HDouble At The Movies: The Poker Wisdom of Rocky

Ever since I wrote about the poker wisdom that can be found in quotes from The Big Lebowski, I’ve found that poker players like movies. In all probability, they like posts about movies than dense thought-provoking posts about Morton’s Theorem. I’ve gotten a few requests for another movie post, and for a long time I just couldn’t find a movie that seemed to “fit” the game. But late one night, I popped in a DVD of the live No-Limit tournament at Turning Stone Casino. I was amazed to see an unknown 21 year old face off against two of the best in poker– Phil Ivey and John Juanda– and play without fear, and a heart full of courage.

D’Agostino was the classic underdog– an unknown online player whose most recognizable quality was reckless courage– pushing all-in against the best in the world with nothing. He had the eye of the tiger.

Everybody at the poker table is equal. Some people have more money than others, some have more experience, whatever. But once we buy our chips, everything is equal. The underdog gets the same number of cards as the pros, and then it’s up to chance and skill. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies…

On the surface, Rocky is about the underdog boxer who courageously faces off against a champion who outclasses him in skill, but not in heart. But underneath this cliched theme is a movie full of comedy and wisdom that is made great by its subtlety (and outstanding acting). To me, Rocky is about a guy who stumbles upon a great opportunity and makes the most of it. And in essence, poker is about making the most of your opportunities at the table.

So let’s cut the chit chat and get to the quotes:

Rocky: “Cut me Mick…”
Mick: “You don’t wanna do it kid!”
Rocky: “Cut me.”

Rocky’s famous orders to his cutman show his commitment to his goal, and mirror the commitment of the poker player who’s sitting in a great game but getting pummeled by river card after river card. The Rock tells Mickey to cut his eye open to prevent the doctor from stopping the fight. The Rock knows that this is his one chance to do something great in his life, an opportunity that he can’t afford to let slip by. No matter what the cost (in this case, a big scar on his face at the least), he’s got to continue this fight.

I’ve often feel like I’m being beat up by Apollo Creed when sitting in the no fold ’em low limit games and my opponents keep catching their runner-runner hands to crack whatever monster I’m holding. One of the sadistic ironies of poker is that the most “theoretically” profitable games are also the most painful. Games where your opponents chase to the river with any two cards are the ones where you make the most money, but they are also the games where you will take the most bad beats. Expected Value and actual profit quite often do not match up, and a few bad beats can turn a session that would have been a monster win into a huge loss.

Rocky’s tough enough to sacrifice his face to give himself a chance to succeed in the greatest opportunity of his life. As poker players, we’ve got to grit our teeth through the bad beats, and not let a tough hand keep us from playing our normal game. A great poker player must have the courage to remain in a good game despite painfully improbable bad beats. So the next time you lose to runner-runner in a monster pot, think of the Rock and say, “Cut me, Mick.”

Rocky: I been comin’ here for six years, and for six years ya been stickin’ it to me, an’ I wanna know how come!
Mickey: Ya don’t wanna know!
Rocky: I wanna know how come!
Mickey: Ya wanna know?
Mickey: OK, I’m gonna tell ya! You had the talent to become a good fighter, but instead of that, you become a legbreaker to some cheap, second rate loanshark!

This quote goes out to the creators of Rounders (David Levien and Brian Koppelman) for selling their souls to bad TV with the pilot episode of “Tilt” on ESPN. Mickey explains that the reason that he gives Rocky a hard time is because the Rock sold out on his hope of boxing for a little extra cash. Levien and Koppelman were able to make a great movie about poker with Rounders, and now are freerolling on a new, heavily advertised TV poker drama on ESPN.

Rather than capture the subtlety of the game or develop interesting characters, the writers choose cliched characters who belong more to a soap opera than a poker game.

I’m not going to rant about the growing tendency for television to insist that cliche and dramatic formula is more interesting than originality and complex characters. I expected more from the creators of Rounders, who had the talent to make a great show about poker, but instead became a name tag for a second rate soap opera.

ANDY: Where are the real fighters? The pros. Today we jig clowns.
ROCKY: Clown.
ANDY: Yeah.
ROCKY: He took his best shot an’ became champ — What shot did you ever take?
ANDY: Yo, Rock, you ain’t happy with yourself? Fine. But me, I got a business here — I don’t need to take no shot.

