Monthly Archives: May 2010

Short Track Speed Skating

Short Track Speed Skating

Short track speed skating is the North American version of speed skating. Short track skating competitions originated in Canada and the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. Although it has its origins in the traditional speed skating from Holland, the short track speed skating you’ll see in the Olympics today is a more rough-and-tumble sport that, in many ways, looks more like roller derby than traditional speed skating

Short track speed skating was a demonstration sport in 1988 and official joined the Winter Olympic lineup in 1992. The short track speed skating competition during the Winter Olympics consists of the following races for both men and women: 500 m, 1000 m, and 1500 m. There is also a 3000 m women’s relay and a men’s 5000 m relay.

Events

In short track speed skating, skaters race each other around a 111.12 meter oval track (the size of a hockey rink). They race several heats in groups of 4-6 skaters at a time. The first two athletes to cross the finish line move on the next round until the field is narrowed to just the top four athletes.

Skaters are not able to build up to the kind of speeds you see in traditional speed skating for the same distances. In the short track events, a large part of wining is having the right strategy to pass other skaters. Often competitors from the same nation or sympathetic nations will team up with each other to maneuver around other competitors.

The short track speed skating relay is unique. There is no set rule as to how many laps must be completed in each leg. The only rule being that the last two laps have to be skated by the same skater. Consequently, there could be as many as 8 different handoffs in a single race. In most races, skaters don’t run more than 1.5 laps at a time.

In order for a handoff to occur, the skater must only touch the next skater in line. However, it is most common to see them crouch down and run up on the next skater giving them a push to build momentum.

Safety

Because of the close quarters and tight turns, there is quite a bit of jostling that goes on — and this does not violate any rules. However, skaters are not allowed to be too aggressive, or to intentionally injury other skaters. Still, wipe outs are common and skaters often get tripped up when another skater falls. Consequently, injuries in this sport are fairly common. For safety, skaters will often wear extra padding and sometimes helmets. The IOC has also adopted a padding system for the walls around the track to reduce the number of injuries during a collision.

Choosing the Right Ski Goggles

Choosing the Right Ski Goggles

Ski goggles are eye and face protection gear worn by skiers and winter motor sportsmen. They help keep your vision clear, protect the face from the impact of snow, ice, wind and twigs etc as you speed down the slopes enjoying your winter sports. The recent increase in demand for winter sports has lead to the advancement and development of related garb and accessories. Ski goggles are no less in importance than any other protective clothing and therefore must be chosen wisely. The best goggles like smith goggles even protect the face if you fall. They keep your face tilted up to prevent the face from colliding to harshly.

Henceforth are a few important points that should help you make a better choice when selecting the appropriate goggles for your ski trip.

Ski goggles have colored lenses. Each color is polarized to a different degree and adapts to a different sunlight setting. Golden tints for moderate light, dark or green colors for brighter days and blue for high intensity sunlight.
Make sure the lens of your goggle is 95% resistant to UV radiation. There is lots of radiation on the mountains and you need to keep your eyes shielded. The span of vision should also be good, 180 degrees vision goggles are advised, smith goggles for instance are a good example of how a goggle should be made.

If you have weak eyesight and use spectacles, make sure you get a goggle big enough to hold to eye-glasses inside and prevent fog from entering. We have OTG (Over The Glasses) goggles for this very purpose. Keeping the fog out is important and vents were introduced into goggles for the task. They made the fog blow past with the gushing wind thus keeping the vision clearer. If you are a true adventurer, buy your self a high tech night vision military goggle and blow away down the slopes in the darkness.

A nice fit cannot be emphasized enough, make sure your ski goggles are perfect fits.
Now you need to know the prices. The simple facts are; price range is huge ($20 to $500), A number of types, vented, aerodynamic, etc. So basically you need to know what you exactly want and then check the prices from the online market but you should make the purchase directly, after checking the goggle for fit and colors etc. The internet is no guarantee for the truth after all.

SKI JUMPING: BASICS

SKI JUMPING: BASICS

“The finest thing in skiing
Has always been the spring.
You’ll find you get much more applause
Than when you do the swing.”

