[Edit: For me -4% ended up being the correct amount, so I re-edited the figures]
Wow. FT made some sweeping changes to rakeback and points today. In a nutshell, the "new rewards system" will end up being exactly the same for me. Dear FT, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the "awesome new rewards program" you made us wait over a year for. TY TY.
Here's a list of the four huge announcements today, and how they affect me:
1. CHANGE TO "WEIGHTED CONTRIBUTED" FROM "DEALT" RAKE
Previously, you got rakeback on hands where you sat in on the hand, even if you did not contribute to the rake. Now, your rakeback is purely based on how much rake you contribute. I suppose this is fair. Unfortunately, this change will negatively affect me by about 3 percentage points of rakeback (it's hard to say exactly how much until next month). Ouch. I'll talk more about this in a later post.
2. INCREASE IN FT POINTS
They started awarding 10 FT points per dollar of rake paid by the table, so this is a 500% increase in points for HU players, 67+% increase in points for 6max players and and 11+% increase in points for 9max players. Since 25% of my play is in 6 max, my points should increase 25% overall.
3. BLACK CARD
The Black Card doubles my points. Tourney tickets remain the best value, so I will continue to use tourney entries for all my points.
4. REMOVAL OF IRONMAN PLUS
I made more medals per month on Ironman Plus than the regular monthly Ironman medals, so this sucks balls.
The new summary of my rewards is below:
(A) Rakeback: $14,750 rake x .23 = $3,393 [23.0% rakeback - was 27%]
(B) Rake Race: $900 [6.1% rakeback - was 6.7%]
(C) IronMan Medals: 700 medals / 3000 x $600 x .73 = $102 [0.7% rakeback - was 1.5%]
(D) IronMan Bonus: $75 [0.5% rakeback - was 0.5%]
(E) FT Points: 147,500 points x 1.25 x 1.25 x .00455 x .73 = $766 [5.2% rakeback - was 3.7%]
(F) New Black Card: $766 / 1.25 = $612 [4.2% rakeback] TOTAL REWARDS = $3,540 + $900 + $102 + $75 + $766 + $612 = $5,848 [39.6% rakeback - was 39.6%]
Oh, and Mrs. Fly needs another week because she's been a little under the weather. This week is turning out juuust great.
OMG! The month is almost over and I've only played 95K hands. I don't feel like I was *super* lazy this month, but the numbers don't lie. Time to get to work. The last few days were somewhat frustrating, as I've had to climb out of large holes at the beginning of sessions. Lately, I've been saying the following a lot to my monitor, "OMG! How can you be a Rush reg and be *that* bad?!?" Never a good sign when you are having conversations where the other person can't hear you.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
I know I said I only have steak like "once" a month in a previous comment, but the other day, Mrs. Fly went to the supermarket to get a roasting chicken, and she came face-to-face with a "Porterhouse $3.99/lb" sign. Even tho she thinks I'm a fat f*ck and need to lose "some" weight, she still did the right thing and bought a couple of steaks. <3 Mrs. Fly.
The steak was so big, she had to serve it on a small serving platter (not a regular dinner plate). I feel like that Flintstones intro where the ribs were so big it tilted the car. She made her roasted garlic potatoes and a salad. I usually am not a big fan of salads, and I'm less of a fan of stinky cheese, but after a few bites, this gorgonzola ranch salad dressing (home made) kind of grew on me. She also put some of her spicy salsa on it. Sounds gross, I know. But a few decades ago, eating raw fish on a piece of vinegar rice was considered gross. That little jalepeno on the side is hers but she thought it looked pretty. I'm not a big fan of spice, as it rarely enhances any food ingredient. But Mrs. Fly likes everything hot. <3 Mrs. Fly.
We're big believers in having our kids eat what we eat. I'm not saying my kids don't get their fair share of chicken nuggets and hot dogs, but we think it's important to expand a child's palate. On steak nights, here's what the kids are eating. Same meal, but bite-sized. Well, the dressing is just bottled ranch - no need to traumatize the kids with gorgonzola at an early age. Because let's face it, some cheeses actually taste like what they are - rotted milk. Now that I think about it, the kids <3 Mrs. Fly too.
In case you are wondering, I'm not in Mrs. Fly's doghouse. Just trying to butter her up for that first blog post this Friday. It's almost done, right honey? Right?!?
