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James Bond: Casino Royale 1967 Cast & Character Guide
In Casino Royale (2006), Bond says to M, “So you want me to be half-monk, half-hitman.” This is a reference to Daniel Craig’s role in the 1998 film “Elizabeth”, in which he plays a monk who is a hitman.
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A Hawaii resident turned a hot hand of poker into nearly $330,000 in Las Vegas! The winner, who wished to remain anonymous, got a seven-card royal flush while playing pai gow poker at the California Hotel and Casino.
2006's Casino Royale is my favorite James Bond movie. No disrespect to the Bonds who came before but Casino Royale had me engaged from beginning to end. After the ridiculousness of 2002's Die Another Day (Seriously? An invisible car?), I really liked to see a Bond movie more grounded in reality. I love the action, the villain, the Bond girl, the theme song by Chris Cornell, I simply love it. I can't say the same for the next installment, Quantum of Solace. For me, this is the most forgettable of the Daniel Craig Bond movies so far. Everything I loved about Casino is the inverse. Instead of a great villain in Le Chiffre, we get the boring Dominic Greene with a boring plan and boring base of operations. At least in past bad Bond movies there was some entertainment value. Here, I don't remember a single memorable action sequence or character. The only thing I remember is Bond leaving Greene in the desert with only a can of engine oil to drink. That scene reminded me of Hitman: Absolution (If you played the game you know what I'm talking about). All in all, I'm not a huge fan of Quantum of Solace. Maybe it's because it's a mediocre movie sandwiched between two much better movies. I also hear the 2007-08 Writer's Strike impacted the writing of the script which explains a lot.
I was asked to make a post about some stories within the Casino grounds so I thought I'd share. I have many so I'll do my best to pick the better ones. Some back information: I've been a Casino Dealer for 11 years, I've been a supervisor for five years, and I've been a Surveillance Operator for one year. I've worked at three properties, none of which are connected or owned by the same company. I've worked on : Government/Private/Native American owned casinos.
From Hero to Zero.
At my first Casino, I was one of the first group of people who were trained to deal Roulette . After 4 weeks of working 6PM-3AM then doing roulette training from 3AM-8AM (Not paid) , I actually really enjoyed the game and after about six months I became extremely quick at the number game and the pace of the action was steady with very low margin of errors. Young man walks in, cashes in for $500. He buys in for $2 chips and just loads the board. After a few spins and pretty decent hits, he then changes his chips from $2 to 5$ then to $10 and racks his winnings up to $10,000. It was then, five spins in a row, he loaded the board with some pretty gross bets, and every spin I would hit the ONE number with either NO CHIPS on it, or maybe 1 chip , He lost all $10,000 in a matter of minutes. He leaves , and I go on break. After my break I was going back to the same table and wouldn't you know it, the same young man walks in and cashes in another $500. He tells me he just sold his car outside and this is all that he had left. So we do the same deal, buys in for $2 chips, then slowly starts betting $5 chips, $10, $25...and he makes $10,000 AGAIN. Within the next 25 minutes it was straight agony. Every spin, same thing, he would bet $2500 in chips, and win only $250, $400, and after about a half hour he lost it all . Never saw the guy again. 2) Man down At this property, we are 24 hours for table games. It's currently 5AM , and I'm dealing some $25 Blackjack to this guy. He's probably early thirties , heavy guy. He's sober as can be, but right away I can tell he's been losing. We know how much you've bought in for, how much your down, or up, and I could see he was down $2000+. After about twenty minutes of pure losing, his temper starts to flare.At this point I now have two other guests at my table. Drinking coffee, not saying a word, just losing their money. After losing hand, after hand, this guy looks me straight in the eye, seized up, starts shaking, he can't move. He tries to punch towards me and smashes his stack of chips all over the place and falls backwards to the floor. I call for security, we cannot touch him due to liability . I can't move from my table because, well, liability / casino cash property, all I can do is try to talk to him. As I'm doing so, these other two woman who are sitting at my table just look at me and one says "OK, dealer, cmon lets go " as she taps the table telling me to start dealing and forget about the guy having a stroke on the floor. As security takes him to the ambulance out front, I had to stay behind for a couple minutes and give a statement. I go on break. I come back, and 45 minutes later, he comes right back in with a oxygen tank and keeps gambling for the remainder of the morning. 3) You get a dildo, and YOU get a dildo! On a late summer Saturday night, we had a large event for these massive muscle guys/strongman competition type thing. After their show, I'm at the roulette table , and five of these boys come over to play. They were absolutely hilarious. They were feeling pretty good, cashed in somewhat large amounts and I could tell this was going to be a fun time. After about a hour of dealing to these guys, it's almost midnight, everybody is pretty hammered , I spin the ball, and all five of these guys take out these god damn (what I can only tell was) two feet purple dildos from inside their pants, and wiping them around in the air. The ladies were just loving it, one of the dildos landed in the roulette wheel and we had to shut the table down to re-calibrate the wheel to make sure nothing had been changed. I just remember that night was so much damn fun, I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I would never forget it. 4) Full Moon On this day, I was actually training dealers / supervising them on small games like Three Card poker. We opened the table at 10AM, and this older man came and sat down . He played all day. The jackpot was $21,000 and that was pretty high for this table. He played, and played and played. He's one of the players where you know he's wearing a diaper because he's been drinking coffee/pop all day and hasn't moved in eight hours. As the day went on, this man never moved from his chair. Getting closer to midnight, he was aggravated and said "I need to go have a smoke, I'm getting killed in here". He left, and the very next hand, the lady beside him was dealt the jackpot . He didn't say much, but you could just tell he just hated life at that very moment because had he not gotten up, it would of been his hand. The man calmly took his cane , his hat, jacket, coffee, and left. The next morning I found out when he did leave he drove his car straight through his bank and was arrested. 5) Slick Robber I actually give props to people who can actually pull this off. This story may confuse you so I'll try and explain things as best as possible. A lot of casinos have machines as soon as you walk through the front doors. A man walks up to one of these machines and sticks in HIS $100 bill. He doesn't gamble it, instead he hits the cash out button and gets a $100 TITO ticket where he then takes the ticket to the ATM machine to get his $100. Now remember, his Original $100 is in the slot machine. He then takes the $100 from the ATM and goes back to the same machine, and repeats this process over a hundred times. Essentially he's taking money from the ATM, and loading up the Slot Machine . Now he knows he can't do it too much because if the slot machine gets full of money, the machine will shut down and the slow attendant will have to take all the cash out. So he deposits over $10,000 , then has a small crowbar, he cracks the machine open and makes a run out the front door. To my knowledge he was never caught . But damn, that was pretty smart . EDIT: 6) Mental Health is a thing. 10PM man walks in to play some high limit BlackJack. This guy knows the game and played well. Dressed nice, drank juice/tea , a little bit of a attitude, cashed in over $10,000. When this man was half way down his buy in, he said something a long the lines of "If I don't win here tonight, I'm going to go set myself on fire." I wasn't sure if he was serious because when people are down, they tend to say a lot of nonsense. I actually left early that night, and from a third party was told he did exactly that in the parking lot. The next day it was clear something terrible had gone wrong in the parking lot . EDIT: 7) Nothing good happens after midnight After a busy Saturday night, I was dealing a mix of games, and during this story I was in the middle of Blackjack. I had one young kid (probably 19) sitting in the middle, one older male probably in his later 40's sitting beside him on his right, and I had a really nice couple in their 20's sitting together at the other side. This young kid wasn't playing just sort of watching, and ever time the old man won he would give this young guy some of his winnings. The older man, was a wine drinker, and he had black between all of his teeth, I'll never forget. He's a little drunk but nothing terrible. As the night goes on, the older man goes and uses the washroom, at which point the couple asked the young guy "Oh was that your dad?" and the young guy says "Hah, no I wish!". The couple and I just looked at each other. This old guy, was in complete control over this kid. Absolutely disgusting. The night ends, and I find out the couple called a few of their friends, and they all waited outside by this old mans truck and beat the living hell out of him. 40 years old, sleeping with a 19 year old, completely brain washed . Very weird. 8) That one co-worker where you just wish they would quit. One of our co-workers, nice guy but had a very big ego and we as employees just sorta left him alone. One day he had enough of the atmosphere and quit. Now usually when you quit, you cannot come back until you paperwork is finalized. How ever, HR was in that day, and he was given the paperwork the very next day. He came in, cashed in $1000, and made $50,000 in about a hour at the Baccarat table. My manager, was extremely annoyed, because now this guy is just mocking the casino and having the time of his life (Thanks for the big tip by the way :) ) and so he decides to call it quits. He wants to ban himself and he wants $50,000 in cash. The casino says Nope, we are going to give you a cheque. Now here's the thing, most business people will take the cheque, how ever you CANT CASH the cheque until the following monday because it's on that day where the funds are available. The casino on the other hand will cash their own check in anytime , because they want you to play. So this guy pretty much said go to hell I want my cash, and he called the police. Police show up, and management promptly gave him the cash.I though it was absolutely hilarious . 9) No good deed goes un punished I was dealing Three Card Poker, and the jackpot was around $17,000. This old man (a regular) was sitting there all day grinding it out. Super nice guy, always a pleasure to deal to. Well, after hours of playing, he stands up and says "Hey john!, can you come here for a minute?" so his buddy John comes over. He says to John "I need to go take a piss real quick, can you play my card until I get back?" John agrees . John takes the chips and I stop him and explain he can't play his friends chips, he needs to cash in and play his own. And he does. Welp, second hand out and bam, doesn't he win it. The old man comes back and is so happy, he can't believe it. John, took his $17,000, didn't say a word to his "buddy" and walked away. I never felt so much hatred in all my life. Didn't give him a dollar, not a thank you, nothing. The old man sits back down again, the progressive resets to $2500, and he sat there grinding away again. 10) The Top Knot I had this player , young guy, who was born into a fortune. One of his relatives passed away and left him a pretty big sizable amount of money, so he played poker every single day for the rest of his days. I will add, he IS a good player. I did not enjoy his company just because of the "Know-it-All" attitude, but he was good. We'll call him John. John is 5'10, and well build, with muscle. John also decided today was the day to show off his Top Knot. (google top knot if you're not sure what I mean) So he sits down, and he's absolutely KILLING the table. Every hand, after hand, after hand. And because he's in such a good mood, he's playing any two cards, calling any $500 bet, and he's just dominating. This one guy at the table decided he had enough. He got up, without saying a word and left. A moment later, he comes back in, walks behind John, and takes a pair of scissors , and cuts off his Top Knot. I for one couldn't believe it, dying laughing inside, and it just turned into one big brawl. That was a good day. 11) That one bad seed One of my best friends who I haven't seen in YEARS ended up being part of the crew. Was kind of nice to catch up. We never really got along as we grew up because he has a very high picture of himself . He wanted that 10/10 woman. A mansion, and a new Corvette. So every month or so we would all go up to the other casino to play. I myself would bring no more than $500, but I couldn't understand how this guy (we'll call him Kyle) was spending THOUSANDS of dollars at the tables. So this wen on for a few months. Well, one day, as we're closing the casino, he and I are in the High Limit room and we're getting ready to close the tables. We are told to take the chips out, count them, put them back, sign this piece of paper and that's it. Well as the supervisor was locking the tray, the piece of paper fell to the floor, so she asked Kyle to grab the piece of paper. As he bends over, a great big $500 chip falls right out of his sock. Kyle was fired immediately , but it all made sense. They offered Kyle a deal where if he replaced all the stolen chips they would not make it public. Not sure how that turned out. 12) If I ever decide to write a book, this will be the last chapter: <3 After working at my first Casino for five years, I met a Indian woman who was visiting from another part of the country. During this time I was explaining a game to her, which honestly I don't think she even cared. She explained she was visiting and sight seeing , and that was that.Well, two years later I ended up moving to the other side of the country and transferred casinos, and low and behold she worked there as a Dealer. We got married , and it's been 5 years. 13) The Tip One of our tables that we've had for a couple years had a progressive jackpot that had reached $100,000. The dealer at the table was sitting pretty lonely. Nobody really played the game because people knew it was extremely difficult to win the jackpot. My memory is a tad foggy, but you somehow needed to flop the royal flush. This young guy sits down and says to the dealer, we'll call him John. "John, if you pay me that jackpot, I will tip you $10,000" Well John started dealing, and about a half hour into his shift, he F*cking did it. He dealt him the royal. And you know something?This young lad, kept his word, and he made sure there was a audience, and he tipped exactly $10,000. That was a moment right there. That pay cheque was real nice. I think we all got about $500 more than usual. The moment that jackpot was awarded they got rid of the table because the money it was making was not near what the casino wanted. I'm sure there have been bigger tips at other casinos, but that was something special . 14) The Lawsuit Now this story I'm going to have to beat around the bush a bit due to the nature of what happened. I can't won't answer any questions that you may have on this topic other than what I have to say because it had a lot of publicity . The waitresses at this casino had to wear very thin sexy clothes. Not borderline legal, but it was noticed. One day they called all the waitresses to come in and explained they were changing their outfit to something even more sexier. Now these new dresses were very very borderline legal . The staff said No way. We're not wearing that.So , friday night comes, and the staff work their whole shift, then at the end of their shift were called into a meeting and were all fired. Welp, one of those ladies father was a pretty big time lawyer. Brough the casino to court and won. They won big. Good for them. We had no waitresses for a couple days haha. Thanks for reading along, I have many more I can add as the day goes on, those were just some off the top of my head. Feel free to ask any questions of the Casino industry. I don't really have many stories about the surveillance department because that's the one area where I can't really say a whole lot due to its privacy and contracts I was and still am under.
