Sunday, 19 April 2015

Wealth warning

In this age of PC (political correctness, not, the Premium Charge), a lot of things carry warnings.

I have looked my wife over, and there is no stamp anywhere .. and this is a flaw in the design process.

2 yrs ago, I was not listening .. something I often do, and got conned into agreeing to build a new house - almost from scratch, on some land, we did buy, fairly cheaply. Ok, its not a small house - and I did make some changes, but, the initial timeframe/budget(target), (((has anyone spent LESS building a house???)))), has now ballooned so far, that its rapidly becoming unfunny.

The latest, little extra, is a remodelling of the driveway - which, we got a 'Lofty' in to help with.

These are fun little machines - ok, not so little - which cost about $40 an hr to hire, plus removal costs of all the earth the disrupt.

As u can see, we now have a lot of bare earth .. but, unfortunately, it has rained, almost non-stop, since the dig, and we now have a gigantic mud-slide.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Happy little hampster

I have had a busy last 3 mths. This seems to be a common theme with me .. maybe I am a 110% person, who just cant rest, be it working or doing sporting stuff.

The majority of it, has been spent in the US of A - with my time mainly spent in between New York/Baltimore and Tampa.

The time was exceptionally interesting, and let me un-wind a bit, from the intense ckt schedule I seem to maintain, and generally think about things.

I did a lot of the thinking, whilst at a poker table, playing either $1/2 No limit holdem, or $2/$5 Nlhe. Thou they should be roughly the same game, its like comparing test ckt, to T20's, each have their own dynamic.

Professional players - known as regs - try and grind at the low limits - 8-10 hrs a day, trying to average $15 an hr - which is barely minimum wage. These regs, are by no-means bad players - the casino rake, is just so big, that, u have to play a v defensive style, to win, and its both mundane, and demoralising, to experience 'variance' - which in Poker, happens, probably more than in ckt.

By variance, I mean - a reg can sit for 2 hrs, folding everything, finally picking up pocket Aces, the best starting hand - and maybe, if hes lucky, get to play a $400 pot, where he might be 60/40 fav, 80/20 fav, 95/5% fav .. but, might lose, in anyone of those spots. Mentally and financially, thats v tough - tilt can easily ensue - but, it obviously happens, if u are playing for a living.

I played a lot .. maybe 100 hrs .. (I just love the challenge - even thou, its def -EV, for me to even sit there) and came to a number of conclusions - some of which I will share :

1) The US is a phenomenal country.

2) The US has some v odd state laws, re both poker and sports betting

3) Poker regs, are a solid bunch of people

4) The edge I have found in ckt, is colossal, compared to what these people put themselves thru.

Number 4, is a watershed moment for me.

Although many poker forums, will debate how to play certain hands in certain spots, often the advice is non-optimal.

This is becos Poker has become v hard to beat - at least, its definitely not as easy to beat, as it was, before the US banned internet poker - the poker player pool has declined, and those left, are more regs, than fish.

Twitch - may help change this. Twitch is a platform, which gamers stream their screen, while they are playing some shoot-em-up game - getting thousands of followers - but, recently, Jason Sommerville, who streams as jcarver, has been getting 7-10k viewers - who watch him play 8-10 hrs of poker a day - while he explain his thought process/entertains. Twitch is largely free - but, if u pay a nominal amount, u can chat directly to the streamer .. maybe $5 a mth, but, obviously $5 a mth, from 10k people, is worth having.

Getting access to a huge player pool, is enormous, for all dynamics. Right now, it maybe, just sub-30 yr olds watching, who have few financial resources. But, given the right level of education, they can learn/earn.

This platform, may one day - be useful for pro traders .. but, I dont think that day, is yet here.

Maybe when, the US legalises internet sports betting ??

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Be Happy

So, I shot a 92, last week Tuesday, and thought I was on my way.

So, I played again the next day, in the Club Competition, joining a gang of 3, who played off, 6,11 and 16 respectively.

Par for the course is 72 .. after 2 holes, I knew the handicaps were a joke, but, u cant really say anything, which, I think is wrong. Anyway, they shot 75 (for 3 over par), 77 (for 5 over par), and 82 .. all, about 3-6 shots better than their handicap.

I never enjoy this, as, they are hitting the ball 60 yards past me, every shot, and u feel u are always trying to catch-up. Anyway, I shot 99 .. and didn't enjoy any of it.

Friday, I played again, and was feeling good. I was in the right place mentally .. had taken lots of muscle relaxants (back), pain killers (back), and applied liberal amounts of sunscreen.

