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I was very happy to drive off in my Lexus. I headed for Red Rock. Except not Red Rock. I really had no reason to go to Red Rock. However, across the way from Red Rock is a big shopping center.

Among the stores in that shopping center is a Costco. Perhaps the best bargain in all of Vegas—or all of America for that matter—is a Costco hot dog at the food court.

And the soda is all you can drink. Woody told me to drive out there anyway. There was a car problem I noticed almost immediately, however.

The "check engine" light was on. I should have turned around immediately and taken it back to TC, except for one thing. That damn check engine light had come on a few times recently and it was always the same thing.

Something to do with a Catalytic Convertor sensor. Well I had actually replaced that, but the check engine still came on with the same code.

I had just used a code reader myself to check the code and reset it because there was nothing wrong with the damn CC.

So when I saw the check engine light come on, I kind of assumed it was just the damn CC sensor with another false positive. However, by the time I parked at Costco, I decided I needed to play it safe and double check the code in case it was something else.

So right there in Costco parking lot, in the freezing cold I plugged in the code reader and checked. But the code that came back had nothing to do with the CC.

Nope, it said something about a faulty Crankshaft sensor. Well that was a new development and I knew I had to get my ass back to TC asap before he closed.

No pizza and hot dog for me. So I pulled into the shop and told him about the check engine light and the battery light. And he immediately went to work on it.

I noticed that the first thing he did when he looked under the hood was rip out some kind of belt. I watched him work for awhile.

The car was in the driveway and I could at least easily access the back seat and get my heavy jacket. I even got a sweater out of there to put on underneath the jacket.

But I was still freezing. I realized why that was. The only way the door would stay closed was to lock it. Otherwise it stayed slight ajar, blasting cold air inside with each breeze, and it was plenty breezy.

And there was always someone inside. In addition to possibly one or two of his employees, there was an elderly lady who was always there. She sat there reading stuff on her cell phone.

But they kept that door locked to keep her warm. But TC did unlock the door and he told me wait inside. I could see what he was doing from the window.

As I said, the car was in the driveway. It appeared TC had half the engine apart. So one time, as it was getting dark, I saw someone drive the car—with the hood still up, blocking the windshield—into one of the bays.

Yikes that was scary. Still wonder how they got the car moving with half the engine missing! At one point he came to me and told me that that it needed a new gasket.

Do I want to just replace the gasket, which was very cheap, or the gasket and the thermostat? I had no idea.

Fortunately Woody answered my call and I had him talk directly to TC. I believe Woody decided that just the gasket would do for now.

I later saw a woman drive up and hand him a part, which I assumed was my new gasket. But it was now getting to be past 6pm and he was still working on my car.

Obviously he intended to get me out of there that night. But it was past 6: At one point the woman let me out to check on it and there were actually four different people huddled around the Lexus, all working on it.

Meanwhile I was starving, and had gone too long without food. But it was getting to the point where I had to eat really soon. I had noticed there was a Subway just up the street from the shop.

I decided that as soon as I got out of there, that was my first destination, either on foot or by car. It was literally just a few hundred yards from his shop.

It was too small. He had to order a new belt and it would be there at 9am in the morning. The car would be ready at around 10am.

I immediately walked over to the Subway in the freezing cold. It was pretty deserted. But I bet it did a landmark lunch business.

The sole employee working there was a character. As usual, I asked for "a lot" of toppings. He asked, "Do other Subways put on this much toppings for you?

Or is it just me? Well one did give me a hard time, but I complained to corporate and they ended up having to give me a free sandwich.

But then he asked me something odd. I said, "I sure am…. Anyway, since it was just the two of us in there for most of time I was eating, he was cleaning up a bit and saw that I was done and asked, "Was everything ok?

Truth be told, once I secured the reservation for the weekend, I had been thinking about staying at least one extra night even if I had been able to pick up the car Thursday.

It started sounding like a good idea to stay Friday and then head home Saturday. So I probably would have decided to do that even if I had my car back.

Meanwhile, I had to decide where to play this night Thursday. I had spent a good portion of the afternoon freezing. And I had spent a lot of time outside in the cold.

That brief walk to the Subway was really cold. I was about to be outside in the cold waiting for a Lyft ride. So I decided where to play based on what poker room I thought would be the warmest.

