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Posted by on Dec 16, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Valentin Vornicu — The Math Tutor

 

Vornicu at Rincon Casino 2012

 

Valentin Vornicu won the Casino Championship at the final World Series of Poker Circuit stop, which just ended at Harrah’s Rincon, near San Diego.

I have a special appreciation for Vornicu, who was born in Bucharest, Romania — where I lived for a few years.  He has been residing and working in the United States since 2007.  Yet he speaks perfect English (almost no accent).  He’s also an accomplished math expert.

Check out Vornicu’s Wikipedia Page here:

VALENTIN VORNUCU (WIKIPEDIA)

Vornicu founded a website called Math Links, which encourages the study and mastery of math.  In fact, he’s the Director of Faculty.

MATH LINKS WEBSITE

Vornicu won his second WSOP Circuit title here in San Diego, and came in second tonight in yet another event.  Yet he only plays poker part-time.

I have great respect for people with a passion.  Vornicu has many passions, and just as many talents.  I expect to hear and see him do many interesting things in the future.

 

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Posted by on Dec 4, 2012 in Blog, General Poker | 11 comments

Remembering Lou Krieger

 

 

Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.

                                                                    — Dr. Seuss

 

Lou Krieger was so fond of quotations.

Yet I sit here now reflecting upon the devastating news of his passing and the extraordinary measure of his character, desperately grasping for the appropriate quip which captures the essence of a man who passed away yesterday.

Of all people, Dr. Seuss provides the best summation of how we should look upon the death, and more importantly the life of the man known by most people in the poker world as Lou Krieger.

Most of us simply called him “Lou.”   That was his chosen pen name.  Over the course of two decades, during which poker was ushered out of smoky backrooms into international prominence, he wrote hundreds of columns for Card Player magazine.  He authored 11 poker books, all on strategy.

Lou was a writer, a teacher, a broadcaster, a strategist, and a player.  But his accomplishments within the game of poker – although widely appreciated – were but a tiny fraction of the very full life of the man who was born in Brooklyn, NY and died yesterday at his home in Palm Springs, CA.

Indeed, Lou was actually born as Roger Lubin.  The son of Jewish parents, Lou spent his early childhood on the streets and playgrounds of Brooklyn and his summers along Coney Island.  Although he later blossomed into a true philosopher and gifted intellectual, Lou never veered very far from his working-class roots.  He was able to converse with just about anyone, on virtually any subject, and was able to make those around him feel as though they were both heard and respected — sadly characteristics increasingly rare in society.

Alas, if listening is an art form, then Lou was our Michelangelo.  He was the best listener I have ever met.  Perhaps that’s ultimately what made him such a respected and beloved figure to those who knew him.  Lou was always there to listen.

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Posted by on Nov 18, 2012 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 3 comments

Who Would You Most Like to Have Dinner With?

 

Top of Harvey's Lake Tahoe 2012

 

Photo Caption:  Dinner tonight at “19,” which is high atop the Harveys Resort and Casino at beautiful Lake Tahoe.  I wolfed down a 20-ounce coffee-rubbed rib-eye, with garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, a house salad, a full bottle of Pellegrino, two double expressos, and two bottles of Caymus (shared, of course).  Epic dinners like these always bring about great conversation, especially when you are with great company like Steve Schorr (Race and Sportsbook Manager) and Glen Cademartori (Caesars Entertainment Marketing Director for Northern Nevada).  Dinners like this are what living life is all about.  Tonight’s dinner prompted the following thoughts and column:

 

I wish there were 36 hours in the day, instead of 24.

I wish there were eight days in the week, instead of seven.

I wish I had more time.

 

There’s not enough time to read all the books I want to read.  There’s not enough time to listen to all the music I want to hear.  There’s not enough time to travel to all the places I want to go.  There’s not enough time to make all the friends I’d like to meet.  There’s not enough time to covet those family relationships and friendships that I’m already blessed to have.  There’s not enough time fulfill a vast cauldron of desires.

Indeed, each of us lives inside an hourglass.  The sand beneath our feet is always shifting and slowly disappears, one grain at a time, one ticking second at a time.  At some point — no one knows exactly when — the sand runs out.  Our hourglass becomes empty.  And then, we will be gone.

When you think about it, other than our good health, time is our most precious resource.

Why then do we waste so much of it?

 

Tonight at dinner, the conversation turned to living a good life.

A random question came up that made me to pause and think.  And quite frankly, I got stumped.  I usually have quick answers for just about everything.  That’s what comes with being opinionated.  But a question was asked that I still have trouble answering.  Perhaps you’d like to pretend you’re dining with us over a few bottles of wine and you suddenly get asked the following:

If you could pick one person in the world to have a long one-on-one dinner conversation with, who would it be?

Let’s embellish this just a bit.  You must make two choices.  The first choice must be someone living.  The second choice must be someone deceased.

I find this a very difficult question to answer.

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Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 in Blog, Book Reviews, Essays | 0 comments

Staring Death in the Eye and Not Blinking: On Christopher Hitchens and “Mortality”

 

hitchens-book-review

 

Hitchens, who died nearly a year ago, penned some 15 books over the course a bombastically bountiful career that spanned nearly three decades — the first half spent in the U.K., the nation of his birth, and the later half in the U.S., the country to which he eventually attached himself as a naturalized citizen.  But his real citizenry was to free thought, ideas, and debate.

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