Sunday, December 31, 2006

Out With The Old

Not much to write lately.
I started this one on 12/31 way back in 2006.

From December 2005:

My resolutions were:
1) No Slots 2006
2) Drop 20 pounds
3) See at least six shows in 2006. O, Elton, etc.

In retrospect:
1) Failed miserably.
2) Dropped 13 pounds.
3) Fell considerably short.

For 2007 I only have one:
1) Drop 20 pounds

2006 was a monumental year for me if for no other reason than I now have a mortgage payment. For the vast majority you this is old hat. Not so much for me. I'm not at all sorry but it took me some time to convince myself that I didn't make a huge mistake.............

I visited Alaska and Aruba (again) with a Maryland and Florida trip thrown in for good measure. All in all it's was a good year.


I gathered my parents from the airport today. They'll be here for 7 nights. This is the longest that they have ever stayed in Las Vegas. There isn't a whole lot on the agenda except for Cirque du Soleil's O and Ka. I have high hopes that they will enjoy them as much as they did Mystere last year. (and if I duplicated my 6 show resolution for 2007 I'd have knocked off 33% of that in two days)


I don't know what to say about Linda's NYE report except that YES, I was hammered. The Dom gave me a bastard of a headache the next day and I had to work. It took me about 4 downs to start to feel normal again.

Well it only took ONE day for the free roll rules to change.

Can you even effing believe it?
Granted, the rule change is beneficial to the player, but come on.

You spend MONTHS nuturing this thing to fruition and in only one day you decide that the rules need amended?


Said rule change:
Once 10 players accumulate 500 hours they will be given 7 days notice to participate in a preliminary shootout.
Each "shootout" table will advance TWO players to the semi-finals instead of only one.

On January 1st we changed to full blinds in our $4-8 limit game. In the few days that this has been in effect I've noticed a huge increase in "action". That's hard to believe since our $4-8 have a reputation of looseness....but with the full blinds it's been crazy.

Hold on to your hats, folks.
Word is that a small handfull of players have complained about the increased blinds. In any case, I was told that "we may change back to half-blinds".

All I can do is sigh the mother of all sighs.

And in case I've not mentioned it, I don't like it at all when rules are changed, changed back, changed again and then possibly changed again. Yes, sometimes change is quite necessary. However, think it through, make sure the change is sound, change it and move on.
This flip flopping is not good for anyone involved.


Lost Turtle !
Lynn came in without Murphy.
I inquired about my namesake.
It's LOST.
More likely stolen by an unsavory poker player...........

I may offer a reward for his safe return.


It looks like the Foxwoods protest was a huge failure.


The Wynn War continues in a big way.

The NLRB threw their hat into the ring by filing a complaint again Wynn LV.

And then Mr. Wynn sues the two dealers who originally filed suit.



Decide for yourself. I've already made up my mind.

Happy New Year Steve.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The River King $1,000,000 Free Roll

Don't ask me what/who the River King is because I don't know.

Read the rules for yourself. I've read them several times and I still have many questions. Don't worry, the players have questions too. It's too bad I can't answer most of them.

For those of you who plan to jump start your hours by playing on January 1, keep in mind that this whole thing starts at 9:00AM on the 1st.

I am sure that this whole promotion will be interesting. I just hope that it doesn't become infamous.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Fa la la la la la la

It is difficult to explain how I feel about my job.

Certainly I have a tendency to bitch and moan about the fleas and table captains. I also appreciate the players who come simply to play and have a good time. Their good time is not contingent on making anyone else miserable. To those players I say thank you. You make it bearable.

I honestly take my job seriously. While a poker game is not usually a life or death situation, it is a situation involving other people's money. Few things in life ignite tempers like money. It's just easier to do your job right and leave the money changing to the winds of fate and randomness.

On Saturday I worked the full 8 hours. During my last down I encountered a situation that left me with a very sour taste in my mouth.

I was dealing a hand of $2-5 blind no limit. I KNOW that as I dealt the first card to the 10 players there was no straddle. As I completed the second round of cards I saw, out of the corner of my eye, two red chips being tossed into the pot from the UTG player.

