Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
« March 2004 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Wednesday, 24 March 2004
Another headline missed.
The Evening Standard covers the news that London's fleet of 120 'bendy' buses has been withdrawn after four separate incidents in which they have burst into flames. The front page bears a picture of one such bus in flames on Park Lane.

And what does the headline writer come up with? 'Bendy Buses halted over blaze fears'. Pathetic.

What's wrong with 'Passengers Alight'?

_ DY at 10:33 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 23 March 2004
What happens to your teenage love?
I was 16 about to turn 17 when I went to America on a school exchange trip in the spring of 1986. I was a student at an all-male school in England, so I knew very few girls of my own age and found them maddening difficult to talk to.

At my temporary home in Connecticut, I was the guest of a family who were exceedingly friendly and generous. One weekend they invited me to join them at a country club in upstate New York in what was once called the Borsch Belt. I had little idea of what to expect but I had brought swimming trunks to make sure that I got some excercise.

And there, in the pool, I met her. She was so unlike anyone else - She approached me and told me how to swim better. Ah what a breath of fresh air! I was quickly smitten and leaving her was heartbreaking. The next day back at that Connecticut high school was my 17th birthday but I struggle to smile.

I returned to Britain and was instanly depressed. For years I dreamed of finding her house in Staten Island but it was four years before I went back to the US. We did meet again and of course we got on fine.

We corresponded from time to time with the occasional letter. We met up a few times during the 1990s and on one trip went skiing in Colorado. Over time my feeling changed from one of adolescent infatuation to one of close friendship and so I was delighted when she told me that she had gotten engaged. I went to the wedding in 2002.

And now that there is instant messenger we can still keep in touch. Her husband writes to me too. I am happy for them both.

Recently she's downloaded Party Poker and sends me nail-biting reports on her progress in 1,000-runner $30 tournaments.

The girl who broke my heart when I was 16, whose separation from me by thousands of miles of ocean left me in a state of depression for four years, is now texting me her bad beat stories. Such is the weird path of life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

_ DY at 11:12 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Paradise to get a sterling account.
I believe I have breaking news for British online poker players here. I wrote to Paradise today about cashing out some money and asked in passing whether the company had any plans to get a sterling bank account in order to pay British customers.

In reply I was told: 'We do plan to offer cashouts in pounds in the near future, possibly a few months away'. If so, this is excellent news.

You heard it first here!

_ DY at 1:48 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 18 March 2004
Irish History lesson
I didn't have anything to say about St Patrick's Day yesterday, so I advise readers to check out James Butler's blog for his perspective from Kerry (Click here).

I have only been to Ireland twice. The last time was in July 2002 with my sister. When I returned to England and went to the Vic, I told people about my visit and mentioned how much I had enjoyed an educational visit to the Waterford Historical Museum. I told players at the table that according to the museum, Waterford was the oldest town in Ireland.

One of the players at the table, Rory Liffey (no prizes for guessing his nationality) wasn't having any of this and said 'That's what they all say. They're just gambling that you don't go to another museum in some other town'.


_ DY at 12:59 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 17 March 2004
The anti-war crowd insult the people of Iraq.
This page from the BBC news site's 'Have your say' (click here) has given me much pleasure.

The public were invited to comment on a recent opinion poll taken in Iraq that shows most people reporting that their lives are better than one year ago and that most expect their lives to get even better next year.

If you look at it, you'll see that all the people who have written in from Iraq and all the Iraqi exiles who express an opinion agree with the positive findings while many who have written from western Europe, other arab countries and some from the USA disagree!

How can it be that ordinary Iraqis' lives are better? That's not what the Guardian and the Independent's Robert Fisk are telling us. Why does the Iraqi public deviate from the script?

It proves too much for Hamza in Iraq who says "...How dare foreigners tell us we are not better off? Do you think we are children who can't see what's around us?"

Yes, Hamza, that's exactly what the fashionable anti-war poseurs do think! In the postmodern world, it's the cynics who are the most gullible.

_ DY at 11:13 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
France discovers that there is no 'Get out of terrorism free' card.
France has received threats of terrorist retaliation for its ban on religious symbols in schools. Click here.

