You'd think that someone known as the Boy Genius and someone known as The Luckbox would be able to manage a better than .500 record picking NFL games. You'd think that... and you'd be wrong. We've picked 4 out of 7 weeks so far, and I'm sitting at 27-28-2 while my fearless compatriot is at 26-29-2. It has to get better, right?
So without further ado, I give you week 8 in the NFL:More in this Poker Blog! -->
CJ: Welcome to Week 8. What I've been able to demonstrate thus far is that I'm not very good at this. But I took a week off to study really, really hard, and now I'm ready to roll!!
Boy Genius: No, you took a week off to sit on a cold mountaintop and watch a bunch of hippies dance in circles.
CJ: Okay, that too, but nonetheless. I've been enlightened.
Ari at GB -4
CJ: Let's get started with a really, really easy one. It's the Cardinals at the Packers and the Packers are giving 4.
Boy Genius: This is at Lambeau, which I imagine explains this line. I mean, something's got to give here. Arizona gave Oakland their first win last week, and Green Bay let Joey Harrington (!) throw for 400 and two TDs. Here's the trick though... Green Bay got two of their three turnovers on badly played balls by Miami wideouts, and if Arizona can take care of the ball, they'll be fine. I don't know about a win, but let's say it's close. Green Bay 23 - Arizona 21.
CJ: Well, something has to explain the line. After watching the Packers stumble week after week, perhaps only a visit from the Arizona Cardinals can solve their woes. Here's the thing... the Cardinals are the better team. There's no reason why the lost to the Raiders, and there's no reason why they blew it against the Bears. They don't blow it this week and Leinart has a field day against the Packers terrible D. Arizona 27-Green Bay 20.
Boy Genius: I can see that. Maybe Edge gets a chance to pad his gaudy 2.7 yards per carry stat line too.
Atl at Cin -3.5
Boy Genius: Anyway, the next game on the schedule is one I was hoping against hope I'd get to see on TV this weekend - Atlanta at Cincy. Alas, no dice for me on that one, I get mired in NFC/AFC East football. What do you think about Cincy's chances?
CJ: This should be a hell of a game. The Bengals are favored by 3.5 at home meaning in the oddsmakers minds, this game is a bit of a toss up on a neutral field. Atlanta may have had their coming out last week in that OT win over the Steelers, but their D was exposed. And that's something Palmer, Johnson, and Housyomomma should be able to take advantage of. Bengals win 31-24.
Boy Genius: I love how Chad Johnson's trash talk is back. I was really hoping D'Angelo Hall would bite on the bait, but apparently Mora lobotomized him prior to Thursday's practice. I think this could be a great game, maybe the best one on tomorrow's card. I'll project Atlanta coming out on top though. They're playing good football, and their defensive strength plays well against Cincy's aerial attack. When will Carson and CJ get on track? Maybe next week. Atlanta 27 - Cincy 17.
Bal at NO -1.5
CJ: Speaking of good games. Before this season started, was there any chance the Saints would be favored by a point and a half at home against the Ravens? The Saints? When do they come back down to earth?
Boy Genius: This week, plain and simple. They may be at home and they may be giving points away, but the Ravens defense is well equipped to play sideline-to-sideline with the Saints. I think this week is the one where the Saints end up looking like... well, the Saints again. Baltimore gets one offensive TD and one defensive TD, and that's plenty. Ravens 20 - Saints 16.
CJ: I'd love to disagree with you here, and by the time I'm done typing, I just might. I was in the Dome a few weeks back when the Eagles blew a 4th quarter lead. There was just something about that place. I still can't get the "Who Dat? Who Dat? Who Dat saying they gonna beat dem Saints?" out of my head. Until someone proves to me the Saints aren't blessed at home, I'm not going to pick against them. There, I've decided. Saints 21-Ravens 16.
Boy Genius: Fair enough, you don't want to mess with karma anyway - especially with the week you've had already Luckbox.
Hou at Ten -3
Boy Genius: Moving on, we go from extreme to extreme this week. Games like Atlanta versus Cincy are juxtaposed right up against Houston at Tennessee. Tennessee is giving three, and the line hasn't budged all week. Is it because nobody outside Vince Young's immediate family gives a crap?
CJ: That's gotta be it, otherwise, I'd see this game being at least a 5 point game for the Texans. I think they finally showed last week that there is a bit of promise in that team. Stomping Jacksonville isn't easy, no matter how banged up they are. Plus, they're starting to finally develop a running game. Wali Lundy put up 93 tough yards and should be the guy. Texans roll 24-12.
Boy Genius: I'm thinking this game might be more fun than that. Remember week one's Titans/Jets tilt? Didn't that one end up something like 38-35 Jets? I think we're in for an ol' fashioned AFC South Shootout (TM). Let's assume they trade punches all day long, and if they do who's going to be best equipped to be the last one standing? Tennessee, featuring running back Travis "Earl Campbell Junior" Henry. What's in his Gatorade bottle? Titans 41 - Texans 35.
Boy Genius: Yes, I just said to play the OVER.
CJ: That would certainly be a coming out for Vince. I'm not sure they have the firepower, but I sure believe the Texans could.
Jac at Phi -7.5
CJ: So what about my game of the week, Jacksonville at Philly, the Eagles giving 7.5?
Boy Genius: I turned down an invite to watch this one at the Linc from a luxury box. You heard me. I would bet the network execs came into the season with high hopes for this matchup, but with Leftwich sitting, Mike Peterson hurt, and the Jags not exactly firing on all cylinders, we're not in for a battle here. Philly's dropped two in a row, one emotional game and one fluky kick. Screw it, they come out firing. Philly's favored by 7.5 and they obliterate the line. Eagles 27 - Jags 13.
CJ: Jacksonville is missing 5 key defenders, which I think is a lot more important than losing Leftwich. After all, Garrard was 5-1 as a starter last year. This line opened at around 4 points, so it's clear the betting public thinks the line is a joke. I tend to agree. Eagles have lost all three on the final play of the game. There won't be a chance for that this week. Eagles 38-Jags 17.
Boy Genius: Either way, we both say blowout.
Sea at KC -4.5
Boy Genius: One of the more interesting games on the card today is Seattle at KC, which features a who's who of injured skill players. SENECA WALLACE! BRODIE CROYLE! MAURICE MORRIS! IT'S THE NFL! ON FOX! Line opened up with KC giving six, now it's down to four-and-a-half. Is Brodie Croyle worth a point and a half to the Seahawk secondary?
CJ: Would anyone in their right mind bet this game? I mean, apart from Iowa State fans? The game plan for KC should be simple if Huard is definitely out. Snap. Turn. Handoff. If they do that enough, they'll win this game. I see a low scoring slugfest with the Chiefs winning, but not covering. KC 20-Seattle 17.
Boy Genius: I bet it's not even that much of an offensive showcase. Croyle throws for 168 on 48% passing, no TDs and two picks. Wallace throws for 220, one and one. LJ is the difference, but will be running against ten to fifteen in the box all day. I think Seattle can get this win - Hawks 13 - Chiefs 10.
SF at Chi -16
CJ: And we move to the biggest line of the week, Bears at home giving a whopping 16 to the Niners. Any chance of an upset here?
Boy Genius: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!11! Bears 44 - Niners 3. Next.
CJ: Have you forgotten the Cardinals already??? The Bears are exposed. It's all over for them! Aw, screw it. Bears 50 - Niners 6.
Boy Genius: Exactly. Which means you should play the Niners on the money line.
TB at NYG -9
Boy Genius: Exactly. Anyway, the Giants get to host the Bucs, who are one bogus roughing the passer call and one ridiculous field goal (sorry) from being 0-7. Giants are at home giving nine. Why do I think that's too light in this battle of the Barber brothers?
CJ: It's true, the Bucs have been rather fortunate, but... it's also clear they are playing much better. They were a playoff team last year, after all. I wasn't sure why they were as bad as they were to start the season. I don't think they have enough to win this game, but I think Gradkowski will keep it close again and the TB D forces Eli to make some mistakes. Giants 23-Bucs 16.
Boy Genius: Hmm... so the Bucs cover in your world? Is this just a feeble attempt to justify last week's Eagles loss? I just don't see it. The Giants are tough and are going to harass Gradkowski all day long. Barber gets 180 combined yards, Plax catches a TD, and the Bucs have a hard time getting anything going. It's all Giants, all day long. NYG 30 - Bucs 17.
CJ: Yes, Bucs cover. And not feebly!
StL at SD -9.5
CJ: Okay, let's move on to another big line. Chargers favored by 9.5 at home against the Rams.
Boy Genius: This line is wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Is someone on the Rams offense hurt that I haven't heard about? Is Ryan Fitzpatrick playing? Did Leonard Little get stopped for another DUI? No? Then what the hell is this all about? Rams aren't going to win, but they're not going down by two scores either. The Chargers can and will handle them - SD 27 - STL 23.
CJ: Maybe it's because Shawn Merriman will be off the 'roids this week. I'm puzzled by this line, too. The Rams have been a pretty solid team this year. They can put up points and their D isn't that bad. There's no reason they lose by 10 this week. Chargers 30 - Rams 21.
Ind at Den -3
Boy Genius: That's agreeable. Interestingly enough, we segway into another game where the line doesn't make a great deal of sense to me. Indy visits Denver and Denver's giving two-and-a-half away. Did I miss where Indy's dropped a game this year? I thought they were still undefeated. Help me out.
CJ: Clearly the bettors are giving the Denver defense waaaaaay too much credit. We're talking about a Broncos team that averages 3.467 points a game on offense. Or something like that. If they can't get in the end zone early and often, they won't stop Manning enough. Indy wins 28-10.
Boy Genius: I totally agree. The Broncos did shut down New England (winning 17-7), but their other victories were against KC, Baltimore, Oakland and Cleveland. So let's not get down on our knees and fumble for their zippers yet, alright? This game is either going to be the day the Bronco D gets taken seriously, or the day they state their case for a first round playoff exit. I bet the latter. Indy 24 - Broncos 9.
NYJ at Cle -2
CJ: And we're back to games I care absolutely nothing about. Could there be a more boring matchup than the Jets at the Browns? And on top of that, is there a good reason the Browns are giving two?
Boy Genius: No and no? Is the Browns defense appreciably better than the Lions D that couldn't stop the march of the Penningtons and the rise of Leon Freaking Washington last week?
Boy Genius: No and no.
Boy Genius: So let's just move on and say Jets 24 - Browns 17.
Boy Genius: Yawn
CJ: I won't waste twenty words on this game. Jets win and cover, 20-10.
Pit at Oak +9
Boy Genius: Last of the day games Sunday brings Pittsburgh to Oakland, which sounds like a great game... in 1978. It might be Batch versus Tuiasosopo if we get lucky, and you KNOW I'm praying for that kind of good luck. Jesus, has there been a year with more gawdawful backup QBs playing than this? Steelers giving nine in Oakland, what's your take?
CJ: My take? Maybe, just maybe, the Steelers are better off with Batch in there right now. I don't think Roethlisberger has been right since he was tackled by a Toyota Camry. The Raiders may have beaten the Cards, but they can't put up much of a fight here. Steelers 30-Raiders 12.
Boy Genius: Agreed, I can't see this one unfolding any other way either. Pittsburgh 27 - Oakland 10. Of course, this means you should jump all over the Raiders ("you" meaning everyone but me).
Boy Genius: By the way, here's a partial list of quarterbacks that could be playing this week: Batch, Walter, Croyle, Romo, Gradkowski, Wallace, Garrard
Boy Genius: Sickening
Dal at Car -5
CJ: Speaking of which, Sunday night is the official beginning of the Tony Romo experience. Could the Cowboys look any worse than they did last week?
Boy Genius: Gleefully, I say "YES." They're not that good, they just get the Ed Werder fellatio and the eternal blindness of optimism that befits Dallas "fans" coming into every week. It's emotionally satisfying to everyone else when they're looking for their QB of the Future by week eight, isn't it? Dallas getting five, Carolina at home, there's no way the Boys win and I'm betting no cover. Panthers 24 - NAMBLA's Team 13.
CJ: I hope you're right, I want the Cowboys to find new and interesting ways to suck. At least when my Eagles lose, it's heartbreaking. When the Cowboys lose, it make their fans sick with disgust. I think this week brings much of the same. If the Dallas O-line couldn't block the Giants, imagine what Julius Peppers will do. We might see Bledsoe back in the game yet! Panthers 21-Dallas 14.
Boy Genius: I'd like to see what happens if Parcells has a meltdown on the sideline mid-game. I know we've been waiting to see it from TO, but Billy's near the breaking point too.
