Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Casino

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  • Russell Brown,

    I play low stakes texas holdem almost exclusively, where the chances of winning are much higher and the payouts much lower, and because of the nature of the game try to show no emotion at all. But it is enjoyable.

    Honestly, I'm not doubting you. That does sound fun.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yes! A Madison! With fireballs!

    You could even bet on the Madison -- although I assume you'd run into the usual problem of having no effing idea who was winning the thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    A Madison! With fireballs!

    In Japan, keirin racing is the main betting sport, and the national organisation is known to throw a few bob at anywhere else that takes it up (there is much speculation that this is why Keirin was introduced to the olympics recently). I'm sure Sky City could get a few bob to put a velodrome in if they arrange for a few Keirin races. I'm sure all the fixie-riding hipsters would be glad of a chance to get official NJS kit.

    I don't gamble. At all. Because I have a slightly compulsive (or, as we like to call it, "focussed") personality. My limited experience with gambling when I was younger lead me to the conclusion that I could get very, very focussed on it - to the point that I could easily do very financially silly things. This is also why I avoid other forms of behaviour that lends themselves to disfunctional compulsions (WoW, drug use, etc), for precisely the same reasons. I don't particularly object to the more interactive versions of gambling (poker being the obvious example); but I do think that pokies are, pure and simple, designed to be a way to harvest as much money from the addicted over as long a term as possible.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    The gouts of fire were particularly impressive given the presumed cost of all the gas they'd need to fuel them, and the contrast of flying back into a Wellington with all the lights switched off. Conspicuous power consumption.

    Maybe there's a subterranean battery pig farm below the casino.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Pokies doesn't have either of those things, and as Russell describes them, they're basically anti-social money drains. I'd support changes to how we approach pokies as a society, while leaving other forms of gambling relatively untouched.

    We had an extensive discussion here a while ago about what-to-do-about-pokies. It got quite heated, and some people thought my distaste for them (or support of community efforts to keep them out) was just me denying people innocent fun.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    You could even bet on the Madison -- although I assume you'd run into the usual problem of having no effing idea who was winning the thing.

    Well, since the Madison was originally created as a way of giving gamblers at Madison Square Gardens something to bet on, while circumventing annoying laws prohibiting proper six day races, I'm sure you could run a pretty good book on it. But like I say, the keirin would be a better bet (if you will), because once you get past the whole "why are they following the guy on a motorbike?" bit, the actual finish is easy enough to follow (first one over the line wins).

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    Spot the difference.

    How will they ever sell audiobooks if Stephen Hawking is prepared to read them all aloud for free?

    I once had a computer read a postcolonial study of medieval England to me. Hearing about the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth through the voice of Alex was probably one of the weirder moments in my own personal engagement with the history of the book.

    I guess they might argue that the technology will reach a point where Kindle is indistinguishable from a human voice, and they're getting in before that happens. But Gaiman is right, of course. Reading out loud doesn't cost extra, and in the days before widespread reading literacy, it was the way most people engaged with the written word. Having a machine doing the reading shouldn't make a difference.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    How will they ever sell audiobooks if Stephen Hawking is prepared to read them all aloud for free?

    LOL!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Yes, and I know lots of people who derive innocent pleasure from, say, the occasional ingestion of marijuana. The law takes quite a different view of the two activities.

    So true...

    The operation ended yesterday, and Mr Glue said he was unable to reveal how much it cost, but the Westport News reported the helicopter cost about $1500 an hour to run - equivalent to $67,000 for the round-up.

    Mr Glue said the arrests and drug seizures were evenly spread throughout the coast, with most involving class B (cannabis oil) and class C drugs such as cannabis. The most serious charge related to the possession of a small amount of LSD, in Greymouth.

    $67,000! Under the rather incriminating headline:

    Coast cannabis raids yield potent strain

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4865523a11.html

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    I think it is our civic duty to bundle up this whole package of, frankly, wizard tourism ideas - MDMA-ingesting cyclists weaving through flaming hoops around a Sky City velodrome in a Madison that offers infinite betting possibilities - into a bullet pointed memo for the MP for Auckland Central, who will have it in the Prime Minister's ear by the end of the working week.

    I just want to know why she and/or he didn't go for my Green Zone suggestion.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    MDMA-ingesting cyclists weaving through flaming hoops around a Sky City velodrome in a Madison that offers infinite betting possibilities

    To the great sounds of Kiwi Music! You forgot the Kiwi Music!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    it just makes too much sense.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Velodrome to be built around the otherwise useless (ie. not yet catering to gamblers) tower at a level just below the orbiting restruant, so that diners may place bets whilst enjoying a pleasent meal.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    just below the orbiting restruant, so that diners may place bets whilst enjoying a pleasent meal.
    ....

    You forgot the Kiwi Music!

    I don't know
    why does lunch
    do this to me?