Great News! PokerStars let me change my screen name from "TripleFly" to "DoubleFlyPS." I used to also trade the occasional triple butterfly, but I just never liked the name. I was always a double butterfly guy. I first wrote them an email asking if I could take the "DoubleFly" SN, because according to PTR, no one was using it. But apparently it was taken, so I asked if I could switch SNs, and they said "yes." I never minded FT's lame customer support, which pretty much consists of copying and pasting pre-written sections of response text. But in the correspondences I had with Stars, it looked like the CS reps actually took some time to personalize the email, and the CS reps actually had a sense of humor. Either that, or the people who write the canned replies at Stars are much better writers than at FT. I'm looking forward to playing a little more at Stars starting next month, and I'll report my impressions of the differences between the two sites in future posts.
My goal for now is to still be in the top 17 in my rake race on FT AND maintain Stars' SuperNova status. I can pretty much get SuperNova in a month (maybe 5 weeks - 6 weeks tops), so playing that much over 12 months shouldn't be too difficult. Let's see how that goes. So far, all I've been doing is talking the talk. Hmm... for some reason, I'm getting a weird flashback to Mrs. Fly talking to me the other night. Anyways, I think this will be super-helpful on those days when I want to play during off-peak hours (when there aren't a lot of tables on FT). Also, if I want to start mastering donkament skills, Stars has much bigger tourneys than FT. Who knows? I may even start preferring Stars, which leaves open the possibility of going for SNE.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Here's dinner from poker night. Mrs. Fly told me she took some photos, but you really can't see the food that well. Up in front is a new recipe - basically bread with some kind of cheese and olives on it. It was pretty good - considering there was no dead animal on it. Behind it to the left are the garlic roasted potatoes and to the right is her spicy cole slaw. In the front pot is her version of southern chicken 'n dumplin's (later post).
In the second pot (closeup below) is her beef pot roast. She braised the meat for like 6 hours until it was super tender. Tastes >>>>> Looks, which I guess isn't saying much, but it was awesome.
FT decided to add a minor rewards system that they call the Black Card. Basically, it gives you double FT points and allows you to finally exchange those points for cash. I've seen a whole bunch of confusing calculations in 2+2 so I decided to do my own estimates of monthly benefits on FT. This will also give people new to FT an idea as to what a full-time midstakes grinder's rewards profile is on FT.
(A) Rakeback: $14,750 rake x .27 = $3,983 [27.0% rakeback]
(B) Rake Race: $1,000 [6.7% rakeback]
(C) IronMan Medals: 1500 medals / 3000 x $600 x .73 = $219 [1.5% rakeback]
(D) IronMan Bonus: $75 [0.5% rakeback]
(E) FT Points: 133,000 points x 1.25 x .00455 x .73 = $552 [3.7% rakeback]
(F) New Black Card: $552 / 1.25 x 0.75 = $331 [2.2% rakeback] TOTAL REWARDS = $3,983 + $1,000 + $219 + $75 + $552 + $331 = $6,160 [41.8% rakeback]
In case you were wondering about the FT points calculations, the 1.25 multiplier is to account for the various Happy Hours (usually 6 hours a day, not including the 1/2 hour rush happy hours several times a day). The 0.00455 multiplier assumes I use the FT points to buy $75 tourney tokens. Hopefully, the Black card exchange rate will be 0.005, but that's still only a 10% increase from purchasing tourney tokens.
So for me, the Black Card is not that much of a big deal. The extra 2.2% in rakeback (2.8% if the cash exchange rate is 0.005) surely isn't going to make a difference in where I choose to play. I also think fears that all these regs will come flocking from other sites is unfounded. Even if there is an additional influx of "regulars," they can't be very good regulars if they are going to be so moved by 2.2%.
But it's a nice gesture by FT. They certainly didn't *have to* offer any new rewards. But it's a *slight* disappointment, as they had been talking about the "new exciting rewards program" for almost a year now, and it's 2.2%. Kind of like getting underwear for Christmas... not the good kind.
Of course, the final details of the program won't be released for a few details. But I'd be chocked if the details were much different.
I had a few buddies from the "Kalbi Club" (the Korean dinner club we have) over for a poker game Saturday night. I think this may only be the second time I've had people over to the house for poker. Mostly because not that many of my friends play poker. When we used to live in Manhattan, we had a huge apartment and were centrally located so we would have a office poker game every few months.
