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Scarier than a busted gut-shot draw...

Still no poker on my end - though I'm sure this is no surprise to any of you with two kids under the age of two! Sometimes I wonder what the hell my wife and I were thinking. And then, I look over at my two boys and I know that I wouldn't have it any other way! They are without a doubt the very best of all things in my life, along with my wife.

However, this post is not about family. It's about my Xbox 360! In honour of Hallowe'en, I thought I'd post about some of the scarier games coming to a next-gen console near you.

The following was cross-posted at The Greedy Gamer:

Since the birth of my first son just over a year ago, I've found that it takes quite a bit for a video game to scare me. After getting less than 5 hours sleep for well over one year's time, I find that I'm just not as jumpy anymore. What used to terrify me just isn't that scary anymore - probably because I'm half asleep at the best of times.

In my opinion, the scariest game that I've ever played (and finished) is Condemned: Criminal Origins. It's the perfect blend of spooky environments, jump scares, gruesome imagery, and gripping story. There were a number of times when I'd find myself contemplating putting down the controller rather than wander down a dark hallway or investigate an abandoned department in order to give my heart a rest. It's never a good sign when you can't hear the game over the sound of your own heart beat.

Although BioShock, Clive Barker's Jericho, and Dementium:The Ward all have their fair share of frightening scenes, I don't think any of these titles comes close to delivering the terrifying thrills of Condemned: Criminal Origins. So now I'm left to wonder if 2008 will be any different? Are there any games coming out that will make me poop my pants due to the sheer terror I'll watch unfolding on the screen?

Let's see...

Capcom pretty-well invented the survival-horror genre with Resident Evil. Next year, Capcom is back and ready to challenge for the title of scariest game with Resident Evil 5. The extended trailer below shows a game with great graphics and great atmosphere. If the game can live up to the hype, horror fans and Resident Evil fans should be in for a treat (hopefully) next year.



EA is ready to throw its hat into the survival-horror genre with Dead Space. The game's premise involves a large planet-cracking ship - the USG Ishimura - that goes silent and Isaac Clarke, an engineer, is sent in to fix things up. When Isac reaches the Ishimura, he realizes that there is something far worse than a simple systems' failure on his hands. Judging from the clip below, Dead Space is poised to scare the living daylights out of gamers in Q3 2008.



I've only played one Silent Hill title (Silent Hill 2) and my reaction to the game can be best described as "WTF?!". Unlike some horror games that rely almost exclusively on jump scares, Silent Hill excels equally well in creating creepy environments, disturbing imagery (e.g. Pyramid Head vs. Legs), and nightmare-inducing creatures. Silent Hill 5 will undoubtedly raise the bar for survival-horror games yet again. If I play this game, it'll be with the lights while in the company of my wife and kids (eyes and ears shielded, of course). Although I don't think Silent Hill 5 will be the scariest title next year, it's right up there with the best of 'em.



I think the scariest game next year will be Condemned 2: Bloodshot. Watching the video below and perusing the various screen shots that have emerged have convinced me of one thing: Condemned 2 will be scary as f*ck! Not only will Bloodshot have the jump scares that will cause me to throw my controller across the room: it also has creepy subject matter. Hunting down serial killers and investigating the causes of an evil spreading throughout society are all terrifying when coupled with solid gameplay and creepy locales.



After reading about these games, browsing the screen shots, and watching trailers and gamplay videos, I only hope that my fatigue levels remain high enough to desensitize me to the horror I'll be facing in these games. A couple weeks of solid sleep and I may lose my nerve...


Here's hoping that everyone has a safe and fun Hallowe'en. For those of you attending parties, please have a drink for me. I think I'll be spending most of my evening driving my kids from grandparent to grandparent or possibly handing out candy to the kids in my neighborhood.

Keep reading "Scarier than a busted gut-shot draw..."

A Night Out

It was a cold and rainy night. Yet inside our house, the temperature was stable at a balmy 72 degrees to keep my newborn son happy. As I fed him his after-dinner bottle, he looked up at me, completely at peace, completely relaxed.

I seized the opportunity to ask him a single question:

"Do you think it would be okay if Daddy played some poker tonight?"


His answer?


