Friday, March 16, 2007

Today has been a strange day. Susan & I ended up renting a truck for Sean, the hobo, to move his stuff. For the love of God, how does a homeless guy accumulate so much crap?

But now he's disappeared. Arg.

I had some fun today, though.

There is a really uber-nice straight laced guy in the office. I had one of the girls write him a note in super girly script.

It said, "Please start wearing tighter trousers to the office."

He just emailed the office with this perspective:


Secret Admirer:

The kind words you left on my notepad are intriguing, flattering, and somewhat creepy.

Thanks for the smile.


I'm all about brightening peoples day.

Did I mention I dropped a glass of water on someone's laptop today?


Sean, the guy who lives in the woods next to our building is getting evicted, for lack of a better word.

Guess who he asked to help him move his stuff? Lucky for me, I brought a camera.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Glimmer of hope.


Repeal of online gaming ban sought
By Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Jeremy Grant in Washington
The Financial Times Limited 2007
Published: March 14 2007 13:48

Barney Frank, the Democratic chairman of the powerful House financial services committee, is working on legislation to repeal the sweeping ban that was passed in Congress last year against online gaming, he told the Financial Times in an interview.

Mr Frank called the ban, formally known as the Unlawful Enforcement Gambling Act, one of the “stupidest laws” ever passed and said he wanted to “repeal” the law.

“I am working on legislation to cut back on this internet gambling thing….I think it’s preposterous,” he said, adding that he was considering some “innovative ideas”.

“I’m looking for ways, maybe we can make some money off of it,” he said, signalling that he could be considering a proposal that would make online gaming legal by both regulating - and taxing - the industry.

Mr Frank declined to comment further on his proposal. A spokesman for the lawmaker said he had not yet drafted any legislation and was still at a “thinking stage”.

“I am not ready to get into specifics yet. People have come to me with some ideas. Not Al D’Amato. ..and I’m looking at it,” Mr Frank told the FT at an event at the US Chamber of Commerce.

Mr D’Amato, the former New York senator, was recently named chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, a lobby group that is fighting to legalise online poker.

Hopes that the US ban might be overturned helped lift shares in UK-listed online gaming groups on Wednesday, with PartyGaming up nearly 10 per cent in a falling London market. Shares in 888 Holdings and Sportingbet were also higher.

The Democratic victory in the Congress last year was an important victory for pro-gaming interests because Mr Frank, along with John Conyers, chairman of the House judiciary committee, are both considered sympathetic to the industry.

They are understood to believe that the legislation passed last year went too far by putting restrictions on a hobby - gambling - that millions of Americans enjoy.

However, while both Mr Frank and Mr Conyers represent powerful potential allies in the fight to roll back last year’s ban, which hit non-US gaming interests, particularly in the UK, it is far from clear that the lawmakers would have enough support to pass any meaningful legislation.

One industry lobbyist yesterday expressed deep reservations about the possibility that the ban would be repealed.

“Though the Democrats are in charge it is not clear that the votes would be there for a regulatory bill. Having Mr Frank and [John] Conyers [chairing congressional committees] is a positive development, but it doesn’t make it a slam dunk,” this person said.

Mr D’Amato said in a recent interview with the FT that he believed Congress should create a regulatory structure to police the industry that would be funded by licensing fees.

Separately, the industry is keeping a close eye on the US Treasury, which is currently drafting the regulations that will, in effect, implement last year’s ban. One lobbyist said that Treasury’s deadline to present the rules for public comment period had slipped and is not now expected until April or May.

Monday, March 12, 2007


"Finally, it's nice to see Iggy back in his home. No offense at all to pokerworks, but it was a bit like seeing a professional athlete spend a season with a different team at the end of his career. the play was the same, but the uniform just didn't quite look right."

Aptly put.

And so I'm officially back. And I'm going to uber it the hell up, just like old times.

I'm cleaning out some content tonight so expect the usual Guinness-fueled tangential nonsense. Phil Ivey hustling debate, some classic RGP posts, Josh Arieh updates & poker in China and Lord knows what else.


Poker and I are at a strange place right now. I used to have very specific goals and earning expectations, but now, that's out the window. I'm back to being purely a recreational player and between trying to help a close friend survive his own personal Fisher King, poker has taken a backseat. Tis funny, tho, how I still make time to play. I've been wondering why and I suppose it's still the competitive nature thingy rising up in me.

Aw hell, let's just get to the best of poker on the web, shall we?

Commence Guinness-fueled ubering.

One of the more interesting tales I've read about hasn't been well documented so allow me to do so here. It's a sordid tale of Phil Ivey hustling some folks (Marc Goodwin and Ram Vaswani) on the golf course. Apparently, Phil has been pissed not only about the large sums of money he's lost playing, but tired of hearing what a golf whale he is.

