Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vegas Road Trip

Ok, I'm back at work.

It's Tuesday morning. It feels like I've been gone from my normal life for about 3 years.

Here is what happened: We planned on getting on the road from San Diego to Vegas at around 3pm or 4 at the latest. This was last Thursday. There is not a person on this planet that can be more late to EVERY SINGLE event than my beloved wife. So we got on the road at 7pm.

It was me, Susi (spouse) and Rosi (friend). Me and the girls...Vegas road trip....lookin good. No traffic. Good ride. Got in to Vegas at 1am.

Get to the Venetian (never stayed at this property but was here on good advice) to check in. The line is over 40 minutes at 1:30am. Crazy. We booked a single suite w/ 2 queens but not the one with the view of the Strip. So I planned on sweet talking the reception to see about an upgrade.

I had just read a good poker blog that suggested always dropping the $20 tip when asking for this consideration. I planned the whole thing out while waiting in line. I opened with a good attitude, very appreciative. Asked about an upgrade to a room w/ a strip view and dropped the $20 with my ID and credit card. The guy was cool and asked me to wait a moment while he went to the back room......

He comes out and says he can offer me one of thier junior penthouse suites until 11am and then upgrade us to the Strip view room. Awesome! This was a great welcome aboard.

We go up to the penthouse and, when we walk through the double doors into the marble foyer the girls are screaming with delight. Gentlemen, this is a 1980 square foot luxury penthouse. With a gym. With a sauna, with a jacuzzi and walk in shower w/ double shower heads. Marble dining room table that seats 8. Big screen tvs. 3 bathrooms. Gorgeous view of the 18hole golf course at the Wynn. Just pure sex. It was amazing.

We stayed up all night/morning enjoying the room. 11am roles around and I call to ensure we can get the upgrade to the normal suite.

They are nice at the desk but I can tell something is wrong. It seems they didn't lock on the other room but the girl never misses a beat and says, " Would you just like to stay in the penthouse for the rest of your vacation?"

Hmmm...let me think....YES!!!!

So we stayed in this gigantic penthouse that costs over $2000/night for 3 nights. We saw shows, danced, shopped and I won over $220 in the poker room.

The poker room at the Venetian is very nice. You can see the wait list on a dedicated TV channel in your room and you can get on the list there. But I didn't have to wait for a $4/8 limit table both sessions I got to play.

The game is very loose and fairly passive. So I worked on seeing cheap flops w/ hands that did well multi way (suited connectors and suited aces) and raising for value when I thought I could narrow the field some w/ big hands.

My second session lasted for 4-5 hours and that was when I was up over 20+big bets. Very soft table.

I learned, yesterday, from PokerNewsDaily, that Annette Obrestad was playing $10/20 limit in the same room at the same time! I have to look more closely at the higher limit tables. She is an amazing player and I would love to rail her game in person like I have online. So much to learn.

Overall, an Amazing trip. Terrific time. I gotta get some pictures up somewhere.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Variance is kicking my ass.

In the past 3 days I have lost most of my gains on EOH. Chip count is around 660. And even Full Tilt has been a harsh mistress.

It happens from time to time. It seems every decent hand gets beat. KK finds AA, AK finds no help, continuation bets are called every time, straights and flushes refuse to come.

I can actually feel the tendency to back off, to get passive welling up inside me. Expecting that next decent hand to not hold up. I can see how these things tend to self perpetuate.

So I am trying very hard to just stay tight aggressive and treat every single hand like the first, last and only one there is. Trying hard to remember that cards have no memory and that my actions are the most likely influence towards the outcome.

I will be off for a road trip to Vegas in 2 days. Maybe the venue will shift my attitude, actions and outcomes.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Planetary Interactive Possibilities

“Tyrannis will see some new industrial and planetary interaction opportunities like we’ve never seen before in New Eden. It’s a step in linking EVE Online and DUST514 as well. So I need you to write what you believe are the short and/or long term consequences of this development, in terms of the new industrial capacity in presents to players, in terms of the opportunities for pirates, for industrialist, for sovereignty, etc. Surprise us!” – CK


Planetary Interaction has been heralded by many pilots as, exclusively, an industrial expansion. It is an industrial expansion but it will have a far reaching and significant impact on all aspects of New Eden. Here is why…

Every planet can be scanned for raw resources and then improved with facilities that harvest, process, move and refine those resources into other finished goods. The only places in New Eden that this currently happens are space stations and POSs.

With 5,000+ stars and between five to ten times that number of planets, the ability to make new products across the galaxy is about to expand exponentially.

Although we don’t know what all those finished products will be as yet, we have a lot of good clues. CCP have said they want to make the markets 100% player driven with all goods produced by pilots. CCP have also noted that the first part of planetary interaction will focus on the NPC trade and industrial goods area.