God! Those guys at the desk were terrible at poker. Funny thing is, *I* would always be the one suggesting we play for smaller stakes, and the terrible players always wanted to play higher. I think about 65% of the 2+2 poker forums just lost any shred of respect they had for me, by not taking money from willing fish. I must've won over $5K off those those guys (that's over 50 BIs) in the dozen or so times we've played. Just goes to show you that just because you're good at weighing and taking risk in one arena (trading) doesn't mean you're good at another (poker).
I know a lot of poker players view the "home game" as an easy source of additional income, but I never want to take *a lot* of money from my friends or co-workers. I just think when you see people on a regular basis, you want to keep things friendly. You hear of "buddies" playing poker for their weekly pay checks, and that sh*t is just stupid. What kind of f*cking "buddy" is going do that? A real buddy will say, "dude, you need that money to pay your rent." Hmm... I think I just lost the other 35% of 2+2. Anyway, it's probably one of the many reasons poker has a bad image in society - too much publicity for the poker 'tards and not enough on the positive aspects of poker.
So we'll probably play with a $20 BI. Most of the people are in business or medicine, so this is going to be waaaay low stakes. Some of the guys seem pretty bad, but I think it would still be tough to lose more than $100 - a cost of a night out (unless you are Ricky "tasteful art" Mask, Andrew "ship a stranger $500" Song, Tuco "$3600 for a 'date'" Ramirez, etc), which I think is reasonable. Mrs. Fly's making appetizers, homemade chicken soup and pot roast for dinner, so it should be pretty awesome. I mean all that good food, beer and wine, and that's worth $100 right there.
Lately, I seem to be getting a lot of mentions. Rask and DamnRinger made a joint video on CardRunners (which was pretty good btw) and in their intro, they decided to poke fun at my "passive" playing style:
To be honest, there aren't many regulars who fold as many hands as I do who still win money. Not a brag, obviously.
So I thought I had a fairly tight image, but here's a hand I played in 6max that's had me a bit puzzled. Villain played 31/23 (laggy) and seemed to be 4betting a lot. So I thought the best pocket pair he could possibly have is TT-ish. Note we are 173BBs deep.
Preflop: Hero is SB with J, Q 1 fold, MP bets $12, 1 fold, Hero raises to $40, 1 fold, MP calls $28
Flop: ($84) 6, 5, 5 (2 players) Hero bets $54,
MP calls $54
Turn: ($192) 5 (2 players) Hero bets $134,
MP calls $134
River: ($460) 2 (2 players) Hero bets $460,
MP raises to $465.10 (All-In), Hero calls $5.10
Total pot: $1390.20 | Rake: $3 Main pot: $1390.20 between MP and Hero, won by MP
Hero had J, Q (three of a kind, fives).
MP had Q, Q (full house, fives over Queens).
Outcome: MP won $1387.20
Note to Rask and DamnRinger: had I FOLDED pre, I could have saved myself 173 BIG BLINDS!!! You crazies need to stop making coaching videos! :-P
Well, I guess I have to do this once in a while so that I can get paid off with my KK+. But it's pretty shocking a laggy player pre in 6 max could flat a hand as good as QQ there. Must mean I guess I should shove ATC over his frequent 4bets. Sigh. But again, poker is all about putting your opponent on a *correct* hand range and playing accordngly.
[Edit: Just realized he flatted QQ because we were deep. Double Doh!!!]
[Sorry to disappoint you all, but Mrs. Fly asked for a 1 week extension on her first post because she was swamped yesterday. So it'll be next Friday. Good help is so hard to find these days. Tsk tsk.]
Now that you all know we're Korean, I can talk about what we did the past few Saturdays. We enrolled G in a Korean school. I don't speak Korean that well... maybe like a 6 year old. So if you want to chat about whether I want another scoop of ice cream, I'm your guy! A discussion about Marx and Engels... maybe not. Mrs. Fly is pretty fluent but we were a little lax about teaching the kids Korean. Like they say... better late than never. I was thinking of getting one of those Rosetta Stone things and doing it with him at night, but I read on Amazon that the pronunciation and grammar was all messed up on some of the sections. Forget that! G can get bad pronunciation and grammar from me!