Leave it to Phil to work hard and hustle the hustlers. Or is it cheating versus hustling? Apparently they gave him his normal handicap when he was playing much better than that now. There are rumours that he put a substantial financial hurting on his opponents - even to the point of them stomping off the course and refusing to pay the debt. Read for yourself.

Here's the Hendon Mob thread: Ram Hustled out of a Million Dollars?

A blondepoker article: Ivey The Hustler? - Goodwin Responds

The obligatory 2+2 massive thread: Phil Ivey Gossip

Whew, all this talk of golf gambling is killing me. Hurry up Spring - I'm dying to play!

A serious golf gambler, Blair Rodman, offered his thoughts on several of the forums and I found his take damn interesting. Allow me to share this post:

Some more thoughts on golf gambling:

It seems to me that many posters in this thread are confusing golf with golf gambling. I love golf and would play without gambling—if no one would bet with me. However, not many gamblers feel that way. (Russ Hamilton, one of the best golf gamblers ever, told me a few years ago that a guy invited him to Augusta. Most golfers would kill for the chance. I asked when he (we) were going. He said, “I’m not going there with him. He won’t play for anything.) Very few gamblers keep actual handicaps. I keep a legitimate handicap and like to play amateur tournaments. However, that’s where the real cheaters are! There isn’t an understanding in amateur tournaments that sandbagging is part of the game. To keep an illegitimate handicap is cheating, period. This is because there’s no negotiation involved. The players are taken at their word. I lived in Palm Springs a few years ago and couldn’t believe the things I saw. Handicaps are designed so that a player should only play to his handicap about 20% of the time. To shoot 10 strokes below your handicap should happen less than 1 in 50,000 times. Yet, in almost every tournament I played there someone with a 20 handicap would shoot in the ‘70s in the last round. A lot of guys make a living cheating these tournaments. It got so bad that I quit playing them, unless I really wanted to play and then I pretty much accepted that I couldn’t win.
The gamblers system is much more efficient. When I’d meet someone new at a course in Palm Springs, the standard conversation went like this:

Stranger: “What’s your handicap?”
Me: “About a 5.”
Stranger: “Ok I’m a 15, so I’ll take 5 shots a side. Let's go.”
Me; “No problem, unless you want to play for more than $5. Then we need to talk.”

I would never play a stranger for any kind of serious money unless I had some reliable information about their game. I would also never get in a big match with someone who I knew might have improved rapidly unless I knew his story. Among gamblers this information is fairly easy to gather. I’ve never played golf with Ivey, but I know though the grapevine that he’s worked very hard on his game and has improved a lot. I’ve also heard that he was a live one when he first started playing the game, but now he’s almost impossible to match up with. If I had any doubts about someone’s current game, if I played him at all it would be for small stakes until I got a good feel for what I was up against.

I have a fairly large group of players I gamble with. We all know each other’s games pretty well and generally have to resort to a system of adjusting after each match if someone wins or loses a certain amount of bets. For the most part the money goes back and forth and we play those matches because we like the game and the action. (The same thing happens in the big game with Doyle, Chip, Bobby Baldwin, occasionally Michael Jordan and a few others. Their back and forths are just bigger). Big money heads up matches are fairly rare among players who know each other’s games. However, this doesn’t mean there are never any big money decisions. A big part of the skill of golf gambling is handicapping different types of bets. If a game can be devised where both sides think they have an edge, you have the conditions for a big bet. If you sit around B&M poker tables, a lot of the conversation is about golf and setting up matches for the next day. Scrambles are popular these days. For instance, a negotiation might go like this:

“Me and Jeff will scramble Richard, Jack, Greg and Greg. And Greg gets the blue tees.” (Greg and Greg are the same person, but he hits two shots)
“OK but Greg only gets one putt.”
“No, he needs two putts.”
“Then he has to play the black tees.”
“No he gets blue tees and two putts on 9 holes.”
“Ok, I don’t like it but we’ll try it. How much…..”

Often these kinds of matches will be negotiated for an emergency 9 or 18 after the early round of heads up matches.

When poker players get the urge to enter the golf gambling world the pattern is generally the same. They are often very bad players who don’t understand the golf-gambling game and get taken advantage of by experienced gamblers. Eventually they figure out that something isn’t right and smarten up to the fact that they are being hustled. Then they either quit playing, or accept the realities and learn how to negotiate. If they stay in the game, eventually they figure out that they have an opportunity to recoup their losses and then some if they get better without their opponents’ knowledge and get games in which they have a big edge. Sound familiar? Getting this edge is a limited opportunity. The improvement curve in golf is sharp at the beginning but levels out as a player gets better. While it’s fairly easy to go from a 40 handicap to a 20. it’s much harder to go from a 10 to a 5. Even with a system of adjustment the bad player figures to win a lot of money as he improves. The smart gambler won’t fall for this, insisting or major adjustments as his opponent gets better.

