Poker, Blogs, and Parties South of the Border

By: Adam
Published: Oct 18th, 2008
It's time to take another shot at this blogging thing....for a few reasons. I'd like to blog regularly, but I get into a lull on content sometimes. I've been playing a lot of poker lately, and poker always makes for good content considering the audience here on P5s. I'm not going to get too far into it today, but I have started to play quite a bit in a local 2-5 game that plays pretty big and usually features a full table of people with an average stack of around $1,000. I've been running pretty well in the last week and am up a little over $4k in my last three trips.

I heard a pretty scary story about this game, though, and I'll share that with you now. The game is in a pretty shady area of town. Well....in reality, most of San Jose is pretty shady. This area in particular, though, is pretty nasty. If you drive to the Clarion (the hotel where the game is played) any time after 10 p.m. on any day of the week, your chance of seeing at least three transvestite hookers in the area is somewhere around 100%.

Anyway, this story isn't really a story about the game itself, but more about the entire experience of going to this game... I was at a party a couple nights ago and ran into a friend of mine who is without a doubt one of the five best live cash players in Costa Rica--at least out of the people that regularly play in live games in the San Jose area. I was telling him I've been playing quite a bit at the Clarion and asking why I hadn't seen him around. He relayed this story to me, which definitely freaked me out more than a little.

Apparently he had a solid night in the game pretty recently and left the Clarion with several thousand dollars in his pocket. On his way home, he was pulled over by a police officer. Now any expatriate living in Costa Rica knows that when a cop pulls you over, the best way to not have to deal with anything is to simply pay the cop $10 or so. Third world police corruption at its finest... In this guy's case, though, the cop told him to empty his pockets after pulling him over. When he emptied his pockets and showed this wad of cash, they immediately started threatening to send him to jail, deport him, fine him huge amounts of money, etc. It wasn't because he'd done anything illegal, which he hadn't. It was a shakedown, plain and simple. They demanded he pay them $400, and he did. After all, what choice did he have? At 3 a.m. in downtown San Jose, there really isn't any law. He could have made things a lot worse for himself, and I think he made the right choice.

This sort of thing really makes my blood boil, though... If you can get robbed by the police here, who can you trust? My advice to anyone who comes to Costa Rica is to be EXTREMELY careful when traveling outside of "gringo-friendly" areas. Anything can happen, and no one is overly reliable here. I'm pretty amazed I haven't been robbed yet in about 18 months living here, and I cross my fingers every day that it doesn't happen. I'm pretty careful though, and if I have any substantial money on me, it's pretty much never in an obvious place like my pocket...

Anyway...

I want to talk about GooseGrade.com. The site just launched at the beginning of October, and it's the brain child of a friend of mine from the states, John Brooks Pounders. JBP just graduated from college in May, and he had already seen quite a bit of success on some of his other web projects, including http://www.anythinggreen.com, http://www.butterbeehappy.com, and a number of others. This guy has an extremely solid grasp of internet trends, and he's got the right mentality to make products that will make a huge difference to all of us.

GooseGrade isn't directly related to poker, and it's going to attract a much broader crowd than what we have here at P5s. The product should still be pretty interesting for poker players, though, and particularly for poker players who are interested in blogs and/or blogging. I've read a lot of blogs here on P5s, and if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that they vary VASTLY in terms of quality. And I don't just mean the quality of the content; there are people posting blogs right here on P5s who have a lower range of writing skills than the average 6th grader.

GooseGrade helps level the playing field a bit by allowing readers of a blog to become a writer's editing team. Readers can suggest corrections by highlighting text in a blog and suggesting how they would write something to make it more correct. They can do this for technical errors in the writing, and they can also cite sources for factual errors. Blogs are graded based on bloggers' willingness to acknowledge these suggestions, and graders are graded based on how often their corrections are accepted by the bloggers. It's a pretty exciting new tool, and I'm really interested to see where it goes.

