Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"The seeming contradiction comes from the fact that the Fundamental Theory of Poker is a theory which is not about poker. Instead it is a theory about the results of poker. In other words, you cannot use the Fundamental Theorem of Poker to solve any actual poker problems. Instead you can only use it to determine that you were, or were not, unlucky to have been involved in a confrontation where your opponent just happened to be holding a specific hand."
Andru Prock

I wish I had time to crank out an uberpost after finally catching up on my poker reading. RGP is positively frothing at the mouth after Dutch Boyd won his WSOP bracelet.

Best one-liner? Here's a response to Russ's infamous line written on RGP:

"I do not know if it is possible to return all of the money to our Pokerspot players... but it is something I'm going to try to do."


Yeah, and O.J. Simpson continues to search America's golf courses for the real killer.

While not an uber, here's a few tidbits to get you through your working day. I'm leaving on Thursday for Vegas so this will likely be my last post for the next week.

Pauly already documented Oliver's open letter to ESPN but I'm still posting it here along with the ensuing fallout. Here's his first open letter and then the second update....

ATTN: Matt Maranz, Executive Producer
441 Productions
New York, New York

Dear Matt:

Controversial poker pro Russell "Dutch" Boyd has made the ESPN TV final table of the $2500 6-Handed No Limit Hold'em World Series of Poker (WSOP) event on Sunday July 2 with a substantial chip lead.

While ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE)/441 Productions had always glorified Mr. Boyd as the leader of the "Crew", many people, including myself, have been disappointed that EOE/441 had ignored Mr. Boyd's checkered past in all past episodes of the WSOP on ESPN in 2003, 2004, and 2005.

During the Dot-Com era of the late 1990's, Mr. Boyd ran a startup online poker business PokerSpot.com which failed miserably.

Mr. Boyd commingled the deposits of online poker players with operating funds of PokerSpot.com. Ultimately, PokerSpot.com was unable to honor fund withdrawal requests before Mr. Boyd shut down PokerSpot.com, leaving many online poker players with substantial losses of their poker bankrolls.

In several interviews with smaller online poker websites since PokerSpot.com failed, Mr. Boyd had indicated that he would refund those players' deposits if he were ever in a finacial position to do so.

Needless to say, many players in the internet poker community are still very skeptical of Mr. Boyd's claim given that Mr. Boyd had never refunded a single penny to PokerSpot.com customers who lost their deposits despite Mr. Boyd's recent success as a tournament poker pro starting with his 12th place finish at the 2003 WSOP Main Event.

While Mr. Boyd is under no legal obligation to issue refunds to PokerSpot.com customers in the US because PokerSpot.com was located offshore, another poker pro who was involved in a similar situation, the legendary Doyle Brunson, used his own personal funds to refund customer deposits of a failed online poker room which he had endorsed.

I would like to know what, if anything, EOE/441 Productions will do to address the Dutch Boyd/PokerSpot.com issue in the WSOP episode that is scheduled to air on October 10.

Thank you.

Oliver Tse
Contributing Poker Business Reporter, PokerBiz411.com

cc: George Tobias, Editor-in-chief, PokerBiz411.com
Jamie Horowitz, Supervising Producer, ESPN Original Entertainment
George Solomon, Ombudsman, ESPN
Bob Ley, Host, ESPN Outside The Lines


Subject: Follow-up on "my letter to ESPN regarding Dutch B
Oliver Tse

I am writing this from San Francisco on the morning of July 4 after leaving Las Vegas on July 3 without being able to get enough material to write the "Dutch Boyd/WSOP racelet/PokerSpot.com" story for online poker business website PokerBiz411.com.

I will be the one who will be taking the brunt of the fallout from my "stunt" of posting my letter on various forums on the Internet to the ESPN Original Entertainment - 441 Productions WSOP executive producer regarding the way he has given Dutch Boyd a "free pass" for the past 3 years.

As expected:

1. I was "taken to the woodshed" by two 441 Productions officials, with a high-ranking Harrah's official as witness, on Sunday afternoon, for taking "a cheap shot" at ESPN and 441 Productions, and for my "unprofessional conduct" among other issues.

