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Posted by on Jun 8, 2012 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

7 Important CBD Terms and What They Mean

7 Important CBD Terms and What They Mean

 

CBD is getting to be one of the most talked-about products on the planet. There have been various studies into it and the results look pretty promising. For example, there is evidence to suggest that it can help reduce inflammation and pain and can also help treat stress and anxiety.

CBD is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids which are found in the marijuana or cannabis plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and this is what causes the “high” that is often associated with marijuana. However, CBD is not psychoactive like THC. 

The root of CBD’s popularity seems to stem from the fact that it a plant-based treatment. More and more people are seeking out natural methods of healing and CBD ranks pretty high in exposure and availability. Though clinical trials are relatively young, the benefits associated with using CBD are vast. 

The list of its purported benefits is one that continues to grow. It has been used to treat anxiety, depression, inflammation, seizures, insomnia, psychosis, and physical pain to name a few. More clinical trials are being conducted to confirm these benefits, but evidence points to a positive impact.

There is a lot to talk about this fascinating subject. Here is a brief guide to and 7 key terms that everyone should know about. 

 

1. Cannabidiol.

 

Cannabidiol is what aids in the higher functioning of the human body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is what manages the body’s processes like immune response, inflammation, metabolism, pain, mood, and sleep.

Cannabidiol is the official name of CBD. CBD has been shown to help shield the body from oxidative stress (which can cause damage and disease in cells). 

It is important to note that cannabidiol is not actually approved by the FDA, even though it was made legal at the federal level according to the 2018 farm bill. The only exception is using it to treat a rare form of epilepsy. 

While the results are promising, more research is needed before CBD could be approved as a natural alternative to medicine. It is already readily available online and in stores across the country but keeps in mind that research into its effects is still ongoing.

 

2. CBD Oil.

CBD oil is made when CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and then diluted with a carrier oil like hemp seed or coconut oil. 

Using CBD oil/tincture is one of the easiest ways to consume CBD. Usually, you use a dropper to administer the oil under your tongue and then hold it there for about 30 – 90 seconds before swallowing it. 

There are full or broad-spectrum CBD oil (the others being distillate or isolate) and you should go for the former to get the full scope of the health benefits. Broad-spectrum oils contain the most cannabinoids, and generally don’t have THC. Full and broad-spectrum products are also less processed, which helps preserve some of the volatile organic compounds, like terpenes. 

If you are looking to shop for some CBD oil online, Cool Things Chicago has a great range of products you can choose from. 

 

3. Terpenes.

Terpenes are the compounds that give cannabis their aroma and flavor. There are two common ones – Limonene has an uplifting, citrusy flavor, while the second one, myrcene is more relaxing and has a clove-y scent, according to the brand manager at Extract Labs, a hemp-derived CBD company which is based in Colorado.

Sally Nichols, the president of Bloom Farms CBD, a California based CBD company says that terpenes can be compared to the subtleties of wine. Though she says that we should take the claims of mood-altering effects lightly as there is a lack of well-controlled studies.

 

4. Psychoactive. 

Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not have a strong effect on cognitive brain activity and does not get you “high”. Any (CBD) products that might contain more than 0.3% of THC has the potential to get you high and will have a label that says “psychoactive” or “THC”. Be careful and mindful of how much you are ingesting. 

 

5. Microdosing. 

 

The practice of micro-dosing requires taking a small fraction of a larger dose, and continuing that fractional dose to help moderate symptoms. Participants of micro-dosing studies have noted that it is easier on the body and there a more enjoyable way to consume the doses. This means that the substance is absorbed better, and it’s a much more balanced experience.

 

Microdosing CBD oil over the course of a day allows you to reap the benefits of CBD over longer periods of time.  Taking the daily dose all at once would result in the effects of it wearing out quicker, offering only short-term benefits.