Jump Turns and Gelandesprunge

Anyone who has done a little skiing and feels fairly confident should try and learn to do moderate jumps for he may suddenly come upon a small obstacle such as a stream or a ditch. Faced with this danger, make a small jump and you will be completely master of the situation.

If you are on a tour and you come to a precipitous slope which makes your heart beat faster and you are afraid to make a turn or you come suddenly upon a patch of very bad snow, you are lucky if you have taken the trouble at least to learn a simple jump turn.

The Jump Turn with One Stick

The most common jump turn in open country is with one stick. As in all these types of jump you get into a squatting position, look carefully for the best patch from which to leap, concentrate then on your position and the jump, stick in your downhill side stick, jump round it and land as gently as you can with a good Telemark.

With a modern rigid binding, it is impossible to carry out a Telemark. In order that the heel may free itself from the ski, the cable must be removed from the guides. The outer ski on the turn is pushed to the fore while the inner ski point stops in front of the foot of the outer ski so that it cannot cross it. In this Telemark fall out position you can lean inward and with a good balance above all in deep snow, can make one turn after the other down the slopes.

See that the skis, as you take off, in the air and above all as you land, are parallel. It is even more important to see that the stick, according to the speed is stuck in sufficiently far ahead, otherwise when you leap your skis will slide away beneath you and you will come down hard on your backside.

The Jump Turn with Two Sticks

In this manoeuvre you do the same as with a single stick only here you place both of them well to the fore to one side near the ski points and therefore you have two hands to help you swivel your body round the sticks.

The Gelandesprung

This is the most useful jump for a ski runner and it must be learned and practised by anyone who goes in for the sport. In much skied over, bumpy country it can not only prove extremely useful but also a pleasure. The gelandesprung can be made with or without sticks, and at great speed the latter are unnecessary. In the event of unforeseen obstacles, on the other -hand, the sticks can serve to give a thrust-off and also to steady the landing.

If your speed is not too great and you see the obstacle in time, the gelandesprung is the best way of overcoming that obstacle. If, however, you jump over a trough into the air, in order to land on the far slope, the sticks help you to retain your balance.

What young fellow in the world is not thrilled at pulling off a really good jump and having mastered this art, not to be forgotten is a small Telemark take-off on your leap. That dots the i’s and crosses the t’s.

With a modern rigid binding, it is impossible to carry out a Telemark. In order that the heel may free itself from the ski, the cable must be removed from the guides. The outer ski on the turn is pushed to the fore while the inner ski point stops in front of the foot of the outer ski so that it cannot cross it. In this Telemark fall out position you can lean inward and with a good balance above all in deep snow, can make one turn after the other down the slopes.

Now it remains for you to learn these jumps and have a lot of fun with them.

Risk at the Winter Olympics

Risk at the Winter Olympics

In successive Olympic Games some of the courses and events are becoming faster, more difficult and therefore more dangerous. The margin of error allowed by a competitor becomes smaller and smaller and big adjustments are required by these elite athletes to accommodate these course changes.

Where should the line be drawn on Olympic event safety?

Olympic Sponsorship and Broadcast Rights

The Olympic Games are spectator sports worth billions of dollars in revenue. In Canada, the cost of buying the broadcast rights for the 2010 Games hit a record-breaking $90 million for Vancouver, up from $28 million in Turin in 2006 and from $12 million for the Lillehammer Games in 1994.

According to an article on the Toronto Star’s website, TheStar.com, Jim Little, chief brand and communications officer of the The Royal Bank of Canada, which paid $110 million for the rights to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and London 2012 Games, says it’s well worth it. “It’s the biggest marketing platform in the world”.

It is no secret that tragedy, danger and spectacular accidents generate keen media interest.

When it comes to extreme sports such as high altitude mountaineering the accidents and disasters regularly receive more coverage than successes.

In an article titled “Women’s Olympic downhill course takes a bite out of competition”, Jim Morris, reporting for the online edition of the Canadian Press on the 17.02.2010, said of the spectacular crashes in the women’s downhill event in Whistler, “It was ugly but riveting to watch”.

