It was a mildly chilly night in Monte Carlo, but the northern Europeans and those who live on wind-slapped islands were smelling summer. We, a large and eclectic group of poker players, writers, and marketers, sat at a cafe table overlooking a croaking frog pond and man-made wetlands area.
At the table were two Germans. One, Jan Heitmann, was making the guys jealous and the girls swimmy with an impromptu magic act. Beside him sat Geoge Danzer. His is a familiar face on the European Poker Circuit. In fact, I thought that (and the fact he was sitting right beside me) was the only reason I knew who he was.
I'd forgotten about Dmitri Nobles.More in this Poker Blog! -->
You might have noticed we've been making a few changes around the site. We've added a section for The Nuts on the left and added some bio and about information in the "Players" section. After reviewing Luckbox's new bio and the YouTube video inside it, I remembered why I knew George Danzer. If Danzer knew I was great friends with the reason Nobles won that hand, he might not have been as friendly. It's a good thing Danzer was on walkabout when Nobles sprang from the table and yelled for the Luckbox.
Regardless, the KK vs A8 hand vs Nobles is one of the top reasons George Danzer's face is familiar to many folks. So, as expected, the story came up at the table. A friend of mine commented to Danzer that his behavior following the beat was just about as good as could be expected. Danzer, at least for one ugly moment on television, set an example for a generation of poker players.
It's been nearly two years since that sickness and Danzer barely seems like he remembers it. He does, of course. How could anyone not? For the stoic German, though, the emotion he showed on TV was as much as you'll ever see. A lot of us could learn sometime about how to take a beat and be over it so fast.
Danzer is planning a return to the WSOP this year, but first he's setting out on a personal journey. With only his backpack, Danzer is going trekking into the wilderness for a month. He'll be by himself.
"Like Into the Wild," he said.
We can only hope it ends better for Danzer than it did for Chris McCandless. Danzer's intention is to go into the WSOP with the clearest head he can.
Here's to hoping he can avoid the likes of the Nobles'-style beat. If anything, Danzer can feel good Luckbox is sitting this year out.<-- Hide More
PokerNews' Haley Hintze reports today that a number of people busted in the Palmetto State's latest poker raid will be opting for a trial by jury.
A few weeks back, the
jack-booted thugs local constabulary cited 38 people for violation of our state's antiquated gambling law (yes, the one that makes it illegal to play even some board games on Sunday). Usually, the notion of taking a misdemeanor ticket in front of a jury is pretty silly. In South Carolina, however, it's pretty damned smart. Those people who didn't pay their tickets? Well, they may never see the inside of a courtroom.
It's been nearly three years since a raid on a neighborhood clubhouse in Greer, South Carolina resulted in the arrests of several friends of the Up For Poker blog. It was a small tournament in the middle of the afternoon and nothing much compared to what the poker scene eventually became here.
It's been nearly two years since we mentioned the case in a post on this blog and noted the fact one of our local attorneys was challenging the validity of our South Carolina gambling laws.
You know how far that case has progressed since then?
You guessed it. Nothing has happened.
The judge has refused to move the case along for trial and prosecutor has little to no interest in reminding everybody about the case. The law is broken, lawmakers (out of fear of being perceived as pro-gambling) won't fix it, and thus prosecutions become well-nigh impossible. Getting busted for gambling in South Carolina isn't all that bad. All you have to do is not pay the ticket and say, "Not guilty" and there is a reasonable chance you'll never have to worry about it again.
Of course, prosecutors in the Low Country are different than prosecutors in the Upstate and we may see the folks down there actually have to face a jury. After that, it's back to what we've discussed before--actually challenging the gambling law in the Supreme Court.
That's actually what lawmakers need and want. This year, the boys and girls at the Statehouse killed two gambling-related bills. Few people want their signatures to be seen on legislation that, in an upcoming election year, could be the fodder for a "State Senator X loves to gamble on South Carolina's family values" advert. Thus, despite the good intentions of a few lawmakers here, there is slim chance we'll ever see a decent reform of the gambling law. That means, in short, the South Carolina gambling law is a law in name only. As it is broken and antiquated, it can't be used in what normally would be a viable prosecution.
That could all change if the state Supreme Court was forced to look at the law. Suddenly, lawmakers would have a legal mandate to take an honest look at the law.
This is a weird place, South Carolina. There are many things about it that are forward-thinking and progressive. Underneath it all, though, there is still a foundation of unwavering conservative thought. In many cases, it's wrought with hypocrisy. It's hard for me to accept as a poker player that I'm allowed to run as bad at I do at Powerball but actually forbidden from running well at poker.
But, that's the Palmetto State for ya. Smiling faces, beautiful places, and not a legal poker room as far as the eye can see.
Thank goodness the gambling law is so messed up. Otherwise, we'd all be in jail.<-- Hide More
Before entering Sunday night's Blogger Big Game, I decided whoever busted me would get to be the latest edition of Up For Poker's "The Nuts." I feel bad, because it was really Astin who crippled me. Short-stacked, I made my stand with A9o vs. his pocket 3s. Miami Don had also folded 3s on that hand. But, nonetheless, I lost the race (I forgot my running shoes and was 0-3 in races).
Down to just 78T, I was forced all-in out of the SB. My 89o never improved against Katitude's Q3o. And that was it. Out in 17th out of 46 runners. At least 17 is one of my lucky numbers.
But I digress... This is about "The Nuts." And "The Nuts" is Katitude does poker.
If you're not reading her, you should be. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't she invent the best of all the blogger tourneys, The Blogger Donkament? Is there a tourney better suited for poker bloggers than a $1 +$1, unlimited rebuys? It really harkens back to the days of micro-limit push-fests at the PokerStars tables.
For that alone, I'm proud to make Katitude does poker the latest entry in Up For Poker's "The Nuts."
We at the Up For Poker blog don't tell bad beat stories. There is actually a clause in our partnership contract that reqires the teller of a bad beat story to play five uninterupted hours of Razz on Full Tilt. If said player doesn't finish up for the session, he has to start over.
Because we don't tell bad beat stories, our group insurance has a variety of plans to help with our therapy. Our wives frown on the local Stress Away Spa Plan (something about them actually not being happy with the happy ending) and the Whack-a-Nun program at the local covent was discontinued after one of the sisters became obsessed with G-Rob's hair and whacking skill.
That's why our internal therapists have created The Tuff Fish Appreciation Society.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Tuff Fish (aka tuff_fish) has been around so long, he's already gone. We've been watching his instructional videos for years and have learned a lot about how to handle ourselves following a bad beat or ugly cooler. I turned to Tuff Fish a little more than a year ago after running 5c6c into TcJc on a 7c8c9c board in a $5/$10 NL game (true story). Tuff Fish (real name Anthony Sandstrom) helped me get through the tough times with one simple phrase. It's a simple manta, ohm, aum, and om that centers us during the tough times. Set over set? Kings vs. aces? Say it with us:
"Fuck me to god damn tears."
It's become the unwritten Up For Poker motto and the raison d'etre for our Tuff Fish Appreciation Society.
While Tuff Fish is no secret, we think his therapeutic powers may not be be as appreciated as they should be. For a long while, we three Up For Poker blog writers kept this therapy to ourselves. Now, if we know someone who is having a bad day, our first idea is to give'em some Tuff Fish.
This therapy program comes in three steps.
1. Get bad beat or coolered beyond all recogintion (aka "coo-barred")
2. Watch Tuff Fish videos
Or something like that.
With that in mind, we've been keeping a close eye on the poker blogging terrarium recently and noticed that a lot of the animals inside have turned on each other. Evolution is a bitch, especially when it happens so fast. The result has been a lot of negativity that just isn't doing anybody any good.
So, we now invite each and every one of you to join us in the Tuff Fish Appreciation Society. Membership is free (save the labor of signing up in the comments of this post) and it has its privileges. What might those be, you ask? Well, probably none outside of the free therapy, but it's so worth it.
Join us. Join the Tuff Fish revolution!<-- Hide More
I am not a Pot Limit Omaha player.
I am, however, someone who managed to finish 3rd in the last Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. I'd like to attribute it to my skill, but I think my reputation precedes me. Nonetheless, I was a massive chip leader with three players left, holding more than 50% of the chips in play. It didn't last... and I think that's because I don't know how to play PLO.
Perhaps you can help me. Here are three key hands that I may have played poorly.More in this Poker Blog! -->
This one came early in the tournament, the 15/30 level. I had worked my way up to 3380T and was the chip leader at the table of 6. UTG, I call with 9c9sTdJs. I like grouped cards plus I had a pair and a flush possibility. Five of us see a flop of Tc5h9h. What's not to like, right? At this point, I'm only behind pocket T's. I lead out for 100 into a pot of 150 and get called by Mean Gene.
The turn is a seemingly harmless Ace of diamonds. It doesn't complete a straight and it doesn't complete a flush. It's unlikely to give Gene a set of Aces because he didn't raise preflop. That card couldn't have hurt me. I lead out 275 into a pot 350. Should I be betting the pot? I should, right?
This is where I become a giant pussy. Gene raised me to 445 to 720. "Really?" I type. "The ace did it."
"Nah," Gene tells me.
"Already had it?" I ask. "Big draw?" My time runs out, and I fold. I'm really out of practice, especially in Omaha, and I think my rust caused me to see a monster. It wasn't logical, but I saw it nonetheless. He raises preflop with Aces and he didn't raise. The chance of him having the last two T's is slim (remember, I have a T). Unless he's sitting on a monster draw like QJh, I'm in great shape. And yet, I folded.
"Top 3 pair," he tells me. Bad fold. Terrible fold.
It's Level VII now (150/300) and I'm among the chipleaders with 9477T. There are only five of us at the table now. Again, I'm UTG, this time with 8hJs9dTh. Once again, they're grouped, and I think they offer lots of possibilities. I limp again and three of us see a flop of KcQd7s. Bayne leads with a pot-sized bet of 900.
I have to call, right? I don't raise, right? The turn is the 8s. It puts a flush draw out there, but I shouldn't be too worried about that, should I? Anyway, the 8 gives me even more outs. Now, I complete my straight with any 6, 9, T, J or A.
Bayne leads out with another pot-sized bet of 2700. To me, that suggests he's trying to push out the draws. So he's sitting on a set or two pair, right?
