Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"In social status terms, some may consider video gaming to be in a class with
professional poker or competitive eating."

article on Yahoo

What on earth? Competitive eating? Am I really that low on the social strata?
Wait, you don't have to answer that.

Thanks for stopping by this humble poker blog.
This rambling Guinness-Fueled Uber post brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker.
Time to Destroy Some Workplace Productivity.

I don't even know where to start tonight. So much to blog, so little time sobriety. Poker news, blogger info, poker illuminati flame wars, new poker blogs. Good gravy. And I won't even mention my great session at the boat today.

Make sure to hit UpForPoker and read the great news about our WPBT get-together in Vegas in 18 days. PokerStars is really stepping up to the plate. I salute both Otis and his fine employer.

I had a really fun conversation with a friend this weekend who asked why I continue to write here. I was too damn drunk to answer the question properly at the time, but I've given it some thought today.

I'm sure all of us bloggers wonder why we do it. One of our finest poker blogging writers, Joe Speaker, has a superb post up about his blog and why he's persevered in his writing.

Honestly, I wish I could do more "writing" here but I've got my niche within a niche and I'm sticking with it for now. Plus, I'm just not as talented as many of my peers - I accepted that a long time ago. But I still contemplate starting another blog just to experiment. Hell, Pauly's got a dozen of em now. Surely I could manage two.

And sure, I've babbled in the past about monetizing our blogs, but frankly, I've almost given up on that pipedream. I don't think our blogs are about that....the most valuable networks of the next web economy will be built around trust. And it’s hard to chart trust. It’s hard to give it a metric. It’s hard to give it a market value.

But trust is damned easy to lose.

I'm reminded of that damn "how much is my blog worth" button that is bouncing around the blogosphere lately. First of all, the value of Guinness & Poker, according to that tool, is $0. A fair and accurate estimate. But I think the George Washington icon on that button is a joke - a reminder that the goal is not to sell our blogs - but instead to enjoy having people we respect and like to actually Get Something out of what we have to say.

And that, dear Reader, is why I continue to pound out the crap uber posts for you. Yes, I'm a web hippy, it's true.

I'm really thinking about blogging my ass off this week for you. Why? Well, after the hilarious banning of Paul Phillips over at 2+2 - I took some serious time and dug through RGP for past incidents of this behavior by Mason Malmuth. And Lord, I found some outstanding stuff for ya'll. You owe me, damnit.

I suffer deeply for my art. I gotta read A LOT of deeply and profoundly RETARDED SHIT to give you the gems. And now I'm knee-deep in good stuff. I guess I'll dole it out in dribs and drabs, rather than my usual style of massive regurgitations.

And thus, yet another uber-post begins.

I've gotta shout-out to my main man in Sweden, Martin, who took my advice and played at PokerBlue and their fine overlayed tournaments. And guess what? He won a freaking 2006 WSOP seat in their Big Fat Weekly Freerolls. Unbelievable - I love it. If you're looking for a shot at a cheap WSOP seat, check out PokerBlue. Just keep it a secret, will ya?

Let's get the online poker is rigged stuff out of the way, shall we? First, a clever post:

Subject: Online Banking is Rigged

OK, let me start by saying that I have read all the books on financial management so anyone who doesn't agree with me is a moron, or a shill for the online banks.

Despite being an expert money manager, my online account balance has fallen every day over the past 2 weeks, in fact I haven't seen a single increase since the 31st October!!!! Now I know in the long run I should be up, but that's 16 losing sessions in a row for crying out loud.

I now believe that the only explanation for my unbelievably poor results is that their software is deliberately rigged to punish intelligent customers and here's undeniable proof. To log in to my account I have to answer a secret question in addition to providing my username and password. Now, when I set up the account I had to provide answers to 8 secret questions and these are supposed to be used in a completely random fashion by the software. Why is it then that the past 4 time in a row I've been asked THE SAME SECRET QUESTION???? Statistically that is freaking
impossible, and if you try and tell me it isn't then you must be a shill for something.

Don't try and tell me they don't need to rig it because they make enough on the bank charges that they don't need to cheat. Well what about ENRON eh???? Way I see it, if the RNG was not rigged the fish would struggle to remember all their secret questions and would not be able to log in as much so the banks would make less money, so it's gotta be rigged to keep them coming back.

Oh and one more thing. I tried to log in to my Mom's account and they locked it out. I phoned support and some moron told me that this was a standard security procedure but WTF, she's my Mom for crying out loud, it's not like I was trying to rip her off or something.

No more online banking for me, I'm sticking to B&M branches from now on.

And now for the other side of the coin - the Fucknut Troll from 2+2.
I don't think arbertrate is a word. His stupidity amazes even me.

Pokerstars Is Rigged

Hello all,

I am here not to make threats, lies, or purposely arbertrate Pokerstars site integrity but listed below is an explanation of how ive come to a conclusion that Pokerstars is indeed not legitimate and in fact has hundreds of employees and software programmers scamming from the innocent players.

After 3 years of recorded hand histories, betting patterns, chat, and other related aspects to the game, I submitted all this information to a personal friend whom is a graduate from MIT. I will not post his name as he requested to keep his identity from this issue.

