Knock it up a notch 

I snapped this photo of Neptunian celebrity chef Elzar in the restaurant of the Hotel Ad Hoc Monumental in Valencia.

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Tots Units Fem Forca 

The Camp Nou, FC Barcelona's stadium.

Victor Valdes, Barca's goalkeeper, warms up before the match against Malaga. Barca won 6-0. Barca could have won 8-0 or even 10-0 with a little luck -- the Malaga goalkeeper made some fine saves during the first 30 minutes, Lionel Messi (who scored a ridiculous goal) missed one or two really easy chances, Xavi and Andres Iniesta (who sliced through the Malaga central defense like hot knives through butter) left early with injuries, and the Barca defense softened up a bit and started allowing Malaga to control the ball for the last 30 minutes of the game or so. This was a once-every-five-years performance.

Messi takes a corner kick.

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Barcelona es meva 

Barcelona's official motto is "Barcelona es teva", which means "Barcelona is yours" in Catalan. The title above is supposed to mean "Barcelona is mine", but is likely an incorrect translation.

El Gran Casino de Barcelona.

The poker room. They had one 5-10 PLO game and three 2-5 NLHE games running. The NLHE table I sat at was quite profitable, despite the enormous rake (something like 5% uncapped). Unfortunately I have to get up early, so I only played for an hour and a half or so.

La Placa de Catalunya, a stone's throw from the hotel.

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NFL competition committee keeps heads buried in sand 

The NFL competition committee has decided not to change the overtime rules for yet another year, despite robust evidence that the overtime coin-toss winner has a significant advantage (60-40 or so).

Cripes. How hard is it to change the spot of the kickoff (40-yard line or so) or the spot of the initial possession (15-yard line) in order to minimize the impact of the coin toss?



Pickup soccer 

I played soccer in a light drizzle with some folks from the math department for an hour today; it's the first real exercise I've had in several months. Despite the long layoff, I was able to run up and down the pitch without any problems.

As for my actual performance, well, let's say it doesn't compare favorably to the guys in this video. It'd be nice if I could dribble or trap a ball with any degree of skill, but oh well.



Japan sucks at math 

Well, maybe not the entire country, but their World Baseball Classic coaching staff certainly does.

Bottom of the 8th, down 1-0 to Korea, one out, Ichiro singles to center. The next guy promptly sacrifice bunts (intentionally). Baseball Prospectus estimates that the bunt cost them nearly two-tenths of a run on average, and that's assuming that the sacrifice bunt works 100% of the time. Historical figures from 1999-2006 indicate that the move reduced Japan's chances of winning the game by 7%.

Apparently the sabermetric revolution has not taken root in Japan yet.

EDIT: Japan coaches get pwnz0r3d by Fidel Castro's corpse.



Folding AA in a donkament 

Folding aces preflop is obviously never correct in a Hold 'Em cash game, but it is sometimes correct in tournaments when one sits on a cash bubble. Another situation might be when one possesses telepathic powers.

In the situation pictured above, the tournament is heads-up, winner take all. Hero has aces on the button, and Villain has shoved preflop blind, rendering Hero's telepathic powers useless. Throughout the tournament, Villain has held far more than his share of huge hands and has pulled off some astonishing suckouts, including one where he called a shove with 72o preflop and his opponent flopped a set, then died. AA is a 85-15 favorite against a random hand. What would the stack sizes have to be in order for Hero to consider folding preflop and waiting for a better spot?

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Strings attached 

Apparently our new Obaman overlord doesn't want bailout beneficiaries taking corporate vacations in Las Vegas.

This makes me very unhappy; I think that encouraging bankers and executives to blow their personal fortunes in Vegas is way better (for the local economy and for crafty gamboolers like yours truly, anyway) than capping their salaries. How else are we supposed to recover the stimulus monies that are being taken out of our paychecks?

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But I has top pair 

During a recent review session, it was pointed out that perhaps I get a little too skittish with top pair-type hands when I get raised on textured flops. I dunno if the villain here (22/15ish preflop, 100% fold BB to steal over 80-ish hands) perceived me that way, but I basically decided to call down unless a fourth straight card fell. The turn action makes the hand a lot less interesting poker-wise, but the outcome is hilarious.


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