In case you haven't heard, Thailand is experiencing it's worst floods in over 50 years. For the past two months central Bangkok has been under threat of severe flooding. The water level just outside of the city is as high as 3 meters and is being held back mostly by newly installed or newly reinforced flood defence barriers.
Outside of Bangkok over 400 people have died so far, and whole communities have been evacuated.
For weeks we've been told there's a 50/50 chance of central Bangkok being flooded and everyone has been in panic mode turning their buildings into sandbag fortresses. People have even going as far as to build cement barrier in-front of their doors and windows.
At the weekend everyone was put on high alert as it was to be the peak of the water level and the flood defences were starting to crumble. A five day national holiday was called for people to evacuate from the outskirts of the city and areas along the river that runs through Bangkok.
Angry residents of the areas just outside of the city centre have tried to destroy the flood barriers as they are preventing the water from escaping their flooded villages. Fortunately the army have been deployed to protect the barriers so it doesn't look like that is going to be a threat.
So now I'm just hoping that things get back to normal soon. There's a lot of stuff in Thailand that I want to see and do but have been unable to due to the floods.
I also miss paying virtually nothing for bottled mineral water. There has been none for sale since September as most of the bottled water plants that supply the city have been closed, and there's supply problems in getting anything in to Bangkok via road. So, I've been paying a massive premium to drink Fiji and Evian water that's been imported by air. Lots of shop shelves remain empty. Restaurants give you the menu and tell you that half the items are unavailable. It's a huge pain in the ass but I just have to remind myself of how slight these inconveniences are compared to people dying or having the homes and belongings ruined.
As the year end approaches it's always worth checking how close you are to the next Milestone Cash Credit and making a plan to hit it. It would really suck to end the year say 20,000 VPPs away from hitting a milestone because you are losing out on so much value.
I have 60,000 VPPs to hit the next milestone and I'm planning to grind out 1000 VPPs every day for the rest of the year. If I want to take a day off I'm going to have to earn it by grinding harder, such as putting in 4x 1250 VPP days in a row.
I'm playing a bit of everything right now, 6 Max PLO, Heads Up PLO, HUSNG PLO, Hyper 6 Max NLHE SNGS and Hyper NLHE HUSNGS. I'm still pretty much trying to find my feet again and figure out what games I can beat and feel most comfortable with. I've never really been in a comfort zone since I was destroying the Double or Nothing SNGs and had to stop due to the games being ruined by colluders.
I started this year playing only 2/4 CAP PLO and planning to play it for the whole of 2011, but those games were just a trial and PokerStars took them away at the start of March. Since then I've found it hard to adjust to playing 100BB PLO and have been on way the bad side of variance pretty much constantly. Hopefully I will find my feet again by the end of the year and be able to make some solid goals for the year of 2012.
The games have been pretty tough recently. The 6-max PLO tables have been very much filled with multi-tabling regulars. I think it's mostly due to the 70 Billion Hand promotion that's running now, where if you are dealt into a milestone hand you get a huge cash reward. Grinders are playing longer and on more tables. The promotion is pretty sweet for those that are lucky enough to be dealt into a hand, and especially for the winner of the 70 Billionth hand who will win a minimum of $70,000. It's looking like it is going to hit within the next 48 hours so let's gogogoogogo!
I have been jumping in to congratulate people when milestone hands are hit and have been lucky enough to witness some epic hands such as PLO 6-way preflop all-in that resulted in someone flopping a set, with everyone else having some kind of draw. The set turned into quads on the turn but unfortunately for him the river completed a gutshot straight flush. I wish more of the milestone hands were at PLO but they rarely are as hands take longer on average and there are way more NLHE tables running.
I was also there to witness a hand with 7 winners at a micro-stakes table when 7 of the 9 players got it all in preflop and the board ran out a straight. Simply epic.
People are generally playing more tables than they normally do during this promotion and are playing nittier as a result. So VPPs earned per hand seems to be way down right now. Looking on the bright side, people are playing worse and more exploitable as they play more tables than they are comfortable with in an effort to bink a milestone hand.
The promotions never seem to end from PokerStars. The 10th Anniversary promotion is already running and will run up til December 18th when there will be a special $10,000,000 GTD Sunday Million. There will need to be a minimum of 50,000 players or there will be an overlay, and the first prize is guaranteed to be at least $2,000,000. Just insane, that is going to be the ultimate Xmas present for someone.
I want to plug some of my friends who are putting in a lot of hard work to do awesome things in the poker community.
PokerFuse.com is a new poker news site that is completely independent of any online poker site affiliation. The Poker Fuse guys have been doing a great job to bring people news from a completely unbiased perspective, and that is really the only kind of news that I like read.
The are also doing well to bring all the poker-related podcasts from across the internet together on one page. Check out their Latest Poker Podcasts page.
The best poker video blogs right now are coming from EVhero who plays on PokerStars and has a goal to earn $100,000 in 2011. He's recently been switching from cash games to multi-table tournaments and this is interesting to follow. In addition to his vlogs he also does a podcast called Derping and a poker news show called On The Rail.
The production quality of his videos are very professional, he releases them super regularly and they are always entertaining.
So be sure to check out his website at EVhero.com and subscribe to his YouTube Channel. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Jesse 'OnTheMac' McKenzie
Jesse is an Australian online poker pro who won the PokerStars Sunday Million this year. He's stepping up his blogging and it should make interesting reading as he writes about his online tournament grind, his lifestyle in Australia and his travels to play in live events.
His talents go further than just poker as he was a professional lawn bowler and he can also play the piano, as he demonstrated when I went quad biking with him in Queenstown, New Zealand in September and we found an old piano in the middle of nowhere.
He's running a couple of competitions at the moment. Inspired by my epic Poker Avatar Tells - 9 Easy Ways to Spot The Fish blog he is giving away a free seat in the PokerStars Sunday Million to the person who can supply an image of what would be the most fishy poker avatar ever. He will even use the avatar on his PokerStars account for as long as it takes him to make a single $5K+ score! Details of the competition are here and please vote for my entry by clicking 'Like'.
Check out his blog at tryonthemac.blogspot.com and you can also follow Jesse on Facebook and Twitter.