What he did was compile all the hands and ran a statistical analysis of these hands (1,345,978 to be exact) and found that the probabilities that resulted in the wins/losses of these hands were in fact 21.9% in difference then in actual probable odds. 21.9% May not seem like a large # but when you multiply this number by 1 million you can see the amount of hands this relates to and the amount of money lost in these hands.

I also had him carefully research and study the betting patterns of all these hands and how it correlated to the results of these hands. You will be amazed at what he discovered. Not only does he conclude that there are inside players workin for pokerstars but he also states that they use PROGRAMMED BOTS with a very high effecient A.I.(artificial intelligence)

I know most of you have heard of these so called "bots" and in fact there are places we know that use them but I will not bring there names into this for site protection. What I'm gettin at is he concludes Pokerstars with the billions of dollars in revenue has the resources to be able to pull off this scam with hi tech programmers, anti-fraud marketing campaigns, deposit bonuses, etc etc. They have the world in their hands, and being that party poker is a big competitor it onlys make sense that these greedy bastards would rob every penny they can get their hands on!

So in closing this, beware and the next time you ask yourself how did I just lose with AA to 23 os all in preflop, remember this post.

Best of Luck,



My favorite response to this awful, insane troll post?
Long time reader of this here blog, Tapin, simply posted this:

Vanilla Creme Brulée
6 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

6 teaspoons granulated sugar (or 8 -12 teaspoons packed brown sugar).

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Whisk yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl to blend. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Gradually whisk the cream into the sugar. Divide mixture among 6 - 3/4 cup custard cups or ramekins. Arrange dishes in 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of dishes.

Bake custards approximately 35-40 minutes until the custard is set. Do not overbake or your custard will be rubbery. Remove the pan from the oven and remove custard cups from the water. Allow custards to cool before placing in the refrigerator. Chill overnight.

Two hours before serving: Preheat broiler. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar atop each custard. Place dishes on small baking sheet. Broil until sugar just starts to caramelize, rotating sheet for even browning, about 2 minutes. Chill until caramelized sugar hardens, about 2 hours.


Tis interesting, I'm really loving playing poker again. Absolutely freaking loving it. Why? Because I'm not grinding. I'm playing exclusively SNG's and having a blast both playing and tracking results. Now, I'm no PokerNerd, playing 8000 of these a week, but I'm still playing a goodly amount every day and enjoying a 38% ROI after my dismal start. I'm not making hardly any money, compared to what I'm used to, but I don't care. I'm off the effing Grind until January.

Yet another marketing idea for Guinness:

Subject: Men crying at the WSOP

Adam Friedman, Andrew Black, Phil Helmuth, Mike Matasow and a few other men have cried at the WSOP. Some RGPers call them pussies and others call them immature or just compassionate human beings. Well it gave me an incredible idea for a commercial. A poker player is shown at the WSOP and he starts crying. Then, BAM!!! A giant can of beer falls out of the sky and crushes him flat. Get it? Real men don't cry - they drink beer! Brilliant! I've already sent my idea to Guinness. I've also pledged half of the money I make from this idea to my favorite charity, "Cocktail Waitresses With Out Dads". That way I can still drink the beer but be doing it for a worthy cause.

I thought this news was kinda surreal:

Brush up on poker skills on US Airways flights

Most of us use flight time to do a little reading, catch up on work from the office or watch a movie. Brushing up on poker skills isn't the first thing one thinks of to do but with US Airways' new offering many passengers may find themselves doing just that.

Courtesy of the World Poker Exchange, passengers on US Airways flights to 25 destinations will now be able to take poker tutorials while in the air. In the Minds of the Poker Pros offers 90-second instructional spots as part of the airline's in-flight entertainment show. Poker tips will be offered by poker kings including David Sklansky and Mike Matusow, with analysis of real-life poker hands given as well as tips on how to play them.

While a number of routes will be offering this unusual service, it may be of most use for passengers looking to do a little real-life poker playing when they step off the plane: routes to Las Vegas are naturally included.

I'm posting this Lou Kreiger tidbit after the 60 Minutes feature on online gambling. I saw one poster lament the fact that the fine folks at CBS didn't spent more time on the topic and have a less superficial show. I concur, but I'll take what we got.

Subject: Jesse Ventura and Jim Kelly endorse online gaming

Now it's not just poker players who are endorsing online gaming sites, even former elected public official and hall of fame quarterbacks are getting in on the act. The following is an edited version of an article that appeared in today's New York Times.


Jesse Ventura is no longer governor of Minnesota. But he is still pushing an agenda - in this case, sports betting over the Internet.

Mr. Ventura is the new spokesman for BetUS.com, a Web site operated from Costa Rica that lets people wager on sports contests from their home computers. "This is a step toward bringing something above-board that clearly many people want to partake in," Mr. Ventura said.

In a sign of an increased acceptance of Internet gambling, online casinos in recent months have signed endorsement deals with a group of celebrities, including Tom Arnold, the actor; Brooke Burke, a model turned television host; and Jim Kelly, a former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills.