On the way to the course, I had given a lift (at 6.50am), to a 13 yr old kid, who was trying to get to an early lesson, before school. People in Africa, can have funny names .. and for some reason, (which he told me), his name was Reindeer.

The kid was v well spoken, and had a clear vision of how he wanted to pass school exams (pass rate at his school, is about 7%), and get a job in the big city, so .. he can get a car/house .. all the normal shit.

We had a good chat ..

Anyway, I get to the golf course, with no excuses. Its a clear day, with a little wind, and really, its begging to be taken apart.

I shot 100 ... and it was appalling.

Anyway, 2-3 chances left before I hit the road ..

Am watching some of the cricket world cup, and have traded the games fairly well. I thought Ireland would give Windies a game, likewise UAE v Zim.

I cant understand why NZ are such big favs to beat Eng tomorrow .. so, will be on the "Mighty England' ..

Monday, 9 February 2015

One-trick Pony

Apart from the masochistic desire for the 90, which, I am currently v down about, you could argue I have very few diversified interests.

Sure, I dabble on shares, and other general gambling themes, but, I maybe dont do as much basic research as maybe I should, in other areas.

Its not that I am lazy - cricket provides a ROI, unheard of, for Poker/AP's (Advantage players-AKA card counters), and its enough .. but, have been diversifying my listening portfolio, and came across a v interesting radio podcast in Las Vegas, called Gambling with an Edge - , and after listening to a dozen or so more, did some more reading.

Via the Las Vegas Advisors website, , I found more of Bob Dancers writing, and its fascinating stuff.

'Bob Dancer' - I am not sure if thats his real name, is a video poker expert .. playing high value slots, when the pay table, pays over 99% or so, which, combined with comps, will make him a small favourite.

His due dilligence, in researching spots, is amazing ..

Its possible you can argue, he is a one-trick pony, being an expert in Video Poker, (thou I somehow doubt it), and it shows u, just how hard you have to work, to find edges, and maintain/exploit them.

Thursday, 5 February 2015


Every one experiences some sort of pressure .. whether it be more than your fair share, or a lot less.

I am starting to feel the 90 on a golf course, is still a ways off, despite having some golf lessons last week, which, helped whilst I was on the range, but, didnt on the golf course (sending the first 3 drives out-of-bounds) . . but, am regularly now shooting 93 or so, and just losing 2 balls less a round, would probably do it.

In my quest, I went to the local driving range .. which, is a bit olde-worlde. You literally get a bucket of very moth-eaten balls, go to a delapidated part of the golf course, and meet up with a 'fetcher', who, watches you dispatch balls, hither, and tries to remember where they went, so, he can retrieve them.

Getting back to my cottage, which, I am holed-up-in, whilst my house is being built, a Bumble-Bee wandered in, and had severe problems getting out. Its buzz, got louder and louder, as it continually tried to climb higher (not knowing, lower was a better solution), and I fleetingly wondered if bees feel pressure .. before it started getting tired, came lower, and I swatted it.

Ok, I didnt - I ushered it out the door .. and it seemed happy to fly off.

 I suppose the biggest pressure sport of them all, the Super-Bowl, saw just how fine an edge, winning and losing can be. For those of u, who didnt watch, the Seahawks had the ball, 2 yards from winning the game, with 30 seconds left, and elected to try to throw the touchdown pass, rather than give it to a star rusher, who would be expected to run the 2 yards, maybe 90% of the time. The pass was intercepted, and they lost. This call, was intensely dissected and criticized, but, few failed to spot, of the 109 previous throws from 2 yards, NONE had been intercepted, so, u can argue, the coach who made the call, was just unlucky.

As u can probably tell from this meandering, I am at a loose end, before the start of the cricket world cup, which, will probably be fairly exciting, but more concerning to me - tiring, as the games are starting at very uncivilsed hours, if u are not in the host location.

As in most of these competitions, Australia are normally favourite, and in the month before the event starts, they tend to get shorter in price, even thou, the price a month ago, seemed short enough.

I have now learnt this trend, and whilst in previous yrs, I would have laid Aus at 3.75, this yr, I backed them, and have now unloaded all of it, at 3.20.

Winning some money from a bookie last yr, I backed in S.Africa at 5.5 and 5.0, and have now unloaded all of this, at 4.1 .. so, in theory at least, I have a decent book.

All the teams have faults. Its inconcievable to me, that W.Indies or Pakistan will win, England also have v little chance, which leaves Sri lanka, India or New Zealand as the only realistic opposition.

