More E3 Gaming Goodness

June 2, 2009

So for day 2, Nintendo and Sony were up to offer their new gaming wares to the masses. Since Microsoft did a pretty good job of being the company to beat with announcements yesterday, I was curious to see what big guns both companies would throw out to stay competitive. Up first was Nintendo.


Wii Motion Plus: Not exactly “new”, Wii motion plus got a lot of face time once Nintendo was done delivering statistics to the audience. Probably the biggest thing for Nintendo is that they have an actual release date and the item is not to be had at a later date as are the motion offerings from Microsoft and Sony. Wii sports resort looks to be a lot of fun.


New Super Mario Bros. Wii: This was a bit of an odd choice, seems like they wanted a Mario party game that got rid of the game board. The game play demo they did on stage made me think of Little Big Planet for some reason. I know they said the inspiration for this came from the re-make of the original for the DS which was a great game, but I’m not sure this title needed to ever be made.


Wii Fit Plus: Well it was kind of expected that this would come out. It would seem there are so many options for getting “fit” using the Wii, is anyone actually using any of them?


Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story: This will be a great RPG, as a fan of the previous ones I’m looking forward to this.


Women’s Murder Club: This is an interesting move for Nintendo, looks like they think this will sell to a particular segment of DS users, I’m not so sure.


Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again: Again this reminds me of Little Big Planet for some reason, pretty cool idea but I’m not sure if I’ll ever touch a copy.


Wii Vitality Sensor: This seems really odd to add to the Wii, but I guess it would be useful for the Wii Fit line of products.


Super Mario Galaxy 2 & Metroid Other M: Obviously the biggest announcements from the show for Nintendo. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a little odd they aren’t going for an Xmas launch but they probably feel they have enough titles for the gaming wallet. The big surprise is Nintendo hooking up with Team Ninja to do a Metroid game, and boy does it look good.


Last but not least, Sony finished up the big three with some rather large announcements. I couldn’t help but feel they are still playing 3rd and catch up to Microsoft and Nintendo.


Uncharted 2: Probably one of the few exclusives PS3 is holding on to which is good for them because the game looks very good.


MAG: Crazy huge squad based game play. This is right up my alley and almost worth getting a PS3. It looks like they took some of the best parts of Planetside and put a modern warfare kind of spin on it. The 25 player battle they demoed on stage looked pretty intense. Wish I was down there to get my hands on it and try a few rounds.


PSP-GO: Yeah the worst kept secret of E3, nothing really unexpected with this announcement, but really is it even necessary? I guess we all have tons of cash to drop on portable game playing devices.


GT on PSP: It’s really cool that the most realistic driving simulator can fit in the palm of your hand and run at 60 fps looking incredible. But I really have to say, how do you play something that “realistic” with using buttons that only work in on/off for steering?


Metal Gear Peace Walker: So I’m a little confused as to how Microsoft was able to steal away a Metal Gear game from the series but apparently there is no love lost between Kojima and Sony. I wonder which game was in the works first? Still I think Microsoft wins out by pulling a previously exclusive series from Sony.


New Eye Toy + Motion Wand: Sony is a bit behind the ball with this one. It would be ok in my mind if they brought something more than a “prototype” and tech demo because to me it makes it sound like this thing won’t be in production until early next year at the earliest and who knows what/when games will come out for it. Going with the “wand” makes it very Wii-like. The good thing is that they are able to utilize lots of power of the PS3 so they can do 1-1 tracking very seamlessly. I’d honestly feel a little sheepish though having to follow shooting virtual arrows after the Wii Sports Resort archery demo.


ModNation Racers: Perhaps the coolest thing Sony showed today besides God of War 3, this looks to borrow heavily from Mario Kart and Little Big Planet, but it does it so well that it’s going to be a really fun title. The track editor looks really intuitive and easy to use. I like the fact that you can literally create what feels like a full track in a few minutes.


God of War III: Obviously their big hitter saved for the end. The final game in the series, this one doesn’t look like it will disappoint anyone at all. The game play they showed today which was part of a middle area of the game was pretty intense.


Other notables from today:


Assassin's Creed 2: The sequel looks amazing, even better than the first. The expansive environments of the first game have been out done here. Today’s demo showed off some new nifty moves and the double hidden blade take down (which was quite awesome!). I’m eagerly awaiting this one.


