Category Archives: Games

3rd Place in Poker

There was a tournament today at school, and I got 3rd place. I guess there were around 50 people playing at the beginning, but I could be way off because I am horrible at estimating numbers of people (or distances). I didn’t play particularly well, so I’m surprised I got that far. I started at the final table as the short stack, so I guess it’s good, but I did have the chip lead at one point and I just bluffed it all away. I think I just didn’t pick good spots to bluff. I was probably showing too much weakness, and I didn’t particularly sniff weakness in my opponent. The hand where I went out, I think I just decided to go all in without really thinking. In retrospect, I didn’t even know what I thought my opponent had. That’s not a good sign. One other thing is that I’m not that good at estimating how much chips are worth to people. I don’t have a particularly good example off the top of my head from this tournament, but last time I played poker, I put the short stack all in, but I was bluffing. The short stack was pretty much pot-committed, so I think it was bone-headed to put him all in. When I’m real quiet, I think I’m harder to read, but sometimes I like to talk, and then I think I might be giving away too much information, especially perhaps from the way I sit in my chair. I need to more consciously think of my body language, etc, or find a way to make myself more consistent. I think a good thing would be to take a good time to think regardless of how good my hand is, unless I’m going to fold right a way. I should also look at my cards the same way every time. I’m considering just staring down my opponent every time I make an all-in bet. I also might need to mix up my play some more; I feel like I’m really predictable. One last thing: When there are two or three people left in a game, I tend to get careless. It’s good not to be so tense and to relax, but I shouldn’t let that translate into carelessness.

In any case, I got $25 worth of free Chipotle.

The Purity of Pool

In an overwhelming world, it’s sometimes good to take a break. Since I can’t jetset off to some far away land, I have to make do with other means.

Today, I played pool from 2PM to 1AM, with a 1 hour break for dinner and a 1 hour break for Battlestar Galactica. After I played for 4 hours, I was like, “I should just play the whole day.” So, I did.

And it was good.

Worst Hand of the Night: Smooth Call with the Nuts

I was watching PPT on the Travel Channel… actually, I’m still watching it. Has anyone noticed that when someone goes out, when there’s a showdown, there is a clapping noise? I didn’t even think about it at first, but then I was like, “Hey, there’s no audience there!” Did focus groups like it better with the fake clapping?

Anyway, this guy with the second best hand smooth calls on the river. (I apologize. If you don’t know anything about poker, you should probably stop reading.) That’s not what my title refers to, though. The way he played the hand reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to write about.

I caught a flush — an Ace-high flush on the turn. I was playing the hand such that my opponent definitely had no idea I had a flush. (Forgive me for forgetting the details.) Then, my opponent bets on the river and all I do is call. Horrible, horrible move! I should’ve looked at the cards and realized that there was no hand out there that could beat me. I had the “nuts”, so to speak. In that position, I definitely should’ve raised.

I still went on to win that small little tournament with some friends (with a little luck at one point beating pocket 9’s with pocket 8’s after going all-in pre-flop), but that’s no reason to be complacent about the way I played that night.

I hope to turn this into a regular feature on my blog, talking about the worst hand I played.

That’s Poker

Why you gotta do that to me Lady Luck?

I check-raised all in on the turn. My opponent put me on trips and thought he had a lot of outs, so he called. I actually had a straight. He catches the flush on the river. Agh.

Earlier that night, I actually had trips. Caught it on the flop. The turn card was a king, matching the top card on the flop. My opponent bets. He might have 3 kings. I call. The river is a queen. He checks. He’s got a certain look on his face. I check right behind him. His full house beats my full house.

I’ve learned to accept the bad beats. They’re a part of poker. They’re a part of why I love the game.

They still rattle me, though, so I had to document them here in the weblog to get them out of my head.


Let’s talk about something light-hearted before I return to global politics and the like.