This is where my tough decision comes. There's 5400 in the pot right now and I need to bet 2700 to see a river. If I'm getting 2-to-1 on my money, then I need to be getting 2-to-1 odds. My rough math had me with at least 17 outs out of 40 cards. I could have been wrong, but I figured it was good enough to call.
The river was a blank for me, the 4 of spades. Surprisingly, Bayne checked. I suppose I could have bluffed the flush. Would he have folded? I doubt it. I checked behind him and his set of Queens took it down. (He held 7d8dQsQh.)
Now this is where it all went down hill. We're down to three players. I had been as high as 25K, but a cold run had me down to 16K. AA_Matt_AA sat with 11K and Bayne had 8K.
From the SB, I'm dealt Js7sJc8c. I like that hand a lot three-handed. I've got a big pair, grouped cards and I'm double-suited. Bayne raises to 2400 UTG. I think my first mistake was not re-raising, but I just call. We see a flop of Td6cQc.
I've got a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. All in all, I'd call that a good flop. The question is whether or not I want to get all the chips in the middle. I'm pretty sure Bayne is playing a big pair, just hopefully not Qs. If he does have an overpair, I think I have a lot of outs.
I check, he bets the pot, and I check-raise him all-in. I think I like the play, but I'm not sure. Bayne shows 9hKh3hKd. I'm glad the read was right, but I lost some of my outs. The turn is the Ks, which puts me in even worse shape. I'm down to any 9 or any club that doesn't pair the board.
The river is the Th. Not only does it not help me, but it gives Bayne the boat. I'm down to just a few thousand chips. It doesn't take long for me to bust out.
Did I play these right? I'm positive I should have pushed with my pocket 9s in the first hand. Should I have been more aggressive with my draws? I did an awful lot of calling. How about the check-raise on the last hand? I could have just called and then folded to the big bet with the K on the turn.
Anyway, I'll wait for some of you PLO experts to let me now if I could have played it another way. Hopefully I'll see some of you at the tables tomorrow at the next Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.<-- Hide More
I've never told this story in its entirety. I never will. Even if I someday abandon my 80% rule, some things about my entry into the world of the poker media will never see print. Discretion may or may not have anything to do with valor, but it certainly plays a role in the friends you make and the friends you keep.
Nonetheless, there is somebody who played a huge role in my new life who needs mentioned today. He played one of the major roles in getting me where I am--wherever that is. Sometimes I don't know whether to thank him or curse him for that, but I know I can always count on his as a friend.
In December 2004, I was getting ready to go to Vegas for the first WPBT Holiday Gathering when a comment appeared on a post in this blog. It came from someone purporting to be Lee Jones, noted author and poker room manager for the then second biggest online poker site in the world. He had a proposal for me.
I went to Vegas with this in mind and was nervous as hell. I stood with my cell phone in the lobby of the Excalibur hotel--of all places--and talked to Lee for the first time. His offer: blog the 2005 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and get paid for it. I didn't tell him I would've done it for free. Lee was candid enough to tell me I was their second choice after Wil Wheaton, who had quite unexpectedly recommended me for the job (something I've come to think of as akin to Kato Kaelin getting a job because Robert Redford wasn't available, but still). Lee was kind enough to not assume he could get me for pennies (in retrospect, he did--I wouldn't work for that kind of money again unless it was backstage as Norah Jones' finger masseur). Lee asked for an e-mail and a few other particulars.
I didn't have a laptop with me, so I sent everything from the Excalibur's television internet service. Somehow I ended up with the job. While on the week-long freelance gig, Lee established himself as a guy I could trust. Toward the end of the week, I saw him in frequent conversation with people I'd come to know as important within the company. At the end of the week, Lee pulled me aside and asked, in essence, "How'd you like to do this all the time?" After a few more words of advice, Lee sent me on my way. Two weeks later I'd quit my job in television and was looking for my lost luggage in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Over the past three and half years, I've seen Lee in more places than I can count. Several conversations stand out--one overlooking a nightclub floor in Monte Carlo in which he summed up the poker boom and our place in it, and one just a few nights ago in Monte Carlo are a couple that stand out.
Lee told me a while back that his time with PokerStars and time with the European Poker Tour were about to come to an end. It was not completely unexpected, but it still made me sad to see him go. Lee is always good for a calming word, solicited advice, and the occasional unsolicited entertaining opinion. He's a helluva teacher, too. It's amazing to watch players seek him out at live events. He's become an icon without trying to be.
That's what makes the next step in his life so cool. Lee is headed off to be the COO of CardRunners.com and will be responsible for the daily operation of the company. I'm impressed as hell with the young men who hired Lee. At a time in my life when I was spending three or four nights a week in a bar, these guys have put together an exceptionally cool company.
So, it's not a goodbye to Lee, but a good luck. There was a time in my life where I would've written nice things about the guy because he was an important person in poker. Now I can write this stuff because he's a friend. He's moving just 45 minutes north of my house and I hope to get a chance to sit out on his porch and pick a little before my life takes me elsewhere (if you didn't know, Lee plays some mean bluegrass and puts my abilities to shame).
So, thanks, Lee. You're good people and deserve every bit of success that comes your way.<-- Hide More
A quick news update for our poker smokers in the Northeast. Starting this fall Atlantic City will ban smoking on the casino floor.
There's been a ban on smoking in public places there for years but, until now, the casino floor was exempt. That'll change this fall.
Starting this October smokers will only be allowed to puff away in special, unstaffed, designated areas AWAY from the gambling floor.
The new rules cleared the Atlantic City council unanimously.
Dearest Beloved Wife,
By now you've finished plugging our family finances into that quicken software that came shrink-wrapped with our desktop tower. I know you worked hard on that. I think it's fascinating that we spend that much on ice cream. That's a legitimate family expense.
I'd further make the case that you could classify my beer-related expenditures as "Healthcare" since I'd almost certainly lose my mind without a few cold 'uns now and then.
Our beer fund could've put a kid through college?
Well, our kids will spend that college money on beer anyway. Let's be honest about that.
And what about those "travel" expenses to New Orleans, Las Vegas and Tunica? Honey, I've got an answer for that too.More in this Poker Blog! -->
FIRST, it's not like our other "investments" really panned out either. I mean, all the company stock is worth the same amount now as it was when we bought it. It would be better off stashed beneath the mattress.
Granted, bedroll cash and bankroll cash usually intertwine. But I'm making a larger point.
I'M ADDICTED TO POKER
I'm not a trailblazer or anything and I know the "it's an illness I can't help it" defense is probably a tad overworn. Still, I've just been made aware of a new legal defense that will help make my point.
Check out this article from the Associated Press :
Woman hooked on video poker must repay $39,000
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PORTLAND -- A former Multnomah County employee who claimed she was addicted to video poker must repay nearly $39,000.
The attorney for 37-year-old Diata Demanje Rhodes argued she should not be sent to prison because she was depressed over a breakup with her boyfriend, an abortion and the death of her dog before she began to steal money from the county to gamble with.
A judge agreed and sentenced Rhodes to five years on probation, 160 hours of community service and gambling treatment.
Rhodes resigned in September after county officials discovered money missing from a petty-cash account. She pleaded guilty in February to theft charges.
See? Some people STEAL to finance an addiction. Not because they're bad people but because they're SICK! They're also sad. Luckily, I'm still a pretty happy guy.
Many a night I've made rich plans to spend our hard-earned money on elabourate family vacations. You know, we haven't gone to Times Square together, but I've PLANNED to go there. That should really count for something.
It's when that demon virus afflicts my soul that I'm forced by evil persuasion to spend our money instead on a drunken blogger binge on the Vegas Strip. What can I do but survive the disease?
Remember that odd withdrawl from Dragon-somethingorother-financial?
That was me.
Yeah, I know, I blamed that on evil idenity theives who probably hacked our account when you left your wallet in the car.
I reloaded my account on Poker Stars.
I lost that money the first time when a suckout cancer attacked me in the balls.
I've survived that and we will survive this.
I'm just hoping for a more lenient judge than that activist bastard in Portland.
I will do better, I SWEAR. In fact, I bet you $100 I can beat this gambling thing.
G-Rob<-- Hide More
My good friends here at the Up for Poker blog hate it when I write about something other than poker itself. This is not the "Up for Whatever Is on G-Rob's Mind" blog. Frankly I agree that such a blog would be the most irrational sort of nonsense on the web... which is setting the bar pretty low.
That said, I do love to gamble on nearly anything at all. One year Otis and I spent an entire Super Bowl betting on whether the next commercial would be "Car, Food, or Beer."
It's a sickness. But if you're sick like me, poker is gambling for pussies.
So here's another way to not-gamble-for-money-because-that's-illegal:More in this Poker Blog! -->
FIRST THE BACKGROUND
There are a number of places where a person who was so inclined might place a wager on a Presidential contest.
The best known is Intrade, based in Ireland.
Here are the prices for the Democratic Nomination as of 1:50PM Tuesday:
Obama 81.3 (down .2)
Clinton 16.1 (up 1.1)
Those are the price of a "share" that pays $100 if correct. They are traded daily... bought and sold among users like commodities on the US Exchange.
There are other sites that offer similar predictions in similar ways, but very few that allow actual wagers. It is not LEGAL to bet on this in the US.
As I write this I'm bored out of my mind waiting for the polls to close in PA. I've made my "prediction" using the best information I can get and now I'm waiting for the die to fall.
But speaking of information, check this out:
These polls were all done in the past few days. First column is the pollster, second is the dates of the survey, third is the sample size (LV = likely voters) and finally the numbers:
|InsiderAdvantage||04/21 - 04/21||712 LV||49-42 Clinton +7.0|
|Zogby||04/20 - 04/21||675 LV||51-41 Clinton +10.0|
|Rasmussen||04/20 - 04/20||722 LV||49-44 Clinton +5.0|
|Suffolk||04/19 - 04/20||600 LV||52-42 Clinton +10.0|
|PPP||04/19 - 04/20||2338 LV||46-49 Obama +3.0|
|Strategic Vision||04/18 - 04/20||1200 LV||48-41 Clinton +7.0|
|Quinnipiac||04/18 - 04/20||1027 LV||51-44 Clinton +7.0|
|SurveyUSA||04/18 - 04/20||710 LV||50-44 Clinton +6.0|
Those numbers are pretty much useless.
