Saturday, May 15, 2004

"Poker is a combination of luck and skill. People think mastering the skill part is hard, but they're wrong. The trick of poker is mastering the luck. That's philosophy. Understanding luck is philosophy, and there are some people who aren't ever going to fade it. That's what sets poker apart. And that's what keeps everyone coming back for more."
Jesse May

Thanks for stopping by. Please excuse my prior off-topic posts - I humbly apologize and hope you will continue reading this poor excuse for a poker blog. I realize I made a mistake. Sure, figuring out Stinky was like doing one of those puzzles for pre-schoolers where there are three large pieces that fit together, but seriously, I was wrong and I apologize to you, my readers, and to Stinky. I don't want to harm our community - we have a great thing going here. I'm sorry.

Tonight I have some old poker news, some new news, kickass poker commentary from some of the best poker writers, and of course, many new poker blogs. Let's get right to it, shall we?

Resuming regular poker blogging.....

So I just finished re-reading Shut Up and Deal by the aforementioned Mr. May and I had forgotten how deeply cynical and dark the book is. For anyone aspiring or even just fantasizing about becoming a poker professional, it's a Must Read.

Poker has a way of humbling you, even if you think you've got everything down cold. Even the grinders walk into suckerpunch sessions more often than we'd care to admit.

Jesse had one brutal anecdote proving that: Yes, it is possible to go broke all in one day. No matter how much you have. I wonder how the majority of online players have gone broke: playing over their bankroll, through poor play or plain old tilting? A combination, perhaps?

I've written several rants on how losing in poker can make you a better player, should you decide to take the necessary steps to improve. In that vein, I came across this quote by WSOP champ, Bobby Baldwin, that echoes my previous posts.

"Playing poker for a living gives you backbone. You cannot survive without that intangible quality we call heart. I don't care how bad you are going or how good, you have to stand solid. Poker is a character builder - especially the bad times. The mark of a top player is not how much he wins when he is winning, but how he handles his losses. If you win for thirty days in a row, that makes no difference if on the thirty-first you have a bad night, go crazy, and throw it all away."

It was a bitter pill, back in the day, after grinding and building up my roll, to step up in limits, lose, and give that money back. Damn, I learned a lot from losing, but mostly that losing is unavoidable. And that lesson alone is powerful mojo. Acceptance.

I wish I had time to locate the Mike Caro article about "protecting your bankroll" in which he espoused that you can be more reckless with a small bankroll than you can with a large one. And more importantly, how most players treat their bankrolls just the opposite. And how, if you have a poker bankroll, it's for poker *only*.

Damn, you gotta love these rambling Guinness-fueled posts. Plus, this is hella more fun than talking about beheadings in Iraq. In fact, I'm swearing off the news for a while - I'm jumping headfirst back into poker literature and play. I haven't played at all this week - haven't been in the right frame of mind and I'm wise enough to know I shouldn't even bother sitting at a table when like this.

A quick mention of last weekend before I move on to the link-fest. I played at the closest legal cardroom, Ceasers in Indiana, this past weekend, as a little birthday present to myself. I should write up a full trip report because it's certainly worth it, but I'm just not in a mirthful mood.

The abridged version is that I played for 12 hours, ended up stinking drunk (did I mention it was my birthday?) - began table talking like a madman (as only I can do) and somehow walked away with about $400. It's impossible to transcribe some of the non sequitur's I uttered, but suffice to say, half of the table was horrified and the other half was shooting beers out of their nose, laughing. I made sure I came across as a live one, that's fer sure.

So I had a fantastic time and I didn't get 86'd, although I suspect I was close. Thanks to my man, GMoney, for rocking and rolling with me.

The games were soft and weak. Please read The Cardplayer's journal for more detailed info on this game. But the rake.....


From a poker message board:


The rake on all Games there is 10%, up to $5 max. However, they take an
additional dollar out of each pot, making the max rake $6. This applies to all games regardless of day of the week. This rake applies to both 4/8 and 10/20 hold 'em. They don't spread 3/6 or 6/12 or anything else like that there anymore. It's 4/8, then 10/20 and up, I have no idea what the rake is on the larger games as I don't play them, but it's probably the same with a bigger cap.

The rake on the 4/8 is exactly the same as the 10/20 and it is unbeatable. The 10/20 is as soft and definitely beatable including the rake. If you are going to play there, do not play 4/8, take an extra $300 and play the 10/20.

That's pretty brutal, eh? Plus, (and I hate to say this) but until I had too many beers, I was bored out of my skull at the table. Game play was brutally slow. I had an old feller to my right for many hours, who was recovering from a stroke and took 30-60 seconds to play *every* time the action was on him. He never once knew what the bet amount was, played every hand to the river and never protected his hole cards. Sure, it was easy money but I felt bad for the guy. I just hoped he was incredibly wealthy and it didn't matter. Damn poker rationalizations. Sadly, it goes with the territory.

One other complaint: after years of living in Vegas, I grew to hate the sound of slot machines and video poker. You couldn't even go the grocery store or a local tavern without the ringing, dinging and chiming of those fucking video poker machines. The hair literally started rising on the back of my neck when I walked in the damn card room last weekend. There was a huge bank of video poker machines lining the poker tables - truly sucked. Next time I'll be toting a walkman, lesson learned. Also, casino's are made for lonely people, imho.

Alrighty then, time to start pointing out the massive poker content I have compiled for any readers I still have left. Hope you enjoy.

Continuing the Jesse May theme, here is a "State of the Game Address" by the man in his latest missive. Times they are a'changin.

State of the Game Address


we have reached a watershed in the evolution of the theory of the game. We have reached a point where many of the truths that have long been held about how to win at this game have ceased to exist. The poker theorists and players of the last twenty years were not necessarily wrong, but the truth has changed, and now there are a good many people who all of the sudden don’t know what the hell is going on. They seek to explain the present away with talk of luck and coincidence and closed up minds, but I can’t do it. I don’t know exactly what the new truth is, but there are too many anomalies in poker today that need new answers. I say take the old books, and burn them. Just consider. Don’t try to explain, just consider.

also this:

David Sklansky has long been considered a leader in a field entitled game theory, theories based mostly on numbers and his cards, yet his tournament results over the past few years indicate that he has absolutely no chance whatsoever to win a large field event.