There were two good options, at least on the Strip. Either the Wynn or the Mirage. So it was Mirage. I requested the ride and went outside to wait.

If it was freezing cold during the day, you can imagine how cold it was now that the sun had set hours before. It was only a few minutes but it seemed longer than that in the cold.

But the car did show and I got in and I found heaven. The car was warm inside. The driver was a young black woman and she was quite chatty.

And a total delight. The first thing I said to her when I got in was how great it was that car was so toasty.

Is that OK with you? She said she would never do that to a passenger. Then I explained why I was going to Mirage. I said it was the warmest poker room in the city.

First, she told me about the guy from North Dakota who was wearing shorts. And even then, he was too hot.

He was sharing the ride with a woman who was sitting in the front seat. She refused because the female passenger was enjoying the warmth. So the guy insisted on opening his window, and the lady started complaining about the draft on her neck.

Then she told me about the two young girls she had just dropped off. Young girls wearing minimal clothing in Las Vegas? I asked, "Were they going to a club after the game?

She said she told them that. I said, "Well, I guess she can get some beer at the game. What are the odds?

And with that, we close another saga in this long-running saga. Posted by Rob at 6: Frustration , Rants , Stranded in Vegas.

Part 1 is here. Which maybe explains why open shoved off. But no one called and I was still alive. And that took me to the break for my hot dog dinner.

Had no choice but the snack bar wienies, scarfed down during the break. I had an M of exactly 2. I had one foot and a few toes from the other foot out the door.

When I looked down at again, I opened shoved. And again no one called. The very next hand I had Ace-Queen off. This time there were limpers in front of me.

One of the limpers called. He had a big stack, and he had been at the table with me from the beginning.

I believe that after one of my earlier shoves he had said after the hand was over something about me not having played a hand for two hours. Then he flipped over King-Jack.

He groaned when he saw my A-Q. I had my double up, to 26K. That was nice, but I was hardly out of the woods. Thus, after another orbit or so, same level, when I looked at King-Jack under-the-gun, I thought a shove was the right move.

Maybe it was a bad risk, but it felt right at the time. Well, I got called by a big stack, than the guy on my right, also a big stack, shoved.

The guy who just called tanked but eventually called. It was now a three-way all-in. The first guy showed a pair of Queens.

The second guy showed a pair of Aces. I swear I muttered under my breath, "I need a straight. The flop came Queen! And the guy with Aces was done.

He walked away shaking his head, saying, "I had the best hand. Nothing like a triple up to get you back in the game.

Suddenly I stopped thinking about how soon I was going to be heading home. The guy with the Queens indicated he was surprised I had shoved with such a weak hand, especially since I had "just gotten some chips.

Now I want to discuss two other players at the table. He seemed to be handling the tournament discomforts a lot better than I was. I must feel older than I am.

He was a real chatterbox too, very friendly, and actually, very entertaining. At one point one of the younger guys at the table said, "You must be from Queens.

Then he said, "I went to Dorsey High a local high school anyone from L. I was on the baseball team. You know who was on that team with me? I did remember that Sparky was from L.

When he busted out after he crippled himself with a really bad bluff he stood up and said, "Whenever I bust out of a tournament, I always say the same thing as I leave the table.

Gentlemen, it has been a great pleasure playing with all of you. Even the dealer, the only female at the table, cracked a smile. The other player of interest was the guy who replaced the guy on my immediate right whose Aces.

He was a young guy, brought a good amount of chips to the table from the one they had just broken, and he was a tough, tough player.

I soon realized I was lucky that he was on my right and not on my left. And the most amazing coincidence happened. It seemed like the only times I got playable hands, the kid on my right had open raised the pot.

So most of these times, I called. Usually it was with a low pocket pair, which I could afford to play for awhile. Or maybe just big cards.

And I never played a hand that he had folded. If he folded, I always had garbage that I threw away. But the guy definitely noticed.

He started commenting on it every time I called him. Or even when I folded after he folded. I want the action. I finally got a big pocket pair, UTG, but it was only Jacks.

I opened to 8K and got two calls, including the guy on my right was the big blind this hand. The flop was Ace-high and I checked, it checked around. The turn card was nice; a Jack.