Here are the Intrade lines:
Now I'm not saying those are damn good 10-1 odds for Obama but it ain't a bad bet.
I'm guessing Clinton wins by 10.
That said, I'd take the 10-1 and root like hell for Obama. As if you weren't anyway.<-- Hide More
At 5am, I was sitting in a place called the Blue Gin Bar drinking a 1664 beer and wishing I'd never even heard of a place called Monte Carlo. It was a place that a hundred people would've paid to be sitting and I wanted little more than to put the entire Mediterranean coast behind me. It's one in a long list of things about the poker world that don't make sense.
I was sitting between two fellow writers, both of whom I respect a great deal. After a drink, one of them said, "Did you hear about Brandi Hawbaker?"
I hadn't heard a word. I'd been living in my own little bubble for the past nine days. I barely knew my own name, let alone that Hawbaker was dead.
Suicide. It's one of those things that makes too much sense to consider. How likely is it that someone so fragile, so needy, so imperfect, so completely fucking used by a community of people would kill herself?
Right. Surprise, surprise.
Now that the SEO-palooza surrounding Hawbaker's death has reached the point that it's no longer as valuable to trade on the name, Brandi Rose news has hit the wane. I personally had just one experience with Hawbaker. I didn't know her. I can't claim to have treated her any better than anybody else in the poker world. I didn't know anything about her except to know she was the poker community's train wreck--the one who gets rolled by the old fucks, tries to fuck the young fucks, then gets what's she's been giving and gives what she's been getting. She wasn't the first person it happened to, and she won't be the last. But, as the world turns and the light guides us through the soap operas of the internet poker rags, she was a star. She was the young and the restless. She was the person who made every other person out there feel better about themselves.
I am no exception.
Church is an odd place to learn about poker, which is why I don't go except for weddings and funerals. At the last wedding that saw me sitting in a pew, the priest commented on our throwaway society. Like our constantly obsolete computers, our petrol-sucking bottles of water, and our tired old cliches, many of the people in our lives are disposable. Our celebrities--especially the ones we manufacture for the sole purpose of destroying--are merely there for our short-term entertainment, money-shot porn without all the messy clean-up.
Last year's World Series of Poker took a hole out of my soul that I'm not sure will ever get patched. It wasn't just watching Hawbaker whore herself out for buy-ins. It was watching Vinny Vinh get pushed into tournaments and disappear from tournaments--a real fear and loathing that looked more like Russian Roulette than poker. It was watching Paul "Eskimo" Clark nearly die at the table three or four times, then piss himself at the final table while his "backers" waited for their few thousand bucks. Poker has never called itself a nobleman's game, but sometimes it's nice to know we live and work in a world that isn't so overrun by disgusting people.
In a consumer society, poker players and their hangers-on are never more at home. They find something they can consume and they use every possible ounce of it, before briefly mourning its passing and moving on to the next consumable. There must be some karmic reckoning for me, for you, for everybody who is wallowing in public disingenuousness. We all suck.
Poker doesn't pick people. It's the other way around. There is nothing tying any of us to the game or the community. It belongs to no one and that's probably why it and its people wander so far from normalcy and decency. It's anarchy with just an ounce of control. It attracts people--me included--who like that edgy feeling of being right on the precipice of disaster.
Hawbaker, sick as she was, picked poker. With apologies to D.H. Lawrence, it's a jungle where wild things really do feel sorry for themselves. Redemption only comes in the destruction of others. Many people survive spiritually because they can see the dividing line between reality and the game. The people who don't are the people who die and the people who kill.
It's not the grace of God that saves us. There but for dumb luck go you and me.
If Hawbaker's death is even a glimmer of truth...if there is a God, he doesn't believe in poker.
An informal poll at European Poker Tour Grand Final revealed nothing surprising. Three of the final eight players were considered to be the best players at the table with the best chance at winning. Luca Pagano was the most consistent--a record nine cashes on the EPT, including three final tables. Antonio Esfandiari was the proven live tournament winner. Isaac Baron was the online tournament king--2007 CardPlayer online player of the year, and, to his credit, a guy who knew how to act like he'd been there before.
None of them won. In fact, none of them placed in the top 3.
Whether a telling statistic about tournament play or merely another anomoly to add to the constant debate about the validity of tournament poker as an indicator of skill, it failed to answer to the question I asked a day earlier. With the chip lead and three tables remaining, was Esfandiari right to limp with a big pair in early position?
The comments in the above-linked post were thoughtful and exactly what I'd hoped to see. For what it's worth, my opinion is below.
More in this Poker Blog! -->
If you're just tuning in, see The Big Pair Limp Question for background.
Let me begin by acknowledging, there is no right answer to this question. Lee Jones' initial argument in favor of Esfandiari's move was convincing and sound in its foundation (maybe someday I'll convince him to guest post here and fully explain his reasoning).
It simply comes down to a "What would I do" question. The answer: I wouldn't limp with pocket queens under the gun in that particular situation.
With 20 or so players left, Esfandiari had the chip lead and double the chip average. I don't recall whether he'd played much with Stig Top-Rasmussen, but I know they had just recently been seated at the TV table together. Still, Stig had developed a reputation. He was a wild, celebratory, loose, hyper-aggressive Danish player who occasionally made moves that could politely be described as unconventional. I don't know if Esfandiari was specifically targetting Stig here or anyone who might raise. I do know, however, that Esfandiari was justified in believing in his big pairs. They'd been holding up for two days and played a large role in his chip lead.
Here, The Magcian had a choice. He could raise or limp. Limping wass sure to be suspect and opened him up to the possibility of playing queens against a wide variety of hands. Raising, though, would possibly kill his action. Which is worse?
Proponents of Esfandiari's move suggest that limping could serve to incite more action (as it obviously did), and, in the event everybody limps, Esfandiari could simply play his hand differently than he might otherwise. Again, a fine argument. In the event someone raises, he can re-raise and hopefully take down the pot right there. Thing is, that didn't happen.
So, what happens if he raises pre-flop? He might get a call, he might not. Stig might make the move in the big blind or he might not. There are other possibilities as well, and they are the reasons I think Esfandiari might have been smarter to take a more traditional line. Stig might have made a more conventional re-raise, at which point Esfandiari could've re-raised to announce the true strength of his hand. Or, Stig might have smooth called pre-flop, whiffed the flop, and given Esfandiari a chance to take down the pot then.
Again, none of those things happened. Here we saw a perfect storm of two gamblers' plays meeting over a massive pile of chips. Esfandiari was obviously the smarter of the two, but in the end it didn't matter.
I couldn't help but continuing to delve into the hyopthetical, however. It occurred to me, that Stig also makes that same move with Ace-King. In that case, Esfandiari has forced himself to play the biggest pot of the tournament on a coin flip when there is still a signficiant number of people left in event. Nobody likes to take a coin flip in that situation, but that would've been the result. The counter to that argument is valid as well...that it stood a greater chance of being a hand other than AK, and hence it was the right play.
The greatest argument in favor of Esfandiari's move is that he got his money in as a favorite. He gave him chance to have a gigantic chip lead (read: utility) with 20 players remaining. The fact that the result did not go the right way is irrelevant. Again, it's hard to argue that. We make decisions based the odds. Sometimes they don't go our way.
There is a counter to this arguement however. While the utility of having nearly 3 million chips when everybody else has under 1 million is immense, there is something to be said for having 1.6 million when everbody else has less than a million and the blinds are still at 5,000/10,000/1,000. It's a question of whether you want to risk giving up the only power you have for a chance at obtaining more power.
In the end, there is nothing wrong with Esfandiari's play. It was a gambler's move aimed at giving him a better shot at owning the tournament. It missed and so did he. Critics (I suppose this one included) would say that Esfandiari's attempt to give him a better chance at winning the tournament ended up in severely reducing his chance at winning the tournament. It's one thing to not go out like Broomcorn's uncle. It's another thing to have a chip lead and take a gamble for half your stack.
After I wrote the initial post, there came a time I was able to stand right over Stig's shoulder as his stack slowly dwindled back down to where it started before the hand with Esfandiari. I watched Stig clash with another unconventional line. This time it worked the way it was supposed to.
(From the PokerStars Blog): In one of the biggest pots yet, Henrik Gwinner came in for a raise and PokerStars qualifier Michael Martin called. Stig Top-Rasmussen re-raised from the big blind for an additional 190,000. Again, Martin called. The flop came out J92 and Rasmussen almost immediately pushed in. The only thing faster was Martin's call for his entire stack--516,000 more. Rasmussen shows pocket sevens to Martin's slow-played pocket aces. The board bricks out and Martin wins a massive pot, totalling around 1.5 million.
What's interesting, is that of all the guys involved in these big pots, none of them finished better than fifth place. As for the two involved in the hand in question, Stig finished in tenth place. Esfandiari ended up finishing in eighth.
I think this all goes to show two things. First, one hand does not always make a tournament. Second, I'm probably more conservative than the vast number of tournament players and that's probably why I finish second more than first.<-- Hide More
It's like that one link to softcore porn on an otherwise boring afternoon. It's a bowl of those tasty M&Ms at a boring party that are sitting on a perfect table in the corner of the room such that eating the candies is both a bad nervous tic and a good way to avoid people you don't want to see.
It's like a metaphor that sucks its writer past the point of good sense but the urge to pull it off takes said writer to, well, exatly this point... (here).
I like to play online poker. I'm pretty good at it in small bursts. There are some things I'm actually very good at (I think) but I do lose money.
Here's the reason why...More in this Poker Blog! -->
As I write this, I'm folding away in 3 Poker Stars SNGs. I can usually fold my way into the final four and then scrape a few bucks in the end. If I were a patient man I'd make good money this way.
A good SNG is like an easy contract job. It helps cover a shortfall when the bills are due.
As a rule, I don't win much but enough that whenever I sit down and fire 3 or 4 up I'll have a few extra dollars in the "Cashier" window.
If I were a reasonable man, I'd be very profitable at poker.
THE BLACK HOLE
Even now, while still folding in my SNGs, I'm drawn to that list of gigantic MTTs. I'm like a lottery junkie. Frankly, the odds of me actually winning an MTT are about the same as the lottery.