One of my favorite discussions in the movie talks about “taking a shot” in life– risking everything you have to achieve something beyond the ordinary life. Rocky’s question to the bartender, “What shot did you ever take?” goes out to David Sklansky, who seems to enjoy taking shots at people from his 2+2 tower, but rarely puts his money on the table.

One might argue that Sklansky did take “his best shot,” and published several books that were hugely successful. However, his trash-talking gets under my skin, probably because he poses as a dignified authority on poker (while sniping away at good people on public message boards). While Sklansky’s theory is superb, his ability to communicate his ideas is extremely lackluster, and ends up frustrating many readers.

I’m suspect of any poker “authority” who avoids risking money in the game they claim to be expert in.

ROCKY: After a rough fight, ya’ nothin’ but a large wound. Sometimes I feel like callin’ a taxi to drive me from my bed to the bathroom… Ya’ eyes hurt, ya’ ears hurt, ya’ hair even hurts… But the thing I’m proud of is I been in over sixty fights an’ never had a busted nose — Bent an’ twisted an’ bitten but never broke… that’s rare.
ADRIAN: Why do you do it if it hurts so bad?
ROCKY: … Guess.
ADRIAN (pause): ‘Cause you can’t sing or dance?

Rocky’s explanation of why he decided to be a boxer goes out to all the wannabe poker pros out there. There was a short time when yours truly wondered what it would be like to live the lifestyle of a professional poker player. No bosses, no alarm clocks… just you and the cards.

For a while it seemed like the ideal life… and I was reminded of my dream of playing football professionally. Ever since I was a kid, I had dreamed of playing football for a living. Unfortunately, because of 2 knee injuries and some genetic constraints, this dream ended up being pretty hard to achieve.

I did get an opportunity (through teammates) of making a meager living from small teams in leagues throughout Europe. However, I turned it down, for many reasons that have nothing to do with “Rocky.” But of all of the players I’d met that were hanging on to “minor league football,” they’d all told me that the lifestyle was brutal and they wouldn’t be doing it if they could get a “real job” somewhere else. Your body just takes a beating playing week after week at that level, and although the game itself is fun, after 20 weeks of pounding, some of the fun disappears.

My point is that while professional poker may be fun, it’s probably not as fulfilling as “singing or dancing.” Paul Phillips pointed this out in a recent interview: “If you’re smart enough to succeed at this game, you’re smart enough to succeed in the real world, with much greater satisfaction. If you don’t want to work for ‘the man’, then start your own company and put your efforts into that.” But at least broken noses are relatively uncommon fro pro poker players (except for those seen on ESPN’s “Tilt”).

Reporter: Where did you get the name, “The Italian Stallion”?
Rocky: Oh I made that up one night while I was eating dinner.

This one goes out to Russ “Dutch” Boyd and “The Crew” for the dumbest nicknames around. I guess I’m not one to talk with “HDouble,” but hey, I’m not famous.

Rocky: I can’t do it.
Adrian: What?
Rocky: I can’t beat him.
Adrian: Apollo?
Rocky: Yeah. I been out there walkin’ around, thinkin’. I mean, who am I kiddin’? I ain’t even in the guy’s league.
Adrian: What are we gonna do?
Rocky: I don’t know.
Adrian: You worked so hard.
Rocky: Yeah, that don’t matter. ‘Cause I was nobody before.
Adrian: Don’t say that.
Rocky: Ah come on, Adrian, it’s true. I was nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.

Rocky’s most inspired and introspective speech in the movie stresses a concept that may be the most important in being a successful poker play: performance matters, results don’t. The old saying, “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” comes to mind, although I never really liked the sound of that one. Rocky realizes that results– winning the fight– are not the only thing that matters, and adjusts his goal accordingly. Rather than thinking that “winning is the only thing,” Rocky focuses more on performance.

