Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's definite! Online > B&M (Vegas trip report)

Last time I wrote my post before I was rudely interrupted by the 10k race, I was writing from the airport all excited about my upgrade to first class. Well, let me tell you something. I don't know how much it is to upgrade to first class but for the trip to Vegas, I would say it's totally worth it (unless you can figure out how to smuggle enough alcohol through the security gate with the liquid restriction they now have). From Cleveland to Vegas, I was sitting first class and at first, when I took my seat, I was a tad annoyed... sitting next to me was a dude with his family in the other two seats across the aisle and they have clearly never been in first class. This dude was yelling to his other buddies few rows up (they were all in 1st class - clearly just upgraded like me) about how great it was... Fuckin noobies...

So here I am, sitting in this comfortable seat on the plane and in bit of a tilt... but then the flight attendant comes, I order a Miller Lite thinking I'll just enjoy a few cold ones for a warm up, put my noise cancelling headsets on and just ignore these clowns around me. Well, when our beer comes (the guy also ordered ML), he goes "well, cheers to Vegas!" Well, how can I not cheer to that. I smile, say cheers out of courtesy, and I take a good swig. Mmmmm, nothing like free beer on a plane. This got us to talking and next thing we knew, we were ordering more beers and I gotta admit, this guy wasn't so bad after all. He was willing to pound drinks and then the cold platter thing came with cheese and meat and so I downed a few glasses of wine, polishing off all the wine they had (they only had 2 bottles and there were 12 of us in first class - I had 3 or 4 glasses tho) and then we kicked the ML so we had to switch to Heineken. After all was said and done, I was pretty buzzed and definitely ready to get the night started in Vegas. Sure enough, it was almost landing time. Great way to kill time on a plane. I never even pulled out my PSP (which I only play on flights - and considering I fly to Japan at least once a year, I fuckin need it).

I meet up with my friends the first night and besides a short craps session (a profitable one, might I add), I decide to hit up bars to continue on with my drinking. No more gambling was done that night, which is definitely a rarity for me. I got to bed around 4am PST and having been awake for over 24hrs (I woke up at 6am EST that morning to play bball in the morning), I was ok with calling it a night.

Over the course of the next two days, I played a good chunk of poker and a good amount of craps. My buddy was on fire all weekend and he basically made the craps table his personal ATM machine. Oh, and in an attempt to dust off my "iceman" image, I roll a 4 point fire bet... I even set the 5th point but couldn't hit... I had $3 on the firebet so the 5th point woulda been huge (4pts pay 25 for 1, 5 pts pay 250 for 1, and all 6 pts pay 2000 for 1).

But instead of going into a detailed trip report, I just want to share something I discovered for myself. CK does a much better job recapping live poker experiences anyways so there's really no point in me telling similar stories about calling station tourists and some ridiculously passive/nitty table filled with college kids with no money out during spring break for the March Madness.

People always talk about the appeal of live poker... the social interaction, blah blah blah. I really don't know what else. Social interaction I guess makes up for a lot. For me, it just adds to the annoyance. Brue mentioned this before in his blog that I reluctantly pimp... But live play sucks. First of all, you see a lot less hands per hr... I mean online, you might see anywhere from 50-60 hands per hour... and that's only if you're playing one table. Live, you might see 20-30 per hour. Online, some of you earn rakeback, I just enjoy the very meager benefits that come with earning points but nonetheless, you get something in return... sure, you can earn comp points or $ or whatever in a casino but the accumulation has got to be much slower than online. The rake on FTP is capped at $3 (I think 5% of pot, capped at $3). In most casinos, I think it's $4... this, I could be wrong, and not sure. Then there's also the tipping factor of tipping the dealer which costs another $1 per hand (if it's a big hand, maybe even more). All of this really amounts to me preferring the online world.

Well, and then there's the social aspect of poker you can only get live... Man, I don't know what people enjoy but putting up with other people's banter just makes me wanna shoot myself. I don't want to hear other people's bad beat stories, I don't want to hear their "analysis" on their hands (which are never good ones), and honestly, I don't give a shit where you're from or what you do. If I wanted to socialize, I'll hang out with my friends. If I wanted to network, there are plenty of networking social events that I can attend that will be beneficial for me professionally. So when I play poker, I just wanna play cards and make money. I am not interested in getting to know people. And I realized this during one of the sessions in Vegas when one side of the table was discussing airline bad beat stories (my bag didn't get here, my flight was delayed, we had to wait on the runway for x hrs, etc etc - AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!) and the other side of the table was discussing strategy ("well, I limped from UTG+1 with K8s and this guy raises but I have to call because if I hit, I can win a big pot. Flop comes 8 high, turn brings a flush draw, but I miss completely and I lose most of my stack cuz this guy has AA! I'm just so unlucky!").