If you ask my friends, those I rope into watching me as I approach the big payout, they'll tell you I've developed a pretty standard tournament profile. It goes as follows:
1. Semi-patient I fold marginal hands for an hour.
2. My patience pays off and I build a decent stack the moment I catch a few cards.
3. I use the second hour and most of the third turning my stack and, now, more aggressive style.
4. The blinds escalate, I lose my cool.
5. I make a very stupid play and go from a massive final table stack to the bubble.
6. I curse out loud and close the laptop without bothering to log off.
Sometimes I'll notice the clock on my cable box is nearing the top of the hour and quickly log in to Stars to see if there's a good tournament coming up.
If the only tournament is well beyond what I can comfortably handle in my roll, I'll convince myself I'm playing well enough to win anyway and register.
If my roll is just a little shy, I'll boot up an SNG and build it up a little so I can play in one of the big boys an hour later.
By the way, I've jut won one of my SNGs and missed the money in the other two. Thus, I've made a very small amount of money.
It's 11:15 as I post this.
I'm looking for something to do until some nice big tournaments start again at noon.<-- Hide More
Live from a fifteen minute break at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, a hand that has caused significant debate, specifically between Lee Jones and this humble correspondent. Your opinion--while, like mine, largely insignificant--is valued.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Quick background: Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari has been running over the tournament for two days. With the chip average just over 600,000, he has 1.6 million or so. He's been moved to the TV table with a rather loose-aggressive Dane named Stig Top-Rasmussen. Rasmussen has about 700,000 chips. Blinds are at 5,000/10,000/1,000. Twenty-one players are still left in the event. First place pays more than €2 million.
The hand (from the PokerStars Blog): Antonio limped UTG to see the button and small blind limp as well. Stig, in the big blind, thought about the situation for a bit and then pushed his 700k chips across the line. Almost without hesitation, Antonio called. The others ran for cover before Antonio turned over QQ. Stig somewhat sheepishly showed his AT. When the smoke cleared, the board read 7 3 4 A J and Stig was stacking about 1.5 million in chips.
You choose: I'm still thinking about the hand, but I have 90% definite opinion. Lee Jones differs. Tell me what you think and why.
A) Antonio, based on his chip position, was wrong to limp with queens
B) Antonio, based on his chip position, was right to limp with queens.
I'd also, just for entertainment value, be interested to hear your opinion on Stig's play.<-- Hide More
Mondays at the Hoy.
The Luckbox is back.More in this Poker Blog! -->
To be honest with you, I can't remember the last time I played in a blogger event. From what I've read, my get-in-behind-and-suck-out technique seems to be the preferred method for winning these events. All the really talented players are being felted by players who have copied my patented strategies.
Now it's my turn. Buoyed by my luckboxing in the Pick 4, I think now is the perfect time to return to the virtual tables.
My only advice to you? Get in behind. I just can't hold a lead. I am the Mitch Williams of the poker world.
(Am I dating myself? Is the 1993 World Series too long ago? That's the BASEBALL world series, by the way, not the WSOP. Would it have been better to call myself the Eric Gagne of the poker world? Does anyone watch baseball anymore? Should I be the Memphis-Tigers-in-a-championship-game of the poker world?)
The MATH Live-blog
9:00- My starting table: bayne_s, swimmom95, NumbBono, Julius_Goat, Breeze81, UpForPoker
9:01- bayne_s flops a set of 4s on the first hand, but gets nothing out of it, tough break.
9:04- I fold KQo out of the small blind to an UTG raise from bayne_s. A weak play six-handed, but it's early. I hate being out of position with such an easily dominated hand.
9:05- My first raise, with KJo from UTG+1. No callers.
9:07- Pocket 6s in the BB, and I call an UTG raise by Breeze81. The flop misses me (J97) and I check. Breeze81 does not follow up with a c-bet. So, either the flop hit him hard and he's slow playing, or he doesn't c-bet. Guess I'll see. I fold to a bet on the turn.
9:08- Pocket Ts this time. I again call a raise. This time, the flop brings just one overcard (J94). swimmom95 leads out and I raise, she calls. The turn is a blank, she checks, I bet about 2/3rds of the pot, she folds. I'm at T3300.
9:14- Pocket 7s. For the third time, I called a preflop raise with a pocket pair. The flop was K93. Julius_Goat c-bet half the pot, which screamed, "Weak!!!" I put out a strong raise and he folded. T3630.
9:16- HAMMER. I raise 3x from the button, as per the poker blogger rule book, and get called from the SB and BB. The flop is T42, checked to me, I bet about 2/3rds and the fold. Show. HAMMER.
9:17- Rockets. Julius_Goat raises in front of me. I just call. Not my normal play, but I give it a shot. Flop comes down K-high, no straight, no flush, great flop for AA. He checks, I bet about half the pot, he check-raises me. I don't buy it... and I think about just calling. But if he has AK or KQ, I probably felt him, so I re-re-raise. He folds, "not really my night," he types. T4660.
9:23- And swimmom95 is down almost to the felt (T75). AT vs. AK on an AKJ flop. AK holds up for Julius_Goat.
9:25- My chance to knock out swimmom95. I have JJ, she has 62o. Naturally, she wins the hand, flopping two pair. Told you I play better from behind.
9:27- I double up swimmom95 again when my 89s takes the lead on her A5s on the turn, but she rivers a flush. I have to make sure I take the lead at the river, not before. T4010.
9:30- Pocket 4s. I call a raise, three of us see a flop of K77. Not the worst flop ever. It's checked around. 9 on the turn, I lead out and get called by both. River is another K. I'm counterfeited and it's checked around again. bayne_s had pocket Qs, Julius_Goat had JT. Down to T3810.
9:39- swimmom95 doubles up again. KJ outflops AT. From the dead to T1260.
9:42- Pocket 7s. I call and the BB raises to 280. I take a shot at hitting the flop, figuring I'll get paid off if I do. Flop is T84, two spades. NumbBono insta-pushes for about half my remaining stack. Looking back to a minute or so ago, I think I should have called. I believe NumbBono was pushing no matter what hit the flop. There's a good chance I was ahead. But I'm still above starting stack, just below average stack. I'd rather get my chips in when I'm more sure. I'll keep my eye out for that move again.
9:48- And we lose bayne_s. Poor guy. Okay, he just got moved to another table.
9:51- Table has gotten really tight. No flops. I'll have to take advantage of that.
9:52- mclarich joins the table. Never heard of him.
9:54- Now I don't like him either. I raise on the button with A8o and he calls from the BB. Flop misses me, T94. He checks, I c-bet, he check-raises. I pretty much knew it was going to happen, so I should have saved my money. Who knows, maybe I would have hit the A on the turn. I'll file this away and use it to my advantage next time.
9:55- swimmom95 sucks out a chop with AJ vs. AQ preflop. She is Rasputin.
9:59- swimmom95 finally makes the mistake of getting in ahead. AQ vs. J8s. J8 rivers the straight. And we lose our first player. I'm down to T2080, by the way. I don't like mclarich. I will double through him.
10:00- First break. I'm not sure how much I liked my play. I stole some pots, won a solid one with AA and got myself up to T4660. It all started going downhill when I got in ahead against swimmom95. I don't have to remind you how bad I am at that. I'll likely need to be more aggressive in the next hour. I will double through mclarich.
10:05- Loretta8 joins our table. Still unfamiliar. I've been away for awhile.
10:08- My M is 10. Do bloggers still talk about Ms?
10:11- KTs. I raise preflop and get two callers. The flop is about as good as it gets, considering I missed it. 743, two diamonds. I've got a flush draw and over cards. As long as I'm not up against Aces or a small pair that hit a set, I like my chances. I push. And get called. By Aces. So much for that. The river King must have been Full Tilt's idea of a joke. I didn't get to double through mclarich after all. Guess that will have to wait until the next blogger tourney.<-- Hide More
So, I think my last horse racing advice post was a little ambitious. Winning the Pick 6 is hard. So hard that when you do win, the payout is in 5 or 6 figures.
Saturday, BG and I put our handicapping skills to the test... and lost. I'd say it was close, but it wasn't the closest we've ever been. We lost because the very last horse we left off our ticket ended up winning the first leg of the Pick 6, and a 15-1 longshot (a horse I liked and a horse who shared the name of my niece) came across first in the 4th leg. Obviously, I didn't like the horse enough to push for her inclusion. And it cost us.
It was disappointing. As it always is to lose. However, on this day, my sadness was tempered by this:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Yeah, the Luckbox stumbled into an $1800 Pick 4 payoff. Remember that horse I didn't push hard enough to include in the Pick 6? Well, I thought enough of her to put her on my Pick 4 ticket. And when Stella Mark won Race 9 as a 15-1 shot, it set the stage for what I imagined might be a nice payout.
The Pick 6 ended up paying out more than $33,000. I'm really kicking myself now that we weren't in on that. Looking back, what's not to like about Stella Mark? I wrote in my notes, "Solid Beyers, good breeding for distance, solid trainer numbers." Not only that, she was coming off a bullet workout at 6 furlongs.
But hindsight is always 20/20. We'll do this again soon. This wasn't necessarily a blow to our confidence. I'm actually pretty happy with my handicapping. Our instincts were right, but your instincts don't always make it onto the ticket. Maybe next time they will.<-- Hide More
After a few days of handicapping, the picks are in. BG and I have put together a ticket we believe has a great chance of bringing in a payday. Interestingly, we were on the same page in almost every race. That doesn't always happen. We're hoping that means we're locked in and not that we're both idiots.
Both of us used the early program to handicap. That means we were not influenced by the morning lines created by some random handicapper who may or may not know what he's doing. In some cases, that meant we didn't like the morning line favorite at all and in others, we were all over a horse that will likely bring us a good price. That's how you find Pick 6 tickets with big payoffs.
So without further ado, the picks:More in this Poker Blog! -->
Race 6: 7f Clm50000
2 Switzerland, 7 Sorcerers Spell, 9 Hit and Hope
BG and I were in agreement that Sorcerer's Spell and Hit and Hope are the top choices in this race. After getting through the whole card, we had enough in our budget to add another horse and it was Switzerland just ahead of the 8 horse, Exceeding.
