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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

August 16, 2005

A Source familiar with UFP

by G-Rob

I was working on a campaign story many years ago when a press agent called. My tiny station covered the buckle of the corn belt, though everyone there was in suspenders. The Democrat hailed from the west end of the state where people were as sparse as real breasts in Vegas. The Republican served as mayor in the city that housed the capital and the state university. The agent was from one of those campaigns.

By mid-October I hadn't endeared myself to either side. I'd only arrived in the state in August, and in just two months I'd embarrased one guy with comments he'd made about state employees, while the other threatened to kick me out of a press conference. Still, I knew the guys they'd hired to schmooze the media and even us rural mid-state stations got a hand job sometimes.


These days I devour political news. I actually do less and less political reporting, but I keep tabs on everything I can. Sometimes though the real story isn't in WHAT'S reported...but HOW we hear the lead.

Here's an example from this Sunday's WASHINGTON POST

US OFFICIALS SAY, "What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

Later we learn that this source is a "senior" official. I'm certain he or she is exactly that. But why do you think this person said these things and then asked NOT to be named? This, my friends, is a "leak". But from whom?

Sex Sells

Apparantly one of the midwestern candidates was involved in a bit a naughtiness. Or so I'd heard. The press agent made damn sure I heard. He called me, said hello, and then immediately went "on background". That means he wanted me to know ALLLLLL about it as long as HIS name and HIS campaign never appeared in a story.

Of course, I never ran with it. First, I didn't care. Second, it's awfully hard to confirm. Third, I considered the source.

Who exactly is SENIOR?

Of course, some people WANT everyone to know where the information comes from. Sometimes that's the most deceptive move of all, like a tight table image running a stone cold bluff. The situation says call, but THIS guy makes me fold. Really, attribution is the best asset a poker player has.

That deception makes me wonder about the universe of poker handbooks, maunals, and texts. Who do I trust? And might that very trust be my biggest problem?

Case in point :

Doyle Brunson's Super System

Ol' Doyle wrote the book that was, at the time, the step-by-step guide to poker EVER. Doyle used his years of experience and insight to give every novice player in the world a 20 year head start. It's like getting through K-12 on Cliff's notes and coming into college almost totally prepared.

Unfortunately for Doyle, it was also a play-by-play of his own knowledge and stlye. Suddenly every dimwitted homegamer with 20 bucks and reading glasses was ready to play. They weren't at HIS level, but they sure did improve. Now, tell me this, are we to assume that every successful pro in the world learned NOTHING from Doyle? Are they that open? Or is the attribution a better selling point than the actual content?


In journalism, the great Bhudda of anonymous sources is "Deep Throat". All of America wanted that man unveiled and, I suspect, no one more so than the people in the news biz. The Ol' Washington Post changed the way we all look at anonymous sources. Unfortunately for good journalism, it also changed the way politicians USE the media.

Take that earlier quote from Sunday morning :

US OFFICIALS SAY, "What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

It sure SOUNDS like one of those off-the-record, answer the question, help the reporter, tell the truth leaks. We imagine someone handing out nuggets for big stories while in hiding from the boss, but this is almost never the case. Much more often those "unnamed sources" are releasing info on BEHALF of the big boss, or one of his spinning advisors. Both sides do it the same way. Want something to appear on the news without you having to be the bad guy who says it...leak it!

"I'm sorry, I didn't say my opponent fathered an illegitimate monkey lovechild while wasted on Jamaican hash," he says, "but that report's been IN THE NEWS".

Attibution is everything folks, without it you know FAR less than you think.


I was whining to Otis about my blogwriting the other day. As always, he was totally unsympathetic but willing to feign interest, which is all I ask. More than anything, I said, I wanted to write some anyalysisof my local ring game play. I've been in quite a few interesting hands, found moves that work against certain local styles, and I've found some interesting tells.

The problem, my whine continues, is many of those players READ this blog. Now, I'm not a very good player, actually I'm pretty lousy, so I doubt anyone would be getting any great strategic insight from my ideas. Still, I hate to divulge the one or two things I do that actually win an occasional pot.

I'm entirely aware of who arrogant this sounds by the way, no reason to point that out. Again, I SUCK AT POKER AND YOU'LL LEARN ALMOST NOTHING FROM ME, but I find myelf pulling punches here which is a disservice to the great blog CJ and Otis have built.


Mrs. Otis works for the KGB. Don't tell anyone you read it here, but tell everyone you heard it.


When I told Otis I was entering this he told me not to. "Not your style man," he said before logging off. He was right, $20+2 LIMIT does not suit my maniacal aggressive play. But the deck assaulted me and I was, at least, smart enough to not fold the good hands.

Now I can afford Brad-o-ween.

| G-Rob's Thoughts