Mass Effect 2: Another amazing sequel, looks like they’ve taken care of all the little “issues” with the game play I didn’t really enjoy in the first one. Much smoother action and less having to stop and keep the AI partners from getting killed or walking into oncoming fire for no reason. If they can manage to keep the load times low, this will be another winner.


Dragon Age Origins:  I’m glad I pre-ordered this one already for the PC. The game looks amazing and one thing not even touched on today is the fact it will have tools for building custom modules which is where this game will really take off once the community has a hold of it for a year or so.


Final Thoughts on Day 2: To rate the big three companies today, I’d say they fell in the same order they presented. Microsoft clearly has their sights set on being the definitive entertainment device in the home living room for games, movies, TV, music. Nintendo is a close 2nd, sticking to their core philosophy which has worked well based on the number of units they have been able to move. It’s clear they want to slowly enhance that base step by step. Sony is making progress but essentially it comes down to them losing 2 big franchises and only adding a motion unit that seems very Wii-like. Sony is huge and not going anywhere anytime soon, but I have a feeling they may just need to start focusing on what to do better for the next console war. I’ll be back again to recap some news from tomorrow’s day as well.

My take on some E3 Monday Highlights

June 1, 2009


So E3 kicked off today with a bang. Microsoft drew the long straw it seems and got the lead off position which was good for them since they had quite a few little digs against Nintendo and Sony. The show started a little slowly, Rock Band Beatles is slightly meh and really old news. Nothing too amazing there, but things quickly picked up after that.


Modern Warfare 2: I was really happy to see a fully fleshed out trailer instead of the little teaser from GDC earlier this year. Also the level they demoed on stage looked pretty darn good and I can see some intense multiplayer matches in the snow coming our way in October. This one is on my must buy list.


Full Retail Games Delivered via Live: This is pretty big, but it also has me worried I’m going to be forking over some bucks for a larger hard drive. I’ve got the 120gb on my Elite, but between copying games to the hard drive, Xbox Live Arcade downloads, and then lots of demos to boot, I’ll be filling that thing up really fast. This was the next step, however, and I’m glad we are seeing it sooner rather than later. Putting something like this in now, makes it a requirement for the next generations of systems.


Project Natal: Ok the name is retarded, but I like the system. It reminds me a lot of what Sony tried to do with the Eye Toy, but only enhanced with what the Wii has brought us in terms of animating video game playing couch potatoes. This single add on has quite a lot of potential in the gaming world. Besides that, with all of the Wii fit games that have been recently coming out, I have a feeling there will be quite a few Natal fitness games as well. Looking at what Lionhead has already done with this system pretty much says the sky’s the limit.


Halo 3 ODST:  As a fan of the series, I’m always looking for more games to continue the story of the Halo universe, ODST looks like it really is going to go in a route specifically designed to tell stories of other soldiers in the struggle against the Covenant. Not sure if this is a must have on launch day, but I think once I see some of the Co-Op mode game play that will clinch it for me.


Halo Reach: Wow, I had a feeling ODST wouldn’t be the last we saw of Master Chief. Too bad it will probably be quite a while before we get too many details on this one.


Facebook/Twitter on Xbox Live: Big freaking deal, nuff said. on Xbox Live: Kinda cool I guess, I have so many devices that can stream Internet radio that this isn’t really earth shattering for me. It makes sense as a multimedia platform for the Xbox, but they shouldn’t limit the streams to only but any Internet radio stream.


FFXIII: Microsoft makes a big play by snagging this franchise, while it wasn’t exactly new news, it was still nice to see some game play on screen. Really makes me want to be sure I’ve got a nice brand new 60’’ plasma ready for playing this to relish in all the highly detailed glory.


Metal Gear: What is Sony going to do for platform exclusives? They seem to be dwindling into nothingness.


Shadow Complex: Epic has a great little Xbox Live Arcade title coming out this summer. Reminds me of an old school Nintendo title but expansive in all the right areas. Part action game, part RPG, part exploration game, something I really want to get my hands on.


Splinter Cell Conviction: This looks to be the quintessential “Jason Bourne” game done the way previous attempts were done and yet it stars Sam Fischer. I’ve gone away from the Splinter Cell series for a while but this one may bring me back, much more visceral then it has been in the past, has a very badass feel to it and more continual player narrative driven story then mission after mission.


Alan Wake: Finally we will see this game, not until next year though. At least it is looking good. Going to be one to play late at night in the dark with the stereo cranked.