I’m not saying that the things I’ve described are good or bad( other than the handicap sandbagging), but they are the realities. I’m also not saying there’s no cheating in golf gambling. The rules of play are established, and breaking them is cheating. Since most gambling golfers don’t know the rules, a bastardized version is often used. The most extreme variation is called “gambler rules”. Under gamblers rules, you can’t touch your ball anywhere before you’re on the green without incurring a penalty. On a sprinkler head—hit it. Cart path—hit it. On top of a golf cart—you guessed it. Many players use grease (Vaseline or something like it) on their club face to straighten out shots. Occasionally this is specifically outlawed. Few players adhere to the 14-club rule. I knew one guy who carried about twelve woods and four putters

There are people who will move balls, drop balls from their pocket, step on your ball, and lots of other things. Never take a partner you don’t trust, as you may get dumped. Just like in any gambling endeavor, you need to have your eyes wide open and your senses acute. The good thing about the gamblers’ system is that cheating players are usually exposed and shunned in games. That is, unless they are so bad that they are still live even with cheating.

So what happens when the game is a fair matchup? That’s when the really talented golf gamblers step up. In my mind there are two kinds of successful golf gamblers (other than cheaters). Some will never play a game where they don’t have an edge off the first tee. Their whole game is in the negotiation and it’s fairly easy to play when there’s little pressure. Games often dry up for these players. The serious ones take to the road looking for new suckers. Read abut Titanic Thompson if you want to see a real hustler in action. The other type of successful player is the one who can play under pressure. Sure, he’ll take a good game if it comes up, but he relies more on his ability to outperform his opponent when it counts. Many players can’t make the shot when it counts. A player who can step up when it counts doesn’t need a lopsided game. In fact, against certain players he can take a bit the worst of the matchup and still be successful.

Sorry this got long, but I love this game!

Blair also had his perspective on the Ivey match on the Las Vegas advisor forums - great stuff. Worthy read - his post is right here: Golf Gambling--Is Phil Ivey a Cheat?

After 7 holes Goodwin was down $450,000 and suddenly erupted in fury at Ivey, claiming he had cheated them and stormed off the course. Sagstrom was similiary infuriated but carried on for another 2 holes before getting to the same amount down and he too left the course with a lot of animosity. Vaswani(one of the more fearless gamblers in the world and an honourable chap) finished off the 18 holes and ended up owing $900,000. Apparently he hasn't got that kind of money and so negotiated some sort of settlement with Ivey with the intention of paying.

The other two have no intention of playing and there is now bad blood between them.

Phil had omitted to tell them that he had spent the last few months practicing around 3 hours a day and getting the best coaching.

Alrighty then, let's get back to poker. And better yet, poker blogs excoriating whoever allowed Mark Kreidler to write an idiotic ESPN poker column.

First off, let's cite the NY Times article about D'amato coming on board the PPA.
D'amato Never Folds

ESPN's retarded article. 118 comments now. All extremely negative. Good for us.

Mene Gene shredded it. Fuck Mark Kreidler

Haley's take: ESPN.com's Mark Kreidler: Independent Buffoon or Corporate Lackey?

Shamu's two cents: Why Kreidler Wrote It (and Why We Should Care)

And finally, Daniel Negreanu posted: In Response to Mark Kreidler

Since I'm pimping blogs, when the fuck is BoDog's Calvin Ayres gonna step up to the plate and start writing in his still empty blog? That thing has been languishing there forever.

And finally, allow me to pimp one of my favorite poker bloggers who never got his due, imho. He claims this is his last post, and if so, he ended on one helluva high note. Go read ZBasic: Great Expectations

Here's an interview Al D'Amato gave to Cardplayer: Interview With Newest PPA Member Al D'Amato

By the way, I play on BoDog. You should too, but just don't tell anyone, damnit.

Online Poker site startup on Ebay

I can't imagine needing 5 million to startup a poker site.
I can't imagine starting one right now.
Someone on Ebay needs 5 million to complete his startup poker site.
Tis a fun read - check it out.

Let's shuffle on and hit some notable 2+2 threads.

First off is David Sklansky Comparing Brandi To "Saura", his 16 year old past lover. Geezus, did I really just type that?

I liked this thread far more. A 2+2'r posted his email exchanges he had with Scott Matusow, Mike's brother.

Before the Online poker phase, Mike was a consistent live cash game poker winner. He is till a consistent live cash game winner. Online poker, and I will say this again, it not a real poker game. And if you do not thinkgso, come watch the guys your mention play in live cash games and see how pros like Mike, Ivey and the rest of them consistently rape them, because for one, those guys have clear tells from here to china.

