Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ipads, A Huge Wiener, and Mass-Tabling

The end of the following article was edited to add more content.

Other than when I bought my house last year, I made the largest single cash purchase of my life today when I bought two 3G 16g Ipads- one for my fiancée, Jessica, and one for myself. Before writing it off as the largest impulse buy ever, hear me out. Jessica is going back to college this summer and wanted a laptop all her own. I talked her into getting an Ipad because of the versatility and portability, and hey, sometimes it's just plain cool to be on the cutting edge of technology! I was already planning on getting one myself once Pokerworld rolled them out in their brand new store, but here was the problem: Jessica wanted a computer all her own and was rightly concerned that hmy ridiculous apps and greasy fingerprints would make their way onto hers,h and being the colossal cock that I am, I just couldn't let myself fall behind someone in my own household in the technology category. Soy I bought one, too. Oh yeah, speaking of cocks, I saw this gigantic phallic symbol in the parking lot after leaving Best Buy with my new loot.

But here is why I had really wanted one: it would be the best thing for blogging, writing, emailing, and social networking and make them possible anytime, anywhere. But couldn't I just do this on the desktop or laptop that I already own? Well, yes and no. You see, I am very fickle about when and where I like to do my work. Though it might be hard to explain to a lot of people, the thought of doing anything on my desktop in my basement other than multi-tabling poker completely sickens me. While I tend to get more "otherish" type work done on my laptop, it still can be a huge drag because I tend to have to do more than my share of fatherly duties as soon as I poke my head out of the basement. Maybe I could take the laptop elsewhere, but that is considered to be the shared computer, so that is mostly out of the question.

But the Ipad... that is where I saw the true potential. The ability to bring it to coffee shops easily, the 10 hours you get on a single charge, being able to respond to emails and chats lying down (as anyone who keeps email correspondence with me can tell you, I am quite the slouch when it comes to response times), being able to blog anywhere...and that is not to mention all of the other amazing things it can do that you have already heard about. It truly is a stunning piece of technology and I am using my blogger app on it right now.

Of course, I would never waste your time just writing about what I consider to be an exciting day. Mass-tabling: it's what I've always wanted to do since I watched the sippincriss 24-tabling SNG session on Stoxpoker about a year and a half ago. He was the first person to introduce to me the concept of stacking your tables and, naturally, made it look very easy in the video. I went to dinner that night just aching for the chance to give it a shot and salivating over the thought of the five figure months that I would be turning in from that point on. Obviously, it was a disaster and that is why you haven't heard about it. I was folding the wrong hands, timing out, spazzing out over easy decisions, and altogether just spun over the whole affair. It took me about 20 minutes to realize that it just wasn't for me.

That was the mistake.

On my most recent mental kick, I have been thinking a lot about what it takes to be successful in any endeavor. The very un-sexy answer: hard work. No matter what sort of natural ability you possess, in order to become a true artist in any craft, you must pursue it to the point of obsession. That was my fatal error in my lack-luster quest to be a mass-tabler. I was expecting it to be easy. So for whatever reason, I was revisiting this idea and decided that like all good ideas, it needed to be planned out.

The first thing I did was go to to read up on this program I had read about called Stack and Tile. The premise of the program was that by using hot keys, you could create a large stack of tables which would tile out into a grid as action was required and when you exited the hand, the tables would be shuffled back into the stack. Sounds simple and effective enough, but I know now that even the best laid plans are often thwarted. I began playing with bthe program, which works with most of the major networks and skins, including Pokerworld. I realized right away that managing hot keys would be a time intensive affair for someone like myself who was used to only using a mouse and a number pad. Also, the thought of taking actions on a stack of tables and not seeing the results and taking on faith that they were even being implemented was stressful in its own right. Therefore, I did the only thing that a reasonable person could do: I took an entire two days off from playing to re-learn table management on penny stakes. That is not all I did. I also took a lot of time experimenting with different game modifications to find out what clicked with me the most on a personal level and the results were pretty surprising.

Another step that I finally decided to look into was improving my mouse. I did a quick review on poker to see which ones were best for poker. The Razer Imperator got the best score for a wired one, followed by the Logitech G500. The first day I went out looking for the Imperator and found that only the Logitech was available. I had spent some time agonizing over whether to buy the Logitech or another Razer model and eventually decided that I would go with the reviews and take the former since it had more buttons.

Once I took it home, I realized that I could have made a better decision, as the buttons on the side of the mouse were slightly difficult to reach and the ones mounted on top were in awkward places. Also, the more I played around with different hot keys, the more I realized that the mouse only needed an extra two (for me, anyhow) and the extra keyboard commands should take care of the rest. I therefore decided to take it back and exchange it for the Razer Deathadder (even though the Imperator was now in stock), a simplified model with two very easy to reach buttons on the side, as you can see below.

The point behind this article was to show that good mass-tabling is no different than good poker-- they are both about subtlety. While I had recognized this truth in the former, often spending hours trying to figure out how to squeeze another nickel out of a given opponent per confrontation, I had long failed to recognize it in the latter. Good mass-tabling is about finding all of those tiny ways that you can shave one-tenth of a second from each decision or automate really simple, annoying things like handling buy ins or waiting lists, not about finding some silver bullet method to success.

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