When the league inevitably expands to 32 teams, here are the ten cities that I think should be considered for the two expansion franchises.
It goes without saying, but one franchise should definitely end up in Seattle, as the Supersonics of course. It's been quite a letdown for the city that PBC moved the team to OKC after their acquisition of the team. The city is now updating the Climate Pledge Arena, formally known as the KeyArena, (one of the reasons for the team's relocation) with the arrival of the NHL team, the Seattle Kraken. The Sonic fans have been clear and vocal since the move that they could still support an NBA franchise without a doubt.
The state of Missouri surprisingly does not house an NBA franchise and hasn't since the departure of the Kansas City Kings in 1985. The city seems to support their professional sports franchises and has an arena downtown that could be suitable for the potential NBA team (with some renovating I'd presume - it seems nice but I am not familiar enough with the facility). It seems the market is significant enough to support an NBA franchise so it should be an option.
The city has an MLB and NFL franchise, so it is not inconceivable that they could support an NBA franchise (being that they did up until 1972 with the Cincinnati Royals, before they moved to Kansas City). I'm not sure who the NBA fans in Cincinnati support, but I'm guessing the Cavs aren't popular enough to have strong support across the entire state of Ohio. Kentucky, just south of the city across the Ohio River, has a significant passion for basketball, so that could fortify the market/support for the potential team. A lot has changed since the early seventies but it is still a question whether or not they could fund a new arena in the city or they can just renovate the arena downtown (Heritage Bank Center).
Las Vegas is clearly a viable option for an additional professional franchise after the city has proven it can support the Golden Knights and, seemingly, the Raiders (who already have a broad fanbase). They have a viable arena to play in and can gain support with tie-ins with the casinos to help occupy the arena with visitors as they develop a local fan base. The NBA already has a presence there with summer league as well so I can see it happening.
I guess we will get a general idea of how much the city can support an NBA team with the Raptors playing in the city for the upcoming season (obviously without attendance given the circumstances). The Rays have their issues with attendance and the Bucs are perennial losers sans a few years in the late nineties-early 2000s (I've actually been a big Bucs fan since 1997, as I grew up in Los Angeles with out an NFL team at the time), so it is up for debate if they can support an NBA team, especially with Orlando being so close by. It is a significant market and the Lightning seems to garner a lot of support and have a nice arena downtown they could share with the potential NBA franchise (something they'll be doing this year), so it seems feasible.
This poor city, a city I love and plan on moving to one day, has lost two professional franchises to Los Angeles (and the Rockets to Houston). Both the Chargers and Clippers should still be in SD in my opinion, given their putrid reception in Los Angeles and the significance of the city of San Diego. The Clippers are still not accepted in Los Angeles after all these years and are only there because dumbass Donald Sterling forced the relocation in the 80s. The city has struggled to fund stadiums in the past but it would be great to see an arena downtown, a la Petco Park. Worst case, they renovate the Pechanga Arena (formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena) but realistically I'm not sure the city wants an NBA franchise, I have no clue.
No reason to think they couldn't support an NBA franchise again. Basketball has grown tremendously in Canada since the days of the Vancouver Grizzlies and the country has produced several high-level players in recent years. The Raptors are the lone team north of the border, so no reason to think a second team isn't viable. Vancouver has Rogers Arena ready to go so there wouldn't be an issue with an arena for the potential team.
Look, Pittsburgh could barely support the Pipers back in the ABA days (albeit a long time ago), so I'm not sure how popular basketball is in the city. It is not a huge market but the city shows strong support for the Steelers and Penguins (and I'm sure the Pirates to some extent even with their decades-long struggles). I think Pittsburgh is a beautiful, underrated city, with PNC Park being my favorite MLB ballpark. The potential team could share the arena with the Penguins so there wouldn't be an issue having to fund a new arena. Also, I know the city loves the black/yellow color scheme for their franchises so that is one less thing to worry about.
As mentioned above with Kansas City, it is surprising the entire state of Missouri doesn't have at least one NBA team. St. Louis had the Hawks for 13 years, before they moved to Atlanta, and housed the fabled Spirits of St. Louis of the ABA, so no reason to think the city couldn't support an NBA franchise again. I highly doubt both cities mentioned would get both expansion franchises, so I'm not sure which city is the more viable option. The team could share the Enterprise Center with their NHL team, the Blues, so there wouldn't be an issue funding an arena.
I know it is very close to DC, but if DC and Baltimore can both support an NFL and MLB team, why can't Baltimore support an NBA franchise again, being they had an NBA franchise (that moved to DC, coincidently) in the past. I know the city has had its struggles for some time, but it seems like a possible landing spot to consider. I am not familiar with the condition of the Royal Farms Arena, but the team would ostensibly have a suitable arena to play in.
It had certainly been interesting growing up in the dursley household Harry had only been about 15 months old when their parents passed away
It had certainly been interestin growing up in the dursley household. Harry had been 15 months old When their parents had died fighting, Olivia had only been a few weeks in the nursery before the incident. In another life, Harry was bundled under the stairs fed 3 square meals a day And ignored mostly. But in this one he was shoved into the same Room as Dudley while Olivia got the 2nd Room to herself the two boys were just a few months away from Outgrowing their cribs after all. And a girl needed a room to herself Even at that age if you asked petunia. Who always wanted a daughter but after a difficult birth with Dudley was informed It was unlikely she could ever have another child. So On that cold November morning the dursley household went from a single child family to 3 boisterous babies. The Dursleys still despised magic With the same zealotry That the concept of anything freakish instinctively provoked. But the punishments for anything unexplained was usually a bit of yelling and a strongly worded reprimand from uncle Vernon or the silent treatment from Aunt petunia. Which usually resulted in Olivia crying, making their uncle extremely uncomfortable and invoking what little cousinly protective instincts Dudley possessed. Olivia had both the dursley men wrapped around her little finger before she could even say the word den. Petunia had always wanted a daughter so of the 2 Potter children she got the most leeway with her antics and accidental magic something she shared as much as possible with Harry taking the rap for anything overly obvious though the haircutting incident when he had just started 2nd grade was unfortunately completely blamed on him. Dudley and Harry shared a Room begrudgingly they weren't exactly bosom buddies but the words Harry hunting had never been uttered in the dursley household they were at most polite roommates though Dudley still did get upset when Harry played with his games but he allowed Olivia to use his computer and by extension Harry simply because the older Potter child was perpetually hovering over his sister's shoulder when she was using the machine. Boredom made older brothers do the strangest things. Harry got a few presents on his birthday every year usually 7 Because anything less would have Olivia crying again, And that wasn't something Vernon dursley could tolerate for some inexplicable reason. The youngest Potter child had weaponized that particular emotion well before she realized it. It was something Harry was both grateful for and found mildly irritating. Olivia thankfully only turned on the water works for a good cause mostly... The only exception really being the time the dursley's we're only going to send Dudley to the adventure camp in the Cotswolds his sister's crying had gotten all 3 of them shipped there for a week one summer when they were 10 and Olivia just about to turn 9. It was a rather interesting time Dudley had purple hair for most of the trip Harry was responsible for it but remarkably their cousin found it funny since he made quite a few friends out of the magical hair dye job. Any photographs from the adventure park trip were safely hidden in a shoebox under Olivia's bed. The owls for hogwarts were actually greeted with a bit of screaming but no trip to a remote island Olivia's crying came in handy yet again Harry went to hogwarts with Olivia, Dudley and A reluctant Uncle Vernon to see him off at the station aunt petunia refused to attend for obvious reasons. Hearing and seeing Vernon dursley jump at the train whistle for the hogwarts express was a memory that would live on in infamy For many later cousin reunions a few decades in the future all of the children had laughed and Dudley had actually climbed on to the express with Harry and Olivia to help store harry's trunk for the journey they had about an hour to kill before it left though Uncle Vernon Called them away back through the entrance to the platform after only 15 minutes and Harry went to find a seat clutching a copy of Casino Royale something Dudley had given him for the journey a rare token of affection from his cousin a gift that wasn't given on his birthday
The death of George Smith aboard a cruise ship on July 5th, 2005, is it another cruise ship suicide or foul play?