At least online, it's only in the chat box, you can mute whomever you want, or you can just not read what's there. You don't have to deal with some stupid ass boring story or engage in small talk. Now I know some of you enjoy this and that's great. But I just know that this trip finally, definitively made me realize that I prefer online poker to live poker any day of the week. Sure, live players are so much worse but man, the amount of time I would have to invest in it really isn't worth it. Great for vacation, maybe... Of course, a profitable trip made this all less tiltworthy but nonetheless, I am clearly an online donk.

Now I'm gonna go be unsocial again.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Woot 10k!

No, I didn't win 10k playing poker... but yesterday was the annual Monument 10k in Richmond, VA. This 10k is the 4th or 5th largest 10k in the country with 32,000+ participants in this year's race. I'm not totally into running or anything but this 10k event is awesome. We run down the historic Monument Ave for 3.1 miles and then loop back around... almost every other block, there's a band set up, tons of people come out to cheer for their friends and family, and there are tons of people who are rooting (or heckling) from the balcony of the houses lining up this road.

Few months ago, when the registration for this race started, my friends and I decided to all run this and also have individual goals. I figured this would be a good thing because a) I'm competitive and b) our friends are such that we would keep giving each other a hard time to make sure we work hard for this race... well, it turns out, I am too lazy to actually work out for the race so, even though I knew I was in pretty decent shape with all the basketball I play and the cardio/lifting I've been doing, I wasn't sure what kind of running shape I was in. I mean the last time I ran 6.2 miles was... 2 years ago at the Monument 10k...

So, it was to my surprise when I saw that I actually got a PR... Of course, for all you runners that read this, it's not gonna be that great. But PR is a PR and for any of you in any of the races, you know how great that is.

I didn't have a watch on me or anything so I didn't really know what my official time was. When the results were posted, I was psyched. As you can see below, my time was 46:34. Not too shabby!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I run goot!!!!!

Oh my god... You know my trip to Vegas is off to a good start when I get bumped off my original flight which was supposed to depart at 5:50 to Newark, NJ where I would then hop on to the plane to Vegas, arriving there at midnight. I mean to be able to avoid Jersey is a win, IMO. :D

But not only that, they switch me to a flight through Cleveland which departs Richmond at 6:30, giving me an extra 40 minutes which I will use to eat/blog/play online poker... And shockingly, this will get me in to Vegas at 10:30pm (PST obv)... a whole hour and a half before my scheduled arrival. Of course, delays can cause all of this to not work but still, it is off to a good start.

Oh and one last thing. Did I mention that my flight from Cleveland to Vegas is FIRST CLASS!? Yeah, I know... I run so goot!!!

I just hope I'm not using up all my luck before I even get to Vegas...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So I guess it IS different...

Generally speaking, I can pretty confidently say that I am a smart guy. I understand a lot of different concepts and ideas pretty quickly and analytical skills were never my shortfall. So, I always had in mind that the school you ended up in was more a reflection of how quickly you matured, how dedicated you were in school, and basically, much like the CPA exam, how much discipline you had for a predefined period of time. So, based on that, even the Ivy League schools to me was impressive and maybe a handful of geniuses went there but in general, I figured it had more to do with a being a dork in high school... and of course, I would phrase it that way because I did not have a GPA to brag about in school (and goes to show that means shit because my performance ratings in all my jobs have been very stellar).

Today, at my company, we had one of our many interview rounds where we are hiring for the May grads as well as the summer interns. We are fortunate to have the luxury of being able to hire some interns and you can tell that the job market is totally different for these college kids. The caliber of kids coming in to interview and subsequently not getting an offer is much higher than those of few years ago. Literally, the joke amongst us interviewers is that we wouldn't be hired in today's standards. And all of us are managers or above in finance and accounting roles (HR administers but we are the ones conducting the interview).

