The last few months of my life have been the worst. I’m struggling with depression after the breakdown of my second marriage. My wife was a wonderful lady who I now know suffers from borderline personality disorder. After a serious episode I could not take the situation anymore and the plug was pulled on the immigration process. She returned to the US and here I am.
I’m not sure why I’m telling the world this. On some days I feel good. I’ve been able to explore interests I never thought to pursue before. On the other hand I’m financially precarious which has prompted me to put my dream of being a pilot on hold. I know that is really bringing me down. I want to fly so bad. I was so close to my solo I could taste it.
Everything goes up and down. I’ve made amazing new friends. Cool. My gut flares and calms in hours instead of weeks. Decidedly uncool. I feel confident and familiar one hour, the next it feels like the future is a dismal fog that I’m afraid to enter.
I have a good rental opportunity and amazingly even a purchase opportunity, each with personal costs and benefits. This week will be a turning point in the path of my entire life and I’m not sure if I should go right or left.
So yeh, no pressure. Add this to my concerns for my estranged wife and ironically a pending prepaid trip to Vegas, and I can barely think.
All I can seem to do is feel. And despite a lot of positive people in my life, I don’t feel very good. Thanks for letting me vent. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
I love time travel movies. Of course a common problem for us nerds watching them is the paradoxes that occur or should occur in the lot of them. The principal and most obvious issue is that in each case the protagonist is altering history by literally moving into the past, an act of altering time around the traveller. I’ve also considered the additional issue that travelling at a single point in space through time would likely land you in the vacuum of outer space since the earth isn’t stationary. How does one resolve both of these problems in scriptwriting theory?
Alter the state of physical space without affecting time. If the world suddenly became exactly as it was in say, 1955, tommorow, then the visitor hasn’t actually travelled in time at all, but rather is re-experiencing a recreation of it in the present. So our would-be time traveller, let’s call him Emmett, is thrust into this new world, a new parallel universe where everything is as it was in 1955 including everyone’s perception of the day and year. But to Emmett it’s still very much the next day. Regardless of the physical universe, time flows consistently forward. He’s a day older, and it really is just the next day – only the whole world has changed around him. As time is unaffected Emmett cannot cause paradoxes; this new 1955-style reality simply incorporates him and proceeds normally from there. He would probably seem to have remarkable knowledge of the future but it would become increasingly inaccurate as the world changes and proceeds in it’s own way, perhaps entirely differently than his previous experience of it due to the butterfly effect of his presence.
This parallel universe model for perceived time travel now allows for flawless non-paradoxical time experiences. I’m just glad Back To The Future didn’t use this model; it’d be pretty boring if Marty couldn’t do any harm.
Over at facebook I’ve created a new poker page, named after my old poker club The Dead Money Society. You can find it at http://www.facebook.com/thedeadmoneysociety, where I have major poker event coverage, and of course links to my articles and various fun stuff. My wife and I update it frequently if I’m following an event so Like it and you’ll have up to the more tournament results, interviews from the rail and more. Enjoy!
In Courchevel players are dealt five cards, and a single card is dealt face up before any betting. After the pre-flop betting two more cards are dealt, and play continues like normal Omaha. Each player must use two of his/her hole cards to make their best five-card poker hand. This screenshot (click it to enlarge) demonstrates the importance of having the nut (best) draw, as my Ace-Queen of clubs was in great shape to win when the money went in on the turn. (My main opponent was actually drawing completely dead, but the player on his left was also in the hand.)
Although my hand looks unbeatable, I was tense for a bit as a straight flush was possible – and these two were betting like they had it. Upon review I noticed the other player held the 9 of clubs in addition to his weak straight – it’s possible he misunderstood the rules and believed he had a straight flush draw. He would go on to lose the next pot worth over $152 against the player on his left. (Below.)
In the online poker world you see them everywhere. Maniacs. Raising, re-raising, bluffing at every pot.
We all know the preschool method of dealing with them, wait for a hand and punish them, and the real-world strategy, loosen your starting hand requirements and be ready to play back at them or at least call them down light.
But maniacs can be a real friend to your bankroll if the rest of the table isn’t adjusting to their lunacy. After a lot of raises from our table villain there is a tendency for the other players to get passive preflop. If you are across the table you will have a lot of dead money being donated by the less aggressive players as they flat call over and over. More often than not, they aren’t trapping, they’re begging to see a flop and hit the bully. This means two things. One, they don’t have spectacular hands, and two, a good I-mean-business raise is going to look hella strong!
Such a raise will isolate you against the bully (even if he three-bets), and if anyone else calls you’ll have a good idea where they’re at. Since you’ll be coming in with a reasonable holding you’ll almost always be ahead of your maniac’s range. Even if you miss you’ll be in a much better position to represent something big. Your maniac may still go off deep end if he spikes middle pair, but in this situation your chances are much improved and your reward will be an inflated pot at no extra cost to you. Who knows, you may even become the one player the maniac grows respect for.
But we won’t hold our breath on that one.
Just remember, maniac play can be contagious.. Don’t turn into one yourself.
Just around the bend. Just over this next hill. I remember saying that over and over on family road trips. Wherever we were headed, after a few hours I would be convinced that our destination was just around the bend. It was a kid’s way of expressing anticipation, even if it was just to get out and stretch my legs. Getting to my solo flight has felt much like this.