NE at Min +1.5
Boy Genius: Anyway, last game of the week is the Pats visiting Minnesota on Monday night. I have some advice for my brother, who complains every week that his bets are always hinged around a single game that he manages to lose... Have this one be your game, that way you're live coming into Monday. Wouldn't that make sense? Minny giving anywhere from one to two-point-five depending on who you ask, so who are you asking?
CJ: This one confuses me, too. I guess being at home is what's got this line close for the Vikings. I just don't see it. The Patriots are rolling and shouldn't have much trouble with the offense of Brad Johnson and Chester Taylor. Give me the Pats as a road dog. New England wins 24-13.
Boy Genius: Hmm... I'm going to play the Vikes outright here. I think they're a jack-of-all-trades squad, just above-average at everything. I think they can take the Pats. Vikes 20 - Pats 17.
Locks of the Week
CJ: That's rather bold, especially once you hear my Lock of the Week (foreshadowing). But we'll start with yours. Where should we put our money?
Boy Genius: Hmm... I don't think the Chargers can cover. Play St. Louis as a road dog. You?
CJ: And I'm taking a road favorite. Give me the Pats all (Monday) night long. Not our usual great team versus terrible team "locks." Should be interesting.
Boy Genius: Absolutely, and as always, fade me immediately. Except Bob - listen when I tell you to key on the Minny game. That's that.
CJ: And good luck to anyone dumb enough to bet our picks, I know I won't!
There is no plot. It's like life. The game waxes and wanes despite my playing, sleeping, winning, or losing. It's all underground. It's all in a couple of illegal poker rooms within a 30-minute drive of my house. Online poker gives us the freedom to see thousands more hand per year. Live games, especially the ones in the illegal rooms, give us the chance to see people--nay, characters--that serve as a nucleus to a confounding human drama that surrounds the underground poker community. If it were one long story, I would write it. Instead, it's just people.More in this Poker Blog! -->
The girl with the name that means Christmas was on a flush draw. If it wasn't evident by the way she was playing her hand, it was pretty clear she needed a diamond to come off. She was singing, just loud enough for everybody to hear, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend."
Christmas lady is pretty enough, in her mid-30s, and a lover of domestic beer. She's tight, friendly, and void of negative emotion. She knows how to deal with bullshit and she doesn't care if she's giving off a tell bigger than the room. Oddly, no one noticed her singing but Snake and me, neither of whom was in the hand.
"Do you know who sang that song?" Snake asked. His voice was all New York City. We know his name because it is tattooed in the soft part of his throat, where a doctor would punch a hole for a tracheotomy. He wore a t-shirt with cut-off sleeves.
Christmas had drank more beer on this night than she usually did. Taking her eyes off the cards for a second, she laughed, "Janet Jackson?"
Snake looked like mildly disgusted. Or depressed. It was hard to tell. His face looked like it had launched a thousand Harleys and his skin looked like it rarely saw light. Prison-skin, I thought at the time.
A few other people asked "Which song?" and then ventured guesses that ranged from the inspired to the ridiculous. Snake didn't shake his head or sigh. His eyes told the whole story.
After Christmas had missed her flush and mucked, she turned to Snake. "So, who sang it?"
Snake's eyes went a little dreamy. It was the look of an old man remembering the war. The permanent paint that spanned the length of Snake's thick arms told a story of a hard life, one spent fighting and fucking and riding until it was time to quit drinking. But his eyes, they told a tale of times gone by, of lonely nights, and of the one time he cried.
"Marilyn Monroe," he said.
The players "ahhhh"-ed appreciatively and then looked at their hole cards.
A little softer, Snake said, "You wanna see her?"
I thought I knew what he meant. His life story was painted up and down his arms, on the back of his neck, on his throat. I knew Norma Jean was somewhere on his body.
Snake reached down and pulled his left pant leg up to his knee. In the shadow of the poker table, I saw her. The Blonde Bombshell, in perfect strokes, stared out from stage right on his shin. And she had company. Bogey, straight out of Casablanca, was at stage left. In the orchestra pit, near Snake's black dress sock, was Elvis.
Christmas' husband and I stared, maybe a little too long, then complimented the work. Snake said he'd had it done in Anaheim. While he talked, I wondered how a man with such a thick New York accent had made it all the way across country to California, then down to the backwoods of South Carolina to play poker in an underground game. I supposed if Snake had stripped naked, I could've read the story for myself.
It wasn't long after the shin show that Snake stood and cashed out a little bit to the good. Someone asked him to stay for a little while longer.
"Can't," Snake said. He looked a little embarassed. "Got a guy coming to wax my bike in the morning."
No one said a word, but Snake seemed like he needed to offer more. "First time I've let someone else do it in my life. Gotta supervise."
And then, "My knees just can't handle it anymore."
And that was Snake, it seemed. He'd been from one coast to another on two wheels. He'd paid people to record his life from neck to foot. Whether by choice or circumstance, Snake had found his way to a community that was neither city nor Calafornia paradise. Whether he was on the lam or just tired, Snake was now playing poker and paying people to shine his ride.
Snaked walked out and we kept playing as the Harley started in the yard and sputtered into the night.
Some of the people are just people. They are the guy who sits down and within three minutes has somehow worked into the conversation that he had withdrawn his entire lifesavings the night before Krispy Kreme went public and invested it in the next day's IPO. He's the guy who doesn't notice or doesn't care when most of his opponents roll their eyes and talk about pulling out the hip-waders.
Then there's the guy who rarely wins or stays late. He invests his first half buy-in and then leaves. He's bookish, aging, and polite. On one night, he will get lucky. It will be the night that people are astounded when he hits sets four times in an hour and draws out for a 2.5 buy-in pot with an open-ender versus top two. The same man, who no one has ever heard utter a foul word in his life, is asked, "What did you eat for breakfast this morning?"
Without a beat, the 60-ish man stacks his chips, looks up, and says, "Pussy."
Then there's the guy who calls for a jack every time he is in a pot. He has hair that looks like a bad toupee but is not. He rarely speaks and has a Doyle Brunson gaze when he looks at the table. The only other interesting thing about the guy is that people call him "Jimmy Foreskin."
"One thousand dollars," he muttered.
The Greeks had walked in several hours earlier and had been playing at different tables than I had. I had no idea whether they had collectively lost $1,000 or if the guy muttering had lost $1,000 himself.
"One thousand dollars," he said again, and then looked at his buddy across the table. "One thousand dollars tonight? We could've had women, and drugs, and...women. But, no, you wanted to play cards."
Over the course of the conversation, I gathered that the Greeks were gypsies who had spent most of their life in South Carolina. One of the group seemed like he had Americanized himself very well. The other two still seemed stuck in the world of fortune telling, spells, and the art of theivery.
"We wouldn't have spent $1,000 at Platinum," the Americanized Greek protested. "No way we spend $1,000 at Platinum."
A young American kid broke into the conversation. "Why go to Platinum? Go to Nepals. Take $40 and go into the VIP room at Nepals and you'll come out one satisfied customer."
American Greek seemed to enjoy the potential debate. "No. Platinum. It's the best." Even the kid didn't seem to want to argue the issue. It was a matter of preference. But the Greek continued. "I go in the back room of Platinum--I come in my pants."
Nearly every player at the table looked up from their cards, but no one said a word.
"I do! I come in my pants," he shouted, as if we didn't believe him. "Go in the back room, come in my pants. I do!"
For the first time in hours, the table was completely quiet, as if two seconds of silence could serve as a collective, "Right on, man. Thanks for sharing."
"Florida," said the first Greek. "We could've left tonight with $1,000 and gone to Florida. Women, drugs, women. And you wanted to play cards."<-- Hide More
Due to the recent legal developments in the United States with the passage of the "SAFE Port Act", customers within the U.S. will be restricted from depositing or participating in real money games.
As of tomorrow, October 25, 2006, U.S. players will no longer be able to make deposits to ChecknRaisePoker.com. We further have been advised that by November 6th, it may happen that U.S. players may not be able to play in real money games.
We regret that we need to take these steps and sincerely hope that they are temporary.
In the interim, you are welcome to take advantage of our 100% reload bonus up to $250. Use deposit code USBONUS when making your deposit.
We are committed to investigating alternatives available to our U.S. players and we will keep you informed of our developments.
Many thanks again for your continued support of Check n Raise Poker.
The Check n Raise Team"
Just a quick warning to everyone to watch out for an e-mail scam running right now. It will come from a spoof of a NETeller support address and tell you you have received a certain amount of money from Party Poker affiliates. It will tell you that you must claim the money by clicking a link. The link takes you to a copy of NETeller's sign-in page, however, you'll note the URL is decidedly not NETeller. Chances are, you're smart enough to not get burned by this one (NETeller simply just doesn't work that way), but it's worth knowing about.
NETeller has now weighed in on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, and the news is not good. I'm not surprised, however. After all, NETeller is a publically traded company that I'm guessing makes most of its money from something other than helping a bunch of degenerates play penny poker.
What the statement basically says is that within the next 270 days, NETeller will stop making any transfers from U.S. customers to onling gaming sites. Even though it is based outside of the U.S., NETeller says it will act as though it is under U.S. jurisdiction.
As soon as the appropriate people come up with the final rules and regulations, and assuming they are rules and regulations that a company can reasonably be expected to follow, NETeller will no longer be an option for online gamblers. "Within the next 270 days" could mean next week, we just don't know. Anyone using NETeller may want to keep that in mind. Your last chance to make a deposit from NETeller to an online poker room could be just around the corner.
Again, I'm not surprised, but this will force many of us to look elsewhere. Firepay has already stopped helping online gamblers, after first raping many of them with a surprise withdrawal fee. That left NETeller. Soon, that option will no longer be available. It will remain to be seen if someone steps up to fill that void.
You can read the full statement in the extended entry:More in this Poker Blog! -->
19 October 2006<-- Hide More
Update on US position
Further to the Company' announcement on 12 October 2006, NETELLER Plc today announced the following update in the light of the action on 13 October 2006 by US President George W Bush to approve and sign into law the SAFE Port Act incorporating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 ("UIGEA" or the "Act") which includes certain provisions to prohibit "unlawful internet gambling" by restricting gambling sites from accepting certain payments from US residents.
NETELLER, a company registered outside the US, will comply with the Act and its related regulations as if it were subject to the Act's jurisdiction. This action is intended to ensure that the Company is able to continue to operate with the support of its principal commercial partners and to protect its shareholders, business partners, employees and reputation.
Various provisions of the Act, including the obligations of financial transaction providers such as NETELLER, remain unclear. This uncertainty should be largely resolved when the Secretary of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System issue the regulations they are required to prescribe within 270 days.
In view of the importance of these issues, NETELLER has accelerated its review of the Act and all other relevant laws and pertinent developments. The Company also continues to closely monitor the regulatory situation and is determining what actions to take well before the conclusion of the 270-day rulemaking period.
In the interim, US-resident customers are able to use the NETELLER service as
normal. The funds of US-resident customers are held in trust accounts and will be available for withdrawal, on demand. The ability to withdraw funds will exist
regardless of the customer's location or ability to transfer to any site.
NETELLER customers not resident in the US are not affected at all by the legislative changes in the US, and the Company will continue to operate its non-US business as normal, maintaining existing customer and merchant support across all the other markets it currently serves.
NETELLER remains focused on developing its business in line with its statedThe Company's trading update for the third quarter will be issued on Tuesday, October 31st, 2006. In the meantime, the Company will endeavour to keep shareholders informed of any material developments as and when appropriate.
strategic objectives including geographical and product diversification. The Company continues to launch localised services within the European market, most recently in Sweden and Denmark, and has plans for three further launches later this year. As well as focusing on the gaming sector outside of the US market, the Board considers the development of additional products and services for wallet users to be integral to its diversified market strategy. We expect to share more information on these initiatives in the coming months. The Company is committed to maximising shareholder value both in the short and longer term, and will explore all possible strategic alternatives, including utilising its substantial resources, to ensure the achievement of its strategic objectives.
Week 6 of the NFL season and Boy Genius and I are back again for our 4th week of picks. It's been, um, marginal at best so far. After three weeks, I'm a stellar 22-20-2 and BG is right behind me at 20-22-2. We should be better than this. The worst thing is that even if you were betting against us, you'd still be right around .500.
This week, we decided to get a jump start on the picks so that you can fully absorb them in time to make your bets. If you were to engage in that kind of illegal activity. So, without further ado, the CJ-BG football pick chat:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Buf at Det +1.5
CJ: Okay, welcome back sports gamblers. According to the U.S. Government, we are encouraging you to break the law. But since no one is crazy enough to bet our picks, I think we're fine. Let's get started, Buffao at Detroit, and the Lions are getting a point and a half. Thoughts?