The somewhat subtle thing here is that Rocky’s realization– that he is outmatched and victory may not be his main goal– allows him to actually have a chance at victory that he wouldn’t have had if victory had been his goal. Got that? If Rocky had been focused solely on victory, he may have quit when confronted with the reality of Apollo’s superior talent in the ring. However, since the Rock only wants to “go the distance,” he gives himself a shot at victory. Rocky’s performance based thinking allows him to make the most of his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

In poker, we should strive to make the best decision we can for every hand we play. If the cards don’t fall our way, it’s not important– we’ve given ourselves an opportunity to win by playing our best. In the long run, we’ll be rewarded like Rocky.

Thanks for reading and good cards.

Sympathy of the Community

“The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.”
–William James
Before I get started, I want to offer a HUGE thanks to everybody who left comments offering congratulations and wishing me luck. It really made my day to see all the support, and I’m really looking forward to getting started at Full Tilt Poker at the end of the month. I think I might actually have more time to post after I get started, but we’ll see. The last few weeks of work have been hectic, and I’m trying to finish off everything I started. I’ve also been busy with my side project, which will remain under wraps for the time being but will be revealed in the very near future. I’m very excited about the project and hopefully between that and the new job I’ll be able to maintain enough sanity to sneak in a blog post now and then.
I took a stroll through Iggy’s blogroll late last night, and I was completely blown away by the number of new poker bloggers that I had never heard of. Back in the day (about 3 months ago), I was able to keep up with just about all the poker blogs, although I often had to go back to certain bloggers on the weekends to catch up. I guess I’ve been wrapped up with work for the last few months, because I found myself poring through dozens of new blogs, drowning in post after post. It brought me back to the start of this blog, which was only 15 months ago in October of 2003. Back then the only poker blogs I knew about were A guy named Decker, a guinness drinker, and a female dealer at the Bellagio. There were some others out there, but these three were the only ones I’d come across.
I posted in a vacuum, and looking back at my early posts (cringe), I can tell. But with a lot of practice (I posted much more often back in those days), I felt like I was starting to use this blog to help explicitly understand how poker was affecting my life. Fast forward a year, and now I can’t even keep track of the new poker blogs that are popping up. I think it’s great that there are so many people writing about poker (and their relationship with the game), and I wish I could find an efficient way to keep up with all the blogs. I used to hear the term “poker blog community” all the time, but I guess I never really thought there were enough of us to call it a “community” until I wandered through all of those new poker blogs last night.
Speaking of “community,” Phil at StudioGlyphic has organized a blogger get together in our neck of the woods, conveniently scheduled to match the timing of the LA Poker Classic at Commerce Casino. I can’t bear to sit and watch Felicia win another tournament, so I guess I will throw my hat in the ring and see if I can get lucky in the $300 NL tourney.
Anybody out there wishing to join is welcome– I’ll need some support after I bust out in the first level. Here’s the current list of people who will (probably) be there:
Bill Rini
The Film Geek
Felicia Lee
Poker Babe
I’ve also heard that some Jetsetting Heavy Metal Hippies may fly out for the weekend… Oh boy…
Ok, enough of this rambling. Time for a real post. It’s time for a movie…