I bet 15K and took it down. In the small blind, I had Ace-Jack of spades. It folded to the tough player on my right on the button and he made a big raise—8 or 9K.

I thought about three-betting as I was thinking he was just making a move. But then I thought, this guy is a better player than me, he might come over the top and put me in a tough spot.

So I just called. The flop was Ace-high with one spade. I checked because I planned to check-raise over his inevitable c-bet.

But he checked behind. The turn was another spade, giving me top pair, good kicker and the nut flush draw. This time I led out for 15k.

He surprised me by going all in. Did he really have something? Even if he had a set, I had outs to the nuts. I had to call, so I did.

Turned out he had something like off but he did have a gut shot. The river blanked and I had a nice double up—against the toughest player at the table.

But my best guess is that when we took the break that came after level 11, we were really close to the money. They were paying and I think we had at the break.

I believe we played one or two hands after the break, and they were about to stop us and go hand-for-hand when a couple of people busted out at virtually the same time including one from our table and they announced we were all in the money.

It was a pretty amazing turnaround from like three levels before when I was virtually on my death bed. When we made the money I had enough chips to think I could really build my stack and make it to day 2 with a stack worth coming back for.

But playable cards were hard to come by and the blinds were really putting a huge dent in the stack. The flop was Ace, two hearts.

Up-to-the-minute news, hand updates and videos from PokerListings signature live poker festival, the Battle of Malta. Dirk Oetzmann Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog.

But how did poker get that rep in the first place? For over a decade poker players have journeyed to Barcelona to play PokerStars events.

The World Series of Poker Main Event final table is set and — for the first time in over a decade — the winner will be decided in just a few days time.

That means media will have just two days to highlight the final nine players before they play to a winner. Thomas Hviid Posted in: PokerStars brand-new loyalty program Stars Rewards is now live and players have to get used to very different-looking rewards landscape.

The previous loyalty scheme was very beneficial for the most industrious players who would earn a high rakeback also known as cash back. For some of these players the rakeback was providing them with their daily bread and butter as games are becoming tougher and tougher.

Matthew Showell Posted in: We thought the World Series of Poker would be a happier place if instead of cell phones, everyone spent all their time looking at kittens.

Johnny Moss Left Photo: Among his many legendary feats? And he played the most famous, 5-month long heads-up match ever played. And Billy Baxter was first.

Arthur Crowson Posted in: Rainer Vollmar Posted in: Bluffs gone horribly wrong, different winners on every street, an online bankroll challenge eventually going the right way If this is your first year attending the World Series of Poker you might not realize the event looked dramatically different just one year ago.

Yes, there is still a seemingly endless sea of poker tables but the long-running series has actually undergone its most dramatic overhaul since introducing the gargantuan Pavilion Room in many years ago.

Hart is, without question, the most entertaining player in the room. The November Nine experiment is over. Earlier this month the WSOP announced that after nine years it was ditching the November Nine concept to play out the final table with a more reasonable two-day break.

Some would argue the November Nine lasted a little too long but it has given us some interesting stories over the years. For some players their November Nine experience was just a stepping stone to a bigger poker career while others were basically never heard from again.

For years online poker sites have been searching for the best place to interact with their players. Online forums, both official and independent, have sometimes fulfilled that role with varying amounts of success.

Poker sites have also tried to utilize social media, which has also been hit-or-miss. Fred Guillemot Posted in: Slovenia is the perfect destination for people who like beautiful scenery and peace and quiet.

Now a select group of poker players are taking it to the streets. Or more accurately the real-life felt. Vlogging is the latest trend when it comes to letting people behind-the-scenes of the professional poker lifestyle.

The format has actually been around for years but Jake Cody, Trooper97 and even old-school pros such as Mike Matusow have taken it one step further and started shooting footage at the poker tables.

Want to get better at poker? Some very-skilled poker pros are giving tons of information completely free on services like Twitch. The theory used to be that once you found a way to beat poker you kept everything you learned a secret.

Giving away that information was giving away your edge. Well, an entirely new generation of poker player is taking a vastly different approach by live streaming themselves playing online poker.

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Even the dealer, the only female at the table, cracked a smile. The other player of interest was the guy who replaced the guy on my immediate right whose Aces.

He was a young guy, brought a good amount of chips to the table from the one they had just broken, and he was a tough, tough player.