George Smith was an American man who, while on his honeymoon in 2005, was reported to have fallen overboard and drowned. Due to his remains never being located and the suspicious details of his apparent death the case remains unsolved. Background George Allen Smith was born on October 3rd, 1978. At the age of 26 he had been helping his family run their liquor store in Cos Cob, Connecticut. Described as clean-cut and smart, George was planning to take over the running of the liquor store once he had married his Fiancé, Jennifer Hagel. Jennifer Hagel was 25 in 2005 and was about to begin a job as a third grade teacher, she had studied and graduated from Roger William's university with a Masters in Education the year before. The couple had married in June 2005 in what friends and family described as a the perfect story-book wedding at the Inn at Castle Hill, Newport, Rhode Island. For their honeymoon, the couple had decided to take a Mediterranean Cruise. The Cruise Ship The Cruise Ship that the newlyweds would be travelling one was the 'Brilliance of the Seas', the ship is a 90,000 Ton, 292 meter cruise ship operated by Royal Carribean Cruises and in 2005 was operating the Mediterranean route between Italy, Greece and Turkey. With over 850 crew and capacity for more then 2,500 passengers on board, the ship is a large hotel complex at sea. The trip that George and Jennifer Smith elected to take was the longest of the trips offered at the time by the company, a two week round-trip that took in several stops in Italy, Greece and Turkey along the way. The Events of July 5th 2005 The couple had boarded the ship with thousands of others in Barcelona, just a few days after their wedding in late June. They were said to be very happy and quickly made friends with some other couples, notably fellow honeymooners Paul and Galina Kvitnisky who described them as normal down to earth people who were great to talk to. The Cruise Ship was travelling off the coast of Turkey on the night of July 4th. The Kvitniskys and the Smith's reportedly had dinner before going to the Casino around 1-2am on the morning of July 5th. The Kvitniskys later said that George was a competent gambler and with his Breitling watch and prosperous appearance he fit right in. While at the casino George met up with a friend he had made on the trip named Josh Askin, he was teaching him to play craps and Josh's friends, cousins Zachary and Greg Rozenburg joined them with their friend Rusty Kofman. This was apparently interrupted when George noticed a cruise ship employee was getting close with his wife. Witnesses later said that a Croupier named Lloyd Botah had been showing Jennifer a lot of attention as the night went on. A fellow cruise ship employee said that the nature of their relationship wasnt known to him but that what he had seen certainly went beyond professional boundaries. When the casino closed at 2:30am, George, Jennifer, Lloyd, Josh, Zach, Greg and Rusty all headed for the disco, sitting at a table together the group had been reportedly drinking absinthe that had been smuggled onboard when George got into an argument with Lloyd Botah about his conduct around Jennifer. The argument reportedly moved to the dance floor and Jennifer and George had a loud argument infront of everyone before she kicked him in the groin and stormed out of the disco. Lloyd Botah then left to follow Jennifer while a clearly drunk George was helped back to the table by the others. Shortly after the men were seen helping an unsteady George out of the disco. The 5 men walked back to George and Jennifer's Stateroom but when George saw that Jennifer wasnt there he became annoyed and set off to search for her, the other men later said they waited in the room until George returned and the men continued to drink. Clete Hyman, the man staying in the room next to George and Jennifer, reported that there was loud noises coming from the room next door around 3am, he later explained it sounded like a party or loud card game and had reported the couple previously on the trip for making a racket. Josh Askin, Greg and Zachary Rozenburg and Rusty Koffman all claim they left George alone in his room shortly after this complaint was made, Clete Hyman says he saw only three men leave the room at that time through his peep hole. Clete Hyman said he had then tried to return to bed but within a few minutes heard a loud thud, assuming someone had knocked something over or drunkenly collapsed he went to sleep. Jennifer Smith was found passed out drunk and lying in a hallway in another area of the ship by several crew members and was helped back to her room around 5am, she said that George wasnt there and she slept for a few hours before then waking in the morning and going to a spa despite not knowing where he was. When questioned later about this lack of concern for her husband, Jennifer explained that they had both slept in other staterooms at different times on the trip so she had assumed he had spent the night somewhere else. Before she had finished her massage at the spa, Jennifer Smith was paged over the ships intercom and summoned to her Stateroom. Blood had been found smeared on the canopy of a lifeboat that lay beneath the rooms balcony by a passing passenger and the ships captain had wanted to check that neither her or her husband had been injured. It was at this time it was discovered George was no longer onboard the ship and the alarm was raised. Investigation Jennifer Smith was taken ashore along with Josh Askin and they were both questioned by Turkish police within 24 hours of George's disappearance. Jennifer was found to have an alibi though it wasnt made public what this was other then the moment the crew members found her passed out in a hallway around 5am. Josh claimed that he and his 3 companions had returned to their rooms and ordered room service before staying up to watch tv, the Turkish police found that while calls had been made around the time they said, no food was recorded as having been delivered to them. Josh then reboarded the cruise ship to continue the journey while Jennifer immediately flew back to the U.S. It was 48 hours later that George was declared likely drowned at sea, his remains were never found. Josh, Greg, Zachary and Rusty were all expelled from the cruise ship several days later when they allegedly raped a female passenger and taped it on a camcorder they had with them. The Italian Police investigated this and once they reviewed the footage declared that no rape had occurred and the men and their families were put on a flight home. George's family arrived in Europe by the end of the week, appearing on tv appealing for information and passing out flyers to cruise ship passengers, they criticised openly at the time Jennifer's actions in flying home so quickly and not returning with them. Jennifer and George's family both stated at the time that they believed George had been murdered. Later Developments George's family found Jennifer becoming more distant and argumentative with them as the months went by, they said that she once became angry that they had used a cropped photo of George with Actress Tara Reid instead of a photo that included her for missing posters and badges. In 2006 the Family hired a private investigator, the investigator claimed they had information that indicated a video tape existed showing Jennifer having sex with other men prior to the night of George's disappearance, this tape failed to be located but some in the family have alleged it is in the possession of Royal Caribbean Cruises. Josh, Greg and Zachary later appeared on Geraldo Rivera and maintained the same story they had already told, Rusty didnt appear. In late 2006, Jennifer Hagel accepted a $1.1million settlement from Royal Caribbean Cruises, this was far beyond the legal required amount of $70,000 at the time. George's family criticised Jennifer for accepting the money and took her and Royal Carribean to court over the amount of money and the circumstances of the settlement, they alleged Jennifer was trying to avoid details of sexual affairs that occurred onboard during the cruise being made public. Jennifer stated shortly after receiving the settlement that George likely died as a result of a drunken accident. The FBI became involved shortly after George's disappearance and began a lengthy investigation which found evidence that the Turkish Police had missed. Blood stains were located inside the cabin as well as on the balcony above the lifeboat canopy. Most telling for the investigation was that the blood stain on the canopy was in the distinctive shape of a man, an unusual thing to be found in accidents on cruise ships, typically little blood is left when someone falls from a cruise ship at sea but this seemed to suggest George had already been bleeding badly when he had landed on the canopy and then had slipped off into the sea. The FBI investigation officially ended in 2015 finding they couldnt rule in the case in any way and returned an open finding. George's family immediately began petitioning the courts to refer the case to a new jurisdiction in order for it to be investigated. Theories George Accident George was heavily intoxicated according to witnesses and cctv from the cruise ship on the night of July 5th, it is possible like in many circumstances of deaths on Cruise Ships that he had stumbled over the Balcony railing and to his death before eventually sliding off of the canopy and into the sea. This is disputed by his family but supported by the accounts of Josh, Greg, Zachary, Rusty and Jennifer. George Suicide George may have been despondent about Jennifer leaving the Disco with Lloyd Botah on the night of July 5th, once he was alone in the stateroom and began to sober up he could have been overcome with grief at the failing of his marriage and considering the alleged other sexual partners she had on the trip likely had become depressed and jumped from the balcony, in the dark he may not have seen the canopy below and lay there injured or dead for some time before falling from it into the sea. George Murdered George may have gotten into an altercation with whichever of the men had remained behind on the night of July 5th, Clete Hyman has said only 3 left but never publicly identified who he didnt see leaving. George may have been attacked or robbed by the man who stayed behind only to die and then be thrown from the balcony in an attempt to cover up the crime. It has also been alleged that he may have gotten into an argument with Jennifer due to her whereabouts not being publicly known while the Turkish Police have said they were satisfied her movements had been accounted for. Lloyd Botah had also been suggested as a suspect in the case as he and George had already almost come to blows earlier that morning, his whereabouts on July 5th after leaving the Disco have not been made public. Regardless of the circumstances of his murder, Georges family supports the theory he met his end through foul play and people close to him that night have answers. Jennifer Later Developements Jennifer later went back to being known as Jennifer Hagel, left the search in 2007 and went to work at the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research in New York. She then moved to Fairfield, Connecticut to work with Near and Far Aid, a non-profit that supports the homeless. In 2009, Jennifer Hagel married Jeff Agne, a Financial Advisor who worked in Global Healthcare Equities for Pinebridge Investments. The couple went on to have three children as of 2015, Jennifer's family said they couldnt be happier that she has moved on with her life. The Death of Greg Rozenburg 15 years after George was lost at sea, Greg Rozenburg was murdered on the doorstep of his home by an unknown perpetrator or perpetrators. Police in Davie, Broward County, Florida said in September of 2020 that they hoped their continued investigation into Greg's death might reveal more about George's. Conclusion George Smith's case remains unresolved, it has torn family and friends apart and set different jurisdictions investigations at odds with each other. Without his remains being found it's unlikely a satisfactory conclusion could ever be reached in this case. What do you believe happened to George Smith on July 5th, 2005? Wikipedia Link News Article Photo of Bloodstained Canopy below balcony
License to Kill - A somewhat controversial pick, I suppose. I just adore this film for it's fantastic villain, well written plot, violence, great Bond girl and Dalton in his prime. The final tanker chase is one of my favorite Bond action climaxes, but the film has so much more to offer. Especially in the moments between Dalton and Davi.
OHMSS - This could easily be #1. It's a flawless Bond movie to me, and yes that includes Lazenby's performance. It has my favorite Bond girl of all time (RIP Diana Rigg) and the best Blofeld interpretation in my book, along with a very unique sense of scale and cinematography. The soundtrack is always playing in my mind whenever I ski and the scene with Tracy ice skating is one of the most romantic moments in film to me.
Casino Royale - It's all very brilliant, except for a few lines of dialogue that are just too kitschy between Bond and Vesper. Aside from that, fantastic. One of the best openings+gun barrels+title sequences in all of Bond.
Goldeneye - I feel like this one is still super popular, but also has been getting a lot of shit lately. I think it's mostly superb. Yes, Brosnan isn't quite comfortable in the role yet, but he does have some stand out scenes, especially on the physical end. Great ensemble of villains and one of my favorite Bond girls that not nearly enough people talk about.
The Spy Who Loved Me - To me, this is the perfect mix of cheesiness and grit that a James Bond film needs, at least in Moore's era. It has an amazing end battle scene, the sets are breathtaking and Jaws scared the living shit out of me as a kid whenever he bites someone to death. Also, that opening will forever stay in my mind as magical.
From Russia With Love - Super straight forward and strong because of that. It's just a great cold war thriller, which introduced a lot of classic Bond elements for the first time. The fight between Bond and Grant on the train is still one of my favorite hand to hand fight scenes of all time!
Skyfall - Yes, I know it has a giant amount of plot holes and I don't really care. Seeing this as my first Bond film experience in a movie theatre was and forever will be memorable. Again, lots of love for the climax, but in general this film just oozes Bond to me and not because of the well planted references (as opposed to DAD).
The Living Daylights - Talk about oozing Bond. The scene where Saunders dies and Dalton turns into bloodlust Bond for a minute is one of my favorite things in the series. I love the naiv personality of Kara and Necros is one hell of a capable henchman.
For Your Eyes Only - Rewatched this one recently and man, is it good. So fast paced, so action packed and yet very well balanced with the story beats. Melina is undoubtedly one of the best Bond girls to me and Glenn's debut as a director was impressive as all hell.
Dr No - Where it all started. Yes, the other Bond movies in my list that rank lower might have more fun elements, but Dr No has something that beats it all out: Class. It knows exactly what it wants to be and it just is it. From the first time we see Bond, to the murder of Professor Dent, to the dinner with the titular character, it's all so classy, yet still raw. Exactly what Bond is meant to be.
Note: The particularly important details and music artist names are in bold text. Licensed music track names are in italics. The year is 1973, five years after the events of the Mafia III, and 22 years since Vito Scaletta’s seen or heard from his old friend Joe Barbaro. The canon ending of Mafia III with this Mafia IV story is Vito taking over the city after Lincoln skipped town, however Cassandra and Burke are left alive and loyal to both Vito and Lincoln still. Burke was able to survive his liver cancer by getting a black market liver transplant in Mexico, like he did in his ending, except with Vito running the city. On Vito and Lincoln’s behalf, Burke and Cassandra agree to stay behind in New Bordeaux and keep the city locked down, incase Leo Galante and the Commission try anything. The beginning cutscene is Vito answering his telephone after getting up in the morning in his new penthouse, on the top floor of the New Bordeaux casino he finished that was once Sal Marcano's, and grabbing a cup of coffee. It's Alma with some urgent news. Lincoln Clay came down to the cigar warehouse to visit her after 5 years of silence, and he has big news. Joe is alive in Empire Bay and has been this entire time. However, as punishment for his actions, he's become Leo Galante's personal driver against his will and is forbidden from contacting Vito ever again, or else him and Vito will be killed. Alma then tells Vito to meet Lincoln at the airport to learn more, as he's already there awaiting Vito's arrival. When they're away from anyone who could listen in on their conversation, Lincoln tells Vito he has a friend named John Donovan he's going to introduce him to, hiding in the outskirts of Empire Bay, ready to help Vito and Lincoln with their new mission Vito gets dressed in one of his signature trench coats with a suit and tie, ready to rain down hell on the Vinci crime family and their allies, and finally be reunited with his lifelong friend he previously thought was dead, Joe Barbaro. Here is my idea for the kill list, all related to the Commission in Empire Bay and their allies.
Leo Galante - Top target on the list, Vinci family consigliere who's in with the Commission and the man you thought put Joe in the ground for the past 22 years. Bury this wrinkly old cocksucker.
Johnny Galante - Vinci family capo and younger relative of Leo's mentioned in Cassandra's ending, possibly Leo's cousin even. John Donovan knows that the two are close, and that Johnny's a valuable asset to Leo's organization. Kill him both to hurt Leo's earn and influence, and to hit him straight in the heart by taking away his family and everyone he loves
Michele Galante Jr. - Another Vinci family capo, and Leo Galante’s youngest brother. Killing Leo’s little brother will both take away one of his most reliable allies, and leave him stricken with grief and enraged, and more prone to making mistakes.
Nunzio Galante - Leo’s seasoned older brother by 3 years, and yet another Vinci family capo. He knows enough about smuggling that he worked out an ingenious plan for smuggling military grade weapons into the city. He pays off corrupt officials at Empire Bay International Airport, to allow guns to be loaded inside the walls and floors of planes, unknown to everyone onboard save for the palms the Galantes and Frank Vinci have greased to cooperate and keep quiet. The time has come to put this crafty old bastard in the ground.
Don Frank Vinci - Frank Vinci is the boss of the Vinci crime family, the family Leo's been a consigliere of for decades, and a lifelong friend of his. Kill Frank, and Leo loses more ground than he could ever imagine, and will be forced to deal with both the loss of his boss, and the loss of his lifelong childhood friend.
Don Ennio Salieri - Longtime close friend of both Frank Vinci and Leo Galante, Don of the Salieri crime family, and a third party Frank and Leo call in to crush Vito's uprising, when it becomes too big of an issue for Vinci alone to handle. Salieri was eventually able to grease enough palms while behind bars to have his life sentence overturned, and he got released from prison on good behavior in 1953, after he served 15 years of his sentence. He’s since relocated to his main operations to Empire Bay, having already had connections and men present there while he was in prison, backed by the Commission and the Vinci crime family. He's seasoned, but he’s nothing Mr. Scaletta can't handle. Give this tired old fuck the gangland ending he's had coming.
Isaac - Isaac is the personal assistant to an influential loan shark named Bruno Levine, who handles the money of the Commission, including the Vinci crime family and the Salieri crime family. He does anything from serve his boss coffee, to count incoming and outgoing money for Bruno. Because of his duties, he's aware of Bruno's location at all times. You’ll need to get to Isaac to get information on his boss out of him, and dispose of him afterwards if you want to get to Bruno.
