Computer Repair Service Orange County CA (714)975-3656 https://masleyassociates.com Computer Repair Service Orange County CA (714)975-3656 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:32:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 https://masleyassociates.com https://masleyassociates.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/orange_county_logo_print_horz2-512x512-54f95421v1_site_icon-32x32.png Computer Repair Service Orange County CA (714)975-3656 32 32 Crews search for missing backpacker in East County – fox5sandiego.com https://masleyassociates.com/crews-search-for-missing-backpacker-in-east-county-fox5sandiego-com-2/ https://masleyassociates.com/crews-search-for-missing-backpacker-in-east-county-fox5sandiego-com-2/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:32:54 +0000 https://masleyassociates.com/crews-search-for-missing-backpacker-in-east-county-fox5sandiego-com-2/ <div> <div> <button type="button">&times;</button> <h4>Crews search for missing backpacker in East&nbsp;County</h4> </div> <div> <img width="770" height="445" src="https://tribkswb.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/hikerbackpacker.jpg?w=770" alt="Hiker Backpacker"/></div> </div> SAN DIEGO &nbsp;&ndash; Search-and-rescue crews were searching Wednesday for a hiker who disappeared while backpacking&nbsp; in a remote wilderness area in East County . Chris Sylvia. 28, was reported missing Tuesday after failing to meet […]

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Hiker Backpacker

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    SAN DIEGO &nbsp;&ndash; Search-and-rescue crews were searching Wednesday for a hiker who disappeared while backpacking&nbsp; in a remote wilderness area in East County .

Chris Sylvia. 28, was reported missing Tuesday after failing to meet a friend in Campo as the two had planned. Other hikers later found what they believed to be Sylvia’s identification and backpacking gear about 12 miles off state Route 79 north of Warner Springs.

Sylvia started his hike in Anza Borrego on Feb. 12 and was supposed to meet up with his friend in Lost Valley to replenish his supplies five days later. Sylvia’s friend assumed the missing man simply continued on his way without stopping. But the friend grew worried when he never heard from Sylvia and finally reported him missing on Tuesday, two weeks after he began the hike.

Sylvia is described as a 5-foot-8-inches tall, 155-pound white man with brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department at 858-565-5200.
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Crews search for missing backpacker in East County – fox5sandiego.com https://masleyassociates.com/crews-search-for-missing-backpacker-in-east-county-fox5sandiego-com/ https://masleyassociates.com/crews-search-for-missing-backpacker-in-east-county-fox5sandiego-com/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:32:52 +0000 https://masleyassociates.com/crews-search-for-missing-backpacker-in-east-county-fox5sandiego-com/ <div> <div> <button type="button">&times;</button> <h4>Crews search for missing backpacker in East&nbsp;County</h4> </div> <div> <img width="770" height="445" src="https://tribkswb.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/hikerbackpacker.jpg?w=770" alt="Hiker Backpacker"/></div> </div> SAN DIEGO &nbsp;&ndash; Search-and-rescue crews were searching Wednesday for a hiker who disappeared while backpacking&nbsp; in a remote wilderness area in East County . Chris Sylvia. 28, was reported missing Tuesday after failing to meet […]

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Hiker Backpacker

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    SAN DIEGO &nbsp;&ndash; Search-and-rescue crews were searching Wednesday for a hiker who disappeared while backpacking&nbsp; in a remote wilderness area in East County .

Chris Sylvia. 28, was reported missing Tuesday after failing to meet a friend in Campo as the two had planned. Other hikers later found what they believed to be Sylvia’s identification and backpacking gear about 12 miles off state Route 79 north of Warner Springs.

Sylvia started his hike in Anza Borrego on Feb. 12 and was supposed to meet up with his friend in Lost Valley to replenish his supplies five days later. Sylvia’s friend assumed the missing man simply continued on his way without stopping. But the friend grew worried when he never heard from Sylvia and finally reported him missing on Tuesday, two weeks after he began the hike.

Sylvia is described as a 5-foot-8-inches tall, 155-pound white man with brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department at 858-565-5200.
Source

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Michael Shackleford Is the “Wizard of Odds” – New York Observer https://masleyassociates.com/michael-shackleford-is-the-wizard-of-odds-new-york-observer-2/ https://masleyassociates.com/michael-shackleford-is-the-wizard-of-odds-new-york-observer-2/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:32:58 +0000 https://masleyassociates.com/michael-shackleford-is-the-wizard-of-odds-new-york-observer-2/ A late night gambler plays the slot machines 03 May 2005 in Las Vegas,Nevada. (Photo: PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) LAS VEGAS—For at least four centuries, game players and gamblers have relied on scientists and mathematicians for advice. Galileo wrote Thoughts on Dice Games because his patron, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, “ordered me to produce” an […]

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A late night gambler plays the slot machines 03 May 2005 in Las Vegas,Nevada. AFP Photo/Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)A late night gambler plays the slot machines 03 May 2005 in Las Vegas,Nevada. (Photo: PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS—For at least four centuries, game players and gamblers have relied on scientists and mathematicians for advice. Galileo wrote Thoughts on Dice Games because his patron, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, “ordered me to produce” an answer to a question about a dice game. Fermat and Pascal developed the concept of probability theory from correspondence started when the Chevalier de Mere asked them to settle a gambling problem.

Today, the authority on casino games is Michael Shackleford, the Wizard of Odds. His website, WizardOfOdds.com, provides data, advice, calculators, and simulators for players in hundreds of variations of casino games. When the media needs an answer, they ask Mr. Shackleford. He also follows his own advice; he is a successful professional gambler. The casinos respect his knowledge to hire him to consult on game design, payouts, and discerning patterns in their operating results.

Hash Tag in Vegas

Mike was nice enough to have breakfast with me recently in Las Vegas. I wanted to know how he transitioned from “government actuary” to “Wizard of Odds.” I was also curious to learn about the responsibilities, hazards, and joys of being an heir to the long tradition of math geniuses in service of game players and gamblers.

Although Mr. Shackleford is generally accessible to the media, I am lucky to get this block of his time. He told an interviewer for LiveScience.com, “it takes a lot to get me into the car and drive somewhere. It has to be something that is absolutely essential, or I’m combining like three different minor reasons for making the trip.” I learned that first hand when he changed the location of our meeting so he could combine the trip with taking his car for service.

To be safe, I arrived fifteen minutes early. The restaurant was located in a stretch of real estate typical to Las Vegas, with luxury car dealers across from storefronts with banners like “All Shoes $9.99.” Fourteen minutes later, Michael Shackleford walked in the restaurant.

He has salt-and-pepper hair, a sun-creased face, and is tall and fit. He looks like a grown-up California kid (he turns 50 in May) who spends a lot of time outdoors on hobbies like hiking and bicycling. What he does not look like is a man who earned his living in casinos or hunched over a computer. He also loves travelling and has been a devotee of unicycling and juggling. He also collects license plates and math problems. He has a website displaying the math problems. He was kind enough to send me a picture of some of the license plates:

license-plate-collection (1)Our forty-five minutes together were a dizzying mix of breakfast foods, stories of software engineering and casino adventures, and barely legible notes that I’m still trying to digest:
giant chunks of corn beef hash
softball-sized biscuits
“MGM, 9-6, 99.8% return, .25% comps, favorable points”
“Blackjack too slow”
“Lucky 13 Blackjack, 64 card deck”
“Flush fever”

Once I pieced it together, with Mike’s patience for my follow-up questions, I learned plenty about life as the Wizard of Odds.

Blackjack and Baby Names

Michael Shackleford was born in Pasadena, California, on May 23, 1965. He grew up in Orange County, where he lived until 1992. He received his B.A. in math and economics form the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1988. From childhood Mike was interested in games, math, and odds. Not surprisingly, when he turned twenty-one, he started playing 21. While he completed his education and worked on the West Coast, he mastered blackjack Basic Strategy and Card Counting, becoming a profitable “red chip” ($5-denomination) player.

Over the next several years, he took a series of actuarial examinations. In 1992, he moved to Baltimore to work as an actuary at the headquarters of the Social Security Administration. His primary responsibility, according to his website, “was estimating short-range costs and benefits of changes in Social Security law.”

