November 5th, 2005

Conrunner Kevin

All In

After a somewhat slow start (not at all helped by the Intel people not releasing their function rooms until 3), OryCon got humming along this evening. Lisa and I attended the Opening Ceremonies, a "Wizard of Oz" storyline where Dorothy had travel to find the Wizards of SMOFS in the Rose City because she'd lost her hotel. Many oddball encounters ensued, but in the end, Patty the Good Witch magicked up the Portland Marriott and all was well.

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There may be another tournament Saturday night. I encouraged the organizer to try and get a notice in the newsletter. We could easily run a 20-player tournament for the same buy-in (and probably proportionate winnings). The aggressive twenty-minute doubling will force the action and the tournament will probably last not more than about three hours -- at 2:40, you're betting 500 and 1000 blinds. Also, with twenty players you probably only give each player 500 chips instead of 1000 -- in effect, you're buying 500 pennies -- and the game will end sooner accordingly. And of course with two tables, every second elimination, you have to rebalance the tables, but I'm sure we can manage that.

Now the problem is that I have an 11 AM panel but am still too bouncy to sleep. I shouldn't have drank that diet cola at dinner.
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Conrunner Kevin

Remembering Why I Do This

Last night, standing in the Lower Level lobby waiting for an elevator, I spoke to a young woman -- in her 20s, I'd guess -- who had just come out of the dance, and she noticed the Program Participant ribbon on my badge and asked if I was an author or something. I said, "No; I'm on the program probably due to being a conrunner."

"Oh," she said, "What conventions have you run?"

I replied, "Well, I co-chaired the Worldcon in San Jose three years ago."

She brightened considerably, "Oh, thank you so much! I had a great time there! Worldcons are so cool!"

I thanked her, and asked if she was going to be in Anaheim next year, and she said yes, enthusiastically.

That moment was worth at least as much as winning the poker tournament. Probably more so.
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Conrunner Kevin

I Could Get Used to This

As I've mentioned, it's a strange feeling to not be run off my feet at a convention. I had two back-to-back panels from 11 to 1, after which Lisa and I walked the five (short, but in the rain) blocks to Chipotle for burritos for lunch. Lisa is very sensitive to spices -- she is almost childlike in her dislike of hot spices. The steak burrito was too spicy, and when she grabbed her soda to try and douse the fire, she literally choked on it. After her coughing spell subsided, the manager came over, and asked if she could do anything for us. Lisa explained that there was too much black pepper in the steak, and how Lisa can't stand spicy food at all. The manager suggested the barbacoa (pork), which is very mild, and offered to replace Lisa's burrito for free. Shortly thereafter Lisa had a burrito carnitas, pinto beans, and nothing else (no rice, no salsa, no cheese), and that suited Lisa just fine. I am seriously impressed to see that level of customer service and concern from what is admittedly and fast-food franchise. Good job, folks.

Now I must run for my last panel, about organizing a fan group.
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Conrunner Kevin

My First Kaffeklatch

OryCon has dealt with a bit of shortage of small function rooms by taking a section of one ballroom connected to the largest function space in an L shape, putting rounds in it, and running three small tracks of programming around the rounds. This is "kaffeklatch" style programming to me, where all the groups are quite small. This was well suited to the six-person (including the two "panelists" of which I was one) discussion group about organizing a fan group. We went all over the board, from informal groups that meet at conventions to social clubs like BASFA to large fannish powerhouses like LASFS and NESFA. Discussion included legal forms (in case you get so big that you have to worry about money and liability), getting the group started (book discussion groups and bookstores seem to be a good match for each other), setting goals and keeping to them, and also when to shut it down. In my opinion, even if your group has been around since dirt, if nobody is interested anymore and it's no longer enjoyable in some what to stay involved, the right thing to do is disband it in an orderly fashion. Don't keep limping along out of a mistaken sense of duty -- I asked, "Duty to whom?"

After the panel, I stopped by the Game Room and discovered that the flyers from yesterday that said the poker tournament was at 9 PM were still up, unchanged, saying "9 PM tonight" which is now wrong, and were pointing people at the wrong room to boot. I took a pen and hand-wrote "7 PM, Medford Room"" on them.

After that, I went back up to the room and collected Lisa. We headed out for a while and walked up the hill to the Safeway and picked up another box of cereal -- we've been a little generous in the mornings here, but that's because we both like Crispix -- and despite the rain, I was glad to get out and walk around for a bit.

The only drawback of the 7 PM start tonight is that it's about the time I really should be eating dinner. I guess I'll have to find something after the tournament is over. (Some of this will depend on how well I do, naturally; if I'm knocked out early, it's sort of moot.)

I noticed that the convention newsletter had a new issue "2A" out that replaces the earlier version 2. (Some program corrections were wrong and were re-corrected.) I have one of each now -- complete the set!
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Conrunner Kevin

All In, Again

Tonight's poker tournament had only seven entries @$5 each, so we decided that second place would get his buy-in back, and the winner would get the rest. Play went a little faster tonight. On the very first hand, I had a very large pot with Dave Howell. I had A-x as my cards and the flop came A-A-5. I started betting, and Dave stuck with it. Turn was a 5. Dave and I both bet at it. River came a 5 -- a full house on the board, but I had a better full house. I looked at Dave and said "All In."

Dave thought about it for quite a while, then called and revealed his own A-x: a split pot, because both of us had the same full house (A-A-A-5-5). He figured I must have either had an ace or a 5. Of course if I'd had A-5 or 5-x, he's screwed, but he decided it was more likely I had the ace, and he was right, so in the end, neither of us made much because nearly all of the money in the pot was ours.

I had a decent run of luck and was able to avoid a lot of dangerous hands, and I think I was the chip leader for a while. I know I ended up with a lot of the smaller chips, because I had to start making change for everyone. The table began to shrink, and at about 90 minutes, we were down to four, one of whom was Zoe Wells, who I'd eliminated last night. This is where I made my mistake. I some medium-decent hands, and I thought she was trying to bluff me out, and decided to pay for the information (what did she have), and twice she beat me, taking chunks of my stack with her. I managed to survive to be one of the final two by ducking the next few times around (a series of 7-2, 7-3, 8-4, and similar junk hands helped me make up my mind -- this lot do not bluff easily). But by the time we reached heads-up, I was dominated by Zoe's massive pile of chips. However, I think that three double-throughs (not at all unheard-of) would have reversed our positions, and I was dealt K-Q of spades, which is pretty good hand heads-up. I went all-in and Zoe called with 8-9 off-suit. I ended up with four cards of the flush, but Zoe paired one of her cards, and I was eliminated.

"I've been beaten," I said.

She said, "You've been beaten by a fourteen year old girl."

I laughed and said, "No, I was beaten by a smart girl. The better fan won tonight," and I shook her hand.

That was still a lot of fun, and hey, I got two hours of entertainment for free.

Now it's off to the parties, and as it happens, Denver's Worldcon bid party is across the hall from me and Chicago's is next door. (I volunteered to be party-buffer space since they know I won't complain.)
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