I reminisced for about 2 seconds about SkiFree today. In case you don’t know, SkiFree was a game for Windows 3.1, where you ski around for a while until a monster with stick limbs eats you. Spark any memories? Well, if you’re a SkiFree fan, check out The Most Officialest SkiFree Home Page!.

What made me crack up was this e-mail the creator of SkiFree received:

“If this is the correct person, please tell me why the stupid fucking monster comes out from nowhere and eats my main guy before he gets to the bottom of the hill. Nothing personal, but this is Sunday morning & I really did not like the idea of getting eaten by the monster this early. What I am really trying to say is fix the program or stop making games for the likes of me, who can’t win. Actually, you ruined my day. Have a nice one, THE WOODMAN”

15 Games of FreeCell

Yesterday, I beat 15 games of FreeCell in a row. That’s right, 15. That took up a healthy chunk of my day, but I couldn’t stop. You have to keep going if you’re on a winning streak. So yeah, 15 games. I’m so awesome. (Special thanks to good luck charm Delora, haha.)

Tic Tac Toe Tidbit

Little known tic tac toe tidbit: Starting on the side is just as good as starting in the middle. With both starting points, there are four moves your opponent can make that will make you win.

List of Favorite Movies Part 2

Okay, I’m not going to list all the movies I like; that would take too long. Instead, I’m going to come up with a ranking system.

  1. crap
  2. bad
  3. slush (AKA OK)
  4. well done
  5. godly

Shall I explain?

  1. Crap refers to horribly bad movies. I hate them. That’s how bad they are.
  2. Bad means the movie was bad. For example: It could be a fun action flick, but the plot just hurt my logic-senses too much. Example: That one with Vin Diesel that I don’t want to name because it might attract comment spammers.
  3. Most movies fit in the slush pile. They’re just OK. I don’t particularly like them, but they’re not bad — it’s just that they’re forgettable. Comedy movies tend to go here. Example: Johnny English.
  4. Well done is a movie that is a step up from slush. I like it. The plot and characters mesh well. The cinematography is great. The action is well choreographed. Stuff like that. Examples: Finding Nemo is a well done movie. Lord of the Rings… well done movies.
  5. Godly movies are the ones I love. There’s just something epic about the quality. Example: Kill Bill. The music, the directing, the plot, the ending… all memorable.

As for the Top Ten from yesterday, I forgot to add Indiana Jones. And, I’d probably dump the Disney movies, but I don’t know for what.

I Suck at ARC

Rare is the day when I post twice in one day, but this is a very important announcement: I have not played ARC in years. They just turned on name registration not too long ago. So, I decided to play this online game wherein you fly a spaceship around a 2d board and shoot each other. I played, and I was everybody’s bitch. I ate a grenade for crying out loud. I was getting whipped by people who were critical and smoking. It was pathetic. I am pathetic. And now, I’m depressed.

Will I be turned away by this? I don’t know. I think I might play tomorrow, but next time, I’ll be prepared to suck so much.

A Revolving Door

I’m concerned by a little revolving door that’s ruining the lives of everyday Americans. It’s called the “Video Game-Movie Industry revolving door.” The jobs are similar, so people can just assume that they can go back and forth between the two industries. However, they just don’t think about the consequences.

Because of what they’re doing, millions of Americans are subjected to a double-dose of bad television commercials. Movie commercials are the most clichéd, bland, unoriginal ones out there. There is no difference between the style of two different movie commercials. Hell, nine times out of ten, they hire the same guy to do all the narration.

You’d think since video games are newer, more innovative, and less linear, they could break this mold of horrible commercial-making. However, they don’t. They are practically exactly the same. There are only two differences that you find in video game commercials: the clips are CG, and the end shows company logos instead of “in theaters now”. How come they can’t do any better? I’ll tell you why: Because of the revolving door!

My fellow Americans, please do not condone this practice and this injustice against us.