(We're pretty relaxed in our room. As long as the player hasn't looked at his cards he can straddle. In reality the straddle should be "put on" before any cards are dealt. It is possible that a player could watch a few players look at their first card and gather some information and then straddle. Whatever, we've always allowed it as long as we were sure the player hadn't already looked at his cards)

I announced "raise to $10 total". There were a few callers.

As I am putting out the flop the player who "raised" says "Murph, you are going to cost me this pot. I straddled and should have been able to raise."


Did the cat have your tongue when I announced raise? Had you stopped me (and the action) at that point we could have determined that it was indeed supposed to be a straddle.

The action on the flop saw the "raiser" betting out and another player going all-in. The "raiser" called the $150ish all-in. Everyone else folded.

The player who went all-in had pocket 2s and there was a 2 on the flop. The "raiser" had AA and lost with them.

Obviously he would have raised his straddle...had it actually been a straddle.

My guess is that he did hear me announce raise and didn't think it was too big of a deal.....until there were a few callers and he finally looks at his cards to discover the aces.

It amazing that you can deal 200 or so hands without incident and then have one questionable hand screw up your whole day.


Today I would have rather been ANYWHERE besides where I was. (like home for the holidays)

We weren't overly busy but we weren't dead either.

When I hit the poker room I overheard a conversation between the two shift supervisors. It seems the MOD (Casino Manager on Duty) made a visit to the poker room and declared that players couldn't even bring in food from McDonald's or anywhere else. A week or so ago it was decided that room service would be discontinued. The official reason is the new Nevada smoking ban. I still don't think that excuse holds water because as I understood it casinos were exempt. Even if casinos weren't exempt, there is a temporary restraining order preventing the law from going into effect in Clark County.

It's some sort of political mind screw that's way above my circle of influence.

In any case, the no-food-at-all-period-end-of-story decree lasted about an hour. You can now, once again, enjoy your big mac along with your bad beats.

You wonder what pisses off customers? I'll tell you one thing. Changing the rules willy nilly and then changing them back......for one.

As I pushed onto my first game I tried to clarify where the button was and where the blinds should be. There was a gap in there somewhere that wasn't correct. I finally determined that the gap belonged to a new player who had yet to play a hand. No big deal except that it would have been nice had the exiting dealer relayed that information, not left me to discover it for myself.

apparently my tone of voice was a little harsh when I stated...

"Forgive me father for I have just sat down and I didn't know".

Jeff in the 1s asked me what was up my ass. I asked him if it was that obvious. Yes, it must have been.

It was all down hill from there.

A few hands later I dealt a Royal. 1.5% toke. Merry Effing Xmas. (I'm laughing as I type that)

The rest of my EO shortened day was like some episode from the Twilight zone.

No one knew when the action was on them.

Strangers kept asking how much they could bet in the limit games. Honestly, if you can't figure out the betting structure in a limit game with 2-3 rounds of the table maybe you shouldn't be playing poker.

During my first hand on table 6 ($4-8 limit) the guy in the 9s bet $2 on the river. Excuse me. Are you on drugs or are you really that stupid? Or both?

I told him that he had to bet $8. No more, no less.

"I don't want to bet $8"

Sir, you have to bet $8.

"I don't want to."

Sir, you can put out $8 or abandon the $2 you already put out.

He did. Abandon it, that is.

Two hands later he was asking me if a straight beat a flush. I said yes, but only on Tuesdays and today is Sunday. I then asked Ashley to go in the back and bring out a hand ranking card for the guy. At that point I couldn't suffer the fools any longer.

Mercifully, my day ended early and I headed out into the Nevada night.

It looked like any other night. The fact that it is Xmas eve was basically lost.

Inside the Palms there was no xmas music. Decorations are few and far between. Unlike years past there wasn't a single decoration in the poker room. Yes, the cocktail waitresses are clad in the Ms. Santa uniforms but that's about the extent of the decking of the halls.

I'd like to ignore the date as well because this year...........