RESULTS: It's over before it begins. The last horse we left off was Exceeding. He was actually my Dad's favorite in this race, but was just left off the ticket by BG and I. Hit and Hope ran up front most of the way, but faded. The favorite, Switzerland, was never a factor. Socerers Spell ran one of the worst races I've seen in awhile. Started well behind the pack. And I mean WELL. Was forced to unwind really early and came around the turn 12-15 wide. No one can win running a race like that. Very disappointing.
Race 7: 1m Md Sp Wt 50K
1 Colgan's Chip, 5 Sun Lightning
Once again, BG and I locked in on the same two horses. We had some discussion about adding a third horse here, perhaps the 4, Express Rail, the 6, Star Nicholas, or the 11 Tote's Humdinger, but we like our choices.
RESULTS: Photo Finish. Colgan's Chip was the even money favorite (as expected) and ran wire-to-wire. A late charge came from Tote's Humdinger (a horse I liked, but not enough to include), but it appears as though we hit this race. Small consolation since we missed the first. We're still alive for a small 5 for 6 payoff.
Race 8: 6 1/2f (T) Alw 52000N1X
2 Beyond Loaded, 3 Swift Winds, 4 Cadillac (NZ), 6 Black Astor, 7 Ron Bob and Dave, 13 Diamond Dave
As you can see, we selected 6 different horses from the 11 horses in the field. Although that may suggest a lack of confidence in our picks, it actually has more to do with the unique nature of the field. Okay, maybe not. This is a field full of horses with a chance to win this race. If we had to back just one, BG and I are fully behind Beyond Loaded.
RESULTS: Our top choice only got up for fourth, but our next two choices finished first and second. It ended up being an easier race than we thought. We even had the show horse on our ticket. We're now 2 for 3. I'd have rather had the 6 horse win with longer odds, but we'll take the 7 horse at 9/2.
Race 9: 1 1/16m Alw 57000N1X
1 Banner Lodge, 5 Gregorian Bay, 10 Informed
Expect Banner Lodge to be heavily bet. He's the 8/5 morning line favorite and there's a lot of reasons to like this horse. The price, however, should be found on Informed. This is the kind of horse that could help us to a heftier Pick 6 payoff. Due to budget contraints, we left off the 7, Stella Mark and the 12, Cherokee Tear.
RESULTS: Well, hopefully my dad put some money down on Stella Mark. Stella is my niece's name. She paid $33.40 to win. And she eliminated any chance we had at a consolation payoff. The best we did was to get Gregorian Bay up to third. Banner Lodge was the heavy favorite, ran near the front most of the way, and ran out of steam. Informed hung around, but didn't have it at the end either.
Race 10: 1m (T) La Puente 100k
7 Capture the Call, 10 Tiz West, 12 Ez Dreamer
Once again, BG and I were in agreement. It's Tiz West or Ez Dreamer. The last horse we added to the entire ticket was Capture the Call. This race didn't present many more horses we considered.
RESULTS: Well, it was Tiz West. Ran a great race tracking the leader the whole way before making a move just at the top of the stretch. Strong race. Our 2nd choice finished third. Too bad we're not still alive to our single in the 11th.
Race 11: 5 1/2f Md 32000
2 Mr. Elroy
This is it. It's the single. Frankly, there weren't very many other ways to go in this race. Maybe we would have included the 14, Last Black Lion, but, frankly, in order to get in under our budget, this made the most sense. Mr. Elroy should win this race.
RESULTS: Mr. Elroy won it as expected. A little scary, but he won it going away. That made us 4 for 6 for the day, which doesn't pay the bills. Unfortunately, we actually liked the 8 horse back in the 6th race, but didn't have the budget for him. And in the 9th race, well, I fault myself. Not only is the horse named after my niece, but she was my personal second choice, and I didn't push for her on the ticket. We were close, but it doesn't pay the bills. Thanks for investing. We'll try again soon.
The final tally? 20 investors, $648, 18 horses, 1 big pay day. I'll be adding results here as they come in. Good luck!<-- Hide More
Last Saturday afternoon I played poker at the House of Blood and, again, had a blast. I mean, sure, I went out of his tournament on an absolutely insanely disappointing bad beat, but other than that it was good.
Badblood always hosts good games. The room is always lively and fun but the poker is serious. There are drinks but nobody gets drunk. I like seeing my old friends there and have made new ones too.
Along with Gucci Rick, Blood is the best host around.
So what do those game have in common and what makes them work?More in this Poker Blog! -->
THE STAKES DO MATTER
Sure you can, and probably have, had fun at games of all stakes. The quality of play can hinge on the relative value of the stakes to the players in the game. That isn't to say that wealthy players can't enjoy playing for nickles and dimes, but the stakes should involve a relatively similar risk for all players.
Clearly this is less of an issue in a casino where you would want to maximize your advantage versus your opponents. I want to play against scared money if I can, so in a casino I want to play against people who may be a little uncomfortable with the stakes.
Online there are relatively standard rules of stakes as they relate to bankroll management.
Yet for a homegame to be sustainable you need to have a group of players for whom the stakes are comfortable. Even for the people who almost always lose. You want them to come back and lose as often as possible.
HAVE DRINKS BUT DON'T BE DRUNK
Now, granted, I've
played with been the obnoxious drunk guy at a poker game. Sometimes it's fun to let loose. But nothing will kill a good poker game faster than someone who loses interest in poker and loses control with drink.
I rarely play a hand without a beer or two. 12 beers is too much. 12 beers and a martini means you're not playing poker anymore. You're at a party. At a good homegame, poker is enough of a good time in itself.
KNOW YOUR FELLOW PLAYERS
Here's another rule that is true at both a casino and online. But, again, it means soemthing different at a homegame. I've made some of my closest friends at the poker table. Even people I rarely see outside the homegame are people I look forward to goofing around with.
If you can't watch a player badly misplay a hand and then unload somewhere between 100 to 500 cruel mocking insults... you're NOT at a good homegame.
PREPARE TO NEGOTIATE
Not long ago I posted a situation on which I wanted some clarification with regard to the "official" rules. It was something that came up, oddly enough, in a hand with both GucciRick and Badblood during a homegame.
I felt there was a ruling that may have been more strongly in my favor. But I didn't make a big stink about it at the time. Why? Because even though there was some money at stake a good homegame is as much about friendship and fun as it is about money. I'm not going to trade injured feelings for a few extra dollars.
Not at a homegame.
Online or in a casino... I'm going to the mat.
By the way, as an update to that earlier post, Gucci Rick... felt bad about that situation earlier and, the next time he saw me at BadBlood's house, paid me his share of the pot.
It was unprompted and unnecessary... but it's a further gesture that sometimes he values getting along more than getting paid. That's what makes him the kind of person I like to play homegames with.
TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
Finally, despite all the rules that would seem to contradict this, it's still important to take the game seriously. Even for the smallest of stakes there can be a high level of competition. That's the thing that matters.
This is true in any game.
I never liked playing pickup basketball with people who were just screwing around on the court... and playing poker with people who aren't really interested in the game itself is... in a word... boring.<-- Hide More
It's Santa Anita.
After looking at the possibilities, BG and I decided to look west. The California track seems just right for us. It's four dirt races and two turf races. We've got a claiming, a maiden special weight, a couple allowances, a $100K stakes race and a final maiden claiming. Lastly, the fields are sufficiently large, 9-12 horses each race, making for a nice potential payday.
In case you're wondering, last Saturday's Pick 6 at Santa Anita paid more than $36,000. That's the kind of payday we're shooting for here. We've already got a handful of investors lined up. And here's how you can get involved:More in this Poker Blog! -->
1. $25 PokerStars transfer to Up4Poker (Evansville)
2. $25 Full Tilt Poker transfer to UpForPoker (Evansville)
3. $27 PayPal payment to cusephenom -@- yahoo (DOT) com
After making your transfer, please email me at the above address with confirmation that you sent it. Sound good? We'll see you at the track!<-- Hide More
B-roc looked at me last night from his spot in the box.
"I'm not sure Canada is right for you. Long winters, cold weather. Not sure..."
He let the sentence hang there, a perfect joke and follow-up to my latest self-deprecating comment. It had been a rough few weeks at Gucci Rick's and I hated myself as much as usual. I use self-torture as a comedic device, a poker technique, and yes, a defense mechanism. Sometimes I really do hate myself. Saying it out loud dulls the anger's edge.
Today, I started to wonder whether that Otis should play poker.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I am naturally skeptical of people who go out of their way to tell me how good they are. I figure if you are taking the time to tell me how good you are--at poker, knitting, sex--you're wasting time you could be using to show me. Maybe it's my Missouri upbringing, but I don't give a damn what people say most of the time. I'm moved by what people do. Talent, like character, is defined by action.
I watched a rather candid interview with Tiger Woods this morning. One of the first things he said that struck me revolved around if it is at all possible for Woods to look at himself as others see him.
"I'm in the moment," he said. Then, as if he'd just realized it himself, he added, "I am the moment."
What impresses me about Woods is not only his ability. It's his ability to not stand on every street corner and tell everybody how good he is. Moreover, it's his abilty to believe in himself with 100% confidence, but not let that confidence get in the way of his ability.
In the middle of a bad run--a slump, a middle finger from Mistress Variance, mound of bad beats as high as your ass--most people take one of two roads. They either kick and scream about how their ability is not yielding the appropriate results, or they fall into an introspective and self-abusing hole. I, if you've not yet caught on, fall in the latter category.
I aspire to Woods' brand of confidence. No. I don't aspire to that. It's more than that. I have to achieve it. You should, too. Success, it seems, is the ability to believe you can without letting that confidence get in the way of actually doing it.
To be sure, there are people who defy this axiom. There are people who find success without finding the perfect balance. But I wonder whether those people will ever be considered great.
I don't necessarily seek greatness, but I am in search of the confidence that greatness requires. As Wood's says, "I will be better tomorrow than I am today."
In a series of questions toward the end, Woods is asked a series of questions. Kobe or LeBron? LeBron or Michael Jordan? Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods?
Woods, without much hesistation, but also without an ounce of cockiness, picked himself. A pregnant pause hung in the air, as if to ask how anybody could be so cocky.
Woods barely smiled as he said, "You have to believe in yourself, don't you?"