I am one of the "casers" as in I administer a case study and of course, during that process, there are multiple evaluation criteria. It's not perfect but it's definitely a good way to gauge some of the skill set that we are looking for here. Today's group consisted of several UPenn students and some Cornell students. Let me say that again. UPenn and Cornell students, interviewing for a company in Richmond fuckin VA. Let me say this in case you're not grasping the magnitude of what's happening here. Those Ivy Leaguers with their ridiculously loaded resumes and insane GPAs are always set to go work in Manhattan on the trading floor... Glitz and glamour of city life is what they have worked all their adolescent lives for and so they probably think that they deserve to be there... and yet today, they were sitting on the other side of me, trying to frantically figure out the case as they walk me through their thought processes under a lot of pressure of time as well as wanting the job.

And I will say this. Some of them weren't great fits for us but one thing they all had in common... very professional and even more astonishing to me was how smart they were... I mean they're freakin wired differently. They see angles that I am shocked that they see at their level. Certain calculation comes to them incredibly naturally. I remember walking out of one of the interview thinking "oh my god, this guy is freakin insanely smart... like genius level." The problem is, they might jump ship the moment the market turns. But of course, that's not one of our eval criteria. Now like I said, it's not that they all passed with flying colors. But when you show how much of a genius you are without even trying, you know what you get? A second chance. So, some that won't get offers for the summer internship will be saved for another round in the fall. Of course, by then, they may have other offers which is fine with us too. There's no shortage of great candidates right now and we're in the fortunate position of being able to decide who we get to keep and who we can't.

I guess the point of this post, in actuality, is to give props to all those who actually went to an Ivy League school. Hey, I always knew you Yale grads (besides the last Prez who clearly got in because of his fuckin connections) were super smart but today, interacting with these students from the Ivy League schools did make me realize how smart some of these guys are. Like I said, that doesn't translate into an immediate job offer or anything, but for what it's worth, you have my respect. I guess it was just interesting to see it in person as one to evaluate them.

So stay away from my poker table please. Thanks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm the worst Japanese ever

Have you ever been to Hawaii?

Ok, or any other tourism heavy spot like pretty much anywhere in NY, Orlando, Hollywood, Vegas etc? Hawaii would be the best and Gnome/Kuro (lucko, Kuro does NOT live in Hawaii, unlike Gnome) can probably attest to this but a typical Japanese would have... holy shit, as I started this sentence, I realized that I'm gonna date myself on the last time I saw a Japanese tourist. I was gonna say that a typical Japanese would have a camera with a strap around his neck but I just realized that these days, the cameras are so small (or they use the camera on their phones) so maybe you don't see that as much. My point was going to be that usually, a Japanese tourist does a great job of taking pictures, capturing their memories/favorite sceneries, yadda yadda... whatever it is that they do, they take a picture of it.

So, being that I was going up to DC to watch the Wizards play the Magic (that's NBA for those that aren't familiar), I charged up the batteries on my digital camera, fully intending to capture the awesomeness of the corporate box suite that we got free tix to and maybe a glimpse of Superman/Dwight Howard.

Plan was a solid one too. Since I was gonna be in DC, brackchips from brack&brue suggested that we meet up before the game. I won't out you his screenname but I was pretty psyched to meet up with a guy that I had played with at 400NL quite a bit on Fulltilt (fuckin aggro monkey bastard). I get to the bar kinda early and so I start off my picture taking solid. We met up at this brewery restaurant called Chophouse so I start off with their amber ale and take a pic of their beer menu.

Very awesome place and Brack shows up while I'm finishing off my second beer. The beers went down smooth, it was fun talking to him and when my buddy from Richmond came (he came later due to work reasons), it was time to go to the game. We headed to the Verizon Center which was a block away and got to the company suite which is now located at the half court line (as opposed to the corner that it used to be). We treated ourselves to free food and free drinks, enjoyed what ended up being a closer game than expected and had a blast... of course, I completely forgot about my camera in my computer bag so sure enough, despite all my good intentions, the beer menu was the only pic I took...