There's tons of WSOP reports out there but I'm just going to point out the best. First up is the Poker Pundit, Andy Glazer, mentioning THE BIG GAME.

The 4c hit the river, Nguyen was out, and Ted Forrest was sitting on enough chips to make more than THREE WHOLE BIG BETS (were they real chips, and not no-cash-value tournament chips) in the $100,000-200,000 real money game going on over at the Bellagio right now between Dallas banker Andy Beal and an assortment of Vegas pros who are taking turns playing him one-on-one.

For those of you not-in-the-know, THE BIG GAME is a very rich man named Andy Beal taking turns playing The Corporation in the highest limit poker game on the planet. Linda over at PokerWorks had some fantastic posts about The Big Game but they have since been removed.

Here's some background info about this incredible game:

See, Andy Beal is a brilliant man. He doesn't have a college degree, but he is the founder of a very large bank in Texas, the Beal Bank, that has well over $1 billion in assets. He owns ninety-nine percent of the bank. He isn't an engineer or an astrophysicist, but that didn't stop him from devising a plan to build his own rocket ship. He's not a mathematician, but using his bank's computers he discovered a mathematical problem that has become known as Beal's conjecture. Finding a proof or a counterexample to the conjecture has perplexed the great minds of applied mathematics for the past six years, even though Beal has offered a $100,000 prize to anyone who can solve the problem. He's kind of like Fermat, Einstein and Scrooge Mc. Duck all rolled into one slightly neurotic-looking headphone-wearing poker player. Like many brilliant men he has clearly decided that mastering Texas hold 'em presents the ultimate challenge.

Andy wanted to play ultra high limit poker to challenge himself against the best players in the world, my assumption being that he assumed the high limits would draw out the best players and also their best games. The only problem with this is that nobody has the kind of bankroll to risk in this kind of game. I am sure many of them have multi million dollar bankrolls but the swing in this game can easily be 5-10 million, a swing that could easily break the most successful of poker players. So a number of big and not so big names in poker got together a syndicate to form a bankroll to play with against Andy, sharing the risk and profits if any. The have been nicknamed the corporation. The players who bankroll the corporation also play against Andy, taking turns. Andy comes and goes, the big game is not regular. For example I understand that he played a few days last week and won 5 million. He will be back and it is likely that it could swing as much as ten million or more to one side or the other.

From what I have read it is hard to determine how much backing the corporation can come up with and how much money Andy is worth. For Andy I have seen numbers that vary from a couple hundred million to billions, so who knows, as for the corporation it is anybody’s guess. But I would speculate that the corporation has limits both in the amount of bankroll they can put together at anytime and the amount of risk they are willing to take that Andy can surpass or in other words Andy would play higher I think if they would. For me the most interesting part of all of this is the corporation. They have an edge on Andy to be sure, however, while I do not think anyone that is part of this will invest everything, there is a good chance that Andy could win enough from the corporation to make them insolvable. In other words, Andy with just luck could win enough from them where they get to the stop ruin point where it would be to high a risk to take Andy on at those limits compared to what they had left to invest. Andy will never be anything but even money with the players in the corporation. The closer he gets to being an even money player with them the more likely it becomes that with his virtually bottomless bankroll he could bust the corporation. It is high stakes drama at it's very best.

Warren Karp is reporting that Andy is up eight million against the corporation, as of last evening.

So why does Ted Forrest waste his time with these silly WSOP tournaments that pay only $300K ? That's only one reraise in the 100K/200K game.

Doyle, Jennifer, Chip, Ted, and usually one other are the pro's that make up the corporation. I think Todd Brunson and Howard Lederer, too.

Here is the PokerClan forum with some threads about the big game for those of you wanting to do some more reading. Damn, I wish Linda still had her posts up.
The Big Game

Whoops, just got a notice that Andy Glazer has a new post up.

And here’s another side issue. After this event, Binion’s will prohibit the wearing of any gaming-related logos at the final table for all televised events, especially online casinos and any land-based casinos other than those in the Harrah’s stable. The problem is that it was getting to be a bidding-war circus, with online sites buying advertising exposure by paying players who made the final table to don their garb. At this final table, for example, there were five players sporting shirts with logos from four different online casinos. John Juanda is a team member of Full Tilt Poker, but it was unknown if any of the other players actually were associated with the other Internet casinos they were advertising. Flyers for tournaments at other poker sites are also being banned.

Interesting stuff there. It's anyone's guess how this will all shake out. Did anyone else see this message from PartyPoker?

Make it all the way to the FINAL table of the WSOP tournament and if you were wearing PartyPoker.com Merchandise throughout the WSOP Event right from the start (including all post tournament interviews held over the next 30 days), we will add an extra $100,000 in your PartyPoker.com account! $50,000 will be added as soon as the WSOP Tournament ends and the remaining amount will be added after 30 days.

Yikes, I suppose that's called incentive.

There are updates from three poker bloggers currently playing in the WSOP. Lion Tales, Paul Phillips and the mighty Alan Bostick.

God bless the poker bloggers. I can't believe how many new ones I get to pimp tonight. That alone inspires me to post higher quality content - gotta keep up with these new kids.

But before I hit the blogs, here's a couple excellent articles that you should check out. My favorite is the interview with Larry Flynt on PokerPages.
Larry Flynt on Poker
Controversial pornographer and civil rights activist Larry Flynt discusses why he’s not afraid of Phil Ivey, what really happened with Amarillo Slim, and why Seven-Card Stud is a better game than Hold ‘Em.

Best line:
FLYNT: Oh, sure. I've won more money playing blackjack probably than I have at poker.

I'll bet, when you sit at a murderer's row table like that.