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Graham,

    No they don't, at least they're not supposed to. Every spin is supposed to be an independent random event, but the house edge (the amount that the casino is statistically guaranteed to keep) is usually higher than other casino games. A lot of players think otherwise of course; if they didn't they wouldn't be playing. For those who want more info see here.

    I have read the content at the linked page before, maybe on that site, the same info seems to be on a bunch of sites word-for-word.

    I think the only way I'd be sure that each spin is an independent event is If I looked at the code or that they are required to by law. I'm assuming they get audited, I remember reading a piece comparing the controls on the development of slot machines compared to those of voting machines.

    If they were not required to have each roll independent then that would give the casinos the choice of probably making a lot of money or definitely making a lot of money. Anyone care to wager on what they'd pick?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Gaiman follows up on the Kindle argument. Includes a link to Will Wheaton reading a passage from one of his books, and and then having the Kindle read it. Spot the difference.

    And John Scalzi also smells something kind of yeasty about the idea that the Kindle's T2S function was going to be (as Jon Stewart so eloquently puts it) a cluster$#@! to the poorhouse for American authors.

    First, on a personal, your mileage may vary note, it seems to me that people generally buy the audio version of a book or the text version, rather than both; personally speaking, as a writer I don’t generally expect someone to buy more than one version of my work in any event. So the “Oh noes! Since they have the Kindle version, they won’t buy the audio version!” concern is, shall we say, not high on my list of things to worry about.

    OK, hands up anyone who likes audio books (I don't, but that's by the bye), who would rather listen to one of the Harry Potter books being intoned by HAL on the Kindle as opposed to being read by Stephen Fry or Jim Dale?

    And just for those with short attention spans:

    In short: I’m not at all convinced that realistic and engaging computerized audio will be possible at any point in the near or even middle future without requiring a clear and obvious derivative work to generate it. When it is possible, I suspect AI will be at a point where it will also be able to generate actual novels, and then, of course, I will retire, to spend my remaining days being pleasured by my sexbots, until they plug me into the mainframe to use my brain cycles for sewage maintenance and I slip comfortably into the hive mind.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I guess they might argue that the technology will reach a point where Kindle is indistinguishable from a human voice, and they're getting in before that happens.

    And one day, the Kindles may rise up and kill us all, so we might as well ban them before that happens. And could I make one other point, there's plenty of human voices I wouldn't pay to listen to, unless they were coming out out of mouths of heavily armed muggers. I think my voice is tolerable to listen to in three minute bursts; anywhere between sixteen and twenty two hours. Not so much -- people like Fry and Dale get very well paid for what they do for a reason.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And one day, the Kindles may rise up and kill us all, so we might as well ban them before that happens.

    I, for one, welcome our new Kindle overlords.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    First, on a personal, your mileage may vary note, it seems to me that people generally buy the audio version of a book or the text version, rather than both

    That's an interesting point. I am thinking about setting up a voice recognition service that writes out audio books into text. Any takers?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I think the sevens give us glimpse of the sort of party town we could become...

    Oh sweet Jesus, no!

    I've been into the Sky City building a few times, and the only time I've ever spent any money there I dropped about $100 in just over an hour. Mind you, for that I got a very good Manzanilla, anchovy-stuffed olives, an excellent Martini and a homeopathic portion of mind-bogglingly good ham, so it was totally worth it. Plus, you can enter Bellota from Federal St without joining the zombie parade in the casino itself.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    We had an extensive discussion here a while ago about what-to-do-about-pokies. It got quite heated, and some people thought my distaste for them (or support of community efforts to keep them out) was just me denying people innocent fun.

    I remember it well. It was my first serious departure in opinion from you, and I still feel the same way about it. For me it's one of those cases of "I feel that there's something stink about gambling, but rationally, there's no real difference between it and a million other ways of ruining your life, some of which I like". It's a real clash of mind over emotion, and so far, mind is still winning, at least within myself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • StepDoh,

    I have always have this slightly grim feeling when I walk into a casino, I think it's because I'm not a gambler at heart I can't suspend disbelief enough to notice that slightly beyond the crap architecture and gold fittings it's always a bit shabby round the edges.

    The british way has always been a great way of putting you off, you have to join 24 hours before you go, not great for a spontaneous night out, but does mean you really have to want to go. Mind you, we don't have betting shops in pubs either, so we may just be no fun at all.

    #lovethetron • Since Jan 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    And I, for one, will bash the cutsie little leatherclad nasties - Kindles that is- into twitchie wee pieces of crap uh oh uh oh uh-huh. Hmmm.

    A kind of ebook future may be coming - but it sure as shit isnt the Kindle/2 or any other 'digital reader' out there.
    Islander, grinning, that Amazon took the sesible withdrawal route-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Don Christie, that is pure-yank-chain stuff!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Okay, Islander, I'll bite.

    Why?

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

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