I'm puzzled why this story was prominent on ITV's news website but took a great deal of effort to track down on the BBC.

_ DY at 1:04 AM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 16 March 2004
Paella-eating surrender monkeys.
Congratulations are due to Al-Qaeda for its victory in the Spanish election. From now on there is only one party in power in Spain: the Terrorist Party. What does it matter what a conservative or a socialist politician thinks any more? As soon as they say something that Al-Qaeda doesn't like, the country will be bombed until the electorate replaces them with the person most likely to wave the white flag. It would not surprise me if in 10 years time, Iraq has no terrorism problem and Spain still does.

_ DY at 4:41 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 March 2004 8:02 AM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 13 March 2004
Apology to Guy Bowles.
A few weeks ago, in a post titled 'Playing the villain', I said that Guy Bowles had intentionally misled readers on the Gutshot forum about how he would play a poker hand in a given situation. Not wanting to talk about him behind his back, I e-mailed him at the time to tell him that I had made mention of his advice on my site. I received no response at the time and could not be sure whether he had received the e-mail.

Tonight I met Guy for the first time since I wrote it and after establishing that he had received the e-mail, I realised that he was angered at the suggestion that he had lied. I've been forced to consider the possibility that I misjudged the situation.

My only premise for believing that he was misleading readers was a very flimsy one: a vague recollection that he once e-mailed me to express surprise that I had given some advice about a poker situation on a discussion forum. From that and only from that I went much further to assume that he would intentionally mislead, but I should stress that at no point in that e-mail did he suggest giving out 'disinformation'.

I don't know Guy well, but I have spoken to a few people who know him far better than I. All have said that they trust him to act in the manner he recommended. So I withdraw what I said and apologise for any hurt caused.

_ DY at 3:24 AM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 8 March 2004
Show me the money.
A new incentive scheme to tackle truancy in Manchester has taken an interesting approach. Schoolchildren could win prizes just for attending lessons! As this story explains, each week, a computer will select random names of six pupils from six different schools across the city. They will each win vouchers worth up to #100 if they have been in classes at particular times.

I think that the schools might be on to something. They may have at last realised that children are mostly motivated by money and not by the beauty of aquiring knowledge for its own sake. As a child I was always astonished at how little connection was made between the world of commerce and my education. I recall my friend Tony asking a maths teacher if he could show us how to use maths to invest on the stock market and getting a completely blank look in return, not because the teacher regarded the question as impertinent or distracting, but because he had absolutely no idea what to say. It had probably never once occurred to him.

In a previous post, I described going to a presentation for a perfume company called 'Maison d'Essence'. Most of the people in attendance were young, about 17 to 20. Nearly half were black. They would have left school only a few months earlier. Had they been academically gifted, they would have stayed there or gone on to colleges.

So the people I was looking at were the ones who had not succeeded. But were they disruptive or distracted during the presentation? Not a bit of it. You could have heard a pin drop in that room because they believed that someone was finally telling them what they wanted to know: How to make money.

The real solution to truancy in Manchester or anywhere else is to make every lesson a "prize" for the discouraged kids. One start would be to demonstrate clearly why any given lesson taught is of value financially. The love of knowledge for its own sake comes later to people who are secure in their career. The educational establishment needs to make education more vocationally relevant.

_ DY at 2:16 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 6 March 2004
A setback for the Middle East.
Over at Armchair Angst, James Butler expresses his disdain for the Arab version of Big Brother. He agrees with Islamic protesters who want the show cancelled "because like they, I don't want to be force-fed an alien culture. They know, as well as I do, that the sham that is multi-culturalism is actually mono-culturalism."

Yet again, poor James makes common cause with people who would cheerfully wring his neck if they knew what else he believes and fails to mention that they themselves would dearly love to force an "alien culture" on the rest of the world.

Since he wrote this, the show has been taken off the air because of the protests of a minority of fanatics. James will no doubt cheer this.

I won't. I feel that the show genuinely had something to offer the Middle East region in particular. And that is why it was so frightening to those who want the region to remain in ignorance.

