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January 12th, 2003

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10:15 pm - Games, surprisingly enough
Game Girl Advance (available as the gamegirladvance syndicated feed) points to Greg Costikyan's new blog, "Games * Design * Art * Culture" (newly made available as the costikyan syndicated feed) which promises "Serious gamoid drivel, ranging from the scholarly to the snide. Sercon (seriously considered / serious and constructive) but not devoid of humor". You may know Greg's RPGs, online games or board games or his writing even if the name isn't familiar. Bonus!

I recently moved onto a table which featured Rafe Furst, who earned $80,000 from the 2001 World Series of Poker. You might recognise Rafe as one of the Tiltboys, a poker school of Stanford graduates whose tales of outrageous angle-shooting may well thrill.

I have A7o, am fourth stack of ten and third to speak. I limp in (as discussed elsewhere) and get two callers before the blinds. Rafe Furst, on the small blind, pushes all in. The big blind folds and it gets back to me. What would you do?

I reasoned that it wasn't hugely likely to be an outrageous bluff and folded. The first caller I got folded and I went to bed, thinking that Rafe wouldn't have had a monster hand after all because he would have been unlikely to make big money playing it that way. I regretted my fold and dearly hoped that the last caller would take a crack at knocking him out, not least just so we can see what a Tiltboy really would go all-in with. When I woke up this morning, I saw the answer:

! History of this hand:
! 01/10/03 19:07:36! Dealing a new hand
! 01/10/03 19:07:36! Everyone antes $200
! 01/10/03 19:07:36! Rafe Furst blinds $300
! 01/10/03 19:07:36! Rich Bremer blinds $600
! 01/10/03 19:17:28! Dan Nussbaum folds
! 01/10/03 19:35:52! Hill Billy folds
! 01/10/03 20:14:31! Chris M Dickson calls 
! 01/11/03 13:22:00! Halle Asterbadi folds
! 01/11/03 13:22:00! Jim VanWinkle calls 
! 01/11/03 16:25:48! Henrik Nyberg calls 
! 01/11/03 16:25:48! Lee Bulmer folds
! 01/11/03 16:25:48! Jenee Wagner folds
! 01/11/03 20:01:56! Rafe Furst raises $10450 and is all in
! 01/11/03 21:22:27! Rich Bremer folds
! 01/11/03 22:31:04! Chris M Dickson folds
! 01/11/03 22:31:04! Jim VanWinkle folds
! 01/12/03 04:36:25! Henrik Nyberg calls 

! 01/12/03 04:36:25! Pot right ($25900), flopping/dealing/drawing cards
! 01/12/03 04:36:25! 2 players, 1 all in
! 01/12/03 04:36:25! Flopped cards: Js Qs 10d
! 01/12/03 04:36:25! Flopped card: 2s
! 01/12/03 04:36:25! Flopped card: Jc
! Hand over, current board is:  Js Qs 10d 2s Jc
! Rafe Furst               has: 9s 9h
! Henrik Nyberg            has: Kh Qh
! Henrik Nyberg wins $25900 (net $14650) with Two Pair (Q Q J J K)
|#|   Name                     |Bankroll| Action |Status|Pot#|Pot Size|
 1|   Lee Bulmer               |  28125 |        |      |    |        |
 2|D  Jenee Wagner             |  11075 |        |      |    |        |
 4|   Rich Bremer              |   9950 |        |      |    |        |
 5|   Dan Nussbaum             |  11650 |        |      |    |        |
 6|   Hill Billy               |   4000 |        |      |    |        |
 7|   Chris M Dickson          |  23175 |        |      |    |        |
 8|   Halle Asterbadi          |  11050 |        |      |    |        |
 9|   Jim VanWinkle            |  30700 |        |      |    |        |
10|>  Henrik Nyberg            |  45425 |        |      |    |        |
! Rafe Furst is eliminated!
! 672 players left in the tournament
! Table waiting for live reshuffle