Final Thoughts: So far it looks like Microsoft is the clear leader to beat at E3 so far. Of course they have the benefit of going first and so they got to set the bar. Overall I’d say they set the bar pretty high. Quite a few big announcements, Sony really has some catch-up to play and we’ll have to see what Nintendo has up their sleeve as well. Day 1 is done and we’ve still got 2 more days of gaming goodness to go. I’ll toss up another recap and my thoughts after Tuesday’s announcements.

The Future of Gaming is Now!

March 25, 2009

I’m sure many of you are following the news coming out of the Game Developers Conference going on this week. Probably the most exciting news released thus far is details about the OnLive gaming service that looks to be pretty revolutionary for the gaming industry.

For those not following the story, OnLive is basically “cloud computing” for gaming. It’s platform agnostic, meaning that you don’t need any particular console or PC to play the games offered by the service. You can use a PC or Mac or a little console-like device provided by OnLive to plug into your TV and play all of the games available on the service as if you had them exclusively on your home device. The service takes care of all the thinking your machine is currently responsible for and off-loads it to their own servers where it renders the game play and video and sends the data back to your machine via the Internet. What the means is that you don’t need any particular set of hardware requirements for your games. PCs/Macs don’t need beefy system specifications and consoles will all be essentially equal in terms of horsepower because they aren’t using anything but input/output and data transfer services in order to play the games.


Besides offering gaming that doesn’t require any specific platform to play games, the service also is said to offer a greater community aspect then you find with most games. Essentially the streams that are sent to your machine in order for you to play the game can also simultaneously be sent to other spectators who want to watch you play. The service also offers a “brag” feature that will capture the last 15 seconds or so of your play and let you create a shareable moment of awesomeness that others will be able to view through the service. You will have the option of adding voice over to these streams so you can record specifics. I can see this being helpful for people providing helpful walkthroughs or tips to get through parts of certain games much like you find currently on YouTube.


This service has great potential to change gaming as we know it. Going into beta this summer and a launch some time next winter, we will soon get a peak at whether or not the Internet is capable of delivering this kind of content to individuals at it’s current state. The Internet has always been a pretty sloppy delivery medium and you have no direct control over the speed your end users get which can ruin their experience with a service like this. It’s possible that this service may end up being ready before the Internet itself is ready to handle delivering this content to users on a large scale.


The other issue that crops up is latency. Online gaming is already plagued with problems when it comes to latency and can directly influence the end result of the game for the user. When that happens, it’s only sending small bits of data to the server and then to all clients. Imagine having to send that data in addition to the large stream that is containing HD video content for your TV. It will also be interesting to note how much data the service ends up sending over the home connections and whether or not bandwidth limits imposed by ISPs start coming into play. I could imagine that some individuals who spend many hours a day playing video games may reach those limits quickly.


It’s a great idea that I hope is successful, it may take a few years after launch for the service itself and the Internet to actually be up to the task of making this concept a smooth reality, but I will keep my eyes on this as I’m sure many of you will as well. Here are some videos detailing the OnLive service.




Another great movie about the service can be found here:

Bend it like Beckham (your contract that is)

March 12, 2009

Being a week away from the Seattle Sounders FC home opener, I’ve got soccer on the brain. I’m eagerly anticipating the inaugural season of the latest expansion team to join the MLS. Seattle is a great soccer town and it’s about time we finally got our own MLS team. It turns out the timing couldn’t have been any better as the Sonics have left, the Mariners and Seahawks are doing fairly dismal, we have a great team of talent and high hopes to enjoy.


One of the great opportunities having the Sounders FC provides is to have lots of other soccer stars come to play in our stadium and to get to see these players in person for 90 minutes. David Beckham is a great soccer player and I’ve always wanted to see him play in person but figured there were slim chances of that. When he joined the LA Galaxy over a year ago, those chances suddenly jumped off the page as we were getting our own expansion team in Seattle. It was only a matter of time for a home game hosting the Galaxy that would most likely bring Beckham to our stands.


Unfortunately, it would seem that fate has thrown that chance into the wind. Sounders are set to host the Galaxy on 5/10/09, it will be without David Beckham who will be continuing to play for AC Milan. I’m not sure why the Galaxy ever “loaned” him out in the first place it’s a bit of a slap in the face if you ask me. If Beckham wasn’t ready to fully commit to the MLS because of World Cup 2010 goals then he shouldn’t have done it. LA offered him too much cash and gave him too much leeway in his contract that now they have this odd situation that makes their front office look to be getting a raw deal.