For all you programming guru's out there, here's a take on said subject in the newly designed Cardplayer.
PokerBot World Series 2004

This summer, the sixth International Conference on Cognitive Modeling will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While you might think this would be of limited interest to poker players, this year's conference will also host the PokerBot World Series, a competition to develop the best computer model of a human poker player.

Actually, the new CardPlayer has been out since Wednesday. I can't resist posting this snippet from Phil Helmuth's latest column:

I've been very busy with the business side of poker lately: first, writing my new book (Bad Beats and Lucky Draws, due out in October); second, making a series of videos (Phil Helmuth's Million Dollar Poker System); third, creating the new, first-class "Phil Helmuth Chip Set" - available at philhellmuth.com - a set that includes two videos, high-quality chips, and my book Play Poker Like the Pros; fourth, representing a new cell phone hold'em game that will be released on a major carrier soon (yes, you can play hold'em on a cell phone!); fifth, signing a contract to represent the new Edge Television (a new cable station for gaming shows); sixth, playing at UltimateBet.com; seventh, selling The Madison Kid movie about my life, up to age 25, to Beacon Pictures; eighth, creating and selling my own reality show; ninth, doing my "Poker Nights" for $25,000 a night; 10th, teaching a poker class for the "Learning Annex"; and finally, talking to some very cool mainstream companies about sponsorship and a clothing line. Yikes, it's no wonder I'm so tired every day; just reading this list makes me tired!

Good Lord, how much Phil Helmuth can we possibly take? A Phil Helmuth chip set? Phil is getting ready to jump the shark, imho.

Whew, I'm certainly back in full-blown verbose mode. Allow me to link up some poker blogging goodness and then I'm off to hit the tables. A full week off now and I'm ready to attack the games with gusto.

Online pro, Jason, at Poker Odyssey has opened the Poker Odyssey Forums for a community based poker think tank. If you've spent anytime (and you should) at Jason's blog, you know he's a student of the game and I recommend anyone who is looking for others to bounce concepts off, to check it out.

Blogger Extraordinaire, PokerGrub, is taking a brief hiatus to regroup, but thankfully, we have Grubette posting in his steed. That's one helluva tag-team over there. I'm thinking Grubby's blog will get pretty damned interesting if he actually moves to Vegas. Worthy of a novel and several plays, most likely.

I'm a big fan of Chicago Phil's blog - consistently intelligent posts and he knows how to play. What more can you ask for? But if any of you missed his Vegas Trip Reports, please head over, scroll down a bit and check them out. Excellent stuff and here's a snippet from Part 2:

After a while, a short-ish, balding, middle-aged guy arrives and sits in the one seat. He starts talking to some folks at the table. His name was Barry Tannenbaum. I didn’t know it at the time, but he writes for Card Player and is (apparently) reasonably well known.

TG is clearly a fairly inexperienced player, and has no idea that asking to see the losing hand is something of a breach of etiquette. But Barry just goes on and on, laying into him. The player explains that he invested a lot of money in the hand, and wants to see if he made the right read. Barry ignores his statement, and asks if he thinks there was some sort of collusion going on between himself and the third player. TG very apologetically says no, of course not.

Damn, I wanted to link to a bunch more great blogs but sadly, I'm drunk running out of room here. Next post I'll point out some of the great new bloggers - we've really gotten lucky with the quality writing.

But I'd be remiss without pimping the very brand new poker blogs. And damn, there's a bunch of em. Here we go:

Most of you already know about Pauly's brother and his kickass new poker blog. The fact that he's Pauly's brother is all the endorsement he needs. Check out his Vegas trip reports:
Poker in the Weeds

I've been digging Alan's poker blog - looks great and has a fine domain name to boot. Add Geek and Proud to your bookmarks, folks.

Joe is from Columbus, Ohio and is blogging on that weird Xanga site. He's currently beating the low-limit games and SNG's on Party, analyzing his play with PokerTracker - a worthy read.
Lacerated Sky

Another new blog, and another spiffy domain. The mighty Ted Williams is up and running at Tiltproof.com.

Poker Blog of a Young Poker Guru is up and running in a new home and is pounding the games at FullTiltPoker. This is a smart young kid - I wish I had started learning about poker at his age, damnit.

Pleb's Poker has just gotten off the ground. He's an Aussie, I believe, and has just started ordering the Torah of poker books so he can get beyond weak-tight play. It's always enjoyable for me to watch players improve.

Mark Pittman is a friend of Bill Rini, which is good enough for me. Scroll down for Mark's poker commentary.

And I think that's it. Sorry if I missed anyone - my notes are a bit scattered from the past week. I love giving shout outs to the new bloggers so please feel free to let me know if any of you out there start one up. It's free and easy on blogger.com!

Thanks to anyone reading this far. I hope this Guinness-fueled rambling wasn't too lame. Per the same old crap, please consider using bonus code IGGY on PartyPoker if, for some strange reason, you aren't playing there yet.

Good luck to everyone in the tourney tomorrow night! Looking like 36 players.

Link of the Day:
Who Wants to Be a Psychic Millionaire?
The James Randi Education Foundation has offered $1 million to any person who can show evidence of paranormal, supernatural, or occult powers. "Please be advised that several claimants have suffered great personal embarrassment after failing these tests," says Randi.

Friday, May 14, 2004

"The tragic events of September 11, 2001, changed more than Manhattan's skyline; it profoundly altered our political and legal landscape as well. Anyone who witnessed the desecration of those buildings and the heart-wrenching loss of life, who didn't want to run out and rip someone a new asshole, doesn't deserve the freedoms we still enjoy."
Hunter S. Thompson, raging Democrat & kindred spirit

And that's how the beheading of an innocent American civilian made me feel, for better or worse. I felt exactly the same way after watching the Daniel Pearl beheading. I simply sunk into a morass. It wounded my damn soul. It destroyed what little faith I had in basic human decency.

And then I read Stinky's post, showing a complete disregard for reality. Interesting that he put his site back up but doesn't allow comments, in typical gutless coward fashion. He's both a liar and a plagiarist and doesn't deserve any more of my attention. Let's just hope this kid grows up and gets the help he needs. Hell, I'm a long haired hippy type, not a right winger. I tend to work by common sense on issues, not blind political partisanship.