I'll be home for Christmas

You can count on me

Please have snow

and mistletoe

and presents on the tree

Christmas Eve will find me

Where the love light gleams

I'll be home for Christmas

If only in my dreams

Merry Xmas

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And the Turtle was Named Murphy

The river card has already been placed.
It's 4 way action with the 2s and 3s being strangers while the 7s and 9s are regulars who play nearly every day. The 2s and 3s check. The 7s bets $4. The 9s calls the $4. While I am waiting on the 2s to act I notice that the 7s and 9s are showing each other their cards. I loudly tell them that they can't do that! The 7s says that he already put his money in the pot, so why not? I reply "what if the 2s or 3s raise? Well did anyone raise asks the 7s. Sigh.

I can almost tolerate major breaches of etiquette from novice players. At least with the newbies I have a small chance of educating them. It's the players who play every day and still don't respect the game (or me for that matter) that drive me insane.


On Tuesday I was honored in a small way. I've been dealing to Lynn for over three years. On Tuesday she had a new card protector. It was a lavish turtle decorated with brilliant rhinestones. Several people at the table commented on it and asked if they could see and fondle it. It was passed around the table and then found it's way back to Lynn. She lost the next few pots that she was involved in. Lynn stated that the turtle must not like to be handled by so many people and that explained her losing the pots. A few hands later she announced that she was naming the turtle "Murphy". I suppose I'm honored.

Table Image....or the Big Bluff?

Chew on this for a little while.

It is taken from the Treaty of Tripoli 1796-97

Keep in mind that this was written while George Washington was still the Potus.

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.


You can no longer have food delivered to the poker room at the Palms.

The official reason given for the discontinuation of roomservice deliveries to the poker room is that the food would have to be transported through a smoking area. You see, the wise voters of Nevada passed a tough new anti-smoking measure. The problem is that the measure was poorly written. Bars will have to choose between selling food and allowing their patrons to smoke. With the new law you can't have both. There is much debate and there is even a temporary restraining order keeping the measure from being enacted in Clark County.


I finally acquired a copy of the rules for the freeroll that starts on January 1. The problem is that I left them in my pants pocket and the rules went through the wash. I'll try to pick up another copy while at work today. I'll post the rules asap.

Speaking of freerolls.....

Scott has reported a freeroll at the Flamingo.

Binions is having a totally free freeroll for the first 600 or so people who show up. I heard this on the radio and I can't remember who is sponsoring it. I think it was for $10,000

I received a post card announcing a freeroll at Monte Carlo. It requires 40 hours of play before February 28th. Total prize pool is $100,000 and it will be held March 2-4, 2007.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

As I pushed into table 3 it was obvious that the lady in the 4s had been drinking. She was loud and borderline obnoxious. In the real world she would have been way over the obnoxious line but we're talking about a poker room here. The real world is miles away and worlds apart.

I quickly gathered that she had been at it for many hours, all night in fact.

To no one in particular she stated that it was 2 AM. In reality it was 2 PM. Had she really "lost" 12 hours?

As soon as she made the 2AM comment I leaned toward the 1s and whispered.....

For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light

Alex in the 1s looked at me like I had finally lost my last marble.

What? You don't know that song Alex?

He indicated that he didn't.

You need to brush up on your classic Elton, Alex.

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky
But they can't and that is why
They know not if it's dark outside or light

It took Ms. Inebriated about 4 more hours to cross the "poker room obnoxious" line. The last I saw her she was being escorted out of the room by security and she was none too happy about it.

This poker room's got
It's got a lot of songs to sing
If I knew the tunes I might join in
I'll go my way alone
Grow my own
My own seeds shall be sown in Sin City

Saturday, December 16, 2006

You say you want a revolution?

On the heals of the Wynn fiasco comes the news from Foxwoods.

It looks like it could be a very interesting New Year in the woods of Connecticut.

The Wonder of it All......or is it the Blunder of it All?

Take a few minutes (hours) to read some of what has been posted




and judge for yourself.

Monday, December 11, 2006

This and That

I've seen my share of wild and crazy $2-5 NL games from my perch in the zero seat.

