I Read A Lot

I read a lot. I don’t read many books – maybe one or two a year. I read non-fiction primarily and primarily my reading is done online.

In the past I’ve written about my online poker playing. During a tournament lasting a few hours, most of my time will be spent reading, only minding the poker table when it’s time to act.

There is a group of websites I frequent. I go to Drudge and Huffington, the New York Times, Digg, Slashdot, TVNewser… there are dozens more. It’s a long list.

Like everyone else, where I go at any given moment is pretty much a matter of luck.

With all those sites, it’s easy to loose track. It seemed like the right time to organize, so I’m trying out the Google Reader.

Most sites, even this site, publish feeds. Every time a news story is published, a new link is added to the feed. In a perfect world, the feed has enough of a summary to allow you to make an intelligent choice whether you wish to read it or not.

Google takes those feeds and integrates them into the reader. Now I have one page which shows me what’s new from dozens of sites. Even sites with sporadic new content can be included – sites you might not normally check on a regular basis.

Even on heavily traveled sites, finding new stuff isn’t aways easy. With a blog, this site as an example, everything is vertical with the newest entries on top – no sweat. On a site like Drudge or the NY Times, things are going in and out from the middle of the page. That’s a significantly larger challenge.

I figured, as long as I was doing this, I’d include all the topics I normally scour for. So, with news and technology pages are photography and graphics sites and lots of places that provide tutorials.

This morning when I turned on the computer, I took a look and found “100+” topics. Had I bitten off more than I could chew?

It took less time to scan them than I anticipated. In the end, I clicked on a half dozen entries that seemed interesting.

Over the next few days or weeks, I will discover which is the ‘better’ way to surf. Is it best to let your fingers carry you from site-to-site haphazardly? Maybe it’s better to have these summaries presented to you?

Google’s site is inviting, spiffed up with ‘Web 2.0″ features that allow the web page to be update with new data without being reloaded.

In any case, this is an interesting concept, though not a new one. My friend Mike (and I’m sure other friends) have been looking at feeds for a long time… well… long in Internet years.

I’ll try and report back if this is a worthwhile idea.

It’s Tournament Time

Though I had done well at casinos recently, my online poker playing had been pretty poor. In fact, since returning from Atlantic City I have only won $9 in a $5.50 ($3.50 net profit) tournament and then lost and lost and lost.

This afternoon while Steffie and Helaine were away, I decided to play in my favorite Pokerstars tournament. It is an $11 buy-in with a $10 rebuy and $10 add on.

OK – it’s obscure. I’ll explain.

In simple language, you buy in for $11 and get $1,500 in tournament chips. Then, as soon as you go below $1,500 (like after the first blind bet), you can buy in for $10 more and get $1,500 more tournament chips. After the first hour, if you’re still in, you can buy $2,000 more chips for $10 more. So, $31 gets you $5,000 in tournament chips.

Today 454 entered with 725 rebuys (you can rebuy more than once leading some players to be very aggressive during the first hour when rebuys are available) and 256 add ons. That’s $14,550 in prize money. The winner would get $3,637.50.

These tournaments pay off in a very non-linear fashion. The top 45 finishers get money, but the top three get as much as 4 through 45 combined!

I was up and down. At one point I was crippled when my Jacks over 4s full house was beaten by 4 – 4s! Still I managed to fight back. With around 120 players to go I was all in and nearly busted out. Then things turned.

The farther into the game I went, the more conservative I became. In a tournament the goal isn’t to win. The goal is to not lose.

I played over five hours, making it to the final table of nine. My last hand was an Ace King up against the player to my right who had two Aces. Oops.

Pokerstars Tournament #2157567, No Limit Hold’em

Buy-In: $10.00/$1.00

454 players

Total Prize Pool: $14550.00

Tournament started – 2004/07/31 – 16:30:00 (ET)

Dear ctwxman,

You finished the tournament in 6th place.

A $654.75 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

You earned 174.91 tournament leader points in this tournament.

For information about our tournament leader board, see our web site at



Thank you for participating.

We’re back around our high water mark and still winners since last August.