Actually, his true response to my question was a bout of crying that lasted for well-over six hours; however, I'd rather not subject my readers to the dulcet sounds of a baby's crying fit.

To be honest though, my weekend was pretty good. No poker and very few video games were played - but I did get to attend a wedding with my wife. It was a well-deserved chance for the both of us to rejoin society and get another taste of what life was like before kids. I enjoyed having a drink with my wife in a bar, without the threat of our kids' screaming or crying blanketing the whole affair with nervous energy. And it was nice to eat dinner at a leisurely pace instead of wolfing it down while bouncing a baby in one arm.

Mind you, it was great to get home, pop up to the kids' rooms, and see them sleeping peacefully...

Keep reading "A Night Out"

Klopzi 2, eBay 0

Some of you might recall some bitching I did earlier this week in regards to eBay and the questionable purchasing strategies being used by my fellow auction afficianados. Well, I've finally managed a bit of revenge and have managed to score a few bargains of my own.

The following was originally posted at The Greedy Gamer:

After a long stretch of losing auction after auction on eBay, I've managed to score two games in the space of a few days. The first, The Godfather, was won earlier this week. I first discussed me "victory" here.

And today, I managed to pick up a premium title from eBay. For a while now, I've really been looking forward to playing The Darkness. Given the disparity in review scores from review site to review site, I was a little hesitant to pay full price for the game.

After playing The Darkness's demo on my Xbox 360, I decided that I liked the game and started actively searching for a good deal on eBay.

Earlier today, I managed to buy a used copy of The Darkness for $22 USD on eBay. Even with the $5 shipping and handling, I think I walked away with a real deal here.


Ok, that's it for this week. I wish I could play some poker this weekend but I'm still feeling quite tired and I have a wedding and pumpkin carving party to attend. I would like to mention that I've considered going back to the no-limit cash games again and playing some short-stacked $100 NL. Smart or suicidal? I guess we'll see when I have the time to gamble it up again!

Have a great weekend!

Keep reading "Klopzi 2, eBay 0"

Four

Since I'm not playing any poker, I figured I'd give this whole "Four" thing a try. I have nothing else to say, so let's dive right in!

Four Jobs I've Held

  1. Gas Station Attendant
  2. Video Store Clerk
  3. Software Developer
  4. Consultant


Four Films I Could Watch Over and Over
  1. Tommy Boy
  2. Happy Gilmore
  3. The Empire Strikes Back
  4. The Matrix


Four TV Shows I Watch
  1. The Office
  2. Heroes
  3. House
  4. X-Play


Four Places I've Lived
  1. Toronto, ON
  2. Ottawa, ON
  3. Kingston, ON


Four Favorite Foods
  1. Bacon Cheeseburgers
  2. Poutine
  3. Lasagna
  4. Ice Cream


Four Websites I Visit Daily
  1. Google Reader
  2. GameSpot
  3. 2+2 Forums
  4. eBay.ca


Four Favourite Colors
  1. Blue
  2. Green
  3. Black
  4. Red


Four Places I'd Love To Be Right Now
  1. At home
  2. Anywhere else as long as my wife and kids are there with me


Four Names I Like But Wouldn't Name My Children
  1. Indiana
  2. Vader
  3. Victor
  4. Korben


Four Favorite Books
  1. It
  2. The Stand
  3. The Eye of the World
  4. Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Well, I think this list proves one thing: I'm a pretty boring individual. Oh well, it gives me time to focus on being a good husband and father, I guess.

Keep reading "Four"

all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy

All work and no play makes Klopzi a dull boy. Throw in "no sleep", "no booze", and "spending hour upon hour in a vain attempt to put together a baby swing that probably won't get used because the baby is always so upset that the very thought of placing the baby in the swing and listening to his anguished screams of agony and terror is far too much to bear" and you can see that I might be going a little crazy.

Poker? What's that? There's no poker for me anymore. Is it possible to play at least reasonably well with only five minutes of free time a night? I'm not even talking about a solid five minutes of time either: my free time comes in the form of 10 second breaks that occur over the course of an entire exhausting evening.

I thank God that I'm not doing this alone. My wife is a real trooper and handles the brunt of the attack as best she can given the fact that she isn't getting all that much sleep and even less down-time.