But there is a big potential catch: these stars and others who profit by promoting offshore casinos could be putting themselves in legal jeopardy. The government considers these Internet sports books to be violating American law by providing unlicensed gambling on domestic shores. Further, the government has said in the past that it could prosecute Americans who promote and assist such foreign operations for effectively aiding and abetting their illegal activities.

Internet gambling is projected to reach almost $12 billion in business this year, up from $8.3 billion in 2004, according to Sebastian Sinclair, a gambling industry analyst with Christiansen Capital Advisors. Americans account for more than half of the amount wagered, Internet casino executives and industry analysts say. The popularity has soared in recent years with the boom in poker, particularly Texas Hold 'Em, and its increasing prominence on cable television. Still, the industry insists that online gambling would be much larger were it not for efforts by federal prosecutors and some financial institutions.

I had a very enjoyable read over at the UpforPoker crews new collaborative blog, TriClops. Seriously folks, go give it a read - three great writers with three unique perspectives. What more could you ask for?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to hell for my tiresome shilling of Party Poker.
Thankfully, drinking lots of Guinness dulls the pain.

Some random reading for you.

Empire Poker talking about suing PartyGaming after scrapping bid talks.

Want some groovy Fossilman style sunglasses for your next big tourney?
Poker Frames

Per Cardplayer:
A Proposal for the World Series of Poker by Mathew Hilger.

Anyone checking out the Las Vegas poker tournament schedule while we're out there? Here's a nice little list of tournaments, if you're so inclined.
Las Vegas Poker Tournaments.

I enjoyed Wicked Chops write-up on the 60 Minutes gambling piece.

Most everyone in the blogging community is prolly already listening to Cincinnati Sean over at Lord Admiral Card Club. Check it out - it's a fine way to destroy some workplace productivity.

Some potential bad news about Irish poker here.

Subject: Irish authorities may shut down all poker clubs in country!

Interesting news from the Irish Independent newspaper.

As we all know 'casinos' in the Republic are illegal under the 1956 gaming act here. Since Mr Dermot Desmond (wealthy Irish businessman) has opened his =806.5M club in the heart of Dublin the government here have now decided it may be time to investigate them with a view to closing the lot down.


Dermot WILL be pleased as will the thousands of Irish poker players who frequent these establishments!

Noted poker authority, Ed Miller, has a new website up and running. Worthy.

Just a sideways story to give you perspective on poker not being too damn important.

Subject: True Bad Beat Story

I think I may really be cursed, if any of you voodoo freaks know of a way to get rid of it let me know. My girlfriend and I are still staying in BFE Maryland with my Mom until I close on my new house in Baltimore after having my old house destroyed by Katrina.

Well I have an entry into the million guaranteed tourney on PartyPoker that I
couldn't get anyone to buy or play for me so when I get off work at 4:00 I'm rushing back to BFE MD to take over the tournament that my girlfriend is playing for me. I get back to the house at 5:00 to find out she is already busted out. So much for the brilliant instructions I gave her. Since I figured the tournament to take till late that night I hadn't made any plans.

We decide to go stay at my sisters
house and hang out with her and her boyfriend. We take em out to eat to the Chinese Buffet, I know I'm such a big spender. Then go to one of my friends houses in Annapolis to have some drinks and order the UFC fight.

Well about midway into the first fight my sister gets a call from her neighbor saying the house is on fire! She tells them that the dog is inside and to call the Fire Department, which they said they already called 911. The firestation is literally 2 blocks from the house.

Well we drive back as fast as a Prius can possibly go, which surprisingly was fast enough to be scary as shit going over the Bay Bridge. We get to the house about 30 minutes later and the Fire Department is there and seem to have it under control, but everything is burnt to shit. They are hysterical about the dog obviously, but aren't being allowed to go into the house to see.

The firefighters assure them that they have looked throughout the house and can't find the dog so it must have gotten out somehow. Well although they can't find a dead burning dog carcas they did manage to find an unharmed PLASTIC BAGGY of weed and a bowl in a house that literally nothing is salvageable and HAD to turn it over to the police because thats what MUST be done.

So we are searching all over the neighborhood for their dog the firemen assure us must have gotten out, the police find us and charge my sister and boyfriend with possession. After dealing with getting them out and going back to the house to see what can be made of it, they get the surprise of finding what is left of the dog in the closet. So tell me again what happened to your aces?


Ugh. Let's lighten things up with this tribute to RGP Troll/Wordsmith, Len Bernard. I gotta admit his deep insights are "too funny for words". I especially like the times he purposely misspells.

