Monday, August 04, 2008

WSOP Recap Part Four: Awards and Grades

So every year after the WSOP I put together this Grades post. The first year it was probably the best post in that seminal blog’s archives; the second year it was strong, and last year it started slipping. So I decided to change the format to “Awards” instead of grades but then found there were a bunch of topics I wanted to cover and couldn’t give awards to…so I decided to make it half awards, half grades:

The Award For Most Shockingly Awesome Summer Movie goes to The Incredible Hulk. Despite a mail-in performance from Edward Norton and a stale concept, director Louis Leterrier and screenwriter Zak Penn were able to throw together a surprisingly entertaining barnburner.

The Award For Most Shockingly Terrible Summer Movie goes to The Happening. M Night used to have the Automatic Pass (see everything he makes without asking questions) but this latest debacle removes him from that club. This movie was so poorly reviewed I didn’t even bother. Steven Spielberg and Coldplay were also removed from the club this summer, meaning I’m down to the following members of my Automatic Pass Club:

Judd Apatow, the Aussie Millions, Bob Dylan, the color blue, Cake, Christopher Nolan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Green Day, Martin Scorsese, the NFL, Oasis, Quentin Tarantino, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Twisted Pine Brewing, University of Colorado athletics.

The Award For Worst Emerging Poker Fashion Trend goes to…White Sunglasses. Not sure how or why this one got started but hopefully it won’t stick.

The Award for Most Useful Technological Communication Device PiMaster Hasn’t Yet Obtained goes to…text messaging. I estimate I sent and received about a thousand texts during the WSOP. This has become one of those things I can’t remember not having, and can’t believe I was able to survive without.

The Award For Best Friend Made During the WSOP goes to Vitamin Water. As a home for the duration of the WSOP, the Castle was too bold an undertaking. Too big, too many people, too many degrees of separation. On an average morning, I’d wake up and walk into the main house to see some rando I’d never met sleeping on the couch, then see a car or two I’d never seen in our driveway. Two years ago in the original House of Pain we all made lasting friendships. I got along well with everyone who stayed at the Castle but it wasn’t as intimate. Next year we’ll have to scale it back.

As for that dear friend, Vitamin Water, I can’t say just how addictive this blend of water, sugar, and marketing is, but I can provide a guide to when and how each flavor should be used:

Balance – is pretty tricky but generally should be consumed in the morning mainly because of its cran-grapefruit flavor.
Charge – is for post workout hydration.
Defense – is the one you drink after a night out. When you’ve been partying hard, sharing drinks and perhaps other fluids, and your immune system is weakened, it’s time to chug a Defense before passing out.
Endurance – should be drunk the day of the long race, or the night before the big paper is due, etc.
Energy – best after a short night of sleep. This isn’t for hangovers (see Revive).
Essential – is an orange juice copycat and therefore goes with breakfast.
Focus – you drink before a mentally challenging activity, obviously.
Formula 50 – is one you have on stock for no particular purpose – the utilityman of vitamin water.
Multi-v (lemonade) – is the one you drink with a meal when you really have no reason to drink vitamin water. You’re using vitamin water as a substitute for a more traditional beverage.
Power-C – is a pretty standard morning vitamin water before you go about your business.
Relaxed – is best before going to bed.
Rescue – is for green tea situations, whatever those may be. I don’t drink green tea.
Revive – is for hangovers, plain and simple.
Vital-T – I have actually never seen in stores and saw for the first time just now on the website so who knows but it is described as lemon tea so I guess in the afternoon with lunch is logical.
XXX – This one is for taste. This is the one you drink when you have nothing to correct – you just want to sip on something succulent.

The Award For Worst Driver goes to…the Moon. After a respectable performance last year, I really regressed in ’08. My luck in poker tournaments may have been pretty crappy this summer but I and everyone I drove to the Rio should consider themselves lucky to have survived the summer.

The Award For Best New Beer goes to…Miller Chill!? Before the Series started I would have put the chances of me purchasing and enjoying a Miller product well below the chances of me winning two bracelets. You win some, you lose some.

The Award For Worst Kenny Tran Impression goes to…TheMasterJ33. The Master put himself into contention several times, but too often called off big chunks with moderate holdings and paid the price. It’s important to remember that aggression is the better part of valor in poker tournaments. As for the Master, I'll be posting some more on him in a few on to the grades.

Alcohol: B+
Alcohol makes me closer to the person I want to be. That’s a strange, sad thing to say and I wish it wasn't the case but I need a little liquid courage to be socially competent.