So I actually played some online poker yesterday. It was the first time I sat down at the virtual felt since before I got married. It wasn't much. A little FPP tourney at Stars to start. Then a couple of $30 SNGs (busted 9th and finished first). Then the $20K guarantee. I played pretty well there through the first break before waaaaaay overplaying pocket Ts.
It was fun. I didn't realize I missed it as much as I did. It was nice getting that rush again waiting to see if my hand held up. For the record, I didn't suckout. Not once. I'm saving that for my triumphant return to the blogger games. Preferably against Waffles.
But I'm not here to write about poker. It's not nearly interesting enough... yet. Instead, I'm here for your money. Specifically, BG and I need some investors.More in this Poker Blog! -->
This Saturday, we're playing the Pick 6 at a track to be announced. BG is doing what he does best, targeting the right race card. And I'm doing what I do best, soliciting a bunch of our friends to invest their hard-earned or hard-won dollars on this endeavor.
This time around, we're looking for anyone willing to put up $25. It's a smaller investment than normal because we're just a little out of practice. It's a little like... er... riding a horse, but not quite. We want to get back in a rhythm before we make you shell out even more.
Here's how it works:
1) Each share costs $25 and it's one share per person (except BG and I, because, well, we're running this thing).
2) Any winnings under the cost of the bet will be re-invested in a future Pick 6.
3) Any winnings over the cost of the bet will be divided by the number of shares and distributed accordingly.
4) You can pay me in one of two ways, a PokerStars transfer to Up4Poker or a Full Tilt Poker transfer to UpForPoker. Please be VERY careful about the transfer. The location attached to the account should be Evansville. I would send me an email (to cusephenom -@- yahoo (DOT) com) when you do a transfer so I can email you back to let you know it arrived. Per a Joe Speaker request, you may also pay via PayPal, but you're responsible for the $2 juice, so you'll need to send $27 via PayPal to cusephenom -@- yahoo (DOT) com.
5) A transfer of money is an agreement allowing BG and I to use your money to bet on a Pick 6 at a track of our choice on Saturday.
6) Should something prevent a bet on Saturday, a future bet will occur at the first opportunity.
7) All transfers must be made by 6pm CT Friday.
If you have any questions about how this works, let me know. BG are going to hit this sooner or later. We're really hoping it's sooner.<-- Hide More
Police in Charleston called it the result if a "ten month investigation." They arrested 27 people, including an assistant prosecutor at an underground poker game.
The Charleston Post says the game was run out of the bottom floor of a two story house with games spread on several tables. The host started the games last year and they "just grew."More in this Poker Blog! -->
From the Charleston Post:
A Sheriff's Spokesman described an efficient operation that ran like a business. "They had specific nights that they gambled. The bosses determined where the games were being held and determined the buy-in."
The buy-in was anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per game, he said. The person who sponsored the event was paid a specific amount each time a hand was played.
Those arrested Friday night and Saturday were charged by Hanahan police with unlawful games and betting. Twelve of the 26 had outstanding warrants through the Charleston County Sheriff's Office for unlawful games and betting, Clark said.
That charge is a magistrate's-level offense, but Clark said the people who were dealers or bosses will likely face General Sessions charges, meaning the punishment could be harsher. "
This isn't the first big raid in that part of the state, we call it the "Lowcountry," there was one in Mt. Pleasant a year or so ago.
Keep in mind, we've had several high-profile busts here. There was one in the city of Greer years ago in which an "informant" led Greer City Police to a neighborhood community center and a realtively small buy-in tournament. Of those arrested, the people who decided to fight that case in court are still awaiting resolution of the charges. (More on the poker bust appeal.)
It's been at least 3 years.
We had another big poker bust at what we used to call the "Gaelic Game" last fall. Again, deputies claimed to have and "informant", although in this case it may have just been a case of the game beeing wayyyy too obvious.
As for that assistant city prosecutor, he's turned in his resignation. His boss still hasn't accepted the resignation and the poor bastard is on "suspension" for now.
Police claim they took more than $40,000 from the game, which makes me awfully jealous of the game... you know... until they all went to jail.
Related coverage<-- Hide More
Full disclosure: I've never won the Pick 6.
On Sept. 3 of last year, BG and I put together a Pick 6 ticket that came within a nose of winning. Five out of 6 paid a few hundred bucks for us, but we were that close to a big pay day. The day before, we lost one race by a head and another by a half-length. Close yet again to a really nice pay day.
If there's one truism in betting the ponies, however, it's that close doesn't pay the bills. And yet, here I am, imparting my amatuer knowledge on you. Thank me later.More in this Poker Blog! -->
1) Identify the card. Not every Pick 6 is made to be won. Each year, the Breeder's Cup features the Ultra Pick 6. In 2006, no one hit it. The year before, just one ticket that paid almost $3 million. It's a tough card. When BG and I played it last year, it was probably the worst results we'd ever had on a Pick 6 partnership.
It's important to identify a card you feel comfortable handicapping. Sometimes those Grade 1 Stakes are a little trickier, and a card full of Grade 1's might not be right for you. Pick a track you like and a track with which you have some experience.
2) Identify the carryover. A carryover in the Pick 6 is equivalent to an overlay in a tournament. It's money that's added to the pot by someone other than the bettors. That's always a good thing. On that one Pick 6 back in September, there was a whopping $245,000 carryover. When BG and I see something like that, we mobilize.
3) Identify your budget. It's just like your bankroll. You won't sit down at a $5/$10 NL table with $300. Don't plan on betting 4 horses per race with $300. There's simple math here. If you pick 3 horses per race, that's 3x3x3x3x3x3 mutiplied by $2. You better have $1458 for those 18 horses in that case. Mix is up a little, say 4x1x5x5x1x2, muliplied by $2, and you're spending just $400 for those 18 horses. Pick a budget and find a combination that fits.
4) Throw out the losers. Tossing horses is important. It makes it a lot easier to narrow down your choices. In every race, there are at least a handful of horses who just don't belong. I generally work my way through the card and eliminate at least half the horses from any consideration.
5) Find the "singles." Want to keep your budget down? Find at least one race in which you feel like there's a sure thing. Every "single" you find will significantly bring down your costs. Of course, it's scary going into a race with only one horse that will keep you alive, but most people don't have thousands of dollars to spend on a Pick 6 ticket.
6) Identify a few long shots. You'll rarely ever find a Pick 6 ticket full of chalk. It just doesn't happen. The difference between you getting that 5 out of 6 consolation ticket and the guy next to you cashing for six figures is finding the right long shots. You can't (and wouldn't want to) load up your ticket with long shots because, well, they're long shots for a reason. But finding one or two that may shock the field could help you to a much bigger pay day when they come in.
7) Narrow the rest. What I've suggested up until now is easy. This step is the hardest. In general, after completing the steps suggested above, you'll be left with as many as three times as many horses as you can afford to put on your ticket. There's no sure-fire way to narrow your choices. If there were, BG and I would be retired on our Pick 6 winnings by now. Instead, it's about smart handicapping and playing your feelings.
8) Get lucky. This one is kinda self-explanatory. Some of us are better at it than others.
Remember, it's not about handicapping each race individually like you would if you were betting a card. This is about picking 6 straight winners. This is about identifying a group of horses that can win. After you've made your choices and placed your bet, cross your fingers and pray to whatever god of luck you believe in.
And speaking of Pick 6's, BG and I are likely getting back on the horse (pun intended). That means we'll be looking for investors. We'll probably do a small one first to get back in rhythm before targeting a nice potential payday. I'll let you know when the time comes.<-- Hide More
I'm in a big pot with Rick. I play a lot of big pots, of course, but this one is especially large for the stakes and this one hand will make or break the session for one of us.
I have pocket kings in late position in a straddled pot and there are a half dozen callers ahead of me when Rick calls to my right. I pop it to $30. Naturally, everyone at the table calls. Including Rick.
The flop comes 4d 8c 10c. There are checks around to me and I make it $100. Everyone folds except Rick who smooth calls. I'm just hoping the turn isn't a club.
It isn't. It's a 5d. And here's something that makes no sense: Rick leads out for $200. Why?
I suppose he may have a nervous set with 2 flush draws there, but is he putting ME on the draw? Probably not. Did he hit a gutshot? Again, probably not. He has to think I'm holding air.
He wants me to fold... so I push.
We have a pot of more than $1800.
And Rick shows Ac4c. And he wants to make a deal. Only a coward would take it.
Here's why I said "Yes."More in this Poker Blog! -->
2004 - I Join "Up For Poker"
I'm friends with Otis and Luckbox. They were going to Vegas for a big blogger gathering in December of '04. I wanted to play in their tournament and so I joined their blog. Oddly enough it was regular writing about poker that turned me from a casual player into a more serious enthusiast.
So it's fair to say I began my serious exploration of the game on or about that same time. It's is also fair to say that at about that time, I was a truly awful player.
2005 - I Start To Play More Often
By early in 2005 BadBlood and I had become much closer friends and we were playing together every other Thursday in something we half-jokingly called the "donkey game." It was more of the old kitchen table game... dealer's choice... lots of silly drawing games... more food and drinking than serious poker.
Meanwhile, Otis, Blood and I were talking more and more often about ways to refine our Texas Hold-Em game. First with a $30 max buyin game... that became a $50 max game... that by the end of the year was at $200 max. All three of us became regular winners both live and online (although I was always better live and Otis better online, Blood was good at both) and our play got even more serious by the day.
Then I my life changed and poker grew closer to the center of my life.
I went from working an early morning shift to working afternoons and weekends. I went from having one day a week to play cards... to now four and five days a week. I took advantage and my game started to grow.
I went to blogger gatherings in the summer and in December again. By December I could sit at any table in any casino and feel confident I was about to win big. For what it's worth, I did.
2006 - My Summer Of Love: We Discover The "Underground"
By the early part of '06 I was now a regular at a place we called the "Spring Hotel." WE found it via TheMark who took Otis there after a homegame at his place. Soon we were all hitting the place on Wednesday or Friday nights. Actually, I usually went on both.
I became so confident in my skills and my ability to read my opponents that I started playing with optimal aggession. I'd make a read and act. Simple as that. If I knew you were weak I'd dump a stack in the pot. Power Poker BABY. It worked better than I had any right to expect.
By the middle of the summer Otis was using this poker blog to discuss whether or not I was singlehandedly destroying the G-Vegas poker scene. I took 5 or more buyins on almost every session. I could fall behind by 5, 6, or 7 buyins and never bat an eye because I KNEW I'd have it back by the end of the night.
