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Sweet Indulgence

(President Barack Obama, U.S.A.)

The thought of indulging myself in a rewarding cigarette has crossed my mind probably a dozen times a day since I quit smoking on Feb. 5. Despite tempting thoughts - even though it’s not as difficult as others claim it to be - giving up the one thing I have loved since nearly six years is a good thing. I can’t wait for my lungs to repair, skin to flourish and say goodbye to stinking odors.

I was ambivalent about withdrawal symptoms. Going cold turkey as a heavy smoker raised the expectations (and probability!) of long and dreadful weeks to come. But in the end, I knew it was better for my asthma. Here’s a reminder for all my fellow asthmatics out there: smoking and asthma is a DEADLY combination. But whether you suffer from respiratory problems or not, quitting will give you the miracles of reduced coughing (better described as the sound of death) and increased activeness.

The wackiest thing I’ve experienced was a dream as vivid as the sky on a sunny day. I woke up completely distraught as I rarely remember my dreams ever and couldn’t distinguish reality from reverie. My dream went as follows:

How You Can Become a Professional Gambler

On Tynan

I get an annoying amount of email from people asking me how to gamble like I used to. The truth is that what I used to do isn't profitable anymore. It was a right time, right place sort of scenario. Although I'm not a professional gambler anymore, I have been spending time studying and improving at poker (I'm a break-even or slightly profitable player), and I have friends who are pros. There are surely several different paths you can take to make a living gambling; this is the one that I'm aware of and is feasible for someone of above average intelligence.

Despite offering a rough guide to making money gambling, I don't necessarily recommend that you do so. I gambled professionally for seven years. During that time I made a lot of money and enjoyed my life. One morning I woke up and all of my money was gone. The story behind that is complicated, but the gist is that "they caught on". The strongest emotion I felt was a sense of relief. Gambling is fun, but it's not "big". It doesn't contribute in a meaningful way or leave you with a body of work.

Most casino games have a house advantage ranging from 2-5%, assuming "perfect play". That means that if you play perfectly, you can expect to lose, on average, about 2-5% of the action you put through a machine. Perfect play for slot machines is simply to bet the maximum amount of coins (the jackpot is skewed heavily in favor of maximum coins). For blackjack you need to memorize what to do for every combination of player hands vs. dealer hands, specific to each set of rules (hit on soft 17, resplitting aces, etc).

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