The beheading of Berg is not about Bush, Dooley, don't you understand that? Do you think that terrorism only started when Bush took office? How old are you, anyway?

And Stinky, you can say WHATEVER the hell you want. Nobody is stopping you or infringing on your right to free-speech. Don't even try that victim game. You obviously have a right to your opinion, I shouldn't have to preface everything I say with that. It's implied, you buttnut.

Stinky speaking at a pro-Al Qaeda rally in Boston.

He claims that we are all sheep, following CNN and MSNBC for our news (I don't even have cable, you fucktard) and we are sadly misled by the vast, right-wing news coverage. Sigh. I'm an information junkie - that should be obvious from this damn blog. I'm really astounded by his idiocy, but hell, he's just a kid who can barely put comprehensible sentences together when not plagiarizing. Sometimes I think I need a Furby to English translator when reading his posts.

I love to discuss issues. Discuss, debate, challenge. I can't help it, it's the way I'm wired. I've mentioned before that I am an ENTP. I ESPECIALLY love to think about poker.

ENTPs are usually verbally as well as cerebrally quick, and generally love to argue--both for its own sake, and to show off their often-impressive skills. They tend to have a perverse sense of humor as well, and enjoy playing devil's advocate. They sometimes confuse, even inadvertently hurt, those who don't understand or accept the concept of argument as a sport.

Sadly, that's me. I'm also a voracious reader (duh) and love to read opposing intelligent viewpoints that challenge me. But Stinky just ain't worth it. I don't suffer fools well.

Don't take this so serious, Stinky. I'm just having fun goofing on you. As many people have reminded me - it's just a blog on the web.

But anyway, I digress. I was thankful for Nemo's comments in my blog, as he is an American Muslim, and his explanation of Islam. Nemo is a very cool guy and I think he is likely right about American or Euro Muslims - he would know more than I. But Zeyad makes the point that being a moderate Muslim is an oxymoron.

I read a lot of Iraqi blogs. I find them fascinating - it's like reading about people from another planet. But then again, they also play Quake. And poker. And drink beer. The commonalities run deep, despite the culture gap.

So I was reading one of my favorites, Healing Iraq, and saw this post about Nicholas Berg, and consequently about Islam. He needs to be careful, per usual, so he doesn't get killed, but he usually makes succinct points.

And so, because I'm not interested in posting MY political viewpoints, allow me to quote Zeyad from his last post. And I'm gonna go start an uber-post and get things back to normal in this here poker blog. Hell, only ten of you read this thing on the weekends, anyway. :)

Nicholas Berg

I tried downloading the Nicholas Berg video, but it was too large for this unstable dial-up internet account. I guess part of me didn't want to watch it anyway. I remember a similar 500kB video that was sent to my email account about two years ago. I didn't know what it was, so I opened it and almost got sick to my stomach. The camera was focused on a man lying on the ground with a boot on his neck, his face down to the earth. Out of nowhere, a large knife is shown to the camera, then slowly it sinks into his neck just below the jaw line. The hand holding the knife moves it back and forth in a sawing motion while the victim screams in agony until his voice is reduced to a gurgle like sound. Eyes popping out and blood pouring from his neck. It was extremely graphic, although it was in black and white.

Strange coincidence that the Nick Berg video was released almost
simultaneously with the video of Palestinian 'freedom fighters'
displaying the severed head of an Israeli soldier on a table.
Al-Jazeera had the head blurred out, and the Nick Berg video was
casually mentioned near the end of their news bulletin, and that was
that. No extensive discussions with Arab 'intelligentsia' followed, no replaying of the video over and over again for days (as the Abu Ghraib images), no talk shows with enraged, fist shaking, name-calling Arab figures discussing the effect of these videos on the 'image' of the Islamic or Arab world. Just shame and guilty silence. Apparently, pictures of an American female soldier taunting a naked man with underwear on his head is much much more gruesome to Arabs. I guess not everyone is perfect.

So, to distance myself from the shameful hypocritical Arab and Muslim masses. I wish to denounce this barbaric act and the pathetic ideology that fueled it, to disown any person from my part of the world who would justify it, and to offer my sincere condolences and sympathy to the family and countrymen of Nicholas Berg.

And for Muslims, who are definitely going to say 'this isn't the real Islam':

"When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives." Surat Mohammed:4

Grow up, and leave the 7th century.

Some angry readers have interpreted the above last statement as an
attack against fellow Muslims. That was not what I had intended. I
usually do my best to avoid theological debates on Islam for safety
considerations but I'll indulge them just this once. My purpose was to point out that Islam indeed excuses such barbaric acts. This is not the same as saying that all Muslims believe in such acts or commit them, moderate Muslims exist, but Islam is not moderate. Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists have not deviated from Islam, in fact all their practices are derived from the Quran and Hadith.

So yes, Islam is the problem here. Poverty, economic conditions, abuse by so called colonialism, and political frustration are not. Similar conditions elsewhere in the world have not prompted non-Muslims to commit suicide bombings or fly planes into towers. Islam, along with favourable cultural, tribal, and social values existing in the Arab world has prompted that drive. Islam and the Quran alone are not the root cause.

The solution is not however to alienate all Muslims, or to expel them, or annihilate them. It is up to 'moderate' Muslims and their clerics to carefully examine their scriptures and to reform, the same way Jews and Christians did. The Quran is a book, and its tenants were appropriate for a certain era in history. Most of it does not apply today, so it is not 'untouchable'. You either believe in the whole book, together with its violent verses, or you should stop claiming to be a consistent believer. You cannot select verses which appeal to your argument and ignore the rest.