I heard from someone somewhere that they made the carpet colors all funny, so that you wouldn’t look at the floor. You’d look up, instead, at all the pretty slot machines and more. Now, I don’t know if this is true. If it is, though, I’m wondering why my dentist has the same type of carpet.

Many places are positioned so that you have to pass by the casino floor to get to them. This is another good strategy.

Well, when I finally get to the age when I can go-a-gamblin’, I don’t care to about all the suckering in they try to do, because I’m already suckered in. I love the casino games.

Just the allure of gambling, and the games, are the final trap.


Casinos are designed to be traps. Traps for your attention, you, and your money. If you’re visiting Las Vegas, you’re not going in for some quiet rest and relaxation. Noise. Action. Excitement. That’s what you want. And what does the casino do? It gives it to you.

Slots are mankind’s greatest money-sucking invention. Pull the lever, or push the button, either way, it’s all dictated by pure chance. Personally, I don’t see how people can sit in front of a slot machine all day long. At least other games give the illusion of skill. That’s okay. I don’t even like Roulette because I feel like there’s no skill. Anyway, the point is, people do play them. A helluva lot of people. There’s some damn many slot machines in a casino.

Slot machines are very useful to the casino, and not just because of the cash they rake in from all those suckers. First, they’re very noisy. They create a lot of sound, and that’s what attracts people. *Clink clink clink* The sound of coins noisily smacking into the bin there is classic casino sound effect. Next, they make very good decoration. They make a casino look very glitzy, and full. Full is important, because if a casino seems empty, no one will want to play there. Another thing slot machines do is direct traffic. They become part of the maze that is the casino floor and trap you inside, so it’s harder to find your way out. They’re positioned to provide maximum exposure, to allure you into playing them. They also keep you effectively trapped within the casino’s grasp, so you can keep playing other games. They isolate other players from the outside, so they feel enveloped within this casino world, and don’t see any reason to leave.

[tired, will continue tomorrow]

One more day… I can make it…

I’m just not up to writing today. Don’t feel like it. Perhaps tomorrow. School ends tomorrow, for me. I’m oh so very happy for freedom.

So, instead, I’ll just describe the card game I made up. I’m kind of happy with it now. It’s harder to explain using words, but I’ll try. You start out with 3 cards in the middle, with the middle one face-up and the other two face-down. Another card goes a little bit off to the side of those, face-down. The remaining cards are dealt evenly between two persons. This is only a two-player game. (I may try 3 later, ya never know.) The person may only look at the top five cards of their pile at a time, this portion is similar to the game called Speed. When both players agree to go, they flip over the two face-down cards, surrounding the face-up card, at the same time. Play commences. When a player is done with all his or her cards, he must take the card that was sitting off a little to the side and play it. When that last card is played, that player wins. If the other person plays all his or her cards before the person with the card from the side plays his card, then the person with no cards wins.

Here’s how play commences: on any of the three piles, you can play the same suit. You can play the same rank of a card on one pile on top of another pile. You cannot put down two of the same card on the same pile. On the middle pile, and only the middle pile, you can go ascending or descending by one rank.

I still don’t have a name for the game. So, if anyone’s got any suggestions, feel free to make them.

Well, if you’re still confoosled, you can add a comment here and I’ll see what I can add. I’m thinking of adding pics to augment the explanation.

New Card Game

All this glorious time to update and I just dilly-dallied and did nothing. Oh well. I didn’t have to study much today because I have English and band as my finals tomorrow. For English, I have a timed write, so I can’t study for that. We already did our band final with the seniors (who left a week early). I’m over halfway done with my finals. 5/8. Done: Band, Jazz, Moral Theology, French, and PE. Still left: English, AP Bio, Math.

I made up a new card game. I’ll describe it later. It might need a bit more refining. I’m getting into playing cards again because I’ve had more free time after finals. I’ll also have tons of free time on BART.

I think I’m going to continue a little with the topic of immortality tomorrow.