I soon realized I was lucky that he was on my right and not on my left. And the most amazing coincidence happened. It seemed like the only times I got playable hands, the kid on my right had open raised the pot.

So most of these times, I called. Usually it was with a low pocket pair, which I could afford to play for awhile.

Or maybe just big cards. And I never played a hand that he had folded. If he folded, I always had garbage that I threw away.

But the guy definitely noticed. He started commenting on it every time I called him. Or even when I folded after he folded. I want the action.

I finally got a big pocket pair, UTG, but it was only Jacks. I opened to 8K and got two calls, including the guy on my right was the big blind this hand.

The flop was Ace-high and I checked, it checked around. The turn card was nice; a Jack. I bet 15K and took it down. In the small blind, I had Ace-Jack of spades.

It folded to the tough player on my right on the button and he made a big raise—8 or 9K. I thought about three-betting as I was thinking he was just making a move.

But then I thought, this guy is a better player than me, he might come over the top and put me in a tough spot. So I just called. The flop was Ace-high with one spade.

I checked because I planned to check-raise over his inevitable c-bet. But he checked behind. The turn was another spade, giving me top pair, good kicker and the nut flush draw.

This time I led out for 15k. He surprised me by going all in. Did he really have something? Even if he had a set, I had outs to the nuts.

I had to call, so I did. Turned out he had something like off but he did have a gut shot. The river blanked and I had a nice double up—against the toughest player at the table.

But my best guess is that when we took the break that came after level 11, we were really close to the money. They were paying and I think we had at the break.

I believe we played one or two hands after the break, and they were about to stop us and go hand-for-hand when a couple of people busted out at virtually the same time including one from our table and they announced we were all in the money.

It was a pretty amazing turnaround from like three levels before when I was virtually on my death bed. When we made the money I had enough chips to think I could really build my stack and make it to day 2 with a stack worth coming back for.

But playable cards were hard to come by and the blinds were really putting a huge dent in the stack. The flop was Ace, two hearts.

I shoved and he folded. That got me to K. Only the big blind, my buddy, called. The flop was Queen, rainbow. He tanked for a bit. You did open UTG.

Then they broke our table. At the new table, I was the short stack, everyone seemed to have tons of chips, and there was always, always a raise.

I had nothing to three-bet with and nothing to open with on those rare times I could have opened a pot. I seemed to get offsuit three or four times in a row when I could have opened raised.

I was following the pay jumps. Before that, as the blinds were eating away at my stack fairly rapidly, I had become somewhat cautious.

Obviously you can tell I did take some risks but they were limited. Once I got back down to a fold-or-shove stack, I was tight until I hit the larger payout.

Of course, the cards I was getting made it easy to do. But I kept running into I think I saw in my UTG hand. I was very happy with my big blind hand.

I knew, since almost half my stack was already in the pot with the big blind and the ante, the rest was going in there no matter what happened before it got to me.

There was a raise, two calls and I shoved. I needed exactly a Queen—or another miracle straight. Instead a useless 10 hit the flop. Then a 9 hit the turn.

And another 9 hit the river. At least I can say I busted to quads. I busted 40, just 15 away from the top 25 who advanced to day 2. Not bad at all, but not good enough for this particular format.

Considering how card dead I was most of the time, it was a rather impressive finish. Of course a few nice flops saved me and then there was that fantastic result when I took out both Queens and Aces.

But to get this far in a tournament, you have to get some lucky run outs like that. It was nearly 10pm, about eight hours of poker.

I was exhausted when I got home. So I was pretty happy with the maximum day 1 cash. Oddly, that made me feel better about my prize money for day 1.

Posted by Rob at 4: This is the first of two parts. Taking a break from my Xmas horror story, I want to tell you about the tournament I played last weekend.

Commerce started their L. You read that right. Sounds pretty good, right? Well to me, the guarantee for first place actually reduced the appeal of the event.

You all know how I feel about those top heavy payouts in tournaments. And such a large guarantee for first seemed to insure an even more top heavy pay scale than normal.

Imagine what it would have been if there had been an overlay. Only 81 players got four figure payouts. The details are that they had four starting flights for this tourney for four consecutive days, concluding Saturday.