Ace-King: D-
Check out these preflop chance-of-winning matchups:

AKo (43%) vs QQ (57%)
AKo (44.5%) vs 99 (55.5%)
AKo (59%) vs JTs (41%)
AKo (65%) vs 74o (35%)
AKo (67%) vs AQs (28%)

Compare that to

QQ (57%) vs AK (43%)
QQ (81%) vs 99 (19%)
QQ (81%) vs JTs (19%)
QQ (84%) vs 74o (16%)
QQ (66%) vs AQs (34%)

Ten-eight offsuit is less of a dog to ace-five than ace-king is to a pair of jacks. Think about that for a sec. No one ever calls two middle cards a coinflip vs big-little, yet ace-king is always getting involved in “coinflips.” The truth is ace-king is not a flip vs. a pair, it’s a dog, and people need to start thinking harder about that.

Brazilians: D
I estimate Brazilians cost me about $80,000 in equity this summer, which is a lot…but not as much money as I lost with ace-king.

The Dark Knight: A
The items that have received an A or better in the history of this post: Batman Begins (2005), Bobby Abreu in the Home Run Derby (2005), Crash (the only A+, 2005) Poppy Montgomery and Angie Harmon (2005), Bag (2006), Hollingol (2006), Sun Chips Garden Salsa Flavor (2006), George Thorogood and the Destroyers (2007), and Volkswagen Jetta (2007). Exclusive company.

The four-bet bluff: D+
It never works.

Hancock: C+
Reasonable entertainment. Probably should have enjoyed it more considering it had three of my favorite actors and the script was pretty clever; not really sure where it misfired.

Harrah’s: B+
This was by far the most efficiently run WSOP since Harrah’s took over. The schedule was decent. The structures were excellent. The main event may have been the best-structured tournament ever. Payout structures were inconsistent but reasonable. Organizational snafus were kept to a minimum. The facility was upgraded. All-in-all, a big step towards recapturing the WSOP magic in the modern era.

Ironman: A-
It’s amazing how important casting and acting can be in today’s world of special-effects superhero blockbusters.

Rio: C-
For those keeping score at home, the Rio’s rankings in the four-year history of this post: D+, D, B, C-. There is never a good reason to stay at the Rio, unless you’re fully comped.

Wanted: B
Again, reasonable entertainment thanks to a fairly witty script along with good casting and acting.

Seven weeks takes a lot of digestion; expect a couple more recap posts before I can finally move on to the present and future.


Blogger Matt said...

well done sire

4:19 PM  
Blogger Spencetron said...

Wait just a minute, how does University of Colorado athletics receive a free pass? Now you're posts are very well researched and this response is not, but when was the last time that school won anything?!?! I'd think a free pass is something you earn (and for the record Lute Olson earned a free pass from me in 1994 and lost it last year). How are you so dedicated to the Buffs? All I can say is at least your kicker didn't try and kill the other kicker. Then again the football team sexually harassed its own kicker! Also I think you should add Kofi Annan to the list.

5:13 PM  
Blogger TheGraveWolf said...

Ugh, I can't believe I had to experience you giving Crash an A+ for a 2nd time. Horrendous beat.

Few grades and awards now:

Award for dumbest award goes to: Boldly proclaiming a movie you HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN to be the worst movie of the summer.

Vitamin Water: Get' s-a-D. Ohhhh look! Pale colored water in a bottle with some flintstone's vitamins thrown in at $1 a pop if you're lucky. Over/Under on time it takes to discover that these babies actually have a greater chance of giving you cancer than cigarettes: 3 years

Over/Under on number of vitamin waters (out of 11) that you actually drank more than twice in the specific application you suggested (as opposed to just grabbing whatever one was cold in the fridge: 3 out of 11

Award for worst beat of this post: Vitamin water taking up over 25% of a highly anticipated post.
Honorable Mention: Pi does not have texting. Although this might be an insanely good beat. DUCY?!?!

This grade post ranks 2nd to last of the grade posts for all you pessimists.
This grade post ranks 3rd all time among all grade posts for the positards.

G. Night. Moon any relation to M. Night. Shyamalan?

1:05 PM  
Blogger Napoleon Ta said...

I think Wolf's response is better than the post

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you might have to give an A+ to Tropic Thunder when it comes out. (obscure fact-Tom Cruise is in the movie)


7:37 AM  
Blogger Ben Kantor said...

if there is one upside to the amount of real estate in that post taken up by your analysis of vitamin water it is that it kept the discussion of miller chill mercifully short.

12:36 PM  
Blogger gaamblor said...

1) The hulk was not good, i'm legit puzzled as to what you felt was so good

2) you really should have seen the happening to cap your wsop experience (which had to be close the epic fail i called for) I saw it during a bad run and it made me feel so good about myself that I could never possibly do anything that bad

3) kudos yet again for being brave enough to say embarrasingish things in a permanent public arena

2:18 AM  

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