They also take the kids to a nearby Tae Kwon Do school, and do some other cultural activity in the afternoon, so it's all good. It's run by a Korean Presbyterian church, but the school is non-denominational. And it costs like $25 a day for 5.5 hours of Korean cultural activities. LOL. I guess those guys weren't business majors. You can't even get 2 hours of babysitting for $25. They seem like very nice people, so we'll probably do something nice for them at the end of the semester.
We had a little problem because G and two other kids were the only non-speakers. They were in their own beginner classroom, but apparently some little kid called G a "dummy" during one of the breaks. I will obviously have to teach G the Art of the Wedgie later this week. Grab. Lift. Pull. Repeat as necessary.
G loved taking Tae Kwon Do at his elementary school, but he said he hated it at this school. When I asked why, G said it was because the Master made you do push ups when you got out of line, and he makes you exercise for the whole hour of class. Times like this is when having a poker face comes in real handy, because I was able to keep my sympathetic look while bursting out laughing on the inside. In G's elementary school, the kids pretty much ran that class because the instructor established no form of class control - pretty much a classic case of inmates running the asylum. So I guess G must've thought that's what Tae Kwon Do was. It should be pretty entertaining when he gets to sparring. Mu ha ha ha.
HOW TO MAKE A GREAT STEAK (Part 3) - PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
There's more to a great dinner than just cooking the steak. Here are the full step-by-step instructions:
(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert. (3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman.
Here comes the important part:
(5) THE MAN PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL.
(6) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips the meat
Important again: (8) THE MAN TAKES THE MEAT OFF THE GRILL AND HANDS IT TO THE WOMAN.
(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
And most important of all: (11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off " and, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women!
And with that, we segue into Mrs. Fly's first post tomorrow!
Weird unusually choppy week. Considering how frustrated I got at various parts of the week, I guess I should be happy to be flat. I'm only at 64K hands for the month, so I have a looooong way to go if I'm going to make the top 17 of the rake race this month. I don't think it's going to happen this month - we're going fruit picking tomorrow and it looks like another busy weekend. Ugh.
So when you only have one out on the flop, you're 4% to win the hand. Here's a hand that I played the other day that's one of the most roller-coaster hands I've ever played.
HOW TO MAKE A GREAT STEAK (Part 2) - COOKING YOUR STEAK
Step 1: Bring the meat down to room temperature. I don't think I've seen any concrete rules for this, but we usually take the steak out of the fridge 0.5-1 hour for a 1" steak and 1-2 hours for a 2" steak. You obviously don't want to leave meat out or more than a few hours.
Step 2: Remove excess moisture from the surface of your steak. Take a paper towel and blot off the excess water / blood off of the surface. The excess moisture is going to steam your steak and impede getting a nice sear.
Step 3: Rub with oil, sprinkle salt and crust with pepper to taste. Those are all the ingredients you need!!! You can also use a butter / oil mixture, but we usually just use olive oil. Some people like to put various rubs, marinades or whatever. But IMO when you have a great piece of meat, you want as little on it as possible.
Step 4: You need a really hot heat source. Ideally, you should use a heat source that will also emit a smoky flavor to the meat - like a wood or charcoal grill. But that's kind of a mess. Most of the time, we grill our steaks and just use the highest setting. You can cook it on a range, but you probably want to use some pan that will really conduct heat well, like a cast iron skillet. I don't think an electric range gets that hot, but I guess it couldn't hurt to try.
Step 5: Cook your steak. I'm a little reluctant to give out times, because all set-ups are different. But on my Weber propane grill, I cook on high for 5 minutes a side for a 1" thick steak. For a 2" thick steak, I cook on high for 5 minutes a side and cook covered for 7 minutes a side on medium. You cook on high to sear the juices in, and you cook on medium until the center is how you like it (which I assume is medium rare).
Step 6: Check for doneness. You can get a meat thermometer for under $10, but I find them somewhat unreliable. Make sure you don't cook for longer than a few minutes more than the times I listed above, in case you have a spazzy thermometer.
Rare Steak – 125°
Medium-Rare Steak – 130° – 135°
Medium Steak – 140° – 145°
If you like your steak medium-well, you need to stop reading my blog and go hang out with the other dregs of society. Oh! All right! Medium-well is 150-155. If you like your steak well done, you need to GTFO. Seriously. :-P 160. Pull the steak off the grill when the temperature reaches 5 degrees LESS than the numbers above. This is because the steak continues to cook, even after you take it off the grill.