Luckily, our first son is probably the best little boy in the world and hasn't made a fuss about anything. He eats when it's time to eat, he sleeps when it's time to sleep, and he even lays still during diaper changes.

I can't wait for our second child to follow in his big brother's footsteps. That will be a great day indeed and will probably mark my triumphant return to the world of online poker, assuming that it still exists and is still profitable.

I really hope that those PPA guys clean things up in Washington this week. Wouldn't it be great if the glory days of online poker could return?

Maybe I'm dreaming...not surprising given how tired I am...

Ok, well good night...or good morning...or whatever. Honestly, time has lost all meaning for me, as have algebra, grammar, and looking both ways before crossing the street....

...all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy...

Keep reading "all work and no play makes klopzi a dull boy"

Comfortable Console Gaming

The Ultimate Gaming RigIf there's one thing that can be said about my many hobbies is that I try to cause as little disruption or discomfort to my family. In the case of poker, a laptop solved all my problems. In the case of my Xbox 360, things were a little more complicated. Throw a new baby into the mix and I had to get a little creative...

The following was originally posted at The Greedy Gamer:

I mentioned yesterday that many of my recent Xbox 360 achievements do not have associated date and time stamps. The reason? I don't stay connected to Xbox Live while playing any games. The change happened recently when I decided to move all my gaming paraphenelia up to the master bedroom in preparation for the birth of my new son. I knew that I didn't want to run up and down two flights of stairs every time my son started crying from the nursery. And so, with my wife's blessing, I turned my side of the master bedroom into a technological wonderland.

Most people probably find themselves using their Xbox 360s in a fairly standard fashion: one Xbox 360, an HD-compatible TV, a 5.1/7.1/9.1 digital surround sound receiver and speakers, an Internet connection, and a couch. While this might work for most, it doesn't quite work for my needs.

In my case, I needed a setup that would allow me to play video games while allowing my wife to watch TV and let my kids sleep without the nice rumble of a subwoofer. And I also wanted a setup that could be more-or-less portable should I need to move my Xbox 360 to a different location in our TV room or even move my console into an altogether different room in our house. Luckily this foresight on my part has really helped me squeeze in the most gaming possible given very little free time.

My gaming "station" comprises the following parts:

  1. Xbox 360: Obviously...
  2. Acer 19" Widescreen LCD Monitor: Without an HD television to use with my Xbox 360, I picked up a solid but fairly inexpensive widescreen LCD monitor with a good contrast ratio and a low response time. The monitor allows me to move pretty easily from room to room with my Xbox 360 as required.
  3. Intec Cooling Station: The master bedroom is about 5 degrees Celsius warmer than the TV room in the basement. And as everyone knows by now, the Xbox 360 runs pretty hot! With my Intec cooler, I don't concern myself with heat issues: the Intec cooling station keeps my Xbox 360 as cool as a cucumber.
  4. 5.1 Digital Surround Sound: This piece of the puzzle was definitely the trickiest to find and the most expensive accessory to help me get the most out of my gaming experience. Sony created a little black box that decodes digital sound signals and pushes the sound through to a pair of headphones that contain 4 speakers with enhanced bass. The end result is that I can get digital surround sound without bothering anyone around me: that's good for my wife and even better for any babies who happen to be sleeping nearby. It's a little ironic that Sony managed to create a fantastic piece of audio hardware that allows me to get the most out of my Microsoft Xbox 360 console...
  5. Internet connection: When I discovered that an Xbox 360 wireless ethernet adapter cost over $100, I was pretty pissed off. I really wanted to be able to connect to Xbox Live from my bedroom; however, my wireless router was in the basement and I wasn't about to spend $100 to get an adapter that should've been included as an internal console component. Thankfully, I came across this article that showed me how I could share my laptop's wireless Internet connection with my Xbox 360. Although I don't like to keep my laptop on while I play (the dualing fans of my laptop, the Xbox 360, and the Intec cooling station is way too loud), I now have the ability to upload my achievements to Xbox Live. Sure, the timestamps are not included with the update and my 360 Voice blog doesn't register that I've played any games - but at least I get my gamerscore updated for all to see! And if I happen to pick up any new games in the near future, I'll be able to get any Live Updates for the game as required.
  6. Couch: Who needs a couch when you've got a bed? Once I've wheeled my monitor into position, I can play comfortably while sitting in bed. The only downside is that any Doritos that go astray end up in all sorts of awful places after I've slept on them overnight. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before my wife outlaws chips and other messy foods in bed. In my defense, that time I spilled an entire bowl of ice cream into the bed was an honest mistake that could happen to anyone jumping excitedly into bed with a dessert in one hand and a TV remote in the other.
  7. Portable Desk: Basically a desk on wheels. By placing my LCD monitor atop this desk, I can wheel all gaming necessities into position when it comes time to play.
Although some of you might argue that my setup is not optimal for a great gaming experience, I really like the way everything is working. I get a great widescreen picture with full digital surround sound while also spending some time laying in bed with my wife and kids close at hand.