How would you explain these, for instance:

"The just retribution for those who fight Allah and His messenger, and commit horrendous crimes, is to be killed, or crucified, or to have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or to be banished from the land. This is to humiliate them in this life, then they suffer a far worse retribution in the hereafter." Surat Al-Ma'ida:33

"O believers, do not take Jews and Christians as allies, they are
allies of one another. Those among you who ally themselves with these belong with them."
Surat Al-Ma'ida:51

I can go on and on, but I would rather not. I have intensively examined the Quran and Sunna, and I might have a few things that would scare some pious believers. Maybe, some other time, when I'm in a safer environment, I would devote a website or a book to the subject.

Link of the Day:
Hurl Responsibly
Modern Drunkard: "I'm ashamed to say that some drunks I know think vomiting sounds just like last call, when it should sound like the bar's door being unlocked."

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
Bertrand Russell

There's too much to say, so I'm keeping my mouth shut. Mostly.

If you want to read about the past day, please hit Old School Poker Blogger, Mister Decker, for a reality check. He said it much better than I ever could, and besides, he's been blogging about poker for longer than any of us.

Per his post: At least when I called out the Vegan for his insane diatribe (see archives around Christmas), the Vegan had the decency to comment, post and email like a man.

No, he didn't delete his site, link to moveon.org, and run away like a little girl. So much for 'strength of your convictions' eh?

Tilt-City Express, StinkyPants (I really hate typing that stupid effing name). It's amazing how easy it is to tilt some people. You stick the pin in once and they start screaming like weenies over a wood fire. That can really be a leak in a players game...

So I'm sad - my intention was not for Nick (aka Stinky) to leave. I've always tried to take the high road in this humble lil poker blog and I feel like I failed. That sucks. I want nothing more but to simply pimp our community of poker blogs.

But when profound idiocy rears it's ugly head in your own backyard, it's difficult not to say anything. It demeans us all.

Nuff said, and I'm sorry for the non-poker posts. I truly am.
I should stick to what I do best.

So I still have far too much content to post and no time to do so. I apologize for the lack of uber-posts but they are coming, I promise. My load at work will eventually lighten and the morass I've sunken into from that horrific beheading video will eventually leave.

It's looking like 33 players in the World Poker Blogger Tour this Sunday evening. The field is almost perfectly split between bloggers and writers. Outta be a fun time with plenty of hilarious chat. A tip of the Guinness to everyone who signed up - thank you.

I swear, 'Nice Iggy', will be back in the next post. Nuthin but a Guinness-fueled rant about poker.

But for now, StinkyPants, one last dig. Please, please go read some books.
I've eaten things smarter than you.

Link of the Day:
¿Donde Esta, Jose?
We have lost our pride. We have lost our dignity. We have lost our Mexicans. If we don't find them, we'll be in deep mierda.

and this commentary:
per the beheading Video.

And Burt FU has some thoughtful advice for Stinky. Burt's right, he's just a kid - I never shoulda said anything.

This post is from the gutless wonder over at StinkyPants. Being the coward that he is, he immediately deleted it after reading my comments.

I'll repost it here and let it speak for itself.

Bush beheads Berg?

Oh the insanity. See post after, too.

Here's Stinky with all his awful spelling and delusion:


May 13, 2004
Some thoughts on Berg
While I'm sitting here in my personal hell (a party poker table of morons that will raise and call you to the river with bottom pair and king high.... and getting absolutely NO playable hands...not one) some thoughts kept on bugging me....

Last night the fiance insisted on seeing the Nick Berg beheading video, and I watched it with sound for the first time too...made me sick...but then I noticed some things.

Like most things having anything remotely to do with George Bush, something seemed fishy.... I did some research and heres some points I'd like to bring up;

In the video, he's wearing an orange jumpsuit. This is the same jumpsuit US prisoners wear.

In the announcement read before, they said Berg was to die for "Iraqi Prisoner Abuse".... however, Berg was last seen alive on April 10th, and his father believes that's when he died. This was a full two weeks before the prisoner abuse scandal broke in the media.

Conveniently, the timing of this is garunteed to divert attention from the outrage regarding US torture of Iraqis...

He doesn't look alive as he was bedheaded. The video goes conveniently blurry, but the body doesn't struggle at all. Also there is absolutely no blood. If I was alive, and you tried to cut off my head..first, noone would be able to keep me down..and second, there'd be a hell of a lot of blood. None is seen here.

According to my research, A Reuters journalist in Dubai first named the Muntada Al0Ansar al-Islami site as the source of the video. However the actual web address was never mentioned. After some deep research, I found it at www.al-ansar.biz (the site is now down).... when I did find it, there was no video link anywhere on the site, however, Fox news and CNN were all supposedly able to download the footage right away from that site.

He was held by the US (and Iraqi police) for 13 days without any contact, the FBI knew of this. no reasons were given. He was allegedly released, then captured by the terrorists and murdered....and we ares upposed to swallow this BS?

So, what does this idicate.... He could've been (and probably was) dead before the beheading. That explains the lack of blood and movement.

If you look deeper, and I'm not much of a tin-foil-hat conspiracy guy, the pieces would all fit into place for Bush (or his cronies) to use this as a coverup to the Prisoner abuse scandal... He was in american custody, he's wearing an american prisoner uniform, discrepencies on the timeframe.... Did Bush set this all up? Is Nick Berg really dead? Wheres the body? Who was he killed by, Terrosists, or Bush?

And before you think our beloved president is above having people killed...umm, look at the thousands of Iraqis already dead because of his lies....

Think about it...

I'm still ill over the beheading of Nick Berg. I'll hopefully blog tonite about poker (yes, I have plenty of kickass poker content) and get my mind off this shit.
Plus, I'll update everyone on the tourney status.

But for now, I'm gonna post this editorial that a friend sent me. And one of my pet peeves is poker bloggers who post about politics. But this isn't about politics, my friend. This is about a War of Cultures.

But these are poker journals, not Political journals. If you wanna write about politics, start a different blog, damnit.

That being said, I just read in StinkyPants (link removed because the coward deleted his blog) blog that he thinks the beheading was done by the Bush adminstration and it's all a cover-up.

Fuck you, Stinky. Do you think the Jews orchestrated 9/11 too, or was it just Bush?

Oh the insanity.