I’ve been flying circuits for over a month or two now, a very normal span of time for the instructor to get comfortable that you know what you’re doing. Since you go solo only when they feel you’re ready, it’s felt as though the flight after next was going to be the one – for sure this time, I would tell myself. Today however is the first time my instructor actually said that I would only need one more flight and then I’d be good to go. It kinda threw me for a loop. I’d been getting accustomed to the idea of my solo flight always being just a little further away that I wouldn’t have to feel nervous at all. But now it really is just two flights away. Yikes. That’s pretty much next week, my birthday at the latest.
I’m pretty confident right now, and I know that if I’m feeling jittery when the day comes I can request an additional dual-flight. But I know me, and I trust my instructor’s judgement, so I probably won’t ask. The training wheels have to come off eventually. I think everything I’m feeling to this point is normal, and a required part of becoming a pilot. One thing I do know for certain, when I land that plane it’s going to feel amazing.
Omaha is a cruel mistress some days. I’ve had some free time lately so I’ve been boning up on my game, but the draws run so big that protecting your hand can be difficult. Even so I’ve managed to get my opponents to put their money with the worst of it; and they’ve been drawing out regardless. Such is the way of poker, especially Omaha. But I’m not here to tell you about my bad beats, we all know the feeling well enough to not want to be reminded of it. I’m here to tell you about a new offering at Pokerstars called Courchevel.
Courchevel is a variation of 5-card Omaha in which you are dealt five cards, and like usual the dealer will put out five community cards. You have to use two of your hole cards to make your hand, no more no less. But here’s the key difference – the first flop card is dealt face up before the pre-flop betting. This is so amazingly huge! The amount of information this imparts about the potential for your hand is awesome. You can foresee a set before ever having to put a nickel in the pot! Conversely it becomes simple to lay down Kings when you know the door card will be an Ace and two people have bet already. Popular rundown Omaha hands lose their appeal when the community card doesn’t connect at all. You know you need two perfect flop cards to even make a draw, so you can muck your hand with ease. With this new information the tables have swung in favor of the disciplined player versus the gambler. Because it’s a new offering a lot of players haven’t adjusted and there’s super-soft money to be made folks. The hands run super-big and the action is loose.
A few tips for those new to the game if you lack Omaha experience. Non-nut draws are even worse than in Omaha – don’t be a sucker. With five cards to each player the worst case scenario is you’ll make your hand and lose a fortune. Draw to the nuts and the nuts alone unless you’re heads up. Bluffing will usually only succeed on the river. (You can triple-barrel it if you put them on the draw, but you’re not betting to make them fold now, you’re betting they’ll miss and fold later. It’s generally not profitable.) The game is just too loose at low stakes. Grind my friends, grind. Get your money in with the nut draw when they are drawing dead to a loser, and take down monster pots.
To find the game go to Omaha ring games from the lobby, select 5-Card Omaha, and you’ll find Courchevel as one of the options. If you’re like me and love split-pot games, Courchevel H/L is also offered but the tables are quiet. PLC stakes start at .25 big blinds. See you there!
I recently posted about how I’ve made a big mental advancement in my flight training. I’ve noticed this extends to other areas of my life as well. I haven’t played a lot of poker lately, until recently my mental state hasn’t been very good and so I’ve avoided the tables.
But now feeling positive I decided to tackle a little side challenge: improve my Omaha game. It’s always been my weakest poker game. So with what little free time I have I’ve hit my Omaha texts, specifically the toughest, most technical book I have on the subject. My theory was that if I could handle flying a plane, absorbing a complicated guide to poker should seem easy. It turns out I was half right.
The book in question, which I will review another time in detail, reads like bad stereo instructions. It’s all accurate, but it’s very hard to assimilate. Truth be told, I get sleepy if I read it for too long. But it does contain some terrific guidelines to approaching Omaha, and so I logged into Stars and gave it a go. To my surprise it was a successful grind. I didn’t make big money, in fact I ignored the advice at first and cost myself a bit, but then I focused on what I’d learned and started consistently winning the pots I was in. More importantly, I was able to get away from some seemingly very good hands, and in doing so save myself a fortune while others could not. Folding the second nuts has gotten a lot easier. I think I’m going to keep playing Omaha for a while until, like my flying, it becomes muscle memory to play well.
Flying has a big learning curve to it. I’ve been flying circuits lately at the airport, that’s when you take off, circle the airport and land repeatedly. It’s terrific practice, especially since every day offers new challenges like wind, changing runways, different planes and so forth.
I’m close to doing my first solo flight, but needless to say I won’t be doing it until my instructors are comfortable with my abilities in a variety of conditions. As such, I go up and practice practice practice. The result is my increasing comfort at the controls, on the radio, and of course landing. Sometimes that means if I have a hard landing, knowing precisely what I’ve done wrong before having to hear it from my very patient instructors. Setting up for a good final approach is getting easier, bordering on muscle memory. My confidence is soaring!
I think that is the real challenge at this stage of my flight education, and I’m beating it. Confidence reduces reactive control, and increases proactive control. It feels like I’ve passed a threshold in my mind. I’ve been told that often the pilot who learns a bit slower is the one who turns out to be the better pilot in the long run. I’m not sure if my progress is ahead of or behind the average, I don’t care really, so long as I turn out to be the better pilot.
I’m going to smooth out some technical wrinkles, and then I’m going to be ready to go solo.