Friday, 20 January 2012

Late New Years Resolutions 2012

Well its 2012 and every year traditionally for the last 4 year's I've made some "resolutions"... but they're more like goals really. I think its a really good thing for everyone to do, stating some goals for the year and to look back on them to see how you've done. Here's what I wrote last year;

1. Move out. [x]
2. Take care of family. [x]
3. Travel more (Thailand, Vegas, Japan, Vancouver are likely candidates) [x]
4. Bboy more. [X]
5. Get moving on RSD. [ ]
6. Make friends, socialize! [x]
7. Visit my nephews more. [ ]
8. Study more poker. [ ]
9. Study more philosophy and anthropology. [ ] Not so much as well haha, not enough time is my excuse
10. Love Puyan!! lol [ ]





I think one of the weird things about the goals I set last year was that they were so freaking vague! Not so helpful in terms of making small goals to reach a bigger goal. Anyways, so I'm gonna state my goals for 2012;

1. Play more Poker. Play 2 sessions most days, one being a VPP based one in 18m's, and the other being a 180m/MTT session when I have the evening free. My target is to play more then ever before (soooo lazy last year in comparison to the previous year), and achieve Supernova Status.
2. Go to more international breakdance events and enter the competitions. The standard is so much higher outside the UK, and I will learn so much more. Train more, Cypher more, and Battle more!
3. Visit cousin in Vancouver. Maybe hit up some poker heads there too while I'm there.
4. New York is next on the list.
5. Save up some moneysssss! But yeah, some of my previous goals are gonna kinda make this goal hard to do. Maybe just have to earn more money then?
6. Date more! More being more then zero! She's out there somewhere, right?
7. Blog more! Yeah, sorry guys I should do this more... and plus its so therapeutic.
8. Get to Platinum League in Starcraft 2 (man I have a long way to go haha)
9. Learn XCode for Mac Iphone Apps
10. Be POSITIVE!!

I might have to add a few more to these during the year I think, since I might have missed some ones out... I dunno. I'm trying to be a lot more specific this time... feels better that way.



Looking Back on the Big Two-Oh Eleven

This January, I've been playing a TON! A ton being liek 70odd hours so far... which probably is like totally standard for all you pros out there. Last year, I totally bailed on my game man, just didn't commit as much at all.

After moving out, it took us ONE MONTH before we got internet. It was possible to play on my dongle, but it felt uneasy having 18 tables up and a little stick powering it all. The fact that the flat that we rented was a new build worked against me coz that added to the time of installing the internet.

Once we got it, I was itching to play. Aggressively. Opps. First 3 days pretty much lost all my roll, and only the saved fpps managed to rakeback myself up to a small amount to work on. It took me the rest of the month to win that money back.

As time went by involvement with SNG Protege grew on improving the site and helping Glitlr. This is basically how I have survived for so long here. But working on the site was my own excuse to basically not play. Well, not exactly, not play, but to do such newbie things like "Playing when I feel like it!". There really was no structure or plan at all. On top of that, my studying faded and my jugging of other commitments took more of my time then playing.

So that is basically why I have totally sucked in 2012, despite being totally a better player. In fact, I'm pretty sure I made the same amount of money playing in 2010... when I was mass playing $3 Super Turbos on the RIP Full Tilt. lol

My mind was the to do the bare minimum/even less in terms of putting in the time to playing. In fact it should be the opposite. I should be playing more then ever before. I look at other pros and really realise that hard working mentality is mainly what makes them win, not just the talent and skill. So that is what I intend to do.

In terms of bboying, travelling, moving out and making new friends and stuff... that was all gravy man! I had some really cool experiences up here in Manchester, and I still love this city as much as when I moved here. Its the best city in UK! But totally 2012 is the year of making money for me. I'm gonna totally commit to this and give it my best shot! Time to step it up!






SOPA Off!

It really totally pains me, to see my friends in USA have to keep seeing unbelievably unconstitutional things like this. I mean, what good is having something written when eventually the rich who wants to protect themselves find ways of ignoring it?!