Boy Genius: Hey, we get to lead off with my Lions. Faaaaaan-tastic. I thank insert-deity-of-your-choice here every day that I no longer live in Michigan and don't get weekly NFC North abominations piped into my my home. So the line opened at Lions GIVING one, now they're GETTING one. This Lions team isn't as bad as the Raiders, so even though they're currently winless I'm going to chalk them up for five wins through the rest of their schedule. That starts today. Kitna manages to look efficient, the defense gets a couple of Losman gimmies, and every snowed-in viewer in the greater Buffalo, NY area switches to their Fox affiliate by 330PM. Lions 24 - Bills 17.
CJ: I don't know what to think about Buffalo. I cerrtainly didn't expect then to give up 40 points to the Bears last week. Now they go into Detroit against a winless Lions team. I'm surprised by the volatility of this line as well. I'm also clueless here, but knowing your history on picks, guess that means I should take Buffalo to cover, 20-17.
Car at Bal -3
Boy Genius: Oh, that hurts CJ... That hurts. I'm going to forget you said that and move on to the Wooden Cigar Store Indian line of the week, dedicated to the one the Vegas boys got right from the jump. Baltimore's giving 3 to Carolina in Baltimore, and that one hasn't budged all week. Carolina has yet to find their rhythm and Baltimore got theirs derailed last Monday in Denver. Something's got to give. I think both teams can get after their opponent's QBs, and I think this is going to come down to one of these two teams making one big play each on offense and defense. Frankly, the defensive play could come from either team, but who on the Ravens is going 70 yards for a TD? I'm hesitant to pick a road dog after the couple of bad weeks I've put up here, but Carolina's a more complete team. Panthers 17 - Ravens 13. Panthers cover.
CJ: I've got a similar read on this game. There's been a lot of talk of what Steve McNair has been able to do for the Ravens, but, in reality, he hasn't been very good. He plays the safe QB role very well, but that's not going to win games against good teams (i.e. Denver) unless the Baltimore D scores, too. They won't this week, and the Panthers win 16-10.
Cin at TB +4.5
Boy Genius: We both look into the crystal ball and come up with a slugfest, which means all of you (two or three people - BOB AND DRIZZ) should be playing the OVER. Let's assume we're wrong on that one and move on to Cincy and Tampa. Hasn't this line been all over the place this week? Tampa was giving anywhere from 4.5 to 6.5 to the visiting Bengals, and as of right now you can get either 4.5 or 5.5 depending on where you want to spend your fictional gaming dollar-like credits. Whether you want to play the line at 4.5 or 5.5 take the Bengals. They're rested, they've done a good job of dealing with distractions, and they're capable of getting three picks off the young MAC QB Tampa's trotting out this week. Cincy's just got too many weapons, even for a quality defense like Tampa's to shut down. WHO DEY? 33 - Ball State 17.
CJ: I thought when this line moved from 6.5 to 4.5 that someone was shaving points. There's no reason for the line to move in Tampa's favor. I loved it at 6.5 and love it even more at 4.5. The Bucs haven't been very good this year and their close game against the Saints doesn't mean they're coming around. We'll soon learn that the Saints aren't as good as we think. And that means the Bucs aren't within a TD of the Bengals on any field. Cincy 30-Tampa 12.
Boy Genius: Hmm... I'm giving the Great Gradkowski credit for at least five more points, but we all know how good at this I've been so far, right?
Hou at Dal -13
CJ: You and me both! And I don't know if things will turn around this week. For instance, an easy bet each week should be someone to cover against the Texans. This week it's the Cowboys giving 13. Something tells me the Texans beat that spread. Carr is completing more than 70% of his passes and the Eagles showed how vulnerable the Dallas DB's are. Plus, if the Texans watched the tape, they know up the middle pressure could slow the Cowboys offense. Cowboys win 24-14, but don't cover.
Boy Genius: Shouldn't this be a rivalry game? They're in the same state and all, who do we have to talk to in order to get people to get fired up here? How about TO's position coach? Bet he's fired up. Here's the deal on this one... Houston's offense can keep them closer than 13, and I don't have faith that Bledsoe can find that kick in the stretch to pull away Secretariat-style. Julius Jones might be the biggest no-brainer fantasy football play of the week - and I think he'll get his 150 and 2 - but Bledsoe's predilection for back-breaking fumbles, sacks and INTs aren't going to cost a win, but should cost a cover. Dallas 31 - Houston 20. Line's just too damn wide.
NYG at Atl -3
Boy Genius: Since we're nearing in on your boys, and I know how excited you are to go to N'awlins to see them, I'll intro the next tilt. You know, I actually have NYC Fox to go with Philly's affiliate here, which means I get this game along with the Eagles/Saints tilt we'll talk about in a minute. This is the first time all season I'm going to have a difficult time figuring out what game to watch. It's not that the NFC East is growing on me, just that between Vick and Reggie Bush, I've got potential for some significant excitement in the 1PM hour. Atlanta's a three point favorite at home to New York, and I think that's about right. The Falcons have been nigh unstoppable on the ground, which means that Mikey doesn't have to worry about his semi-worthless WR corps making a play in a key situation. They've got plenty of second-and-shorts to look forward to. I think the strength of the Giants' D - their line - would seemingly be a neutralizing factor, but Vick is out of the pocket so quick that the Giants' stellar DEs are going to be in chase-mode all afternoon. Atlanta's D is also just good enough to not be a liability, and Abraham is scheduled to start. I like the Falcons - barely - 24-20.
CJ: As usual, for the Giants, the game will come down to what Eli Manning can do. Sometimes he looks like Peyton, other times he looks like Health Shuler. When get gets off to slow starts, the Giants become too one-dimensional and they can't effectively use all of their weapons. I think that happens again this week as Atlanta jumps out to an early lead. Should be a lot of points, but the Falcons cover, 30-24.
Phi at NO +3
CJ: Now on to the big game of the week!
Boy Genius: Oy
CJ: I'll be there, rooting on my Eagles. Their giving three points to the Saints in the Superdome. Everyone is saying this is a letdown game for Philly, but that just means they don't know Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb well. The Eagles are the better team, and Jim Johnson will devise a defense to control Reggie Bush. I don't think they'll have trouble covering. Eagles win 30-17.
Boy Genius: I'm sensing an uh-oh type of game for the juggernaut Eagles this week. New Orleans is playing confident, nearly possessed football, and I can't imagine any team wanting to walk into a Superdome filled with emotion this season. I've seen a couple of pundits picking the Saints outright here, but I don't know if I can go that far. But I don't think there's a person outside of the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area who's not rooting for a great, great game here (present company excluded). I think we get one here. Philly has a little letdown off a big emotional win against Dallas, and runs into a confident New Orleans squad. I'm thinking the Eagles win, but it's tight. Philly 28 - N'awlins 27.
Sea at StL +3
Boy Genius: I'm actually looking forward to the other marquee matchup in the NFC this week, which has got to be the most under-the-radar big game so far this season.
Boy Genius: Is Seattle capable of getting back to the big dance? Is St. Louis for real? No and yes. The Rams aren't just going to cover... they're going to win. Seattle's going to be geared up for this one, coming off that Bears embarrassment, but St. Louis is better than they've been the last couple of years - and they've played the Hawks tight year in and out. Bulger is efficient, Steven Jackson is leading the league in rushing, and Leonard Little will get keyed up and notch three sacks tomorrow. St. Louis all the way, winning this one 27-19.
Boy Genius: Oh, and the line is Seattle giving three as a road favorite. Whaddaya think?
CJ: It is an interesting line. Six of the 13 games feature home dogs this week, and two of those home dogs are 4-1 (Saints and Rams). Seattle is not as good a team as they were last year. That much is clear. I suppose it could be losing Hutchinson, I don't know. I do know that Shaun Alexander is out again and that's bad news for the Seahawks. Steven Jackson is healthy, and the dome isn't an easy place to play. I agree, Rams win outright 27-21.
Boy Genius: Whoo hoo! There's a dawg for you, now
go lay some money down at Bodog ignore this "spread" they keep talking about and root for your favorite teams, or just a gosh darn well-played game! Praise Jesus!
Ten at Was -10.5
CJ: Ha! That brings us to one of the least interesting games of the week. It's the last place Titans at the last place Redskins. The home team is giving 10.5 points. Can the Redskins really be favored by 10.5? Against anyone other than the Raiders. Last time I checked, the Titans actually put a scare in the Colts... and the Redskins aren't half the team the Colts are. I'm not ready to predict an upset (although the Titans have to win eventually), but the Skins won't cover, winning 17-13.
Boy Genius: Interesting? Yawn, booor-ring. Can we skip the aging and overrated Gibbsians versus the gawdawful shotgun attack of the Toothless Titans? No? Well, I'll make it quick then. I think Tennessee did the right things last week by sneaking Vince into the starting lineup as well as sticking with the shotgun. Indy wasn't prepared - but Washington will be. I smell a blowout here with a significant Vince regression paving the way. Skins 17 - Titans 6. Next.
KC at Pit -6.5
CJ: Next woudl be KC at Pittsburgh. Two teams moving in opposite directions.
Boy Genius: I'm really not sure what to make of this line. Hasn't Huard been playing efficient football? Can you say the same about Roethlisberger? LJ doesn't sit this week after nearly getting his head torn off by a Cardinals DB, but Pittsburgh guard Kendall Simmons leaves the icepack on five extra minutes and is scratched with frostbite? I'm sorry, motorcycle accident + appendix burst + icepack frostbite + Friday the 13th leads me to wonder.
Boy Genius: But the one thing I think about this game is that we're due for a "Dammit, we're the Champs" statement game from the Steelers, and I think that happens Sunday. Pittsburgh puts their foot down in a big way, 27-13.
CJ: Roethlisberger has zero TD's and 7 INT's this year. Hard to believe considering the two year run he's been on. Huard, on the other hand, has 5 TD's and zero INT's in his three starts so far. He's also completing nearly 20% more of his passes. I frankly won't trust picking the Steelers again until Roethlisberger proves he's ready to win, and 6.5 is definitely too many points. Chiefs win outright 24-13.
Mia at NYJ -2
Boy Genius: Wow, that's quite a limb there. I don't see KC having the stones to hang in a big game, but that's just me. Speaking of big games... Wait, how are the Jets favored against anyone but Tennessee, Oakland and maybe Detroit? I don't care if Miami is starting Joey (Fucking) Harrington, how do they give two to anyone?
CJ: Well, it probably has to do with the fact that they're playing a team that failed to get by the Texans. That says an awful lot about the Miami Dolphins. Culpepper was terrible, and Harrington isn't much better. That makes the talented Ronnie Brown a non-factor, and the Miami D can't win if it's on the field all day long. The Jets don't have much trouble here winning 20-3.
Boy Genius: To channel Joe Theismann, when you play a game in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, sometimes it comes down to NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE players who can make NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE plays. And the Dolphins have more players who are NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PLAYERS. Jesus, these are the JETS we're talking about here. Can we keep our eyes on the ball? How in the hell are they giving points to the Dolphins, even at home? No. Freaking. Way. Dolphins win 20-17. I will not argue this.
SD at SF +9.5
CJ: Fine, I won't argue. I'm just content in knowing there's a lot of money to be won with the Jets now. How about San Diego at San Fran. Can we argue that?
Boy Genius: This line went from 7 to 9.5 this week, and I can't say that I blame bettors for jumping all over the Chargers on this one. Even though they're going on the road, they're well-equipped to neutralize Frank Gore and put the game in Alex Smith's hands. And we all know what that means, right? Should be a long day for Niners fans. I'm all about San Diego here, and feel good betting them at single digits on the line here. Chargers 31 - Niners 20.
CJ: Yeah, this should be one of the easy bets of the week. The opening line was a joke. If Alex Smith has to win the game, it'll get ugly real fast. The only weapon in the air anymore is Antonio Bryant, and he's one loose screw away from being a less-talented T.O. I love the Chargers here 31-14.
Boy Genius: Totally, they're going to harrass Smith into a couple picks, and I'd set the line of Niners overall versus only the scoring of the Charger D/Special Teams at Niners -7, so you know we're not looking at anything but a blowout here.
Oak at Den -14
Boy Genius: So here's a tidbit...
Boy Genius: I wasn't the first person to notice this, so I'm not trying to take credit for being clever, but how does a team averaging 12 points per game over their first four end up giving two touchdowns on the spread? Oh, when Oakland's involved, that's how. The one truth I have yet to see blow up in my face this season is that Oakland cannot cover any spread, no matter how unreasonable it sounds. Denver gets their offensive explosion this week, wins and covers - 15-0.
CJ: There's a good chance this week that more people watch women's bowling on ESPN 2 than watch Sunday Night Football, especially if the South American hottie wears something low cut. Is anyone really going to watch this game beginning to end? I refuse to pick the Raiders to beat a spread against anyone. It's just not going to happen. Denver 20-Oakland 3.