Step 7: Let the steak sit for 5-10 minutes. This lets all the juices redistribute within the steak.
HOW TO MAKE A GREAT STEAK (Part 1) - CHOOSING YOUR STEAK
IMO ribeye and porterhouse (strip + filet) are the two best premium steaks. Strip would be a close third, and the filet mignons are fourth. I do not consider sirloin a premium steak. Oddly, filet mignons are the most expensive of the steak cuts - I consider it the chicken breast of the beef world. If you ask your butcher what his favorite steak is, I think it will break out as 50% ribeye, 25% porterhouse, 15% NY Strip and 10% other. If your butcher says filet mignon is his favorite steak, then you need to find a new butcher. I'm completely serious. A corollary holds for chefs - if the chef's favorite dish contains chicken breast, then you need to leave the restaurant immediately.
Crappy Steak (not marbled)
Whenever I go grocery shopping with Mrs. Fly, I spend quite a bit of time staring at the meat counter while she is doing her thing. Daydreaming, as it were. And I'm always stunned at the meat selection process of some of the people who do the shopping. Don't be one of those 'tards at the meat counter looking for the *reddest* piece of meat. You don't necessarily need the hunks of fat, but you definitely need marbling for the steak to taste its best.
Awesome Steak (superbly marbled)
Most supermarkets only carry "USDA choice," but "prime" would be the next higher grade of beef. If you are unsure of what a good steak should look like, go look at the prime steaks - they usually cost almost 2x more than choice steaks. And that's because it better marbled - so look at the prime steaks to see what a good steak should look like. But even within choice and prime, there is a varying degree of marbling. Sometimes you can find a better choice steak than prime steak, altho it is rare. Get it?!? Rare!
It may be a *little* less healthy to get a well marbled steak, but IMO if you are going to have a steak, have a REAL steak. Just eat a smaller portion or have it less frequently. If you are still unsure of how to select a steak, get on friendly terms with your local butcher - they are a great resource. Mrs. Fly befriends all the local butchers - that's how we know most butchers prefer ribeye.
Yesterday, the family went to a local mall to do a little back to school shopping, to give D a carousel ride, and to have dinner. One of the reasons we like the West Nyack mall is because they have a bunch of family activities - movie theater, bowling alley, skating rink, carousel, ferris wheel and like a half dozen arcades (one of which has a mini roller coaster and mini golf). The closest mall to us has got to be the dumbest mall ever - plenty of Tiffany's, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, etc. but no bookstore or toy store. The only full service restaurant in there is PF Chang's, which is easily one of the worst chain restaurants out there. And they charge you a couple bucks to park there. Really?!?
We went to a few stores to get G some pants. I was shocked to find out that he wears a "husky" size, because to me he looks like a perfectly healthy normal-sized boy. Not too thin, not too fat. One store said they only carried normal sizes and that husky sizes are only on their web site. WTF?!? How can you not carry sizes for "normal" looking kids in your store? BTW, in case you think I'm delusional, I'm think I'm fat... and big boned.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Then we went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner. We hadn't been there in a long time, but they were offering happy hour drinks and appetizers. What kind of freak is going to say "no" to that?!? I think the food at the Outback is above average for a chain restaurant but I find it ironic that the *worst* things on their menu are the steaks. I've probably given them like 5 chances to impress me (usually with me saying "maybe it was just that branch" or "maybe it was just the ribeye") but every time, I leave thinking "how can you possibly call yourself a steak house and make a steak that tastes like that?!?" That just makes no sense. Since I can't have a steak, I looked at the menu and saw New Zealand lamb (that's where I first started liking lamb), so decided to give it a go. I was pretty disappointed to find that the "rules" that work on their steaks carries over to their lamb. Maybe they should change their name to Outback Appetizers Plus.
You pretty much have to be a spaz not to be able to grill a better steak than the Outback. Which got me to thinking... Since Mrs. Fly is "most likely" going to start posting next week, I thought I would kick off the cooking segment of the blog by posting how to make the NUMBER ONE EASIEST, BUT BEST MEALS out there... Can you guess what it is? (Hint above)
Alas, I'm running out of room in today's post, so I will continue tomorrow.