And now, I'm off to play...

Keep reading "Comfortable Console Gaming"

Sold!

I sometimes find myself wondering what your average "eBay-er" is thinking! With a bunch of money sitting in PayPal, I've been desperately trying to buy some Xbox 360 games via eBay. I say "trying" because I can't seem to win a single auction!

When I spot a game that I'd like to bid on, I first visit BestBuy's site to determine the current retail price of the item. From there, I make a few more adjustments to the amount that I'm willing to bid:


  1. Most importantly, I subtract the shipping and handling charges from my maximum bid. I will never pay more than retail price for anything I buy off eBay. And buying a game for $15 less than retail price makes very little difference if the S&H charges exceed $20.

  2. If the game is used, I'll take an additional $5 - $10 off my maximum bid. If I buy a used game, I expect a little wear and tear on my item. If I were to buy a used game from EB Games, I could return my purchase for exchange if the game I bought happened to be too damaged. Unfortunately, this same level of service is not easily obtainable for online purchases - especially for those made via an auction site such as eBay. The $5 - $10 that I take off my bid is simply a way for me to feel good about my purchase should any annoyances arise after the used game arrives by mail.
Now here's the problem: every time I make a reasonable bid, someone comes in at the last minute and overpays for the item. Is this some sort of a macho-bullshit-type-thing where someone really wants a game and is willing to pay more than retail price simply to win the auction?

Recently, I made a bid of $22 for F.E.A.R. - basically a scary first-person shooter game. The shipping and handling charges for the item were $7.95; I was basically willing to pay $30 for a used copy of F.E.A.R.. In stores, F.E.A.R. sells for anywhere between $35 and $40. I lost the auction when two guys (or gals, I guess) came in and drove the price up to $37 before the auction ended. Why would anyone overpay for an item this way? Either one of these bidders could have ordered the game brand-new from BestBuy or Amazon and had it shipped for the same amount that they bid for a used eBay version of the game.

So I started looking into eBay bidding strategy tips to see if someone could explain this phenomenon. The only piece of advice I found encouraged savvy eBay-ers to wait until the last hour to start bidding. WTF?! I really don't understand this logic. If there's an item that I want, I place my maximum bid on the item and forget about it. I don't want to change my bid once it's been placed since I don't want to give in to the "gotta win it" mentality that others seem to display. And I definitely don't want to get involved in a last-minute bidding war either. I guess this advice makes sense if you're trying to win an item for very little money; however, I'm just trying to pay retail price for a damned game!

Anyway, I guess I'm just frustrated with the whole process. Just like my recent sit-and-go performance, my success rate at winning eBay auctions has dropped quite low. I'm currently riding a 0/20 bidding streak right now.

I'd be a little more upset if I didn't have a stack of fifteen games sitting at home waiting to be played...

PS: Still no poker played this weekend. I never got more than 30 minutes of uninterrupted free time all weekend. Worst-case scenario? I find some time to play poker in early summer of 2008...

Keep reading "Sold!"

The Scatman

I was just looking around for some music and happened to find the song Scatman. Although I've heard this song a number of times, I still remember when I first heard it.

I was smack-dab in the middle of my university education. I was bored one night and everyone I knew was either busy or too lazy to do anything. For the first time in my life, I went to see a movie by myself.