This is the 2nd time I’ve missed out on seeing Beckham play in Seattle. In 2004, Qwest field played host to a Manchester United vs. Celtic match that was a great game to see, however at the end of the season prior to that year, Beckham left Manchester United to play for Real Madrid.


It seems like Beckham will never play here, which I guess is fine. While I used to actually give it thought, we have our own team of stars now and Beckham just seems like an over paid NFL player. All he needs to do is blame his team mates on his playing performance and he could be T.O.

The Legend of the Seeker Continues to Disappoint

March 3, 2009

I have a feeling that for many fans of the Sword of Truth series watching the TV show “Legend of the Seeker” is like seeing  a car crash. It’s horrible to see, but you can’t help but not look away. At least that is how I feel and why I continue to watch. I guess there is a part of me that keeps hoping each episode that they will some how fix some of the major plot problems and complete inaccuracies they have presented in the series so far.

Richard and Kahlan

I still don’t understand why they settled on the concept of the series. Instead of using the books for more of a guideline on how to tell the story of Richard and his ever changing quest of being the seeker, they instead chose to take the universe created in the books and then create other stories that never happened in the book series. This format lends itself much better to be told as a prequel or rather taking place in some other timeline than when Richard and Kahlan are adventuring in the Midlands and beyond.


The last episode “Remnant” (Episode 13 of the 1st season) sort of had that quality to it, telling the history of a previous Seeker and his confessor. They did a good job of creating something that was believable in the universe of the history of the Midlands, however, the need to tie it together with Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd was unnecessary and just made for more discrepancies between the series and the books. About the only good thing in the latest episode was Bridget Reagan’s cleavage, it practically should have had a credit in the opening sequence.

Speaking of Bridget, she and Craig Horner who play the two leads of the series can’t act themselves out of a paper bag. But considering the type of show, that really isn’t too surprising and I didn’t expect much out of either of them from the beginning. They somehow managed to not meet my already low expectations. The delivery of dialogue is weak and uninspired. Horner lacks the depth to play a complicated character such as Richard. Richard has many sides to his personality and yet Horner only ever really shows one, maybe two if placed in an appropriate situation in an episode’s storyline. Reagan delivers all of her lines with the same monotone flatness completely lacking emotion most of the time.


Bruce Spence who plays Zedd is one of the better characters of the series. The only flaw I see in his performance is that he’s too serious in playing Zedd. In the books Zedd comes across more whimsical, with a very distinctive style and his own funny quirks and habits. There was only one episode that partially explored some of Zedd’s funnier traits and they should delve deeper into his character if they want to help the series.


Based on the preview of the next episode, I’m already cringing at more murder to the storyline. Apparently Richard will be heading home to Hartland (which he never returns to in his fight against Darken Rahl in the first books) and for some reason is dressed as a D’Haran soldier for all if not most of the episode. A gar will make an appearance again which hasn’t happened since the first or second episode and I have a funny feeling Richard will make friends with it and call it Gratch.


February 21, 2009


Just found this little jewel and it’s way too fun to put down. Mastermind is a great little flash strategy game that puts you as an evil overlord who builds up a criminal empire complete with your very own minions to do your bidding. It’s a lot of fun and has some campy humor to go along with the solid game. Not too terribly complicated, Mastermind is a take on the Dungeon Keeper type of strategy game that makes you the evil doer. Evil Genius was a less successful version of the game that came out a while back. Good concept but didn’t really follow through in the game. I’d write a little more but I’d rather go play some more. Enjoy!

More Guitar!

February 5, 2009

Well like I said, I'm going to try and do one of these a week to help with my progress on the guitar. I think it helps a lot to force yourself to try and teach something to another person because you then have to think about it a lot more. Also I tried to make the video a bit better and edit some parts together instead of getting it all in one take. So without further ado, here is the video.

Here is the tab to go along with the video so that you can follow along more clearly. I made some annotations at when I switch chords as mentioned in the video. Good luck and keep practicing! (click to make bigger).

Never Comes Verse Tab


January 30, 2009

I found a couple of other blogs about people and their trek to learn the guitar. I thought that it may be helpful for me to keep motivated for practice if I put up a little something here from time to time. This is the first one, I know it kind of sucks, but I will hopefully improve as I do some more of them.


