On voting machines, Oblivion, and poker handles

First, this study by some Princeton IT folk on the ease of tampering with electronic voting machines is pretty depressing. If the US media had any shred of hope of still being the protectorate of the public interest, this would be discussed widely. Especially since here in Minnesota (and in many other states) the entire voting process is going entirely to electronic voting.

Which is why it is important to bury your head in the sand and live in a virtual world (mostly kidding on that one, I have been trying to raise this issue with local media members, but it is important to have distraction in your life when the basic framework of your so-called democracy is slowly dissolving…). And on that note, two things come to mind from the previous post: Oblivion and the online poker handle theory.

First, I think Oblivion is one of the most wonderful and simultaneously evil games that has ever been created. Never mind not going to work to play it. If I found a drug where I would never have to sleep again AND somebody paid me during the day to play this game, I think I could attempt to accomplish all the tasks etc. in the game in 20 years. I mean any game where you can step into a stocked library with all different books AND read them all(?!) is a little over-the-top in terms of level of detail. But I support any and all attempts to find a system of pay for playing this game. Please hire me when you find it Aakaash.

Which brings me to a game that does (occasionally) pay when you play it. Online poker. In addition to all the standard poker advice that you can find out there — play your position, be willing to fold a big hand, make others make tough decisions, be patient etc. I have devised a new poker theory system that only works online, the poker handle theory.

The handle theory is really pretty simple, and should be combined with solid play, but can help out in tough decision moments. First, some categorization…I would break online poker handles down into six major cateogories: 1) the brash and annoying reference to male anatomy, i.e. MyCoksHuge, Ihavthenuts etc.; 2) the pop culture reference, i.e. ArtVandelay, ChiefWiggim etc.; 3) the nonsensical, i.e. ltm568, g-flon58; 4) the self-referential, i.e. LarrySmith, MarieS; 5) the poker reference, i.e. acesfull, AKplayer, bluffnwin; and finally, 6) the animal reference, i.e. Crocteeth, viperman.

Within those categories, I would say I notice these kinds of trends:

1. Male anatomy handles are brash and aggressive. As their name so obviously suggests, they are trying to compensate for something. This is the easiest group to call with marginal hands because they are uber-aggressive, and just try to buy pots. Remember their handle suggests something is missing, so it’s likely not in the cards either….

2. Pop-culture or humorous handles are tight players. They are there to have fun, as their name suggests, and would rather not have to quit playing. Aggressive bets against them will often get them to fold superior hands.

3. The nonsensical handles: fear these players. This is someone who gave no thought to their handle, they just wanted to play poker. And they are probably pretty serious about it and probably play a lot. If they have a chip lead over you and you start getting into a raising war, it may be time to consider exiting the hand unless you know you can win.

4. The self-referential handle in my experience is often a beginning player. After all, who would use their first and last name as their handle? This is someone who saw an ad in a magazine or watched poker on TV once and thought it would be fun to play online and then signed up with their name. When they make a large bet, you should consider calling, not because they are bluffing, but because they actually think they have a good hand with a king-3.

5. The poker reference is a mixed bag, and the hardest to classify in terms of style of play. Some are quite good and some quite horrific, which is why they should be watched closely and evaluated. Don’t get into major early standoffs with them — see where they go with other players, identify the strong and weak ones and play accordingly.

6. The animal or animate reference, often with violent suggestions, is interestingly, in my experience the tightest of players. Their handle suggests someone who will lash out at any moment, and it is clever that way. They want you think that so that when they raise, you will call them. This type of player won’t bluff very often, so when they raise, you better have something pretty good or get out of the way.   

Hope that helps you video game and poker players out there distract yourself to ignore the fact that democracy as you know it is crumbling around you and no one seems to care…

6 Responses to On voting machines, Oblivion, and poker handles

  1. Pulao says:

    Amazingly helpful, this entry is definitely going to be up when I play poker next. 1000$ pots, here I come!

    Except… my poker handle is (surprise!) pulao. Or, it\’s Puloapulao (I can\’t remember which.) I know I\’ve said before that Pulao is an Indian rice dish, but it\’s also actually a nickname that my brother used for me for a long time. So does that make me self-referential?

    On the other hand, the reason that my brother call(s)(ed) me pulao has to do with this moment in an issue of Tintin comics (the logic is sort of convoluted and irrelevant here.) Does that make my handle a pop-cultural one?

    This has thrown me into an existential crisis. Who am I?

  2. Kris says:

    Crumbling democracy . . . true. Sigh.

    My first poker handle was something totally off your charts, kind of a mix of #1 and #4: “TeenyCokKrisS”. I tried my address on the second line, but it never showed up when I played. Totally threw people off my game, though.

  3. Aakaash says:

    BRAVO! A brilliant piece of analysis! I am researching it right now, but seriously, that is some good work there.

    Pulao, your name is not an “incident”, is it? Pulau-Pulau Bompa was the destination of the hijacked Flight 714. Pulau is Malay for “island”, so suck it John Donne…

    I am ashamed of myself – poker and Tintin instead of electoral machines.
    Does it excuse me if I am not in the country?
    Or a citizen?

  4. Aakaash says:

    “moment”, not “incident”. And the evil of Oblivion has forced me to abandon it for the time being. People who haven’t played it have no idea.

    For for those gaming requirements that still need taking care of, I would suggest “Shadow of the Colossus” – in bite-size pieces.
    Even the ladies like the visuals, those who don’t play I mean.

  5. Kris says:

    I was playing last night, and I have a new category, Duodecad: car names. I played against “Vette/58” and “‘StangDriver196”

    They both kind of sucked. Coincidence or tried and true pattern?

    By the way, that’s “Vette” like “Corvette” I think (coulda been “Yvette” but I don’t think so . . . which raises another question: “pokergirl21”, probably a girl. “HotAsianBabe69” — very empowered girl or creepy guy?)

  6. […] A couple weeks ago, Duodecad posted a link to a study by researchers at Princeton that demonstrated how easy it is to rig an electronic voting machine, and get away with it. Here’s an update with some old news, via BoingBoing.net this week: former Yang Enterprises computer programmer Clint Curtis says that, in 2000,  Rep. Tom Feeney (R) asked him to do just that — fix voting machines to spit out 51-49 splits in your favor. […]

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