The movie I watched was Nothing to Lose, a 1997 comedy featuring Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence. Although the movie itself was fairly typical fare, there was one scene that had me and the rest of the theatre laughing out loud.



That scene cracks me up every time!

Scatman John, who wrote and sang the 1994 hit "Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)", looked nothing like you'd expect (pictured at the top of this post). I've embedded the Scatman video for you below.



If you'd like to have your very own copy of the song, why not check out Google to see where you can buy it?

Keep reading "The Scatman"

Absolute Scandal

I tend to stay clear of playing any poker when I'm as tired as I am today. Last night, my first born decided that he wasn't going to sleep and that's all there was to it. Although I managed to win the battle of wills after a two hour stand-off, I'm now exhausted while my son's energy levels have been completely recharged after a good night's sleep. For what it's worth, I have a funny feeling that this not-sleeping-thing is only going to get worse over time and that frightens.

But you know what else frightens me? The filthy cheating that's gone on unnoticed at Absolute Poker until recently.

Is it possible that you haven't heard about the scandal? Here's the short-version: someone once affiliated with Absolute Poker found a way to login to the poker network using a super-user account which allowed him to see each players' hole cards at his table. Pretty brutal...

If you want full details from reputable news sources, read here, here, and here.

If you'd like to see how the 2+2 community is reacting to this news, try here and here.

It's hard to imagine just how badly Absolute's users were cheated. Below are four videos of a $1000 buy-in tournament (don't hold me to that exact number though) where Absolute Poker's "POTRIPPER" is logged in with the super-user account and tearing up the tables. Please note POTRIPPER's complete and utter lack of subtlety. I'd have played a little differently myself since a VP$IP of close to 100% is pretty suspicious when you also happen to win most of the pots you play.

The four videos below demonstrate POTRIPPER's cheating, super-user ways. The hands are being played through a hand re-player, in case you were wondering why the video does not show Absolute Poker's tainted logo in any way.









Anyway, I just thought you'd like to watch those videos. It's just brutal to watch. I feel so bad for the guys and gals getting screwed over by this absolute prick.

And unless I happen to get a hold of a super-user account myself, I'll probably be unable to hit the tables this weekend. This whole "baby" thing is really eating into my free time and my sanity and I'd rather not burn another few hundred dollars from my bankroll in a desperate attempt to please my readers. Instead, I plan on playing Saints Row (Xbox 360's only "murder simulator" until GTA IV comes out next year), watching TV with my wife, and playing with my kids.

Have a great weekend! I'll be back on Monday as tired as ever, I'm sure...

Keep reading "Absolute Scandal"

The Greedy Gamer: Halo 3 vs. BioShock

Whether or not you're a fan of video games, I can guarantee that you'll find the videos below pretty damned funny!

The following is an excerpt from a post at The Greedy Gamer:

As a known Xbox 360 gamer, I get asked one question quite a bit: what do you think of Halo? In my mind, there are two types of gamers: those who like online multiplayer games and those who couldn't care less about fragging and pwning n00bs. Can you guess to which camp I belong?

I've never understood the unconditional love that many gamers feel towards Halo. I played Halo on the Xbox and was greatly underwhelmed. I remember playing through a good chunk of the game and desperately wondering why everyone loved this game so much. I was told that I had to play the online multiplayer to truly appreciate Halo.

You know what? Listening to thirteen year olds spout off as many naughty words and racial slurs as they can whilst shooting me in the face does not increase my appreciation of a game. Maybe I'm too old to appreciate how great Halo can be when played to a soundtrack of f-bombs.

And that's why, when recently presented with the choice of buying Halo 3 or BioShock for full price, I chose BioShock. Sure, BioShock has swearing in it...but it also has a story. It has atmosphere. It looks great! It plays great! And when it comes to racial slurs, I'm not offended by the term "filthy splicers", "spliced up", or "Adam pumper".

And before you slam me down for bashing Halo, please know that I'm not the only one out there who shares this opinion. In fact, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw over at Fully Ramblomatic.com has made a couple video reviews of both Halo 3 and BioShock. I highly recommend watching each review below as they are both extremely insightful and unbelievably hilarious.