Day 2 was Sunday and for good measure they had a final day 1 flight Sunday morning at 8am a turbo. The regular flights were at 10am, 2pm, 6pm and 10pm, with the 10pm having minute levels, the others having minute levels.

At some point on day 2, the levels would increase to minutes. Each individual starting flight would play past the money bubble. When I looked at these details I made a few observations.

I also knew that those day 1 payouts would be very small, and the min-cash would really be somewhat pathetic. Through Twitter, I asked the Justin, the tournament coordinator at Commerce, what the day 1 payouts were.

Justin use to run tournaments at the Aria by the way, and I knew him there. So the dreaded min-cash would be essentially your buy-in back plus another third of that buy-in on top.

I asked him what the day 2 min-cash would be. That was important to me because it is pretty much a pain for me to drive down to Commerce, and a second trip the next day needed to be worth it.

It was tempting to skip it, truth be told. But driving all the way down there for most likely a very small pay day gave me huge second thoughts.

I probably would have had a much easier decision if Commerce was close to where I live and easier to get to.

So I headed down there. Of course I opted for the 2pm flight, which I suspected correctly would be the largest flight of the tournament.

Traffic getting down there was just horrendous—on a quiet Saturday afternoon when nothing was really going on around town. I recently got criticized for using Waze or Google Maps to get around Vegas, but the latter was a life saver.

I mean, I know how to get to Commerce but Google actually had me get off the damn freeway at one point to get around a major bottleneck.

Shaved minutes off my drive. By the time I finally entered the casino, I was mentally and physically exhausted. I really was tempted to get right back in my car and head home, but there was no way I was ready to face the freeways again so soon.

I realized that years of working from home has softened me up. But now that I only have to walk downstairs to get to work, I just have no tolerance for the damn traffic—or the horrible condition our roads out here are in.

I mean, half the time on the drive it felt like I was riding on railroad tracks. I had an very unproductive thought at that moment. I mean the thought of doing that drive again was so unappealing to me.

Great attitude to have before a poker tournament, right? Well, I managed to talk myself into wanting to come back. But only with a really big stack.

Go big or go home. Play reckless near the day 2 bubble and either bust out or build a huge stack that would make me a contender for a pay day worth that doing that horrible drive a second time in two days.

Sounded good in my mind, anyway. I was about 45 minutes early. I purchased a bottle of diet 7-up from the gift shop, had a nice chat with Justin and was ready to go.

I must say it was quite a project running all these flights the same day and the Commerce handled the logistics of it flawlessly.

I was watching and wondering how they figured this all out. The tournament is held in a big ballroom of the hotel, I believe they had 68 tables.

Commerce is the largest poker room in the world. There are more poker tables in there than any place else on the planet on a normal day.

Yet to run this series they needed to bring in 68 more tables? Anyway, they had entries for the 10am flight.

So by the time they started the 2pm flight my flight they were breaking tables from that flight pretty fast. Late reg was only open for four levels so the field was shrinking.

Still, I think I saw that they had over players left by the time our flight started. Meanwhile, they eventually seated players for our flight.

Talk about a huge field! So they had every table in use when our flight started. And still they had alternates. I think everyone who was able to register by 2 was seated right away, but at some point I was able to see a long line of alternates just waiting for bust-outs to start playing.

At one time, like 3pm, the lines for both registration and alternates were both really long my table was very near both lines so I could see.

They were replacing busted players with alternates with almost no loss of time. I swear, when we lost players a new one showed up in what seemed like a minute or less.

And of course, every time they were able to break a table from the 10am flight, they wasted no time in setting it up for our flight.

How they kept track of all this, I have no idea. Must have mapped it out in advance. But then I started wondering if they knew at what point they had to stop turning 10am flight tables into 2pm flight tables and start saving them for the 6pm flight?

I dunno how they would know that. Because anyone who registered by 4: Same old story, totally card dead.

But this time it was even worse than usual. I think I set the indoor record for garbage hands. I started looking for spots to be creative but the dynamics of the table made it difficult.

For a tournament with such a big guarantee and a three-figure buy-in, the structure was not all that player friendly, mostly due to the 10K starting stack.

So you only start with big blinds. The only hand I noted on the first level was when I was the big blind with Queen-6 and no one raised.