Subject: A Tribute to Len Bernard, RGP Wordsmith

on texas dolly -

Doyle is just having fun....play a little poker, make a phoney bit for the World Poker Tour, destroy some investors, laugh it off, fleece some tourists, win a bracelet......fun stuff. He deserves it.

on fixing layne flack's teeth and sebok's eyebrow ring -

Sebok's piercing can be taken care of in two seconds....by taking it out.
Flack's teeth require a bit more planning, but are much more burdensome.

on not tipping dealers a) -

10. Most never went to school. If their kids see that they can make a living by being dumb, then that cycle will continue. Don't be an enable to the cycle of stupidity.

on not tipping dealers b) -

9. If you lost your rent money at his/her table, the dealer wouldn't lend you a nickel.

the astute solution -

Compromise. Once a month give your favoirte dealer a dollar as a token of appreciation. They can get a coke from the waitress and tip her that same $1. That means it didn't cost them a thing to enjoy a nice coke.

on bad beats (please note the grammar strategery) -

Some of you unedecated poker plaers need to go take stetistics class.
Theirs no such thing as a bad beat...its all numbers. Do yous realize how fullish you look when you post this bad beat stories. You seem like losers to me.

on phil hellmuth and doyle

I had a lengthy conversation with a friend of mine. He believed that Phil Hellmuth's mole was more distracting than Doyle Brunson's bump on his eyelid. He's probably right. Years ago you probably couldn't even see the bump on Doyle's eye lid, but Phil probably wins a few hands a year by distracting people with that mole.

on poker taxes -

With millions of people playing why be one of the suckers who reports 30K in wins? Go to Vegas for a weekend and document your trip. If someone calls you on it..say you blew it in Vegas, or in a cash game somewhere. Next year, if you continue to win, do
what you need to do to protect yourself....whatever that may be. You definitely get a free shot here.

len bernard - i salute YOU!

Aw hell, I've been sitting on Len's ten reasons not to tip poker dealers and since it's referenced above, I might as well share the whole damn thing. Enjoy and my apologies to the dealers out there.

Subject: Ten Reasons NOT to tip Dealers

10. Most never went to school. If their kids see that they can make a living by being dumb, then that cycle will continue. Don't be an enable to the cycle of stupidity.

9. If you lost your rent money at his/her table, the dealer wouldn't lend you a nickel.

8. They get paid to deal by the casino.

7. They may favor players who tip more, and this can throw everyone off their games.

6. Dealers don't give refunds when they make mistakes.

5. It can be the difference between a winning or losing year.

4. Most dealers aren't good people. They bad-mouth players a lot.

3. Would you trip your stockbroker? How about your bookie? They already get a cut.

2. Ever hear of a thing called "the rake"?

1. Because most playes really don't want to have to worry about tipping. They are being shamed into it and it is a disgrace.

Compromise. Once a month give your favoirte dealer a dollar as a token of
appreciation. They can get a coke from the waitress and tip her that same $1.
That means it didn't cost them a thing to enjoy a nice coke.

Here's an odd little off-topic thread on RGP entitled Name your favorite Phrases. Perhaps my more erudite readers will enjoy this brief tangent.

Subject: OT: Delightful Phrases

Hoisted on my own Petard.

Under the sword of Damocles.

Don't keep a dog and bark yourself

Point Percy at the porcelain

Put the wood in the hole (Actually means close the door)

no matter how you shake and dance, the last drop ends up in your pants.

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

something is rotten in the state of denmark

Et tu, brutus?

Children's faces, looking up. Holding wonder like a cup.

Your wife and my kids.

One man's ceiling is another man's floor.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

(And how on earth hasn't anyone mentioned)

Know when to hold'em and when to fold'em.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of meds Gary Carson is taking - or SHOULD be taking.

Subject: Proof of God's existence

Deal out a flop, just deal out 5 cards face up.

Then calculate the probability of those exact cards coming out in that exact order. It's like a gazillion to one. So it's impossible that those exact cards came out in that exact order. It's impossible that it's an accident, God must of controlled those

There's just no other rational explanation. There's no way a muslim could deal those exact cards.

Gary Carson

Yeah, Gary got his butt kicked a little on that one but I did enjoy this response, although it could just be the beer.


i would contemplate such things, but then i realized i'm just a big bag of molecules. now, if i was a bag of molecules that could question the existence of it's ultimate designer, or ask if there is truly such a thing as right and wrong or if it's merely a construct of man, then we'd have to assume there's an ultimate creator.

but there isn't 'cause i'm just a bag of molecules that is incapable of that leap. i'm a bloviating bag of molecules that rails against the thought of a superior being. i'm a vain bag of molecules that somehow feels a little superior to other bags of molecules because they believe such nonsense. i'm a bag of molecules that's got it all figured out.

Bonus points for using the word bloviating.

I'd like to see David Sklansky and Gary Carson debate God & Theology over beers. In fact, I'd pay good money for that. They could sell the DVD'S and I'd shill them on this here poker blog. Plus, I'm overdue for another Sklansky post.

Wanna read someone get scorched over at 2+2? Here's a pretty funny thread titled:
My typical day
And here's the original post that started it all:

My typical day

My background: last worked in 2002 as a programmer. left to take care of new baby. Start playing poker April,


Here is my typical day:

Get up around 9am. Get kid ready for daycare. Back home 10:30am and start playing 5/10-10/20. Stop playing

around 3:30. Have lunch. Doing housing work...
Pickup kid around 5:30. After 9:00pm play some more poker till 12:00. Sometimes no poker at night.

My husband started around the same time as I. We had $1000 as our starting bankroll. Now we have worked it up to $40,000. Whenever I have a losing streak I want to start looking for a job , but I never really tried very hard.

I sometimes feel guity spending all my time playing cards instead of doing some real work. But if I had a regular job I don't think I will have any time playing. Tough decision. Also I only earned 20K in more than a year. Not much compared to my old job.Good thing is I only "work" 4 - 5 hours a day.