On the advice of several of other bloggers, I'm deleting Al-Habib Stinky Pants blog forever. Feel free to follow suit. It just makes me sick and I'm not even a right-winger.

Great, he deleted his post. Fucking coward.

Anyway, here's a few thoughts and I swear to never discuss this crap again.


Terrorism is not an enemy. It is a method. It is the most sinister, brutal, inhumane method of our age. But it is nonetheless just that: a method. You cannot, and you do not, make war on a method. War is made on an identified - and identifiable - enemy.

In the here and now, that enemy is militant Islam - a very particular practice and interpretation of a very particular set of religious, political and social principles.

Now that is a very disturbing, very discomfiting thing to say in 21st-century America. It is very judgmental. It sounds very insensitive. It is the very definition of politically incorrect. Saying it aloud will not get you invited to chat with Oprah. But it is a fact. And it is important both to say it and to understand it.

We have a rich and worthy tradition of religious tolerance in America. Indeed, in many ways our reverence for religious practice and tolerance is why there is an America. America was a deeply religious place long before it was ever a constitutional democracy. That tradition of tolerance causes us, admirably, to bend over backwards before we pass judgment on the religious beliefs and religious practices of others. It is an enormous part of what makes America great.

It led our government, within hours of the 9/11 attacks, to announce to the world that Islam was not and is not our enemy. Repeatedly, the president himself has said it: "The 19 suicide terrorists hijacked a great religion." The message from all our top officials has been abundantly clear: "That's that; Islam off the table; no need to go deeper."

But we have the ostrich routine way too far. A commitment in favor of toleration is not the same as a commitment against examination. We have been so paralyzed by the fear of being portrayed as an enemy of Islam - as an enemy of a creed practiced by perhaps a billion people worldwide - that we've lost our voice on a very salient question: What will be the Islam of the 21st century? Will it be the Islam of the militants, or the Islam of the moderates? That's the reality we need to grapple with.



What cruel, sick bastards.

Indeed, you can't get much more barbaric than the filmed beheading of 26-year-old Nick Berg that splashed across a terrorist group's Web site yesterday.

In case the world needed a reminder of why America is waging its War on Terror, it got one yesterday.

It's hard to imagine the terror that must have filled Berg in those final moments as he realized his hooded captors really were going to kill him.

It wasn't enough that they slaughtered the young Philadelphia businessman like a sheep and held his severed head aloft as if it were a trophy. No, they filmed the whole thing for the world to see.

Soldiers don't behave like that.

Only cowards and thugs do.

Now it's time to ratchet up the response to this war.

Forget Abu Ghraib.

The abuse committed there by a handful of soldiers was not typical; nor is it acceptable.

But the beheading of Nick Berg is par for the course for al Qaeda.

Of course, the terrorists of Muntada al-Ansar, an al Qaeda offshoot, claimed they were acting in retaliation for the Abu Ghraib abuses.


There were no known abuses at Abu Ghraib when Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and Italian hostage Fabrizio Quattrocchi were murdered by Islamic terrorists.

And the events at Abu Ghraib had not yet come to light when frenzied crowds in Fallujah burned and mutilated the bodies of four Americans and strung them from a bridge.

No, the massacre of Nick Berg had nothing to do with Abu Ghraib.

Instead, this slaying was about the war against the West in general - and America, in particular. Indeed, the beheading may have been carried out personally by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a top aide of Osama bin Laden.

Some people - some Americans - have forgotten about 9/11.

That attack should have been enough to justify all-out war. But the hand-wringing over the war in Iraq - and over even the steps America took to defend itself, like the Patriot Act - suggests that folks truly have lost sight of what the war is about.

Yesterday they got a shocking reminder. And now they know: This war cannot be waged with half-measures.

It can end only with the total annihilation of those who practice butchery and barbarism. Those who have set as their goal the destruction of America.

There is no negotiating with such people. There can be no compromise with those who mean to destroy us.

Yesterday, the White House promised to "pursue those responsible and bring them to justice." That's the least of it.

America has to come out swinging.

And not stop until every last one of the savage thugs is dead.

If that means a resumption of major combat in Iraq, so be it.

Would it mean another division or so of combat troops to get the job done?

Turn to our garrisons in Europe, or Korea, to get them.

In sufficient numbers to get the job done.

To hell with political sensitivities in the region.

To hell with negotiating with radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf and the Sunni insurgents in Fallujah.

To hell with handing Saddam Hussein over to Iraqis, as some want to do, and risking some reverse - perverse - kangaroo trial that results in his survival.

Evil, cutthroat terrorists need to be eradicated.

Let's face it: This is a job that's going to take overwhelming - yes, brutal - force. There is simply no "nice" or painless way to accomplish this.

As yesterday's slaughter showed (yet again), the enemy is bound by no moral compunctions.

America won't go that far.

But it had better steel it's backbone and get ready to fight like it means it.

It's the only way to win this war.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

If you want to have your day ruined, feel free to watch the video of an American civilian getting his head chopped off while alive. This is the small version, complete with sound, as they chant "God is Great."
Nick Berg Murder

Heavy, heavy sigh.

I apologize for the non-poker post. I just feel it's important to make this available for 'perspective'.

Per the impending tourney:
I'll be emailing support when I get home tonight for the Blogger Tourney. You have till then to sign up. Hopefully I'll have time to actually make a REAL damn post.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Here's the final installment of Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas, Part 5, for my faithful readers. Sadly, I am buried at work and haven't had time to create an uber-post. Yes, I've got plenty to ramble about, including my trip to the boat this past weekend, but trying to get this tournament going is taking up the majority of my poker time.

So this is the last call. I will be sending in the final player list Wednesday evening, around ten PM. That's the deadline I was given, despite my groveling for more time.

So please, sign up through my
Pacific Poker links if you haven't done so already and participate in the World Poker Blogger Tour III. Again, this is open to anyone who wishes to play. There are no stipulations, requirements, or fees. It's a $20 + $2 to play - that's it. No Limit poker - the cadillac of poker games. Please email me with your screen name.