2. Furthermore, I was warned that an administrative process has begun to revoke my WSOP non-rightsholder media credential. As far as I know, I have NOT committed any rule violation governing non-rightsholder media credential holders while I was
physically at the Rio Pavilion Convention Center from June 26 through July 2. It will be interesting to see what alleged "rule violation(s)" will be used in the complaint(s) that will be filed to justify revoking my WSOP non-rightsholder media credential.

3. A veteran poker photographer decided to "pile on" by a) telling Dutch Boyd not to ever speak with me again, b) warning me not to do any more poker business stories
on TV poker stars with checkered pasts even if the story is legitimate, and
c) telling me that (s)he will personally make sure that I will be blackballed from
all branches of the poker industry should I continue my current methods and techniques of reporting. The photographer warned me with these fighting words:
"We will protect our own and we will NOT let you bring down the industry."


It should be obvious to most of you that many people in various branches of the TV poker entertainment industry feel threatened enough to do what is necessary to force me to stop doing poker business reporting NOW.

Looking back, I made the classic mistake of taking on a bully in ESPN which had the power to "sqish me like a bug". The resulting fallout was predictable.

Blah. As a huge fan of Oliver, I hope this somehow resolves itself in a positive manner.

And we'll see how Dutch deals with all this. Who knows how heavily he was backed and what percentage of his winnings he actually gets to pocket. But I sure hope he has the common sense to make an effort at restitution to the poor bastards who got ripped off by PokerSpot. A little goodwill would go a long way.

Need some proof that ESPN Poker has no clue?
The latest article on the Poker Club site starts with this:

"Through five events, it's the feel-good story of the WSOP: Dutch Boyd is back!"

Oh the Humanity.

Extra-curricular reading here: Greg "Fossilman" Raymer on Russ "Dutch" Boyd from 2003.

I truly wish I had time to uber up all my RGP unearthings. But for now, I'm just gonna post this Q&A with my hero, Gary Carson.

> Gary, is your primary income poker nowadays?

No, it's from working two shifts a day at Whataburger. And selling plums from the tree in the backyard.

Hell, this next tidbit is off-topic but I'm blogging it anyway.

Subject: Driving drunk while watching porn and masturbating

Not even an NBA player is that well coordinated.

Source: http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_180133016.html

On March 30, Minnesota Timberwolves center Eddie Griffin was drunk and masturbating when he crashed his luxury SUV into a parked Suburban outside a store in Minneapolis, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the man whose Suburban was hit in the crash.

Several of the 911 callers that night said Griffin was drunk. One witness said Griffin told him he was watching pornography in a DVD player mounted on the dashboard of his Cadillac Escalade SUV when he struck a Chevy Suburban parked on University Avenue Southeast.

Abed Hassuneh, who is the brother of the victim, said Griffin told him, "That he was masturbating himself going down that street. That's how the accident happened because he was not paying attention. He's paying attention to that video and all of a sudden he's shoveled somebody's car on the top of the sidewalk."

In a video, Griffin can be heard pleading with witnesses to not call police saying, "I can't go to jail."

The video also shows Griffin admitting he is drunk and doesn't have a driver's license.

Nice. Kinda gives a new meaning to the term "carjacking" doesn't it?

Here's the NY Times take on the impending gambling legislation:


Interest Groups Lining Up to Lobby on Web Gambling

WASHINGTON, July 3 — While Internet gamblers lay down big money on World Cup soccer this summer, teams of lobbyists are facing off on Capitol Hill in a contest over whether the United States should choke off the growth of wagering on the Web.

Faced with bills to curb online betting, which attracts an estimated $12 billion a year in wagers worldwide, an array of interest groups like casinos here and abroad, as well as sports leagues, antigambling coalitions and even poker players, has dispatched lobbyists to argue what should be legal and what should not.

Major League Baseball wants to make sure that any measures do not diminish fantasy sports games, which it credits for a resurgence in its popularity.

The big Las Vegas casinos, which have been neutral over online betting, have embraced a proposal in the House to establish a study commission. Convenience stores are watching to see whether sales of lottery tickets might be affected, though Powerball seems to be safe for now.

The horse racing industry seems sanguine, but dog tracks are worried. Offshore casinos are fighting any restrictions.