Oh, and Ian is officially my #1 fan for my weblog. He probably almost has as many comments as everyone else combined. Heh. Maybe you should think about getting your own weblog Ian. You could probably get some stuff at Moveable Type and then install it on your Fat Kid Running domain name. We could converse/debate in a non-comment form.


BS is a very fun game. I’m going to work on strategies and sleight of hand tricks over the summer to make myself the ultimate master of that game. I had this guy who was undefeated beat, but then he quit before he was beaten. He stalled until we had to get off the bus. GRAH!

Tomorrow: blog on “immortality”

Effect of Violence in Video Games

I’m posting an essay I wrote for english. I actually have another essay due tomorrow which I’ve done nothing on, and it’s already 10 o’clock. Whee!

What is the Effect of Violence in Video Games?

Heads being blasted apart by sawed-off shotguns with the accompanying blood flying all over the place is just another scene in many video games. Critics of violence in video games claim that these video games cause kids and adults to become desensitized to violence and their nature to be more aggressive and violent. They even go so far as to say that a video game caused the Columbine school shooting in 1999. If this were true, the widespread influence of video games with violence can and will cause many more deaths in the future. However, there are also those who defend video games, stating that people know video games do not represent reality and thus would not imitate what is happening. Despite their rising realism, evidence points to video games not causing violence and have been shown to be helpful rather than detrimental.

No substantial correlation between video games and violence has ever been demonstrated in a laboratory or real life setting. In “Virtual Violence and Real Aggressiveness; Is There a Correlation?” by Marc Saltzman, it quotes a figure offered by the FBI’s Unified Crime Report that says, “violent crime has decreased by almost 20 percent between 1991-97, and juvenile violence is down 40 percent from 1993-1997 just as video games sales became the fastest-growing segment of the American entertainment industry” (1). Clearly, if video games were causing violence, there would be an increase in juvenile violence. An increasing number of kids would have been adversely affected by an increasing amount of video games available. These kids would have contributed to an increase in violent crimes, if there were a link. Video games cannot be causing any rise in violent behavior because there is no rise in violent behavior. Additionally, violence is not dependent on a game, because “video games and computers are not inherently positive or negative; like all technology, they are neutral. Their effects depend on how they are used” (Saltzman 2). Video games cannot be inherently evil, as are things such as genocide. They do not cause violence, only the people playing them can. Any normal person can distinguish between real violence and video game violence and their subsequent consequences. Violent tendencies are in the mind before the video games are played; video games do not teach violence.

Video games can serve as a tool for education, not violence. An article titled “Center’s Study Shows Video Games Can Be Beneficial” by Edward Chiao cites that “avid computer gamers showed higher levels of visual attention and spatial representation than non-gamers — skills necessary in today’s science and technology world” (1). In only focusing on violence within video games, the opposition fails to see the inherent benefits. Evidence between video games and learning has been readily linked, while the link with violent behavior is still insubstantial. Video games have been shown to have more good than bad. This applies to all games, not just games that are considered “educational.” Moreover, Kurt Squire in “Cultural Framing of computer/Video Games” cites another study where, “[i]n 1985, Mitchell gave Atari 2600 consoles to twenty families and found that most families used the game systems as a shared play activity. Instead of leading to poor school performance, increased family violence, or strained family interactions, video games were a positive force on family interactions” (2-3). This information touts video games while also disproving violent behavior as a result in video games. More studies could show even more convincingly how video games can help all members of families, which would further prove the benefit of video games. Again, there was no special emphasis on the games being deemed “educational;” the system itself helped families. The article also goes on to say: “[D]rawing analogies between symbolic representations in the game and their real-life analogs is one of active interpretation, and suggests that students might benefit from systematic explanations or presentations of information. In similar research in anchored instruction and problem-based learning environments, John Bransford and colleagues have found that students perform best when given access to lectures in the context of completing open-ended complex problem solving tasks” (Squire 5-6). Those who oppose violence in video games completely disregard the fact that video games can be used to teach kids how violence is wrong. Game players drawing analogies between real life and video games know that what happens in the video games is fantasy and would know not to do that in real life. Energy used for criticizing video games because of their violence, which is not even related to real-life violence, would be better used by providing resources to help use video games as a learning tool. Indeed, children occupied with games and education will be less likely to commit a crime.