Chi at Ari +11
Boy Genius: There's a hot bowler? Really? So long as they don't call her "The Next Kournikova," I'll let it slide. So we're in agreement on Denver kicking the crap out of Oakland, how about Monday night's game to wrap it up?
CJ: When was the last time both Sunday night and Monday night football featured double-digit favorites? Not a good weekend for prime-time football. It's clear after 5 weeks that the Bears are THE GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM OF ALL-TIME! I like where the Cardinals are going, and all, with the Leinart campaign, but the Bears defense will feast on the kid. Bears keep rolling 27-7.
Boy Genius: Boy, this game probably looked a lot better in network meetings in August than it does now, eh? If you had told me then that the Bears would give the Cards 11 in Tempe eight weeks ago, I'd have called you nuts. But now you've got Grossman on fire, an all-world D, and Matt Leinart. Shake well before opening, lather, rinse, repeat. I can't see the Cards keeping Alex Brown and Tommie Harris out of the backfield, I can't see Edge going for more than 50 yards on the ground, and I can't see Arizona hanging 17 points. Chicago moves another step towards immortality, 31-10.
Lock of the Week
Boy Genius: So who's your LOCK OF THE WEEK?
CJ: There's plenty to choose from this week, but I gotta look west and pick the San Diego Chargers to cover 9.5 in San Francisco.
Boy Genius: I'll look West, but climbing them Rockies gets a bettor tired. I'll settle with Denver over Oakland by 14, and keep riding the anti-Raider train until they prove me wrong.
CJ: Can't go wrong there! Of course, with us picking, you can go very wrong. I'd advise our millions of readers to find the games we picked the same, and bet against them.
Boy Genius: Absolutely... as always, fade me immediately.
Boy Genius: Oh, and good luck.
With a stroke of his pen, President Bush vowed to "win this war on terror." Apparently, that meant making it harder for Americans to gamble online. When I think about stopping al Qaida, the first thing that comes to mind is Party Poker.
We knew this day was coming. And just after 10am ET, the SAFE Port Act became law. It's a law designed to keep nuclear, chemical and biological weapons from entering the United States by boat. Of course, if it's as effective as airport security, terrorists have nothing to worry about.
So in the end, a bill that will be largely ineffective at keeping us any safer has been used to attack our personal liberties. In fact, the President didn't even mention the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act during the signing ceremony.
What does this mean? It means some companies with whom you previously did business will no longer take your money. They include FirePay and some online poker rooms.
For example, Party Poker has officially pulled the plug on its American customers. Anyone hoping for an 11th hour reversal by the one-time giant can now start cashing out.
Interestingly, when Party turned out the lights for American customers, it also turned out the lights on what was once a ubiquitous player count at the bottom of its screen. Suffice it to say, seat selection is a lot easier now.
What's next? The Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department have 270 days to develop the regulations banks and business will need to follow. The language of the bill actually gives banks some protection from liability and unreasonable regulations. In the next few months, we'll learn more about the practical application of the bill.
For more information on this bill, check out our FAQ on the Online Gambling Bill.
Now that PokerStars has announced its intentions to remain part of the United States online poker market, many of you are likely planning on moving your cash there. To help you out with your move, here are a couple of links (and a special little treat) to help you out.
**Sign up at PokerStars (use bonus code FirstSep2006 for a $50 deposit bonus until December 31st if you are making your first deposit).
**Here is a custom anti Bill Frist PokerStars avatar you can use at PokerStars if you're looking to express yourself. Here are some modified instructions from the PokerStars site.
1. Open your PokerStars software, click "Account" and the "Select/Change Image" then click "Change Image"
2. Find the frist-pokerstars image on your desktop
3. Click on that file, and press Open.
4. Please wait while the selected image is loaded into memory locally to display.
5. Now you need to drag the selection box over the area of the image you wish to display. The smaller window at right shows you what image will appear at the table.
6. Once you are satisfied with the image in the smaller window, press OK. Once your image has been screened for suitability, it will show up along with your User ID (nickname) at the tables.
Note, PokerStars only allows you to change your image once, so if you have already changed your image or don't want to be stuck with an image of Bill Frist for the rest of your PokerStars career, this might not be for you.<-- Hide More
PokerStars isn't going anywhere!
Here is their statement:
As you are probably aware, the United States Congress recently enacted the Safe Port Act which contains provisions relating to Internet gambling.
PokerStars has received extensive expert advice from within and outside the U.S. which concluded that these provisions do not alter the U.S. legal situation with respect to online poker. Furthermore it is important to emphasize that the Act does not in any way prohibit you from playing online poker.
Therefore, our business continues as before - open to players worldwide including the US. You may play on our site as you did prior to the Act.
PokerStars believes that poker is a game of skill enjoyed by millions of players and we remain committed to providing you a safe and fun environment in which to play.We value your loyalty to PokerStars, and look forward to continuing to serve you with the best online poker experience, as we have for the past five years, six billion hands, and 40 million tournaments.
PokerStars joins Full Tilt Poker in saying this bill will have no effect on our ability to enjoy our online poker experience. Party Poker sucked anyway, right?
More fallout, here's a statement from FirePay:
SUBJECT: New FirePay policy for US account holders
On September 30, 2006, the United States Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
Once President Bush approves the Act, FirePay (www.firepay.com) will no longer allow US consumer payments for online gambling merchants.
Beginning the day President Bush signs the Act, FirePay will decline any purchase transactions from US FirePay account holders at any gambling merchant site.
Ten days after President Bush signs the Act, FirePay will decline any transfer attempt made by any online gambling merchant to a US FirePay account.All US FirePay accounts holders will continue to be able to make purchases and receive payments from non-gambling, online merchants, as well as "Deposit From" and "Withdraw To" their US bank account.
CJ's Thoughts: I'm glad I signed up with Neteller instead of Firepay, but I wonder if there's pressure on Neteller to do the same. I guess that's why I pulled most of my money offline except for a small stash at FTP and Stars.
I played in a $170 live underground event in G-Vegas yesterday and finished a disappointing 13th out of 51. It was an afternoon of poker not to be remembered. However, as I looked around the room at the wide variety of players from all different walks of life, I realized that the poker community in my neck of the woods is pretty active. In fact, just before the tournament started, the organizer took the time to recognize three people in the room who had done very well in recent major events, including one guy who had just won about $100,000 in a WSOP circuit event.More in this Poker Blog! -->
While I folded my way to a non-cash, I couldn't help but wonder if the rest of the U.S. is like this. I know the bigger cities have thriving communities--Dallas and New York are two that come to mind. However, I don't hear much about the medium-sized cities and if their poker community is as vibrant.
For instance, I don't make the rounds like most people around here. My head is not in the game and if I want to stay married, I need to stay home a lot more (the two not being mutually exclusive, by the way). However, if my wife were to run off with Derek Jeter and I didn't up and moving to some place where poker is legal, I could play just about every night of the week if I wanted to. There are at least five card room operators within driving distance. There are more games popping up every day. There are two or three tournaments a week in which you can spend as little as $30 and as much as $700 for a single event. And if all else fails, there are more home games than you'll ever want.
There was a time a few years ago in which home games were about our only choice. We played for small stakes and treated it as a social event, like going out to play golf or pick up women. Now, those of us who have been playing together for a while have gotten to the point to which it is undoubtedly -EV to be hosting or visiting each other's home games. We don't dial down the stakes and, recently, it's not been uncommon to see players win and lose six buy-ins in one night of poker. While I still enjoy the company, it's wild to play against people you know so well.
(The following section is really Inside G-Vegas Baseball and isn't really important to the discussion here. Read it if you want, but otherwise move on to the end)
For instance, I hadn't planned on playing Friday night, but it was G-Rob's birthday and The Mark put together a game that was half social and half bloodbath. And speaking of Blood, the guy ran over all of us. In one memorable hand, Blood came in for a raise from the cutoff. G-Rob called in the small blind and I called in the big blind with a weak jack. The flop game jack high with two clubs. I made a decision to win the pot before another card came, but I knew it wouldn't be as easy as just betting out. G-Rob was on tilt and calling all bets. Blood had killed off half the game and was sitting behind the amount of money that I spent on my laptop and big TV combined. G-Rob checked, I checked, and Blood bet out. I read the bet as a desire to win the pot right there. Blood didn't want action. G-Rob called. That night, calling was not uncommon for him and I figured him for clubs. My problem was, I was weak. I had top pair no kicker. I put in a fairly substantial raise. In retrospect, it committed me and I failed to realize it. Before I had time to think about it, Blood had re-raised enough to put me all in. G-Rob folded. Doing the math later, I think I had to call. Nonetheless, after a lot of thought, I re-evaluated the hand, put Blood on an overpair, and mucked.
Blood said a few minuted later that he had pocket tens. That is, I had him beat. "I put you on putting me on missing the flop, so I represented the overpair," he said.
Now, given, we are no poker geniuses and this is the kind of play that takes place everywhere in America. Still, Blood put a Level 3 move on me that he would only put on me and a couple of other people. He knew how I had read him and he twisted my mind to believe what he wanted me to believe. Looking back, I think he was getting me back for making him lay down an overpair two nights earlier when I had ace-high. Regardless, when you're consistently playing with people who know you well enough to know what you're thinking most of the time, it's just not a recipe for making money. It's stimulating and it makes you a better player, but it doesn't make you a lot of money. Unless you're Blood, who is currently enjoying the heater we all pass around (I want it back).
With that kind of thing in mind, we're all sort of re-evaluating whether we want to keep playing with each other. One of us has explicitly said he won't do it ever again. Me, I'm torn. I know I can win more money in the underground games, but I also play to be able to see my buddies.
But, the reason I started this post in the first place was to ask...what is your city like? Do you have a vibrant underground scene full of characters, criminals, and geniuses? Because we in G-Vegas do.
So...what say you?<-- Hide More
We'r'e back for NFL Week 5, and the third week of picks for Boy Genius and I. Last week, BG finished 4-10 and I did only slightly better at 6-8. It was ugly. For the year, BG is 13-17 and I'm 16-14. Not exactly gonna get rich betting with those records!
Undaunted, we go once more into the breech! There are some big games on the schedule and we are confident this week will be better. (It almost has to be, right? If it's not, I'm going to let Swirl pick for me next week).
Anyway, here they are:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Boy Genius: Good morning CJ. You know, I had a rough week last week and I'd like to open up with an apology and a disclaimer. The apology? To anyone who followed my picks, as I may have hit three for fourteen last week. The disclaimer? I always always advise fading me on sports bets.
CJ: We're all allowed a mulligan. And you're right, you warned them. Not that I was much better.
Buf at Chi -9.5
Boy Genius: We're going to set it right this week though, and we'll open up with one of the biggest spreads of the week - the invincible Bears against the Losman-led Buffalo Bills - Bears at home giving ten. What's your thoughts?
CJ: This is an easy one, right? The Bears are the best team in the NFC with the best defense, perhaps, in all of football. Grossman is playing like an MVP and the Bears' running game hasn't even gotten rolling. The Bills? J.P. Losman-led. I'll take Chicago 24-9.
Boy Genius: Big day for Rian Lindell (or whoever's kicking for the Bills then)? I'm with you. The Bears can shut down McGahee, and if the Bills can't set up the pass with the run, the Bears will be able to tee off on Losman all day. I think the Bears win and cover, but Grossman comes back to earth a bit. 21-10 Bears, with the Bears D getting one score.
Cle at Car -7.5
CJ: Big lines seem to be all over the place today, with the Cleveland Browns getting 7.5 in Carolina. Are the Panthers back?
Boy Genius: I couldn't possibly tell you. I can figure that with a banged up Cleveland secondary that Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson are poised for big games, but the Panthers D has been under-performing their pedigree all season so far. I hope they shake the cobwebs out, and I think they can give the Browns more trouble than the Raiders did last week. Carolina covers, 31-20.
CJ: Michael Irvin, who's a world-reknowned idiot, suggested Steve Smith is the league MVP because the Panthers are 0-2 without him and 2-0 with him. Of course, the world isn't as simple as it is in Irvin's head, but he's got a bit of a point. Carolina is a different team with Smith in there and better on both sides of the ball than the Browns. I'm not worried about the fact the line moved from -9 to -7.5, that just means it's easier to cover, Carolina 27-13.
Det at Min -6.5
Boy Genius: Irvin is a retard, but at least you're still in my good graces by agreeing with me yet again. Now, I'm sorry to have to bring the conversation to a screeching halt, but it's time to talk about the Lions. This is the time of year that Lions fans either have to start calling for the coach's head or praying openly for the first pick in the draft. We always have problems in the Metrodome and the Vikes are giving us 6.5. Do we have a shot at #1 overall? Can we run the table? Do we keep it going here?