They have described planetary interaction in terms of growing a garden. Each planet, facility, and product chain will have certain needs and a particular organization that will make it most efficient. This suggests that a planetary production line will work and produce goods without the optimum inputs but can be much more efficient if all inputs and arrangements are provided to the maximum.

Example: a water world has a valuable resource (say, hydrogen, needed for hydrogen batteries). Putting facilities on this planet will be more costly than on a Terran type planet because workers need infrastructure and supplies to live and produce more on the water world. So, inputs that will improve productivity might be liquid oxygen, construction blocks, and frozen food. If some of these are provided the production output will be 50%. If all are provided the output will be 100%. Perhaps a shipment of Wine or Exotic Dancers will buff output to 110% for a short time... But, everything costs ISK. And moving products up and down a gravity well costs more ISK. If all necessary products can be found on the planet’s surface the overall cost of the operation will be greatly decreased.

So, in our example, this water world happens to have a small island archipelago that has the necessary resources to produce construction blocks and grow some frozen food products. But the factories being set up on the island chain need power (hydrogen batteries).

One pilot discovers the hydrogen resource and starts building a production operation. Another pilot sees the opportunity for trade and sets up some facilities on the archipelago. The pilot with the deep sea production line can bring food, blocks and O2 from off planet or she can set up a trade agreement with the island pilot.

So, how does all of this promote PVP?

An industrial corporation has worked long and hard to construct production lines on 8 out of 10 planets in their home system. This, along with mining for veldspar ( a commodity that has lost a lot of value since the dynamic insurance changes went into effect) constitutes a large portion of their weekly income.

A griefer corporation nearby sees these industrial carebears having fun and decides that won’t do. So they war dec the industrialists. Traditionally, the carebears can just dock up for a week and not lose much money. But now they have 8 planets that need food and water and construction material to keep going! What if none of that gets delivered and factories start going offline. What if workers begin starving or rioting. Will more workers and facilities need to be purchased later at great cost? Maybe the carebears must find a way to undock those Iterons and get the goods to the planets. Maybe a mercenary contract to defend them or chase off the aggressors is needed.

If the garden concept is really valid, you wouldn’t want to plant too many production lines across multiple planets if you can’t afford to nurture, grow and maintain them. But if you can do this, the return on investment could be very lucrative.

Planetary Interaction will add a lot of variety to the EVE industrial and market community. But there will be opportunities for the more combat focused pilots to interact with planets as well.

New Eden is full of sand; CCP is giving us the pail and shovel; it's up to the pilots to build the sandcastles....or knock down the ones built by others.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


EOH Poker update: chip count up to 1051. Just over double my initial buy in. I am mostly playing tight but moderately aggressive poker on this site.

By choosing better hands (that means folding a LOT more than the other players) I start out ahead. When I connect on the flop it will usually be with a better pair. The trick is that, so many of the hands end up multi-way (lots of people seeing the flop) that one pair is not always going to be good.

It is also hard when you lead out with a bet and get called in three spots. Usually this means you are likely behind with one pair but on EOH it may mean that no one got anything so they are dumping ISK to see the next damn card. A mix of caution and aggression is definitely called for.

The merc campaign is turning around. We've stopped station games. We are pursuing the enemy where he is weak and using tactics that work to our advantage. Efficiency has risen over 35% in the past 2 days.

Bankrolls increasing all around.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Some games are different

It may be fair to say that EVERY game is different. But, being humans, we like to classify and label things that we deem alike.

So we call some games loose aggressive, we call others nitty or tight; some tables we classify as talkative and fun, others as serious and tough.

The generalized difference between low limit poker tables at Full Tilt and those on EOH is pretty broad. Full Tilt has much tighter play. EOH play is not only loose but swings between passive preflop to overly aggressive post flop.

I started last night at the lowest limit table on EOH. 9 handed with blinds of 1&1. Per the usual most flops saw 6-8 people limping in with no raises. Sometimes the small or big blind would raise one or two chips after half the table limped and everyone would call.

This is SUCH passive weak play..and clearly very loose.

Moving up to the mid limit tables on EOH w/ blinds of 2/4 I saw fewer players per hand (say 4-6 on avg.) and some increased raising frequency. Post flop play would see bets of slightly less than half pot to slightly more than the pot. This would often narrow the field to 2 or 3.

This is closer to the kind of poker you read about being 'optimal' or correct. I am becoming more and more aware that the only 'correct' style of play is that which garnishes the most chips. But there are reasons why raising is better than limping (usually).

All of these variabilities between tables serves to remind me that when you sit down to a game you have to bring more than just YOUR skill and experience. You have to come to the table ready to understand and absorb that game's dynamic and nuances. Then you have to play the style that this particular table defines as 'optimal'.

I continue to try to broaden my skill sets to be ready for each new table.