Wizard as Apprentice:  picture of Mike (on left), playing poker with his younger brother.  Note who has more chips. This is how Michael killed time on camping trips. (Photo: Michael Shackleford) Wizard as Apprentice: Picture of Mike (on left), playing poker with his younger brother. Note who has more chips. This is how Michael killed time on camping trips. (Photo: Michael Shackleford)

The move East put his blackjack hobby on hold. The six- and eight-deck games in Atlantic City were not as favorable as the single- and double-deck games of Las Vegas. In 1997, while still at SSA, Mike demonstrated how his dexterity with complex data and sense of fun were never far apart. With his wife expecting their first child, he wrote a program to sort Social Security card applicants by year of birth, gender, and first name. Years later he wrote on Nameberry.com, “I believe my eyes at that moment were the first to ever see an accurate nationwide sampling of given names. It was too good to keep to myself; I thought the whole country would want to see this.”

He created a simple web page, Mike’s Baby Name Page. The baby name information became a media sensation. The growing popularity of Jose in 1998 (#1 in Texas and California when Shackleford uncovered this data) turned the complexity of America’s changing demography into something everybody could grasp in an instant. Mike’s webpage became SSA Actuarial Note No. 139, “Name Distribution in the Social Security Area.” The Agency’s annual update of the most popular baby names remains a newsworthy event.

Around the same time, he created Mike’s Gambling Page as a hobby. In early 2000, the site began accepting advertising, and soon after, he left SSA to work full time on the website and casino consulting.

WizardOfOdds.com and the Reel Stripping of Las Vegas

When Mike quit his job as an actuary in 2000 – for which he had had to take eleven tests over six years – he had an audacious goal for his website: “to become the most known and trusted name in gambling advice for the whole gamut of casino games.” Fifteen years later, he undoubtedly succeeded.

His 2002 scoop on Las Vegas slot machine returns demonstrated his ability and instincts. Shackleford could obtain and explain complex material. He also had the imagination to anticipate and feed public appetites. Before his work, the size of the “house edge” on slot machines was a black hole. Unlike combinations of dice or cards, casinos can program returns on individual slot machines by changing the reel stripping. Shackleford got access to casino par sheets, went to the casinos, and played the machines long enough to determine the reel-stripping settings.

He published the returns in Anthony Curtis’ Las Vegas Advisor, and in detail on WizardOfOdds.com. (To no one’s surprise, the MacCarran Airport slots studied had the stingiest returns, just eighty-five cents for each dollar played, though thousands of bored travelers would have guessed even lower.) No one had seen this information before. Once available, everyone wanted to know it and quickly understood it. It was like the baby-name list, for slot players.

Over a decade later, those rotten airport slots still get plenty of action. The casino at the top of his nickel-slot survey, the Palms, splashed his conclusion on billboards for years.

The infamous billboard (Photo: WizardOfOdds.com)The infamous billboard (Photo: WizardOfOdds.com)

The publicity from the slot machine study cemented WizardOfOdds.com’s growing reputation as the best place to learn to play casino games. In the years since, Mr. Shackleford has earned the right to be considered a gambling authority. His accessibility and adroitness with the media has multiplied exposure for his site, especially when a casino issue – or simply a question of long odds – enters the news cycle.

Here are just a few examples of the hundreds of media requests Mike has fielded:

• A blackjack player at the Tropicana in Atlantic City won 40 consecutive hands – 1 in 47 quadrillion.

• A craps shooter at the Borgata held the dice without “sevening out” for 154 rolls – 1 in 3.5 billion.

• The distribution of Powerball winners among big cities and small towns – random.

The website now has detailed rules and optimal strategy pages for approximately 200 games. For blackjack players, the site covers 40 variations. An additional series of game calculators allows players to calculate odds, returns, and strategy for any casino variations later introduced.

WizardOfOdds.com is so thorough on casino game strategy that it has a page devoted to Faro. The page notes Faro was played in Reno as recently as 1985, but its height of popularity was in the Old West, when you could run into Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday dealing the game.

All this advice is not static. When Mike returned home after our breakfast, he continued work for a page on “Lucky 13s Blackjack.” Lucky 13s is a variation of the game offered at Grosvenor Casinos in England and on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. The game uses a 64-card deck (a standard deck plus four 11s, 12s, and 13s). Following optimal strategy (on a multicolored chart), the house edge is 1.32%. If you are at a Grosvenor property or on Royal Caribbean, should you make the Protection side bet, paying 5-to-1 (with a multiplier increasing the payout to as much as 200-to-1) for busting on your first two cards? If you do, you are ceding the house an edge of 8.45%.

The Player

How does the Wizard of Odds find time to play games on his own account? What does he play? The first question opens the traditional paradox of the expert advisor: If the advice is so good, shouldn’t he be using it instead of teaching it? As a further complication, Mike is ridiculously efficient about spending his time. In the LiveScience.com interview, he admitted, “I may or may not go someplace if it entails having to make a left turn. But I would go there if it was just making a right turn. And I will plan my whole day so that I make a right turn instead of a left turn.”

Blackjack was his introduction to profitable casino play. On WizardOfOdds.com, the blackjack pages, along with “video poker … and craps get the best traffic because they are the most popular games.” He earned fame and respect within the blackjack community by winning the 2011 Blackjack Cup. Still, he has played relatively little blackjack since moving to Las Vegas in 2001. He told me blackjack was “too slow of a way to make money. By then I was making good money from my web site and consulting, especially in comparison to what I could make at the tables.”

With opportunities to play casino games plentiful, the situation has to be pretty enticing to attract and hold Michael Shackleford’s attention. He found some good opportunities grinding out small edges in video poker but “most casinos put me on their DNI [Do Not Invite] list, making me ineligible to get mailers and comps.” Consulting work also paid better and he could work at home instead of smoky casinos.

One of his favorite games to analyze and play in a casino has been Pai Gow Tiles. It is a complicated game with rules like Pai Gow (with a touch of Baccarat) and game equipment like Mah Jong or Dominoes. The game plays slow, 30 hands per hour, and 40% of hands end in a “push.” Nevertheless, it is attractive to Mr. Shackleford for several reasons. First, it has rarely been analyzed, so it provided him a new and challenging puzzle for developing optimal strategy. (Based on his analysis, a player plays nearly even with the house and occasionally has a small edge.) Second, he gets a kick out of being one of the relatively few non-Asians at the table. Third, the game is fun when played at a casino with friends, giving him a break from his mostly solitary pursuits in gambling.

As a bettor, Shackleford has focused over the last several years on sports betting, specifically NFL games. “I love the exotic Super Bowl bets.” Regarding its seasonality, he does not feel let down when the season ends. “It’s mostly a relief when the Super Bowl is over. And when the next season starts again, I’m fresh and ready.” WizardOfOdds.com is loaded with data to educate sports bettors.

$20,000 royal flush at Treasure Island. (Photo: Michael Shackleford)$20,000 royal flush at Treasure Island. (Photo: Michael Shackleford)

He will bet other sports if he finds the right opportunity. The profusion of online sports books must be a giant amusement park to Michael Shackleford. Sports books for years have offered wagers in which, for a little extra (typically 10 basis points to move the spread 1/2 point), players could bet a different point spread. He told me about one situation where he was so successful that the site – and every other Internet casino – stopped offering the bet.

“That’s fine,” he said, “for a small number of points, for the sports books. However, if you sell too many, then it becomes a good value for the player. They should be increasing the price on an exponential basis, but most places incorrectly do it on a geometric basis.”

Mike had an account at one online sports book offering NBA games in which he could “buy up to 5 extra points and lay 210, instead of the standard 110. I calculated at the time that a fair price to buy 5 extra points was 233. So, I was getting a 3.3% on every bet. It may not sound like much, but I was betting every game, and both sides on most of them.”

For most of the basketball season, he bet $2,000 per side per game. He rarely had a losing day. This was not a feat of inside information or experience scouting and handicapping the NBA. It came from recognizing and exploiting the opportunity the site provided. He made no attempt to disguise his strategy or identity.