CJ: Wow, that's a tall order. If you think the Lions have a shot at being as bad as the Raiders or Titans, you're sorely mistaken. I'm torn on this game. The Vikings started out great, but have come up short the last two weeks. In fact, they've been outscored this year overall. The Vikings do enough, but they fail to cover 24-20.
Boy Genius: I think the Lions have found their offense, and they'll find that maddening pattern of win some / lose some that has kept them picking outside the top five more often than they've deserved in recent times. I'm going Lions outright today, 31-28.
Mia at NE -10
Boy Genius: But you want to hear something funnier? I just picked up Joey Harrington in my fantasy league. He's STARTING for the Dolphins against the Pats. The line's NE -10 in Foxboro, isn't Harrington good for -16.5 at least?
Boy Genius: I can't imagine this game falling right for the Dolphins. Take it from a guy who watched Harrington's every snap for five years (or four, felt like longer). New England 27 - Miami 10.
CJ: This might be early favorite for pick of the week. The Patriots ripped up a hell of a Bengals team last weeek. They'll do the same and worse to the Dolphins, 30-7.
Stl at GB +3
CJ: It looks like the NFL was nice enough to match up the two teams our favorite teams played last week.
Boy Genius: Green Bay looked pretty bad in their loss, St. Louis barely held off a charging Lions team. Pack and Rams appear to be moving in opposite directions and Green Bay's getting three at Lambeau. What about Packer Pride?
CJ: I wonder how much Packer's fans care right now. This season is all about Favre's swan song. There's no way in hell he comes back next year. The fans actually seem willing to accept a season of lowered expectations, and the Rams will oblige. St. Louis 23-Green Bay 17.
Boy Genius: Nothing like a home dog to try and make some cash. I'm totally onboard with the Brett Favre fall from grace theory, but even an old magician still knows a few tricks. He's got enough talent to keep them in the game, and you know he doesn't want to look bad in front of his home crowd. Is it enough for a Packer win? Well, no. But could they get themselves in a shootout just like the Lions did? Absolutely. I kinda like the over (46.5) here, but can't see the Pack covering. STL 34 - GB 27.
TB at NO -6.5
CJ: The Saints came back down to earth a bit last week, but can you blame them? Who really could have been up for a game following that Monday Night game in the Superdome. And, really, it's not like the Panthers blew them out. Now the JV Bucs come to town.
Boy Genius: In a million years could you have predicted this line three weeks ago? New Orleans giving a touchdown to the Bucs? Even in the Superdome? Maybe this kid Gradkowski's got something to do with that, maybe Caddy Williams' back spasms are worse than we thought, maybe the Saints really are on a roll here. But I'm floored by this line. Have to take it with a grain of salt, and I'm thinking Gruden knows what he's doing with QBs. Play not to lose. Saints get the win, will have a hard time covering. NO 27 - TB 24.
CJ: It's about time we disagreed. Maybe you have to be down here to feel the spirit. Whatever it is, the Saints have it this year. They've outscored their opponents by 29 points in 4 games, an average of about a TD. The average goes up against a really bad Tampa Bay team. Saints win and cover, 30-10.
Ten at Ind -18
Boy Genius: Wow, an offensive explosion in the Bayou... I'll be impressed. Moving on, how bad are the Titans? Start two of the Vince Young era, and every gambler on the planet seems to think he's a three-score dog. Indy's at home and giving 18 points to Tennessee, and somehow I see this line and think it's pretty fair. Do you think Vince might actually thrive if they put him in a shootout?
CJ: Good question, I'm just not sure a game in the Dome is a good spot for him. Remember, the Colts are notorious for pumping in artificial sound and Vince had enough trouble without having a hearing problem. I think the line seems fair, just not sure I want to bet it. I could easily see it being Colts 41-Titans 17, but what if the Colts don't get that last TD? If you're betting it, take Indy.
Boy Genius: I'm thinking 17 points is the number here. The Titans will put a couple touchdowns up, but they won't keep Manning out of the endzone. Addai will get a ton of clock-chomping carries in the second half, and this will be a nip and tuck battle to see if there's a cover as the game winds down. Indy gets the win 34-17.
CJ: We're on the same page there, and if you're betting it, keep an eye out for Indy giving 17, the line is on the move.
Was at NYG -5.5
CJ: Now to the BIG, BIG, BIG NFC East matchup! The Skins at the Giants! [/sarcasm]
Boy Genius: This Giants/Skins line confuses me. Giants are giving 5.5 as a home favorite to the Skins, and while I think they'll get the win, this is the type of confounding line that would have me walking right by to find some easier money. Call this my DARTBOARD PLAY OF THE DAY, take the Giants and the points as they come out with a win 24-18.
CJ: I'm confused by this game all the way around. The Skins aren't nearly as good as they looked last week against the Jags, and the Giants are team turmoil, getting their bye week after a brutal loss to Seattle. None of that helps me make this pick. Something tellsme we've got a road dog that's going to pull out a win. Skins 20-Giants 17.
KC at Ari +3.5
Boy Genius: Very interesting... I hate these could-go-either-way NFC East slugfests. Let's go on to something easier. KC heads to Arizona, and is actually a road favorite giving 3.5 to the Cards. Kansas City comes off a huge shutout of an upstart Niners team that did nothing right last week, and Arizona continues to wallow in mediocrity. Huard! Leinart! It's the NFL on CBS! Christ almighty, I feel sorry for anyone in the hinterlands who has to watch this tripe on TV, but I think this is a very bettable game. Leinart couldn't ask for a softer spot (um, maybe Oakland) to make his first start, as KC's D isn't all that tough. What say you?
CJ: As Lee Corso would say... not so fast my friend! KC has the third ranked defense in all of football! Is this really a good spot? The good news is that Leinart doesn't have to play at Arrowhead. Now THAT would be a tall orrder. Either way, 3.5 isn't going to be enough. Huard won't put up 40+ again, but it won't be close, KC 33-Arizona 16.
Boy Genius: I totally agree. There's no way Leinart notches a win here, and I think even asking for a cover might be out of his reach. KC won't have to come after him, they'll get two picks and a fumble recovery out of base defensive sets. I wouldn't want to see Kurt Warner's smug I-Told-You-So face after this one. KC will win big, 27-10.
NYJ at Jax -6.5
CJ: Jacksonville is looking for a bounce back game after their disappointing play against Washington. Do they get it at home against the Jets?
Boy Genius: Jets and Jags, not exactly the glamorous national TV matchup CBS hoped for this week (we're actually getting Buffalo/Chicago here). I think the Jets are worse than they look, and the Jags a hell of a lot better than their 2-2 record indicates. Pennington faces a real pass rush today and there's no way he stays clean today. Jax will pick a couple of his wobblers, Mo-Jo-Dru lights 'em up in spot duty, and the Jags D brutalizes the Jets all day. Jags giving 6.5 at home, and they'll cover that easily. Jags 27 - Jets 13.
CJ: I always worry about any prediction that involves the Jags covering easily. They're a team that always seems to be one 4th quarter play from winning or losing. If this were in New York, I might suggest the Jets could win outright. All that said, I do think we'll have a cover here. Jax 20-Jets 13.
Oak at SF -3.5
Boy Genius: Speaking of glamorous national TV matchups, Oakland heads across the bay to San Francisco. This should be fun, kinda like watching someone slowly drown in quicksand. Is that giant sucking sound I hear coming from the West Coast? Can the home Niners cover the three they're giving Oakland as easily as I think they can?
CJ: Tell me there's a West Coast MLB playoff game today! California should really have something else to think about. On days like this, they should schedule a USC game on Sunday. But back to the game. 3.5 points!?!?!? Haven't we established that the Raiders must get at least a TD from every team in football? Niners cover 24-10.
Boy Genius: I wouldn't take Oakland as a one TD favorite against Ohio State. That's a push. This here's my LOCK OF THE DAY, and I'll stand by picking against Oakland until Andrew Walter magically turns into Kenny Stabler. Niners win 17-10. I'll let you set the stage for your boys, have at it.
Dal at Phi -1.5
CJ: Well, if you haven't heard, there's a game in Philly this week. I'm not sure it's been mentioned on any of them sports shows this week. Dallas comes to town, and, apparently, there's some subplot involving a wide receiver? Care to fill me in?
Boy Genius: Supposedly there's some author of children's books who's about to be pelted by 9 volt batteries.
CJ: The line is just 1.5. That suggests that if the game were played somewhere else, the Cowboys would be favored instead. I can't be trusted to be impartial on this game, but the Eagles will be the better team on the field today. It won't be a blowout, but Philly will be in control. Your final: Philly 24-Dallas 20.
Boy Genius: Hmm... So many other lines to play on this one, why do we care about point spreads and over/unders? What's the line on the league-mandated network delay on the profanity dump button? Over/under on the number of prescription pill bottles (filled with batteries, naturally) that land within three feet of TO on the sideline? I love the pick 'em nature of this one, and every fiber of my being says to pick the Eagles to cover. Naturally, I'm going with the Cowboys then. I'll take Dallas to win outright 24-20, with TO actually landing one of those TDs and breaking into tears in the post-game press conference.
CJ: The subplots should be fun, never underestimate the wit and ferocity of an Eagles crowd.
Pit at SD -3
CJ: There's a pretty good game on Sunday night, too, Pittsburgh getting 3 in San Diego.
Boy Genius: This one has a lot of potential to be the best game on today's card. Gotta like the matchups here. Roethlisberger vs. Rivers, Merriman vs. Polamalu, Gates vs. Miller. I'll be watching. Am I on the right track to think this line is wrong?
CJ: Are you suggesting the Steelers should be favored on the road? Or that the Chargers aren't giving enough?
Boy Genius: Chargers aren't giving enough. This is probably the best team in the league, the Steelers are riding on reputation, and I smell a statement game brewing. Rivers has a monster game and San Diego wins 27-13.
CJ: Good, I was worried you were completely off this game. The Steelers reputation has affected every line this year. San Diego is the superior team and LT, as usual, will be the best player on the field. Rotheliesberger hasn't been the same since his wreck, and he doesn't get healthy this week. San Diego 30-10.
Bal at Den -4
Boy Genius: Last one is the Monday night tilt with Baltimore heading in to Denver. Overrated versus Underrated. Denver's a four point favorite, which sounds like a fair price to me. Do you think Plummer puts the Denver offense back on the rails?
CJ: Against Ray Lewis and company? Not a chance. The ESPN crew shatters the O/U on number of shots of Jay Cutler standing on the sidelines after Plummer mistakes. Baltimore is my second road dog pick of the week, winning 20-9.
Boy Genius: Hmm... Yeah, we're going opposite directions on this one too. I think Baltimore's got a lot of momentum, but Denver's got something to prove. Denver always plays well in the spotlight, and I think Denver gets the win, if not the cover, in an awfully close game - 24-23 Broncos.
Locks of the week
Boy Genius: So who's your lock of the week?
CJ: There are a couple of choices out there. I'm going to stick with my gut reaction to the schedule and say New England giving 10 to the Joey Harrington-led Dolphins.
Boy Genius: You're way off. It's Oakland only getting 3.5 from San Fran. They'd need two TDs for me to feel comfortable giving them a chance to cover. Niners Niners Niners.
CJ: Can't argue with that.
Boy Genius: By the way? I couldn't do worse than I did last week, so I'm figuring on at least .500 on my picks this week.
Boy Genius: It's just up to you to figure out where I'm wrong, and good luck with that.
CJ: I'll refrain from actually betting our picks this week to give us a better chance of winning. Good luck at the windows!
Boy Genius: Fade me immediately, and good luck!
I'd like to say I was distracted by the blonde in the white tank top with the great breasts, but she wouldn't show up three tables over until later. No, I'm fresh out of excuses. I got my money in the worst of it and, well, you know what happened.
I'd recount the betting action for you except for the fact that 1) it's all a bit of a blur and, 2) it's boring. Suffice to say, I held pocket 10s, the board read Q72, and I was about to put not one, but two other players all in. These are two players that had either raised my post-flop feeler bet or called said raise.
But maybe I should back up a moment...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Don was having the worst luck I'd seen in a long time. I sometimes get the feeling I'm like a black hole of luck... so massive that I suck in the luck from everyone else. Don was sitting on my right, rather close to the event horizon.
I got the sense he owned a bait store. Maybe it was the worn jeans and the flannel shirt... or the old-man-and-the-sea beard... or the bait-store-owner-like demeanor. Of course, it could be his hat that said "Don's Bait Store."
Don had an uncanny ability to get dealt a deuce in the big blind. It happened just about every orbit and became a running joke. If you think the naked ace is a bad hand, imagine getting naked deuce after naked deuce.
I never got the other's guy name. Maybe it's for the best. Do you really want to get the name of the guy who's soul you're going to crush?