This reminds me of our current war dec. My merc corp has been getting hammered in the opening rounds of our most recent contract. Why? I don't think we have adjusted quickly enough to the new table. The last contract we were on, we could sit in a battlecruiser or two at the war targets' undock and they would occasionally come out and try to fight or play station games. We did very well because they weren't very skilled at pvp or station gaming.

Those same tactics on this deployment have resulted in multiple losses for us and very few for the WTs. This is a different game demanding different tactics.

Poker, Life, Internet spaceships.....it's all the same and every table is different.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Brief Update

Short post this morning:

C-MAC, the merc corp I fly with, has deployed on a contract about 20 jumps from our normal area of operations. So, for the next week I am living out of a rented hanger in a foreign station. It never gets old!

I've been playing both Full Tilt for real money and EOH for Isk. The games are VERY different. I play ring almost exclusively and the difference on each site is astounding. Players on EOH will call a 50+ chip open raise with anything and get all of their chips into the pot with any draw and ANY pair. I'm not making an emotional statement here...this is how it is for the majority of play on EOH. Playing in such loose aggressive games takes time to adjust and a whole different perspective. I'm working on that.

Full Tilt play is much more selective (if you get re-raised you can bet they have a hand) and not as over the top aggressive (just because they're calling doesn't mean they have nothing).

Playing both tables at once takes some focus.

I bought back onto EOH about 5 days ago for 50million isk (500 chips). I'm up to about 860 right now and will try to keep track of the progress.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I’m Freeeee…..Free Rollin’

Over the weekend Selene De’Celeste, the originator and owner of Eve Online Hold’em (EOH) ran a free roll tournament with a prize pool of 1 billion isk to the top three spots.

For those unaware, a free roll poker tournament requires no registration fee or buy in, it’s free! Selene asked a small favor from the Eve poker community in exchange for putting up the billion isk prize. 20 people needed to make a post on the official forums supporting EOH. I must admit a great deal of surprise that it took the EOH Poker channel with over 130 people therein more than 30 minutes to get 20 posts on the forum supporting poker for isk.

It is possible that a lot of people aren’t paying close attention to the chat in that channel and therefore missed to call for support. It is also possible that a lot of Eve poker players couldn’t be bothered to open an ingame browser and type of few lines of positive feedback for a unique and incredibly popular game within a game.

Regardless, eventually the community came around and the first 50 people to register in room 23 on Poker Mavens got a 3 in 50 chance at the money. Third place was awarded 200 million, second got 300 million and first place took a full ½ billion down in isk.

The typical one table tourney on EOH begins six handed with 5,000 chips and 50/100 blinds. This is a decent chip to blind ratio for a fast six handed table. Sadly the structure for the free roll was a definite crap shoot with 1500 starting chips and 50/100 blinds elevating every 10 minutes. To be fair, the owner and bankers running the poker room gain nothing in terms of monetary benefit from a free roll. The owner puts up the whole prize pool and there is no juice.

Juice is the portion of a tournament players’ buy in that goes to the house for expenses and profit. So the benefit to the house for a free roll is purely getting more players onto the other tables and in this case some enhanced advertising to boot.

I didn’t last long at all in this free roll. With such a short starting stack the opening 10-20 hands will often dictate whether you’re in or out of this kind of tourney. I got all my chips in with pocket 5s vs Agent25 holding A8 offsuit. Ace on the turn and curtains for me in 46th position.

I did rail the final table but I left my notes at home (blogging from work for the win). According to my sketchy memory the final five consisted of Nuke (EOH banker) with a big stack, Agent 25, Clixor, Unreal, and Zuter. I do hope I’m remembering the names correctly. There was quite abit of back and forth with Nuke open shoving his 25-30k chips into the 500/1000 blinds fairly often. This kept the pressure on the other players by denying them any cheap chance to see a flop. Eventually, Nuke’s aggressive play led him out in 5th and after saying it would happen when there were 6 players left, Zuter busted out 4th on the money bubble. Unreal took third place. Agent25 and Clixor battled back and fourth over fewer than 20 hands with Clixor rivering the winning 500million isk and Agent25 grabbing 2nd place.

Overall it was a fast fun free roll. Probably the best kind. Grats to everyone and thanks to Selene for putting up the game. And thank you to the EOH community for supporting the cause.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cooperation as a weapon

Cooperation may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about poker or pvp. I think its fair to say the word conflict might be a more prominent describer of those activities. But the saavy warrior on the felt or in a pod will use every edge she can get to win every challenge.

C-MAC, my new corporation, conducted a pos take down in hi-sec last night as part of an ongoing merc contract. We used a small fleet of about 15-20 battleships in a remote repping configuration to rapidly put a small tower into reinforced. The mission itself is not so unique or noteworthy but the nuances of how it went and why are important.

Cooperating with others in a hostile environment is a common theme in MMOs today. Raids, Battlegrounds, Clans/Tribes/Guilds and for EVE: fleets. These are the areas in which we participate together with like minded people to reach a common goal.