The Next Chapter

“If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re going.”
–Professor Irwin Corey
(continued from Part 1)
I tightened the knot on my tie, using the windshield as a mirror. I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d had a face-to-face job interview, and it felt good to be a little nervous. It brought back that sensation I had before the first football game of the season– as the season wears on, and your body wears out, you lose that nervousness. After the 10th game or so, your body has learned to conserve as much energy as possible, and your nerves reach a level of fatigue where they just don’t come alive anymore.
But I had a few flutters in my blood, and I took that as a good sign. I always played better when I was a little nervous, and seemed to perform better under pressure. I put my trusty laptop under my arm and walked to the front of the massive office building, wondering how I’d ended up here. A cloud of hair and an air of assurance caught my eye, and I was jolted from my football memories.
“Chris– I’m Henry, we met at the World Series last year,” I said to the long haired man.
“Hey… nice to see you…” said the man called Jesus, with wizard-like eyes that were usually hidden.
“I’m here for an interview…”
“Ahh, ok, I’m headed up right now. I’ll show you in.”
A few minutes later I was seated in the office of the head of the software company behind a prominent online poker site, sitting face-to-face with a World Series of Poker champion. I wondered what was going on in his head, and despite his friendliness, couldn’t help but think that if I was trying to bluff him out of a pot, those eyes would see right through me. We spoke of the online poker industry, the current poker craze, and of course, poker blogs. He asked for the address of this little poker blog, and I watched him type in the URL. The familiar old banner at the top of the page came up, and Jesus got a tour of the site.
I mentioned the popularity of Guinness and Poker, and soon that garish orange template popped up on the huge monitor, lighting up the room. Jesus quickly scrolled down, and stopped scrolling when one of the horrid images (that Iggy graciously shares with us) filled the screen. His poker face didn’t crack, but I thought I detected a slight groan coming from the poker superstar. Before I was forced to come up with an explanation, the door opened, and in strode the CEO. I felt like I’d sucked out on the river.
The conversation turned to poker on the web and I felt right at home. After two years of reading RGP and thousands of poker blog posts, I was amazed at all of the (seemingly useless) poker knowledge that I’d accumulated. We discussed the future of Full Tilt, the astronomical popularity of poker, and the 2005 World Series of Poker. I had to pinch myself as a reminder that this was a job interview.
I was thoroughly impressed with the vision and knowledge of the CEO, and it seemed that Jesus’ super-sharp mind absorbed and digested everything I said immediately. Unlike my current job, the people running the company not only listened to what I was saying, but seemed genuinely interested.
We finished the interview, and I walked out of the office thinking about how cool it would be to work in poker with a team of super poker minds full time. I felt like I had a lot to offer to their web site, and it seemed like a great opportunity. As I hopped into my car and drove back to work, I silently thanked RDub and Rafe, hoping I could return the favor at some point. Even if nothing came of this, it was a great experience and an inside look at the world that I write about and play in for many of my waking hours.
Decisions, Decisions
That night, I felt the stress of an impending decision that would be difficult. As far as “career paths” go (if you believe in that sort of thing), my career had been quickly progressing up the ladder in the medical IT industry, and the future on that path seemed pretty bright. I’d been published in the biggest IT medical journal, and I was just getting started on a big clinical application that was sure to help clinicians do their job more efficiently. One of the reasons I’d always preferred medical IT to say, game development, is that it seemed like it was for a great “cause”. If I did get an offer from the online poker site, it would be a complete change of direction career wise.
But I thought about the current explosion of poker, and my love for the game, and thought, “How could I turn this job down?” It would be a once in a lifetime chance, and if I succeeded, I could be an integral part of building up this new company full of bright and interesting people. It was just such a great opportunity.
With these thoughts going through my head, I tossed and turns for a few nights wondering what the future held. It didn’t help that my boss (who has always been extremely generous and supportive in my time at the hospital) offered me a position as a lead developer as we move forward with our healthcare portal after I told her about my interview with the online poker site.
Then I heard the ding of the “incoming mail” sound, and as I read the offer it felt a bit like the time my opponent came over the top of my top-pair, top-kicker for all his money in a pot-limit game in the biggest pot I’d ever played. The poker site had put me to the test, and it was time to make a decision.
It was a stressful couple of days, and the phrase that kept coming back to me was, “How could I turn down an offer like this?” The opportunity just seemed to good: working with brilliant people in a small company where hard work is well-rewarded… a stark contrast from the non-profit world of the hospital, a world filled with bureacracy and politics where progress goes at a snail’s pace.
In the end, the opportunity was too good to pass up. So starting on January 31st, I’ll be embarking on a new path with the software company behind one of the biggest online poker sites. Without this blog and the support of all you readers out there, I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity, so a big thanks goes out to everybody. I’ve worked hard on this blog for over a year now, and I guess the hard work has finally paid off. I’m a big believer that hard work will always pay off in one way or another (and it never hurts to have a little luck), and I think this opportunity is in part a product of that hard work. The support and insight of my fellow bloggers and readers has been a huge help in keeping this site alive, and I can’t express my gratitude enough for that. Thanks for reading.