Bruno Levine - Bruno is a Jewish-American loan shark who kicks up all of his earn to both Frank Vinci and Ennio Salieri, and the Commission in Empire Bay. Killing him kills a lot of earn for the Commission, and they loses a valuable asset. In addition to getting rid of him being practical, to add insult to injury, he gave your father that loan. It's about time to put this asshole out of business.
Mr. Chu & Mr. Chu Jr. - This old man has been leading the Empire Bay Triads with an iron fist since before you were even born. The bastard has a son too, who eventually went on to become his underboss. The Empire Bay Triads became a close ally of the Vinci crime family, the Salieri crime family, and the Commission shortly after Vito killed Don Carlo Falcone in 1951, forming a lucrative partnership with the Commission. Mr. Chu and his eldest son are valuable assets for Leo Galante who give him extra reach. Melt their iron fists and show these two pricks just who they fucked with.
Eddie Scarpa - This cocksucker used to be Carlo Falcone's underboss for as long as you could remember. After you whacked Falcone in the fall of 1951, he decided to throw in with Vinci to save his own skin. He took over the smuggling and dock union extortion that fat fuck Derek Pappalardo used to run. You know all too well how to deal with this sorry fuckin' rat.
I'm thinking Vito and Joe work with Lincoln Clay and John Donovan to split up Empire Bay and distribute territory to three other factions not unlike what Lincoln did with New Bordeaux. This time though, this is a much larger city in a much, much different part of the United States. The empire building mechanics would be a lot smoother, more robust, and streamlined compared to Mafia III. They would work similarly a more modernized version of how the game Scarface: The WorldIs Yours handled it's empire building and management mechanics, minus the whole switching to other characters lower on the ladder to do your bidding. This would be ideal for a story rich organized crime game in my opinion. Here are my ideas for those factions, all close allies of the up and coming Scaletta crime family. The Cuban mob led by Alma Diaz. Vito goes way back with Alma, and she does not hesitate to answer him and Lincoln's calls to save Joe's life and royally fuck both Leo Galante and the Vinci family. Conti crime family, led by Enzo Conti. This Conti crime family formed sometime in late 1968, months after Lincoln helped Enzo flee New Bordeaux and drop off of Sal Marcano's radar. It turns out he fled north to Empire Bay and finally formed his own family, having more than enough years of experience in the underworld to handle the job. Lincoln's tight with him and manages to recruit him to Vito and Joe's cause. The Yakuza, based out of Empire Bay's Japantown. Longtime sworn enemies of the Empire Bay Triads, with bad blood going back decades. They would greatly enjoy seeing Mr. Chu and his son's heads mounted on pikes, along with whacking everyone who's ever supported their organization. You don't know them well, and they're known to be very unpredictable and ruthless. Use these traits to your advantage when taking on the Commission of Empire Bay and their friends. I should mention as expected, this entire 1973 section where you play as Vito is much shorter than Mafia III. Vito's takeover is shown much more quickly over time than Lincoln's, and there's time skips during it, to keep it short and sweet, and to show onscreen only what's important. There is also no option for your underbosses to betray you, as to reduce confusion and keep the story consistently the same each playthrough, like the first two Mafia games. However, unlike Mafia III, after all of these tasks are completed and every single assassination target on Vito’s kill list is dealt with, the game does not end. In fact, it's not even anywhere near close to being over yet. Vito's 1973 section was merely the beginning act. It was really a lead up to an entirely new Mafia story, centering around a newcomer to the American mob. Fast forward two years following Vito’s rampage that led to him taking over Empire Bay and the Commission, in the year 1975 him and Joe now rule Empire Bay, with Vito as the Don of the Scaletta Crime Family, and Joe working as his loyal underboss. You play the rest of the game as a young up and coming soldato named Louis in his 20’s, who’s a rising star in Vito’s organization. Do right by Mr. Scaletta and Mr. Barbaro, understand kid? My basic idea for the character and his backstory is that he's a young Italian-Canadian mobster from Toronto, Ontario, or whatever Mafia's equivalent of it could be called. Let's call him Louis DeAngelo. (No relation to Tommy Angelo) His family hails from Tuscany in Italy and moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1939, shortly after World War II broke out in Europe. Louis DeAngelo was born in July 1952 in Toronto, and was raised in Toronto's Little Italy. Louis fled south to Empire Bay when the feds started cracking down on his old family and put his boss in prison, and he ended up finding a new home with the Scaletta crime family. The first few missions playing as Louis DeAngelo involve shooting your away out of an arrest by a Toronto Police Service SWAT team in Toronto in December 1974, seeing the rest of the members of your old crime family either get arrested or shot in front of you as you make your escape. You spend the next two missions fleeing Ontario through Quebec and upstate New York, before finally arriving in Empire Bay in early 1975, late January to be exact. Winter is in full force with snow everywhere, Louis' arrival to Empire Bay for the first time in his life mirroring Vito's return to Empire Bay in 1945 30 years earlier, except under far different much more dire circumstances. Louis' older brother and his father, both capos in his old crime family in Toronto, are shown to be arrested by the TPS SWAT team in his first mission, the same one that attempted to gun him down when he resisted arrested. Louis knows someone had to have ratted out his old crime family, and he wants to find out who someday. The thing is though, he doesn't just want to kill them. He wants to get out of them why they did it before he kills them. More than anything else, he just wants to find out why his crime family was betrayed and served up to the feds on a silver platter, having most of his biological family sent to prison in the process. He’s out to uncover the mystery of why his family fell apart, and he’s more than willing to help people like Don Vito Scaletta and his underboss Joe Barbaro to eventually get the answers he seeks. I came up with the idea for this character because I figured that playing as a fugitive from the law made sense for the mob life, and I'm surprised we haven't had a fugitive protagonist in the Mafia series yet. In the 1975 chapters while playing as Louis, the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and the official end to the Vietnam War are both discussed on the in-game radio during news segments. In the last 1979 chapter, the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War is also the subject of a news segment on the radio. The story eventually transitions into the 1980's as years pass, with the scenery, cars, and music changing accordingly, and historical events of the time discussed in the game. By the time the game ends, it's 1992, and significant historical events from the past few years at the time that are covered on the radio in-game include anything from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the 1992 L.A. riots. The rise of the internet and home computers are briefly touched upon during news segments on the in-game radio during the early 1990's section of the story, but not greatly delved into given their relative infancy in that time period. During this entire 1975-1992 stretch of the story, Vito is no longer playable, and Don Scaletta takes a backseat in the story as a main supporting character, similar to Don Salieri throughout Mafia: Definitive Edition. You now play as the Italian-Canadian Scaletta family soldato Louis DeAngelo, who is later promoted to being a capo in 1985. However, unlike Don Salieri, Don Scaletta has much more integrity, and has more genuine loyalty for his men and his associates. If you've beaten Mafia 1 or Mafia: Definitive Edition, you'll know this is something Salieri lacked in the end. The game will include a number of hit music from the 70’s that played on the radio back then, such as Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street and Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, The Grateful Dead's Casey Jones and at least a few songs by the then new American rock band Cheap Trick, as well as popular songs from the 1960’s people still listened to at the time, such as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ Wooly Bully, King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man,Zager and Evans' In the Year 2525, The Zombies' Time of the Season, and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin'. When you progress through the game, especially after you switch to playing as Louis DeAngelo for the rest of the story, years change, and the music changes. Different songs start playing on the radio, such as Sylvester's You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),Randy Crawford's Street Life, and The Village People's Y.M.C.A., Cheryl Lynn's Got to Be Real, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive start playing in the 1979 portion of the game. After you've completed the 1975 section of the game, Foghat's Slow Ride starts playing on the radio. Starting in the 1977 section of the game, Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me and Heart's Barracuda start playing on the radio. In the 1980's portion of the game, Thomas Dolby's songs Hyperactive! and She Blinded Me with Science, in addition to Night Ranger's Sister Christian also start playing on the radio. If Hangar 13 can afford the licenses, I also think a few Michael Jackson and Madonna songs should definitely be on the radio during the 1980's portion of the story, given the immense popularity and regular radio airtime those two had in that decade. If this ended up being possible, I imagine that Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Bad, and Billie Jean being on the radio in the 80's sections would be a must, Smooth Criminal especially because of how well it suits the series. Madonna's Lucky Star, Burning Up, Like a Virgin, and Borderline would also be perfect for the 80's portion of the game to me. Also mentioned by NPCs and civilians in the game are topical events of the time period, such as the release of the groundbreaking 1973 horror film The Exorcist at the end of Vito's playable portion of the game. Other music of the 1980's segment when playing as Louis DeAngelo for the remainder of the game includes hits of the era such as Joe Jackson's Steppin' Out, The Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star, Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night,Laura Branigan's Self Control and Gloria, The Weather Girls' It's Raining Men, A-ha’s Take On Me, Men at Work's Down Under, Kim Wilde's Kids in America, The Gap Band's You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon, Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock and We're Not Gonna Take It, Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive and Bad Medicine, Loverboy's Working for the Weekend, Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) and That's the Way (I Like It), Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, Daryl Hall & John Oates' Maneater, Aneka's Japanese Boy, Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls and Kickstart My Heart, Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire, Huey Lewis And The News' Hip To Be Square, Bill Medley's (I've Had) The Time of My Life, The Police's Every Breath You Take, Whodini's Magic's Wand, Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me, Regina's Baby Love, Nena's 99 Red Balloons, Earth, Wind, and Fire's Let's Groove and September, Billy Idol's Eyes Without a Face and White Wedding, Rick James’ Give It To Me Baby, Wham!'s Everything She Wants, George Michael's Careless Whisper, Toto's Hold the Line and Africa, Blondie's Heart of Glass and Atomic, and Mai Tai's History. Note that not every single year and moment of the 17 year 1975-1992 section playing as Louis DeAngelo is playable or chronicled. My idea is it would be handled similarly to how the time skips in Mafia 1/Mafia: Definitive Edition were handled. Time skips of two or more years, or in this case, even longer such as 4 years sometimes, the game skipping from 1979 to 1983. This is to keep the game and story length ideal, and not risk it getting boring or repetitive, or going on for too long. Repetition was a big problem in Mafia III even if I still thought it was a superb game, so I think it'd be best to learn from that for the next big entry. The games story will skip ahead and show onscreen only what's significant, similar to the first Mafia game and it's remake, as well as certain aspects of Mafia II. Louis starts his section as a 22 year old fugitive soldato who got picked up by another crew south of the Canadian border, and in the epilogue of the game in 1992, is promoted to the consigliere of the Scaletta crime family at the age of 40, being set to take over the family once Vito and Joe become too old to run the day to day on a regular basis. The years chronicled in the main gameplay segments are as follows: 1973 1975 1977 1979 1983 1985 1986 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 Much more of the rural areas and countryside outside of Empire Bay are included than what was available in Mafia II. The way rural environments are handled for this hypothetical Mafia IV is akin to how Mafia: Definitive Edition and Mafia III handled their rural environments outside the main cities, except much larger in scale, given the increased power of the current new consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This region is based off of upstate New York and the surrounding areas across multiple states in the Northeastern US, and includes forests, fields, mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, and small towns. Also included are other cities and towns, based off of other large cities in New York like Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester, where other story missions, business activities, and side missions take place, along with smaller notable places like Ithaca, Binghamton, and Utica. The entire states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio are also included, including places based off of all of their major cities and most of their notable towns in between. Large portions of Pennsylvania are included as well, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. Large portions of the eastern half of the Canadian province of Ontario are included as well, including cities based off of Toronto, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls. There's even a small portion of Quebec included, including Montreal and the surrounding countryside of the province outside that city, including a few small towns in southern Quebec. The player must pass a quick border patrol check when crossing the US-Canada border in a car or other ground vehicle. Wildlife is present in the game, mostly to add to the background, scenery, and immersion in rural environments on the map. These are all animals native to the Northeastern US, ranging from white tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, Canada lynxes, rabbits, hares, groundhogs, gophers, beavers, raccoons, opossums, bats, chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, mice, and rats to more formidable and potentially dangerous animals that may sometimes attack the player, such as grey wolves, black bears, mountain lions, and moose. These last four animals are known to spawn in the mountainous regions, especially in New York, Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Ontario, including the rural regions based off of the Catskills and the Adirondack mountains. Dogs are present in the cities, towns, and settlements where humans live and keep them as pets, being walked and sometimes found in people's yards. Some are used as guard dogs by enemies and are aggressive towards the player on sight. Domestic cats are also present in the background of residential areas, and both Louis and Vito own them as pets throughout the game in their safe houses, as well as other onscreen characters we see the homes of throughout the game. Aircraft make their first usable appearance in the Mafia series too, from airplanes to helicopters. Vito cannot use planes or helicopters in his playable 1973 portion of the game, as he does not know how to pilot, being a paratrooper in World War II who never actually flew any of the planes himself. Aircraft are unlocked to use when Louis DeAngelo gets his pilot’s certificate offscreen in 1977, and at the end of a chapter set that year, Louis has to fly Vito in a helicopter to a penthouse in Downtown Empire Bay acting as a family safe house, equipped with a helipad. Louis frequently serves as a personal driver and pilot for both Vito and Joe afterwards, having done a lot in his time serving the family to earn their trust and respect. Melee weapons also make a return from Mafia: Definitive Edition, with even more variety this time. In their respective sections of the game, Vito and Louis may use anything from baseball bats, pipes, shovels, brass knuckles, golf clubs, police batons, switchblades, kitchen knives, bowie knives, ice picks, 2x4s, claw hammers, crowbars, tire irons, chain links, machetes, meat cleavers, pickaxes, hatchets, sledgehammers, to fire axes. This amount of melee weapons is so no matter what environment the player finds themselves in during a mission or any other game activity, there is usually a weapon of some sort nearby. If the player has obtained piano wire, you may also strangle an enemy to death with it from behind as a stealth kill, this being a classic assassination method infamous for being used by the Italian Mafia. Rope can also be found and used for similar strangulation stealth kills, appearing in the gameplay environments where piano wire can’t be found. There is a wide variety of new guns and explosives to use in this concept for Mafia IV, going with the new weapons of the time the game takes place that criminals quickly got their hands on. This includes the SPAS-12 combat shotgun, the Beretta 92 pistol, the AK-74 assault rifle, the mini uzi, the MAC-10 submachine gun, both suppressed and unsuppressed variants, the Beretta 92 pistol, the Taurus raging bull revolver, Glock handguns, the TEC-9 machine pistol, illegally modified to be full auto, the Ruger Mini-14 full auto variant, and even Vietnam war era flamethrowers, which I think is only natural given that as of Mafia III, we already have RPGs and grenade launchers. Late in the game from the 1989 section and onwards, the Benelli M3 combat shotgun becomes available. The Milkor MGL grenade launcher becomes available beginning in the 1983 portion of the game. Attached grenade launchers are also available for the AK-47, AK-74, and M16 assault rifles. Free ride makes a return in Mafia IV, with the player having the options to change the weather, time period, and an option to play as Louis, Vito, Joe, or Lincoln. Naturally, a multitude of new free ride missions are available as well. I previously posted a much earlier and less detailed draft of this on the old Mafia3 subreddit 3 years ago back in 2017 as an idea for a hypothetical Mafia 3 expansion where you play as Vito, but have since updated and revamped it to a possible Mafia IV plot, and fixed any plot holes I noticed and made it much more fleshed out and in depth, and focus on more than just Vito in the end. You may view my original here if you so desire, to compare. https://www.reddit.com/Mafia3/comments/6sldhp/spoiler_mafia_iii_vito_dlc_basic_plot_idea/ Feel free to give me constructive criticism on this, as I encourage this discourse and believe it is integral to growing and improving, to build upon or improve these ideas I've come up with, or say whether or not you think something like this should happen in the future. Thank you for reading!