Am I wasting my life here?

Whew, I still have a buttload of stuff to post but I'm getting drunk losing focus.

I suppose I should leave you with one of those tasty flame threads I alluded to earlier. The decline of RGP is a real tragedy. Thankfully, I'm going to highlight some of the glory years - the golden age of poker discussion among our best and brightest. Ready?

Strap yerself in - here we go:

Let's watch Dr. Schoonmaker blast Gary and watch the fallout fun, shall we?
From 2001:


For several months I have read your cheap shots at me, my book ("The Psychology of Poker"), and my publisher (Mason Malmuth). I ignored them, but you've done it too often.

It is time to call you. If you seriously believe your book is better than mine, you can make an easy $25,000.

As a psychologist, understanding people is my business, and I did my homework. You have made THOUSANDS of posts, and they clearly reveal your severe problems with jealousy and self-esteem.

Your typical post has an adolescent tone, even when you are technically correct. You say, in effect, "I'm smarter than you are." I used to say the same sort of thing, but I was a teenager at the time. You are very old to be acting so childishly.

Your anger at Mason and me has one primary source: You deeply resent that we are successes, while you're a failure. He is the most respected poker publisher; I've written a book that has sold well and been very positively reviewed (plus several others in seven languages), but no respected company will publish your work.

To protect your bruised ego you knock me and other successful writers and insist that the only reason you can't get published is prejudice. You apparently have found some tiny firm that will produce your book (or are you using a bogus firm to cover up that you are paying to publish it?). I doubt very much that it will sell well.

The gambling world has a simple expression: "Put up or shut up." I'll bet you any amount you like up to $25,000 (which we must put in "escrow") that my sales exceed yours. We will let the market decide which book is better since you don't believe the reviewers or publishers.

You have ignored the other reviewers and repeatedly put down my book. If you seriously think yours is better, you can show your confidence by accepting this challenge. If you don't accept it, you're admitting that your your book is not as good as mine. The good publishers don't want it. The reviewers have ignored it. And the readers won't buy it.

Serious publishers make their decisions on one simple criterion: Will the book sell? Writers who claim that their books are good, but nobody will buy them are like poker players who claim to play well, but lose consistently. The rules for measuring success in both writing and publishing are very clear, and by those rules, you're a loser.

Several publishers have told you that, but you can't accept it, and you express your frustration by attacking successful authors and publishers.

Instead of venting your anger at the successes, you should learn from us. Work losely with a tough editor. "Put your ego in your pocket," and accept criticism. I did not like Mason's demanding hundreds of changes in my manuscript, but making them produced a successful book. A tough editor might convert your unmarketable manuscript into a worthwhile book.

Before submitting it to Two Plus Two, I had several other people criticize it, and I made many of their suggested changes. I do it before submitting anything for publication. Virtually all other professional writers do it, which is why our work gets published and read.

If and when you produce a good book, I will welcome you as an equal. Until then, I and many other people will regard you as just a pathetic wannabe.

Alan Schoonmaker, Ph.D.

That was quite a doozy, especially considering that when Gary's book came out it was enthusiastically received. I think it's safe to say that Gary's first book had far more impact than Alan's. My two cents based on personal experience.

I'd encourage you to read the entire thread yourself but I'll post some reply highlights for you folks who count on me to do so. Lazy curmudgeons.

I'm waiting for his "So you wanna be a psychologist" series.

Gary Carson


Some guys, when they get a little older, they start losing their hair and exibit other signs of aging. When that happens, they'll do whatever it takes to get it hard again, even writing a book.

Gary Carson


I didn't like your book.

I'm sorry you can't cope with that.

I'm happy for your interest in my book, however.

It's supposed to be out April 20th. The delay had nothing to do with any difficulties I'd had in selling the book but has been the result of bankruptcy proceedings invovling Carol Publishing, the previous owner of the Lyle Stuart imprint.

I'm sure Mason Malmuth is a great editor and I'm sure your book profited from that a great deal. His literary skills are well known in the publishing industry. I just don't think it was enough to overcome the limitations of your simplistic, rigid, two-dimensional view of player behavioral characteristics.

Again, I'm sorry that your having difficulty coping with that. You might want to consider seeking professional counseling help in overcoming that.

Again, thanks for the interest in my book. I'm sure that you'll be able to find many flaws in it.

Gary Carson

Andru Prock, one of the smartest guys to ever grace RGP & poker, even, offered this rejoinder to Alan:

I think that there is another expression I've heard. It has something to do with a pot a kettle and a particularly dark and depressing color. I've also heard of a Psychology term called "projection".

While I'm certain that Gary Carson isn't the most diplomatic fellow, I'm not certain that the best thing to is to get into an argument with him. He may not be the most mature person in the world, but he does know how to do two things very well.

1) play poker
2) debate on RGP

Both those qualities make him much more of an asset to RGP than your book will ever be.

For the record, I tend to agree with Gary with respect to your book. It's overly simplistic, and written in a color by numbers kind of style. This makes it a good book for beginning players, but not very useful to advanced players.