In the first series of Big Brother in the UK, a lesbian woman came second and a black man finished third. In the second series of the show, a homosexual man was the winner. In the third series, a tomboyish 'ladette' woman won. These showed that race, sexuality and rigid gender roles do not matter to the majority of people in Britain today.

Of course an Arab version of the show could not have dared to include homosexuals, but it could have helped change attitudes by showing unmarried men and women talking with one another without the pressure of parents or religious figures. And it would have given many viewers their first ever experience of voting.

Writing as someone who would like to see the Middle East become a normal part of the world where people live at peace with themselves and others, I see this as a lost opportunity.

_ DY at 12:33 AM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 6 March 2004 12:36 AM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 4 March 2004
Razzies update.
I got the clean sweep on the Razzies. Ben, Jennifer and their film 'Gigli' all won hands down and I made a profit of #111. This is small beer compared to the swings I experience at poker but it seemed like free money, it was free money and I am glad I took it.

I really do believe that these 'special bets', as the exchanges call them, are the best value for people like me who don't spend hours analysing batting averages, football injuries or race results. There is of course money to be made in sports betting and I know several people who profit well from it, but it's a lot of work.

My next tip for a 'special bet' is to back the Republicans for the US presidential election. John Kerry can't win, despite the popular gloss he gets in the media. If the election were held in Europe, he would win but in the US, especially the southern states, he will be destroyed. I could list dozens of faults the man has but I will save that for a later date. I am not having a bet on the US election yet, as I don't want to tie up my money for so long. I just hope that the odds don't shorten in the next three months.

_ DY at 2:50 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 28 February 2004
Wishing Ben and Jennifer good luck in the Razzies.
I have some bets on for the 'Razzies' tonight. In case you don't know, the Razzies are the Golden Raspberry awards, given to the worst films, actors and actresses of the year. They are always staged exactly one day before the Oscars.

This year the betting exchange Betdaq has quoted a market for them and I think I've spotted value. One film and one couple stand out in my mind as dead certs for the awards. I'm counting on the film 'Gigli' with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez to get a clean sweep.

The film has earned some of the worst reviews any film has ever had. But there's more. Many people were sickened by the overexposure of the on-off relationship of Ben and Jennifer ('Bennifer') in the media. This is their chance for revenge. I've laid out about #250 in bets at prices less than evens, but I'm confident. Wish me luck.

I should also update my final result on 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here'. I only made #90 out of it from an outlay of #300. I was a little disappointed with this but earning 30 per cent on your money in less than three weeks is not to be sniffed at. You don't get that at the building society.

The amazing part is that much of what I initially forecast was completely wrong. I said that only four people could win. None of them made the last three! The winner was someone I said was too young.

I was very glad that made the decision from the start that I wouldn't play the eviction markets. Had I done so I would have continually backed Jenny Bond to be next out and lost every time. In a million years I would not have expected her to come second.

Brocket would have been a big winner for me and it looked like he was going to do the business once Johnny Rotten walked out. However he imploded because of his irritation with Jenny Bond. He made jokes about wanting to strangle her on the same day as the conviction of a man for strangling his girlfriend in what was said to be a sexually motivated crime. Brocket's timing could hardly have been worse.

Kerry confronted Brocket about something when he had been unreasonable. I've forgotten what it was. Being seen to combat someone who is 'out of order' is often the key to winning these elimination shows. It is what propelled Craig to win the first series of Big Brother.

So how did I win, given that my early forcasts were wrong? Well, that's the beauty of exchange betting. You don't have to pick the winner. You can also lay a loser, which I did with Jordan on the basis of advice from an expert on these markets. I also backed Brocket at long prices and laid some of it back when his price shortened. And I put some money on Kerry once it seemed certain that only she or Brocket could win. I nearly put a lot more on her but I was keen to lock in a profit and go 'all green' so I didn't push the boat out. I won't be so cautious next time.

The real lesson is that it's not about picking winners when there is so much betting-in-running. It's about the trading. There are a lot of people on Betfair who overreact to fresh information and they should be exploited. I feel I've got a lot better idea of what to look for next time the show is on and I can't wait for it to start.

