Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Preliminary Rake Opinion

Long time no blog.

Not much going on. I've been taking it pretty easy with poker. I've been way too distracted with rake change discussions. The IoM trip is over and reps are back and unfortunately getting flamed for making counter-intuitive statements after having seen Stars' data. I thought this was inevitable given the way the community tends to work which, apart from the unecessary delay and feeling like not much would be added than what was originally offered January 1st, was precisely why I turned down an invitation to go. I felt the logical outcomes were going to be one of:
  • Stars is telling the truth and we come back with the same as January 1st. This is the basically the reps' version although they say that Stars is actually taking a bit of a hit now in addition to making large maintenance concessions for this year as a gift for SN/SNE as a good faith measure for handling things so poorly in the first place.
  • Stars is not being truthful, would have a short chat with the reps and send them back not being able to say anything under an NDA and end up with the same as January 1st.
  • Stars is not being truthful and would present false data to the reps, sending them back with a good impression and ending up the same as January 1st. This has been the outspoken response by a significant portion of the community, effectively shooting the messenger which is only made worse by the fact that the reps were put in charge of making the annoucnement and therefore they put a target on themselves. These are Stars' decisions and they need to take the credit good or bad.

The one huge red flag that goes up for me is the statement that Stars was completely unprepared for the meeting and that they went through the raw data for the first time with the reps. It just sounds too unbelievable to me that a bunch of incompetents stumbled their way into a full scale monopoly on the industry without any player valuation metrics or revenue forecast tools, effectively being taught how to analyze their own data by the player reps and through trial and error for the first time at the meeting and relying on customer service up to this point. I would tend to think a company that large has some of the best number crunchers in the industry on their payroll.

That said, I do think the reps did as good a job as possible given the situation they were put in and I'm grateful to them for that.

Despite what has transpired here, and we're not completely sure yet as we're still waiting on official numbers from Stars, I would still be more than willing to attend a meeting in the future where the discussion isn't quite as urgent as the beginning of year changes require and now that people have a better idea what to expect out of them.


In non-poker related news, I'm trying to get back on the healthy eating bandwagon. I started at 238 lbs last summer and managed to drop 30 lbs by Novemeber. Unfortunately the holidays were not kind to me and I gained back 10 lbs. My goal is still to get down to a much more healthy 180 lbs which is about what I was in high school.

I stumbled across MyFitnessPal the other day and it's really opening my eyes to a lot of things and the app is super user friendly. My achilles heel is obviously Tim Hortons. Bye bye 500+ calorie breakfast sandwhiches known as the best tasting breakfast food ever invented, 150 calorie double-doubles and 300+ calorie fritters. Hello 50 calorie Splenda+Milk coffees and the occasional 220 calorie yeast based doughnut. Of course I could just drink my coffee black like I do at home, but I'm more addicted to that specific flavour that you can only get by mixing theirs with copius amounts of sugar and cream.

You hear a lot of people out there talking about just having to control portion sizes. While that may be true in that you can basically eat anything as long as it's small enough, it doesn't work for me. I just end up feeling hungry and it ends up not being worth it and discouraging. The key for me is going to be finding decent enough tasting food that's low in calories so that I can eat a better sized portion and say "close enough." I've been obsessed with MFP's food database for a few days now and am starting to slowly fill out a spreadsheet with substitutes:

  • Boston Pizza is out. Their cactus cut potatoes are definitely out. If I want pizza, thin crust Delissio or Dominoes is the way to go.
  • If I drink soft drinks it's going to be Coke Zero or Diet Dr. Pepper, both of which taste remarkably close to the real thing. But I am going to try to stick with my Crystal Light singles packs more than anything. Trying to drink straight water in sufficient amounts is a lost cause for me. I need flavour.
  • I've been avoiding McDonalds like the plauge since last summer. After going through a number of restaurant's menus over the past few days, they actually seem like the better deal cost and calorie wise if you stay on their value picks menu considering the sizes of the meals that you get everywhere else. If I go to Boston Pizza I'm inevitably going to end up paying $20+ and eating 1100 calories between appetizer, salad and pizza which is 2/3 of my daily intake. At McDonalds I can get a McDouble or a Junior Chicken, or even get one of each with a Coke Zero and be at 400-500 calories for the meal under $5 for less than 1/3 of my daily intake. Of course some people are going to be partial to what is considered good food, or at least better prepared food like at BP's, but I've always been somewhat of a processed food freak.
  • Eating at home is typically best overall as long as you stay reasonable there too. You're still better off running out for a cheeseburger if you're going to fry yourself a ham and cheese sandwhich at home. Homemade salads, sandwhiches, chicken, and fish and even hamburger seem best and I'm fairly happy about that.
  • I'm not much for snacks, but I do love chocolate, KitKat Chunky bars to be exact. Chocolate chip granola bars seem like a rather poor substitute but they are a 67% reduction. But I did find Quaker Oats Dipps, which are simply granola bars smothered in a layer of chocolate and I can definitely say close enough for a 50% reduction. The Black Diamond cheese strings my kids like are also surprisingly decent and rather filling and I really do like Sun-Rype Fruitsource bars.
As a general rule based on my spreadsheet so far, it looks like I'll be ok as long as I stick to meal items that are 250 or less, snacks at 150 or less, and beverages that are 100 or less with as many at 0 as possible. That will let me easily come in at 1800 per day and hit my goal weight in about 4-5 months.

As for exercise, I've been looking at the big picture as a simple EV calculation. 20 minutes of jogging is about 270 calories burned, the same as eating a doughnut. The enjoyment I get out of that stupid doughnut is less than the misery I get out of jogging for 20 minutes so maybe I should just say no to the doughnut and skip the exercise. But I do plan on getting some amount of exercise in, I was surpised that some of the numbers for Wii Sports are quite high -- Wii tennis comes in at 400/hour compared to real tennis, which I also enjoy immensely, coming in at 900/hour -- and that's something I could do with my family indoors in winter even though it's not quite as efficient as jogging. But it's still a win/win.

This whole health thing seems to be 80%+ what you eat and 20%- exercise when you look at just how much work is required to burn off small amounts of food so that's going to be my main focus for now. I did the original 30 lbs with zero exercise so I think this theory is correct although from what I understand there is some correlation between muscle mass and your Basal Metabolic Rate (how much you would burn if you stayed in bed doing nothing all day).

MFP had a nice little widget so I've gone and added that to my sidebar so I feel like I have some accountability to keep up to. Hoping to get down to my goal weight by later this summer.


  1. wii tennis cannot be 400/hour! i can sit down and beat anyone (as long as they serve in the first game)

    1. Come on Mudwig, you have to stand up and get into it. Especially if you have a 3 year old.