This guy was wearing a Houston Astros jersey, suggesting serious judgement issues, but I digress (if it had been a David Carr jersey, I'd have known he lacked basic common sense). Just 10 minutes earlier, I watched a donkey felt the Astros fan with a brutal two outer on the river. It was sick.
Which brings us back to where I started. My pocket 10s. I was raised and that raise was called. I had about $900 in front of me, which was more than double what I bought in for. To put them both all-in, it would cost me another $120.
But surely I was behind, right? Surely I had the worst hand, right? There is NO WAY this was a good play. And yet, I made it. And they both called. The pot was now about $600.
The Astros fan showed KQ. Of course he did. Don didn't want to show. I was so ashamed I didn't want to show either.
"Well, I laid down Queen-Ten," the 5 seat said. Yeah... thanks a lot, pal, that's exactly what I wanted to hear. There was no sense in hiding my cards any longer. Dejected, I flipped up my hand and dropped my head.
I guessed from the collective "Ohhhhhhhh!" from the table and other players who gathered exactly what had happened. The dealer pulled the only card in the deck that could win me the hand. I wanted to feel bad... Don was hemorrhaging money and Astros fan had just lost to a two-outer.
But I didn't. It was $600. I got lucky. It's what I do.<-- Hide More
The passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 --hidden deep within a bill to fight terrorism -- has opened a flurry of questions about the legality of playing and funding online poker. In fact, as of now, there are a lot more questions than answers, and even those answers seem to change from day-to-day. With that in mind, here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the online gambling bill with the answers as we know them:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Q. Is playing online poker illegal?
A. While the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is still open to a lot of interpretation and has not yet been tested in court, there currently exists no language in the measure that deems illegal the actual playing of online poker. However, some states, including Louisiana and Washington for example, have laws that could make it illegal, if it were ever enforced. Updated 10/6
Q. Which online poker sites still serve United States (U.S.) customers?
A. PokerStars, Ultimate Bet, Full Tilt Poker, Poker.com, Absolute, Doyle's Room, and BoDog have all made public statements indicating they will continue to serve U.S. players. Updated 10/11
Q. Which online poker sites no longer serve Unites States (U.S.) customers?
A.Party Poker, Pacific Poker, Paradise Poker, and all Cryptologic sites have indicated they will cease providing real money games to American players once the bill is signed by President Bush. Updated 10/13
Q. Does this law only apply to online poker?
A. No. This law also applies to sports gambling (it was strongly supported by the NFL, for example) and any other online gambling except for gambling otherwise made legal by state or federal laws. For example, online horse racing sites like Youbet and TVG are currently 100% legal, with no gray area, in most states. This law will not affect those sites. It also will not affect online purchases of state lottery tickets. State lotteries and horse racing are currently regulated and/or taxed by the states and/or federal goverments, and thus, will remain legal online as well. Updated 10/6
Q. What about the United States, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Caribbean nation of Antigua, and the dispute over online betting?
A. In 2004, the WTO sided with Antigua Barbuda in a despite over the United States' stand on internet gaming. The 2004 interim report said the U.S. could not ban internet bets. The Bush administration is keen on free trade and, thus, has to stay within the good graces of the WTO. The case has continued through several variations of Internet gambling laws in the United States and has still not come to a full resolution. If the WTO finds the United States has not been in compliance with WTO rulings, it could face sanctions. A ruling could come later in 2006. Updated 10/6
Q. Will I still be able to use NETeller to fund my online poker account?
A. NETteller has made a decision to no longer serve as a payment processor between American customers living in the U.S. and gaming sites. This decision almost immediately followed the arrest of NETeller's founders. Updated 1/17/07
Q. Will I be able to use FirePay to fund my online poker accounts?
A. FirePay ceased serving U.S. customers who wanted to fund or withdrawal from online gaming companies on Oct. 13, the day President Bush signed the UIGEA into law.Updated 10/13
Q. What can I do to help fight the online gambling ban?
A. While there is some grousing that the Poker Players Alliance dropped the ball on this one, we feel it is still the best avenue for having a collective voice in the poker world. While everyone will have to make a personal decision on this, we recommend you join the PPA. Updated 10/6
Q. Where can I find more updates on the online gambling ban?
A. Up For Poker promises to keep tabs on the latest developments and will provide commentary and news updates when they are warranted. We will also update this list of questions and answers when and if they change. For other updates, we encourage you check out some of the other efforts:
The following report was collectively compiled and written by the Up For Poker staff. This is the third of a series of such reports-- Ed.
Revealed in Congress' recent headshot to the future of online gaming is the unfortunate lack of understanding many online poker players have of the American system of government. While there are certainly many learned and well-tuned players in the online ranks, there exists a large segment of the online poker playing population that was simply oblivious to the possibility that their online livelihood could be destroyed.
This population is largely inhabited by the young online players who didn't bother to remember their civics lessons or suffered from an all-too common sense of entitlement that led them to believe they were invincible. Those who had staked their futures on the ability to indefinitely use their online poker skills are now left wondering whether they will be forced to go back to school or find a job waiting tables.
It was somewhat sad to see the 2+2 Forum's legislative updates post. While there were some very smart people updating all of us on what was happening, a majority of the posts were young folks who literally wrote, "Somebody please tell me what's going on!"More in this Poker Blog! -->
The above paragraphs are not an indictment of all online poker players. Further, it is not to suggest that we here at Up For Poker are legislative scholars or know more than any of our readers. It is simply a commentary on how we got to where we are now. For far too long, we have talked about how online poker players make up a large-enough group to have real influence. Unfortunately, a large section of that group willfully ignored how the end of their livelihood could make for fantastic political ammunition. Chief among the gun-toters in Washington was Senator Bill Frist.
Let's make no mistake about Senator Frist. He is, by definition, a legislator, a lawmaker, duly elected and within his rights. However, he is not a statesman. He is a political animal, bent on power and willing to use whatever legislative tools necessary to secure the power he believes he deserves.
While we would still caution you not to take your eye off the ball, we also believe knowing one's enemy is never a burden. So, let's take a walk through the House of Hypocrisy and see what we can see. It's not a matter of politics or Republican versus Democrat. It's a peek inside the nature of the beast.
Anyone who has tried to navigate the corridors of the American legislative system in recent days in an attempt to figure out how Senator Frist was able to sneak one past the goalie has probably figured out that, despite being slimy and disingenuous, the effort was completely within the rules of the Senate. Unlike the House, where non-germane matters are verboten in legislative debate, the Senate can pretty much do whatever it wants.
In the House, in an effort to keep matters expeditious and orderly, Representatives are forced to adhere to germaneness standards. The Senate is a different breed of donkey. Like allowing for filibusters, the Senate also allows for un-germane topics and amendments to be inserted into legislation, provided that legislation is not an appropriation or budget bill or an issue being decided under cloture (the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster). It's just the way they roll.
The importance of germaneness in the Senate is viewed by some to be critical to democracy. That is, in a climate so politically charged as the U.S. Congress, it's very simple for powerful committee chairmen to refuse to allow an issue into Senate floor debate. Hence, some important bills (pick your favorite cause) may never have a chance of passage if some committee chairman doesn't like the way your hair smells. Fortunately (or, perhaps, unfortunately) you have a means to be heard. Your Senator can add your measure to some other bill, so it can at least have some chance at a debate on the floor. While that sounds good, it also acts as a political tool by which Senators with the last name Frist can stick it in you.
In the past, Senator Frist--again, within the rules--has maintained a varying view on germaneness. In September of 1997, Democrats made an effort to establish something called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Senator Tom Harkin, bent on getting the Center, tried to attach it as an amendment to an FDA bill. Senator Frist objected on the grounds that the subject was not germane. In 2004, Frist and his fellow Senators were debating a jobs bill. Democratic Senators were looking for a long list of amendments to be added to the measure. Frist, at the time, complained of the length of time being spent on the bill and said, "Unfortunately a number of those amendments are controversial and not germane to this legislation."
Frist, while the current enemy of poker players everywhere, is not alone. In fact, many Senators are guilty of attaching non-germane riders to must-pass legislation. In recent years, much has been made about the Senate's inability to get anything done because of partisan wrangling surrounding non-germane amendments. Senator John McCain, the Senator both parties love to hate, once said, "Why don't we just go home... rather than go through this charade of telling Americans that we are legislating."
We in the journalism community, especially those of us who have spent a significant amount of time in political circles, are painfully aware of the tools used by legislators. In the coming election season, count how many times you hear, "Congressman X voted against the Bill to Save Baby Seals," or "Congressman Y refused to vote for a bill that would've given arms to the armless and given Stevie Wonder new eyes." Nearly all of what you see there will be the result of political wrangling that is perpetuated by riders.
Furthermore, like the case of the gambling bill, Senators can use riders to pimp their pet projects. Most everyone is aware that Frist likely didn't give a damn about Internet gambling until he realized he could score political favors with Rep. Jim Leach. Then it became an all-important conservative issue on which he could hang his hat. Of course, after that, he had his press release written before the vote was even official.
To further understand how Frist works in this arena, we should also remember the 2004 election year. During debate on continuing the ban on Internet taxes, Minority Leader Tom Daschle tried to tack on a rider involving incentives for ethanol production. Republicans were beside themselves and considered Daschle's election-year gambit to be beyond the pale. At the time, many people believed Frist had brought the problem on himself. Earlier that year, Frist broke an unwritten rule in the Senate and actively campaigned and raised money for Daschle's opponent, John Thune.
While the previous paragraph might sound like a digression, it's more just a peek at how important action in Congress can be derailed by partisanship. It's also a look at how important legislation can be passed or not passed based on the political whim of Congress. That same year in the Senate, Republicans were working to pass a corporate tax bill. An important bill for Republicans, it was attacked by Democrats. Senator Tom Harkin tacked on a minimum wage hike. Republicans attempted to kick such amendments out based on their lack of germaneness. In short, it's all about timing. We learned that the hard way this year.
Given the right time and attention, Senators might have been able to stop Frist's end-around. In the end, the end-around was the perfect play from a seasoned political player. We got beat, not because we aren't right, but because we failed to keep on top of Frist's political aspirations and his win-at-all-costs mentality. Now, to our own chagrin, we are forced to Monday morning quarterback.
We can all long for a day when the legislative process is one that we can respect. We can wish for a day when important measures are discussed in the sunshine and are passed on their own merit. However, so long as politics and elections rule the laws that govern our lives, we have to learn how to play the game better than our opponents. It's not ideal, but it is reality.
The simple fact is, even for the political apathist, there is a time when your government can actually affect your life. Even if you don't care about abortion, taxes, war, or human rights, your life can be dramatically altered by what happens in Washington.
Perhaps it is a lesson to us all to start paying attention before the political aspirants in this country screw up something really important.<-- Hide More
The following report was collectively compiled and written by the Up For Poker staff. This is the second of a series of such reports-- Ed.
It's 1925 and Billy Mumphrey isn't sick. His body is healthy, his lungs are free from phlegm, and his nerves are as settled as Plymouth Rock. Still, Mumphrey is at the doctor's office. He has a big weekend planned and he needs a prescription for fun. And some grape jelly.
As it happens, he's found the right doctor. For a small fee, Mumphrey can get the script he needs. In the Prohibition era, without a prescription, the liquid is called whiskey. The doctor calls it nerve medicine. Regardless, for a little premium, Mumphrey has what he needs. Now if he had just had some grape jelly, he'd be all set.More in this Poker Blog! -->
It's not a real story. We made it up. Actually, we just assigned names and a short tale to something that actually happened countless times during the era of Prohibition. Back in the 1920s, whiskey was still considered to be an acceptable medicinal liquid. As such, doctors made a killing writing prescriptions for booze. One estimate said doctors earned $40 million on booze prescriptions alone.
So, what of the grape jelly? Well, it appears the California wine industry was even more clever. It produced grape jelly that--within two weeks of purchase--could be turned into a drinkable and strong wine.
What seems very clear about the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 is that, if it holds up to legal challenge, it stands to make a lot of people very, very rich. Already, our comments and the poker forums are being spammed with people offering to sell quasi-legal poker accounts to American customers. Better thinkers will come up with other ways of making money. Whether it's offshore accounts, brokers for legal accounts, or services that allow for the semi-legal transfer of money, there is a new growth industry to fund online poker accounts in a way that protects the owners of online poker companies.
A little research indicates there are too many parallels with the Prohibition era to ignore. Of course, booze and poker are apples and oranges. However, the legal and legislative battles surrounding booze and poker are very similar and worth exploring.