 

Microdosing CBD oil helps stabilize this system, mitigating the peaks and lows that can occur as a result of ingesting a maximum dose.  Many people prefer the convenience of a daily dose in the form of one capsule though, as microdosing requires effort on part of the user. 

 

6. Bioavailability

This term refers to how fast the CBD enters the bloodstream and takes effect. Smoking and vaping are the most immediate as the CBD goes into your lungs. However, the effects won’t last as long if you compare it with other methods of taking CBD.

You can hold oil under your tongue, or ingest a gummy or soft capsule too. Though this might take up to several hours as it goes through your digestive system.

 

7. Certificate of Analysis (COA) 

 

Any reputable CBD product would have a certificate of analysis done by a third-party lab. You can check the product and find the batch number and you can check the brand’s site for its COA report. 

CBD is going to come further into the spotlight it seems for multiple reasons. The industry is projected to be worth $22 billion in a few years and has the potential to save lives. 

There are more and more studies to look into its properties and benefits, and soon we will know how it can help a variety of illnesses and ailments.

Until then, it is best to proceed with caution. And as with any treatment, please consult your health care provider before incorporating CBD into your regimen. 

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Posted by on Jun 8, 2012 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

7 First-time tips: Read this before playing poker in Vegas

7 First-time tips: Read this before playing poker in Vegas

 

If you have dreams of being Phil Ivey or Annie Duke or Chris Moneymaker, you need to go to Las Vegas to play some poker. If you have never been, as you can imagine, it is an amazing experience. The modern casino poker rooms are more like palaces with beautiful felt tables, a buzzing atmosphere, and modern amenities like USB charging stations and flat-screen TVs. The poker room at the Wynn Las Vegas even has a sportsbook window right in the poker room! But, before you head to Sin City to get fitted for your World Series of Poker bracelet, there are a few things you need to know. Here are 7 first-time tips for playing poker in Vegas. 

 

Play poker in the poker room 

There are two general types of poker games at a casino. There is the poker that is played head-to-head against other players in the poker room and there are the poker table games you will find in the regular casino pit. These games, such as Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud, Pai Gow Poker, and others, should be avoided. They have worse odds and a bigger house advantage than both playing poker straight up and even other table games such as blackjack or craps.

 

“If you really feel the need to play a poker table game,” says Lucian Marinescu, a partner at OnlineCasinoGems, “play Pai Gow Poker. It has a lower House advantage than games like Three Card Poker or Caribbean Stud which have some of the bigger House advantage percentages in the entire casino.”

 

Look for daily tournaments 

A good way to get a serious return on your poker investment is to play in a tournament. Almost every poker room in Vegas has at least one, if not more, daily poker tournaments to play in. Usually, these tournaments run you somewhere between $50 – $200 for an entry fee and will guarantee a winning prize of $1,000 or more. You do not have to win either to finish in the money. Most tournaments payout the Top 20 or so players so if you can hang on for as long as possible, you can have hours of poker fun and win your money back or walk away up.

 

Know what beats what

This is an elemental part of poker and when you are in Vegas, it is very important you know this like the back of your hand. There is nothing more embarrassing than reaching for a pot with a straight when someone else has a flush. It will make you look like an easy mark. Before you head to Vegas, commit to memory this order of what beats what – high cars, pair, two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, royal flush.

 

Makes Chip Stacks of 20 

A tip that will not only make you look like a pro but will also make the game much easier for you is to stack your chips in stacks of 20. This way, you will know how much you have in your bank at any given time and will be able to quickly make or call bets without having to go through the time-consuming routine of counting your chips each time. Why stacks of 20? Because, it gives you nice, round numbers in any denomination.

