Oi! Galloway! No!

Friday night (Saturday morning till 0600) spent learning about the rules of poker from John M, and arguing about the relavent probabilities.

Saturday afternoon spent researching with a clearer head makes me feel slightly vidicated in my insistance that kickers are an integral part of pairs, because kickers are vital to ranking hands. Though we were both wrong about the number of unique hands (2.5 million) and the number of ranks (7.4 thousand).

(If that paragraph meant nothing to you...well, most of this section won't either.)

My statistical maths has always been a bit shaky, but some back-of-an-envelope calculations give reasonable-looking rules-of-thumb like these:

* If a player has 4-to-a-straight, there is a 1-in-6 chance that the next card will complete the straight, and a 1-in-3 chance that one of the next two cards will.

* If a player has no-pair, there is a 1-in-3 chance that the next card will make a pair, and a 2-in-3 chance that one of the next two cards will.

* If a player has no-pair, there is a 1-in-10 chance of the next two cards making 3-of-a-kind.

Though I'm quite prepared to be proven completely wrong through some oversight. And I haven't even started to think about the probabilities involved in betting strategy.
Stephen P had an even longer night, hacking computer games to find cheat codes - somehow both more tedious and more challenging than the games themselves. I was never much of a hacker - changing the college's email software to send messages anonymously doesn't really count.

Anyway, the upshot is: He's shattered today, and I'm shattered today, so we're meeting tomorrow.
George Galloway has declared that it would be morally right to assassinate Tony Blair. Great stupid twat.

He's quite right of course, but you're not supposed to say it! The man really is amazingly inept in his tactics. Jesus.
Then in the evening I get a text message from Anna of Strict Machines saying, in effect "We've booked a last minute gig tonight, please please please come and see us and be the fanbase".

The event was in Portsmouth's combined nightclub, lounge bar and swimming pool - a big glass pyramid called...The Pyramids. It happens to be on the seashore, right next to the castle and lighthouse used by men after midnight to...meet other men.

The event was "Nokia Rock Up And Play" - 14 bands each playing 10 minute sets in the nightclub section, competing for a place in the Isle of Wight music festival.

As I arrived there was a band playing who looked a teen version of The Worzels performing a grunge that may actually have been sophisticated blues rock a la the great Beau Diddley , but became a soup of guitar rumble thanks to the dreadful accoustics of the hall.

They were followed by a fivepiece introduced by the compare as "Woa blurah guh Portsmouth, Mwugah Fleurer!", again thanks to the accoustics and lousy amp system. Mwugah Fleurer really wanted to be Pulp - anorexic boys in cheesy menswear pastiching Modern Life is Rubbish.

Then another five boys with an incomprehensibly amplified name. These must have been big fans of The Ramones - they pumped out energetic angry american-style 70s punk, and very good it was too. They even had the Ramones dance right - spasming like malfunctioning puppets.

I actually understood the name of the next band, because it was Strict Machines. Portsmouth's only flamenco skatepunk goth band, and I think the only woman on stage the entire night. They were tierd and underrehearsed, having only heard about and entered the competition that day, but the crowd were appreciative.

Two solo acts in a row. First a man with an acoustic guitar and a Bob Dylan complex, down to the hat and jacket. His song was politically engaged, intelligent, and the only one where I could make out the lyrics. But it was just so passe, and preachy.

Then an amazingly cute blond young man with another acoustic guitar and...um, I can't remember anything else about what he did. But he was very cute.

The winners were a band who may have been called "Frik" - Motorhead via Nirvana. Heavy rock with quiet strummy inteludes punctuating the RAAWWK!. Completely brainless and completely engaging.

Afterwards I spoke with Anna's boyfriend, James. I'm going to lend him my portable digital 8-track, to see if he can put it to better use than me. If he can, he can borrow it until I need it. If not, one or another of us will flog it off and I get some cash in my paypal account.

I'll try to record the gig on the 2nd with it. Fingers crossed.

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