There are three books which do a much better job of dealing with the issue of player types than your book does. John Feeney's book "Inside the Poker Mind" does a great job of doing just that. Roy Cooke's "Cooke Collection" is another book which accomplishes the same thing very well. And then there is Larry Phillps' "Zen and the Art of Poker". While it is a bit simplistic in its presentation, that is part of it's beauty.

- Andrew

I'm a huge fan of Mr. Feeny's book. Alan's book isn't in the same league, imho.

And this is a nice defense of Carson post. I mean, RGP sure as hell ain't a sewing circle but they used to Protect Their Own. Nothing wrong with that.

>If and when you produce a good book, I will welcome you as an equal. >Until then, I and many other people will regard you as just a pathetic wannabe.

There is an old saying in America that partisanship ends at the shore line. I guess it means that we can bicker among each other but when an outsider attacks us, we stand together. Gary Carson may be an opinionated smartass (I mean that in the nicest way Gary), but he is OUR opinionated asshole. You might be a great author and poker mind, but on RGP you are an outsider. Please dont attack our Gary.

Have a nice day.
Randy Collack


Yikes, let's leave you with this bitchslap from a peer.

I don't personally know Alan Schoonmaker, and think his stuff is a bit thin. I have written here and there about poker, but most of my publications -- 5 books, several hundred articles -- have been in the area of child and adolescent and general psychiatry and -- mostly -- film reviews and scholarship.

I think it vastly inappropriate to attack someone on the basis of inferred psychology, particularly when one hasn't personally met them, but in general it shouldn't be done in a public forum. Our APA guidelines are very specific about this.

In any case, I have followed Gary's writing closely, and have recently used his expertise at high low poker to very good effect. I think he is a very knowledgeable gent, and far more interesting than many of the pooh-bahs writing about poker today.

Schoonmaker is certainly entitled to his opinions, but an ad hominem argument is always vastly offputting, and generally suspect.

Those who know me and or my posts will recognize that I don't usually respond so strongly to other RGP folks, so please presume there is good reason to do so, both pokerwise and from the viewpoint of appropriate professional behavior.

HR Greenberg MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry,
Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University
New York

And that's all I can muster right now. Thanks for reading.

Damn, I just got this kind email and thought I'd share it.
Yet another reason why I come on here and blather away.


Subject: Poker Blog Blues......

Dear Iggy,

Today is a sorrow-filled day – I have come to the end of the Party Poker Blog archives. About 4 months ago I began reading your archives, and tonight, when I finished reading the November 20th, 2005 Uberpost, I realized there was nothing left to read.

I wanted to thank you for the poker education your blog has given me. After depositing $100 into an online poker room, I began to play microlimit holdem, and to help the hours pass in a reasonable fashion, I would read your blog archives while folding away the night. I found that your blog instilled my game with patience and good sense, and this usually would lead to winning nights.

My poker account has gone steadily upwards, and is currently at $2500. Not bad for a novice player who learned the game 9 months ago. I guess it is time for me to move on to another blog's archives, to help keep my poker patience while I fold the nights away. Thanks to you I will be going to Italy in the spring of 2006, the trip paid for with poker winnings. As a toke for your efforts, last month I bonus coded Iggy on Party and Empire.


p.s. - Your odd picture posts are the best - always worth a peek!


JW, thanks man.
I try, I really do.

Link of the Day:
Where Beanie Babies Come From
The Amamanta line of anatomically correct dolls are "an interactive, role-playing tool for hands-on teaching." The mom's also a terrific likeness of Dr. Laura.

Bonus Link: Christmas Decoration Insanity - excellent - watch the entire thing. SFW.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I sure like these short little posts. Hell, I could do two dozen of these instead of an uberpost.

Anyway, for those of you who missed the 60 Minutes piece, here's a 2+2 thread with recaps and opinions.

60 Minutes features on online gambling tonight

My favorite post?


This was great! Newbies learned that:

- Party Poker is the #1 most popular site. Guess that's probably a good place to go then!

- Whenever I see a '.net' ad, they really mean I should go to .com for real gambling!

- If I'm an underage minor, Golden Palace is an excellent place to get to play!

- 12 Million Americans are playing, and they haven't complained - maybe this 'internet gambling' isn't so shady after all!


Follow-up from the above 2+2 thread:

There is a story and a 2 minute interview with the president of Sportingbet at the 60 minutes homepage here. Jon Kyl has lost his mind.

Good gravy, it's already 11pm and I'm still not caught up on my reading. Haven't even begun to write yet. Woe is me.

But I just found this excellent article about poker and How Far It's Came and thought I'd share it. Why haven't I heard about Holden's impending new poker book before?


The real deal

The world's gone poker crazy. Every day, £40m is gambled globally on the game; one internet site is now worth more than British Airways, and even Oxford University and The Archers are hooked on Texas Hold 'Em.

The room is vast, bright, clean and buzzing with business talk. Smartly dressed men and women are manning stalls on every side. Cash registers tinkle. Eager, fresh-faced young people are crowded around these stalls, asking questions and making purchases. They are wearing company logos and carrying little bottles of water. Is it the opening day of an enormous marketing conference?