Resignation and Opportunity’s Knock

“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death.”
–James F. Byrnes
After making sure that my letter of resignation satisfied the rules of proper etiquette, I clicked the print button with a feeling of relief. After two and a half years of working in the 9 to 5, business-casual, non-profit world of healthcare, it felt good to be moving on. Career-wise, it’s a complete change of direction, but the opportunity is just too good to pass up. I guess one could say that I’m gambling a bit with my career… and I can’t be sure, but the odds look pretty good from where I’m standing.
2 years has always been the saturation point for me when concerning any activity. Throughout my life, pretty much any activity I’ve pursued, I’ve gone after a goal for 2 years, and then found myself getting bored and moving on to something else. Relationships, hobbies, whatever– except for football, 2 years seems to be the maximum length that my mind can stay interested in any given pursuit. So I wondered what would come after 2 years at the hospital, writing code and designing web sites day after day. True to form, in the last few months I’ve found myself itching for change, itching to do something where I could use my skills to build towards something new and different. My internal career clock seems to agree with an oft quoted poker blogger who frequently reminds us, “stasis = death”.
I’d done the resume thing, posting on a few IT job sites and gotten a few job leads. But nothing really sparked my interest until a small startup company in Rochester, New York called about a job working with their Medical Imaging software. I spoke with them extensively, and was impressed by a demo of their software, as well as the progress they’d made in their first year with only 9 employees. Becoming a part of a small team really attracted me, since bureacracy gets in the way of a lot of things at larger corporations.
The job sounded right up my alley– small company, opportunity for growth, a chance to work with a few smart people. But Rochester? I lived in Connecticut for the first 22 years of my life, and we had some blizzards, but Rochester is up there past Buffalo. A big change from sunny LA, and a big move for a company that is still getting its feet planted in the industry. But the wife and I are kidless, without geological constraints, so a 3,000 mile trek isn’t too scary. Neither of us are big fans of the Hollywood scene, so Rochester might be a nice antidote for the bright lights and fancy cars.
After 3 interviews, the company said they liked what I had to offer, but were so busy that they’d call me in 2 weeks with some kind of offer. I shelved the idea in the back of my mind and wondered what to do.
A couple days later, my buddy RDub (the author of a guest post on No Limit Strategy) flew in for a job interview with Full Tilt Poker, pending his graduation this summer. We planned to meet up after his interview and hopefully hit the LA card rooms to introduce him to the famous ram-and-jam, no-fold-em California hold em. Unfortunately, we never played a hand of poker, although we did sit at the table with a couple of sharks.
Dinner With Sharks
My cell phone rang, and I was surprised to hear the voice of Rafe “Tiltboy” Furst on the other end. Rafe had hooked me up with VIP seats recently at a celebrity poker event, and is just an all-around nice guy. Rdub had told Rafe to check and see if I wanted to meet them for dinner at an Italian joint in Venice. “Them” included Rafe’s compadre, poker superstar Phil Gordon. I gladly accepted, and hopped in the car for the 30 minute drive to Venice, glad that the Tiltboys were willing to put up with some unknown poker blogger.
Dinner was excellent, and filled with tales from the Tiltboys about their Ultimate Sports Adventure. What a trip… travelling around in an RV with a built-in poker table to see every major sporting event over the course of a year…
Phil graciously signed a couple autographs during dinner, yet another reminder at the rising popularity of poker. It was strange to hear the term “poker blog” used by a couple of poker superstars as I stuffed myself with pasta, and wondered what the future for this little niche of the blog world would be. After all the food was gone, we hit the road, and headed back to Rafe’s place (which was unsurprisingly extremly nice) to hang out for a bit.
Phil soon took off to head back to catch a flight to Vegas, leaving Rafe, RDub, and I to a discussion about the state of online poker, bonus-whoring, and other topics often discussed in poker blogs every day. At some point Rdub mentioned something about me being a programmer, and Rafe looked up in surprise.
“You’re a programmer?” asked the tiltboy.
“Yeah, unfortunately I don’t know too many full-time poker bloggers. I write code for a hospital, but I’m looking for something new,” I said.
The wheels in Rafe’s big brain started spinning, as if he was pondering whether to push an opponent all-in at the final table.
…to be continued…
Next post: The Eyes of Jesus and Going All In