So, I want to make a clear and concise guide for any players who recently picked up Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age and Have finally entered the Post Game or for people who have already played the game and just want to make sure they have the best gear. If I make any mistakes, please let me know! First, lets start with the Accessories for each character: The best accessory in the game Hands Down is the Catholicon Ring. 2 For each character ensures you will not have to deal with ill effects such as sleep or confusion. This means you will need 16 gold bars, 160 perfect panacea, 32 royal rubies, and 48 Red Wood … Goodluck! You can craft this ring through the book Kings of the Rings, found in a chest in the Disciple's Trial - Cruel Crypt Some Key books you will need for forging (a lot of weapons require these; I usually refer to these when I say forging): Hero's Book of Basic Weapons, is found in the Tower of Lost Time. >! A Hero's Book of Better Weapons , found in the Disciple's Trial - Eerie Valley!< >! A Hero's Book of Brilliant Weapons, found by getting all wishes from Drustan.!< Big Hitters of the Battlefield, found in the Luminary's Trial - Citadel Of Spite Making Things with Metal Kings, obtainable after turning in 110 mini medals Note: u/n00bavenger brought up a great point about armor. For a lot of characters, Exotoga and Seraph's Robe can be better than some of the armor I have listed. Its your choice but some of these can be better or worse than the armor listed below. These will help you get a majority of the best gear. If a item is listed with no item location, presume you can get it from the above books. First, lets start with the Hero. Hero Weapons: I cant really recommend anything as all are great, but dual wielding is good for damage and shield is good for defense. Your choice.
For Swords, the best swords are the Supreme Sword of Light and the Hypernova Sword. These dual wielding will net you the most damage. You can get these item through: The story for the Supreme Sword of Light, if choosing "give me a powerful weapon" from Drustan and through the forge for the Hypernova Sword. You will need the sword you obtain from the fortress of fear or First Forest Whale Way Station if missed.
For Sword and Shield, the best sword is the Supreme Sword of Light and the best shield is Erdwin's Shield, exclusive to the Hero. You can get Erdwin's shield from: 100 minimedals turned in.
For Greatswords, the best Greatsword is the Brilliant Blade. You can get this item by: Completing the Wheel of Harma: Final Trial.
For Headgear, the best gear is Erdwin's Coronet. You can get this item by: Chests in the Luminary's Trial: Citadel of Spite.
For Armor, the best gear is Erdwin's Tunic. You can get this item through Chests in the Luminary's Trial: Citadel of Spite.
Erik Weapons: I would recommend daggers for their status effects, but its your choice.
For Daggers, the best daggers are the Dynamo Dagger and the Timeshear. These items are obtainable through: the forge for the Dynamo Dagger. You will need the Dagger you obtain from turning in 65 Mini medals at L'Académie de Notre Maitre des Médailles, Upgrade through aforementioned books. The Timeshear is obtainable through The forge, with a aforementioned book.
Swords: The best swords are the Metal King Sword and the Hell Sabre. The Metal King Sword is found through: the aforementioned books. The Hell Sabre is found through a 1/128 drop chance from a Barbatos found at Mount Huji or Champs Sauvage Whale Way Station.
Boomerangs: The best Boomerangs are the Galaxarang and Hunter's Moon (has lower attack than the Metal King Goomerang but the Hunter's Moon does full damage). You can get the Galaxarang through: the forge, obtaining the Meteorang through the Manglegrove Whale Way station. You can get the Hunter's Moon through: forging. You can get the Metal King Goomerang from the aforementioned books at the top.
For Headgear, the best headgear is the Pirate King's Cap, obtainable from Lonalulu post game quest; saving Kai at the strand.
For Armor, the best armor is the Pirate King's Coat, obtainable from Cobblestone's shop after repairing it.
Veronica Weapons: I would recommend Heavy Wands
Heavy wands: Aurora Staff (or God Bird Sceptre, but I personally would recommend this on Rab due to the unnecessary use for Veronica , given her high magical might already (999 with best equipment), plus the special effect is good on her and this Staff gives her more Mending.) You can get this weapon through wheel of harma 3rd trial and then upgrading the weapon through aforementioned books.
Whips: Hellbeast's Leash (or Über Gringham Whip but I give that to Sylvando since I think Sylvando has more uses for it compared to Veronicas heavily favored magic side). This can be found through Forging in the aforementioned books
For Headgear, The best headgear is the Crown of Eternity, obtainable from >! Forging, from a recipe book in the Sage’s Trial – Hoarder’s Keep !<
For Armor, the best armor is the Gown of Eternity, obtainable from same as Crown; Forging.
Serena Weapons: I would recommend Wand + shield
For Wand and Shield, The best wand is the Faerie King's Cane and the Metal King Shield. These are obtainable through Wheel of Harma Final Trial for The Faerie King's Cane and the Shield through Aforementioned books.
For Dual wielding, the best wands are the Faerie King's Cane and the Sceptre of Time. The Sceptre of Time is available through>! the book If I Could Turn Back Time found in Luminary's Trial: Citadel of Spite.!<
For Spears, the best spear for her would be the Metal King Spear, found in aforementioned books
Headgear: The best headgear is Serenica's Circlet Found in the Sage's Trial - Fierce Forest
Armor: The best armor is Serenica's Surplice found in the Luminary's Trial - Citadel Of Spite
Sylvando Weapons (based on charm): Primarily whatever gives you the most charm as those are the abilities you will use most
Whips: The best whip is the Über Gringham Whip, obtainable through aforementioned books, with the base weapon available at the Octagonia Casino for 750,000 Tokens
Swords: The best Swords are two Shamshir of Light. The Shamshir of Light is obtainable through Aforementioned books (can craft multiple)
Knives: The best knives are two El Stupendo. El Stupendo can be found through aforementioned books (can craft multiple)
Shield: Sylvando can have a shield with all his weapons besides the whip, so if you do not want to dual wield, use either the Shamshir of Light or El Stupendo with the Metal King Shield, Obtained through aforementioned books or if you are going for a pure charm build (although I would recommend some defense) then the Silver Shield is your best bet, obtainable at the trial island shop (33000)
Headgear: The best headgear is the Tiara Tremendísima, Found in the Recipe Book: Glam Gear for Go-Getters, from turning in 90 minimedals
Armor: The best armor is the Gladder Rags, found in the same book as the headgear
Rab Weapons: Wands are highly recommended
Heavy Wands: Best wand is the Godbird Sceptre, but this can be swapped with Veronicas aforementioned Heavy Wand. The Godbird Sceptre can be found in Tickington, after Clearing the Hall of Remembrance - Level 3
Claws: Best Claws are the Xenlon Claws, found through Upgrading the weapon received from the Wheel of Harma: Third Trial and using the aforementioned books.
Headgear: Apollo's Crown is the best headgear, obtained through the Recipe Book: A Guide to Godly Get-Up, rewarded for completing the Wheel of Harma's Final Trial
Armor: Potentate’s Pallium is the best armor, obtained through the recently mentioned book
Jade Weapons: Spears are preferred
Spears: Split-Pot Poker found through upgrading the weapon you receive through>! a chest in either the Fortress of Fear or the First Forest Whale Way Station!<
Claws: Personally, claws are useless, but I would recommend the Deicimators (the Xenlon claws are better but the Deicimators are exclusive to Jade. You can swap them with Rab but in my opinion they are useless). You can get the Deicimators through the aforementioned books
Gear: (In the switch version, there is a gear that makes you literally invincible, so I will list the best gear and the kinda cheaty gear.)
Headgear: The Xenlon Hair Ring found through the recipe book Shine On, Xenlon, obtained in the Wheel of Harma - Fourth Trial
Armor: The best cheaty invincible armor is the Hare-Raising Suit, obtained from defeated the incredibly difficult Superboss The Timewyrm, after beating Calasmos and Tickington (End of Time)
Armor: The best non-cheaty armor would be the Xenlon Gown, obtained from the aforementioned book
Eight(Hendrik) Weapons: Anything works, but I prefer Axe and shield
Axes: The best axes are the Galaxy Axe and the Kairos Cleaver. The Galaxy Axe's base weapon can be obtained from a chest in The Battleground and upgraded through aforementioned books The Kairos Cleaver can be obtained through aforementioned books
Greatswords: The second best Greatsword is the Metal King Gooreatsword (the Brilliant Blade is the best but I prefer that on Hero but you can swap the two). This can be obtained through Aforementioned books
Swords: The best Swords are Drustan's Sword and the Metal King Sword. You can get Drustan's Sword in the Luminary's Trial - Citadel Of Spite and the Metal King Sword through aforementioned books
Shield: You can dual wield everything but Greatswords, so the best Shield for when you're not dual wielding is Drustan's Shield, obtainable from the Sage's Trial - Hoarder's Keep. This is best paired with the Galaxy Axe or Drustan's Sword
Headgear: Drustan's Helm, found in The Disciple's Trial - The Eerie Valley
Armor: Drustan's Armour, found in The Luminary's Trial - Citadel Of Spite
Finally, For item farming, the best characters with accessories and gear are: Erik: Accessories are Pirate King's Pendant and Bunny tail. The best armor for him is the Vest for Success Jade: Two bunny tails and Uniforme Chic de l'Académie Veronica: Two bunny tails and Uniforme Chic de l'Académie Serena: Two bunny tails and Uniforme Chic de l'Académie The Bunny Tails can be stolen/dropped by Bunicorns The Uniforme Chic de l'Académie can be bought at the Quester's Rest in the Alter of the Starry Skies book in Tickington The Pirate King's Pendant can be obtained through post game story events The Vest for Success can be found through the quest Richie's Rock-Hard Roulette Challenge (Octagonia) I really hope this guide goes appreciated. If I missed anything or I got something wrong let me know. If the spoiler text is too much, let me know and I will remove it.