Olympic Luge Tragedy

A few hours before the Olympic Games opening ceremony, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died in a horrific crash, flying off the luge course at 145 km/h during a training run and colliding with an un-padded steel pole. The international federation that governs luge racing claimed that the track was safe. The accident was deemed to be the fault of the inexperienced competitor who failed to control his sled.

During training runs at the Whistler Sliding Centre where the tragedy took place athletes were attaining unprecedented speeds on the luge track. Designed for speeds of 137 km/h (85 miles/h), the track was delivering speeds above 150 km/h, 9 miles/h faster than the standing 2000 world speed record.

According to an article: “Speed and Commerce Skewed Track’s Design” in the Wall Street Journal online edition, the first choice of Grouse Mountain for the sliding centre was abandoned because Whistler would be a more financially viable location after the Games. As a result, the track designers had to fit the track into a narrower valley, which meant a steeper slope and tighter turns.

While absolving themselves of blame for the accident the luge federation fixed the corner where the accident took place by replacing it with a wall and lowered the start gate of the course to slow the sleds.

Women’s Olympic Downhill Run

In an accident reminiscent of Austrian downhiller Hermann Maier’s hair-raising crash in the 1998 Nagano Games, Swedish alpine star, Anje Paerson was fortunate to escape severe injury after a spectacular crash during the women’s Olympic downhill run on the almost 3 km Franz’s course. Paerson flew 60 metres before crashing into the piste.

Due to warm weather that initially postponed the event, the women only had one warm-up run on the downhill course (instead of the standard two runs). The warm-up run they had was in two sections, squeezed between men’s events. Trying to hold another training would have delayed the women’s downhill. That would have meant rescheduling television times and putting more pressure on a schedule already upset by bad weather.

German competitor Maria Riesch, a downhill veteran and pre-race favourite, declared the course the most difficult that she has ever skied. As reported to the Canadian Press, digital version on the 17.02.2010 Riesch said, “When I was down in the finish I thought I was going to die.” Though a pre-race favourite Reisch finished eighth. “My legs were dead. It was so tiring.”

According to Reuters USA online edition, Canadian competitor Emily Brydon said, “The reason for the carnage is that it’s a long run for the women and you’re exhausted when you reach the bottom, which makes those last jumps really tricky,” she added.

The women’s race director, Atle Skaardal said later that the course, where women were reaching speeds of just under 110 km/h, will be changed for safety reasons. “We will try to ease things down a little bit,” Skaardal said.

Similarly to the reaction to the tragedy in the luge event, a lower start position will be used.

Olympic Athletes Compete on the Edge

In speed events which may well be considered extreme sports, Olympic athletes are often competing on the edge of their ability and the limit of control since the difference between a medal or indeed the top ten placements is often a matter of hundredths of a second. Serious crashes, career -threatening injuries are not surprise occurrences at the Olympics. Elite athletes compete at speeds regularly in excess of 100 km/h when a single mistake can be very costly in terms of their performance and their safety. The winner of the gold medal is often arguably the competitor who reaches the brink of disaster without toppling over the edge.

Slots: Money management

Slots: Money management

Money management is an important feature of effective gambling. When you come to the casino to try your luck at slots, you should come with a plan. Even if you are not lucky on that particular day, your plan should help get the maximum amount of play possible and keep losses to a manageable level.

Basic Slots Money Management

KNOWING YOUR BANKROLL NEEDS IN SLOTS

The first step in slots money management is understanding how much money you need in your bankroll for an enjoyable slots experience. Slot machines have varying payback rates, usually ranging from 75 percent at the low end to 99 percent at the high.

Clearly, you want as high a payback as possible and the average payback is around 90 percent. This means you can expect to lose ten cents for every dollar you put in a slot machine, or ten dollars for every hundred dollars you wager. This is not an exact account — it is simply what you can expect over time.