The video is basically just an finger exercise I thought is pretty good for improving your fret hand accuracy and dexterity especially for the all important pinky finger (4th). Usually your 3rd finger, at least in my experience, gets a pretty good workout but lately I've found my 4th finger lagging behind in skill. The following is a good way to improve accuracy with your 4th finger especially as you move this exercise to thinner strings.



Here is the tab to go along with the exercise.

Any String (6th and 1st used in the song)

Remember these are tripelets and the 5 and the 4 respectively fall on each of the 4 beats of each measure.

More Blackjack Tips and Tricks

January 27, 2009

There are a few more tips I can pass along to newer blackjack players that you can only learn from experience. Most of this has to deal with the types of blackjack games you will encounter in different casinos and different types of players. Other players is a big part of the game and can have a great affect on your blackjack experience.


Game Types

Standard blackjack games don't have any other special bets on the table. In general these games can be played with regular blackjack rules, but you should avoid the special bets as they are what are termed as "sucker bets". Usually they involve some kind of side bet that if you match the dealers up card or you get dealt a certain pair of cards you win a large amount of money because the odds are very high. The reason the odds are so high is because it rarely ever happens, and for it to be useful you'd need to place that bet every hand and thus it's just a waste of money. The exception to this rule is Spanish 21 which is a blackjack variation that has all of the 10 cards removed (face cards become the only 10 value cards in the deck).


General Table Etiquette

Always remember that people are there to have a good time and hopefully make a little money doing it. If you find a table where someone is playing all by themselves, ask if you may join them. Some players prefer to play with the dealer one on one. If they do invite you to sit down, wait until the next shuffle before you start playing. Same rules apply if you find a couple at a table or two or more individuals that look to be a group of friends. The only time you don't have to worry about this is if the casino is packed, the dealers will be trying to fill the vacant seats at the table. As a rule, don't tell people how to play a hand, even if you know better than they do, they usually won't like the help unless they ask for it. I've found that most newer players will explain they are new at some point while they play and may ask for advice from the dealer, at this point you can offer some help but don't feel offended if it's not taken too heart. If it starts affecting your hands, it's best to find a new table. A way to keep the atmosphere fun at the table is to congratulate those who get a natural blackjack, I've found this almost always gets the table cheering after a few more rounds and makes it a lot more fun to play.


Other Players

I've encountered several different blackjack personalities over the years and I wanted to put some tips out for who to play with and who to avoid. You will run into these people at various times of play depending on when you choose to go to a casino. Newer casinos on Friday and Saturday evenings tend to have the least experienced players while off-popular times tend to have the more regular experienced players. This doesn't mean you can't have fun with the inexperienced players, but depending on what you are looking for you may want to avoid playing at certain times.


The "I'm here to pick up chicks" guy

The way to spot this player is usually pretty easy. I just recently encountered this type of player along with his friend. The give away on this guy is if you see someone with a large stack of chips in front of him, but only betting a small amount of money per hand, for example the guy I saw had about $2500 worth of $25 chips in front of him, but each hand he was only betting $10. It would have made more sense for him to color up the large stacks, but he wanted them there for show, draw in the females displaying he had lots of cash to throw around. There isn't any real reason this player should be avoided unless you are female because he will probably try and hit on you.


The "I know how to play blackjack, but really don't" guy

These players are easy to spot, obnoxious to play with, and generally should be avoided unless you are looking for a funny story to tell your blackjack buddies. Watching a few hands at a table should instantly point these players out, just watch their play, do they split 10s? Do they not double on 11? Did he split Aces or 8s? Worse yet, do they make a bad play and think it was correct because they won anyway? What usually makes these guys obnoxious to play with is they can be loud, spitting out incorrect advice on how to play a hand to other players at the table when not even asked.


The "I'm upset that someone took my card" guy

This is almost two kinds of player and also similar to the person who doesn't really know how to play but thinks they do. This person will get upset at a player who is in front of them in the deal rotation for taking a card that would have made their hand better. Now if the person didn't need the card (sitting with a 16 while the dealer has a 6 showing for example), this is a legitimate complaint. Now if the card was needed, say the player had a 8 instead of the 16, and the player is still upset then these are players to be avoided. Generally this will make for an un-fun table because less experienced players will start to second guess their play worried they may upset this player. Also related is someone who is sitting in the last position and is afraid of taking the dealer's bust card. You should never sacrifice your hand for the good of the table, no one knows the next card from the deck so you can easily make a case for when you hit and should've stayed as much as staying when you should've hit. You are always better off playing the proper strategy for the hand. Those players who don't know this can actually ruin hands for you more often than not.