Violence is becoming increasingly realistic in video games, but this, and other arguments put forth by the opposition, still fails to establish a clear causal correlation between the two. Researchers asked college students to play either Wolfenstein 3D, a violent game, or Myst, a non-violent game, then were told to punish opponents with noise blasts, and the researches found that “those who had played the violent game tended to use longer noise bursts” (Saltzman 1). However, this statement is unshakably refuted by the fact that the difference in bursts was .16 seconds (Squire 2). Certainly, a difference of a mere .16 seconds does not constitute a substantial augmentation in aggressive behavior. The difference is so small that it could even go the other way if the experiment were repeated again with more people. Eugene F. Provenzo Jr., in his article “Violence in Video Games is a Serious Problem,” states, “[G]ames that employ a first-person shooter model represent a significant step beyond the tiny cartoon figures that were included in Mortal Kombat in the mid-1990s. In fact, there has been a continuous evolution of the realism of these games as computing power has increased and become cheaper” (3). It is irrefutable that the violence in video games is becoming more real. Yet, since there is not causal link, the level of violence in video games is irrelevant. The principle of realism is not only applied to violence, but to other aspects of the game, such as more intelligent reactions by enemies. Increasing realism is a technique employed to make a game more fun. Dave Grossman, with his article “Violent Video Games Teach Children to Enjoy Killing,” makes an argument that “individuals that law enforcement agents face are ever-more trained, ever-better qualified, and they are concerned that children have their own private police-quality firearms training sitting in the arcade and they are able to play it” (3). Saying that video games produce better-qualified criminals is akin to saying racing video games can produce great NASCAR drivers. Furthermore, video game systems come packaged with controllers, not guns, and computers come with keyboards and mice. The objects commonly used to manipulate video games significantly differ too much from guns to possibly provide any increased gun-handling ability. Games and real life are completely different. Even if games were to help, those using video games as training tools would have figured this out beforehand, thus still invalidating the premise that it is the video games which cause violent behavior.

Evidence for correlations between violent behavior and video games have failed to show up, while evidence for correlations between learning and video games have shown up. Video games do contain violence. Yet, it cannot cause such a thing as a school shooting because there is no causal relationship. In fact, violence has gone down in recent years. There are those who are trying to say video games are wrong, but they themselves must be shown to be wrong. Otherwise, the benefits of video games, such as education, will never be fully realized. No half-truths, such as in the aforementioned study involving punishment times between different games, can ever disprove that video games do not cause violence.

Works Cited

Chiao, Edward. “Center’s Study Shows Video Games Can Be Beneficial.” South End 19 Mar. 2003. 22 May 2003 .

Grossman, Dave. “Violent Video Games Teach Children to Enjoy Killing.” Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale Databases. Infotrac. Moreau Catholic High School Lib. 22 May 2003 .

Provenzo, Eugene F., Jr. “Violence in Video Games Is a Serious Problem.” Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale Databases. Infotrac. Moreau Catholic High School Lib. 22 May 2003 .

Saltzman, Marc. “Virtual Violence and Real Aggressiveness: Is There Correlation.” Gannett News Service 20 June 2000. SIRS Researcher. SIRS Knowledge Source. Moreau Catholic High School Lib. 22 May 2003 .

Squire, Kurt. “Cultural Framing of Computer/Video Games.” Game Studies. 22 May 2003 .

20 Questions AI

Try out this version of 20 Questions. A computer AI gives you questions and tries to guess what object you’re thinking of. You can get some pretty funny results, even when you answer truthfully.