  • 20 x $1 chips = $20
  • 20 x $5 chips = $100
  • 20 x $25 chips = $500
  • 20 x $50 chips = $1,000

 

Open your mouth

A poker table in Vegas is not a place to sit in total silence. Talking a bit at the table will help your game in a number of ways. You do not have to engage in banter with other players but calling out your actions will help everyone involved and be greatly appreciated by the dealers and other players. Do not just push chips into the center. Say “call” or “raise” (followed by the amount) so that everyone knows exactly what you are doing. It will make the game much smoother for all. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Dealers, other players, or casino managers will all be happy to help and will be glad you asked instead of inadvertently breaking a rule.

 

Put on your poker face  

One of the most unique things about playing poker at a casino is that you are playing against other people – not the dealer or AI robots – who can base how they play against you based on your reactions to things. In blackjack, the dealer can see your cards and they have to hit at certain times no matter what, so you can celebrate that 21 as you see fit. In craps, when the dice lands, everyone knows the outcome so there is no hiding. In poker, you need to keep a calm, cool, and collected demeanor so that your opponents can’t use your reactions to their advantage. That is why a great poker face, as described in Gambling News Magazine, is so important.

 

Pay attention

Remember, poker has been ruled by a court of law to be more a game of skill than a game of chance. That is why you need to be locked in and focused when you are playing in Vegas. Even when you are out of the hand, watching how players bet and what they have when they do will be helpful to your game over the course of your game. Also, the other reason for this tip is that you want to be aware when it is your turn. No one likes the person who always has to be reminded that play is to them. Don’t be that guy or girl.

 

Conclusion 

Yes, your first time at a poker table in Vegas might be a little nerve-wracking, but it will also be thrilling and exhilarating too. If you keep these few tips in mind, you will have a great experience and maybe even walk away with some money when it is all said and done.

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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Blog, Essays, General Poker | 0 comments

What to Make of Playtech’s “Quantum” Table and Card Games?

 

What to Make of Playtech’s “Quantum” Table and Card Games?

Playtech is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important developers of casino games. The company is now in its 20th year and has arguably grown in importance within the industry, notably in the area of, what it terms, ‘premium branded’ online slots. It’s a big player too at the various casino conventions, where the developers are keen to show off the latest technology for now and in the future.

However, one could also argue that Playtech perhaps missed the boat on live dealer casino. It’s not that Playtech doesn’t make live casino games; it makes some of the finest classic table and card games for the live dealer format. It’s the fact that other developers stole a march on Playtech when it came to creating games that go beyond the standard casino variations. Evolution Gaming, for example, created the ground-breaking Monopoly Live, which has captured the imagination of players looking for something a little different when they visit a live casino.

Playtech launched its “Quantum” range in late 2019

But Playtech has recently made moves to muscle its way back into the live casino top tier with a clutch of new releases. Notably, it’s Playtech’s “Quantum” Blackjack and Roulette that have caught our eye. You can find it at live.casino.com/united-kingdom/, but below we will try to breakdown the main elements and explain why it’s a significant addition to the live dealer casino sphere.

Looking first at Quantum Blackjack, the game’s headline feature is that it can offer a 1000x boost to your winnings. That begins with the drawing of three auxiliary cards on the side of the screen. Each card will have a multiplier assigned to it. For instance, you might see the ace of clubs with a 5x multiplier. If the ace of clubs is drawn in your winning hand, you will win five times the normal pot. If you match other cards on the side screen, their values are multiplied. As the auxiliary cards can range from 3x to 10x, the maximum boost to a winning hand is 1000x, i.e. 10 x 10 x 10.

 

Quantum games combine live play and random number generator software

So, here’s the question: If this is a live blackjack game, how can Playtech afford to boost the winnings with such gusto? After all, we know that blackjack is a game with a very low house edge. Well, the trade-off is that the game will be declared a push if the dealer busts on three cards. This factor swings the house edge back towards the house enough to allow for the boosted winnings. It’s worth noting, however, that the multiplier game runs on RNG software.