It was that summer when BadBlood and I hit the MGM Grand so hard that for the next month we both agreed (Seriously agreed as if there was no doubt in the world) that we could turn pro and play for a living anytime we made the decision.
That's when I was my best at poker. I was my most confident. In the summer of 2006 I would have never taken Rick's deal.
2007 - My Work Takes Me Away From The Felt.
I came back to the moring shift. I said goodbye to the "Underground." This was made easier by the fact that 2 of my favorite games were robbed at gunpoint and another was busted by the local Sheriff's Office.
My bankroll, which was swollen with success the year before, was starting to atrophy. I spent it. I bought stuff. We took trips. I thought a lot less about cards and found other ways to enjoy time with friends.
For a while, I convinced myself I didn't miss the game. I took it less seriously. I got worse at it too.
I started to lose. I started to doubt my ability. I started to think about my bankroll during important hands. I started to feel the fear.
2008 - I'm A Coward But At Least I'm Trying To Learn
I played at BadBlood's New Year's Tournament. I played too tight and got chipped down until I lost a big race and went home.
I played in New Orleans during CJ's bachelor party. I did well but only because the other players were obviously horrible and I KNEW I was better than them. I played with confidence and it worked.
Then, Monday, I played at Rick's. The players, most of them, were good. I knew they were better than me. I knew from the moment I sat down I'd need to catch cards to win.
That's where I was when Rick proposed the deal.
I knew I'd lose.
He was a 2-1 dog and I still was AFRAID to lose a stack I felt I'd been lucky to win thus far. Of course, that meant if I didn't lose it there, I'd lose it soon after.
I took the deal and chickened out.
It was dumb and my good friends were almost embarrased for me. I know BadBlood was.
That's where I am today.
I'm more experienced than ever, and I'm worse than I've ever been.
Welcome to 2004.
What I hope I've learned is to spend more time in study before and after the game. Again, I don't think it's a coincidence that just when I stopped WRITING about poker I stopped playing well. It's also important that I have regular time set aside for a game. We're trying to bring back a regular Friday night game... just among friends. The stakes don't matter. I just need to feel the cards in my hands.
When BadBlood asked me why I made the deal, he asked if I'd have done the same thing two years before. I said no. I also said, "I was better at poker then."
I have to get the swagger back.
And... For what it's worth... the river... was Kc.
I would have lost.<-- Hide More
"I am not a biblical scholar," Rep. Barney Frank admitted of his inability to understand. The conservative mores of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle are confounding to some members of Congress. "But I can't find an exemption for horse racing!" The sport of kings' absence in the good book notwithstanding, Frank had a point.
The scene was Wednesday's House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology hearing and a debate that should've been conducted before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act became a reality (UIGEA live blog ).
Frank, one of the UIGEA's most vocal opponents, was pointing out a common theme in America's stance on federal gambling law enforcement: hypocrisy. It's an environment where gambling on juiced up athletes and ponies is perfectly acceptable, but betting on a skill game over which the player can affect the outcome is not.
The Committee hearing was one of the--if not the first--public discussions of the UIGEA, a law attached to must-pass port security legislation and spirited through the halls of the Capitol in the waning moments of the 2006 Congressional summer session. After nearly two years of being a burden only on confused government regulators, the law now threatened to disrupt the lives of many more people.More in this Poker Blog! -->
The summer of 2006 was a heady one for Senator Bill Frist and a small cabal of Republican members of Congress. Frist smelled the Republican nomination for President and he needed friends in some key early primary battlegrounds. Frist wanted it and he was going to get it.
The steamy Washington D.C. summer turned Frist into an irresponsible and randy teenage boy. He wanted it. He didn't care who he had to manipulate to get it. To get what he wanted, he had to ignore the potential consequences of his actions and accept he would be saddling others with a long-term burden. He was the selfish father of a throwaway kid. Now, as Frist tries to figure out who he can count on to make him governor of Tennessee, the progeny of his carelessness and ambition has become everybody else's problem.
If you're just now learning of UIGEA or haven't yet paid enough attention, it breaks down like this: A service that provides gambling on games subject to chance, except for horse racing and fantasy sports, is now considered criminal by the federal government. The UIGEA does not provide funding for the enforcement of its mandates. Rather, it forces American financial institutions to police gambling providers, determine whether they are breaking the law, and then stop doing business with them.
The financial institutions collective, along with UIGEA detractors, say it is well nigh impossible for the banks to be responsible for policing the anti-gambling laws. One of the strongest arguments is that banks, credit card companies, credit unions, and wire transfer companies have no way of knowing from one day to the next who is a bad guy and who is not. The UIGEA does not outline, except in broad terms, which companies break the law. Further, government regulators at the Federal Reserve and Department of Treasury have not been able to come up with an adequate list they can provide to the banks. At this point, the banks would not only suffer the financial burden of policing the internet, but also the ambiguity of the law itself.
UIGEA proponents don't buy it. The national sports leagues (yes, those that benefit so grandly from fantasy sports) are strongly in favor of getting UIGEA regulations finalized tout suite. "There should be no difficulty in identifying and blocking financial transactions directed at promoting sports betting," the leagues wrote in a letter to the Committee.
Proponents, like Alabama Republican Congressman Spencer Bachus, believe it is entirely possible to create a list of offenders like that of the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Rep. Bachus, despite having a last name worthy of some envy, likely loses a lot of credibility when he puts up statistics that suggest 74% of internet gamblers became addicted and many of those have turned to crime.
Regardless, the reality is that Treasury has, in fact, built the kind of lists about which Bachus and the professional sports leagues speak. They exist. According to Bachus, the NCAA has identified a list of 900 such gambling entities that can be considered illegal from which the banks could identify the illegal companies. Moreover, there are lists the banks and Department of Treasury use to battle money laundering.
Regulators seemed duly nonplussed. "Money laundering is a global concern," said Louise Roseman at the hearing. Her point? Banking is not a business exclusive to America. Banks all over the world work together to fight money laundering. Those same banks that walk in lockstep in that battle would be put at odds if the same sort of cooperation was expected to fight gambling. After all, in most countries in the world, gambling on the internet is not illegal. What's more, it's big business.
The financial services industry is beside itself. Wayne Abernathy represented the American Bankers Association at the hearing. No one--least of all the regulators, but including the banks themselves--has any idea how much the UIGEA will cost American banks. The financial burden aside, the banking industry points out the law will result in a no-win situation for the customers. Abernathy said the UIGEA will force banks to either be unfairly restrictive or "highly intrusive." Banks would have to take a gamble of their own. They could allow customers their privacy, but in an abundance of caution be forced to close the accounts of law-abiding entities. In the alternative, they could be more diligent, but be forced to dig deeper into their customers' private transactions.
Among the bills in Congress that seek to undo the confusion caused by the UIGEA is Rep. Barney Frank's HR2046. The bill, as outlined in the official Q&A, would "establish a regulatory and enforcement framework to license companies to accept bets and wagers online from individuals in the U.S., to the extent permitted by individual states, Indian tribes and sport leagues." Frank's bill has the most support of any right now, but there is no reason to believe it has any chance of making it out of committee this year. For Frank's efforts to be successful, a new administration needs to be in place. Optimists can look to this time next year before getting excited.
For now, the only plausible option for lawmakers is to continue working with the existing law and try to work out regulations that will satisfy both the law and the reality of the situation, a proposition that very well may be impossible.
Subcommittee chairman, Luis Gutierrez said it well. "Our time would be better spent restricting predatory lending," he said. That is, lawmakers have more important work to do than babysit Bill Frist's throwaway kid.
Other coverage<-- Hide More
The House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology (say that five times fast) is holding a hearing this morning to talk about the proposed regulations for the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. Given technology works the way it is supposed to, we'll be live blogging the whole of the hearing (you can find the live portion of the blog after the jump).
Scheduled to start at 10am ET, the hearing looks to be favorable toward the position that the UIGEA is an unnecessary law that puts the onus on American banks to serve as an unfunded law enforcement arm of the federal government. Then again, the way things work in Washington sometimes, it might turn out to feature balloon sculptors and Hoppy the Sad Clown.
Among the scheduled witnesses in the hearing are:
Links to transcripts of UIGEA hearing and additional letters -- HERE
******More in this Poker Blog! -->
1:00pm--We'll explore this more in the coming days, but the short hearing pretty much made offficial what everyone expected. Federal regulators were tasked with putting together regs on an ambiguous law and did their best with what they had. The financial services industry is beside itself that it could possibly be forced to serve in a law enforcement and judicial role in deciding what companies can do business in America. In short, UIGEA would be a tremendous burden on the American banking system, compromise its ability to do its job effectively, and, in the long run, likely not do much more than current laws do to stop the spread of internet gambling.
For people wondering about poker's role in all of this...the game did get brief mention in terms of a carve-out for its role as a skill-based game, but this hearing wasn't really geared toward that sort of discussion.
That's all for today.
12:54pm--And that's it. Hearing is over.
12:48pm--Abernathy: If UIGEA regs go forward as set up..."It continues to compromise the quality of the payment system."
12:45pm--Abernathy points out that, if forced to move forward in this manner, banks will have a choice, and neither of them food. They can be highly restrictive in transactions and cut out a bunch of legitimate folks. Or, they can be "highly intrusive" and ask a lot of questions that would end up violtating the customer's privacy.
12:37pm--Ron Paul is back to ask about potential cost to banking and financial services industries. Wayne Abernathy is the one who takes the questions. He seems to be the most vocal and hot about UIGEA. "It's difficult to put a cost on something that isn't in place yet." Again, ambiguity is the issue. Furthermore, say the reps from the banks, they would be be the judge, jury, and executioners for UIGEA...none roles they want to take.
12:34pm--Ted Teruo Kitada from Wells Fargo is up. He should be the last witness.
12:31pm--Leigh Williams from The Financial Services Roundtable...
--Difficulty in defining internet gambling increases 1000-fold if every banking institution is forced to come up with its own interpretation of the regulations.
--Legitimate business might end up getting caught up and restricted and illegal activity will get through.