“I was a friend with the son of one of the site’s owners. He said to me, ‘you’re winning a lot in basketball.’ I told him how I was doing it, that they weren’t charging enough to buy points.” Near the end of that season, the sports book discontinued the practice of letting players buy points to move the line. Almost immediately, all the sites stopped taking that kind of bet.

The Advisor

Mike started his gaming consulting business even before he moved to Las Vegas. The number of game designers has multiplied over the last few decades. The number of casinos, especially online, has also exploded. (Only a small amount of his consulting has been for land-based casinos.)

A main area of his consulting has concerned game design and testing. According to a Daily Mail article about the expansion of “fruit machines” in Great Britain, “Shackleford has designed more slot machines than anyone else on the planet.” Casinos want more (and novel) games to attract player interest, but they are also careful bordering on paranoid about making a mistake and giving players an advantage.

“It’s hard to get a new game on the floor,” he explained. “The clients can be picky. They always want to see more math.”

Nevertheless, like the rules he looks for as an advantage player, the casinos occasionally slip up. When that happens, they hire Mr. Shackleford to figure it out and explain it to them. He discovered that one client, an Internet casino, offered a pay table that inadvertently gave a player a 20% advantage. And this was in Keno, a game on which casinos usually can’t lose money.

Usually, the result is less obvious and requires analyzing mountains of data. He described one casino that had a bad month in table games and asked him if, based on the results, they were doing something wrong. He reviewed results from every shift, then every pit, then every table, and then from every player. His conclusion: “Bad luck. One player got lucky in blackjack.” The casino was deciding whether to bar the player. Mike said it should be doing the opposite, because encouraging him to play more was its best chance to win back that money.

That’s Why They Call It Gambling

Mike’s demeanor makes his success, as a player, player resource, go-to expert by the media, and gaming consultant seem – if not easy – logical. Perhaps I should have expected this from a famously methodical analyst of games.

Beating casinos (or joining them) is riskier business than even Michael Shackleford can make it appear. In May 2014, despite nearly fifteen years as a successful operator of WizardOfOdds.com, his financial foundation was in jeopardy, simply because of the caprice of a business labeled “gambling.” He was denied the safeguards of U.S. banks because of their reluctance to handle transactions connected to the activity. Never mind that WizardOfOdds.com contained no gambling, casinos paying the site for ads legally offered those games in their markets, and he disclosed his foreign bank accounts to the U.S. government.

Instead of having advertisers pay an account at, say, Bank of America, he had to accept the money initially at a Cyprus bank. A run on Cyprus banks in early 2014 cost him €82,000. He had to eat the loss and continue transacting with another Cypriot bank, which apparently decided it could simply ignore his requests to withdraw money. On May 14, 2014, he disclosed on his site, “If the Bank of Cyprus doesn’t make good on my withdrawal soon I will have to seriously consider selling my house and/or my sites.”

Mike hitting an $8,000 royal flush at the Riviera (Photo: WizardOfOdds.com)Mike hitting an $8,000 royal flush at the Riviera (Photo: WizardOfOdds.com)

Three weeks later, the bank honored his withdrawal, but the exposure put his websites on the market. In September 2014, he sold WizardOfOdds.com and three related sites for $2.35 million. The buyer, LatestCasinoBonuses.com, wisely locked Shackleford up to work on the sites for three years. Based on his initial experience with the new owners, he has declared that he hopes to stay on even longer.

He also finds himself in the crossfire of the continuing war between casinos and players. As a player, casinos have discouraged or limited his play because they don’t like winning players. Because he advises casinos, some players consider him a defector..

“It’s a cat-and-mouse game between casinos and players. I look at it like the wolf and the sheepdog in the Looney Tunes cartoons. We can be friends but once we punch our time cards and the whistle blows, we work against each other. When it blows again and we punch out, we go back to being friends.”

That kind of equanimity isn’t taught as part of any statistical analysis. As an extra tool at Mr. Shackleford’s disposal, however, it helps explain his long and continued success.

Michael Craig is an author, journalist, and lawyer. He has written four books, including The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time. Follow him on Twitter (@MikeCraigIsAmok) and Facebook. This article is part of his collaboration with PokerStars and PokerStars Casino on the lives and games of smart, interesting risk takers.
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Michael Shackleford Is the “Wizard of Odds” – New York Observer https://masleyassociates.com/michael-shackleford-is-the-wizard-of-odds-new-york-observer/ https://masleyassociates.com/michael-shackleford-is-the-wizard-of-odds-new-york-observer/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:32:52 +0000 https://masleyassociates.com/michael-shackleford-is-the-wizard-of-odds-new-york-observer/ A late night gambler plays the slot machines 03 May 2005 in Las Vegas,Nevada. (Photo: PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) LAS VEGAS—For at least four centuries, game players and gamblers have relied on scientists and mathematicians for advice. Galileo wrote Thoughts on Dice Games because his patron, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, “ordered me to produce” an […]

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A late night gambler plays the slot machines 03 May 2005 in Las Vegas,Nevada. AFP Photo/Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)A late night gambler plays the slot machines 03 May 2005 in Las Vegas,Nevada. (Photo: PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS—For at least four centuries, game players and gamblers have relied on scientists and mathematicians for advice. Galileo wrote Thoughts on Dice Games because his patron, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, “ordered me to produce” an answer to a question about a dice game. Fermat and Pascal developed the concept of probability theory from correspondence started when the Chevalier de Mere asked them to settle a gambling problem.

Today, the authority on casino games is Michael Shackleford, the Wizard of Odds. His website, WizardOfOdds.com, provides data, advice, calculators, and simulators for players in hundreds of variations of casino games. When the media needs an answer, they ask Mr. Shackleford. He also follows his own advice; he is a successful professional gambler. The casinos respect his knowledge to hire him to consult on game design, payouts, and discerning patterns in their operating results.

Hash Tag in Vegas

Mike was nice enough to have breakfast with me recently in Las Vegas. I wanted to know how he transitioned from “government actuary” to “Wizard of Odds.” I was also curious to learn about the responsibilities, hazards, and joys of being an heir to the long tradition of math geniuses in service of game players and gamblers.

Although Mr. Shackleford is generally accessible to the media, I am lucky to get this block of his time. He told an interviewer for LiveScience.com, “it takes a lot to get me into the car and drive somewhere. It has to be something that is absolutely essential, or I’m combining like three different minor reasons for making the trip.” I learned that first hand when he changed the location of our meeting so he could combine the trip with taking his car for service.

To be safe, I arrived fifteen minutes early. The restaurant was located in a stretch of real estate typical to Las Vegas, with luxury car dealers across from storefronts with banners like “All Shoes $9.99.” Fourteen minutes later, Michael Shackleford walked in the restaurant.

He has salt-and-pepper hair, a sun-creased face, and is tall and fit. He looks like a grown-up California kid (he turns 50 in May) who spends a lot of time outdoors on hobbies like hiking and bicycling. What he does not look like is a man who earned his living in casinos or hunched over a computer. He also loves travelling and has been a devotee of unicycling and juggling. He also collects license plates and math problems. He has a website displaying the math problems. He was kind enough to send me a picture of some of the license plates:

license-plate-collection (1)Our forty-five minutes together were a dizzying mix of breakfast foods, stories of software engineering and casino adventures, and barely legible notes that I’m still trying to digest:
giant chunks of corn beef hash
softball-sized biscuits
“MGM, 9-6, 99.8% return, .25% comps, favorable points”
“Blackjack too slow”
“Lucky 13 Blackjack, 64 card deck”
“Flush fever”

Once I pieced it together, with Mike’s patience for my follow-up questions, I learned plenty about life as the Wizard of Odds.

Blackjack and Baby Names

Michael Shackleford was born in Pasadena, California, on May 23, 1965. He grew up in Orange County, where he lived until 1992. He received his B.A. in math and economics form the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1988. From childhood Mike was interested in games, math, and odds. Not surprisingly, when he turned twenty-one, he started playing 21. While he completed his education and worked on the West Coast, he mastered blackjack Basic Strategy and Card Counting, becoming a profitable “red chip” ($5-denomination) player.