Quantum Roulette is conceptually similar. Once bets are placed on the game, an RNG will draw up to five numbers, each with multipliers of between 50x and 500x displayed on them. If your straight up bet happens to be one of those numbers, your bet payout will be the multiplier displayed rather than the standard 35 to 1 you would find in standard roulette. Once again, the kicker is that winning straight up bets (without the Quantum boost) are paid at 29 to 1. Overall, though, if you like your James Bondesque big wins in roulette, this is the game for you.

It’s important to note that both of these games still reflect the house edge of their standard variants, so players aren’t getting a shiny bauble without any substance. The games look great, played out in an ultra-slick and modern studio. They seem like a great choice for players with low stakes and high ambitions. Now let’s hope Playtech is working on something similar for online poker fans.

 

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Posted by on Jul 4, 2010 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

A Long Way from the Oscars, But We Already Have Favorites

 

We’re not officially into the Oscar movie season, but there’s already chatter in the ether who will win – for Best Animated Film and the brings the odds on who is the favorite but before making a wager make sure to study and read a betonline review.

It makes sense this particular race would take center stage in the summer when a majority of animated films hit the big screen to satisfy kids young and old alike.

Leading the charge is “Toy Story 4,” which has critics and its audience on its side. The fourth and likely last installment in the Pixar franchise opened to a record global weekend with $238 million and great praise from those pesky movie reviewers.

Come on guys, it’s Woody and Buzz. How could they not like it?

If nominated in January, “Toy Story 4” is likely to see tough competition from Dreamworks “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” the possibly final look at Hiccup’s coming-of-age. In November, Disney’s “Frozen 2” also will enter the fray.

The outlier in this category is Disney’s “The Lion King,” opening mid-July, which straddles the line of live action and animation using virtual production skills to create a computer-generated movie. It definitely checks all the boxes to make it an animated film but it looks nothing like one.

There’s also the chance it won’t even be submitted as a contender in the category. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie isn’t being touted by the studio as “animation” and a similarly made movie, “The Jungle Book,” wasn’t submitted for consideration in the category in 2016. It did, however, win the Best Visual Effects Oscar, beating “Doctor Strange,” “Deepwater Horizon,” “Kubo and the Two Strings,” and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Other potential nominees: “Klaus” from Netflix, “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” from Wallace & Gromit creators, and “The Addams Family.”

The major  Oscar categories are expected to be as competitive.

For Best Picture it’s a smorgasbord of drama including such contenders as (in no particular order):

Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt set in LaLa Land about the time Charles Manson and his family were wreaking havoc

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers, everyone’s favorite guy next door.

“The Aeronauts,” from Amazon has Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones reteaming in a survivalist adventure story in a hot air balloon.

“The Laundromat,” a Steven Soderbergh political thriller from Netflix starring Meryl Steep and Gary Oldman about journalists linking political figures to tax-shelter bank accounts.

“The Farewell” has “Crazy Rich Asians” breakout Awkwafina gets attention in this story of a family keeping its matriarch in the dark about her cancer diagnosis.

“The Irishman” gets together director Martin Scorsese and a few of his besties (Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci) in a film about a mob hitman who alleges to have killed Jimmy Hoffa.

“Fair and Balanced Roger Ailes gets big screen treatment after Showtime’s take down. This one stars John Lithgow as Ailes feeling the wrath of the women of Fox News (Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron).

“Ad Astra” stars Brad Pitt heading to space in search of his dad who went missing looking for extra-terrestrial life.

“Little Women” brings a strong possibility director/writer Greta Gerwig will receive her second nomination as best director in this classic favorite starring Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Meryl Streep and Laura Dern

The acting categories likely will see many nominees from the above-mentioned movies with several having deafening buzz:

Best Actor – Antonio Bandaras, “Pain and Glory”; Robert De Niro, “The Irishman”; Leonardo DiCaprio and/or Brad Pitt, “Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood”; Taron Edgerton, “Rocketman”; Jonathan Pryce, “The Pope”; Pitt (again), “Ad Astra” Eddie Redmayne, “The Aeronauts”

Best Actress: Amy Adams, “The Women in the Window”; Awkwafina, “The Farewell”; Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”; Alfre Woodard, “Clemency”; Saorise Ronan, “Little Women”; Kristen Stewart, “Against All Enemies”; Natalie Portman, “Lucy in the Sky”; Julianne Moore, “Gloria Bell”; Elisabeth Moss, “Her Smell”

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Posted by on Jun 1, 2010 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

Sustaining Passions For Poker

How can you sustain a passion for poker?