The Justice Department has always considered Internet gambling illegal. But that has not stopped online wagering from flourishing.

Gambling opponents are pushing for bills to put teeth into enforcement. In the House, proponents of a crackdown merged two bills. The majority leader, Representative John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, announced a few days ago that the measure would be voted on this summer as part of what the Republicans call their American Values Agenda.

The odds of a bill's becoming law this year appear long. Beyond that, nearly everyone agrees that online betting may be unstoppable because of the reach of the Internet and the difficulty in regulating its activity.

David O. Stewart, an analyst and a lawyer who produced a study of online gambling for the American Gaming Association, a client of his firm, paraphrased an adage used by the Supreme Court in a campaign finance case, saying: "Money, like water, will find its way. And I really think that applies to this. The money will find a way to get to the offshore sites."

Proponents of Internet gambling argue that the Congressional trend goes against the growing tide of international wagering. As many as 80 countries allow it in some form.

The most prominent model is Britain, which through revisions of its gambling laws is about to devise a tax-and-regulatory structure that it hopes will entice offshore gambling companies to locate there.

Britain is sponsoring a fall symposium on instituting such changes.

Other countries are eyeing rulings of the World Trade Organization, where tiny Antigua, with its offshore casinos, continues to press the trade body to find that the United States is violating trade agreements by trying to block access to online gambling.

"Americans are already gaming in large numbers because it's entertainment," said Mike McComb, a spokesman for Betmaker.com, based in Costa Rica. "It's an extension of entertainment. In England, what they've found is that it's just something that needs to be regulated to protect consumers. And it's a great source of revenue."

In the United States, the fight is set to resume when Congress returns from its Fourth of July recess. The House proposal would make it illegal to use a banking instrument like a check or credit card to settle Internet wagers, and it would penalize institutions that act as intermediaries channeling money between the offshore gambling enterprises and American bettors.

The measure would also update the Wire Act of 1961 to prohibit Internet gambling specifically.

"It will not be a perfect preclusive approach, but it will be pretty strong," said Representative Jim Leach, Republican of Iowa, a co-sponsor of the bill.

The Poker Players Alliance, a relatively new player on the Hill, and others that would be affected by a ban point to big-money interests like horse racing that are is not covered under the proposal.

The bill, said Michael Bolcerek, an amateur player who is president of the alliance, is "picking winners and losers."

Celebrity players have even dealt a few hands to lawmakers in an effort to show that poker is a game of skill, not chance, a critical legal distinction in the debate.

Mr. Leach said the poker players offered a fairly persuasive argument. But he added that he still believed that there were no social benefit and few "happy aspects" to Internet gambling. Not only can gambling be addictive, with debts racked up quickly online, Mr. Leach said, but from a moral standpoint, gambling also breaks apart families and poses a danger to under-age players.

Some gambling opponents want an even broader bill. The Traditional Values Coalition, a conservative group, wrote in a letter to Congress in the spring that the exemption of horse racing showed that it paid "to pony up."

The Center for Responsive Politics calculated that a sizable part of the racing industry has contributed more than $3 million to lawmakers, presidential candidates and state and federal political action committees since 2000. Far more than half the total went to Republicans, the center said.

Mr. Leach bristled at the notion that special interests or campaign contributions influenced him. He said he did not accept PAC money.

Kathryn Rexrode, a spokeswoman for Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican who is a co-sponsor of the merged bills, said the horse racing industry contributed when Mr. Goodlatte was not sponsoring such legislation, but when he was chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

Mr. Leach said that "we authorize nothing new for horse racing," because it is regulated under the Interstate Horseracing Act. Even fantasy sports games, he added, would be further restricted under the bill, with bans on betting on individual teams or players.

Mr. Leach pointed to the coalition of supporters for the bills, including churches that represent many denominations, like Christian fundamentalists, that tend to have a consensus on little else.

"I just think the stars are in alignment, that Congress knows it has to deal with this issue," he said.

On the Senate side, Mr. Leach is counting on two Republicans, the majority leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee, and Jon Kyl of Arizona. The Democratic leader, Senator Harry Reid, a former gambling commissioner in Nevada, "has serious concerns about our ability to properly regulate Internet gaming," his spokesman, Jim Manley, wrote in an e-mail message.