One hand yesterday really had me shaking my head. The 9s put the $10 straddle on. The 10s mucked. The 1 through 4 seat called the $10. The 5s bumped it up to $50 straight. The 6s through the 3s called the $50 (minus the 10s who mucked under the gun). The 4s then goes all in for $409 total. The 5s calls with $261 total. The 6s & 7s muck. The 8s &9s both call the $409. Everyone else mucks. In the event that you don't have a calculator handy, the main pot is now $1,289($1 high hand rake and $4 house rake deducted) and the side pot is $444 for a total of $1733.

The only board card that I can remember was an 8 on the flop. There were no straight and no flush possibilities although there were two spades. The 8 and 9 seat checked all the way. The 4s is calling for a spade on the river. It doesn't come.

The 4s turns over 8-9 spades. He has a lonely pair of 8s.

Then, one by one the other three players start mucking face down.

The eights were good for $1,733.



From what I've heard, our $1,000,000 freeroll with $500,000 for first place is set to kick off on January 1st. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to obtain a copy of the rules and regulations. I certainly hope that the "how to qualify" information is released and heavily advertised soon.


What is it about a $1-2 NL game that makes it so unappealing from a dealers point of view? We rarely spread it but I have never dealt a $1-2 game that was anywhere close to ideal. On Saturday night I pushed into table 1. The game on that table started as $2-4 limit but the players asked that it be changed to $1-2 NL. All 10 players had blue chips. It was the type of game where none of the players had their chips in neat stacks of 20. Chips were everywhere. Even in the instances where players had some of their chips in a rack, it wasn't likely that there were 20 chips in each tube of the rack. There was a ton of action with "all in" being spouted left and right. Up to 3 side pots were not unusual. Three of four of the players acted like they had never played live poker before. I believe it.

I'm asking (screaming) for red chips for color ups and whenever possible putting chips in racks and making them full racks.

The players were having the time of their life.


Not so much.

I think I got out 7 hands in 30 minutes.


After the $1-2 fiasco I clocked out and headed out into the Las Vegas night in search of Linda.
She and a large herd of bloggers were at Caesars. I headed that way and drove into the parking garage. Twenty five minutes later I am STILL circling different levels of the Caesars garage looking for a space when the phone rings. It's Linda. She patiently listens to me rant and rave about the parking situation. The last time I was in that garage (also on a Saturday night) it took nearly 30 minutes to get out of the damn garage.
Note to self: VALET it you stupid idiot!

In any case the plans have changed and now I'm headed to the IP parking garage. PokerPro has arranged a demonstration of their dealerless table for the blogger crowd and everyone is headed there.
The IP garage(s) is, if possible, worse than the Caesars garage. It's like a maze with no exit point. Even after finding a parking spot it would be advisable to leave a trail of bread crumbs if you ever want to find your car again. Total lunacy. The whole IP complex is likely headed for a date with some explosives in the not so distant future. That's one implosion that I'll shed no tears over........

I approached the dealerless table demonstration expecting to hate it. After all, if PokerPro has it's way all poker dealers will be out of a job.

They had one large table set up tournament style and a small two seat heads-up version in operation.

It would have been nice to have been able to actually play on table, but since it was set up in tournament mode unless you were one of the lucky 10 players you were relegated to the sidelines. I did stand and watch for awhile. During most of my observation there were 4-6 empty seats. Had they had this set up for "live" play more people would have gotten a change to experience it.

One thing I did notice was that the table looked to be about normal size length wise but it was significantly wider than your typical poker table. With the cost of floor space in a casino this may be a concern. Then again, I hope that these tables don't soon make an appearance in a Las Vegas casino. On the other hand if this dealerless revolution grabs a foot hold and ............not even gonna think about it.

Although I didn't get hands-on time, I left, as I expected, not liking it so much.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The State of the Union

By now I would hope that everyone is aware of the continuing drama at Wynn Las Vegas. For the one or two of you who have been living in a cave for the last few months Wynn has taken a portion of the DEALER'S tips and given them to management in the form of a pay raise.

A friend of mine who I highly respect and who has been in casino management for a long time tells me that this is how it should be and that this should have happened years ago. I beg to differ. I simply cannot grasp how this can be "right" and just.