Yahtzee reviews Halo 3: (courtesy of The Escapist)



Yahtzee reviews BioShock: (courtesy of The Escapist)



Too funny...

If you'd like to watch more of Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's video reviews, visit The Escapist or Fully Ramblomatic.com

Keep reading "The Greedy Gamer: Halo 3 vs. BioShock"

I scream, You Scream, My Son Screams...

Still no poker for me. Don't get me wrong: I like poker and I like making money. It seems, however, that my youngest son prefers screaming to having his father generate wealth online. I guess he'll only have himself to blame when he realizes that he screamed away his college fund.

In any case, I've managed to find a great little video that will simplify your life. Have you ever wanted to find a song, picture, or video clip online without having to go through the whole rigmarole of a peer-to-peer network? Watch the video below and you'll learn how this is possible using Google:



Hopefully this makes up for the lack of poker content at the moment. I promise to talk about poker sometime soon, but I'll have to wait for my son to give me more than five minutes of free time before I can even consider pulling up a chair to the virtual felt. Until then, I guess you'll have to content yourselves with funny and informative videos and some cross posts from my other site, The Greedy Gamer.

Maybe I should just go for broke...? Take my whole bankroll to a $10/$20 NL table and go nuts.

Then again, maybe I've only averaged 3-4 hours of highly interrupted sleep each night since September 30th and shouldn't listen to the leprechauns taunting me from the innards of my laptop. The pink elephants in my TV warned me not to trust their lies...

Keep reading "I scream, You Scream, My Son Screams..."

The Greedy Gamer: What's Next?

The following was originally posted at The Greedy Gamer.

Last night, I finally managed to finish off four more achievements in BioShock. This leaves just one achievement left to beat: complete the game on the hardest difficulty setting (Seriously Good At This). I was contemplating making a second run through BioShock right away to pick up that last achievement. I've decided to hold off, however, thanks in part to some rumours concerning downloadable content for BioShock.

According to Kotaku and Joystiq, Ken Levine has said that he likes the idea of using downloadable content to enhance gameplay. New plasmids? New splicers? An extra mission or two perhaps? In any case, I'll hold off on visiting Rapture again until I hear more about BioShock and some possible DLC. Why play through a second time for 40 gamerpoints when I could do it for 290 gamerpoints with bigger and better plasmids?

The question I now have before me is: what to play next?

Although my original goal when starting to focus in on the Xbox 360's achievement points was to finish off each and every game out there, my current familial circumstance does not afford me the time necessary to accomplish so lofty a task. And truth be told, I don't really have patience, reflexes, or mad skillz required either. Instead, I've decided to do my utmost to ensure that I earn more gamerpoints per game than the average gamer out there.

By comparing my the number of achievements and gamerscore that I earn per game against the Xbox Live database averages (courtesy of My 360 Stats), I know exactly where I stand in regards to other gamers.

There are some games where I find myself below the average and unable to improve upon my score. I'm pretty cheap when it comes to picking up games, so I tend to trade in titles that I no longer feel I'll play enough to warrant keeping around the house. The unfortunate casualties of my gaming frugality are as follow:


  • Gears of War: It was a great game! And I thoroughly enjoyed playing through the single player campaign. However, I took the opportunity to trade the game in while it still held a lot of trade value. For this reason, I'll have to resign myself to holding 10 fewer achievements and 180 fewer gamerpoints than the average Gears of War player. Oh, the shame...

  • Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged: From Geometry Wars to Hardwood Backgammon, I never gave these poor Live Arcade games a chance. I purchased the Xbox Live Arcade disc before realizing how many great games existed for the 360. I'll also admit that I was a little anxious to give the Texas Hold'em poker game a shot (FYI: compared to the real money play of online poker, it sucked). Wik: Fable of Souls and Bejeweled 2 round out the arcade games for which I will never earn another achievement.

  • Quake 4: I borrowed this from a friend (Asdjazz) and never really got into it. I blame the fact that I also borrowed Marvel Ultimate Alliance at the same time. MUA was great; Quake 4 was so-so. Oh well, at least I managed to earn 1 achievement worth 15 gamerpoints in Quake 4, both of which are well below the Xbox Live averages of 8 achievements and 140 gamerpoints.