For example, I was thinking of a nightstick and it asked if police used this and I said yes. Later on, it asks if it would be found on a farm. Have fun with this. If I get any hilarious results tomorrow, I’ll post it.

Quick Blurb on Video Game Violence

I’m doing a research paper on violence in video games. Unfortunately, we can only use data from 6 papers. At least we chose those 6 ourselves. When we have completed this paper, I will post mine on this weblog. After I’m done, I may take it upon myself to add data from other sources and write a new version (not for school, just for here).

The quick statement I wanted to make was about people thinking video games teaches people how to kill, even going so far as to say it improves one’s accuracy with a gun. Their statements’ accuracies are far from good. Can moving a mouse or joystick to make the cursor move from one side of the screen to the other really improve your accuracy with a real gun? Even with gun-shaped controllers, the distance from the screen is very small. I’ve played duckhunt using a projector and even then I couldn’t have been further than 5 yards away. And one tries not to shoot at the screen from an angle. Using a controller that looks more like a sci-fi laser gun is really far from using a real gun. Aiming is different, the way you hold them is different, and there’s no recoil. It just doesn’t seem to work.

Schools vs. Video Games

There’s a very interesting article I read about how video games are better teachers than the current school system. I found this article through Lloyd who found it through someone else.

I agree with the article.

The article says, “Also, good videogames incorporate the principle of expertise. They tend to encourage players to achieve total mastery of one level, only to challenge and undo that mastery in the next, forcing kids to adapt and evolve.” Schools aren’t pushing kids to the limit. If I work hard and try to get 100 in the class, but I am lazy and still get an A, which choice am I going to choose? Hm. Less work, same result… Or, more work, same result.

I’m also reminded how in certain games, one can keep trying to improve their score. To a lesser extent, this is shown in my quest to become Minesweeper King. (And now I’ve upgraded that quest to Minesweeper Messiah — more on that later.) School doesn’t encourage this. Once you’ve studied a topic. Bam! — You’re done with it. Memorization complete. Information DISCARDED! Meanwhile, replayability is highly valued in video games. Kids keep coming back for more. Kids actually learn from it. Information NOT discarded!

The author touts video games and goes on to say, “Schools, meanwhile, respond with more tests, more drills, and more rigidity.” Is it a wonder that so many kids don’t like school, yet so many kids like games? So many kids can drill a topic into their heads, but many, when faced with a slight variation, have no idea what’s going on. With video games, you must wonder what the next boss will do. My friend has a crap cell phone with only one game. I’m forgetting the name, but it’s one where you have a paddle, similar to pong, but you’re hitting it up at bricks on top. Anyway, the game has 3 levels, but once you’ve completed them, the same levels repeat over and over. With no variation. This game is obviously not fun. Not surprisingly, school is often not fun either.

Often in school, there are no alternate solutions to a problem. Open ended video games are becoming increasingly popular. Even with older video games, there were secret areas you could unlock. Ah, the satisfaction of finding a hidden area… there’s nothing like it in school. Creativity should be encouraged in school, not memorization.

“Cognitive scientist Andy diSessa has argued that the best instruction hovers at the boundary of a student’s competence. Most schools, however, seek to avoid invoking feelings of both pleasure and frustration, blind to the fact that these emotions can be extremely useful when it comes to teaching kids,” the article states. Shouldn’t it be intuitive “that the best instruction hovers at the boundary of a student’s competence”? A mind must be exercised, or else it atrophies, just like a muscle. Would a kid learn more if he were taught easier or harder information? Obviously, the student learning more difficult information will learn more than the student learning simple information.

There’s a couple of underlying issues in the incompetency of the current school curricula. One: not using failure as a learning tool. Two: the emphasis on memorization over application. I’m running out of time here, and bleeding into a different topic, so those issues will be discussed tomorrow, with a reprint of the first part of this paragraph.