Feel Free To Use This or Share This Without Credit as I Just Want to Be Helpful!
I'm gonna go with reverse reveal (al a David Letterman) Brief context. Without fail almost every year for about the last 10 years I have watched every Bond movie but not always in release order, just in the order of how I feel like watching. Now that I have completed my 2020 rewatch, I saw other top tens, I decided to play too!
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
I never know how to feel some years with this movie. I do think it's incredibly important and I do think it's got a weird structure to the narrative that I think messes with the flow. While I enjoy the meta humor at the beginning, I do think it's a bit heavy-handed and unnecessary but it does sneak in as my number 10. It kind of jostles with The living daylights and Spectre for that ten spot
While I agree that the spy who loved me is a ton of fun, I still come back to Moonraker as a more enjoyable film. It doesn't take too many lulls in the action and it has a far more interesting villain than its predecessor while still maintaining Jaws as a carryover. I love the set pieces and the rationale of killing humanity is, both a scary thought, and a sort of Thanos like mission.
License to Kill
First and foremost, I am a big Timothy Dalton fanboy. I think he was a severely underrated. I think between his two outings, I prefer this movie. Very rarely would you see the main character take those sort of hits and punches and cuts and scrapes but in Dalton's time Bond was his most dark and real. And those are the qualities I think I appreciate in comparison to the more campy feel of Roger Moore.
Tomorrow Never Dies
While I think Pierce Brosnan maybe had two films that were good, I think those good films were exceptionally good. And this film still speaks to the issues of today because of how great and scary a villain like Jonathan Carver is in the now reality of fake news. This was so ahead of its time and I think my appreciation for it only grows with every passing year that I watch it.
Casino Royale (2006)
So if it wasn't already obvious that my enjoyment of Dalton has led to my very real enjoyment of Craig. Call it a reboot if you want or not I just still enjoy it. Love the opening sequence, love the opening track, love the banter with Vesper and how that plays out through the film. And then re-watching it with that knowledge almost makes these small choices in the film more interesting. I noticed more details that were really clever when I would rewatch this.
I'm just going to get this out of the way before you work your way down to the end. I do not like From Russia with Love. I think it's boring. That movie puts me to sleep every time I watch it. But Thunderball I enjoy it so much. I love that it continues the Spectre lore. I love the locations, the vibrancy of the scene. Yes, sure, you can easily make an argument that the climactic fight scenes at the end are bit meh and I'll concede that but I think I just enjoyed so much of this film that it makes up for it. I think I just enjoyed a movie where Bond was actually trying to be a detective.
Live and Let Die
This may be a random addition to some but something about Live and Let Die just sticks with me. I so badly wanted that villain to succeed because I thought it was really clever and unique at how they set up his plot. The henchman are so much more interesting than most other villains we get in this franchise. And yes I can totally agree that there are questions regarding the black-splotation that this is being inspired out of but given what existed in bond up to that point I enjoyed at least having that injection of diversity, not just in plot, but also in cast. It also moves away from the spectre stuff to talking about drug cartels and diplomatic manipulations was really different and refreshing.
I mean, what is there to say? So much of the iconography of this franchise was born out of this film. This is definitely one of the Bonds I can easily just throw on any day, at anytime, and enjoy it every time. I enjoy the plot and the villain's machinations. I love the song. The car and chase scenes are incredibly iconic and it's also one of the few films that is latent with critical acclaim and awards as well. So while many other films have come since I still stand by a Goldfinger as one of the best.
I know I've seen some chatter in this subreddit about the importance of The Spy Who Loved Me and I would say that this film holds just as much of that importance. If you go and read about the history of this film, everything was on the line. Great track for an opening sequence, iconic moments and scenes with some sharp lines, excellent villains and henchwomen. And sure while I wish Sean bean didn't have to die in every film, I thought he was so good in this. Then given the recent events of that satellite installation actually falling apart to this past year kind of adds a little extra sting to re-watching it.
I do think that maybe I'm one of the few that really thinks this film checks every box and just knocked it out of the park. Aside from what felt like a throwback to the old days when you have Adele singing that opening track, that is so haunting and moving. A film where Daniel Craig's Bond seems so much more Mutlu dimensional. And then having the last of the pieces (Mallory/Moneypenny/Q) of this new universe coming together before they flip that switch and hit you in the heart at the end of this film. Let alone how good Javier Bardem is and the sort of technical prowess with which he attacked MI6 seems so authentic for our times. And in short you may have noticed a common theme that a lot of my rankings aren't just about how I think but it is hinged a lot on the villains in these films. Bond is only as good as his adversaries and I think in this collection of 10 films these were some of his best adversaries. So whether you agree or disagree I do appreciate you following my random brain droppings and I'm excited to read other people's top 10s beyond that. I hope you all are doing well staying safe and enjoy this coming year. I hope it is nothing but good tidings for you all and come next Thanksgiving I'll be rewatching these all again!
Putting Bond's revenge against Quantum at the centre of Quantum of Solace
Saw the post mentioning that no one has attempted to give Quantum of Solace a rewrite and decided to give it a shot. It was actually harder than I thought. Rewatching it I think many of the film’s issues comes from the director writer than writing. I think the generally plotting of the film is fairly decent, especially giving the ongoing writer’s strike at the time. The main issue is that there’s effectively two films going on: One in which Bond is hunting down Quantum seeking revenge for Vesper and one in which Bond goes rogue in order to stop the CIA financing a coup d’etat in Boliva. My main goal was to try better merge them into a more cohesive story. In particular I want to give Vesper’s former lover, Yusuf Kabira, (ie the reason she betrays Bond and then gets murdered in Casino Royale) more of a role, rather than just having him be relegated to a single scene at the end of the film.
· Making Yusuf Kabira, Vesper’s former lover, a major character, effectively serving as the main henchman of the film · Changing Camille’s backstory. Instead of being a Bolivian agent she’s the daughter of the current Bolivian president and she’s has also been seduced by Kabira. Quantum’s plan is to expose the relationship between the President’s daughter and a foreign agent, thus creating a political scandal that will pre-empt a coup d’état by General Medrano. · We cut Dominic Greene and the Plot To Steal Bolivar’s Water entirely. We give most of Greene’s role to Mr White. · Finally, we are going to play up the whole Bond Versus the CIA thing. Lets try and use Jefferey Wright more and give Felix a bit of a redemption arc
The new plot
We are going to cut the opening car chase entirely and start with Bond driving into the Sienna safehouse having captured Mr White at the end of Casino Royale. Waiting inside the safehouse are M and another agent called Yusuf Kabira. Bond can greet Kabira saying something like “How was Bolivia?” and he replies with something witty like “Very stimulating”. The interrogation goes the same way as the original as Kabira is revealed to be a double agent and helps Mr White escape. Bond chases Kabira across the rooftops of Sienna. They can briefly fight but Kabira is able to escape. Cut to the opening title sequence. After the titles we see MI6 investigating Kabira’s London apartment. In a secret compartment they discovered files on Vesper Lynd including photos of Kabira and Vesper together. Bond is visibly shaken by this information and M asks him if Bond can be trusted to keep his feelings separate from his job. Bond assures M he will. He also suggests looking into Kabira’s recent mission in Bolivar. When they do, they discover that Kabira was having frequent meetings with a mysterious woman at a particular hotel and will soon meet her again. Kabira meets the mysterious woman, who we learn is called Camille, in the hotel in Santa Cruz, Boliva. The two are clearly lovers. They go to their room but are ambushed by Bond waiting for them there. We then basically get the scene from the end of Quantum of Solace where Bond reveals who Kabira is to Camille and shows her the necklace he gave to Vesper, identical to one Kabira’s given to Camille. Camille is obviously shocked by this revelation. At gunpoint Bond orders the two of them into a car to drive to an airfield where MI6 is waiting to arrest Kabira. In the car Kabira taunts Bond about Vesper. The car is soon stopped by members of the Bolivian military led by a General Medrano. Bond now finds himself being captured as he is separated from Kabira and Camille and taking to a different site. There he discovers Felix Leiter and several other CIA agents. Initially Bond is pleased to see an ally but quickly realises that Felix and the CIA are working with Medrano and Kabira. Leiter tries to justify himself saying that things are more complicated than they seem, and that MI6 has no business getting involved in Bolivia. He also reveals that Camille is the daughter of the Bolivian president. He pleads with Bond to go back to London and forget about what he has seen. Bond refuses and escapes leading to a chase between Bond and the CIA. Bond is able to make his way to the airfield where he leaves Bolivia, dejected after failing to capture Kabira and avenge Vesper. We then see Leiter meeting with White and Medrano. This pretty much resembles the scene from the original film where the CIA strikes a non-interference deal with the pair in exchange for the USA gaining access to Bolivian oil. After Leiter leaves, Medrano tells White that he has held up his end of the bargain and accuses White of unnecessarily delays. White argues that they need the support of the other partners of “his organisation” before they can go ahead, and Medrano replies that perhaps he should speak to White’s partners in person. MI6 discover that Medrano has booked a ticket to see an opera in Bregenz, Austria and Bond goes to investigate. We then get the scene from the original film where the leaders of Quantum have their meeting during the Opera. Medrano is also at the meeting and we hear the Quantum members give their assent to go ahead with Medrano and White’s plan to expose the relationship between Camille and Kabira (who will be presented as a British spy) thus creating a political scandal which will cause a crisis allowing Medrano to seize power. Afterwards Medrano will allow Quantum to take control of Bolivia’s oil fields. With Medrano is Camille who is clearly being held there against her will. When she excuses herself to go to the bathroom Medrano sends one of his men to watch her. Camille still attempts to escapes and Bond intervenes helping her but blowing his cover in the process and gets caught in a very public shoot out with Medrano’s men. Medrano and the other members of Quantum escape. We then cut to London where we see M getting a dressing down from the foreign secretary in the aftermath of the shooting in Austria. The foreign secretary tells M that the Prime Minister has bowed to American pressure and order that all MI6 operations in South America be terminated. With no choice M calls Bond and orders him to return to England but Bond of course refuses. M once again asks if his desire to get revenge on Kabira for Vesper’s death is affecting his decision-making. Bond hangs up. In a safehouse Bond and Camille watch as news of Camille’s relationship with Kabira makes international headlines and the crisis Medrano and White engineered begins to take shape. Bond and Camille open up to each other, with Bond hinting at his past with Vesper. They resolve to return to Bolivia and attempt to prevent Medrano’s coup d’état. Without MI6 aid Bond turns to Rene Mathis who, after being acquitted of being a double agent following Casino Royale, is living in retirement in the south of France. Mathis agrees to help them, and they use his private jet to fly to Bolivia. As they reach Bolivian airspace two American fighter jets begin tailing them, ordering them to land. Bond, Mathis and Rene agree that their only option is to abandon the plane only to learn there’s only one parachute onboard. Mathis tells Bond and Camille to escape while he leads the Americans away, sacrificing himself. Bond tries to protest. Mathis tells Bond that Vesper did love him. As Bond and Camille cling to each other with the parachute they see Mathis’ plane get shot down. Once they land, they make their way to Bolivia’s capital La Paz. Felix contacts Bond for a meeting, effectively offering a brief truce. Camille tells Bond its a trap, but Bond decides to go anyway. They meet in a bar and Bond is able to convince Felix that Medrano will betray the CIA and give Quantum access to the Bolivan oil fields. Felix tells Bond that they are currently being watched by other CIA agents and as soon as Bond leaves, they will try to kill him. Felix gives Bond a location to go to if he survives. Evading the American agents Bond goes to this location and discovers Felix has left him a file detailing the CIA’s involvement in the impending coup d’état. We then see tanks rolling into La Paz as the Medrano’s coup d’état begins. Medrano arrives at the state television station to announce his takeover. Bond and Camille race to the station to try to stop him. Fighting their way through Medrano’s men they are confronted by Kabira. Bond and Kabira get locked in a one-on-one shootout as Camille goes to take on Medrano alone. She finds the studio where Medrano is broadcasting the announcement of his new rule. His men have all left to stop Bond leaving Medrano all alone. Camille shoots Medrano and starts showing the Felix’s evidence of the CIA’s involvement. Mr White, watching this unfold, orders the broadcast be stopped by any means necessary. The tanks outside the television station suddenly begin firing on the building, reducing it to rubble. We cut back to Bond and Kabira who are now fighting hand-to-hand. As the building starts to collapse Kabira becomes trapped under falling debris. In desperation he reaches out to Bond. Bond holds out his hand, only to drop Vesper’s necklace in front of him. He leaves Kabira to die. Finding Camille, the two escape the collapsing television station. They go to the Bolivian Presidential Palace as the Bolivian military either retreats or surrenders around them. There Camille’s family is waiting. The two kiss before parting ways. Cut to a few weeks later Bond meets Leiter on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Leiter tells Bond that Mr White and the other members of Quantum have all gone underground and can’t be found. Bond asks Leiter if he’s been reprimanded for the whole Bolivian affair and Leiter replies he’s being sent on a dead-end assignment to San Monique. The two part as friends. As Felix leaves Bond receives a call from M about his next mission.