CALCULATING YOUR BANKROLL IN SLOTS

You now need to figure out how much you wager in an hour. If you wager an average of $100 an hour, a bankroll of $200 should keep you in play for five or ten hours, even if you should hit a streak of bad luck. If you wager $2,000 an hour, you will need considerably more.

NOTES ON SLOT MONEY MANAGEMENT

It isn’t necessary to expect to lose the entire portion of your slots bankroll. In fact, hopefully you will win. However, the goal is to provide yourself with enough money to keep you entertained and playing until you have the opportunity to replenish that bankroll.

Rules of Draw Poker Games

Rules of Draw Poker Games

There are two betting rounds, one before the draw and one after the draw. The game is played with a button and an ante. Players in turn may check, open for the minimum, or open with a raise. After the first betting round the players have the opportunity to draw new cards to replace the ones they discard. Action after the draw starts with the opener, or next player proceeding clockwise if the opener has folded. The betting limit after the draw is twice the amount of the betting limit before the draw. Some draw high games allow a player to open on anything; others require the opener to have a pair of jacks or better.

Rules for Draw High
1. A maximum of a bet and four raises is permitted in multi-handed pots. [See Section 16 – Explanations, discussion #6, for more information on this rule.]
2. Check-raise is permitted both before and after the draw.
3. Any card that is exposed by the dealer before the draw must be kept.
4. Five cards constitute a playing hand. Less than five cards for a player (other than the button) before action has been taken is a misdeal. If action has been taken, a player with fewer than five cards may draw the number of cards necessary to complete a five-card hand. The button may receive the fifth card even if action has taken place. More or fewer than five cards after the draw constitutes a fouled hand.

5. A player may draw up to four consecutive cards. If a player wishes to draw five new cards, four are dealt right away, and the fifth card after everyone else has drawn. If the last player wishes to draw five new cards, four are dealt right away, and a card is burned before the player receives a fifth card. [See “Section 16 – Explanations,” discussion #9, for more information about this rule.]
6. You may change the number of cards you wish to draw, provided:
(a) No cards have been dealt off the deck in response to your request (including the burn card).
(b) No player has acted, in either the betting or indicating the number of cards to be drawn, based on the number of cards you have requested.
7. If you are asked how many cards you drew by another active player, you are obligated to respond until there has been action after the draw, and the dealer is also obligated to respond. Once there is any action after the draw, you are no longer obliged to respond and the dealer cannot respond.
8. On the draw, an exposed card cannot be taken. The draw is completed to each player in order, and then the exposed card is replaced.
9. Rapping the table in turn constitutes either a pass or the declaration of a pat hand that does not want to draw any cards, depending on the situation. A player who indicates a pat hand by rapping the table, not knowing the pot has been raised, may still play his or her hand.
10. You may not change your seat between hands when there are multiple antes or forfeited money in the pot.
11. You have the right to pay the ante (whether single or multiple) at any time and receive a hand, unless there is any additional money in the pot that has been forfeited during a hand in which you were not involved.
12. If the pot has been declared open by an all-in player playing for just the antes, all callers must come in for the full opening bet.
13. If you have only a full ante and no other chips on the table, you may play for just the antes. If no one opens and there is another ante, you may still play for that part of the antes that you have matched, without putting in any more money.