A thoroughly satisfactory result! I had successfully worked out what sort of hand Furst must have had, we actually did get to see it, it didn't win and it turns out that I was right to fold after all. I don't think Rafe will mind too much while he goes round the country watching sport and raising money for charity.

gameblog_rss (another syndicated feed) points to another thing that you can do once you have lists of what you've been playing: work out what you should play next. The list this produces unfortunately needs cross-referencing with what you can conveniently get to play - its #1 recommendation is to join a live role-playing campaign as good as the one at Oxford, which is rather easier said than done. It turns out that such a game would apparently be 2,432,809,833,897,240 times as important to me as another game of The Settlers of Catan. Hmm. Maybe a little more tweaking with the formula is required.

The best-of-nine final of the Louis Vuitton Cup has begun! Swiss skipper Russell Coutts' Alinghi takes on Kiwi skipper Chris Dickson's Oracle BMW Racing boat. In the six previous Alinghi-Oracle encounters, Oracle has won one by four seconds, Alinghi the other five by an average of about a minute. (Full stats available.) In the first race of the final, Alinghi won by a minute and a half. Chris Dickson says don't read too much into this because it was due to wind shifts. I still have a bad feeling about this.

The BBC have been showing one of the two World Darts Championships on BBC 2. Unfortunately, Sid Waddell commentates on the one that's on Sky, so this makes the BBC's one inherently rubbish. Even gimmicks like getting in Johnny Vegas and getting big ugly Bobby George to moo at the cameras like Bully at the end of the show don't liven things up.

Darts has the advantage of lending itself naturally to announcers who can inflect their voices like weapons - you can instantly tell whether it's going to be a 60, a 100, a 140 or a 180 just from the first syllable. It also helps that Sid Waddell is more fun as a commentator than Stuart Hall and all the BBC locals put together. Unfortunately, the game itself isn't all that interesting and I am convinced that the standard of the top professionals has got worse over the years - a turning-point would be the disappearance of Bullseye from our screens. There was an experiment playing with a "Quadro" dartboard which, as the name suggests, has a 4x ring. There was a short tournament on this board televised once - happily, someone did manage to hit three quadruple-20s; by all rights, this should have set the announcer into such delight that he would either spontaneously achieve escape velocity through his volume alone and start orbiting the planet or squeak so high that only dogs with particularly badly-tuned hearing aids could hear him. Unfortunately 240 got deemed to be just like 140 but with a "two" instead of a "one", which was not very exciting at all.

I am as strongly opposed to the legs-and-sets format of darts matches as I am to that of tennis. There are far more entertaining things to play the game. For instance: both players start on 5001 and aim to get down to 0. Nine random integers strictly between 1 and 5000 are generated; the players must exactly hit those integers, using a double, or their last three-dart throw which would have taken them down past that target number is forfeit. So instead of playing ten consecutive games of 501, this would be a game of 628 followed by a game of 397 followed by a game of 486 and so on with a more reasonable, visible, immediate way for the trailing player to catch up. It would also offer an increased variety of unusual checkouts.

Lastly, an online version of a 1982 book called The Art of Computer Game Design. Interesting to see the concerns raised at the time and how things have changed.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: Cool Keyboardmania remix of Satie's Gymnopedie

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:January 12th, 2003 03:11 pm (UTC)
The nine random integers would have to be strictly between 2 and 4999 inclusive (which may be what you meant, of course), and include no consecutive pairs. Otherwise, interesting idea.

I still have a copy of Anne Sparrowhawk's 1983 Getting The Most From Your Sinclair Spectrum on my bookshelf. I don't know why. :-)
[User Picture]
Date:January 12th, 2003 06:30 pm (UTC)
For about a year, maybe, Greg's games were distributed through Tor/SMP (1987-1988 or so), and he occasionally worked on the same floor as I did (16th floor of the Flatiron Building). They were there a lot more late nights than I was.

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