December 3rd, 2006

Manga Kevin

Expecting the Fannish Inquisition

I have no photos (or even better, the videos I planned to shoot) of the Fannish Inquisition (presentations, questions and answers with seated Worldcons and bids for future years. This is because elaine_brennan asked me to be the timekeeper for the sessions. Vince Docherty acted as facilitator, and I cranked up the timer program for the Texas Hold-Em tournament. Although the clock was not visible to the audience, Vince and I could see it, as could the cons/bids if they looked over in my direction.

I'm pleased to say that thanks to fair and consistent application of the timekeeping and the bids'/cons' restraint, we actually managed to get through everything in about 75-80 minutes.

L.A.con IV made a short presentation at the beginning of the Inquisition, where they presented the "traditional donation" to the WSFS Mark Protection Committee, as well as initial Pass-Along Funds donations (there may be more later) to the 2007 and 2008 Worldcons (they are holding it in trust for the 2009 Worldcon): $25,000 each! Good for them!

I don't have my notes with me right now, so I don't have a lot to say about what the cons and bids had to say. Nippon 2007 and Denvention Three discussed their respective conventions' current issues, most of which have to do with hotels for different reasons. The Kansas City and Montreal bids made presentations and took questions. One of the few uncomfortable moments was when Priscilla Olson addressed "the elephant in the room," pointing out that this Kansas City SMOFCon has been rather haphazardly organized, its facilities are not well-used, and why should we trust Kansas City to hold a Worldcon if they can't organize a SMOFCon. Although I fear nothing meaningful came out of the specific exchange, I applaud people being willing to ask "hard questions" of bids. As Vince pointed out, the SMOFCon Inquisition sessions are a major opportunity to exercise "fannish due diligence" about bids and cons.

In one sense, though, all questions were uncomfortable because the room was incredibly hot. We had people attempting to open the window, with the outside temperatures below freezing, in order to try and reduce the stifling heat. Maybe that was another reason we finished on time -- people wanted to get out of there.

Edit, 6 Dec 7:45: Fixed spelling mistake
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    Nippon 2007 Committee Planning Session
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Kevin Talking

SMOFCon Poker Challenge

Thanks to the Inquisition ending on schedule, we were able to get the poker tournament started shortly after 10:30 PM. We had initially 21 people signed up. Two scratched, but two people joined "at the door," so we started with three tables of seven players. Dave McCarty brought a very nice set of heavy-duty poker chips, which helped a lot. (Quality "clay" chips are much nicer to use than the cheap lightweight plastic chips.) I had previously sorted out the initial buy-ins, and that expedited the set-up process. People gave me $10 and I gave them a small stack representing 1000 chips.

I shortened the rounds to 15 minutes and escalated the blinds somewhat faster than originally planned. The first two rounds were a bit tentative, with passive play and people doing a lot of calling without much raising. But in the third round the pace picked up, and then carnage erupted, and a bunch of players went out at the same time. We consolidated to two tables after a break. In round 4, once again a bunch went out almost simultaneously, and with that we had a final table -- with only seven players, because of so many eliminations happening within a five-minute period.

Shortly into round 4, the three short stacks fell away, and we were down to the four players "in the money." The pace slowed slightly, but it wasn't too much longer before we were heads up between Alexis Layton and Gary Blog. We had "chipped up" a bit as the blinds increased, and we were at the 500/1000 level. Thus the big blind represented the entire buy-in of each original player.

The big winner, taking home $126, was Alexis Layton.

I was a little concerned that most people would be annoyed that they'd paid $10 and got less than an hour of play; however, I did not hear any complaints, and in the end the tournament actually took between 2-3 hours, which was what I originally budgeted. Possibly I should have had slower initial blind escalation, but then had it ramp up much faster later. That would produce about the same length while most players are apt to get at least an hour of play.

I finished in eleventh place. I had an early moment of nerves, as I went all-in early and survived. As I said at the time, "It would have been embarrassing if the Tournament Director was the first person eliminated." My big mistake of the night was to not push harder when dealt K-K. I should have bet big early and chased everyone out. As it was, I ended up losing to a pair of aces, which crippled me and forced me out shortly afterwards.

Of course, as Tournament Director, I had to stay all the way to the end, but that's okay. I enjoyed it, and the smoffing that went on after we paid everyone off and cleaned everything up.

I was amused to see that today's Foxtrot cartoon was highly relevant, both with Alex winning the Hold-Em tournament and Boston being awarded the right to host the 2007 SMOFCon. That assumes that Boston wants me to organize another poker tournament, of course.