The land of the free? Just seems like there are a small (but powerful) number of people who are trying to stop this from being that anymore.  The Stop Online Piracy Act, if passed, will block and limit certain access to illegal sites. All links or anything to do with those sites will be blocked. The American Internet will not longer be fully open anymore. If you are an American please support anti-SOPA.

Enjoy this hot chick from my new favorite educational yet sexy site, Facts and Chicks.


Its really shocking at some of the policies that has passed in America. Especially during the Bush era. How extreme is it to say that America is a country that is taking policies moving towards fascism? Naomi Wolf explains how in "The End of America", its a really shocking documentary;






Sunday, 15 January 2012

Are You Practicing Efficiently?

I was reading an interesting blog forwarded about how a famous Piano player practices. He admittedly puts in less hours comparatively to his counterparts. Just shows that sometimes its not the quantity of time put in but the quality of how you practice.

[quoted from here]


Strategy #1: Avoid Flow. Do What Does Not Come Easy.
“The mistake most weak pianists make is playing, not practicing. If you walk into a music hall at a local university, you’ll hear people ‘playing’ by running through their pieces. This is a huge mistake. Strong pianists drill the most difficult parts of their music, rarely, if ever playing through their pieces in entirety.”

Strategy #2: To Master a Skill, Master Something Harder.
“Strong pianists find clever ways to ‘complicate’ the difficult parts of their music. If we have problem playing something with clarity, we complicate by playing the passage with alternating accent patterns. If we have problems with speed, we confound the rhythms.”

Strategy #3: Systematically Eliminate Weakness.
“Strong pianists know our weaknesses and use them to create strength. I have sharp ears, but I am not as in touch with the physical component of piano playing. So, I practice on a mute keyboard.”

Strategy #4: Create Beauty, Don’t Avoid Ugliness.
“Weak pianists make music a reactive task, not a creative task. They start, and react to their performance, fixing problems as they go along. Strong pianists, on the other hand, have an image of what a perfect performance should be like that includes all of the relevant senses. Before we sit down, we know what the piece needs to feel, sound, and even look like in excruciating detail. In performance, weak pianists try to reactively move away from mistakes, while strong pianists move towards a perfect mental image.”

So why do we instinctively practice without these strategies? Because its EASY.

Easy things means you don't have to think, you just blindly do it and hope for the best. Kinda like religion I'd argue, but that's for another discussion maybe later on.

We can apply these strategies to everything we do... or well want to get good at. Its strangely quite scary to do them actually... learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and accepting it.

I can definitely say that my last 6 months I haven't been practising efficiently. In fact, I've had more of a bias towards playing, rather then "practising" (altho I haven't been playing as much either lol). Meaning, studying off table. Relooking at HHs, and evaluating certain spots. Its easy to think of the game as being something that is solved. 

I like the analogy of looking at what I do as a sport. In professional tennis, a player has to practice and has to play. Practicing keeps his skills up to par when performing. But he must do both all the time, he cant leave out one or the other. Competing is not practice and just practicing is pointless without the experience of playing. 


Monday, 9 January 2012

Awesome Games Done Fast

Hey guys, just wanted to give a quick shout out and link to the amazing guys at Speed Demos Archive for making the Charity Marathon "Awesome Games Done Fast" for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. They've already made over an incredible $100k+ in donations, so please tune in a donate!

I'm amazed that I've only just found this out now, but it does seem like 2011 was the year of the eports gaming stream! These are guys that basically try and complete games in the fastest time possible. What is cool is that there are a lot of classic games that are featured, and its really interesting to watch them go through and explain how they get the fastest times, especially taking advantage of certain glitches and tricks that they find.

Tonight is the last night of the event (been going on for like 4 days), and these guys have been playing non stop. Please tune in and show your support! Its amazing the amount of donations they have received so far, I think its because there are so many people that love the games and having them being completely owned brings back nostalgic memories! I can totally remember spending ages playing games like Donkey Kong 64, Mario, Pokemon, Sonic, Tony Hawks 4, Psyvariar... etc etc


Watch live video from SDA Charity Marathon - AGDQ 2012 on www.twitch.tv

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Does Poker Need An Image Change?

Happy New Year everyone hope you all had great celebrations. 2012 is here and omg... isn't it freaking weird? Back in 1999 I thought everyone would be having butler robots and flying cars or something by now. Wait... I think I might have been highly influenced by something to think this way?!