Seriously, if you guys ever go out with me, make sure to NOT make me the designated photo guy... because there will not be any memories captured... I bring shame to the Japanese tourist stereotype...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This has to be a record

I'm too lazy to post a screen shot. But I was gigli from the Mookie... and it took me 3 hands to bust out... Cmitch raised from CO, I reraise from the button, he 3 bets, and honestly, I really didn't want to play and I wasn't sure why I signed up but I didn't care so I shoved with AQ. He instacalled with AA. Seriously. What a donkey. How can he call off 100BBs with AA???? :D

I really don't know why I signed up though. I gotta get up at 6am to go play basketball and as I indicated before, right now, bball > poker, despite the BBT. I blame peer pressure. I'm looking at you, New Yorkers, you know who you are. And if you thought "what, we didn't pressure you into playing" then yes, you are the ones.

Alright, I'm off to playing some STTs and calling it a night. These 10pm tourneys are tough for east coasters... I don't know how you all do it and go to work the next day. But then again, I suppose I used to also.

Monday, March 2, 2009

This IS the South, y'all!

This might be hilarious for those up north but down here in VA, things shut down when we get like an inch or two of snow... so when we got 5+ inches of snow, um yeah, it's like an apocalypse. Sure enough, I wake up this morning and the first thing I do is boot up my work pute to check my email to see if we are open today. First off, I can't even log on to the work network. It appears that the server is down.

I look outside and the roads in my neighborhood isn't even cleared. So I pull the ol' "eff it" maneuver and go back to bed. I woke up once again to attempt to check the email. This time, it works and sure enough, there's an email that says 1) campus is closed today (weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) and 2) our server is intermittent. So, I guess I will be "working from home" today. The thing is, I really don't want to have to make up any work later so chances are, I will be doing some real work.

Last night, this is what it looked like and my guess was that regardless of whether the campus is open or not, I would be working from home since the roads in our neighborhood would definitely not be cleared up and my convertible is not ideal for a ride in the snow. Plus, I don't really need much of an excuse to work from home.

This morning, this is what it looked like. Yeah, yeah, I know. This IS the South!

Close = No Good

I came so close to winning a seat to the TOC in BBT4... it woulda been nice to lock up a seat this early and with the chip stack I had, I should have. I think I pretty much was in first place the whole time except at the very end when it mattered most.

My demise came here...

Full Tilt Poker Game #10919212418: Blogger Big Game (81289088), Table 5 - 4000/8000 Ante 1000 - No Limit Hold'em - 1:48:09 ET - 2009/03/02
Seat 5: RecessRampage (101,324)
Seat 7: Rake Feeder (223,676)
RecessRampage antes 1,000
Rake Feeder antes 1,000
RecessRampage posts the small blind of 4,000
Rake Feeder posts the big blind of 8,000
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ks 6d]
RecessRampage calls 4,000
Rake Feeder checks
*** FLOP *** [2s Kh Ah]
Rake Feeder checks
RecessRampage checks
*** TURN *** [2s Kh Ah] [Qc]
Rake Feeder checks
RecessRampage bets 9,000
wwonka69 (Observer): go rakegeeder
Rake Feeder raises to 25,000
wwonka69 (Observer): rakefeeder
RecessRampage raises to 92,324, and is all in
Rake Feeder calls 67,324
wwonka69 (Observer): go go go
RecessRampage shows [Ks 6d]
Rake Feeder shows [Qh Qs]
*** RIVER *** [2s Kh Ah Qc] [4s]
RecessRampage shows a pair of Kings
Rake Feeder shows three of a kind, Queens
Rake Feeder wins the pot (202,648) with three of a kind, Queens
RecessRampage: gg
RecessRampage stands up
Rake Feeder stands up

I'm not unhappy with how I played the last hand. You can obv argue that I coulda bet the flop but there's really no card that I'm afraid of.... sure, a heart maybe but HU, you really can't sweat the flush draw. So, I felt that if I'm already behind, I'm going broke here anyways... and if I'm ahead, I figured to be pretty far ahead so I figured I'd try to let him catch up. Unfortunately, he caught up in a big way but any other card, I think I woulda got some more action out of his QQ by checking the flop. Oh well, moot point.

GG Rakefeeder! (Do you have a blog? If so, please comment and I'll link you up) And thanks to all those who railed me.

Fuel is gay.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Better to be lucky than good

This blog should be changed to "Other stuff and poker." I don't really foresee myself blogging much about poker anymore so unless you are interested in my nonpoker posts, really, there's prob very little reason to come back here. On the other hand, if you are here for my nonpoker posts, you are in for a treat.