Over the next several years, he took a series of actuarial examinations. In 1992, he moved to Baltimore to work as an actuary at the headquarters of the Social Security Administration. His primary responsibility, according to his website, “was estimating short-range costs and benefits of changes in Social Security law.”

Wizard as Apprentice:  picture of Mike (on left), playing poker with his younger brother.  Note who has more chips. This is how Michael killed time on camping trips. (Photo: Michael Shackleford) Wizard as Apprentice: Picture of Mike (on left), playing poker with his younger brother. Note who has more chips. This is how Michael killed time on camping trips. (Photo: Michael Shackleford)

The move East put his blackjack hobby on hold. The six- and eight-deck games in Atlantic City were not as favorable as the single- and double-deck games of Las Vegas. In 1997, while still at SSA, Mike demonstrated how his dexterity with complex data and sense of fun were never far apart. With his wife expecting their first child, he wrote a program to sort Social Security card applicants by year of birth, gender, and first name. Years later he wrote on Nameberry.com, “I believe my eyes at that moment were the first to ever see an accurate nationwide sampling of given names. It was too good to keep to myself; I thought the whole country would want to see this.”

He created a simple web page, Mike’s Baby Name Page. The baby name information became a media sensation. The growing popularity of Jose in 1998 (#1 in Texas and California when Shackleford uncovered this data) turned the complexity of America’s changing demography into something everybody could grasp in an instant. Mike’s webpage became SSA Actuarial Note No. 139, “Name Distribution in the Social Security Area.” The Agency’s annual update of the most popular baby names remains a newsworthy event.

Around the same time, he created Mike’s Gambling Page as a hobby. In early 2000, the site began accepting advertising, and soon after, he left SSA to work full time on the website and casino consulting.

WizardOfOdds.com and the Reel Stripping of Las Vegas

When Mike quit his job as an actuary in 2000 – for which he had had to take eleven tests over six years – he had an audacious goal for his website: “to become the most known and trusted name in gambling advice for the whole gamut of casino games.” Fifteen years later, he undoubtedly succeeded.

His 2002 scoop on Las Vegas slot machine returns demonstrated his ability and instincts. Shackleford could obtain and explain complex material. He also had the imagination to anticipate and feed public appetites. Before his work, the size of the “house edge” on slot machines was a black hole. Unlike combinations of dice or cards, casinos can program returns on individual slot machines by changing the reel stripping. Shackleford got access to casino par sheets, went to the casinos, and played the machines long enough to determine the reel-stripping settings.

He published the returns in Anthony Curtis’ Las Vegas Advisor, and in detail on WizardOfOdds.com. (To no one’s surprise, the MacCarran Airport slots studied had the stingiest returns, just eighty-five cents for each dollar played, though thousands of bored travelers would have guessed even lower.) No one had seen this information before. Once available, everyone wanted to know it and quickly understood it. It was like the baby-name list, for slot players.

Over a decade later, those rotten airport slots still get plenty of action. The casino at the top of his nickel-slot survey, the Palms, splashed his conclusion on billboards for years.

The infamous billboard (Photo: WizardOfOdds.com)The infamous billboard (Photo: WizardOfOdds.com)

The publicity from the slot machine study cemented WizardOfOdds.com’s growing reputation as the best place to learn to play casino games. In the years since, Mr. Shackleford has earned the right to be considered a gambling authority. His accessibility and adroitness with the media has multiplied exposure for his site, especially when a casino issue – or simply a question of long odds – enters the news cycle.

Here are just a few examples of the hundreds of media requests Mike has fielded:

• A blackjack player at the Tropicana in Atlantic City won 40 consecutive hands – 1 in 47 quadrillion.

• A craps shooter at the Borgata held the dice without “sevening out” for 154 rolls – 1 in 3.5 billion.

• The distribution of Powerball winners among big cities and small towns – random.

The website now has detailed rules and optimal strategy pages for approximately 200 games. For blackjack players, the site covers 40 variations. An additional series of game calculators allows players to calculate odds, returns, and strategy for any casino variations later introduced.

WizardOfOdds.com is so thorough on casino game strategy that it has a page devoted to Faro. The page notes Faro was played in Reno as recently as 1985, but its height of popularity was in the Old West, when you could run into Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday dealing the game.

All this advice is not static. When Mike returned home after our breakfast, he continued work for a page on “Lucky 13s Blackjack.” Lucky 13s is a variation of the game offered at Grosvenor Casinos in England and on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. The game uses a 64-card deck (a standard deck plus four 11s, 12s, and 13s). Following optimal strategy (on a multicolored chart), the house edge is 1.32%. If you are at a Grosvenor property or on Royal Caribbean, should you make the Protection side bet, paying 5-to-1 (with a multiplier increasing the payout to as much as 200-to-1) for busting on your first two cards? If you do, you are ceding the house an edge of 8.45%.

The Player

How does the Wizard of Odds find time to play games on his own account? What does he play? The first question opens the traditional paradox of the expert advisor: If the advice is so good, shouldn’t he be using it instead of teaching it? As a further complication, Mike is ridiculously efficient about spending his time. In the LiveScience.com interview, he admitted, “I may or may not go someplace if it entails having to make a left turn. But I would go there if it was just making a right turn. And I will plan my whole day so that I make a right turn instead of a left turn.”

Blackjack was his introduction to profitable casino play. On WizardOfOdds.com, the blackjack pages, along with “video poker … and craps get the best traffic because they are the most popular games.” He earned fame and respect within the blackjack community by winning the 2011 Blackjack Cup. Still, he has played relatively little blackjack since moving to Las Vegas in 2001. He told me blackjack was “too slow of a way to make money. By then I was making good money from my web site and consulting, especially in comparison to what I could make at the tables.”

With opportunities to play casino games plentiful, the situation has to be pretty enticing to attract and hold Michael Shackleford’s attention. He found some good opportunities grinding out small edges in video poker but “most casinos put me on their DNI [Do Not Invite] list, making me ineligible to get mailers and comps.” Consulting work also paid better and he could work at home instead of smoky casinos.

One of his favorite games to analyze and play in a casino has been Pai Gow Tiles. It is a complicated game with rules like Pai Gow (with a touch of Baccarat) and game equipment like Mah Jong or Dominoes. The game plays slow, 30 hands per hour, and 40% of hands end in a “push.” Nevertheless, it is attractive to Mr. Shackleford for several reasons. First, it has rarely been analyzed, so it provided him a new and challenging puzzle for developing optimal strategy. (Based on his analysis, a player plays nearly even with the house and occasionally has a small edge.) Second, he gets a kick out of being one of the relatively few non-Asians at the table. Third, the game is fun when played at a casino with friends, giving him a break from his mostly solitary pursuits in gambling.

As a bettor, Shackleford has focused over the last several years on sports betting, specifically NFL games. “I love the exotic Super Bowl bets.” Regarding its seasonality, he does not feel let down when the season ends. “It’s mostly a relief when the Super Bowl is over. And when the next season starts again, I’m fresh and ready.” WizardOfOdds.com is loaded with data to educate sports bettors.

$20,000 royal flush at Treasure Island. (Photo: Michael Shackleford)$20,000 royal flush at Treasure Island. (Photo: Michael Shackleford)

He will bet other sports if he finds the right opportunity. The profusion of online sports books must be a giant amusement park to Michael Shackleford. Sports books for years have offered wagers in which, for a little extra (typically 10 basis points to move the spread 1/2 point), players could bet a different point spread. He told me about one situation where he was so successful that the site – and every other Internet casino – stopped offering the bet.

“That’s fine,” he said, “for a small number of points, for the sports books. However, if you sell too many, then it becomes a good value for the player. They should be increasing the price on an exponential basis, but most places incorrectly do it on a geometric basis.”

Mike had an account at one online sports book offering NBA games in which he could “buy up to 5 extra points and lay 210, instead of the standard 110. I calculated at the time that a fair price to buy 5 extra points was 233. So, I was getting a 3.3% on every bet. It may not sound like much, but I was betting every game, and both sides on most of them.”