_ DY at 3:21 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 27 February 2004
What do they teach them in journalism school?
This story saddens me. Click here!

It's such an opportunity wasted. A company director gets obsessed with a prostitute with a 34DD chest. He embezzles from his company until it is broke.

And the headline writer can't even come up with the obvious: "Crooked boss sees healthy firm bust." He's nearly got it, but either he's missed it or lost his nerve.

Did Benny Hill die for nothing?

_ DY at 1:16 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 27 February 2004 1:17 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 25 February 2004
Playing the villain.
Lately I've been getting really irritated at the number of posts I see on poker discussion forums that are titled `Poker in xxxxx'. I always click on them thinking that there is a tiny possibility that someone has been to play there and has written a report about it.

But it never happens. Instead such posts are merely requests for information, usually from people who haven't lifted a finger to help themselves. Yesterday I snapped after someone in Penzance named Ben wrote on Gutshot to ask about poker in Torquay, as he had heard that there were poker games in the town's only casino. I was really hoping for an update about the action there, but as usual it was just a request for information. So I angrily wrote:

"It's a shame that there aren't any telephones in your part of the world or you could call directory enquiries and contact the casino to ask them. I'm getting a little tired of clicking on posts that say 'Poker in X-ville' and finding out with 100 per cent reliability that they are lazy requests for information rather than news or information supplied.

A brief rummage through my drawer finds an old membership card with the no 01803 294901. I think it's still valid. Now call them and write here about what you learn from them."

It was a little harsh as the person asking did say that he was an internet player who hadn't ventured out to play live yet. I should perhaps have waited for another victim, but his snotty reply erased any sympathy I might later feel:

"Yo David.

Thanks for being so utterly patronising. I'm sorry that you had to read a post about a card room not based in the hamlet of London. I'm sure that if I ring the casino I can garner the relevant info as regards the games they spread etc. However I'm not sure that they'll be able to give me the background information I was looking for. E.g. general information about the experience of playing there, the quality of the opposition and what games/times are softest, and perhaps relayed in the context of this being my first time playing in a card room.

I mistakenly thought that this forum might be the perfect place to discover such things,(posts on 2+2 I assume would not be very productive) but no, I discover that I am in fact lazy for not going into the card room blind of such knowledge and then selflessly volunteering it on the forum for others. That in fact I should be an information gathering service for those that live in the real poker world and not "x-ville" as you put it. You londoncentric XXXX.

This was my first foray into this "Poker Collective" I am going to assume that not every member is as rude, patronising and ignorant as yourself and will continue to persevere here. As to you David happy suck outs and bad beats."

Perhaps I deserved some of this, but it's a lot of attitude from someone who's never even played the game! He's clearly been reading a few forum discussions in his time of playing online and has already acquired a disdain for those who tell him things he doesn't want to hear. Remarkably he attacks me for being Londoncentric when it's quite obvious that I want to read about poker outside London or I wouldn't have clicked on a post about poker somewhere else.

It should also be noted that prior to this he had had one response from the owner of the website who said: "Your nearest casino with poker would be The Aviation club in Paris!" And that's really helpful.

Still, nobody had yet given our hero any information about Poker in Torquay. I wrote back:

"I love playing outside London. I've been to Torquay many times. The last time was December last year. I was looking forward to an update on how the games were going.

As for the other things you mentioned - like most provincial places, the poker is ?10 or maybe ?20 (I was hoping you could tell me) comps. "The quality of the opposition" is abysmal; "what games/times are softest" - there is isn't much to say. There will almost certainly be only one cash game and it won't be anything like what you've experienced before. Nobody will want to play hold'em with you. Not in the provinces. You might get some great 7-card omaha hi-lo split action.

Nearly everyone in Gutshot is London-based. I'm not strictly a member of the 'collective' but I've been more helpful than any of those who are."