Fer fucks sakes, go sign up with the poker lobby group.
Poker Player Alliance.

Hell, if you're a new player and believe in keeping online poker LEGAL, go sign up on Party Poker. They'll send in a donation to the group on your behalf and I think you get a t-shirt. Free t-shirts are cool.

Wow, Maudie has a fine list of WPBT folks coming to Vegas, from 2004 and on. I'm looking forward to meeting the new folks.

I figger I might as well post the actual arguments in favor of this deeply and profoundly retarded legislation. Enjoy the inanity:

Subject: Goodlatte speaks in support of his anti-gambling bill

[Note, this is not in support of the current legislation, but Goodlatte's own bill.]

Remarks - February 17, 2006)

[Page: E191] GPO's PDF



* Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce today bipartisan
legislation, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, along with my colleague
Representative Rick Boucher of Virginia, to address the ever increasing problem
of illegal Internet gambling in our Nation.

* The Internet is a revolutionary tool that dramatically affects the way we
communicate, conduct business, and access information. As it knows no
boundaries, the Internet is accessed by folks in rural and urban areas alike, in
large countries as well as small. The Internet is currently expanding by leaps
and bounds; however, it has not yet come close to reaching its true potential as
a medium for commerce and communication.

* One of the main reasons that the Internet has not reached this potential
is that many folks view it as a wild frontier, with no safeguards to protect
children and very few legal protections to prevent online criminal activity. The
ability of the World Wide Web to penetrate every home and community across the
globe has both positive and negative implications--while it can be an invaluable
source of information and means of communication, it can also override community
values and standards, subjecting them to whatever may or may not be found

* Gambling is an excellent example of this situation. It is currently
illegal in the United States unless regulated by the States. With the
development of the Internet, however, prohibitions and regulations governing
gambling have been turned on their head. No longer do people have to leave the
comfort of their homes and make the affirmative decision to travel to a casino;
they can access the casino from their living rooms.

* Since 1868, the Federal Government has enacted Federal gambling statutes
when a particular type of gambling activity has escaped the ability of States to
regulate it. For over 100 years, Congress has acted to assist States in
enforcing their respective policies on gambling when developments in technology
of an interstate nature, such as the Internet, have compromised the
effectiveness of State gambling laws.

* The negative consequences of online gambling can be as detrimental to the
families and communities of addictive gamblers as if a bricks and mortar casino
was built right next door. Online gambling can result in addiction, bankruptcy,
divorce, crime, and moral decline just as with traditional forms of gambling,
the costs of which must ultimately be borne by society.

* Gambling on the Internet is especially enticing to youth, pathological
gamblers, and criminals. There are currently no mechanisms in place to prevent
youths--who make up the largest percentage of Internet users--from using their
parents' credit card numbers to register and set up accounts for use at Internet
gambling sites. In addition, pathological gamblers may become easily addicted to
online gambling because of the Internet's easy access, anonymity and instant
results. Finally, Internet gambling can provide a nearly undetectable harbor for
criminal enterprises. The anonymity associated with the Internet makes online
gambling more susceptible to crime.

* I have long been an advocate of the Internet and of limited government
regulation of this new medium. However, that does not mean that the Internet
should be a regulatory free zone or that our existing laws should not apply to
the Internet. I think we can all agree that it would be very bad public policy
to allow offline activity deemed criminal by States to be freely committed
online and to go unpunished simply because we are reluctant to apply our laws to
the Internet.

* Gambling on the Internet has become an extremely lucrative business.
Numerous studies have charted the explosive growth of this industry, both by the
increases in gambling websites available, and via industry revenues. Some
estimates show that it is now a $12 billion a year industry.

* Most Internet gambling sites are offshore. Virtual betting parlors
accepting bets from individuals in the United States have attempted to avoid the
application of United States law by locating themselves offshore and out of our
jurisdictional reach. These offshore, fly-by-night Internet gambling operators
are unlicensed, untaxed and unregulated and are sucking billions of dollars out
of the United States. In addition, the FBI and the Department of Justice has
testified that Internet gambling serves as a vehicle for money laundering
activities and can be exploited by terrorists to launder money.