It's not without precedent. Although the situation at Wynn only affects (for now) pit dealers I've been told that in some poker rooms in California (I believe Oceans Eleven for one) it is mandatory for poker dealers to "toke" management $2.50 per down. That's $5.00 per hour for those of you keeping score. Assuming a dealer deals 12 down per day that adds up to $7800 per year. Multiply that by a goodly number of dealers and the numbers add up quickly.

Most industry veterans expected the furror over this situation to end quickly. With the history of Las Vegas dealers and unions that would be a reasonable expectation. The Wynn dealers were supposed to bitch and moan for a week or so and then roll over and take it. That, my friends, is not how it is playing out.

The Wynn dealers have found a rallying cry that previous generations of dealers did not.

Liz Benston, in a recent column, quotes Mr. Wynn as saying:

"About 5 percent of the dealers, maybe 40 of them, are convinced I picked their
pockets," Wynn said this week of the new tips allocations. "It's an awful hard
case to make that we're abusing anyone. They may be (angry), but they ain't
quitting." Steve Wynn-December 2006

Can this man honestly believe that only 5% of his dealers are convinced that he reached directly into their pocket and grabbed fistfulls of dollars in order to hand it over to his managers? I'll take the over on that one. I'd be surprised if that number isn't closer to 100%!!

In any case I've heard that over 50% of his dealers are in favor of organizing. The Teamsters are actively soliciting support. The dealers have been granted class action status and the legal gears continue to turn. By most accounts the atmosphere is extremely hostile. This is one stink that has not and will not blow over any time soon.

I wonder what competing casino bosses think of Steve's "bold" move. On one hand I can see them licking their chops just waiting to implement this policy in their own houses should it pass legal muster and assuming that the Wynn dealers are unsuccessful in organizing. On the other hand I'd bet more than a few are steaming that this can of worms has been opened. At this point I don't think that the genie can be stuffed back into it's lamp. The damage has been done. If the Teamsters are voted in at Wynn then that and only that becomes his legacy. The golden boy of gaming will be forever remembered as the person who ushered in the era of organized dealers. No small feat.

My own historical opinion of unions is shaped by several things. My father was a union member for 25 years and 9 months. He worked for Kelly Springfield/Goodyear and was a member of the United Rubber Workers. I'd expect that we lived a typical middle class life. While not living lavishly, I don't remember wanting for much. There was always food on the table and two cars sitting out front.

Toward the end of dad's employment it became rather clear that the plant was destined to be shut down. The only question was how long would it remain in operation. In an effort to keep their jobs for as long as possible the rank and file voted give concessions back to the company. I don't know the exact figures, but employees voluntarily took a pay cut in the hopes of keeping their job. That's a pretty bold step born of desperation in my opinion.

It wasn't long before the inevitable happened and the closure date was announced.

My fathers last paycheck from Kelly Springfield had union dues deducted from it.

That fact largely cemented my opinion that unions were nothing but money grubbing entities. We couldn't save your job, but by damn we're getting ours until the very end.

When I graduated college and entered the workforce as a salaried manager I carried this view with me. Twice during my management career I lived through unionization attempts. The first effort was half assed/hearted and never really got off of the gound. The second, with a different employer, was a full fledged campaign that progressed all the way to a vote.
I can tell you that from my perspective the union promised the moon. They could basically promise anything and everything while we couldn't threaten, interrogate, promise or spy. The law was very clear and it seemed heavily in favor of the union.

If you've never lived through a flull blown unionization campaign you'll have to trust me when I say it can and often does get ugly. I don't recall the name of the firm, but the company that I worked for retained the services of a powerful union busting firm out of NYC. For all I know it could be the same person/firm that Steve Wynn has hired to combat the unionization campaign at Wynn LV. These people are very persuasive and very expensive. I don't envy the management staff at Wynn. (although I just might envy the huge pay raise they just got ) I know how quickly it becomes personal. How a vote for the union is a vote against you. I hope that someone sees the light before it comes to a vote, but I don't think he will.

In my situation, I was pleased that the vote was in favor of the company (and by extention me as a member of the management staff) to the tune of 70+ percent. That particular union had seriously misjudged our workforce. They spent a lot of money and effort to no avail. Unbelievably, there were hourly employess who picketed outside our gate AGAINST the union. To this day, 8 years on,that business remains non-union.