  • Project Gotham Racing 3: I'm just not that big a fan of racing games...unless they feature big crashes and explosions à la Burnout Revenge. The one achievement I did pick up in PGR 3 (Rank 10 worth 20 gamerpoints) does little to compare to the Xbox Live average (8 achievements worth 284 gamerpoints).

  • NHL 2K7: Both PGR3 and NHL 2K7 came included with my Xbox 360 when I bought it. I knew nothing about achievements. Rather than keep NHL 2K7, I traded it in for next to nothing at EB Games. I managed to grab 2 achievements before kissing the game goodbye; unfortunately, most people averaged 4 achievements...
I think I'll be able to manage to beat the Xbox Live database averages with most of the other games I own.

The exceptions to the rule will come in the form of Xbox 360 games where many of the achievements can only be cleared via online multiplayer (e.g. Gears of War is a prime example of a game where co-op and deathmatch play accoutns for a large number of achievements possible). The only other possible exception that I can think of might be Aegis Wing. I've played this free Live Arcade title a number of times and I stink at it. It's hard, it's fast, and I keep getting pwned. I just took a look at the achievements possible and I may be able to match the Xbox Live average numbers. Then again, maybe I should just never play this hellishly difficult game ever again...?

So what we're we talkign about again? Oh yeah, the next game I'll focus on. Since GTA IV was originally slated to be released yesterday, I've decided to play the next best thing: Saints Row. I've barely scratched the surface of this well-reviewed game but I look forward to the next 20-30 hours that I'll spend wandering Stilwater in search of money and respect. Although a large portion of Saints Row's achievements involve an online multiplayer element, I should be able to clear the 10 achievements and 240 gamerpoints averaged by other gamers. If the game's as good as some say it is, I may end up picking up all the single-player achievements: 31 achievements worth a total of 730 gamerpoints.

If this post seems a little disjointed, please forgive me. I'm still running on very little sleep thanks to my new son who's decided to forego sleep in exchange for a little more screaming bonding time. Tired or not though, I'm really starting to feel the pull of video games yet again. Why must every hobby that I have be so cripplingly addictive?

See ya...

Keep reading "The Greedy Gamer: What's Next?"

Doovde

What has two thumbs and doesn't get any sleep due to screaming babies? Honestly, poker couldn't be any further from my mind in my current sleep-deprived state. Have you ever felt like throwing up because you've been so utterly exhausted? I am so there right now...

Since getting slapped around at the tables this past weekend, I've spent my "free" time bouncing my new son in my arms while swaying him ever-so-slightly from left to right and back again. I also managed to finish off BioShock: definitely one of the better games I've played in a long while.

Until I start cross-posting some of my Greedy Gamer content onto Klopzi's Mediocre Poker, I'll instead share a funny video I came across last night.

Having worked at Future Shop a few years back, I can attest that there are customers very much like the one portrayed in this clip. Hopefully I'm not the only one who finds this funny...



Ok, off to work...

Keep reading "Doovde"

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Kicked Square in the Bankroll

There have been very few times in the past couple years of playing poker that have gone as badly as what I experienced this past weekend. All I can do is content myself that I had a witness to my misery and that my poor card luck seemed to be quite contagious.

I've been having an incredibly difficult time playing poker this past week. With a new baby requiring a feeding every two-and-a-half to three hours (and that's from the start of one feeding to the start of the next - not three hours between meals), it's been nigh impossible to get enough time to complete a single sit-and-go without interruption.

Saturday night was a different beast altogether. With the kids in bed and my wife willing to handle any baby-related emergencies, I had enough time to play a number of sit-and-gos; Mr. V. showed up as well to try his hand at some poker as well.

By midnight, I had played seven SNGs. Of those seven games, I'd managed to make the money a grand total of zero times. Poor play? Not really. Bad luck? Pretty much. I'd go into detail but it doesn't really matter. I will say that I'm amazed by the number of times my opponents managed to pick up AA and AK when the tables got short-handed and I made some standard push-steals.