For most of the basketball season, he bet $2,000 per side per game. He rarely had a losing day. This was not a feat of inside information or experience scouting and handicapping the NBA. It came from recognizing and exploiting the opportunity the site provided. He made no attempt to disguise his strategy or identity.

“I was a friend with the son of one of the site’s owners. He said to me, ‘you’re winning a lot in basketball.’ I told him how I was doing it, that they weren’t charging enough to buy points.” Near the end of that season, the sports book discontinued the practice of letting players buy points to move the line. Almost immediately, all the sites stopped taking that kind of bet.

The Advisor

Mike started his gaming consulting business even before he moved to Las Vegas. The number of game designers has multiplied over the last few decades. The number of casinos, especially online, has also exploded. (Only a small amount of his consulting has been for land-based casinos.)

A main area of his consulting has concerned game design and testing. According to a Daily Mail article about the expansion of “fruit machines” in Great Britain, “Shackleford has designed more slot machines than anyone else on the planet.” Casinos want more (and novel) games to attract player interest, but they are also careful bordering on paranoid about making a mistake and giving players an advantage.

“It’s hard to get a new game on the floor,” he explained. “The clients can be picky. They always want to see more math.”

Nevertheless, like the rules he looks for as an advantage player, the casinos occasionally slip up. When that happens, they hire Mr. Shackleford to figure it out and explain it to them. He discovered that one client, an Internet casino, offered a pay table that inadvertently gave a player a 20% advantage. And this was in Keno, a game on which casinos usually can’t lose money.

Usually, the result is less obvious and requires analyzing mountains of data. He described one casino that had a bad month in table games and asked him if, based on the results, they were doing something wrong. He reviewed results from every shift, then every pit, then every table, and then from every player. His conclusion: “Bad luck. One player got lucky in blackjack.” The casino was deciding whether to bar the player. Mike said it should be doing the opposite, because encouraging him to play more was its best chance to win back that money.

That’s Why They Call It Gambling

Mike’s demeanor makes his success, as a player, player resource, go-to expert by the media, and gaming consultant seem – if not easy – logical. Perhaps I should have expected this from a famously methodical analyst of games.

Beating casinos (or joining them) is riskier business than even Michael Shackleford can make it appear. In May 2014, despite nearly fifteen years as a successful operator of WizardOfOdds.com, his financial foundation was in jeopardy, simply because of the caprice of a business labeled “gambling.” He was denied the safeguards of U.S. banks because of their reluctance to handle transactions connected to the activity. Never mind that WizardOfOdds.com contained no gambling, casinos paying the site for ads legally offered those games in their markets, and he disclosed his foreign bank accounts to the U.S. government.

Instead of having advertisers pay an account at, say, Bank of America, he had to accept the money initially at a Cyprus bank. A run on Cyprus banks in early 2014 cost him €82,000. He had to eat the loss and continue transacting with another Cypriot bank, which apparently decided it could simply ignore his requests to withdraw money. On May 14, 2014, he disclosed on his site, “If the Bank of Cyprus doesn’t make good on my withdrawal soon I will have to seriously consider selling my house and/or my sites.”

Mike hitting an $8,000 royal flush at the Riviera (Photo: WizardOfOdds.com)Mike hitting an $8,000 royal flush at the Riviera (Photo: WizardOfOdds.com)

Three weeks later, the bank honored his withdrawal, but the exposure put his websites on the market. In September 2014, he sold WizardOfOdds.com and three related sites for $2.35 million. The buyer, LatestCasinoBonuses.com, wisely locked Shackleford up to work on the sites for three years. Based on his initial experience with the new owners, he has declared that he hopes to stay on even longer.

He also finds himself in the crossfire of the continuing war between casinos and players. As a player, casinos have discouraged or limited his play because they don’t like winning players. Because he advises casinos, some players consider him a defector..

“It’s a cat-and-mouse game between casinos and players. I look at it like the wolf and the sheepdog in the Looney Tunes cartoons. We can be friends but once we punch our time cards and the whistle blows, we work against each other. When it blows again and we punch out, we go back to being friends.”

That kind of equanimity isn’t taught as part of any statistical analysis. As an extra tool at Mr. Shackleford’s disposal, however, it helps explain his long and continued success.

Michael Craig is an author, journalist, and lawyer. He has written four books, including The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time. Follow him on Twitter (@MikeCraigIsAmok) and Facebook. This article is part of his collaboration with PokerStars and PokerStars Casino on the lives and games of smart, interesting risk takers.
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Kitchen Call: Let winter citrus brighten your meals – Stockton Record https://masleyassociates.com/kitchen-call-let-winter-citrus-brighten-your-meals-stockton-record-2/ https://masleyassociates.com/kitchen-call-let-winter-citrus-brighten-your-meals-stockton-record-2/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2015 13:33:04 +0000 https://masleyassociates.com/kitchen-call-let-winter-citrus-brighten-your-meals-stockton-record-2/ <div><blockquote></blockquote><blockquote>Every year chefs discover new uses for raw ingredients and, by using them in their cooking, they make the list of the year&rsquo;s hottest &ldquo;new&rdquo; ingredients. In 2015, kale is so over, thank you. And bacon, but I don&rsquo;t believe that for one minute.</blockquote><blockquote>Two citrus fruits &mdash; Meyer lemons and blood oranges &mdash; made the […]

The post Kitchen Call: Let winter citrus brighten your meals – Stockton Record appeared first on Computer Repair Service Orange County CA (714)975-3656.