Tournament is this Sunday night at 9pm EST. Thanks to all who have joined up thus far - I truly appreciate it. Stay tuned and I'll be back to normal uber posting soon.

Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas - 05

Last day of class. The instructor says if anyone has to leave early for a
flight, he understands. Three quarters of the class, myself included,
leave at noon.

I find Spaulding at a 4/8 table, choking down Coronas to snap out of his
hangover. He has mixed emotions. One the plus side, he's up 400 bucks
and running over the table. On the down side, he couldn't arrange a DHO
before noon and now we have no hotel room. In retrospect, he says, he
should have gone with the pricier internet girls right from the start, and
skipped the streetwalkers and in call ad girls. Always seeking to improve
himself, he is. I sit next to him (not playing). The waitress spots me
and automatically brings me a Corona with my having asked. She knows a
two dollar tipper when she sees one. Might as well get started.

I watch him play J9o. He's check calling all the way. On the river, the
board is x6xx6. His opponent bets, Spaulding raises, his opponent thinks
a few seconds, says "you must have a 6," then mucks. I immediately get on
the list.

Spaulding tells me that he has two coupons to go see the Flamingo show for
free. We had never even considered engaging in anything but gambling,
boozing, narcotics, and prostitution in Vegas. Hmmm. He says the show is
only about an hour, and features topless dancers. Well, OK, if he got
some kind of free comp, and you said topless right? then I guess we can
spare an hour. Also, I could then tell coworkers I did something besides
gamble, and maybe they'll think I'm less of a degenerate.

We go to redeem the coupons, and I discover that they give them away to
anyone – you don't even have to be gambling. Warning sign number 1. We
also have to purchase 1 drink at $6.95 to attend 'for free.' Still, great
deal for a Vegas show. Then I notice regular admission is only $12.95.
What kind of show would one expect for 12.95? You said topless, right?
Anyway, we get the tickets and are told to show up early as there is no
assigned seating. Fine.

So we go visit a frigid craps table, then to redeem the drink coupons. We
each order a (all together now) double gin and tonic. Prick at the bar
huffily says the coupon is only good for a single. Too bad I gave him a
buck (not two, because he's a guy and I don't want to look homo) with the
coupon, or I might have stiffed him. Not because we could only get a
single, that's not his fault, but because he was a dick about it. I still
don't get why anyone who relies on tips would ever be surly. We drink the
drinks on the way to get in line, so we reload with 4 beers each. We'd
have gotten more, but it's hard to carry six. We're fully thirty minutes
early, but there's already a huge line. When the line starts to move
about fifteen minutes before show time, it crawls. I can't understand why
it is so slow since it is general admission. Just let people flood in.
As we near the door, we're out of beer again, so we grab two more each.
We get through the door, and there are two ushers seating people one party
at a time. What's up with that? There are even a bunch of solo guys, and
when there are a few in line in a row, he seats them ONE AT A TIME. I'm
bitching my head off about it. This is the most inefficient process I've
ever seen. Finally, as we draw close, I figure it out. Each party is
being given a chance to toke. The better the toke, the better the seats.
I'm so stupid. I've been tipping everyone in this town for days and that
never occurred to me.

When it's our turn, the guy says, "Where do you want to sit? Probably up
front huh? See real good? See the girls, with no tops on, real good?
Huh, huh?" Suddenly I feel slimy, like I should be wearing an overcoat
and colored socks. I mean, yeah, that's exactly what we want, but the guy
is so lecherous he makes me feel scuzzy. I wish he played along a little
better. Anyway, he kind of holds out an open hand and we each give him a
redbird. That must be fairly generous, because we get front row seats.
As soon as we are seated Spaulding runs out for more beer.

I've figured out the secret to success. If you want people to like your
product, first drastically lower their expectations. Then, even if your
final product is mediocre, they’ll think it was great. Take Hellmuth's
book. I waded through the painfully long introduction, then read his
poker poem. Yes, a Hellmuth poem. Jesus H. Christ, it sucked. Second
fucking stanza he rhymes 'it' with 'it.'

Good thing he can play cards. I was fully prepared to despise the book,
but I liked it quite a bit, and definitely learned a few things.

So it was with Bottoms Up (the name of the show). Right out of the gate,
they lowered my expectations to zero. The show starts with several
dreadfully lame jokes over the PA system. "Will the owner of a white car,
license plate ABC364......K9FG17.....JHAS88......QWERTY69 please move your
car, your license plate is blocking traffic." Then the host comes out,
talking in some stupid accent, makes the peace sign and says "piss on
you." I stood up to leave, but Spaulding said "Sit down, we're not
leaving until we see some tit."

The show proudly boasts a forty year run. I suspect the jokes have never
changed since day one. They were probably state-of-the-art, killer jokes
in 1964, but are now more like what you'd expect a 10 year old to pass as
a 'dirty joke.' For every single skit, I knew the punch line long before
it was delivered. Timeless jokes, such as "Who's the comedian with the
black balls?"

I manage to relax and enjoy it though, because (a) I believe in keeping a
positive attitude and making the best of things, (b) I was drinking, and
(c) you said topless, right?. To tell you the truth, with about eight
drinks in us, we were laughing at most of the show. When they did the
(lengthy) ice cream stand skit, where the 'little' girl repeatedly asks
for chocolate ice cream, although the vendor keeps saying he is out of
chocolate, we join in on the ending;

"Little girl, spell the 'straw' in strawberry," "s-t-r-a-w"
"Spell the 'van' in vanilla," "v-a-n"
"Spell the 'fuck' in chocolate,"
"Mister, there is no 'fuck' in chocolate,"

we both yelled out the punchline with the performer ("That's what I've
been trying to tell you: there is no fuckin' chocolate!")

We had fun. There were actually a few comical moments when the performers
ad-libbed. One old guy kept cracking up the two young Chippendale guys by
going off on unscripted tangents, forcing them to try to keep up, and that
was pretty funny. Kind of like how Tim Conway always cracked up Harvey
Corman. It seemed spontaneous. If not, they fooled us two drunk guys.

