Friday, August 29, 2008

Olympics, college football and fall TV

Amy always asks why I never blog anymore. I just haven't had much to say. That's a good reason. Right?

I'm having Olympic withdrawls this week. Since Seoul 1988 I've been a very avid viewer of the Games, and with NBC airing them on its multiple networks this year I was glued to the set most of the day. The Beijing games brought back memories of 2004. I had just gotten my monstrosity of an HD TV right before the Athens games and I remember that we didn't even get NBC in HD and they had to add a special channel, and even that channel showed the games in HD a day after they had aired on the regular NBC network. HD viewing has certainly changed in four years.

I am so ready for college football now. Definitely my favorite sporting season. I was like a kid on Christmas catching some of the South Carolina vs. North Carolina St. game last night on ESPN. Bama takes on Clemson in the Georgia Dome on Saturday night. Oh boy. This is the best season opener we've had since we traveled to Pasadena to take on UCLA in 2000. That was the year we were ranked third in the preseason and won three games all season. I have higher expectations for this year.

And lastly for this TV junkie it's almost fall TV time. Prison Break (a fourth season, really?) starts Monday and the new 90210 premieres on Tuesday. 90210 you ask, really? I have to try it for the nostalgic value, especially with some of the old cast returning. I was hooked on that show as a teenager. Probably I'll watch it once and never turn it on again...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vegas, WCOOP and overlays

Sorry I have been away for so long. Amy keeps asking me every day when I am going to post again and I just haven't been in the mood to write anything. So today I'll finally get back on the horse and write something. First, some Vegas afterthoughts in easy to read bullet form:

  • Lengthy trips to Vegas may be out for me in the future unless the work is really good. As a married man planning on starting a family of more than two soon I won't be keen on being away for long periods anymore. As much as I love Vegas I am also starting to get a little tired of it. It's definitely getting to be a "been there, done that" feeling.
  • Conversely, I still didn't feel like I had time to do all I wanted to do, even being there for more than three weeks. Never made it to an Area 51s game, didn't play as many tournaments as I wanted, didn't see enough new stuff. I guess there's just too much to do in Vegas. I'm also one of those people who never feels like he gets enough done on any given day. "There's never enough time" if you know what I mean.
  • Railing Iggy definitely brought back wonderful memories of my only WSOP main event appearance in 2006. And he even busted on Day 3 in the money as I did.
  • No celebrity encounters this year. I had hoped to say hello to James Woods since I got to interview him by phone for Rounder in the spring, but I never saw him. First summer since 2005 in which I didn't talk to Norm McDonald. Saw Jason Alexander walking past the hooker bar one night. Didn't even see Shannon Elizabeth, who "stalked" me in '06.
  • The Golden Nugget pool is awesome. Amy and I partook one day while we stayed there. Tried the water slide once through the shark tank. Neat.
  • The best part of going to Vegas these days, I think, is meeting old friends again. It's great to be able to hang out with Otis, Iggy, Pauly, Kristin, Jason, Dan, Jen, Gary, etc. etc., whether bowling, drinking or both. (And even more fun to own them at bowling!)
  • Very disappointing trip financially. Lost at poker, and the contacts I made networking out there are only slowly starting to pan out, which leads me into the good news...

I'll be live blogging much of the World Championship of Online Poker for PokerStars, starting Sept. 5 and continuing through Sept. 22. Otis has put me down on the schedule for nearly every day and the shifts will be seven hours. I don't know all of the details of the "how" of it all, but I believe the format will be similar to what the "Site that Shall Not Be Named" on my blog does at the World Series of Poker. I'm ecstatic about the work as the pay is good and could lead to more blogging for PokerStars down the road. Many thanks to my man Otis.

Many thanks also to Al, who is doing a fine job with the Full Tilt Poker "Poker From the Rail" Blog. He has created a Blogger from the Rail corner in which he posts about bloggers on the web and allows us to do some guest posts. If you scroll down a bit you'll see my guest post from last week in which I talk about my WSOP main event favorite Dennis Phillips. I hope to do many more guest posts here in the future.

Since I'll be blogging the WCOOP that means I won't be playing much in it. I have played some FTOPS events, but have had no results. I busted about halfway through the first event, the $215 NLHE. I had terrible luck and tilty play in the $215 Stud and was one of the first ones out. I most recently went out a little more than halfway through the $215 LHE. And that tournament leads me to the conclusion of this post -- a discussion on overlays.

I'd love your feedback on this one. Perhaps you will call me "idiot" and "moron" like the players at my FTOPS LHE table did this week. Here's the setup: The event had a guaranteed prize pool of $200,000, but there were only 932 players in the event so the prize pool did not climb above the guaranteed $200,000 mark.

Here's where semantics may come in. Someone started talking about why he played just because of the overlay and I said that there wasn't really an overlay. I think it really depends on what the definition of overlay is. If you define overlay as the number of entrants not meeting the guaranteed prize pool, then yes, it was an overlay. I define overlay as "free" money where the host site is actually contributing to the prize pool to make up a shortfall. That was not the case here. (This is discounting the bustout bounties, which would make the FTOPS LHE event an overlay in my mind. We argued whether or not this was an overlay based solely on the number of entrants.)

The math is pretty simple. The cost of entry was $200 + $16, or $216. Based on 932 players, the money contributed for both prize pool and rake was $201,312, so FTP made $1,312 in rake and did not have to contribute money for a guaranteed prize pool shortfall. (Again, they did lose money based on bustout bounties, but that was not part of the argument.) For arguing that it wasn't a "true" overlay in that we did not get "free" money I was called all sorts of names. I said it shouldn't have been called an overlay, but a tournament with reduced rake. (Discounting bustout bounties, each player paid about $1.40 in fees.) What do you think?