Posts tagged dublin

Ireland Bound


Just a quick note to tell anyone who reads this blog who doesn’t know already – I got the job with Pocketkings in Dublin (pending a successful work permit application of course). So in addition to everything else that’s going on this summer (getting married, honeymoon, computer bot competitions), Diane and I have to pack up our lives and move them overseas for my August 1st start date.

Does anyone have experience in moving overseas (or know someone who does?). If so, I wouldn’t mind chatting with people about good shipping options for the stuff we want to send over to Ireland.

Should be an exciting summer!


Dublin Poker Report


Euros!I recently got back from Dublin for a job interview. For a full trip report visit … but this post will summarize my experience at a Dublin casino for some poker.

On Saturday night, Aaron and Darse were thinking about going to play some poker so Diane graciously let me join them instead of returning to the hotel right away to sleep. So we ventured to the Dublin Sporting Emporium to play some 1/2 Pot Limit Hold’em.

The first stage in the process was to get a membership to the club which involved filling out a form and paying a 20 euro membership fee. To sweeten the deal a little (and encourage you to get some money into play), they gave each of us a 10 euro action chip to use at the tables. Once the process was over, we were admitted into the place. It had quite a classy feel, which was pretty cool. My experience at most casinos has been a feeling of cheap thrills, so it was pretty welcome to be in a place that didn’t make me feel that way. Maybe it was the whole membership process that helped it out, or maybe that casinos in Europe are just classier places?

Anyways, Darse and I had our play chips to attempt to convert into real money. So we went to the roulette table and each put a bet on a colour. I won my bet and let the action chip ride another two spins before losing it. So between us, Darse and I broke even at converting the action chips to real money. Woohoo!

The three of us went up a floor to the poker room where there was one 1/2 pot limit hold’em game going. Only two seats were open, so we played odds and evens to see who would get the first two seats. Darse was the odd man out, so Aaron and I bought in and sat down at two adjacent seats at the table. I started with 100 euros, but would later top up my chips for another 50 euros before I started to win.

Early on I didn’t get any hands which left me some time to watch how other players were doing. I’ve never really played pot limit before, although it’s not all that different from how I want to play no limit anyways. I picked out that most of the players really didn’t know how to play very well, although their play varied a little bit.

Apart from limping every so often or calling small raises with good pot odds from the button or the blinds, I didn’t play very many hands for the first several orbits. After a little while, Darse joined in with us and sat next to Aaron so there were three of us sitting in a row with Aaron on my left, and Darse on his left. Not long after that, I got my first hand: pocket twos! I made a raise and got three callers and flopped a set! Unfortunately, no one called my flop bet but it was good to win a pot.

The very next hand I picked up pocket eights and made an UTG raise once again getting many callers. The flop came A22. I made a continuation bet and got just one caller: a woman that seemed to be pretty solid. I checked the turn and folded to her pot sized bet. Well, I’m one for two now.

I continued to play pretty tight, although that was more of a function of the cards I was getting. A few hands later though I picked up aces and once again put in a raise. I got called by just a couple players. This time though I got some action from the guy to Darse’s left. He called my flop bet, but folded to my turn bet.

An orbit or two passes and I pick up aces again. Again I raise preflop, and the same guy who gave me action last time calls along with a few other players. The flop was all undercards to my aces and not particularly connected. I bet the flop, but this time I get raised by the same guy. At this point that wasn’t much more to me so I put the rest of my chips in – a raise of only 40 euro more into a pot totalling over 200 euros. He tanks for awhile before deciding to fold. Chalk it up to aces. I like aces.

We played on for a little while longer, and it seemed to me this guy was starting to take a dislike to me. There was a couple times where he squeezed me out of the pot – I would’ve liked to play against him, but I didn’t really feel like trying to do battle with my KJ-suited to his squeeze raise. A little more I think and I would’ve been able to play.

My next big hand was AK – and again my preflop raise was called by the same guy. I flopped top pair of kings on a KQx board. This time the guy raises me allin – so I call and after showing down my AK, he mucks his cards. I probably took close to 200 euro just from that guy alone!

I had one last big hand where I had QQ and got some action. I don’t remember the details, but I distinctly remember tossing three 25 euro black chips into the pot and getting folds. That was a pretty good sized pot to take down.

All told, I ended up over 240 euros to the good, which is officially my first winning session in any casino session I’ve ever played in (poker or otherwise) that wasn’t a tournament. Admittedly, I’ve only ever played cash poker games in the casino twice before. Once at foxwoods when I went to Boston and New York a couple years ago, and once when my friend Mike stopped by and we played at the casino closest to my house. So really, I haven’t had many data points – but if felt good to be up and up a good amount! It’s pretty intimidating to play live even though I know a lot about poker these days after playing so much online. So it’s good to get a victory under my belt.

All told, I think the trip to Dublin turned out to make me money instead of cost anything. The company paid for the flights and the hotel and most of the meals, and we’ll soon be settling up the cab fares. So aside from some small expenses, I didn’t really spend any money, but made a decent profit at the casino. Sweet deal!

I hope to hear back from pocket kings about the interview within the next week. I’ll let people know what the result is as soon as I know!


Week of Busy


It’s been pretty busy the past few days. In the evenings after work I spent a large amount of time uploading backlogged photos to Flickr. I’ve gotten pretty far into my backlog, and I’ve almost got caught up to the point where I can start to post new photos again (and I’ve got a few to upload already).