Final Thoughts

To re-iterate yesterdays post, the most important thing in playing blackjack is the preparation. Learning how to watch a table and weeding out the personalities listed above can greatly improve the amount of fun you have while playing. Remember that win or lose, it's just a game and should be played for fun. Never gamble with more money than you can afford to lose and remember the old adage, if you are unlucky with cards, then you're lucky with love.


January 26, 2009

blackjack I don't have many vices, but I do enjoy playing blackjack at a casino. I used to think I was pretty good at the game, but to be honest at that time I was really just lucky and didn't play the correct strategy all the time and once in a while made some stupid plays that looking back make me shake my head. In the past year, I've tried to get a bit better at this very popular casino game. You can always find blackjack in any casino you visit and there are usually lots of variations and deck configurations you can play. To be successful at the game of blackjack you have to get yourself into a certain mind set before you even play a single hand. The prep before you play is without a doubt the most important part of sitting down at a blackjack table.



1.) Determine the amount of money you feel comfortable losing.

No matter what, gambling is luck based. There is no sure fire win system that will have you beating the house every time. The odds are stacked against your favor, it's the nature of the game. When I play I bring $200 of session money.

2.) Only bring the amount of money you are comfortable with losing. Don't bring means of additional funds like credit/debit cards with you.

This can help take the edge off wanting to toss more money away if you happen to lose your session money at a table. Losing is a part of the game, at least have fun if you happen to run a streak of bad luck. Better to end there than return with more money to lose.

3.) Similar to 1 and 2, know when to stop playing. Set yourself a small easily attainable goal and walk away as soon as you reach that goal.

The easiest way to win at blackjack is over small periods of time. The longer you sit at a table, the greater the chance you will hit a streak of bad luck and lose your session money. When I play with $200 of session money, my goal is about $90, once I hit that, I walk away.

4.) Choose carefully the table you want to play. There are lots of tables, different minimums, different numbers of decks involved, and most important different table feels.

I usually will look for a double-deck game of blackjack as my preferred game because the house has a lower edge and I've found the deck to be less streaky for wins and losses. Table feel is something you can only get by watching a table for a few rounds, are people there friendly? Are they winning/losing? If there is a good vibe, sit down and enjoy, otherwise keep looking.

5. Play perfect strategy.

Most important, you should play strategy correctly to ensure you keep the house's edge at a minimum. There are some exceptions of course, however, you won't learn when to adjust the strategy in your favor until you've had  a lot of experience and can employ some rudimentary card counting scheme.

6. Practice makes perfect!

If you are serious about getting better at blackjack there are some very easy ways to improve your game. At home you can play online for free at Bodog Casino or use a blackjack trainer to teach you strategy. Playing for real has a bit of a different feel, so I suggest you find a local casino that offers a weekly or monthly blackjack tournament which gives you the opportunity to play for real but with a small cash buy in (usually about $20-30).

How to bet in Blackjack

Whew! Look at all that prep before we even talk about the game itself. I can't tell you how important it is. There have been a few times where I just plopped down at a table with a few bucks and quickly was relieved of all of it in just a few hands. When I make a conscience effort to plan ahead, I always make a few dollars at the tables, and have a fun time doing it as well.

The basic strategy I use to control my betting is based on my previous hand. I start with my base bet of $5, if I win, I continue to bet $5 (doubling and splitting as the cards permit). Unfortunately you never just continually win hand to hand. When I lose, I double my bet up to 4 times ($10, $20, $40). If I haven't won by 4 hands, then I go back to the base $5 bet. Once I win again, then I bet 40-50% of what I'm down in total. If I win, I go back to starting at the beginning, if I lose then I go back to $5 bets until I win and I can try to re-coop some of the debt.

The point of betting this way is to win back the money you lost on the previous bet when you lose. If you continue to only ever bet $5 then you will never recover your losses. But this system has one fault, and that is the back to back win happening when you go into loss recovery mode. This one crux is why the preparation steps are so important, and also why if you find your table taking a turn for the worse in luck, it's best to find a new table.



This method works for whatever you want to use as your base bet. You can bet $10 as a base, just double the values I listed for $5 and have $400 with you as your session money.