Of those, everyone has now cottoned on to the fact, New Zealand are playing really well, but, 7.0, is also no value .. so, am having to sit on the sidelines for now, and will probably look to re-buy Aus and S.Africa, at bigger prices.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Test - S.Africa v W.Indies - Port Elizabeth - Boxing Day

Waiting .. for lotsa stuff, so, gonna fill the void, with some thghts/ramblings.

To set the scene, this is the 2nd test .. test 1 at Centurion, ended in 3.3 days, with West Indies collapsing(with, it might be said, poor preparation/board troubles), like the proverbial cheap suit.

This test, saw S.Africa start a v warm 1.26 fav, and batting first,the money kept coming.

This was derailed a bit, when it rained buckets, on Day 2 and only 6 overs were played.

This rain, has proved v hard to predict - many weather websites have been wrong - some, v v wrong, and the radars have also been useless.

S.African ex-captains have tweeted no play, for hours, only to see play an hr later (tweets interestingly get withdrawn - to save face), and radio/tv commentators, promise good weather, when it doesn't come.

Blame is hard to place - Port Elizabeth is known as the Windy City - and this very wind, makes it almost impossible to forecast, when/if rain will hit, and for how long.

Often, its been a v fine drizzle, .. thou on Day 2 - it was 3 hrs of solid stuff, and the ground must be congratulated for absorbing so much .. we all know of grounds, which wouldn't have coped.

Anyway, enough of the pre-amble.

On Day 4 .. West Indies fell from 230-2, to 275-9, in 14 overs .. and are now 142 runs behind in the 1st inngs, with 1 stick left.

In theory, 98 overs can be played on the last day .. but, current forecasts are indicating rain will maybe only allow 40-75 overs.

Each day, I have driven to the ground - my commute is 80 miles, and find the drive v instructive, weather wise.

I have traded the game pretty well .. I always thought, the rain would bring an early SA declaration,
and won shed loads on various runs mkts - when they declared on 417, when 525 was traded odds-on.

If they had declared under 400, I would have won, a colossal sum.

I have a decent match odds book, which is now weighted towards the draw. This bias is just a factor of time/overs to be bowled .. I like Amla as an aggressive declaration setter, and have v little faith in West Indies batting out 50 overs.

I am posting a snapshot, of one of my books, (I may have others, similar or not), to just add validation .. to me, its pointless blogs saying they won/lost etc, without back-up.

If the overnight rain/early rain is less than on previous days, I will manoevre. In my mind, with 75 overs play, S.Africa will win v easily.

I am v aware, there is a lack of media focus/verification and any morsel of information, is heavily traded. Day 5, could be a very volatile day.I will probably tweet, v infrequently .. and with pictures, which people can interprete for themselves.

If u get misled, by feed, I am genuinely sorry .. but, cannot hold your hands.

(when I posted this on my server, Draw was 1.20 .. 5 hrs later .. 1.12)

Well, what a mess I made if this.

Car drive to ground, was in v good weather, and looking at everything, decided SA were a fair bet at 7.0.

In hindsight, just didn't know, the amount of rain that had fallen during the early hrs, and it appears the ground is saturated.

Nice enough at the ground, with no rain/drizzle for 2 hrs, but, still waiting on pitch inspections, and it's noon.

Very slim chance of a result now, and have turned £9k green, into a small red.

Not my finest hr - but, did little wrong.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Quality Street

Life is fucked up.

I am sitting in a wet grandstand, watching it rain. It's day 4 of a test match, that has already lost a days play, and it's pretty grim. Ground drainage in South Africa is v good .. Much better than some of the fancy grounds in England, I like to pound upon .. But, the amount of rain, gonna mean a pretty long delay.

And the forecast for Day 5 .. The last day, ain't looking good.

Anyway .. On my drive to the ground (thru solid rain for an Hr) .. I listened to a real gem.

Via a referral from the "Thinking Poker" podcast, which incidentally, has got me hooked on the music of Palmyra .. I have just listened to my first podcast, of "This American Life".

It's episode 541 .. And as luck would have it, it's titled "Regrets"

If here is one thing u do today, download this, and listen to it.

I will try put a link in .. But, the blogger app on the ipad, is pretty basic. (Or .. More likely really, I don't know which button to press, to find the link).

Anyway, the episode is about Regrets .. And makes a very fair point, that, the line is the song, "My way", made initially famous by Frank Sinatra, 'Regrets, I've had a few' .. Is just quality, but, it's killed, by the next line .. 'But then again, too few to mention'.

Everyone has regrets, tons and tons of them .. And it's only really when u hear about other people's lives, that u understand, how lucky, u actually are.

If u don't like podcasts, there is a transcript of the show .. Plse read.

Ok, am gonna post this .. It probably won't look right, but, will fix it later.