Like the recent attempts to prohibit Internet gambling, Prohibition began as a series of failed attempts to make America constitutionally temperate. As early as 1886, a senator from Kansas managed to get his bill out of committee and onto the Senate floor. Nothing happened. In fact, Prohibition as we know it took several years to make it through Congress and several more to get ratified by the required number of states. Finally, in 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act which, essentially, activated the constitutional amendment.
Celebrating with a mug of root beer was the Anti-Saloon League, a temperance organization that rose up out of Ohio. The celebration was as much about the validation of the group's political power as it was about forcing temperance on the country.
That fact is worth noting. The fight that led to the complete prohibition of booze was not one that was specifically aimed at improving the health or efficiency of America. It was a political battled aimed at validating the political power of a political action group.
While Up For Poker is not usually a place for political discourse (and its writers actually fill up the spectrum of political ideals), we all agree (and it can't be denied) that the far right political wing of American politics is vastly responsible for the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. It was the pet issue of a few members of Congress that had very little support outside of very conservative circles. What's more, Jim Leach and Bob Goodlatte's pet project wasn't getting anywhere.
The men and their supporters needed validation for their cause. They traded political favors with Senator Bill Frist and he made sure their issues made it to the President's desk. Despite the legal way in which this bill made its way toward law, even Republicans have to agree, this was a law that didn't receive the kind of Congressional consideration that a law deserves. This bill has made its way to the President's desk in more of a political coup that a legislative process. Of course, even the Democrats stepped aside and allowed it to happen with little resistance.
How did that happen? Well, that's how Congress works. How did it get that far in the first place? Well, again, let's look back to last century's booze battle.
Times of war apparently make the destruction of rights an easier proposition. In the years leading up to World War I, American brewers made a mistake and associated themselves with the German-American Alliance. The initial intention was to defend German culture in the United States. The result could not have been worse. Prohibition advocates seized on wartime anti-German sentiment and used it to attack brewers as anti-American and anti-soldier. Brewers were even accused of wasting grain and molasses. In short, prohibition advocates did their best to accuse anyone who supported the beer and liquor industry of being un-American.
Regardless of your opinion on the American situation overseas, it's sure that politicians have used patriotism as a propaganda pry bar in efforts to fund support for their pet projects. As lawmakers sought to end Internet poker, they called on America's duty to stop terrorists from funding American terror cells through the use of wire transfers and offshore accounts. While the red herring nature of the argument was evident, that didn't stop politicos from implying that the online gambling industry was complicit in the aiding and abetting of terrorism--no matter that there is not an atom of evidence to suggest that statement is anywhere near true. And, in fact, greater evidence exists that terrorists are using less disguised means to fund whatever they want whenever they want.
One of the greatest foes to Internet gambling, Rep. Jim Leach, a Republican from Iowa with extreme power in the Iowa caucuses, once, in reference to online gaming and it possible uses in the funding for terrorism, called online casinos "the greatest potential for money laundering that exists in the world."
There will be time, someday, to examine and debate the current wars in Iraq and against terrorists. In fact, those debates will be a lot more important. Regardless, in terms of the current situation in the poker industry, online poker companies and American poker players did not do enough to stand up to the baseless accusations of a Midwestern political and propaganda animal. It is a lesson. Never underestimate the abilities of a zealot in search of power.
In the years leading up to Prohibition, brewers and drinkers underestimated the reality and the political climate. In turn, the government underestimated the power of a public's refusal to accept governance.
Federal courts were overwhelmed with new cases. There simply wasn't enough space or time to handle all the people being charged with liquor violations. People began stealing liquor from government warehouses. The prohibition cops, charged with enforcing the law, faced worse than being too busy. In the first three years of prohibition, 30 agents were killed in the line of duty. Also, as we all know, the production of illegal booze went through the roof. From 1921 to 1930, the number of seized illegal stills or distillers trebled.
While the number of drinkers in America likely outnumbers the number of poker players, there is little denying the desire of the American populace to play poker. Last night, 95,000 people were playing on the world's biggest online poker site. Estimates say the Unites States makes up 80% of that playing base. That means 76,000 Americans were playing at the same time on one site--one site out of what was an ever-growing number of online playing sites. Some surveys suggest there are between 50-80 million Americans who play poker. Even if ten percent of that number play online and vote, it's a voting block that can't be ignored.
Regardless of whether this is an issue with political juice, if it stands up to judicial review, the true effectiveness of the law will be determined by enforcement.
The Volstead Act ended up receiving selective enforcement. Where it had support (small conservative communities), it was enforced. In big cities, so many people were ignoring that law that cops couldn't keep up. In mining towns, everyone was working too hard to care about enforcing a law nobody really cared about. Trying to enforce a law nobody cares much about is harder to enforce than a law the nation supports.
To wit: Finally, a government study and the Wickersham Commission determined what most people already knew. The public at large was ignoring the Prohibition laws and the enforcement of it was too expensive and dangerous for government agents to justify the law's continued existence. Perhaps most telling, the Commission found that the government had a much easier time stopping the trafficking of drugs than it did stopping the trafficking of alcohol. Why? According to the Commission, "there are no difficulties in the case of narcotics beyond those involved in the nature of the traffic because the laws against them are supported everywhere by a general and determined public sentiment."
With regard to the new online poker prohibitions, there is still a long way to go before anything will happen. Government regulators will soon be charged with deciding how tough the law will really be. It will be a hard job. If they make the law too light, it will be toothless and indicative of the lip service many laws offer the American public in terms of legislation. However, if regulators make the law too tough, they will face the wrath of business interests that aren't used to being told what to do. Primarily, if the onus falls too hard on the American banking industry--under the bill's language, one of a few arms of effective enforcement--the banking industry will balk. If the banks aren't on board, the job will be left to an already overburdened American law enforcement system. American citizens likely won't be too happy if their government law enforcers spend time going after online poker companies when they could and should be stopping terrorism, foreign and domestic.
The deed in Washington is done. It's been made clear too many times that we can't trust Congress on this issue and others. Further, when Congress manipulates its own rules to force any President of any party to sign a law, we can't count on a veto. Now, we are left with the hope of the judicial system and the Constitution. If we are failed by the courts, we are left with what hopefully is still the most powerful voice: the people. We are left to count on business interests and the American sentiment to restore our right to play poker online.
That means it's up to us.
Sources:<-- Hide More
The following report was collectively compiled and written by the Up For Poker staff. This is the first of a series of such reports-- Ed.
The banking industry response to the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act is something in which we can take some heart. The banks were initially afraid the bill would hold them liable for not enforcing the law. Now, bankslawyers are telling them that it appears the banks' exposure is limited. While it would've been good for us if the banks had more exposure (if they had, they would be fighting harder for legal challenges to the bill), there is a silver lining evidenced in this quote.
If they find that the banks just don't have the technology to track and block these transactions, then we don't have to," Verdier said. "The Fed and Treasury are not supposed to ask us to do the impossible."
Still, Verdier said, "we will have to see how those regulations get written."
For more, check out the Banking Industry Response to Internet Gambling Bill.
Of course, the most immediate concern for us is what's happening to our online experience in the interim.More in this Poker Blog! -->
As we already know, Party Poker is a publicly traded company (Party Gaming) on the London Exchange. Along with 888.com (Pacific Poker), Party Poker announced it will pull out of the U.S. market once President Bush signs the bill into law. This is the business equivalent of sticking a gun (like the Desert Eagle) in your mouth and then jumping off the rim of the Grand Canyon into a swimming pool full of jello. That is, it looks like suicide, then it looks like suicide again, and then it looks pretty silly and messy. There is a lot of speculation that Party is positioning itself to get absorbed into a smaller online poker company (like William Hill) and get out while it can. Killing 80% of its market and losing more than 60% of its market value is the perfect way to do this. Of course, it would also save the stockholders a lot of money. However, all of this is speculation. Here's Party's only public statement to date:
In poker, the good players are playing Level Three cards at all time. On the face of the poker rooms' response, it appears there is a lot of Level 1 thinking going on. That said, we would all be smart to realize that these companies were formed in most part by poker players. They didn't get where they were by just playing their own cards. It seems there is likely more Level 3 going on that we realize. Even if it's true that Party is giving up on the first business day after the bill passed, other poker rooms don't seem to be giving in so easy. And why not? If the biggest poker room in the world pulls 80% of its business from the United States and then pulls out... well, that's a lot more business for everybody else.
Full Tilt has already made a public statement indicating it isn't going anywhere right now. Bodog and Ultimate Bet have done the same. PokerStars, despite reports that it had already made a decision to pull out, is remaining quiet except to assure their customers that their money is safe (PokerStars was the first poker room to sign up with the Royal Bank of Scotland to house players money in segregated accounts, thus making sure that a total company collapse wouldn't result in players' money being lost). Ever played with a really quiet player? Yeah, we have too.
One of the worst things you can do when playing poker is take your eye off the ball. When the table villain bad beats you for your stack, the natural reaction is to get him back. You lay in wait and do everything you can to repay the injustice. While this can be emotionally satisfying, it also takes your eye off the ball and leaves you vulnerable to other people who want to take you out. That's a too-long preamble to the following: Frist got lucky once. He's not a good player. Indeed, there would be a lot of emotional satisfaction in making sure the man has no future successes. However, taking our eyes off the real issue here will only serve to make us more vulnerable in the future. Hence, let's make sure we continue to focus on making sure the pet legislation doesn't turn into the end of our poker experience. There will be time to make sure Frist never takes on a greater leadership role. However, if you need to vent, get it out of your system now. Here's where you can contact Frist:
Bill Frist Contact infomation
Office of Senator Bill Frist
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Office of Senator Bill Frist
28 White Bridge Road
Nashville, TN 37205
My freshman year health teacher, a crazy Pole, once told me that pulling out is the least effective form of birth control. All I know is that it's 4:23am in the USA and CNBC World is showing me this on my television.
Now, I'm going to bask in the irony that I'm covering the WCOOP Main Event, the biggest online poker tournament in history.
Update below the cut
It's now 7:30 am and I'm having a stiff drink. If my wife comes down and asks why I'm drinking at sunrise, I'll explain because the past two weeks have turned this hour into my midnight. Somehow, Striesand ended up on XM and she's singing "The Way We Were."
Right now, I can't write what I want to write. Frankly, I hope it's a very long while before I can write what I want to write. For now, I'll have to be content recognizing what an odd time it is for all of us. I'll admit, there have been a few times I've hidden under the dining room table for fear of the sky falling. I'll admit, I look at myself in the mirror and I don't recognize the guy looking back at me. He is unshaven, baggy-eyed, and has a look in his eyes that can only be described as discombobulation.
Even if I wanted to, I can't give you any inside information right now. I'd say look to other news sites for information, but, frankly, there is a lot of erroneous info popping up on other sites. So, keep it here and we'll give you the best we can.
I just realized I shouldn't be trying to communicate right now. I'm just in no condition to do so.
Hold on, folks. Despite my pesimism right now, I'm really like Billy Mumphrey, a simple country boy and a cockeyed optimist, mixed up in a game of world diplomacy and international intrigue.
Yeah, communication skills are gone. Until later...<-- Hide More
It's Week 4 in the NFL, and Boy Genius and I are back with the picks to make you money. In Week 2, I went 10-6 and BG went 9-7. However, our three picks of the week would have made a profitable parlay. We've got another great three team parlay for you this week as well.
Without further ado, the picks:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Ari at Atl -7
CJ: Okay, it's week four. We should have a good idea of how good these teams really are. Let's start with Arizona at Atlanta, and the Falcons are giving 7.
Boy Genius: I'm not sure if seven seems like a lot or a little given how pissed off the Falcons have to be coming out flat last Monday.
CJ: I wonder what team wouldn't have looked flat in that atmosphere.
Boy Genius: I'm thinking a lot. They're still without John Abraham causing havoc for Kurt Warner, and while I don't think the Cards will win, I'm all about the cover here. The Falcons aren't that good and Arizona's not that bad.
Boy Genius: Mediocre versus just a notch above.
CJ: Here's the big problem for the Cardinals. Kurt Warner can't help but be looking over his shoulder wondering if the next mistake will be the last he'll make as a starter. Atlanta is still a team that rushed for more yards in two weeks than anyone else did in three. However, I'm with you. Seven points is too much
CJ: Atlanta 23, Arizona 17.
Boy Genius: I'll back you on that, Atlanta 21, Arizona 17 was my pick, but we're just splitting hairs.
Dal at Ten +10
Boy Genius: Next up is Dallas rolling into Tennessee with the hugest story of the week in tow: Vince Young starts for Kerry Collins.
Boy Genius: Oh wait, not the biggest storyline here, but TO starts and looks like the Titans are giving ten. What's up with that?
CJ: Strange. Has there ever been a more disruptive force since Barrett Robbins disappeared on Super Bowl weekend?