 

Poker is a crazy game.

I’ve heard inexperienced players say that they “hate Aces and Kings”, usually because they’ve had their glorious starting hands beaten down by 8-9 offsuit. Ultimately, the resentment that they feel for the innate deck of cards is misplaced, but at least they still feel something.

After the 1000th bad beat, the heart no longer beats for every turn of a race. After a million, players tend to give up on caring about outcomes altogether and focus only on making the right move.

Cards are cruel, and variance is a fact of life. Understanding this makes poker (and life itself) more bearable. This shift of focus from feeling defeated every time a pair of Aces are cracked, to maintaining a technical approach to play, constitutes the maturity of the player to become a potential winner.

 

Rage of a bad beat…

Yet something is lost in the process. If one cannot feel alive when Aces are cracked (or when they hold to bring a much-needed victory pot), then how can one maintain a passion for poker? It’s a battle between taming emotions enough to be able to make sound decisions and having enough fire left in your belly to really turn up for tournaments, wits and all.

Learning is the answer, as cliché as it sounds. Players who step over the invisible line, the line between caring about outcomes and not caring about outcomes, must dedicate themselves to a constant process of learning.

If a player’s satisfaction can no longer depend on their pair holding up against an opponent’s flush draw, then it must lie with knowing whether they made the correct move or whether they could have played the hand better.

Regardless of how the deck played out – an element completely beyond their control – they can find joy in confirming their own play and improving on it. On a practical level, this means reading, training and analyzing hands, as well as practicing the game through the lens of constant improvement.

Again, newer players are likely to feel spongier than those who have been on the circuit for a long time. At first, the mind can’t help but try to make sense of the game. It seeks to understand, then to expand and experiment. But whether playing guitar or poker, there’s always plateaus to overcome. After a while, even the most passionate of newbie will lose steam. Effectively, they have reached a point of “Can do it”, and they slow down.

The learning must continue indefinitely if the player desires to become pro or semi-pro, but now is also the time to broaden the scope of what it means to stay passionate. Doubtful you can sit alone in your room reading poker books and grinding online for too long and still enjoy poker. It really helps to get more involved with the scene, to meet and dine with other pros if possible.

You could also consider entering major events. I would never recommend that you play outside of your bankroll, but then again grinding $1 SNGs for an entire lifetime is hardly the definition of fulfillment. Do what you can to set goals, progress and get out of your comfort zone with Sunday MTTs, local casino tournaments and by keeping major events like the WSOP, which this year had 8,569 entrants, firmly on your radar.

Passions are like cocktails. You have to stir them well, water them down, spice them up, or do whatever is needed to make the most palatable, pleasant and intoxicating mix. And like cocktails, passions require that you show restraint or take a break every now and then so that they do not taint your sanity or leave you p*ssed on a weekday. So, is it better to play poker with passion on the weekends, or to play with dull awareness every day?

Poker can be a lifelong love affair and is worthy of a career move for some, but it’s not for everyone. It’s a rare breed who can play day in, day out for a living. Those who are happiest are, in my experience, those who have other hobbies and interests, or other ways to earn money. They are the mixologists of life, who know how to properly prepare their cocktails to their own taste.

 

Footnotes and Credits:

PHOTO 1 — Photo by Sweetlouise // CC0 1.0

PHOTO 2 — Photo by Pixabay // CC0 1.0

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