Moving back to the situation at Wynn. The numbers that I have seen show that for the few months that this policy has been in place, dealers have lost around 13% of what they historically made. Regardless of your income level would YOU sit idly by and not try to fight a 13% cut in pay? I would hope and think not.

If this doesn't chill every dealer in town, if not the country, right down to the bone then nothing will. If this is allowed to stand then we deserve to make minimum wage and be happy with whatever portion of the tips the powers that be decide we deserve. After all the players aren't really tipping the delaers are they? Surely they want some of their tip going to the management staff.

I just don't get it.

Right now there is a line of people a mile long for every "good" tipped job in town. The prospect of making a decent living via tips is what brings thousands of people to Southern Nevada. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine that influx of tip earners drying up quicker than Lake Mead if the possibility of great tips goes away. Would people really endure living in the desert for $5.85 an hour? What happens when the migration stops?

I wouldn't want to be the golden boy who killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

Too dramatic? Maybe.

Only time will tell.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Disney 2006

Walt Disney was either a genius or the devil himself. Either way, I guess he was a genius.

Walt died before "Disney World" became a reality. His brother Roy continued the development and added Walt to the name as a way to remind everyone who the driving force behind the project was.

That was 40 years ago. I wonder if either of the Disney Brothers even dared to imagine what their little project would evolve into. Maybe they did, but I doubt that even the most optimistic could have really envisioned the WDW of today.

The complex of Disney parks and resorts is a sprawling affair. It currently encompasses 38.6 square miles. Imagine 38.6 square miles covered with mouse ears and almost entirely without governmental oversight.

Have you ever heard of the Reedy Creek Improvement District? I didn't think so.
RCID is Disney and Disney is RCID. Read about the political maneuvering that created this "private government" here.

Even the wallpaper in our bathroom not so subtly screamed M I C K E Y.

At first glance it looks like a demented clown's smile. Look again. Can you see the Mickey ears?

I didn't care for the fact that you were required to provide a finger print to enter the park. Ostensibly, the finger print was to prevent someone else from using your "ticket" to enter the park. Your ticket was also your room key. It also served as your meal ticket assuming you purchased meal plans. (we did).
The cynic in me is certain that data mining is rampant here. Once when I made a purchase (with cash) and had it delivered to the front of the park for future pick up I was asked for my home address. The clerk said that it was required. I told him that I was paying cash and asked why the hell he needed my home address. He relented and said that I really didn't have to provide it. I'm sure most people just fill in the blanks without thinking. Marketing wizards at work.

No cigarettes or gum are sold inside the parks. The gum I understand (you can't buy gum inside a Las Vegas casino either) but not selling cigarettes? Smoking is still permitted in designated smoking areas. I felt the need to test the boundaries of the smoking areas. I once walked to a secluded area and lit a cigarette. About two puffs later a "cast member" weilding a broom and dust pan informed me that I wasn't in a designated smoking area.
At Epcot I entered the park with six cigarettes. I seriously considered driving to a convenience store to purchase a pack. I toughed it out and rationed them like it was war time. I mentioned to one "cast member" that it would be a good place to start a black market cigarette selling enterprise. He informed me that you wouldn't get away with it for long....."you wouldn't believe the number of cameras and security personnel dressed as ordinary tourist walking around" he said. I told him that I work in a casino and I am familiar with security cameras.

Before I left for Florida a co-worker said that I was going to a happy place with no gambling. She said that people come to Las Vegas, lose money, and become less than happy. True, BUT, it's sometimes difficult to forget that the fine folks at WDW are also making every effort to get the last penny from your purse. Can they really price a crappy piece of plastic at $70 while keeping a straight face? Yep, you betcha they can and they do. Over and over again.
Having said that I realize that the free market economy is alive and well. No one is forcing you to buy. If the crap didn't sell, they would lower the price. It does, so they don't.

Enough of the dark side. Let's get happy. Sing along with me, ok?
It's a small world after all...............

I tried to see it all through the eyes of a beautiful child.

The reason for this trip was a little boy named David. If he had a good time it was all worth it, right?

Today I head back to the Adult Disney World of my employment. I guess not much has changed in my absence.

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