I was surprised that the girl's only talent was showing their tits (note:
they did this well). I thought they'd be worked into sketches, but they
weren't with one exception. And in that exception, the cutie had one
line, and she blew it, twice. Maybe, as Spaulding maintains, topless
dancers should be seen, not heard. Anyway, they were good looking, except
one had a poor boob job. I liked the petite and perky one best. She also
had the best caboose.

There was another fun moment. Two guys are singing a medley of songs, and
flashing visual gags corresponding to the lyrics. In itself rather lame,
but what happened was cool. When they did "Amore," it went like this:

"When the moon hits your eye.." (show cardboard picture of moon)
"Like a big pizza pie.." (show cardboard picture of pizza)
"That's amore..." (flip pizza picture over, revealing a picture of a moray

They halt the song, and one of the old guys comes to the edge of the
stage, kneels down, looks Spaulding right in the face, and says "That's a
moray eel, sir. Amore; a moray. Do you get it now?"

I'm momentarily awed that they could tell Spaulding was too fucking stupid
to get it. Of course, he's wearing his coke bottle glasses, hasn't shaved
in days, and is loaded. Maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise.

Anyway, it becomes obvious that the little aside to Spaulding was scripted
(moray eel is a recurring theme in Bottoms Up), but it was still cool when
it happened, because Spaulding was the mark.

Two dancers are at the door as we exit. Spaulding tips the bigger titted
one 10 bucks, I gave miss perky a fiver. They were appreciative.

I've decided that I prefer topless to fully nude. You go to a standard
strip joint and the girls all give these huge split gyno shots, and it's
not at all sexy. Looks like an improperly treated hatchet wound. A
little tastefully displayed fur can be erotic, especially if the shave job
is 1.61803 times as high as it is wide, like Playmates sported for many
years. But now even in Playboy I've noticed a definite trend toward
hardwood, and I don't like it. Playmates, if you're reading, there's
nothing aesthetically pleasing about labia. Oh my God, I just realized I
am turning into Snow White.

To conclude, I can honestly say Bottoms Up was the finest $6.95 Vegas show
I've ever seen. I do recommend it at that price, even if only for the
girls, who were pretty hot. Tap the Admiral heavily before the show, and
you might even laugh at the jokes.

We head off to Pai Gow, where Spaulding plans to turn his $400 poker
profit into $4,000. About 8 hands later he has lost it. We have a few
hours left to kill, so we opt for 1-5 stud and heavy drinking. At the
adjacent 4/8 table, some fat kid of about 25 is drinking it up and being
really loud and obnoxious. We're loud too, but we're jolly drunks. This
kid is making a braying sound at the top of his lungs, calling the dealer
a jackass. "A fat guy who can't hold his liquor," Spaulding remarks, "is
like a black guy who sucks at basketball. There's something sad about it."

They call security on junior. The first guard who shows up is, I think,
George Burns. He tells junior he has to leave the premises immediately.
Junior says, "Make me." The next guard shows up. Mike Tyson, I think it
was. He tells junior he has to weave the pwemises immediatewy. "Yes
sir," says junior. If you had told me in advance that a fat, drunk guy
was going to get kicked out of the poker room, I'd have lost my house
betting it would be Spaulding.

Eventually we make our final cashout. Despite playing in a highly
disadvantaged state the whole trip, and toking off a conservatively
estimated hundred dollars a day, I manage to win about 320 bucks.
Spaulding took an overall loss, but surprisingly containable. He won't
have to turn tricks for cab fare or anything. Sadly, it is time to leave
our new most favorite place on Earth.

We make the long night flight back, and I can't sleep in an upright
position. We're not seated together. I'm sitting pretty near one of the
restrooms. Spaulding goes in to befoul it. When he's done, a hot chick
goes in right after him. Even through the closed door, I can hear her say
"Oh my God!" She comes out coughing and walks the length of the plane to
use a different stall. I look back at Spaulding and he gives me the
thumbs up.

Turbulence over the rockies severely delays the beverage cart. In my Mead
tablet I pen the following song, to the tune of "If I Only Had A Brain"
from the Wizard of Oz:

"If I Only Had A Beer"

I could wile away the hours
Lying face down in the flowers
With vomit puddling near
And my head would be hurtin'
And my memory uncertain
If I only had a beer

I would watch a dirty movie
About some well hung cutie
And no that isn't queer

With the booze you'd be drinkin'
Soon you'd re-ally be stinkin'
If you only had a beer

Oh, I would tell you why
You should try a dirty whore
And some kink you never heard of before
And then I'd sit and drink some more

I'd be anything but boring
My behavior'd be deploring
The girls would run away in fear
I would dance and be merry
But that don't make me a fairy
If I only had a beer.

In Pittsburgh, around 6 am, Spaulding insists we keep drinking during the
lengthy layover. "We can't stop until we're home. That's the rules." In
a café full of breakfast eaters, we're sitting there swilling Gibsons.

Back home at last, Spaulding makes me come into his house for the
ceremonial last drink, marking the end of our adventure. On my way out
the door, Spaulding says to me, "Remember that second hooker? We did it
on the couch."


The End.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Wow, this is my 156th poker post.

Pacific is insisting I turn in the list of players tomorrow nite. Please sign up ASAP - Pacific apparently doesn't have the support staff (they only work from Sunday - Thursday) to really help out very much, so I am hoping you will take the five minutes to sign up and play.

Again, it's only $20 this Sunday night at 9pm EST. Texas No-Limit Hold em tournament! Readers AND writers of poker blogs are cordially invited to partake in this epic event. Just please sign up ASAP! Anyone can play.

This is just a reminder to let you know that tomorrow you will have to come up with the list of the tournament participants.

Doh. So please
sign up NOW with this link and then email me with your Pacific screen name.

This is the last chance to sign up. I hope we have a decent turnout - cmon bloggers, get your info to me ASAP! And please sign up through the Pacific links in this blog.

I'll be back with an uber post soon....stay tuned.

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