Is it the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition at Olympia? No, this is day one of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, the annual championships of the most secretive and counter-cultural game on earth. It just doesn't look like it. This time last year, the event was held in a rickety downtown building full of dice, smoke and nutters. But this time last year, the world hadn't finished changing.

When internet poker was first devised, many players believed that it would kill off the live game forever. The few people who played poker would stop hosting private sessions or going to casinos, and just stay at home playing a couple of websites. No dress code, no travel, no trouble.

In fact, the reverse has happened. Up, down and sideways, the entire game is expanding like a supernova. More people playing at home, more in clubs, more in casinos - £40m is now gambled on poker across the world every day. Websites set up as hopeful dotcom punts have been sold for eye-watering fortunes: www.paradisepoker.com, started in 1999 by a trio of impoverished American students, was bought out last autumn for £162.5m. Party Gaming, the company which runs www.partypoker.com, floated on the stock market in July with a value of £5.5bn. The company is now bigger than British Airways, with operating profits this year of $258m. The game is now played, live or online, by 1.5m people in Britain alone. There have been poker storylines on EastEnders, Coronation Street and The Archers. And when they're playing poker on The Archers, you know something big has happened.

I have always believed that society cannot create gamblers. I have sat at enough blackjack tables with enough bored friends to know that the deck and the chips have no transforming power on a phlegmatic brain. The problem with the government's gambling bill is not that it would (as the tabloids fear) 'MAKE GAMBLERS OF US ALL!', but that it would make gambling impossible to resist for those who are susceptible already.

Still, who knew there were so many potential poker players out there? The unearthing of 1.5m card-crazy Brits came about because of a peculiar fusion: the introduction of the National Lottery (which turned gambling into acceptable family fun), the rise of poker on television (which showed people what to do) and, most importantly, technology: the internet offering unlimited access to real-life poker in your very own home. The only thing stopping us from wagering our life savings on a pair of kings, it seems, had been the hassle of getting dressed and going out.

If my theory about blood and gambling is correct, then it will be impossible to explain the thrill of internet poker to somebody who doesn't immediately see it in the very words. Eric 'The Salmon' Sagstrom, a Swedish computer whizz who wins $1m a year online and rarely leaves his house, will always be a hero to some and a geek to others. To many people, it represents nothing more than hunching over a computer keyboard for an inexplicable number of unforced hours, engaged in the relentless monotony of looking at virtual cards of the pack, and risking the rent money.

But if you are a gambler, then it is the holy grail. Suddenly there is poker at your fingertips. Your opponents are strangers: no guilt about winning your friends' money, or shame in losing to them. It runs around the clock: nobody going home to relieve the babysitter, nobody throwing you out of the casino at closing time. It is action; constant, irresistible action. And all done by credit card! There is an old saying: 'The man who invented poker was clever, but the man who invented chips was a genius.' Now, you don't even have to hand over folding cash to get your chips. You are as removed as you possibly could be from the reality of bread and shoes. Bim, bam, press the button and your bankroll is ready.

Four o'clock in the morning. You can't sleep. You are bored, you are lonely. You could lie there in the dark, thinking about the ultimate futility of life. Or you could get up, switch on the computer and find a bunch of lively Americans ready to order a virtual cocktail, have a chat and play a game. And who knows? You could be a millionaire by dawn. You won't be. But dawn will come a lot quicker.

Las Vegas, July 2005. Players have left their computers for a fortnight, and flooded into the world's gambling capital for a little live action. Well, some of them have. A chunky percentage of the 10,000 visitors to this year's World Series of Poker are sitting in hotel rooms, playing online.

Now everyone wants poker players. Large, comfortable, no-smoking card rooms are being built to lure them in. The Wynn, a vast luxury complex which just opened on the Strip, has even hired professional player Daniel Negreanu for a reported $2m to act as 'poker host' and sit playing cards at a prominent table in front of an admiring crowd.

It is not a 'sloppy' crowd. This is the new breed of player: sober, well-spoken, young, in clean clothes, with real jobs. They come from all over the world, with a particularly large Scandinavian contingent. Most seem to have maths degrees. (Even Oxford and Cambridge Universities have launched poker societies in the past year.)

Regular internet players, they have come here for the live World Series, which - for the first time in its 25-year history - is not being held at Binion's Horseshoe, a vintage casino downtown. For decades, the Binion family were the only casino managers who actively welcomed poker players. Benny Binion dreamed up the idea of an annual world championship and threw his doors open for it every May - while rival casinos did their best to keep the cardsharps out and the roulette punters in.

But Binion's Horseshoe has been bought by the giant Harrah's chain. What would Harrah's want with this downtown casino? Why, the rights to the World Series of Poker. Suddenly, it is a desirable entity. The event has been relocated to Harrah's giant Rio All-Suite Hotel on the Strip, and it is running in July rather than May. It is said that the new time and venue will be better for a tournament which has outgrown its humble roots. But, coincidentally or not, room rates at the Rio are far more lucrative for Harrah's than at Binion's (who wants history when you can have a walk-in shower?).