--Members of his group seem to like Frank's bill to hat would essentially repeal UIGEA
12:24pm--Wayne A. Abernathy from the American Bankers Association now on the block. No surprise, the banks don't just dislike this law. They freaking hate it.
12:22pm----Short version of May's testimony.
--UIGEA is impossible to enforce unless a list of offenders is created that banks can follow
--Banks are given safe harbor, but have no clear way to prove they didn't know they weren't supoprting gambling
"Urge congress to take action to avoid hardhsips that might arise,"
12:15pm--Members of the financial services industry are now up. Frank has taken over as chariman. We're hearing first from Harriet May, speaking on behalf of the credit unions. "I relish the opportunity," she says.
12:00pm--If you don't feel like reviewing all of the stuff below, here are some Cliff's Notes. The Federal Reserve Board and Treasury have been working to put together regulations mandated by the UIGEA. After putting out the proposed regulations in October, they received a couple hundred letters from people and entities on both sides of the issue. The problems right now run the gamut. First, the UIGEA was exceptionally vague on what constitutes Intenet gambling. Second, it puts the law enforcement burden on the banking system. Although the proposed regulations have been put together, they still leave a very grey area on how banks should police the issue. Furthermore, some payment systems (like checks for interest) have no real way to be coded to stop the transactions. Proponents of UIGEA say banks and regulators could easily use existing lists and regulations (money laundering, existing gambling laws, etc) to form practices to support UIGEA. However, as regulators pointed out, America is nearly on its own in the quest to stamp out online gambling, but the banking system is global. Rep. Wexler made the first foray into the poker carve-out issue, though the issue wasn't discussed at any length. The representatives from Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board seemed rightly frustrated in being forced to build regulations for a law that is, at best, painfully ambiguous. Before banks can reasonably be held responsible for policing internet gambling, they will have to be told what internet gambling really is. With exceptions for activities like horse betting and fantasy sports, the ambiguity issue doesn't seem to be one that is easily solved.
11:57pm--Committee has been on a break for 20 minutes or so. Next up are the reps from the banking industry.
11:37am--The government witnesses are done. Gutierrez looks around the room in wonder at how many people actually showed up. He warns the regulators that people are watching.
"Be careful about where you go with these regulations," he says.
11:33am--So, what about money laundering? Why can't the UIGEA regulations be based on money laundering regulations. Roseman is ready with the perfect answer. "Money laundering is a global concern," she says. Or, to put a finer point on it, banks around the world have an interest in stopping money laundering. However, Internet gambling is actually legal in most places around the world and banks have no interest in cooperating.
11:29am--Hey, it's Ron Paul! He was late, but shows up on time to put forth the Libertarian view of the UIGEA. Thanks, Ron.
11:26am--Roseman states the obvious in terms of stopping Internet gambling. "There is going to be a proportion that will go through irrespective of our regulation."
And so, how is ambiguity affecting the formation of regulations?
"I think it is very difficult without having more of a bright line on what is intended to be included on what is unlawful Internet gambling."
11:17am--Poker mentioned for first time, and skill argument appears, courtesy of Rep. Robert Wexler
Roseman: "We did get a lot of comments for poker players that made that argument There are a number of games that involve a great deal of skill but also are subject to chance."
Wexler calls UIGEA, "Totally inconsistent system of regulation of law-abiding adults wishing to play games such as poker, or mah jong, or chess. This is all in the context of a mortgage crisis and banking crisis in Ameria."
11:13am--Though poker is not mentioned by name, Rep. Peter King brings up what many people in the poker community suggest should happen. Ambiguity could be avoided if the law and regulations were more narrowly defined to address, for instance sports betting. Roseman: "I think it would provide more clarity, except for the sites that have sports betting and other gambling at the same time." She is talking about you, Bodog.
11:08am--Well that was fast. The Reserve Board's Roseman: "I think it is going to be very difficult to enforce. Implementing regulations will not be ironclad at all. I think the law is relying on the payment system."
11:03am--The Joe's T-Shirt Shop Debate--The regs basically state that banks should keep an eye out for Internet gambling and if they become aware of gambling activity, they should stop money transactions. The point is made--online gambing institutions are pretty resourceful. What's to stop one from opening up Joe's T-Shirt Shop from taking bets and how are banks supposed to stop that?
10:55am--Barney Frank states the obvious. No one wants to touch the horse racing industry. Frank admits he doesn't always understand how the peopole on the other side of the aisle.
"I am not a biblical scholar," Frank said. "I can't find an exemption for horse racing!"
"I get a bet on horse racing. I'm a nice little bank here. Do I accept it or do I reject it?" Frank asks, and not rehetorically.
"I would assume that most institutions..." Roseman said.
Franks: "I didn't ask..."
Roseman "Unfortunately the proposed reg was silent on that issue."
Franks: "So, the answer is gamble on it?"
10:47am--Rep. Bachus is back up for questions. He submits letter from all the professional sports organizations and NCAA regarding the law, but the letter is not read out loud. Then he goes on to wonder why everyone thinks the potential regulations are so ambiguous.
Roseman: "The payment system really isn't well designed" for this kind of policing.
Bachus suggests it is, in fact, possible to create a list of offshore, illegal online gambling companies. In fact, he says, Treasury has created these kinds of lists for a lot of other laws. "I'm somewhat mystified," he says. "The NCAA has identified 900 of those."
Roseman: "In this case, it's activities, not entities." Roseman suggests Roseman might have legitimate business than cat be conducted throught the banks.
10:43am--Gutierrez is in the process of asking a series of questions surrounding ambiguity in the law. He says, "It just appears to me since several months have passed...that we would tread carefully as we pursue this issue."
10:40am--No UIGEA rules have been set in stone. All are currently in discussion and no where close to real.
10:36am--Valerie Abend from Treasury now gets a chance to speak. I don't envy her position. Treasury has received more than 200 comments from wide variety of groups and people. Treasury is still reviewing those comments. Proposed rules hit just about every kind of payment system from credit cards to wire transfers.
10:32am--The government speaks. We're now hearing from the first panel, made up of a member of Treasury and The Federal Reserve Board. The biggest issue is one we've been talking about for a while: Ambiguity. Not only is the law ambiguous about what kind of gambling is prohibited, but it is also ambiguous about how the banks will be able police it.
10:26am--Rep. Maxine Waters voted for the bill initially (like, well, just about everybody). Now she says she is reconsidering her vote. "I'm very seldom in a position where I change my vote, but this might be one of those times," she says.
10:17am--Barney Frank in the house. Not reading from a statement, Frank goes on a tear, suggesting the notion that we prohibit an activity because a few people might abuse it is a little more than silly. On Con"They really didn't like gambling and they wanted our committee to be the one to drive a stake through it's heart."
10:09am--First mention of Barney Frank repeal bill from from Spencer Bachus (R-AL). Bachus, like some of his fellow Republicans, is no fan of HR2046. Bachus readers letter from 45 of his fellow detractors. He says "Internet gambling ruins lives and tears families apart. Internet gambling is a scourge on our society...that leads to moral decline." According to Rep. Bachus, a recent study shows 74% of intenet gamblers became addicited and many of those have turned to crime.
10:04am--Chairman Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) is predicting a "lively debate" Department of Treasury/Federal Reserve Board vs. banking community. You think? Biggest issues at this point are the vagueness of the regulations put forth by the government. Gutierrez says... "Our time would be better spent restricting payday lending...predatory lending."
We all have our own way of getting mentally tuned in to a game. Mine is usually to get super-excited, dump off an early stack, get angry and abusive, and then try to recover with pointless agression. It doesn't always work.
My good, and always invited, friend BadBlood has a "Procedure" of his own.
But, as if to personally tilt the poor bastard, our state my make his pre-game warmup... ILLEGAL.More in this Poker Blog! -->
This information courtesy a local TV Station in South Carolina:
"EXOTIC DANCERS IN SOUTH CAROLINA MAY HAVE TO PUT A BIT MORE DISTANCE BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND THEIR CUSTOMERS. A BILL IN THE HOUSE WOULD REQUIRE THEY STAY SIX FEET FROM THEIR CUSTOMERS. THE MEASURE WOULD EFFECTIVELY BAN LAP DANCES AND REQUIRE STRIP CLUBS TO CLOSE AT MIDNIGHT. A SUBCOMMITTEE APPROVED THE IDEA LAST WEEK. BUT HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MEMBERS EAGERLY SENT THE BILL TO A DIFFERENT SUBCOMMITTEE FOR FURTHER REVIEW."
For those who aren't aware the Blood "Procedure" is as follows:
Drink with friends at bar.
Go to "Gentlemen's Club."
Methinks losing the middle step will be disasterous. Only time will tell.<-- Hide More
Hello dear blogging world! I've missed you terribly. You know, according to this blogging widget we're using here I haven't posted since the middle of February. Kinda pathetic methinks.
I've made a commitment to change that from here on out. We'll see how that holds.
So how does a one-time frequent blogger return to the page? By fighting with his good friends of course!More in this Poker Blog! -->
So I'm in a pot with BadBlood and Gucci Rick. I've had a decent night and I've made a little. One orbit earlier I'd announced I'd be leaving on my next buttton and this was to be the second to last hand.
I'm dealt 6d6s and because I've built my stack through (mostly) aggressive play I open it UTG for $12.
Badblood calls in Middle Position. Gucci Rick calls from the Small Blind.
The flop is Kc 6h 3c. For the slower reader, I have a set.
Gucci Rick checks so I lead out for $40. BadBlood smooth calls and then, oddly, GucciRick check-raises to $140.
Without much hesitation, I push for another $500.
Badblood says "FOLD" and everyone at the table hears him do it.
Then GucciRick says, "I almost folded to the $40!"
The dealer, Rick is in the 1s, hears him say that and misunderstands. He mucks Rick's hand.
I SEE Rick's hand get mucked and also thought I heard Rick fold so I then allow MY hand to get mucked as well.
Now we have a problem. Rick protests. BadBlood makes the initial argument that because he's the only one who still has cards, he is entitled to some of the pot. Rick says I can't win because, while his cards were accidentally mucked....MINE WERE TOO.
I have to have cards to win the pot.
I didn't argue much because these are my friends, but I strongly believe I'm entitled to this entire pot.
We ended up chopping it between me and Rick.
Here's a 2+2 Thread BadBlood posted about it. I'd be interested in your responses.<-- Hide More