I lost some chips as it was a Queen-high flop but someone flopped two pair. I called a small raise from the button with King of diamonds.

Three of us saw a flop of King The preflop raiser then check-raised enough to put me all-in. It folded back to me and I wondered if he had a set.

But his overbet made me think he wanted me to fold. My two pair held and I had some more chips. Only the small blind called.

I bet out on a King-high flop and took it. And then I went back to being card dead. Even suited Aces were virtually non-existent. Of course there were no dinner breaks for this tourney.

And only the first two breaks were minutes. After that, they were only minutes. I had to take advantage of the big blind ante format for both my bathroom breaks and my meal break.

That was to serve 68 tables full of poker players. So I waited to play my button and my cut-off and then headed over to the restroom when nature called.

The ballroom had a small snack bar with a very limited menu. The closest thing to dinner cuisine were the hot dogs.

They also had chips, cookies, bananas, pastries and soft drinks maybe beer, not sure. Perhaps they had some other hot items but nothing that I would eat.

Actually they had another snack bar on the same floor too, a specific snack bar for the free food coupon they would give you.

Again, only thing there for me was the hot dog. Except that for this tournament, there was no food comp. I asked Justin about that.

Damn, I was kind of counting on a free meal at least. Also made me wonder why that snack bar that just was for the comps was open. Anyway, that snack bar would be real busy if I waited to the break at the end of level 8.

It might take me more than 15 minutes to get my hot dogs, let alone eat them. So as I spied the clock, I had to plan for getting up early before the break and grabbing my dinner then if I could.

Fortunately the big blind cooperated and I saw that I could get up about minutes early, beat the rush, and even have time to eat before the tournament resumed.

Well that was one plan anyway. But as the last few levels had gone on, and as I had been failing magnificently at accumulating chips, I had another possible plan.

Just bust out of the tournament and go somewhere nicer than the Commerce snack bar for dinner. It seemed like it was inevitable that I would bust out long before the money anyway.

To me, the worst scenario would have been to be alive just by a thread, having to eat there and then bust out right after that. A crummy meal for nothing.

But as the 8th level started, I realized I was too hungry and had gone too long without food for that plan to work. It would take too long especially with traffic that time of the evening.

So at a certain point I was committed to eating there no matter what. I should have busted out during level 6, the latest.

Part 2 can be found here. Have you ever heard of bluff-to-value ratio? When understood correctly, this concept will help you make more profitable plays both as the aggressor and versus aggression.

What is bluff-to-value ratio? Poker is a bit like American football. Perhaps the most crucial defensive situation in poker is playing vs.

If you want to be a successful poker player in , you need to prioritize your fundamentals. If you missed it, you may want to check it out before reading on — click here to read part 1 now.

In this article, we will […]. The fastest way to improve at poker is to study the most consequential and frequent spots, such as 3-bet pots.

In this article, you will find some tips and tricks for 3-bet pots that will help you win more consistently. More specifically, we are going to analyze 3 hands which have the following in common: View all Poker Strategy articles.

Since its creation in by friends Greg Land and Todd Anderson, the Heartland Poker Tour HPT has established itself as among the premier professional poker tours in the US with numerous annual events held from coast to coast.

What is the MSPT? Her fun and insightful commentary introduced many viewers to the exciting world of high stakes poker, the exotic locations, poker personalities, and interesting tidbits about the game.

Opened in , the privately-owned Commerce Casino and Resort sits a mere five miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles in the city of Commerce. The Commerce poker room is the largest— based on number of tables—in the world.

With tables—and plans for more in the near future—the Commerce is internationally renowned, largely due […]. View all Poker News.

The Bellagio poker room is one of the largest and most luxurious in Las Vegas. Its history, game options, and the availability of high stakes make the Bellagio one of the most famous poker rooms in the world.

Overview Located near the sports book, the Bellagio poker room is one of the most renowned poker […]. I started playing poker casually in and by the end of , I was a full-time online MTT grinder.

Since I was born and raised in NJ, the majority of my live poker experience has taken place at Borgata Hotel […]. He currently teaches poker classes at UCLA extension which […].

In May, , the Wynn poker room was moved next door to the Encore. The new room is invitingly chic, and is the epitome of a world-class poker room that pampers its players.

View all Poker Lifestyle articles.

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