Poker Booms and Learning from the Masters

“Life is a school. You have to learn something. Don’t postpone it till tomorrow – tomorrow may never come. Use this moment to learn. And the only thing life wants you to learn is to know yourself, to be yourself. Then whatever comes, you will be joyful. Whatever happens, you will find ecstasy in it. Don’t think in terms of the future; the future is nonexistential. Only the present is.”
Happy New Year! 2004 was an interesting year for yours truly, and I want to thank all of you readers for all of your comments and insight. I met some very interesting people both on and offline, and all of the work I spent on the blog has paid off through the people its led me to and things I’ve learned.
Enough with the nostalgia, let’s get back to poker! I don’t know about anyone else, but I was blown away by the media coverage poker is receiving lately. Just when you thought that the poker boom couldn’t get any louder, every where you turn, there’s poker. Hold ‘Em made the front page of USA today on December 21st when the paper featured an article about kids playing poker. Every time I flip on the TV (and remember I don’t have cable), I see an advertisement for a set of chips or some Hold ‘Em related product. Last night I was amazed to see the great people of the Home Shopping Network blathering on about a 500 chip set as they played some version of poker that looked something like 7 card stud. And then today I’m told that the top search on AOL was “Texas Hold ‘Em”. Has poker jumped the shark? I say no way.
Yes, clearly this popularity can’t last forever, but think about the number of young people that are learning the game. High school kids all over the country are getting into the game, and what do you think will happen as soon as these kids can legally gamble? That means that new players will be coming into the game pretty steadily for at least a couple of years. Poker may be peaking in terms of popularity in the mainstream media, but I won’t be surprise if it remains a media favorite for the next year or two. The 2005 WSOP is going to smash all poker records, with some people predicting over 5000 entrants. The WPT continues to grow, and surely the major networks will hop on the bandwagon and produce their own poker shows in the near future.
All of this means that poker is here to stay, at least for a while. I guess I’ll put off learning Omaha for a while– Hold ‘Em is going to rule the poker world for years to come, and frankly, the psychology of the game is more appealing to me than any other form of poker.
So with all of these people picking up Hold ‘Em, now is the time to sharpen up your game. I’ve been having a lot of success at the middle limits lately, and feel like I’m at the top of my game. But sadly, I feel like I’ve plateaued a bit in terms of improvement. Part of my attraction to poker is centered in the idea that poker is something that you can become an expert in. If you combine reading, study, and years of experience, you can develop a skill that cannot be learned without the combination of these three different methods of learning.
Although I still feel like I’m learning at the tables, the knowledge comes in drips, rather than the huge gulps of the beginning player. So I’ve begun asking myself what I can do to keep developing my poker skills.
I’ve always been more of a self-teacher: although I have a pretty heavy academic background, most of the things I’ve learned I’ve taught myself. One of the reasons I liked computer science so much was because it’s a field where you learn a lot more by “doing” than you do from studying. There is no limit to how much you can teach yourself about computers, which didn’t seem true to me in economics or mathematics.
But lately, my good friend Monk, whose wisdom is strange and usually correct, has been talking to me about the value of the “master”. He’s more of an “old-school” guy than me, and has a lot of respect for the wisdom and ways of the East (his name is Monk after all). The idea is that learning a skill which cannot be taught through words, but only through experience, is different than learning most other things. Since this skill cannot be taught in traditional ways, the student must find out how to best gain this experience. It seems simple: if you want to learn something that requires experience, you just do the thing. If you want to become an expert at poker, you play a lot of poker.
However, in the solitary world of poker, the lessons come slowly to the non-expert player. Good poker is a grind, and it’s rare when an experienced player encounters a situation they haven’t seen before. It’s hard to know if we’re on the right path– should I stick to Limit or mix in some No Limit to keep myself fresh? The grind can numb the brain, and it’s difficult to know if there’s something more we can do to improve our game other than “putting in the hours.”
But suppose you could follow a master of poker for a couple weeks. Imagine looking over Howard Lederer’s shoulder at his every play for a while. Comparing the way that you approach the game to that of the master would open your eyes to new possibilities. Clearly the master’s way will be different and isn’t necessarily “right,” but seeing the way a true expert of the game handles situations differently than you would force you to question both his/her ideas and your own.
So I guess that’s my poker resolution for 2005. Watch the masters of the game and learn. Long live the hole card cam.
Thanks for reading and happy new year!