22 January 2006

The $1700 Taxi Ride

Today was an off day (Sunday). I was awakened by a rogue alarm clock at 6:00, which sucked as I was sleeping sweetly. I pounded on the alarm, only to have it go off ten minutes later. After flopping around for fifteen minutes or so, I decided to get up and shower. I'm sort of stumbling with my Atkins diet after Shanghai, but I got back on for breakfast (although there were lots of good carb options, so I may jump off for the rest of the week). Found a church to go to, and it was a nice experience. It is quite profound to attend a service in a different country, in a different culture. As Americans, it is easy to Americanize God and faith, but to be one of two Westerners in a congregation of 700 people gave me time to pause, to think of how complex yet simple God is.

I then went to Raffles Jewelers, my main source of gift inventory for my wife. Introduced to Veronica Teo 12 years ago when I first came to Singapore, I have been a loyal customer every time I come to Singapore. The first time I returned, I had the items appraised when I got back to the US, and they appraised for 100-150% more than what I paid. Well, when I arrived, she wasn't there, the store name had changed, and all the stuff was junk. Depressed, I headed to the main branch that was listed on her business card, doubtful that I would find her--but there she was!! So I stocked up on some really nice things: earrings, bracelet, necklace with three hearts, and a single pearl necklace with yellow and white diamonds (very, very, very nice). Probably overdid it (I always do), but my wife is the most special, least thinking-of-herself person you can imagine, never materialistic.

I get a taxi, the driver's making chitchat, we start talking about Chinatown, he asks if I got anything for myself, do I want to go to a tailor. I've never done that on any of my Asian travels, but for some strange reason I let him U-turn and suddenly I'm in an Indian tailor's shop. I'm sitting on a stool, the lady tells me I want a suit, a blazer, and six pairs of trousers, then the tailor comes in. Now, I do need a suit (although I don't have to be in anything other than business casual to casual almost all of the time), and I do need another blazer, but how this is happening is beyond me. A special bundled price is given, I tell him I'll come back tomorrow, then we're back and forth. I somehow then agree to the suit, cut the pants down to three, then get upsold to the blazer also. So instead of a $4 cab ride, it winds up around $1700.

There seems to be an influx of Eastern Europeans into sumo wrestling. They aren't as fat, but they are massive guys of great strength. It's hard to tell how they did as all the names when they showed the final standings are in Japanese, but the loudest cheers were when they were tossed, and the other sumos seemed particularly energized when they were up against one. Other TV options currently are Australian Open (which had people playing that I didn't know, but now has Sharapova in playing in her lingerie, so that's what I've turned it to), Asian MTV, CNN, road rally, BBC, CNBC, and a whole bunch of Asian channels. Negreanu, Phil Ivey, and David Williams have been playing poker with Andy Roddick with Sharapova watching, from what I can gather (or at least Roddick has been playing poker, Sharapova has been watching, and the three pros have been in Roddick's private box when he's playing). Daniela Hantuchova is a cutie too, so I think this will stay on.

$5/10 LHE at FullTilt: limit is limit, but you can never not hate the bluffing runner-runner to beat you. You can't be angry at the play when you get flushed out, but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow. (An example to clarify, KcQc being check raised by TT on a flop of 7c8s2d, then 5c comes on the turn and 9c comes on the river). For the most part in limit, all you can do is make the right decisions then just deal with it. There's really no need in getting upset at it, especially because it really isn't bad play by the winner (he gets caught, makes the call, then has to call the four flush then catches the river). The more upsetting is the river catch of an overcard when the winner only had one (A6o on a board of TJ3 4 A beating KK) or the counterfeit (AJ beating T9s on a flop of T94 4 J). These plays are why we all play on a regular basis, so if you get hit by a couple of these kinds of beats, a few things to remember:
  • Check your stakes. If these beats are meaningful to your bankroll over the short term, then your playing at stakes that are too high (at least this I'm an expert in).
  • Tighten up. It is fairly common to loosen your standards when you see this as you're tilting, wanting to get back at the donkey. Make a point to go in the opposite direction, getting rid of small pocket pairs, face cards, suited connectors, baby aces. Don't start calling raises with marginal hands as most of the time you'll start falling apart.
  • Get more aggressive. Three-bet KQo, 99, QJs. When you do decide to get into a pot, make the donkeys pay. You'll get paid off overall, so pump it up. Even if the same guy lucks out several hands in a row, it's the right play overall.
  • Take a break. When all else fails, get up and take a break. It will save you cash, the cooler may happen, and you'll be back ready to play your best.
A good illustration of this is at my table now: he's won 7 of 15 pots since sitting down, including four-betting with A6 (flopping an open-ended straight draw and catching the 3 on the river vs. my JJ), catching a set of kings on the river with an A on the board on the flop (and he capped the flop and bet the turn, then raised his river set beating AKs). So, be thankful for him, stomach him, deal with him. Don't abuse him verbally, just make sure you know who he is.

Or she.


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