]]>
    <div><blockquote></blockquote><blockquote>Every year chefs discover new uses for raw ingredients and, by using them in their cooking, they make the list of the year&rsquo;s hottest &ldquo;new&rdquo; ingredients. In 2015, kale is so over, thank you. And bacon, but I don&rsquo;t believe that for one minute.</blockquote><blockquote>Two citrus fruits &mdash; Meyer lemons and blood oranges &mdash; made the 2015 list. They look a little different from usual citruses. The lemons, dull and wrinkled on the outside, burst with juicy sweetness, rather than acidity, on the inside. The oranges look more like tangerines and peel down to a full-flavored ruby interior, making others look anemic by comparison. These bright flavors send fireworks through the winter doldrums.</blockquote><blockquote>Beyond all the ideas beyond peeling and eating an orange or squeezing a few drops of lemon juice over greens or into a cup of tea, there uses even for the colored portion of the peel, called the zest. Take it off the fruit with a hand peeler, leaving with white layer under it, called the pith, on the fruit. Then, chop or cut into slivers, as needed. Take a look at these uses:</blockquote><blockquote>Dried zest: Finely grate zest onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Even computer paper will do. Slide into the microwave and zap until dry, 1-2 minutes. Take it out and set aside to cool. Alternately, leave it out on the countertop overnight. Store in an airtight container. Use it to flavor breadcrumbs, sauces, salt or fresh ground black pepper.</blockquote><blockquote>Gremolata: To make a condiment used in northern Italian home cooking, finely chop together two big handfuls of flat leaf parsley leaves, a tablespoon lemon zest and a garlic clove, until they are nearly the texture of coarse salt. Sprinkle this over long simmered stews and braised meats instead of salt or grated cheese.</blockquote><blockquote>Orange sugar: Cut thin strips of zest from an orange. Bury the strips under granulated sugar in a jar. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for two weeks to flavor the sugar. Use sugar to flavor whipped cream, yogurt or cake batter. I haven&rsquo;t tried this with lime zest yet, but that will be another experiment.</blockquote><blockquote>Aromatic skins: If you find yourself with a pile of citrus peel, don&rsquo;t throw them out. Put them into a heated 300 F oven and let them lightly brown. Then open the oven to scent the house. Discard when done.</blockquote><blockquote>Real recipes follow, the first a simple use for those lemons &mdash; and oranges &mdash; that have been cut and just linger at the back of the refrigerator until you throw them out.</blockquote><blockquote>GRILLED LEMON HALVES</blockquote><blockquote>Makes as many as you want</blockquote><blockquote>Feel free to try this with blood oranges as well.</blockquote><blockquote>Lemons, cut in half</blockquote><blockquote>Grill the lemon halves, cut side down, until they caramelize lightly on an indoor grill. Or spray a grill pan or stick free skillet lightly with a canola oil spray, heat it to medium-high, and put the lemon. Add the lemon halves, cut side down and sear.</blockquote><blockquote>Squeeze the warm juice over cooked chicken, pork chops, or steak.</blockquote><blockquote>MEYER LEMON SALSA</blockquote><blockquote>Makes 6 servings</blockquote><blockquote>Substitute blood oranges for Myer lemons and capers for the jalapeno in this recipe to create a whole new salsa that&rsquo;s perfect with a broiled fish fillet or crab cakes.</blockquote><blockquote>8 Myer lemons</blockquote><blockquote>1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber, seeded</blockquote><blockquote>2 tablespoons thinly sliced, scallions, divided</blockquote><blockquote>1 jalapeno (seeds optional) finely chopped</blockquote><blockquote>Pinch sugar</blockquote><blockquote>Coarse sea salt</blockquote><blockquote>Peel and cut out all the pith from the lemons with a sharp knife; discard. Cut between the membranes to loosen and take out the segments; discard membranes. Strain any juices to get rid of seeds into a separate bowl.</blockquote><blockquote>Toss the segments, a tablespoon of lemon juice, cucumber, 1 tablespoon scallions, and the pepper in a small bowl, mix well. Stir in the sugar and salt. Use with grilled or broiled fish or chicken.</blockquote><blockquote>CITRUS SALAD</blockquote><blockquote>6 servings</blockquote><blockquote>2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice</blockquote><blockquote>1 tablespoon white wine vinegar</blockquote><blockquote>2 teaspoons Dijon mustard</blockquote><blockquote>Coarse sea salt, coarse ground black pepper</blockquote><blockquote>2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil</blockquote><blockquote>2 blood oranges, peeled and segmented</blockquote><blockquote>2 pink grapefruits, peeled and segmented</blockquote><blockquote>1 bunch arugula, stemmed</blockquote><blockquote>1 head Boston lettuce, torn into pieces</blockquote><blockquote>12 to 15 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces</blockquote><blockquote>Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil.</blockquote><blockquote>Toss together the orange and grapefruit segments, the arugula, lettuce and basil leaves. Drizzle with the lemon dressing and toss again gently so they leaves do not bruise.</blockquote><blockquote>BLOOD ORANGE-AND-OLIVE SALAD</blockquote><blockquote>Makes 6 servings</blockquote><blockquote>4 oranges, peeled, pith removed, sliced</blockquote><blockquote>2 grapefruit, peeled, pith removed, sliced</blockquote><blockquote>1 red onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings</blockquote><blockquote>2 cucumbers, peeled, thinly sliced</blockquote><blockquote>3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil</blockquote><blockquote>1 tablespoon red wine vinegar</blockquote><blockquote>12 to 18 ripe (black) olives, pitted</blockquote><blockquote>Salt, ground black pepper</blockquote><blockquote>Arrange fruits and vegetables in concentric circles on a serving platter.</blockquote><blockquote>Whisk together oil and vinegar; drizzle over top. Let this sit at on the kitchen counter for least 15 to 30 minutes to develop the flavors.</blockquote><blockquote>Strew olives over top. Season with salt and pepper before serving.</blockquote><blockquote>Linda Bassett is the author of &ldquo;From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.&rdquo; Reach her by email at KitchenCall@gmail.com. Read Linda&rsquo;s blog at LindABCooks.wordpress.com. Follow Linda for quick recipes on Twitter at @Kitchencall.</blockquote><blockquote></blockquote></div>
    </li>

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Kitchen Call: Let winter citrus brighten your meals – Stockton Record https://masleyassociates.com/kitchen-call-let-winter-citrus-brighten-your-meals-stockton-record/ https://masleyassociates.com/kitchen-call-let-winter-citrus-brighten-your-meals-stockton-record/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2015 13:33:00 +0000 https://masleyassociates.com/kitchen-call-let-winter-citrus-brighten-your-meals-stockton-record/ <div><blockquote></blockquote><blockquote>Every year chefs discover new uses for raw ingredients and, by using them in their cooking, they make the list of the year&rsquo;s hottest &ldquo;new&rdquo; ingredients. In 2015, kale is so over, thank you. And bacon, but I don&rsquo;t believe that for one minute.</blockquote><blockquote>Two citrus fruits &mdash; Meyer lemons and blood oranges &mdash; made the […]

The post Kitchen Call: Let winter citrus brighten your meals – Stockton Record appeared first on Computer Repair Service Orange County CA (714)975-3656.

]]>
    <div><blockquote></blockquote><blockquote>Every year chefs discover new uses for raw ingredients and, by using them in their cooking, they make the list of the year&rsquo;s hottest &ldquo;new&rdquo; ingredients. In 2015, kale is so over, thank you. And bacon, but I don&rsquo;t believe that for one minute.</blockquote><blockquote>Two citrus fruits &mdash; Meyer lemons and blood oranges &mdash; made the 2015 list. They look a little different from usual citruses. The lemons, dull and wrinkled on the outside, burst with juicy sweetness, rather than acidity, on the inside. The oranges look more like tangerines and peel down to a full-flavored ruby interior, making others look anemic by comparison. These bright flavors send fireworks through the winter doldrums.</blockquote><blockquote>Beyond all the ideas beyond peeling and eating an orange or squeezing a few drops of lemon juice over greens or into a cup of tea, there uses even for the colored portion of the peel, called the zest. Take it off the fruit with a hand peeler, leaving with white layer under it, called the pith, on the fruit. Then, chop or cut into slivers, as needed. Take a look at these uses:</blockquote><blockquote>Dried zest: Finely grate zest onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Even computer paper will do. Slide into the microwave and zap until dry, 1-2 minutes. Take it out and set aside to cool. Alternately, leave it out on the countertop overnight. Store in an airtight container. Use it to flavor breadcrumbs, sauces, salt or fresh ground black pepper.</blockquote><blockquote>Gremolata: To make a condiment used in northern Italian home cooking, finely chop together two big handfuls of flat leaf parsley leaves, a tablespoon lemon zest and a garlic clove, until they are nearly the texture of coarse salt. Sprinkle this over long simmered stews and braised meats instead of salt or grated cheese.</blockquote><blockquote>Orange sugar: Cut thin strips of zest from an orange. Bury the strips under granulated sugar in a jar. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for two weeks to flavor the sugar. Use sugar to flavor whipped cream, yogurt or cake batter. I haven&rsquo;t tried this with lime zest yet, but that will be another experiment.</blockquote><blockquote>Aromatic skins: If you find yourself with a pile of citrus peel, don&rsquo;t throw them out. Put them into a heated 300 F oven and let them lightly brown. Then open the oven to scent the house. Discard when done.</blockquote><blockquote>Real recipes follow, the first a simple use for those lemons &mdash; and oranges &mdash; that have been cut and just linger at the back of the refrigerator until you throw them out.</blockquote><blockquote>GRILLED LEMON HALVES</blockquote><blockquote>Makes as many as you want</blockquote><blockquote>Feel free to try this with blood oranges as well.</blockquote><blockquote>Lemons, cut in half</blockquote><blockquote>Grill the lemon halves, cut side down, until they caramelize lightly on an indoor grill. Or spray a grill pan or stick free skillet lightly with a canola oil spray, heat it to medium-high, and put the lemon. Add the lemon halves, cut side down and sear.</blockquote><blockquote>Squeeze the warm juice over cooked chicken, pork chops, or steak.</blockquote><blockquote>MEYER LEMON SALSA</blockquote><blockquote>Makes 6 servings</blockquote><blockquote>Substitute blood oranges for Myer lemons and capers for the jalapeno in this recipe to create a whole new salsa that&rsquo;s perfect with a broiled fish fillet or crab cakes.</blockquote><blockquote>8 Myer lemons</blockquote><blockquote>1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber, seeded</blockquote><blockquote>2 tablespoons thinly sliced, scallions, divided</blockquote><blockquote>1 jalapeno (seeds optional) finely chopped</blockquote><blockquote>Pinch sugar</blockquote><blockquote>Coarse sea salt</blockquote><blockquote>Peel and cut out all the pith from the lemons with a sharp knife; discard. Cut between the membranes to loosen and take out the segments; discard membranes. Strain any juices to get rid of seeds into a separate bowl.</blockquote><blockquote>Toss the segments, a tablespoon of lemon juice, cucumber, 1 tablespoon scallions, and the pepper in a small bowl, mix well. Stir in the sugar and salt. Use with grilled or broiled fish or chicken.</blockquote><blockquote>CITRUS SALAD</blockquote><blockquote>6 servings</blockquote><blockquote>2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice</blockquote><blockquote>1 tablespoon white wine vinegar</blockquote><blockquote>2 teaspoons Dijon mustard</blockquote><blockquote>Coarse sea salt, coarse ground black pepper</blockquote><blockquote>2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil</blockquote><blockquote>2 blood oranges, peeled and segmented</blockquote><blockquote>2 pink grapefruits, peeled and segmented</blockquote><blockquote>1 bunch arugula, stemmed</blockquote><blockquote>1 head Boston lettuce, torn into pieces</blockquote><blockquote>12 to 15 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces</blockquote><blockquote>Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil.</blockquote><blockquote>Toss together the orange and grapefruit segments, the arugula, lettuce and basil leaves. Drizzle with the lemon dressing and toss again gently so they leaves do not bruise.</blockquote><blockquote>BLOOD ORANGE-AND-OLIVE SALAD</blockquote><blockquote>Makes 6 servings</blockquote><blockquote>4 oranges, peeled, pith removed, sliced</blockquote><blockquote>2 grapefruit, peeled, pith removed, sliced</blockquote><blockquote>1 red onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings</blockquote><blockquote>2 cucumbers, peeled, thinly sliced</blockquote><blockquote>3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil</blockquote><blockquote>1 tablespoon red wine vinegar</blockquote><blockquote>12 to 18 ripe (black) olives, pitted</blockquote><blockquote>Salt, ground black pepper</blockquote><blockquote>Arrange fruits and vegetables in concentric circles on a serving platter.</blockquote><blockquote>Whisk together oil and vinegar; drizzle over top. Let this sit at on the kitchen counter for least 15 to 30 minutes to develop the flavors.</blockquote><blockquote>Strew olives over top. Season with salt and pepper before serving.</blockquote><blockquote>Linda Bassett is the author of &ldquo;From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.&rdquo; Reach her by email at KitchenCall@gmail.com. Read Linda&rsquo;s blog at LindABCooks.wordpress.com. Follow Linda for quick recipes on Twitter at @Kitchencall.</blockquote><blockquote></blockquote></div>
    </li>