* Current law already prohibits gambling over telephone wires. However,
because the Internet does not always travel over telephone wires, these laws,
which were written before the invention of the World Wide Web, have become
outdated. My legislation simply clarifies the state of the law by bringing the
current prohibition against wire line interstate gambling up to speed with the
development of new technology. It also makes clear once and for all that the
prohibition is not limited to sports-related bets and wagers.

* In addition, my legislation will add a new provision to the law that would
prohibit a gambling business from accepting certain forms of non-cash payment,
including credit cards and electronic transfers, for the transmission of illegal
bets and wagers. This provision provides an enforcement mechanism to address the
situation where the gambling business is located offshore but the gambling
business used bank accounts in the United States. The bill also provides an
additional tool to fight illegal gambling by giving Federal, State, local and
tribal law enforcement new injunctive authority to prevent and restrain
violations of the law.

* The legislation I am introducing will return control to the States by
protecting the right of citizens in each State to decide through their State
legislatures if they want to allow gambling within their borders and not have
that right taken away by offshore, fly-by-night operators. The regulation of
intrastate gambling is within the jurisdiction of the States, so the bill leaves
the regulation of wholly intrastate betting or wagering to the States with tight
controls to be sure that such betting or wagering does not extend beyond their
borders or to minors.

* Internet gambling is a serious problem that must be stopped. The Internet
Gambling Prohibition Act will help eliminate this harmful activity before it
spreads further. I urge my colleagues to support this very important


Slate has a story on the poker life as seen by the spouse.
Raising a family on poker


Classic Gary Carson retort here:

At least the poker boom created a market for his wife to start selling essays
instead of writing unmarketable poetry.

Hells bells, guess I'm outta time here. My humble apologies for the abbreviated post but it is what it is.

Allow me to leave you with a new blog that I'm sure ya'll enjoy:

The Luckiest One
The cautionary tale of a law student whose degenerative gambling addiction cost him everything

In 2002, I matriculated at an Ivy League law school. Four short years later, I've found myself in a large Midwestern city, without a law degree. Without a job. Missing three teeth. And approximately $91,000 in debt. I have alienated my friends and family. I have committed many crimes and idly contemplated committing many more. Told countless lies. How to explain this troubling reversal of fortune? Welcome to the entertaining world of online (and offline) gambling.


My deepest condolences to Obie. I'm without words.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I'm heading out to the boat. What else is new?

This update about the ban on online poker is. Good gravy, I don't know what to say. Will this blog have to go dark if this passes in August?


Congress now making MAJOR push to ban Internet Gambling

WASHINGTON -- Negotiations to merge two House bills that would prohibit Internet gambling are progressing, but Congress will leave for a weeklong Fourth of July recess without voting on either one.

Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, said Thursday he hopes he will come to terms with Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., by the end of this week. "There's no formal agreement as yet, but it's pretty close," Leach said. Goodlatte declined to be interviewed, but his spokeswoman, Kathryn Rexrode, confirmed that negotiations continue.

Negotiations appeared to get a jump-start this week when House Republican leaders announced an Internet gambling ban would be one of its top 10 priority bills in an "American Values Agenda."

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House would vote on an Internet gambling ban before the August recess if Leach and Goodlatte reach an agreement. "(An Internet gambling ban is) big, and we're getting close," Boehner said. If the House passes an Internet gambling ban, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is expected to push for its approval in the Senate.

To expedite Senate approval, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who is chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, has agreed to allow an Internet gambling ban to advance to the Senate floor without a committee hearing, sources said.

Leach's bill would prohibit credit cards, checks and other bank instruments from being used to make Internet gambling payments.

Goodlatte's bill would update a 1961 federal statute known as the U.S. Wire Act so it would outlaw all forms of Internet gambling and apply the ban to new gambling technologies that may be developed.

Both bills passed the House Judiciary Committee on May 25. Leach's bill also passed the House Financial Services Committee on March 15. Leach said he favors a "partial merger" with Goodlatte's bill.

"My own view is that a bill that has the basic approach of the (financial services) committee, coupled with certain definitional updates of the Wire Act makes the most sense," Leach said.

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