Coming up soon, PocketFives is making some pretty significant changes to our blogging interface. These changes are designed specifically to make it easier for bloggers to grow their audience and to give them the tools they need to optimize the quality of their blog. Expect the look of the blogs to be MUCH better in the coming weeks. It won't even be recognizable. PocketFives is going to be the best place on the net for someone to reach a large audience with a high-quality poker blog.

These last two weeks have been pretty party-heavy for me down here. I think after that story about my friend leaving the poker game, I'm at least a little bit obligated to talk about some of the positives of living in Costa Rica. I actually like it here quite a bit, and I'd advocate it for people who like a more laid back lifestyle but are still smart enough to stay out of too much trouble...

Party week(s) started about 10 days ago, just before P5s Co-Founder Cal Spears made his way back to the states. Cal is the original person behind PocketFives.com, and while he will continue to add his ideas to the mix, he's now in the process of moving on to some new projects that he'll be working on out of the states. One of those new projects is http://www.pokersoftware.com, and I'd recommend checking it out for anyone interested in comprehensive reviews and/or demonstrative videos of around 100 different types of software for poker players.

Anyway, Cal's last night here was about 10 days ago, and we made it a big one. His flight out was at around 8 a.m., and he went straight to the airport without ever going home... The night started off with a "jirafe" race. For those who don't know what a jirafe is (most of you, probably), it's the Spanish word for "giraffe." At a bar near our office called Henry's, they serve 3 liter beer towers that they call jirafes....anyway... Three teams of two participated in this race, and somehow my partner and I came in last, which meant we got to foot the bill for all three teams....yay. I wouldn't have even minded paying, but man this race put all of us into a huge drinking rut for the rest of the night. It was tough to recover...

I don't really know how the later part of the night went as I disappeared around 1:30, but I do know Cal made his flight, and that's a good thing...

About a week later, I ended up at a birthday party. This time the party was for a friend here named Neil, who works for a poker company here in town and has been living in Costa Rica for around a year. Neil's party started out with dinner at Hotel Grano de Oro, which was a pretty posh experience... In addition to some tasty lamb chops, I had 3 glasses of champaigne and 3 or 4 glasses of red wine. The night was looking rough already when we headed off to Henry's to share a jirafe (recurring theme).

Henry's was a short-lived experience, and we quickly ended up en route to Prive, which is a fairly upscale night club in Escazu. We met up with the CEO and COO of Neil's company, and things quickly degenerated into a pretty crazy night. There were about 8 of us sitting in our own VIP area with two exclusive hosts, and the CEO poured me some Grey Goose on the rocks... At this point, my drink total was sitting somewhere around 3 glasses of champaigne, 3 glasses of wine, 3 glasses of beer, and a vodka on the rocks. I decided to stay with beer for the rest of the night, but I was already in some trouble...

I can't really get into all the details of that night or the night that followed, but suffice to say that the party pretty much didn't stop for something like 30 hours straight. Amazingly I spent a grand total of something like $50 in that entire time. The places we went weren't cheap, but people or people's bosses just kept picking up the tabs. Either way, by Friday night I was happy for a quiet night out at the poker game and a couple of liquor-free Cokes at the table.

Costa Rica can be a lot of fun, but it's also easy to get distracted from work here and drift off into a pretty degenerate lifestyle. I'm usually pretty good at maintaining a balance, and I'm paying for my lapse this weekend. I don't think I've moved off my couch all day, and I probably won't move much until the football games are over tomorrow night.

If you made it this far, you're a pretty dedicated reader. Hopefully you'll check back in a week or so, as I'm planning to try and at least make small updates pretty regularly, and I promise to talk about poker more when I do! I think this blog in general was pretty off topic.

Anyway, thanks for reading and see you soon!

--Adam

    Comments

    1. http://www.goosegrade.com/ < nice idea... already 300 indexed pages in google and a PR 5... not bad...
    2. Sheesh, after reading this I will never complain about the UIGEA again...could always be worse.
     
    Page 1 of 11

    Return to Blogs

    Quick Navigation