the W5JCK site's cheat sheets were invaluable. After taking enough practice exams, I felt confident enough to try again.

One suggestion: you'll want a scientific calculator for the test, but you don't want one that is "too smart" - particularly a programable one, since the VEs may disallow its use if they have any concerns that it is may have answers or formulas or anything like that programmed in. So for the test, I went to Walgreens and bought a cheap $8 sharp calculator. You want one that has trig, inverse trig (preferably in degrees), square root and 10x. That's all you'll need.

I don't really care all that much about the extra 200 kHz or so of HF spectrum. This was really all about checking off another box on the life experience list, I guess. That, and now I can be a full fledged VE if I want to.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

WAS... not... :(

I went through all my old QSL cards this evening. Alas, I can no longer claim WAS (worked all states) 20 meter AMTOR. I actually am 11 states short of that, though for 9 of those states I have QSL cards for other bands or modes. Somehow, however, I don't have a card for Rhode Island or West Virginia.

The WAS rules state that you must work all states from either one QTH or if from multiple QTHs, none can be more than 50 miles away from any other (fancy way of saying that you have to have done it inside of a 50 mile diameter circle). Fortunately, the old QTH in Stockton is just barely less than 50 miles away from the current QTH. Barely.

So now I must somehow manage (while we're in the ass end of the solar cycle) to find a band open to RI and WV and have a QSO and get a QSL card. That'll be a challenge.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Don't ever limp

In general, far too many people limp in in early tournament play. The only excuse for limping - particularly in early position - is as the first part of a limp-reraise play. Other than that, you should only limp with a hand that you'd be willing to call a raise with. And there aren't many of those given that with tournament poker there is the gap rule, which says that you should call a raise only with a hand better than that with which you'd be willing to make the same raise.

Full Tilt Poker Game #_: $10 + $1 Sit & Go (_), Table 1 - 20/40 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:34:09 ET - 2008/05/06
Seat 1: (1,400)
Seat 2: (2,170)
Seat 3: (1,260)
Seat 4: (2,445)
Seat 5: (525)
Seat 6: (3,180)
Seat 8: (1,270)
Seat 9: hero (1,250)
Seat 1 posts the small blind of 20
Seat 2 posts the big blind of 40
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Ad 4d]
Seat 3 calls 40
Seat 4 calls 40
Seat 5 calls 40
Seat 6 calls 40
Seat 8 calls 40

Come on. Everybody limping? None of that!

hero raises to 340
Seat 1 folds
Seat 2 folds
Seat 3 folds
Seat 4 folds
Seat 5 folds
Seat 6 folds
Seat 8 folds

Uh huh.

Uncalled bet of 300 returned to hero
hero mucks
hero wins the pot (300)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 300 | Rake 0
Seat 1: (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 2: (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: folded before the Flop
Seat 4: folded before the Flop
Seat 5: folded before the Flop
Seat 6: folded before the Flop
Seat 8: folded before the Flop
Seat 9: hero (button) collected (300), mucked

Sunday, May 4, 2008

An important lesson in tournament strategy

The setup:

This is a super-satellite tournament. We are 5 handed. 6th place was the bubble. 5th place gets a booby prize. 4th through 1st tie for the win.

Full Tilt Poker Game #_: Super Sat to FTOPS Event #16 (_), Table 2 - 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:09:21 ET - 2008/05/05
Seat 1: victim (910)
Seat 2: hero (11,925)

Heh. Nice stack, dude. :) I caught lucky once or twice, but for the most part, I played a good game and didn't get screwed.

Seat 3: (3,625)
Seat 4: (3,870)
Seat 5: villain (3,670)
hero posts the small blind of 60
Seat 3 posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to nsayer [Qd 8d]
Seat 4 calls 120
villain raises to 240
victim raises to 910, and is all in
hero calls 850

What?! With a suited queen?

Well, it hardly costs me anything to make the call, and tripling him up, if that's what happens, doesn't really change the table significantly from my point of view. On the other hand, if I catch, it's over. But the villain may have a better hand than me. It is in our joint interest that one of us have a better hand than the victim.

Seat 3 folds
Seat 4 folds
villain calls 670

Remember this moment carefully. I tip my hat retroactively to the villain here.

*** FLOP *** [4c 7s 4d]
hero checks
villain checks
*** TURN *** [4c 7s 4d] [Qs]


But what if the victim has pocket kings, the villain has ace high, and an ace is coming on the river? It is still better to simply check it down.

hero checks
villain checks
*** RIVER *** [4c 7s 4d Qs] [6d]
hero checks
villain checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
victim shows [Th Td] two pair, Tens and Fours
hero shows [Qd 8d] two pair, Queens and Fours
villain shows [Ad As] two pair, Aces and Fours

Oh ho!

The villain would normally have been perfectly justified in re-raising pre-flop to make me go away. I certainly would have folded. But my hat goes off to this villain - he recognized the situation perfectly. What if the victim had A4 and I had 58o? The villain would have had the 3rd best hand, the victim would have been chipped up, I would still have been a monster chip lead, but he would have been seriously wounded. By letting me draw all the way to the river, I might have won the pot instead of the victim, and it would have been over.

villain wins the pot (2,970) with two pair, Aces and Fours
victim stands up
villain stands up
hero stands up
Seat 4 stands up
Seat 3 stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2,970 | Rake 0
Board: [4c 7s 4d Qs 6d]
Seat 1: victim (button) showed [Th Td] and lost with two pair, Tens and Fours
Seat 2: hero (small blind) showed [Qd 8d] and lost with two pair, Queens and Fours
Seat 3: (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: folded before the Flop
Seat 5: villain showed [Ad As] and won (2,970) with two pair, Aces and Fours

Friday, May 2, 2008

Web stupidity

Why do webmasters create "About us" links on their web pages? Isn't the entire site "about you"?

6 times out of 10 when I visit a web page, it's because I want to either call them up or get their address. Typically the best way to get that is to click either a "store locator" link or a "contact us" link. I like it when sites put those on their pages.

The anti-example of that level of cluefullness is the web site for the Camino Medical Group. First, when you go there, it redirects you to their parent organization, which has a deep link back to their site. That's pretty stupid. Furthermore, there is one of those stupid "about us" buttons, but there is no easy way from the front page to find a list of clinics and their addresses. I had to click "find a doctor" and from that page, "find a location."

To quote one of the old VW TV ads, "You get an F."