Boy Genius: Tom Jackson on ESPN just said, "I'm not a Cowboy, and I was distracted." I think TO thrives on this stuff and has a monster day - over eight catches and at least two TDs.
Boy Genius: And if you think they won't try and get after Vinny Heisman, you're nuts. Ten seems like the right number, but I got Dallas covering here.
CJ: Yeah, this is just the kind of game that T.O. busts out a big one. The Cowboys are lucky they get to play the Titans, one of the worst three teams in football. Their defense is terrible, and the fast Cowboys D gets to feast on a rookie starting his first game
CJ: Dallas 27, Tennessee 13
Boy Genius: That's what I was going to say. By the way, I know Young didn't win the Heisman, but Reggie Bush took money in college, so I'm giving it to him post-mortem here.
CJ: Ah, skipped right over the Heisman reference... nice!
Ind at NYJ +8
Boy Genius: Anyway, the gods of arcane football rules are smiling on me with the Indy / New York Jets matchup. Indy's giving 8.5, and due to league rules the game must run unopposed in NYC markets - meaning I get Rams/Lions at 4PM.
CJ: Good for you... bad for the other 5 million people in the greater New York area.
Boy Genius: Hey now...
Boy Genius: I'm torn on this Indy/Jets matchup
Boy Genius: On one hand, Indy is 7-1-1 as a road favorite over the last couple of years...
Boy Genius: ...on the other hand, Hammerin' Hank gave me that stat and picked the Colts. Does that mean I'm supposed to fade him?
CJ: Ha! I wonder how Hank's doing this year. I don't think I ever saw him pick the right horse in a race. Then again... after yesterday, I shouldn't criticize anyone's horse picks.
Boy Genius: Yeah, let's not talk about that travesty. Can Pennington keep the Jets close? I don't think they have a running game, but neither do the Colts. Is this a recipe for a high scoring game?
CJ: It is, the over is a safe bet, as it usually is when the Colts are playing anyone other than Jacksonville, New England and Baltimore. The Jets are better than people thought they'd be, but that just means they'll keep it close in the first half.
Boy Genius: I like the over (47) too, and I actually like the Jets to cover - Indy 31 - NYJ 24.
CJ: We're on the same page today. I've actually bet this game and I have Indy 37, Jets 20.
Mia at Hou +3.5
CJ: Next up, GAME OF THE WEEK! Why this isn't a mandatory national game, I'll never know. It's Miami at Houston and the Texans are getting 3.5.
CJ: Here's my problem picking this game... don't the Texans have to win a game eventually?
Boy Genius: Like there's some unwritten rule in the NFL rulebook that mandates this? Hell's no. But they will win a game at some point... just not today. Miami needs a big game, I think they take the reins off Culpepper and he throws for yards by the bucket.
CJ: Did you draft Culpepper in any fantasy leagues?
Boy Genius: Sigh... yes.
CJ: Yeah, me too.
Boy Genius: And he's starting today for me, so I'm clearly just projecting.
CJ: Yeah, me too.
Boy Genius: But Miami comes alive today. The Texans are the tonic for what ails you. Miami 29 Houston 17. Easy cover.
Boy Genius: I'd play this one all day long for Miami.
CJ: Well, it's about time we disagree. The Dolphins aren't nearly as good as people hoped. The Texans are at home and I think their running game is a little better this week now that Samkon Gado has a few weeks under his belt.
CJ: I'm picking Houston 24, Miami 21.
Boy Genius: Well, you can't always be correct. Save your money for a sure thing.
Min at Buf -1
Boy Genius: Maybe that's Minnesota versus Buffalo? Minny gets in to Buffalo in a near pick'em situation with the Bills actually favored by a point. Am I seeing this right? Is there actually a belief that JP Losman can will his team to victory?
CJ: I was more shocked by this line than any other this week. Is this a statement on Minnesota's ability to play outside a dome?
Boy Genius: It's OCTOBER. This isn't frozen tundra weather. This is purely a statement that the Bills' defense is playoff caliber, which I believe. I think Minnesota's vulnerable here, but vulnerable to a loss?
Boy Genius: Okay, I'm onboard. Buffalo 17 - Minnesota 13.
Boy Genius: It's not an upset if the line's pointing you that way.
CJ: Losman excels at quarterback. Well... excels at losing close games. Not exactly a skill you want. Minnesota 19, Buffalo 13.
NOS at Car -7
CJ: Okay, now a game that features an undefeated team and a team in need of win, only it's the introduction to the opposite sketches. Saints are 3-0 and the Panters are 1-2. Here, the 3-0 road team is getting 7 points.
Boy Genius: This is an absolutely astonishing line. Are we supposed to believe preseason projections on Carolina or recent past performance? And re-read that same sentence in regards to New Orleans and you can tell I've got more questions than answers.
CJ: Right... how long will wildly inaccurate preseason predictions afftect actual betting patterns? This has to be a sucker line. Except for one thing. Why can't the Panthers win by a touchdown? Great defense. Solid running game. Good QB. And Steve Smith should be healthier.
Boy Genius: Plus, don't underestimate the emotional letdown angle. Saints won big last week, and have a short week to prepare for a tougher game on the road. I see them coming out flat. Panthers 31 Saints 10. Huge statement win for Carolina.
CJ: Carolina 23, Saints 14. But the bettors will be sweating the final drive of this game.
SDG at Bal +1
Boy Genius: That brings us to today's marquee game - a matchup of undefeateds. San Diego goes to Baltimore, with the hometown Ravens getting a full point on the Chargers. #1 vs #2 defenses. So why don't I see this one being close?
CJ: Ah... you're leaving me to decide which side gets the blowout. IF it's a blowout... and I say IF... the blowout would go the Chargers way.
Boy Genius: Ding ding ding... Philip Rivers is the real deal and we'll see that today. I love the Chargers in this spot and think they win by two scores - 20-10.
CJ: IF it was going to be a blowout, I'd be on your side. It won't. Philip Rivers may be the real deal, but he's never seen anything like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. The Ravens defense over the past decade has been as good as any in history.
CJ: Ravens 17, Chargers 16.
SFO at KCC -7
CJ: San Francisco is at Kansas City and the Chiefs are giving 7 points. Who is QBing for the Chiefs these days that they can give anyone 7 points?
Boy Genius: Well, who's going to be toting the rock for the Niners? Does this have any ability to be anything other than a slugfest? The seven points baffles me too, I can't see the Niners doing anything but keeping this close and both teams will keep the clock alive all game. I'm going full dog upset here - SF 17 KC 13
CJ: I'm also picking the dog outright, although I'm likely underestimating how much losing Vernon Davis will hurt the Niners offense. He was a great outlet for Alex Smith. Former Penn State QB Michael Robinson will make plays, though. San Fran 27, Kansas City 17.
Det at StL -5.5
Boy Genius: Can we talk about my Lions now? We get to save your Eagles for last, right?
CJ: Sure, go ahead...
Boy Genius: I'm going to ignore the "triumphant return of Mike Martz" angle and focus on who really matters here...
Boy Genius: Mike Freaking Furrey.
CJ: Well, um... that's bold.
Boy Genius: The Lions leading receiver comes back after two years in the St. Louis DEFENSIVE backfield with something to prove. If you think the little white guy ain't carrying a grudge, you're way off. Lions on the road are getting 5.5.
CJ: I tried to find ways to pick the Lions here. I actually like Jon Kitna, but the offense hasn't seemed to take to Martz system... yet. Will this be the week?
Boy Genius: The offense has actually taken well to the system - they just keep putting themselves into 3rd and 31 situations with dumbass penalties.
Boy Genius: At some point they're going to hang 40 points. The Rams defense will make sure it's not this week, but I like the Lions to at least cover - Rams 30 Lions 27.
CJ: This is another game I have coming down to who gets the ball last. If it's the Lions, they very well may beat the spread. However, I'm going with the home favorite to cover, Rams 21, Lions 10.
Boy Genius: We'll do better than 10 points.
CJ: And that's why I'm not putting my OWN money on that game!
Cle at Oak +1
CJ: Let's try Cleveland at Oakland and marvel over the fact the Raiders are getting just 1 point now.
Boy Genius: This line is stupid. The Raiders should be giving at least a TD to any team in the league. Hell, I'd only install them at -10 against Ohio State for chrissakes. They're bad. Real bad.
CJ: What the linesmakers are saying is that there's about a 50% chance that the Raiders beat the Browns. Has their been any indication that that's possible? Do they not understand that the only reason the Raiders didn't lose last week is because they were off?
Boy Genius: Browns 17 Raiders 10. There's no reason to believe otherwise. I'll even give you an over/under line of 1.5 for total Oakland victories by season's end. They are a bad team for the ages.
CJ: Browns 17, Raiders 13... Janikowski hits that other field goal. And I'm trying to figure out which game they win this year. It'd have to be a Lamont Jordan romp.
Jax at Was +3
Boy Genius: Totally. Can we move on to Jax/Washington now? Another home dog, which seems to be a trend this week, with the Skins giving 3 to the Jags. Are the bettors reading too much into the supposed resurgence of Mark Brunell last week? What happens when he runs into an NFL defense this week?
CJ: Exactly. Every QB with the Texans on their schedule will ssee a "resurgence." That's why Culpepper owners are happy this week. The Jags have a top 3 D in the league. The Redskins looked terrible the first two weeks. Another stupid line, in my opinion.
Boy Genius: Incredibly stupid. Epically stupid. My lock of the week actually, with Jacksonville absolutely obliterating this line. Jags 31 Skins 6.
CJ: It's not quite as bad for me, although we both agree the Skins don't get into the end zone. Jax 21, Was 9. Easy game to bet.
NEP at Cin -5.5
CJ: Which brings us to a tough one to bet... maybe. Patriots at the Bengals and the Bengals are giving 5.5 points.
Boy Genius: And the Pats are missing two starters in their secondary. That shouldn't matter, the Bengals don't throw much, do they?
CJ: Oh... every now and then.
Boy Genius: Hmm... in that case, gimme the stripes and a "who dey?" from the peanut gallery. And let the "what's wrong with Tom Brady" articles keep coming. You take the guy's best receiver and ship him away, replace him with Reche freaking Caldwell, and you tell me what he's supposed to think. Bengals 28 - Pats 21.
CJ: In my mind, the Bengals are the West Wing with Aaron Sorkin and the Patriots are the West Wing after Aaron Sorkin. You want to like it, it still seems good. But deep down you know it's just a shell of its former self and you're dying for Sorkin to come back to TV. (Speaking of which, if you're not watching Studio 60, you should be.) The Bengals cover, Cincy 30, New England 20.
Boy Genius: But the real line to be playing... which Bengal goes to jail this week?
CJ: Or over under on the season... 7?
Boy Genius: Over - rumor has it Frostee Rucker's got some problems rolling down the pike.
Sea at Chi -3.5
Boy Genius: Anyway, I don't know what to make of the line on Seattle at Chicago. Seahawks were giving one, now they're getting 3.5. Isn't Mo Morris at least serviceable?
CJ: Yeah, if anything, I expected this line to move the other way. First, it's not like Alexander was tearing it up this year anyway. Second, it's not like anyone runs real well on the Bears.
CJ: Bottom line, the Seahawks are a better team.
Boy Genius: I totally agree. I can't see the Seahawks blowing this one, even on the road. Seahawks 17 Bears 14.
CJ: Yet another road dog winning outright. Seattle 20, Chicago 17.
GBP at Phi -11.5
CJ: Which brings us to Monday Night and a game in which the worst QB on the field will get entirely too much hype. Green Bay at Philly, Philly giving a whopping 11.5 points.
Boy Genius: With their entire secondary banged up?
CJ: Yeah, Sheppard, Hood, Dawkins, Lewis, Consindine... all on the injured list.
Boy Genius: But the ever-mercurial Brett Favre in his national TV swan song... Does he rip your boys up?
CJ: Doesn't happen. Favre has been terrible the last three times they've played the Eagles. It hasn't even been close. And the Eagles boast one of the top 3 offenses in all of football. McNabb has never been better.
Boy Genius: I'm with you - Eagles 31 Pack 17.
CJ: You won't help them win the over... but I will. Eagles 38, Packers 17.
LOCK OF THE WEEK
CJ: Now, what everyone's been waiting for. The lock of the week!
Boy Genius: Who's your lock of the week?
CJ: The Jets aren't that good. The Colts are. I love the Colts giving 8 points.
Boy Genius: And I said earlier the Jags/Skins line was stupid, but I could say the same thing about the Browns covering Oakland just as easily. I'll lock 'em both up. Jags and Browns.
CJ: Well, last time we picked we gave everyone three games to bet and they would have made some money. I think this week is the same story. Lock up these three teams in a parlay, and count your money.
Boy Genius: Good luck, and fade me immediately.
CJ: But of course, good luck at the virtual windows!