Working Wise or Wizardly Working: how magic items affect the world
Magic items. Objects imbued with magic in order to make them better, or even gain a completely different function. But apparently the only places they exist are in monster hoards and adventurers' backpacks. Realistically however, everyone wants things that are better at what they do. And eventually, people get what they want. Today i will go over some objects that are useful outside of the context of adventuring, as well as how they might change the world around them. I will not mention artifacts, since those are one-of-a-kind objects with pre-established locations, usage, etc. While the topic has always existed, Tasha's Cauldron has added a few interesting toys to our proverbial tool box, which makes this as good a time as any to take a look and Much like in the Spells and Society post, the rarer an item the more amazingly powerful it must be to be worthy of mention. Actually i recommend reading that post before this one. Since a lot of magic items just allow you to cast spells for free, knowing which spells alter the world gives a good idea of which items can do the same.
+1 tools. That's right, +1 tools. Not +1 weapons. Consider a guard. How much of his time is actually spent fighting? A minute every other day? That's not getting a lot of use out of his sword. Even a soldier spends weeks marching, or months guarding a fort, and then only fights for a few minutes or hours. Even if a guard has a superb weapon that doubles his combat effectiveness, it only makes him 1% or 2% better at being a guard. Given a choice of uncommon item, any guard and most soldiers would rather have a Weapon of Warning to prevent being backstabbed, ambushed or caught off-guard. Now consider a lumberjack or miner. They spend several hours a day hitting trees and rocks. An enchanted axe, saw or pickaxe would see continuous use in their hands. Not only that, magic items are also described as being "at least as durable as a nonmagical item of its kind. Most magic items, other than potions and scrolls, have resistance to all damage". This means the +1 pickaxe would be far, far more resilient to wear and tear than a mundane one, potentially being passed down for generations. And with your miners and lumberjacks being more efficient, you need less of them. Which in turn means you get to have more guards. Another noteworthy thing here is adamantine items. They deal automatic critical damage to objects and are much harder to destroy. In other words, they're great at chopping trees and ores, bending hot metal, cutting cloth, plowing a field, etc. All while having a fraction of the wear and tear. Bags of Holding, Handy Haversacks and Portable Holes. AKA your transporty boyes. The bag of holding is an old favorite among players, and the reason is obvious: it has a million uses. Most adventurers use it for carrying all their junk. The bad guys in the original Baldurs Gate game used bags of holding to smuggle whole shipments to and from their iron mine base with just one guy. One of my players once put a huge boulder in it, then flew up and dropped the boulder on an enemy transport ship. And let us not forget the classic Arrowhead of Total Destruction. All of these are perfectly valid uses. Smuggling a small object is easier than smuggling a large object. Dropping huge objects from a high place turns anything that flies into a siege weapon. And the Arrowhead, while expensive, can deal with very large threats that could level a city. But honestly, every merchant is a smuggler at heart. After all, as long as brigands roam the roads, there will always be a need to hide your valuables in an extraplanar space small enough to fit any orifice. Not only that, the bag allows you to dump a cart entirely and just ride to your destination much faster (and therefore, more safely). Of course not every merchant can afford a bag of holding, so this brings about an interesting topic of inequality in your campaign. Some merchants can go from A to B faster and more safely on a horse, while the majority must go with a bull-drawn cart that is slow and vulnerable. And bags of holding don't even require attunement, so once you have one and your income soars you can get another, and another... Its a serious rich-get-richer situation, and you risk running all the mundane merchants out of business. Broom of Flying. I'm gonna start this one with saying that brooms of flying and carpets of flying are overpowered. They are consistently better than items of similar rarity that provide the same benefit, like boots and wings of flying. The reason here is, in my humble opinion, the same reason why Fireball deals more damage than any 3rd level spell and most 5th level ones: its iconic. As for the item itself, its pretty much a permanent flying speed of 50 while carrying up to 200lbs, or 30ft. speed while carrying 201-400lbs. Its a deliveryboy's dream... except not. You see, the broom of flying isn't just a hoverbike, its also a drone. You say the command word, and it flies up to a mile a way. Say it again, it comes back. In other words, the crazy wizard in his tower can just tie some money and a note on the broom and send it to a shop, then call it back once the shopkeeper has tied the groceries to it. Poor delivery boy just lost his job. But wait, there's more! If the broom can fly on its own, can it plow a field? Can it spin an "animal" traction mill? The answer is: yes. But there's no reason to use magic where a common animal would do, unless its a crazy high magic setting or something. Decanter of Endless Water I think anyone can see how infinite water is broken as fuck. But that's not all. By speaking the command word and pulling the lid, you can cause 30 gallons (136.4 litres) of water to pour out with enough force to push a 200 pound object 15 feet. This action can be repeated every turn (6 seconds), since a decanter of endless water has no limit on how often it can be used. So a decanter is not just infinite water, but also infinite energy provided you have enough technology to build a mill. Even more energy if you activate the decanter in a high place and use gravity to give those 30 gallons even more potential. Do keep in mind however that in 5e there must be someone using their action to activate it every turn. In previous editions however one could leave the decanter open and it would pour water constantly. Hat of Disguise This wee cap is not game-breaking for its great usefulness, but rather for its ability to fuck the world up. Any charlatan with a Hat of Disguise can walk into a bank, guild, ship, etc. and pretend to be anyone. Sure it doesn't happen often, but when it happens the crime spree is enormous. And while there are ways to work around disguised criminals, the fact people have to work around it is an issue in and of itself. Societies based on trust pretty much can't function. Does everyone sign everything? Do people start using IDs? Do organizations start using items or employing animals that can see through illusions? Is there an industry for door frames that detect illusions? Even without the hat, Disguise Self is still a 1st level spell. Yet somehow the sourcebooks have no mention of how the world might adapt to the idea that you can't trust people to be who they seem to be. And if anyone with access to 1st-level spells can walk up to the king without difficulties, you wont have kings for long. Ring of Mind Shielding A great item, if you're an asshole. Keeps people from sensing your evil alignment, keeps them from reading your evil thoughts, keeps pesky zones of truth from sensing your lies, and it even makes itself invisible so nobody can notice you're wearing the "i am evil" ring. It even keeps your immortal soul from going into eternal damnation! One thing i always think of soul-trapping items is that they're a good way for evil people to avoid the afterlife. If you're good, you want to go to Celestia, Elysium, Arborea or Ysgard. Yet if you're evil, being stuck in a ring and talking to its wearer might be better than Baator, Carceri or the Abyss. Sending Stones Another classic, unfortunately the stones were nerfed and now can only Send to each other once a day. Still, long range communication is nothing to scoff at. And while hiring someone to Send for you is cheaper, the stones provide more privacy and can be sent to far off corners of the world where you can't afford to station a caster full time. Expect each mayor or baron to have one of these, while someone in the capital answers their "calls". Something of a royal secretary if you will. While magic items are expensive, shaving days off of your disaster response time can be the difference between having a kingdom and having ruins.
Bag of Beans An often overlooked item, the BoB is crazy powerful. It has 3d4 beans, each of which can trigger a random effect. Notably they have a 10% chance of creating a random potion that lasts 30 days, a 10% chance of creating 1d4+3 eggs that can permanently raise an attribute by 1, a 9% chance of spawning a full on pyramid with a mummy lord and appropriate loot, and a 1% chance of leading anywhere. Why bother with tomes when you can get twice as many stats from a bag of beans? Helm of Teleportation. 1d3 castings of Teleport every day, plain and simple. That means 9 people can travel about 14 times in a week. That's a lot of potential trading to be had for sure, but why stop there? Say your kingdom spent tons of time and money training and equipping an elite unit. You wouldn't want them to spend 80% of their time on the road and 20% solving issues right? One rare item can make your 9-men unit five times more efficient. Adventurers are in much the same boat: small group, lots of capital invested into their gear and training, yet they somehow spend most of their time going back and forth between adventures (until level 9 if they have a bard, sorcerer or wizard in the party, past 9 if they don't). It honestly amazes me that the Helm of Teleportation is not listed more often as a must-have party item. Manuals/Tomes For those unaware: there are 3 manuals and 3 tomes in the game, each increases an attribute by 2 when used and then loses its magic for 100 years. The #1 item on any adventurer's to-get list, the existence of the tomes raises far more questions than answers. Who makes these? Why are they not mass produced? Can i get a magically accelerated demiplane, throw the books in and recharge them in a fraction of the time? Why do people not abuse the f*** out of them? And when i mean abuse, i mean make smart use of them. Say a kingdom has, over the course of generations, acquired 5 or so tomes. Then the ruler reads them and becomes super smart/wise/popular. That sounds like the sort of thing that would make the whole realm prosper. Do it on an elven/dwarven kingdom and the ruler can read his tomes multiple times, granting him a godlike mind. And that's without considering the idea of immortals. Or even high level druids. Any lich or vampire could become insanely powerful, not only from being able to use each tome a dozen times, but also from having eons to look for more or even craft them. One thing i really like about tomes is watching the party decide what to do with them after spending the magic. Do they auction the books? Trade with some elf for favors? Give it to a friendly vampire?
Candle of Invocation For 4 hours clerics and druid of the proper alignment within 30ft can cast 1st level spells without using spell slots. In other words, crazy amounts of healing. Pop one after a battle and in a few minutes your whole army will be ready for more. Or pop it during a battle, and have the Healing Word the crap out of your troops from a safe-ish distance. Carpet of flying, Peregrine Mask Carpets of flying function much like brooms of flying, except they are faster or carry more weight (depending on size). They would be a strict upgrade, except they lack the drone function the broom has. A peregrine mask provides a flying speed of 60, but has no carrying capacity. That means if you have a Powerful Build or a similar feature it can actually carry more than the carpets. Cauldron of Rebirth If there's one thing Tasha's Cauldron has brought us, its this cauldron. It has some minor uses for scrying making potions, but here's the deal breaker: you put a corpse in the cauldron, fill it with 10gp worth of salt (200lbs.) and it casts Raise Dead on the creature. Resurrection normally costs 500gp. worth of diamonds. With the cauldron it costs 10gp worth of salt. Sure there's a one week cooldown, but who cares? I see two scenarios here: either a resurrection every week is more than the local demand, or less than the local demand. If its more than the demand, that means everyone who dies of unnatural causes and has 10gp to spare gets resurrected. If its less than the demand, that means you're raising one person every 7 days. Depending on how high the demand is you could be making as much as 500gp a week, or 26k a year. Considering that the DMG says a Very Rare magic item costs 10.000-50.000 gold, the cauldron can pay for itself in under two years. Even if the math is way off for some reason, it is still crazy strong. Honestly, this should be an artifact. Or at least have some heavy downside. The idea that someone over at Wizards of the Coast read this and said "Ah yes, 10gp resurrection, perfectly fine" simply boggles the mind. Crystalline Chronicle Speaking of items that make things cheap, 1d3 times a day this spellbook allows you to cast a wizard spell without material components of up to 100gp. That means two spells on average, so let's take a look at a few good options: Continual Flame, Magic Circle (exactly 100!), Stoneskin (100!), Teleportation Circle and Astral Projection. The ones that stand out here are Continual Flame and Teleportation Circle. Both cost 50 and have a huge demand in the world. Where a permanent TP circle would normally consume 18.250gp worth of materials over a year, it will now cost nothing.
Staff of the Magi This is, i think, the most powerful item in the game. Has a bunch of charges, yadda yadda, here's the important part:
When someone else casts a spell on you, you can use a reaction to absorb the spell. The staff then gains charges equal to the level of the spell it just ate.
It can cast Plane Shift for 7 charges.
This means on an average day you get 16 charges, or two Plane Shifts, from the natural charge generation. But what if you could have someone cast spells on you without spending spell slots? There are several monsters who can cast spells at will, too many to list. But there are also a few ways for players to do it. The first that comes to mind is the level 18 Wizard feature Spell Mastery, allowing any 2nd level spell. There's also the level 15 invocation Shroud of Shadow that allows infinite casts of Invisibility. Either case allows a duo to have infinite Plane Shifts a day, which is really powerful. As usual, trade comes to mind. But with infinite charges you might as well start a tourism agency or a hotel and/or casino that brings in people from all planes. Yet what few people realize is that Plane Shift can be used offensively in order to permanently banish anyone to any plane. Infinite save-or-die effects. You could also just settle for a fuckton of Shifts instead of infinite, and use a warlock or four-elements monk to convert their short rest resources into charges for the staff. Now think of the possibilities and plot hooks. Mad king banishing dissidents, Red Queen style. Alternative death sentence. A high level wizard/warlock stranded somewhere because the guy who was attuned to the staff died or got separated from him. Random archdemon bringing an army to the Material Plane a couple demons a minute.