I’ve been forced to change my focus though. Diane and I are headed to Ireland next week so I can meet some people at Full Tilt and hopefully get myself a job. I’ve been thinking for awhile what I could do for a demo if such a thing were called for. I was fast running out of time to make something brand new since that would take a lot of effot over a very short time period. Plus I didn’t really have any good ideas for stuff to do.

I remembered though that I had my lose-checkers program from my search course a couple years ago. So I’ve resurrected that, and my little demo program is one that utilizes sockets to play one program against another. It’s not all that flashy, but it was a really good review of socket programming for me. I’ve got the basic code working and will be testing it and adding a few features over the next couple days before we leave on tuesday night for Ireland.

I’m getting pretty excited about the trip. I don’t know what to expect, but it should be cool to see Dublin and meet some people working in a field that I’d like to be a part of.

Wish me luck!


Interview Stage 2


Well it didn’t go too bad. I think. It’s hard to say.

I … was a little nervous. This was the first real set of interviews I’ve had since I interviewed for a internship between my third and fourth years. I had a couple interviews then – one on the phone with IBM that went disastrously, and one with the math department that went far better, but they didn’t give me the job. To be fair, the IBM interview was after a week of final exams where I had 4 exams, one on each day at 9am.

So yesterday morning I waited for my 9am phone call. Well, even that was complicated. They were calling 4pm their time 9am our time, but with the daylight savings time changed this past weekend I figured they might’ve not remembered we switched time. So I did the “math” … and got it wrong. So I was ready for an 8am phone call that didn’t come. Then half past nine I finally looked it up on the internet and found that it was wrong and that 4pm Dublin time was 10am our time. Well, that was a good start to my interview.

I don’t want to go into tremendous detail about the interview here. I kind of feel like I’m not well-suited to interviews. I have this tendency to guard everything I say with conditionals, even if I’m relatively certain of the answer.

The interview consisted of talking with a total of 5 people. I first was asked questions from one pair of developers, one of whom did his masters on Poker in our research group. Then I talked with another pair for awhile, followed by the head of the IT division. The last part of the interview was the most pleasant, partially because he wasn’t grilling me but partially because it was kind of cool to talk about shared interest in the computing area.

I have mixed feelings about how the interview went. I kind of feel like I didn’t do well, but at the same time I think I didn’t give any wrong answers and not too many blank answers. I stumbled through some questions, and I probably didn’t sound very confident on the other end, but we’ll have to see what they say in the next couple days. Hopefully at the least I’ve managed to earn another interview, if not an offer.

In the meantime, I’ve got a bunch of cool things to work on for work so I have some interesting stuff to occupy my time with in the meantime.


Interview Step One


Well today I was a nervous wreck. For quite some time I’ve been considering applying for a job with pocket kings — the company that writes and manages the software and details behind full tilt poker. A couple of former UofA grads have got prominent positions there and they’ve been making the case that I should go join them.

It took me awhile to come around to their case. It’s an awfully large amount of upheaval to move to a country so far away from home. I sort of feel though that it’s coming to a time in my life where I need to get up and experience the world a little more than I have been. I’ve finally started to admit that I’m too much of a homebody, and I need to get out of my comfort zone a bit.

Ireland has a lot of appeal. It’s situated in a spot where Diane and I could take frequent traveling trips to see Europe. Dublin is a youthful city with a huge amount of IT people flocking to it. The opportunity to head to out and see the world while having an exciting job seems to good to pass up. The downside is I’d have to leave a significant number of family and friends behind, and that might be harder than I am willing to admit just yet.

So, after thinking about this for quite some time, I’ve started phase one of applying. I had my first phone interview today with one of their lead server guys. It went … decently well I think. The topics ranged widely, and I learned a fair amount about the company that I hadn’t managed to glean from my other contacts there. I was asked quite a few questions about several things that he thought was of interest on my resume. I gave the best answers I could — I don’t believe I perform all that well under intense scrutiny like that, but I didn’t do badly. The only question I botched was when he asked me to come up with an example of deadlock. It wasn’t until I had hung up the phone and muttered to myself about it for a moment or two before I came up with the answer. It’s so simple too! For those who aren’t into systems stuff, deadlock is when two processes or threads try and access sections of code that you deem need to be run or used by only one process at a time. So an easy way to create a deadlock situation is to have a process that grabs the lock for resource A and then the lock for resource B, and another process that attempts to acquire locks in the reverse direction. That way, it can happen that the first process acquires the lock for resource A, but blocks because the other process has acquired the lock for resource B which is blocked because the first process already has that lock. Thus … deadlock! *sigh*.

Other than that, the interview went alright. I answered his questions to the best of my ability and only stumbled a few times. It’s interesting trying to pull pieces of my memory out from the last few years of work that I’ve done. As the interview progressed, I began to pull more and more pieces of details that I hadn’t thought about in awhile. My maxflow algorithm implementation, my adding additional functionality to openssh, my building a user registration system for westgrid, and the details of the Trellis file system that I hadn’t thought about in ages.

So I gather I’ll be getting another phone interview sometime in the near future where I get to be “grilled” to find out how knowledgeable I am. I’m super nervous about that one. Anyone have any good interview questions that I can ponder as practice?


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