Friday, July 17, 2009

Good Luck, Mr. Ivey

Logic: the art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. – Ambrose Bierce

All of the poker community, much of Las Vegas, and plenty of other folks are “a twitter” over Phil Ivey making the Nov 9. He is popular, photogenic, well known, highly marketable, etc., etc.
I admire Ivey, too. He is actually good at poker and he is not an ace-hole when on camera.
I would love to see him win and I sincerely wish him the best of luck. Perhaps he could usher in the next poker boom.
However, I don’t think he is likely to win. We have all witnessed plenty of well known players make the final table and fall short of winning. At the risk of stating the obvious, he is one of the short stacks. For him to win, he will likely need to either get really good cards or play very carefully until he can get it heads up or three way with one or two remaining amateurs. Think of when Joe Hachem won. With seven players left, he was the short stack at one point but he never went crazy. He played very patiently for approximately 12 hours and it served him well. The bigger stacks kept pummeling one another and he mostly avoided getting involved. He picked up a pot here or there but basically seemed to stay out of the way until all of a sudden, about 4:30am, he was the chip leader with four players left. He continued to let the other players self implode and when the smoke cleared, he was heads up against the lone remaining amateur.
He then (not surprisingly) went on to win the world championship. IMHO, this is the strategy that would give Ivey the best chance of winning.

However, I have seen him reach numerous final tables on the WPT and he is always one of the most aggressive players at the table. That worked well for Jerry Yang but that style of play has caused Ivey to be knocked out relatively early at most of the final tables I have seen him at. If he plays like that in November, I think it will be exceptionally challenging for him to win. He has said in the past that he is out to win the event and is not worried about the money. That is why he “goes for it” at those final tables. I hope he will mix up his playing style and remember that no one can win when there is still a table full of players. Even if he doesn’t win, I think it will greatly enhance the entertainment value of watching the WSOP Main Event if Phil Ivey is one of the last players to be eliminated.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Liquid Assets - Iced Tea

American-style iced tea is the perfect drink for a hot, sunny day. It's never really caught on in the UK, probably because the last time we had a hot, sunny day was back in 1957. - Tom Holt

Down here in Texas, we just recorded the hottest June on record for the Galveston/Houston area. Due to that excessive heat, it seems like I have been drinking iced tea by the gallon. A refreshing glass of iced tea is such a simple thing to make, yet so many people and restaurants get it wrong. The tea must be brewed to be strong and should be robust tasting since it will be diluted when poured over ice. It should smell like tea and it should have a distinct tea flavor without any odd tastes from an unclean urn or poorly maintained equipment. If a customer orders iced tea, kindly warn them before serving them any sort of flavored tea (e.g. mango tea, peach tea, plum tea, etc.) since many of us eschew those sorts of teas. The tea should not be cloudy or murky looking as this usually indicates the tea was not freshly made. The tea should be tasted regularly by the management to ensure none of these undesirable elements have crept in. A weak color means too much water is being added to the brew and this must be avoided. Anyone may dilute the tea further, if they wish, but no one may undo this damage once done. This is important. Many of us are choosing tea over soda or flavored water for not only reasons of taste but for caloric and anti oxidant content. Another great thing about iced tea is that, at least down here in the South, refills are customarily provided free (once when I was in Michigan they had the audacity to charge me for a refill and I remember looking at them as if they were crazy). Although, the tradition in the South is for sugary sweet tea, many of us actually prefer it unsweetened. It really is a simple but positively refreshing beverage (if prepared well) on the hot and humid days we frequently enjoy down here in Texas.