Hey Riptards. It’s me. Jason. The person who’s name is in the byline.
You know that one shirt you bought? You were proud of it once, but then you washed it for six months with fabric softener instead of detergent because you live in a foreign country and haven’t a solid grasp on the local laundry vocabulary? That’s my cube.
Poor, shabby, neglected. A hint of mold. Sure, it’s still got that foil miscut judge promo Noble Hierarch, but what’s this? A Kathari Screecher, handwriting badly scrawled in pen… “Bird Soldier Zombie?” The power has been scraggily changed to what looks like a 3… or a 5? That wouldn’t be a 5 would it?
My cube needs a makeover. I need a makeover. You can help (with the former).
What is the CubeTutor Champion program? For $5 / month, you get access to loads of premium CubeTutor features, like improved draft AI, savable draft configurations, and access to a draft format designed by yours truly, Grid Drafting!
What does it take to win? Redesign my cube!
Redesign my cube! To enter the contest, send me a PM on the RiptideLab forums with the following:
1) A CubeTutor list with 360 cards
2) Text explaining the design choices you made
I will pick the entry the most excites me, so keep in mind my biases: I like techy card choices that enable new archetypes without being overly narrow. I haven’t touched this list in a couple blocks, so there’s plenty of room for innovation.
Pestering really. Text messages linking to the most inane, random YouTube videos.
“I’m not even interested in golf”, Hannes added.
I responded each time with the only appropriate response.
“Not now Hannes, I’m at work.”
When this proved an ineffective deterrent, I was forced to change tactics. “Tell you what, I’ll make you dinner Friday, and we can watch YouTube videos to your heart’s content.”
The dishes were cleared and the festivities began, aimlessly at first.
“Less than 5000 views! It’s a travesty!”
Hannes was nothing if not passionate. As we watched, he waxed poetic on the intricacies of the YouTube ecosystem.
“Every YouTube session diverges in one of two directions: you either get stuck in some obscure abyss, or you reach VEVO.”
“So there’s a tipping point? Could we intentionally cross from one to the other?”
We devised a game.
At the end of each video, YouTube presents you with a 4 by 4 grid of suggested videos. The goal was to start at a completely random location and, by navigating the suggested video links, eventually reach VEVO territory. More specifically, the Nicki Minaj: Anaconda official video. Truth be told I didn’t actually know what Nicki Minaj looked like, and had only heard the name as some sort of negatively regarded pop sensation. But I wasn’t one to turn down Hannes’ anthropological offerings.
Our starting point? A click of the Wikipedia “Random Article” page.
Perfect. We’d search YouTube for “gravity assist”, click the first link, and begin our journey there.
Click six was undoubtedly a bad move. Before formalizing the challenge, Hannes and I had gotten stuck in an inescapable web of cyrillicly-titled Russian folk music videos. Cultural diversity was not our goal. We needed to toe closer to America’s Got Talent and steer clear of the World’s edition, multiculturality be damned.
Okay, color me unimpressed, but performing a Michael Jackson piece at age sixteen is hardly noteworthy. The King of Pop himself started his recording career at a much younger age, so you’re not remotely in prodigy territory. And can we be clear on video naming etiquette? This video was hardly awe-inspiring, and certainly doesn’t classify as compulsory viewing.
But it did lead us to a deep place. A dark place. A swirling eddy we’d soon be desperate to escape. The Michael Jackson corner of YouTube. Neverland Ranch.
There was no progress in sight.Every video ended with another wall of suggested Michael Jackson videos. We had to get out, by any means necessary. We devised a plan. Find Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. Surely there we could take an Alien Ant Farm cover escape hatch.
Something was wrong. Clicks that should lead to the official video didn’t. There was no way to get there organically.
“Are you sure it’s on YouTube Hannes?”
“I watched it yesterday. It’s got more than 200 million views. It’s on there. Keep trying.”
We tried a few more videos in vain, but the connection wasn’t there. Was YouTube silently directing traffic away from the video? Had they deemed it too raunchy to stumble upon by accident? What reasoning had caused this behavior?
As a final measure, we searched for Anaconda directly. And sure enough, it was there.
Maybe YouTube was on to something. Maybe we shouldn’t be watching this video after all.
I don’t know if this is actually a good television show. Do we still say “television”, even with a complete disassociation of the physical technology? The phrase “do you want to play Nintendo” outlived my ownership of a Japanese console.
BoJack Horseman is a Netflix produced cartoon about a has-been horse-man, washed up and former star of of a tacky Full House-esque nineties sitcom. The voice acting selection seemed hand picked to pique my interests, starring Will Arnett, Alison Brie and Aaron Paul. I’m well aware that my taste in actors reads like a listicle from Stuff White People Like. The casting got me in the door, and a general need for escapism kept me there.