It's easy to think that $5 isn't a lot of money per hand to bet with, however, you may possibly bet $80 in a single hand while using this method. You need to be comfortable betting this much on a single hand. If you are more adventurous you can go the big $25 route but that will require session money of $1200 and your maximum recovery bet would be $200 in a single hand.

Legend of the Seeker

January 15, 2009


So you may have seen this show if you are a fan of the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I started reading the books a few years ago and thoroughly enjoy the series. When I heard in November that ABC studios was doing a show based on the Sword of Truth series I was both excited and afraid at the same time. As with most book adaptations it seems they fall into either one of two categories. Amazingly awful that you want to rip your eyes out of your head and are sorry you ever watched or they manage to do a decent job of only butchering the story somewhat.


Unfortunately, so far the Legend of the Seeker series seems to have done the best it could at butchering the original story. My question is "Why?". During the shows opening, it explains that the show is based on the Sword of Truth series, it should be changed to say "Based extremely loosely on the Sword of Truth series", as the show takes bits and pieces from seemingly wherever from any of the books at will and decides to make an episode. On top of that, some episodes are completely made up as if there isn't enough material in the books to make episodes. As a fan of the books I would have been much happier if they just retold the first book more or less as it was without all the unnecessary fabrication. They are doing an episodic series, which gives them the ability to provide back story to fill in a new audience about the world in which Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd reside.


Why in the hell didn't they take advantage of that? Movies often fall short because you can't make a 10 hour long epic that explains every little detail so book adaptations almost always disappoint because they can't simply include everything. A TV series doesn't have to sacrifice as much, but for some reason the shows writers decided to completely wipe out some major plot points in the first couple of episodes for no reason. When watching the show it's almost like you can feel the writers/directors fighting about which direction to move the series. On the one hand, there are a few of the early episodes that were completely created out of nothingness. It's as if they wanted to treat the series as the old "Kung Fu" with David Carradine, one single man who moves from town to town solving problems except he has a fancy sword. Then suddenly, they throw the plot of the first book back into the mix, like "Oh yeah, we were going to go stop this Darken Rahl guy... totally forgot about that, my bad. Wait, why are we against him? He is bad, but who cares... oh yeah he wants this box of Orden thingy, yet we don't know why that is bad."  Anyone care to explain to me why it took to get to episode 7 before we find the plot of the first book, except they don't even fully explain why the 3 boxes of Orden are important?


Now that the series seems to be ending it's first season which looks like it will culminate loosely with the end of the first book, at least the episodes aren't completely off topic but they aren't that close to the mark either. I can't help but shake my head when certain things happen for no reason like in the last episode "Denna". Even though Kahlan is the last of her kind and Mother Confessor, let's just have another Confessor hiding out in a town not far away who has confessed all of the townspeople. I mean what the hell is the point of that? Instead this episode should have been split into two areas, Richard getting trapped by Denna and experiencing the TV-PG version of his Mord-Sith training while the rest of the episode could have explored the castle in which the 3rd box of Orden was hidden by the wizard Giller and Rahl's attempts at finding it. Totally setting up what looks to be the conclusion of that in the very next episode. Instead they for some reason decide to make a point of showing that Richard can use the magic of the sword to turn the blade white to kill Denna, but have Kahlan there to rescue him? And then on top of that Denna comes back to life? They hardly explore the fact that Denna falls in love with Richard and wants to be free of her Mord-Sith life knowing that Richard is her only way out. They briefly mention Richard partitioning his mind, which essentially is one of his most important skills, but these trivial references which have major impact on the plot of the book are basically useless to the direction the TV series has taken.


Despite these faults, I still have my Tivo set to record the episodes, I figure I'll ride out the rest of this first season and see if they manage to make it any better, but it's fast becoming the show I love to hate. Maybe it's worth taking a shot of whiskey every time there is another inconsistency in the plot of the series. I can't see many fans of the books being happy with they direction they have taken the show so far. I have a feeling the show will be canceled after this single painful season, in fact it would have to be since they can't do the 2nd book of the series. Episode 5 ruined the entire plot of the 2nd book.


In other recent news, another of my favorite series "The Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan has been licensed for an MMO video game and they plan on making movies of all the novels. Again I find myself anxious and dreadful at the same time. Hopefully they will fair a bit better in their exploits with that series than ABC's studios venture "Legend of the Seeker".