Jacks-or-Better
1. A pair of jacks or better is required to open the pot. If no player opens the pot, the button moves forward and each player must ante again, unless the limit of antes has been reached for that particular game. (Most games allow three consecutive deals before anteing stops.)
2. If the opener should show false openers before the draw, any other active player has the opportunity to declare the pot opened. However, any player who originally passed openers is not eligible to declare the pot open. The false opener has a dead hand and the opening bet stays in the pot. Any other bet placed in the pot by the opener may be withdrawn, provided the action before the draw is not completed. If no other player declares the pot open, all bets are returned except the opener’s first bet. The first bet and antes will remain in the pot, and all players who were involved in that hand are entitled to play the next hand after anteing again.
3. Any player who has legally declared the pot opened must prove openers in order to win the pot.
4. In all cases, the pot will play (even if the opener shows or declares a fouled hand) if there has been a raise, two or more players call the opening bet, or all action is completed before the draw.
5. Even if you are all in for just the ante (or part of the ante), you may declare the pot open if you have openers. If you are all in and falsely declare the pot open, you will lose the ante money and may not continue to play on any subsequent deals until a winner is determined. Even if you buy in again, you must wait until the pot has been legally opened and someone else has won it before you can resume playing.
6. Once action has been completed before the draw, the opener may not withdraw any bets, whether or not the hand contains openers.
7. An opener may be allowed to retrieve a discarded hand to prove openers, at management’s discretion.
8. Any player may request that the opener retain the opening hand and show it after the winner of the pot has been determined.
9. You may split openers, but you must declare that you are splitting and place all discards under a chip to be exposed by the dealer after the completion of the hand.
If you declare that you are splitting openers, but it is determined that you could not possibly have had openers when your final hand is compared with your discards, you will lose the pot.
10. You are not splitting openers if you retain openers. If you begin with the ace, joker, king, queen of spades, and the ten of clubs, you are not splitting if you throw the ten of clubs away. You are breaking a straight to draw to a royal flush, and in doing so, you have retained openers (ace-joker for two aces).
11. After the draw, if you call the opener’s bet and cannot beat openers, you will not get your bet back. (You have received information about opener’s hand that is not free.)

The Joker
1. The players will be alerted as to whether the joker is in use.
2. The joker may be used only as an ace, or to complete a straight, flush, or straight flush. (Thus it is not a completely wild card.)
3. If a joker is used to make a flush, it will be the highest card of the flush not present in the hand.
4. Five aces is the best possible hand (four aces and joker).

Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack basic strategy is the most basic system that all blackjack players must master in order to become a successful player. Basic strategy is a mathematical system of charts that show you the correct mathematical play in any blackjack scenario. You need to learn these basic strategy charts inside and out to know every proper play. This is the fundamental system that blackjack strategy is based upon. By correctly using blackjack basic strategy, you can almost turn the casino’s house advantage of 7%-8% into 1%.

The system of blackjack basic strategy has been developed over several years of research and computer simulation to perfect the basic strategy charts. There are a wide variety of charts that change with slight varations, depending on the exact type of blackjack you will be playing. The two most common basic strategy charts are the single deck and multiple deck charts.

  • Single Deck Blackjack Strategy Charts
  • Multiple Deck Blackjack Strategy Charts

Using Basic Strategy

Using blackjack basic strategy isn’t complicated if you know how to read and understand basic strategy charts. The left vertical column of the charts is your hand and the top horizontal column is the dealer’s hand. Simply line up the columns where your hand meets the dealer’s hand to find the correct play. The abbreviations below are commonly found on basic strategy charts:

  • H – Hit
  • S – Stand
  • D – Double if allowed, otherwise hit
  • Ds – Double if allowed, otherwise stand
  • P – Split
  • H/P – Split if you can double after split, otherwise hit
  • H/R – Surrender if allowed, otherwise hit
  • P/R – Surrender if allowed, otherwise split
  • S/R – Surrender if allowed, otherwise stand

Memorizing Basic Strategy

You’ll need to memorize the basic strategy charts inside and out so you can make your decision (the proper play) in a split second while sitting at a blackjack table. Newer blackjack players often find it difficult to memorize the charts. The easiest way to commit the charts to memory is to look for logical patterns in the charts that help you understand why each play is made.

When you first begin playing or if you are having trouble memorizing the strategy charts, you might consider getting a blackjack strategy card. These are convenient laminated cards, about the size of a credit card, which have the basic strategy charts on them. Most casinos will even allow you to use the cards at the table while playing. For more information, visit our blackjack strategy card page.

Winning with Basic Strategy

There is one last thing to keep in mind when it comes to blackjack basic strategy – it’s not a guaranteed winning system. There are some players who will try to discredit basic strategy because they tried using it once or twice and ended up with a losing night. Basic strategy just shows the proper mathematical decision, for everyblackjack scenario. This does not guarantee that you will always win when using it. It’s simply the foundation for all other blackjack strategies and is a must learn for any serious player.