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Third Sierra Tucson patient death in 13 months – Arizona Daily Star https://masleyassociates.com/third-sierra-tucson-patient-death-in-13-months-arizona-daily-star-2/ https://masleyassociates.com/third-sierra-tucson-patient-death-in-13-months-arizona-daily-star-2/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2015 12:32:57 +0000 https://masleyassociates.com/third-sierra-tucson-patient-death-in-13-months-arizona-daily-star-2/ A third patient in 13 months has died while in treatment at the Sierra Tucson center north of Tucson, an autopsy report says. The report from the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office released last week says a 55-year-old Pennsylvania man hanged himself with a belt in his room at Sierra Tucson on Jan. 23. According […]

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A third patient in 13 months has died while in treatment at the Sierra Tucson center north of Tucson, an autopsy report says.

The report from the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office released last week says a 55-year-old Pennsylvania man hanged himself with a belt in his room at Sierra Tucson on Jan. 23.

According to the report, the man had been on suicide watch and he left a suicide note inside a tote bag next to his bed. Witnesses told investigators that he was discovered in his room, “unconscious but still breathing,” two hours after staff began looking for him, the report says.

The suicide is the third patient death at Sierra Tucson since January 2014 and the fourth since August 2011.

Autopsies determined two of the patient deaths to be suicides and two as undetermined. The deceased patients, all male, ranged in age from 20 to 71.

“We are taking this situation extremely seriously and are reviewing what happened to see if we can make improvements that might enhance the quality of patient care,” Sierra Tucson officials said in a statement emailed by director Philip Herschman.

“We are also cooperating with a review by appropriate agencies, which is still in a preliminary stage. Out of respect for the privacy of this patient and his family, we are limited in what else we can say.”

patient checked in Jan. 4

The upscale, nationally known Sierra Tucson facility is situated on a 160-acre site at 39580 S. Lago del Oro Parkway along the Pinal/Pima County border. It has 124 beds, plus 15 acute level beds.

In the latest case a married father of two, who had checked into Sierra Tucson on Jan. 4 for severe depression and chronic pain due to neuropathy, was found dead in his room at 12:41 p.m. Jan. 23.

The report says the man went to his exercise class at Sierra Tucson at 7:30 a.m. but did not show up to two subsequent classes.

According to the autopsy report, staff began looking for the man at about 10:30 a.m.

“He was on suicide watch and per protocol if the patient misses any classes that he is assigned to, they are supposed to immediately search for the patient,” says the autopsy report, which was signed by medical examiner Dr. John Hu.

911 call

When a staff member called 911 at 12:41 p.m., the man was reportedly “unconscious but still breathing.” Staff then began CPR but the Golder Ranch Fire Department arrived and took over and pronounced the patient dead at 1:13 p.m., the report says.

The patient’s family does not want the man’s name to be published, Tucson attorney Dev Sethi said. The patient was an engineer and business analyst who had recently been on short-term disability due to chronic pain that left him depressed. He went to Sierra Tucson at the urging of family members.

“The circumstances surrounding this death raise many questions,” Sethi said. “The family has requested a meeting with Dr. Herschman and the treatment team to get some answers.”

The facility has programs to help patients with addictions, mood disorders, chronic pain, eating disorders and trauma through its “Sierra Model” of integrating therapies such as massage, yoga and acupuncture with traditional psychiatry. Most patients are in their late 30s and early 40s. A majority of patients self-pay at a cost of about $1,300 per day.

“Like other treatment centers that care for patients with very difficult issues, suicide prevention is a key focus at Sierra Tucson,” the Sierra Tucson statement says. “We are committed to providing quality treatment and the safest care possible.”

Prior problems

State officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services, which licenses Sierra Tucson, on Thursday declined to comment on the most recent suicide and would not confirm whether they are investigating.

The state has reprimanded Sierra Tucson numerous times since 2009 for failing to follow its own policies on patient care:

  • The facility agreed to pay a $250 state fine for failing to follow its policies and procedures in its treatment of a 20-year-old man who died April 15.

The 20-year-old East Coast man had been in Sierra Tucson for drug rehabilitation and died of acute drug toxicity. An autopsy said it was unclear whether the lethal drug mix was intentional or accidental and listed the cause of death as undetermined.

Sierra Tucson officials in October filed a plan of correction in that case that said the facility had begun a random patient-chart monitoring program. Compliance with its suicide risk assessment and management policy would be monitored on a monthly basis by a random selection of at least 30 charts, the plan said. Staff training sessions on the facility’s suicide-prevention protocol also were conducted in May and June, documents show.

Before signing an enforcement in that case, state officials discussed two concerns with Sierra Tucson officials, documents show: practices relating to the assessment of patients’ vital signs; and also concerns about documentation of suicide risk assessment and management.

  • In June the state fined Sierra Tucson $2,000 for violating four rules and regulations related to patient care and safety connected to the Jan. 2, 2014, suicide of a 59-year-old patient. The fine was $500 per violation, and the infractions included not ensuring that a resident’s assessment information is reviewed and updated when additional information is identified.

The patient, who had a history of depression and anxiety, hanged himself with a shoelace from a shower head, according to a Pima County autopsy report. He died three days later at Oro Valley Hospital.

State records show that on Jan. 1, the patient had told his wife over the phone that he wanted to kill himself, and that she called the facility to tell them. But less than 24 hours later, the woman’s husband was dead.