So I've noticed on Pokerstars that they have a campaign named "We Are Poker". Check out the advert;



Well to some of us this might seem like a bit of a random campaign, but it really does seem like the timing of this is quite significant. Poker has had a bat rep in 2011. Black Friday on April 15 causing online poker to be banned in USA as the government swooped in unannounced and decided to make a statement that they will fight against online gambling. Of course, from our points of view, it seemed like an overly aggressive move, as all big online poker companies would have complied anyways.

The scandals of Full Tilt Poker emerged, as players credits were not banked, and we all realised what a badly run company it was. This did not help the cause. Run by not just poker players, but gamblers who could loan money as they pleased and sell rakeback Red Pro Accounts.

The truth is that because the internet was such a new thing, there had been no regulations in place to cover the scenario of online gamblnig. It did not exist before. On top of that, governments did not even think that it would become as big as it has, and didn't think it would be worthwhile for the tax dollars to contribute.

However, since Moneymaker's WSOP win in 2003 the people who play poker has changed. From smartly dressed casino gambler, its now the average Joe, and now moreso online mathematical [young] geniuses who essentially are gamers playing this "video game" for money. But this is not a worldwide image.And the old stereotype of a poker player being no different to a roulette or craps player is still in the forefront of most people's minds who have not seen any poker recently.

Unfortunately, most of those people with the lack of understanding about online poker and just what the current scene in poker is in general... are people in power. And now, regulations are blindly being put in all around the world, regardless of real understanding of the subject. So Pokerstars' campaign "We Are Poker" is something to hopefully change that. I'm not saying that the ads or the advertising campaign itself is good/bad/effective etc... still to early to say... but its *something*...


The Community


I hate to always harp on about Starcraft/Online Poker comparisons, but it truly is a contrast between what I see as 2012 the booming year of Starcraft (and eSports) and the opposite for Poker.

One thing I notice is the complete positivity and openness to the improvement of everyone whatever skill level. On top of that there are fantastic people who are influential in the community, who all pretty much started out without money/fame on the mind... but for the pure love of what they're interested in. These people, who most are casters, are involved in the big tournaments, the changes to the scene, and are in constant feedback with the community. It seems everyone is on the same page for wanting to improve the scene and make it bigger and better.

Now lets look at the poker comparison. Who are these influential people? The Poker Pros? Not really... They're just... well famous? Do they add anything into the community from their own free will? Or are they paid by poker sites to promote them or have some other money ulterior motive?

Poker is a very "selfish" game in that we think about no.1 first. Us. Me. Money for me. You have to pay to learn... asking questions on 2p2 means you have to deal with many many people who aren't good players and berate lack of knowledge. Day9 uses the the positive slogan of "Be a better gamer"... but we don't see anything like "Be a better poker player" anywhere, or any kinda show like his for our community. 

Maybe the money has gone to our heads. Bad players are not learning newbies or maybe the less serious casual players, but labelled as FISH, the ATM machines for us. Maybe the money has ruined the community for we are simply people who enjoy a game for what it is... a game and that's what it should be. In the Starcraft community its clear that they like the game and that is the one clear motivation for why they play. In poker we are all dreamers... thinking of the glitz and the glam, the bundles of cash, the sponsorship, the "respect" from the community (judged by your ROI%)... it cant be healthy for us as normal people, it cant be good for the community.

I can see that this is a little blast into the poker scene. It may be that I could be wrong. But this is just what I see and feel. Is our community a welcoming community to all new players regardless of skill level? Are we just HAVING FUN? These are questions that I feel like we need to ask ourselves. The new players coming in are declining... we cant just blame Black Friday. This is something where we can conclude, as we look at winnings of each previous year going up (ironically my hypercritical way of judging the traffic of new players). Where does this leave is now... and the future? Only time will tell...

I just hope that we all remember, that this is a game that we should play because its FUN. We should encourage others to play it, because its FUN. We shouldn't berate other players because they are having FUN. For gods sake stop being so damn elitist (even if its valid) and encourage people to play. We need them... or our favourite card game will slowly die out from our interest.

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