So my subject line... it's so true isn't it? Now I'm not saying that you don't have to be any good to capitalize on the luck or anything but be it poker or be it real life, the saying seems to hold true and it feels especially true these days in this economy. I mean everywhere you read, there are more people laid off or struggling to find jobs. I'm still not convinced that the market is SO BAD that NO ONE can find a job. Perhaps their standard is still a little inflated from the years of lunacy that we've all be subjected to. But that is neither here nor there and not the point of this post.

One thing that is true is that the economy IS SO BAD that there are layoffs everywhere. And depending on where you are located or what department you are in, sometimes, it doesn't even matter how good you are. It's just like poker. You can get it in good and yet succumb to a sick runner runner or a one/two outer on the river when all the chips went in the middle on the turn. No one is immune to the layoffs and so to those who have been laid off and reading this blog, please don't mistake my previous paragraph. Losing a job is not a reflection of you. It is generally a reflection of the economy. I'm just saying that maybe not being able to find a job might be you. But again, that's not the point.

As for me... I still have a job. As a matter of fact, considering how the economy has been, I've had it better than just having a job. I've been given some serious opportunities, and after going through my appraisal, I am due for an awesome bonus so regardless of what people think about bonuses, since that makes up like 30% of my compensation, not getting that would be a bad, bad beat.

But this post is also not about how great I am at work... because believe me, there are plenty of others who are either just as good or better (there are plenty who are not also). However, I know this. One thing I excel in is my general personal presence and how I conduct myself. The other day, I had a one on one meeting with the VP of our group. He mentioned to me that I carry myself in a way that is very influential (in a good way) regardless of the other person's rank and that that is one of those qualities that all good leaders have. Granted, that's not something I didn't know about myself so as flattering as it was, no surprise there. But I will say this. During my 2.5 years in this company, I have volunteered a lot for HR related functions (I was in the controller's group before, in finance now so I have nothing to do with HR) such as being the interviewer or the one that takes the candidate to lunch. Because of my willingness to do that, I was able to meet many more people and expose myself to a lot more people here in this company. And I know that that has contributed to some of the opportunities I'm getting now.

That set me up nicely to be entered into what's regarded as a fairly prestigious rotation program and so even though it's almost downright silly to say that you're "safe" in this economy, I have to believe that I am in a safer bucket. I am not delusional. So, it could be that I will be typing a new post next week saying I lost my job because of a massive layoff. But my evals were great and my network is very strong so if that were to happen, I would just have to chalk that up to very bad luck.

But see, here's the thing. Somebody (or something) is clearly looking out for me because 2.5 years ago, I got a call from the recruiter of this company and that's how I got here. At the time, I was becoming increasingly disgruntled with my previous employer who I had been with for 8 years and in all honesty, have been nothing but great for me in terms of experience, compensation, and other special treatments that I clearly got over others. But because I was ready to move on, when the call came, I took the offer which immediately bumped my pay up like another 25%.

I recently had lunch with my former boss and heard about how things are going with the CPA firm that I used to work at. The firm is in shambles. Not that it's gonna go bankrupt or anything but in terms of morale and how things are generally going, it just seems like it would be a miserable condition. As a matter of fact, my boss mentioned that they are lucky that the economy sucks so bad because the people who want to leave are probably still there only because they can't find anything better. I mean when a statement is made like that from one of the partners of the firm, you know things are going bad. I could easily have still been there but instead, I am with a company which despite tough times and clearly contracting economy (and LOTS of cost cutting), I am getting great treatment and been given bunch of training classes and programs that are designed for the select few (some of these classes/training programs no longer exist as a result of the cost cutting).

I guess this is just my long winded way of saying that as much as I know that I work hard and do good things, none of this can happen unless I have some luck on my side. So, whoever you are that is out there that's looking out for me... please continue to do so and more importantly, thank you. Whenever I hear about things that have happened to others (and these days, it seems like it's never good), I am always reminded of how lucky I am and I am truly grateful of that.

Sorry for this seeming brag post. It wasn't intended to be that way... I was just in a self-reflecting mood.

Oh yeah, and BBT4 is kicking off. If you want more info, you can go to anyone else's site to check it out. I'll try to play many events but it clearly won't be my number 1 priority for now so good luck to all who are definitely gunning for the seat.