Next to chip in was Guy Bowles who wrote:

"Well said Ben,

David is not a member of the collective, as you will see from the absence of his name from the member profiles. In fact, he has publicly stated he does not wish to join. I for one am pleased about this as he has the wrong attitude to be a member. He plays primarily for profit rather than enjoyment and has a stated policy of not helping new (or indeed, any) players on how to play better poker.

If you are ever up in our "hamlet" come along to the Gutshot cardroom where I can assure you of a friendly welcome."

I'll have to let you into a little secret here. Guy has gone far further than I in preventing knowledge from spreading. In an infamous thread about one year ago, someone asked what one should do holding AA in the early stages of the WSOP main event when the blinds are small and someone has gone all-in in front of you. Guy wrote back to say that he would give it some thought and pass, because he would only be an 80/20 favourite and was sure of getting a better spot to stick his chips in later.

It's pure bullshit and he knows it. I think I may have written in to disagree, which shows that I am not nearly cynical enough under pressure.

Anyway, I had to write back:

"Does nobody see the irony that I've answered his question and nobody else has?

As for "I discover that I am in fact lazy for not going into the card room blind of such knowledge and then selflessly voluntering it on the forum for others."

Well, er ... yes, that pretty much covers it. It would be really nice if people were to give once in a while instead of take. On several occasions I've written about places I've visited: Southampton, Dundee etc.

I certainly don't help people to play better. I learned the hard way.

My reasons for not wanting to join a 'collective' were because I don't go in for that pseudo-socialist image. Soon Gutshot will be a business and I am really looking forward to it.

The next post to appear was from an anonymous writer. It thanked Ben for mocking me:

"May I second the big thanks. Whenever I read a posting by this 'David Young' character, I'm invariably cheered. It's a remarkable comic construct you've invented, blustering, preposterous, self-regarding without any trace of self-awareness -- Bravo! Perhaps it errs too much on the side of pomposity to be entirely believable, but I recognise that's in the service of comedy and therefore only to be applauded."

Nice attempt at humour as far as it goes, though far from original. I got support from a few people including one named `Dave Young fan' who wrote:

"I'm with you Dave. Who wants to play poker for fun with a bunch of pussies? Keep earning!"

As things stand, I am the only person who come close to answering Ben's request for information, albeit begrudgingly. But I'm the villain when all I've done is let him into one of the best kept professional gambling secrets there is: "Do your own homework!"

What odds will anyone give me that Ben ever writes back on the forum with a report about his experience of Torquay if he ever does go? I doubt it. Why should he be "an information gathering service" as he put it?

That's my job, I suppose.

_ DY at 10:49 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 February 2004 10:54 PM GMT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Tuesday, 24 February 2004
Celebrities with guts.
One of my Viz favourite characters is Roger Mellie 'the man on the telly'. Roger is a crude and brainless television presenter. Every one of his stories contained the same basic elements: He is given a new show to present. He gets totally drunk. He offends everyone and gets sacked. At the end, he is always shown pitching his next disgusting idea to his long-suffering producer.

In one story that made me laugh years ago, he pitched an idea for a show called 'Celebrity arseholes' in which members of the public are shown the sphincter of a famous person and have to guess who it is.

Last night I think I saw it.

I slumped in front of the television to see a show on Channel 5 called 'Celebrity Detox'. Four D-list celebrities were sent to a spa resort in Thailand where they were made to diet and endure daily enemas. There were also courses in various spurious new age activites but the enemas were the real story.

I had assumed that they would take place behind closed doors. But no! Viewers were shown the celebs from the chest up, while they lay on their backs and filled their colon with liquid. Each set up a camcorder so we could see their facial reactions. Although I couldn't take my eyes away from the screen, I certainly had my fingers in my ears at many points.

There have been many ridiculous celebrities shows recently but this one has beaten them all. What I find fascinating is that some celebs (Tamara Beckwith, Kim Wilde, Richard Blackwood and an Irish singer from either Boyzone or Westlife) were handed this as a proposal and each thought to themselves: 'Hmm. My career needs a bit of a boost. My fans must be missing not seeing me on TV any more. What they want is the sight of me grimacing and the sound of me crapping at high velocity. Where do I sign?'

Can we sink any lower?

_ DY at 2:07 AM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older