The state’s report found no evidence of documentation in the patient’s medical record that he was reassessed after he told his wife he wanted to kill himself. While Sierra Tucson paid the state fine, it made no admission of wrongdoing.

  • In 2011, Dr. Kenneth Litwack, a 71-year-old Orange County physician with anxiety and depression, disappeared from Sierra Tucson. Two weeks later he was found dead near Sierra Tucson’s stable, about a quarter-mile from the main building, in an area off the facility’s footpaths and trails. His body was so decomposed that an autopsy report could not determine how he died.

After Litwack’s death, the state fined Sierra Tucson $9,250 for violations including failing to appropriately allocate staff to supervise patients. The state also placed the facility on a probationary license.

Litwack’s family filed a lawsuit against Sierra Tucson in 2012, accusing it of improperly supervising patients. The lawsuit was settled out of court in September.

  • In 2009 Sierra Tucson paid $3,500 to the state related to two incidents involving patients leaving the grounds. One patient with a history of psychosis left without permission, a state investigation said. In the second incident, documents show that a patient with suicidal thoughts, who had threatened to rape another patient, was discharged and left in his private car without documentation that he was safe to leave by himself.

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The post Third Sierra Tucson patient death in 13 months – Arizona Daily Star appeared first on Computer Repair Service Orange County CA (714)975-3656.

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Third Sierra Tucson patient death in 13 months – Arizona Daily Star https://masleyassociates.com/third-sierra-tucson-patient-death-in-13-months-arizona-daily-star/ https://masleyassociates.com/third-sierra-tucson-patient-death-in-13-months-arizona-daily-star/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2015 12:32:54 +0000 https://masleyassociates.com/third-sierra-tucson-patient-death-in-13-months-arizona-daily-star/ A third patient in 13 months has died while in treatment at the Sierra Tucson center north of Tucson, an autopsy report says. The report from the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office released last week says a 55-year-old Pennsylvania man hanged himself with a belt in his room at Sierra Tucson on Jan. 23. According […]

The post Third Sierra Tucson patient death in 13 months – Arizona Daily Star appeared first on Computer Repair Service Orange County CA (714)975-3656.

]]>
A third patient in 13 months has died while in treatment at the Sierra Tucson center north of Tucson, an autopsy report says.

The report from the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office released last week says a 55-year-old Pennsylvania man hanged himself with a belt in his room at Sierra Tucson on Jan. 23.

According to the report, the man had been on suicide watch and he left a suicide note inside a tote bag next to his bed. Witnesses told investigators that he was discovered in his room, “unconscious but still breathing,” two hours after staff began looking for him, the report says.

The suicide is the third patient death at Sierra Tucson since January 2014 and the fourth since August 2011.

Autopsies determined two of the patient deaths to be suicides and two as undetermined. The deceased patients, all male, ranged in age from 20 to 71.

“We are taking this situation extremely seriously and are reviewing what happened to see if we can make improvements that might enhance the quality of patient care,” Sierra Tucson officials said in a statement emailed by director Philip Herschman.

“We are also cooperating with a review by appropriate agencies, which is still in a preliminary stage. Out of respect for the privacy of this patient and his family, we are limited in what else we can say.”

patient checked in Jan. 4

The upscale, nationally known Sierra Tucson facility is situated on a 160-acre site at 39580 S. Lago del Oro Parkway along the Pinal/Pima County border. It has 124 beds, plus 15 acute level beds.

In the latest case a married father of two, who had checked into Sierra Tucson on Jan. 4 for severe depression and chronic pain due to neuropathy, was found dead in his room at 12:41 p.m. Jan. 23.

The report says the man went to his exercise class at Sierra Tucson at 7:30 a.m. but did not show up to two subsequent classes.

According to the autopsy report, staff began looking for the man at about 10:30 a.m.

“He was on suicide watch and per protocol if the patient misses any classes that he is assigned to, they are supposed to immediately search for the patient,” says the autopsy report, which was signed by medical examiner Dr. John Hu.

911 call

When a staff member called 911 at 12:41 p.m., the man was reportedly “unconscious but still breathing.” Staff then began CPR but the Golder Ranch Fire Department arrived and took over and pronounced the patient dead at 1:13 p.m., the report says.

The patient’s family does not want the man’s name to be published, Tucson attorney Dev Sethi said. The patient was an engineer and business analyst who had recently been on short-term disability due to chronic pain that left him depressed. He went to Sierra Tucson at the urging of family members.

“The circumstances surrounding this death raise many questions,” Sethi said. “The family has requested a meeting with Dr. Herschman and the treatment team to get some answers.”

The facility has programs to help patients with addictions, mood disorders, chronic pain, eating disorders and trauma through its “Sierra Model” of integrating therapies such as massage, yoga and acupuncture with traditional psychiatry. Most patients are in their late 30s and early 40s. A majority of patients self-pay at a cost of about $1,300 per day.

“Like other treatment centers that care for patients with very difficult issues, suicide prevention is a key focus at Sierra Tucson,” the Sierra Tucson statement says. “We are committed to providing quality treatment and the safest care possible.”

Prior problems

State officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services, which licenses Sierra Tucson, on Thursday declined to comment on the most recent suicide and would not confirm whether they are investigating.

The state has reprimanded Sierra Tucson numerous times since 2009 for failing to follow its own policies on patient care:

  • The facility agreed to pay a $250 state fine for failing to follow its policies and procedures in its treatment of a 20-year-old man who died April 15.

The 20-year-old East Coast man had been in Sierra Tucson for drug rehabilitation and died of acute drug toxicity. An autopsy said it was unclear whether the lethal drug mix was intentional or accidental and listed the cause of death as undetermined.

Sierra Tucson officials in October filed a plan of correction in that case that said the facility had begun a random patient-chart monitoring program. Compliance with its suicide risk assessment and management policy would be monitored on a monthly basis by a random selection of at least 30 charts, the plan said. Staff training sessions on the facility’s suicide-prevention protocol also were conducted in May and June, documents show.

Before signing an enforcement in that case, state officials discussed two concerns with Sierra Tucson officials, documents show: practices relating to the assessment of patients’ vital signs; and also concerns about documentation of suicide risk assessment and management.

  • In June the state fined Sierra Tucson $2,000 for violating four rules and regulations related to patient care and safety connected to the Jan. 2, 2014, suicide of a 59-year-old patient. The fine was $500 per violation, and the infractions included not ensuring that a resident’s assessment information is reviewed and updated when additional information is identified.

The patient, who had a history of depression and anxiety, hanged himself with a shoelace from a shower head, according to a Pima County autopsy report. He died three days later at Oro Valley Hospital.

State records show that on Jan. 1, the patient had told his wife over the phone that he wanted to kill himself, and that she called the facility to tell them. But less than 24 hours later, the woman’s husband was dead.

The state’s report found no evidence of documentation in the patient’s medical record that he was reassessed after he told his wife he wanted to kill himself. While Sierra Tucson paid the state fine, it made no admission of wrongdoing.

  • In 2011, Dr. Kenneth Litwack, a 71-year-old Orange County physician with anxiety and depression, disappeared from Sierra Tucson. Two weeks later he was found dead near Sierra Tucson’s stable, about a quarter-mile from the main building, in an area off the facility’s footpaths and trails. His body was so decomposed that an autopsy report could not determine how he died.

After Litwack’s death, the state fined Sierra Tucson $9,250 for violations including failing to appropriately allocate staff to supervise patients. The state also placed the facility on a probationary license.

Litwack’s family filed a lawsuit against Sierra Tucson in 2012, accusing it of improperly supervising patients. The lawsuit was settled out of court in September.

  • In 2009 Sierra Tucson paid $3,500 to the state related to two incidents involving patients leaving the grounds. One patient with a history of psychosis left without permission, a state investigation said. In the second incident, documents show that a patient with suicidal thoughts, who had threatened to rape another patient, was discharged and left in his private car without documentation that he was safe to leave by himself.

Source

The post Third Sierra Tucson patient death in 13 months – Arizona Daily Star appeared first on Computer Repair Service Orange County CA (714)975-3656.

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