These are items i left out, but which i will get yelled at in the comments if i "forget" about them. Anything that creates energy The truth is that a lot of magic items can do that. Fire for heating things, wind or water for pushing things, etc. For an energy source to be noteworthy it has to provide a considerable amount of continuous energy, without charges or daily limitations. Otherwise you might as well just use a regular water mill or a bull. Alchemy Jug (uncommon) It creates an amount of a liquid (beer, honey, etc) every day. It does nothing that cannot be done by an amount of workers, and for it to be world-altering we'd have to go into a lengthy math argument of how many labor hours of a bee farmer are needed to make a gallon of honey, and how that compares to the initial investment of hiring a wizard to make the item. As a general rule, if something can be done mundanely it will be done mundanely. Let the casters focus on stuff where they have an infinite comparative advantage, like flying stuff, teleportation, resurrection, etc. Cap of Water Breathing (uncommon) It allows you to breathe underwater indefinitely. Can be great if you have important stuff to do underwater, and might enable interaction with sentient water folk. But in and of itself, not a world-altering item. Horseshoes of Speed (rare) Essentially +30 speed for hooved creatures, without requiring attunement. Honestly this item does not really fit this list, but i just thought the idea of pegasi flying real fast with these was worth mentioning. Sure a helm of teleportation outclasses it entirely for travel, but that's not useful in combat. And i really want to play a centaur monk with these some day. Unfortunately the item description specifically says you have to have four equipped to benefit, so don't even think about it you satyrs and tieflings out there. Lyre of Building (rare) At a glance this looks like a regular magic items, with nothing too weird about it. Until you look at its spell selection and notice you can cast them as an action. Mending normally takes a minute to cast, with the lyre its an action, and you can do it at will even without knowing the spell. Fabricate takes ten minutes to cast, with the lyre its an action. That means once a day you can turn the ground under an enemy into a spiky cage, his sword into sword parts, etc. Until the lyre came about the only way to instantly cast fabricate was with a Wish, and that is a pretty good combat use of the 9th level spell.
To be quite frank, a lot of these item uses are a little niche and wont work in every setting. Then again, that that is never the goal with these posts. I hope i have provided you with at least a few interesting plot hooks and other crazy ideas, whether to amaze your players or ruin your DM's plans.
 There is a notable exception however. If your kingdom has a group dedicated to fighting monsters, some of which are resistant to nonmagic damage, then those guys should be prioritized. Not only does the +1 weapon double their damage output in this scenario, it also prevents your kingdom from losing special soldiers that are very expensive to train and replace.  Stuff like constant abuse of Decanters of Endless Water are why in my setting there is a doomsayer cult that believes the world will be flooded some day. As they say it, every time someone activates a decanter, magically creates water, creates food and water, opens a portal to the Plane of Water, etc; the amount of water in the world rises just a bit. Given enough time, everything will be flooded by it. Unless someone like, puts a Sphere of Annihilation by the shore or something. But nobody said the cult has to be right.  The bag has 3d4 beans. Each bean has a 10% chance of spawning 1d4+3 eggs. That means 7.5*0.1*5.5 = 4.125 raised stats, on average. Sure I'm assuming you'll pass the DC20 save every time, but with proper preparation its quite doable. Be near a paladin, get bardicly inspired, have someone cast Resistance, find ways to reroll a failed save, etc. Since the eggs last forever, you have all the time in the world to stack the saving throw in your favor. Or just use Portents.  The mummy lord could have anything, even another bag of beans!  Someone will say "but what about the chance of going off target? What if nobody has teleportation circles?" To that person i say: associated object. Get a pebble every time you're in a region, and you wont need a circle. Buy a bit of silk and you can teleport to any place along the silk road. Buy a used horseshoe and you can go all over the country. Now I'm just imagining this badass-looking special-ops soldier, clad in the finest plate, wielding a blazing blade, his cloak cackling thunder... and with a rusty-ass horseshoe tied to his helmet.  And thus is born the legend of Swolomon the Buff. He was once a base vampire, who got stuck in a tomb for 4000 years with nothing but a Manual of Bodily Health and a Manual of Gainly Exercise. Now he's... selling supplements or something.  See On Spells and Society linked at the top for why there's a near infinite demand for Continual Flame.  You can even make two circles at a time, but there's some math about it. You have 3 charges, use 2, so you should always be with one to spare. Until you roll a 1 on the d3, and then its gone. After that whenever you roll a 1 without first rolling a 3 you'll have to pay the 50gp or let the circle go to waste. In other words, you'd be paying roughly 1/6 of the regular cost.
Ultimate Bond Villain Casting - Tobias Menzies (OPINION)
Good evening, Mr. Bond enthusiasts. Have you ever noticed the actor Tobias Menzies? He's a londoner who's recently getting acclaimed for The Crown and Outlander, having previosly done Rome but many of you will know him for Edmure Tully in Game Of Thrones, a minor character. Why is he the ultimate Bond villain casting? The guy is a tremendous actor, with a classic english acting background of being formed in the theater. His villanous role in Outlander is one of the best villains in recent history (Check this clip but beware of SPOILERS for Outlander: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PTIvcKqDVc&t=42s&ab_channel=RMFilm) At last, and most importantly: He has actually been in Casino Royale in a minor role(Check GIF). He's like an in-house agent, not 00, and probably tech-y because he is seen in the movie working computers. This was in his recent years of acting, he didn't even have many, if any, lines. So they could pretty much come up with any story for him, using this already established role in the lore of Bond. Since Silva already took the fallen from grace agent story (I don't buy the whole vendetta against M, but great villain), he could be an actual mole inside the MI6, and the movie is based around people thinking Bond is the mole, subsequently Bond proves his innocence in a Bond way. Curious last note: He has played the actual Ian Fleming in a movie called Any Human Heart. What do you guys think? Good idea or have I had too much coffee in the morning? Cheers https://preview.redd.it/r2d9f27vrmv51.png?width=400&format=png&auto=webp&s=b493adb1920a2a682671685b42a519da64851c15
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Introduction Seriously? Another poker guide? Surely we already have enough that describe optimal play. Well yes, but no . As those guides will get you 95+% of the way there, my goal was mainly just for fun, but it also allows me to share a few extra simple rules to get even more out of the game. For those who just want to know the strategy and no details you can skip until the TLDR. Before I lose your attention here are the new questions that I tackle (note: natural pair means a pair formed without the use of a joker)
When dealt a starting hand with both a natural pair and 4 of a particular suit, should you keep the pair (go for 2 pairs, 3 of a kind, etc.) or keep the 4 of a particular suit (go for a flush)?
When dealt a starting hand with both a natural pair and 4 cards of a straight, should you keep the pair (go for 2 pairs, 3 of a kind, etc.) or keep the 4 cards (go for a straight)?
How much extra value does the card counting strategy bring in the higher-lower game?
Have These Questions Really Not Been Answered Yet? While there are excellent guides on the overall strategy (see YANFLY) , one that calculate the odds of winning poker hands (u/PinoyEvan5), and one that calculates the expected returns of playing higher-lower (u/BillsHere1), there is still no full game solution. The probability of winning poker hands only matters when we know the expected returns of playing higher-lower for various multipliers. That is for a complete solution we need to combine and expand on the previous guides. How Do I Answer These Questions? I wrote code to simulate the games and then played them millions of times. For anyone interested, I wrote a ten page document that explains the entire process and shows the code. If anybody wishes to implement it themselves I can send you the R Markdown file if you DM me. Results Preliminaries Before we an answer any of the questions, the first thing that needs to be done is to solve the expected value of playing the higher-lower game. Following past guides, we will be playing the 2 card higher-lower for 1000 chips. The optimal strategy is as follows:
If face up card is higher than 8, choose low
If face up card is lower than 8 choose high
If face up card is 8, choose either
Using this strategy, and implementing it in my higher-lower game, I ran 10 million simulations and got the following results for various multipliers (+/- gives the 95% confidence interval).
x1 (2 pairs, 3 of a kind): 42832 +/- 114 [6.2% probability of positive winnings]
x3 (Straight): 101322 +/- 231 [7.2% probability of positive winnings]
x4 (Flush): 135350 +/- 309 [7.2% probability of positive winnings]
x10 (Full House): 236347 +/- 458 [9.3% probability of positive winnings]
x20 (4 of a kind): 320897 +/- 525 [12.5% probability of positive winnings]
x25 (Straight Flush): 271965 +/- 372 [17.0% probability of positive winnings]
x60 (5 of a kind): 440917 +/- 501 [23.0% probability of positive winnings]
x250 (Royal Flush): 839932 +/- 612 [42.0% probability of positive winnings]
Question 1 Now that we know the expected returns of various multipliers we can figure out whether keep the pair or the 4 of a suit when dealt a starting hand with both. As there are many cases, I decided to again estimate these through running millions of simulations (see the document for details). In the end (got lazy with errors, but with this many simulations and a difference that wide should not be a problem), I got the following expected values to the various strategies:
Keeping the natural pair (go for 2 pair, 3 of a kind, etc.): 18971
Keeping the 4 of a suit (go for flush): 28198
In these situations you should GO FOR THE FLUSH Question 2 The analysis for the straight is quite similar but here we need to consider that inside straight draws on open ended draws have different odds. Fortunately, keeping the pair is better in both cases so it simplifies our overall strategy. The following shows the expected value for going for a straight when you have 4 in a row (i.e. an open ended draw), which has a higher expected return than an inside draw
Keeping the natural pair (go for 2 pair, 3 of a kind, etc.): 18971
Keeping the open ended straight draw (go for straight): 18998
The difference here is not statistically significant and quite negligible. While one should be indifferent between the two from an expected return perspective, from a human perspective it is easier to remember that you go for the pair in all such situations. In these situations you should KEEP THE PAIR. Question 3 Question 3 is particularly interesting. A key part about playing the higher-lower game is that cards will not show up twice - this means card counting is a viable strategy. As has been pointed out in many guides, a simple card counting strategy is as follows:
Start running tally at 0. If card is below 8, add -1. If card is above 8, add +1.
If face up card is anything except 8, use the old strategy.
If face up card is an 8, choose high if tally is negative, choose low if tally is positive.
The question is how much of a gain is this card counting? If the gain is small, then the player probably cannot justify using it if it adds extra time to playing. However, if the gains are large then it might be justifiable even if it slows down your ability to play. To test this I ran 10 million simulations using this card counting strategy for the x1 multiplier situation and go the following outcome:
x1 (No Card Counting): 42832 +/- 114
x1 (With Card Counting): 43385 +/- 115
The results are it adds about 1.3% to your expected return. Personally, I think using it adds well more than 1.3% to my playing time so for me personally counting cards is not a viable strategy. For extra analysis, I looked into a full solution card counting strategy (one that allows for cases when picking lower is better for a 7, picking higher is better for a 9, etc.), but these cases are so rare it adds essentially nothing (0.1% gain which is non significant). Acknowledgements Thanks to u/Aerdra for the crucial feedback and correcting an error in my code. This has now been corrected in both the post and document. TLDR - Summary Provides a summary of the optimal strategy for playing poker. Contributions added in this post are in bold, while all the rest was previously known in previous guides. Poker Phase: General Strategy
Keep all cards that are part of a winning hand. You should replace any cards in that hand that do not contribute to winning
If dealt a natural pair, keep the pair and replace the other 3 cards
If dealt 4 of a suit (including if one is a joker), keep all 4 and go for a flush
If dealt 4 cards of a straight (including if one is a joker), keep all 4 and go for a straight
Otherwise replace all cards (except for a joker in which case you should keep it) [You may also want to consider keeping hands with 3 cards of a flush or a straight as pointed out by u/Aerdra but as u/Storm1k points out playing fast is best - the payoffs are so low it is probably more optimal to save time with fewer button presses]
Poker Phase: Tiebreaks
If dealt a hand with a natural pair and 4 cards of a suit, go for a flush
If dealt a hand with a natural pair and 4 cards of a straight, keep the pair and replace the other 3 cards
Higher-Lower Phase In higher and lower you should play until the game ends either by losing, completing round 10, or passing the cap limit by using the following strategy:
If face up card is above 8, play low
If face up card is below 8, play high
If face up card is 8, play either [might be easier to press "low" as pointed out by u/hkidnc]
Additionally, a +/- 1 card counting strategy can be used for additional gains of 1.3%. [A benefit which for most players is too small to justify the effort of card counting] Happy Halloween! And grinding!
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