When it came time to play the WBCOOP yesterday, I wasn't feeling all that optimistic about my chances. To make matters worse, stacks started out at t10,000 with the blinds going up every fifteen minutes. This may not sound that bad to those of you who have tons of free time but for me, it basically guaranteed that I would not be able to play the tournament through to the end. Still, as long as there was money to be won, I'd continue playing. And then I found out that there were no cash prizes for placing...

Long story short, I managed to last quite a while for someone trying desperately to lose. I ended up losing a coin flip with my QTs when I tried to steal the blinds from late MP and the BB jammed on me. I was getting 2:1 on my money and I figured to be in a coin flip situation so I called. BB showed KJ and connected on the turn to knock me down to about t13,000.

A couple orbits later, the very same player who doubled up through me decided to steal from the CO by making it t2,4000 with the blinds at t400/t800. I was holding pocket threes in the BB and figured that CO couldn't call a large raise from me unless he had a premium hand. So I pushed my t11,500 into the pot and I would have been quite happy to win the t3,600 already there. Unfortunately, the CO decided to call off all his chips with ace-rag and the ace on the flop sent me packing.

Although I'm not happy with the hit my bankroll took this weekend, I can take solace in the fact that I'm playing my game and getting my money in with the best of it time after time. And though it's harder to accept the realities of poker variance with a greatly reduced playing schedule, I can only look forward to the good luck that I feel I am due.

Given that I've only managed to take down a second place finish and a couple third place finishes in my last thirty sit-and-gos, I really hope that my upswing comes soon...

Keep reading "Kicked Square in the Bankroll"

Making Adjustments

Well, I'm back to work today after taking just seven days away from the office. With two kids under the age of two, the life that my wife and I once knew is most likely gone for quite a while. All we can do now is make those fine adjustments to our day-to-day routine until we stumble upon something that works.

Since my second son was born, I've had very little time to play poker. I have managed to squeeze in about ten sit-and-gos with somewhat disastrous results. I'm currently on a pretty decent down-swing in my bankroll having placed in-the-money in only three of my last twenty-two SNGs (two 3rd place finishes and one 2nd place finish). According to SNG Wizard, my decisions have all be quite sound and I've not missed too many opportunities to push all-in. As long as I keep making solid decisions, I'll continue to fight the good fight, my bankroll be damned! I'm pretty happy with my game now and I hope things will turn around.

In addition to playing a little poker, I've started to focus on other activities that don't require quite as much thought on my part. And trust me, after averaging 2-3 hours of sleep a night since September 30th, thinking is the last thing I need to be doing.

My Xbox 360 has gotten a little love from me in the past few days. I'm trying to finish off BioShock right now, though I plan on playing it through a second time on the hardest difficulty setting. I just figured out a way to connect to Xbox Live without buying a $130 wireless network adapter, so my 360 may get a little more play tonight.

I also took a couple hundred out of the bankroll to buy myself a Nintendo DS Lite. Although I was a little hesitant to pick up one up, I'm quite happy that I made the plunge. Although the DS games lack the great graphics and audio that you'd find in an Xbox 360 title, each game that I've played has been loads of fun. For what it's worth, I've bought and played the following games:

What I most enjoy about the Nintendo DS is its portability. It's nice to be able to play video games no matter where I go.

I'll do my best to continue posting regularly and I'll even do my darndest to keep things poker-related too. Even though I like the Xbox 360 and the DS, I realize that most of my readers don't want to hear about any of it.

Oh, I just wanted to say "Thanks" to everyone who commented on my "It's Another Boy!" post.

Ok, back to work for me...

Keep reading "Making Adjustments"

World Blogger Championship of Online Poker

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 5542954

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It's Another Boy!

On Sunday, September 30th, my wife and I made our way to the hospital via ambulance. At 11:10 pm, my second son was born amidst my panicked shrieks and my wife's zen-like calm.

The newest addition to the family is perfectly healthy and both he and my wife are now at home and relaxing.

Actually, I just found out my wife's cleaning the bedroom so I better go put a stop to that!

I'll be on a reduced posting schedule for the next couple of weeks since I'll be playing a little less poker. I have a review to put up before Thursday and I may put up a review of SNG Wizard after I purchase it and analyze my recent sit-and-go play.

Thanks for stopping by!

Keep reading "It's Another Boy!"