The transformation of numbers is due to the internet. But the new respect is, of course, about television. Thanks to the spread of televised tournaments, Daniel Negreanu is a big celebrity in America - as are his equally high-stakes colleagues Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer and many others. They are recognised in the street, given front-row seats at baseball games, and begged to wear this or that brand of sunglasses. They get laid easily. Even in Britain, their names are familiar to more than a million people.

For players like me - ordinary punters, who started on the journey years ago - the change is mind-boggling. We were drawn to poker by its secrecy, its strangeness, its counter-cultural pull; its poetic treatment at the hands of Damon Runyon and Herbert Yardley; the seedy glamour of its old proponents 'Amarillo Slim' Preston, Jack 'Treetops' Strauss, and the rest of that shady, oddly named, card-playing crew. (That and our own compulsive gambling tendencies.) Suddenly, 20m people have swarmed into our dark little basement and switched on the lights. They are not gamblers, they are investors. They have 'found' poker through the internet and television, not books.The game is no longer secret and it is not counter-cultural: it is a big, bright, shiny, mainstream sport.

The cash is fantastic. Televised tournaments are played with 'added money' donated by the TV companies. Internet sites run competitions with 'package prizes' of entry tickets to tournaments, complete with expenses. All you have to do in return is wear the company logo on your shirt. The sites also 'sponsor' players. I played the 2005 World Series wearing the logo of paradisepoker.com. They paid my $10,000 entry fee and in return I advertised them on my shirt. No moral quandary there; I play on Paradise, after all.

But in the end, of course, I didn't win the tournament. Joe Hachem did. Hachem is a quiet, likeable, professional poker player from Melbourne. He picked a good time to win the world title: 10 years ago he would have got about $100,000 in prize money. This year it was $7.5m, plus all the sponsorship Joe could ever want for life.

Of course, $7.5m and all the sponsorship Joe could ever want for life is peanuts to the companies offering to sponsor him. It is peanuts to the casinos which host the tournaments, and to the television networks which broadcast them. What happened to the game of ultimate equality? We took each other on across the level green baize, with our own cash, and the best man won. (Or the best woman. But usually man.) That was it. Suddenly there is more money to be made from running and raking and filming and sponsoring the game than there is from playing it. A new hierarchy has appeared overnight and shuffled itself into place.

Anthony Holden, The Observer's opera critic and author of the cult 1990 poker book Big Deal, was back at the World Series this year. Like every other long-time player, he remembers the creaking wood and dust of Binion's, the smoke and secrecy, the drunken players doing their money on the dice table. All gone now, as if they were never there; blasted away like litter before a royal visit.

'I realise with a sinking heart,' says Holden, 'that the game I have loved for nearly 40 years as a romantic, seedy, maverick outpost of la vie boheme has now become just another branch of corporate-logo American capitalism.' Sales of Big Deal, in which Holden set out to spend a year as a professional poker player, have been ticking along steadily for 15 years, but they have rocketed in the past two. The book's publisher, Time Warner, has persuaded Holden to try his experiment again. The sequel will be called, of course, Bigger Deal.

Also at the World Series this year were the Hendon Mob, the UK's most celebrated foursome of professional players. I interviewed them a few years ago, when sponsorship seemed an impossible dream and the British poker community scoffed at them for seeking it. One of the four, Joe Beevers, explained back then that he had thrown in his City job to play poker because he wanted freedom: 'With poker you do what you want when you want.'

The Hendon Mob now have a £1m sponsorship deal. They are celebrities. They travel constantly around the world playing tournaments. Every morning they get up early, dress in their logo-emblazoned attire, and sit down to play all day. In Vegas 2005 they did this every day for seven weeks. They didn't drink and they didn't gamble on blackjack or dice. They behaved in a manner befitting representatives of primapoker.com. Between international tournaments, they manage their website, go to meetings, talk to their lawyers and file their company accounts. I think Joe is probably working harder now than he ever has in his life.

The dream got bigger, for everyone. Professional players stopped dreaming merely of freedom and started dreaming of international celebrity, and amateur players no longer just want something fun to do with their mates on a Friday night. They want to win seats in major international tournaments, play like the pros, make their fortunes.

By the end of 2005, more than $1bn will have been won and lost at the game worldwide. Three new card rooms have opened this year in London alone. There are British TV channels devoted solely to poker, and individual poker shows on practically every other channel. There are fantastic opportunities for players at every level. There is total freedom of choice.

We, the shabby long-time players, wanted people to understand the thrill and beauty of poker; this mesmerising knot of a game which I have spent nearly 15 years trying to unpick. We wanted it to be on television. We wanted sponsorship. We wanted security for poker's future.

And now we feel ... It is as though your favourite band has landed a huge recording contract, allowing them to make albums of the best quality with the best resources for many years to come. As a fan you are excited and optimistic, proud to share their music and relieved at their security. But you are not entirely certain, all the time, that you didn't secretly love them a little more on those crackly old recordings knocked up years ago in the lead singer's garage. Before the drummer kicked smack and found Jesus. When they were bad boys, and nobody cared but you.

Wow, kudos to CBS 60 Minutes for the excellent piece on online gambling - poker.

I kept hoping to see a Bonus Code IGGY banner, to no avail.

I'm gonna start an uber-post, methinks.
So for now, sign up on the biggest online poker aquarium on the net: Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker.

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