I don’t know if BoJack Horseman is actually a good show. If you’re looking for something on par with the quality delivered by Arrested Development, Community and Breaking Bad, this isn’t the place. BoJack deals in relatively dark themes for a cartoon, but more often than not misses the emotional mark. Despite my misgivings, I endured the entire first season, which is perhaps a testament. It doesn’t “get better”, so if you’re not sold after an episode or two, I’d give it a pass.
Recommended for: People who don’t need much comedy in their animated comedies.
Todd Barry: The Crowd Work Tour
I first discovered Todd Barry through his appearances in Season 4 of Louie, where Todd regaled a bar crowd with his retelling of a petty victory over a local comedy club owner who had mistakenly typed his name as “Todd Berry”. Todd Barry practices a perfected style of dry comedy, but here discards prepared material for a script-less crowd work tour. With some comics crowd work can feel like a hack collection of canned barbs masquerading under the guise of improvisation, but Barry’s work is truly entertaining and hits all the right notes.
Recommended For: People who claim to “love to laugh” in their dating profiles.
This Shirt from Pull and Bear
The above picture is a product of a misguided attempt to win a girl back with the flirtatious guessing game “what’s in my mouth”, hoping she would someday return the favor. We’d been watching Project Runway together in recent weeks, and I had hoped she would appreciate the aesthetic alignment of the shirt pocket with the (spoiler alert) Kinder Surprise capsule. The whole thing was a failure, which goes to show, there’s no accounting for taste.
Recommended for: Losers.
Recommended for: People who feel the robbery scene from Spring Breakers didn’t live up to its potential.
Aug. 23Jason WaddellComments Off on Optimizing Poker Decisions using ICM
by: Jason Waddell
Poker is a hard game. Tournaments payouts add a layer of complexity to the process. Chips won do not directly correlate to dollars earned. Let’s take a relatively simple hand.
We are in the top 3 of a tournament with the following payout structure:
The player on the button folds, and we are left with a rather binary decision: push or fold. Although our hand is terrible, the cards are live, and letting the small stack double-up for free by taking the blinds isn’t a terribly attracting. How can this hand play out? Discretely there are 4 possibilities:
We raise, are called and win.
We raise, are called and lose.
We raise and our opponent folds.
How do we make that decision? Enter the Independent Chip Model (ICM), a model which translates the players’ tournament holdings to their expected tournament winnings in dollars (or any other currency). Basically, plug in the payout structure and each player’s stack size, and ICM gives you each player’s expected winnings.
The above four outcomes result in the following stack sizes at end of hand:
Stacks if we raise, are called and we win:
Stacks if we raise, are called and we lose:
Stacks if we raise and villain folds:
Stacks if we fold:
In terms of ICM for the hero (that’s us!), we have:
ICM pre-hand: 21.4
ICM if called and we win: 25.6 (+4.2)
ICM if called and we lose: 16.6 (-4.8)
ICM if raise and villain folds: 22.90 (+1.5)
ICM if we fold: 20.6 (-0.8)
Broken down like this, the decision is purely mathematical, as a function of two quantities:
The probability villain folds to our shove
The probability that we win, given a call.
This is a simple expected value calculation, bread and butter for any statistics student. Villain’s cards are unknown, and using simulation we know that the probability our hand (57 offsuit) beats a random hand is 40.5%. This is a bit of a simplification, as villain’s probability of calling could change as a function of his hole cards, but in this situation it should be fairly representative.
What is the probability villain folds? Well that’s a true unknown, and one we have to guess at. But first, let’s see what our expected ICM looks like as a function of villain’s probability of folding. The weighted expected value calculation is:
Next, we visualize this formula by examining expected ICM as a function of our villain’s probability of folding (p_fold).
If we fold, we know our expected ICM: it’s fixed at $20.6. Thus, we want to pick the option that maximizes our ICM. Here, we can calculate where the black and blue lines cross. Solving for p_fold, we get a value of 0.134, or 13.4%. So the question is, do we expect villain to fold more than 13.4% of the time?
Let’s step into his shoes for a moment. His remaining chip stack is 698. If we shove, he faces calling his stack to win a pot of 300 + 300 + 90 + 698, or 1388. This is giving him odds of almost exactly 2:1 to call, which means he is properly priced to call with basically any two cards.
Thus I expect villain to fold less than 13.4% of the time, and we go ahead and fold our cards.
May. 12Jason WaddellComments Off on ChannelFireball: Signets and Faydens
by: Jason Waddell
So it turns out I’m not terribly consistent with the rate at which I write articles, so here’s a third in two weeks. It takes inspiration from our “Debate Topics” forum thread. Let me know if you like the format, there’s plenty more to cover!