There is room for solo activity. And some prefer it. But most would agree that there is a synergistic enhancement of fun and progress when working with others toward a common goal. You can do more with a team than without.

How does cooperation apply to poker? Some might think of collusion, that is, working with one or more other players by passing information and acting in a coordinated manner to take advantage of the non-participating players at a poker table. Cheating.

But this is not the most common form of cooperation in poker. What happens more often (and what you as a player should be working to improve your skills at) is understanding other players goals and tendencies in given situations and using them to work together towards a common end.

Example: Three players see a flop after some initial raising. One player is rather short stacked. The other two are relatively deep. Everyone seems to like the flop as the first deepish player bets out, the short stack player goes all in and the third player calls.

Here is the cooperation part: the first player doesn’t know for sure what the other two have. He wants to see this hand to the end. So he can re-raise and hope to push the third guy out or he too can call and see the turn card. That’s what he does.

The turn is a blank. The first player checks to the third guy (remember our short stack guy is all in and waiting to see what happens at the end of the hand). The third guy can check or bet out.

At this time, any more money that goes into the middle will go into a side pot between the first and third players. #2 is all in and the main pot is all he can win. Unless player #1 or #3 is certain they can beat the all in player and the other deep stack, there is a lack of pot odds to drive further betting.

The two remaining players will often ‘check it down’. This is cooperation. They are protecting their remaining chips and not putting themselves at greater risk by starting a new pot.

All good poker players discuss hands, strategy, lines of play, etc with other poker players. This interaction enhances the skill and development of all participants. This might not be the optimal approach if there were only 10 poker players in the world but with a field as large as poker currently has, working on your game with others is a great cooperative tool.

Whether it is poker or pvp, cooperation is a tool that needs to be honed and sharpened right along with aggression and sublety.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poker and Mercenaries

The long lost blogger returns! Once again I am jacked into the pod and leaping between stars. For many months I was exploring the very visceral and exciting world of Darkfall. Great game. Reminds me of EVE a lot.

But, as Letrange reminds us about EVE and the Eagles, “You can checkout any time you like; but you can never leave.”

Speaking of Letrange and AMC, I have retired from Worm Hole industries and found a new position with Costolle Military Assistance Corporation (C-MAC). This is a mercenary corp with a lot of pilots I’ve flown with in the 22nd Black Rise Defensive Unit (BRDU) and old friends from Faction Warfare in Draconis Combine.

Now, I’ve never done merc work but I have to say – it suits me. And here is why: it is business. And I enjoy business. I like having a clear focus and plan and purpose as I go about my activities. There is a definitive measure of success and an obvious pathway towards growth and progress.

As a matter of fact, merc work reminds me of poker (what doesn’t?). In poker you measure success by the upward mobility of your bankroll. Each session is a campaign, each hand a battle. You’re not taking that guy’s chips because you hate him, it’s just business. And business is good.

In C-MAC, when we are preparing for a new contract we do a lot of homework, intelligence gathering, review of standard operating procedures, detailed planning for upcoming operations, etc. This is a lot like the reading, data mining, and networking you might do before a big tournament to decide upon the best approach given your game and your opponents.

When we engage in hostile operations, C-MAC does so with the right amount of force in the right place at the right time in order to disrupt or destroy the maximum amount of enemy assets as possible. In poker, you put the right amount of chips at risk in order to influence the decisions of your opponent and to extract as much value from each hand as possible.

I am happy to be working with a new team of professionals. There are some poker players amongst the group as well!

Poker Updates: Full Tilt has a new game called Rush Poker. Now, I avoided trying this for quite awhile because I figured it was some kind of soft gimmick that wouldn’t help my game. But it is really a great tool. Here is how it works: you start at a normal table with your normal buy in; say $.10/.25 NL. You post the big blind and the action starts. If at any time you fold (or even click the fold button prior to the action coming to you) you are IMMEDIATELY moved to another table with a brand new hand.

What this means is that you can see an incredible number of hands per hour. In live poker you are lucky to see 30-40 hands per hour. At a normal online table you can see around 100+ hands per hours. If you multi-table you can get up to 500-600 hands per hour but your attention is split between each table and your expected value (EV) / Return on Investment (ROI) will drop.

In Rush Poker you can see well over 500 hands per hour (sometimes up to 800/hr) all on the same table. You do lose the ability to get reads on your opponents because they change every hand but you gain the ability to rapidly fold away the vast majority of mediocre hands while waiting for the best EV hands available. It seems to be a good tool for reinforcing solid poker practice. BUT! If you have leaks in your game this type of poker will amplify them and cause you to lose more $.

I haven’t been on EOH in awhile. I need to get my account unlocked and the chip stack refilled to see how things are there.

That is all for now.