Still going for that 'not real poker' thing again? Then what's all that money doing in my PokerStars and FullTilt poker accounts?

For the love of all that is holy and decent, I hate 2+2's software with the white hot heat of a 1000 suns. It hasn't once been improved in the nearly four years I've been blogging here. Arg, I despise nepotism.

But I digress. I found a pretty funny thread entitled 'Has anybody seen the pokerstars' office'? but searching the 2+2 site is utterly worthless. Original post:

I am going fishing in CR next month.I plan on visiting Lee and co. I envision a Willy Wonkaesque operation, where Lee is Willy and the hosts are oompah-loompas. No chocolate river, obv a money pool.

Has anybody been there?

Damnit, and now I can't find Lee's response.

I'm not bashing FullTilt here, because it's one of my favorite poker sites, but Good God, why is it that everytime I read a horror story like this, it's ALWAYS Full Tilt?

As some one astutely said in this thread:

FTP Doug will answer in a couple of days and state: "We have proof they were [insert claim here]." Then everyone will go, "See I knew he was a cheater, FTP says they have proof."

Rinse, and repeat.

Tis true, 99% of the time these posters get busted as the cheats and frauds that they are. Alas, not this time. FullTilt goofed up good here: FULLTILTPOKER says Im a cheater and closed my account/took my money

But I've been digging the auto rebuy button on their tourneys.

Too damn cool. Thanks a ton for the dial-a-shots this past Saturday evening. You know who you are.

Moving quickly along, Shana Hiatt poker bloopers: Week 7: Shana Hiatt stumbles on names and treats the camera to funny faces on 'Poker After Dark.'

Interesting rant here about angry poker players. I can't stand sitting next to some miserable sonuvabitch at the boat.

All the anger and hate I see from online players.

All the anger I see these days while playing online poker really has me somewhat concerned. I find it sad so many people appear to be involved with something which seems to upset them rather than give them enjoyment.

In the past I just wrote it off as punk kids hiding behind their keyboard and running their mouths knowing someone is not able to reach across and slap the crap out of them.

However now I have had a change of mind. I no longer think it is just punk kids but a mix of many age groups. I am really starting to think these people have very sad lives and flat out do not know how to deal with others in the world.

I never play high limits online just because if I am going to play for any level of serious money I want more information than one can get playing online where all you can see is very limited. Anyway so this anger should not be driven by the money. I think it is more driven by the crap life they must live. They also appear to think they are 10 times the player than they really are.

Now granted almost all players think they are better than they really are but the level of anger and hate I see points to how they view each and everyday of their life. I can't count the number of times I am called an idiot or told how bad I play when I win a hand. They appear to love using the FU and other comments that are uncalled for. I love it when someone starts out with an overpair then the dog hand hits an over pair then the best hand to start with gets help and the one that hit to begin with starts ranting about how lucky the other player was.

A big part of the game is getting a call from someone with a weaker hand but when that weaker hand gets lucky they go off on the person like the world is ending.

They just don't understand you can't have it both ways. So few seem to be having fun while they play which points to them having limited friends in the real world or they would be doing something different. Once again the stakes I am talking about are so small (under 1-2 pot limit) the money should not really be a factor.

In general terms I would not really care but the number seems so damn high I am sure it goes deeper than poker and might include a large number of people out there one has to deal with in the day to day world and I really don't want to be forced to put up with a large portion of the people in the service industry that are just flat out pissed off about life in general. I mention the service sector just because that is about the only group I have to deal with in the outside world because I am one of the lucky ones that does not have to work any longer but I would guess many workplaces are full of unhappy people which just strikes me as sad.

Well, duh.

I'm still kinda recovering from my UFC weekend with Team UFC Junkie. Twas too much fun.

The Friday night pre-fight party was a blast. Getting the chance to have some drinks and shoot the shit with Rashad Evans and others was superb. (FYI: Rashad does a killer Dana White impression.)

Prolly my favorite time was sitting at the bar and talking with this great kid about poker and Vegas and Lord knows what else. Because I was blitzed, I didn't recognize it was top middleweight, Nate Marquardt, who's fighting for a title belt in a few months. Incredibly nice guy. Especially considering he could break your neck in about two seconds.

We closed the bar down, of course.

The actual event itself was a huge success. 20,000 fans and 98% of us were there before the first under card fight, which is purty rare. It was the biggest box office in the history of the arena, home to the NHL Blue Jackets and numerous concerts, including the Rolling Stones.

We had excellent seats and was fun to see how things translate from a live event to TV. Sadly, the guy right in front of me was the drunkest person in the entire stadium. He was beyond ripped, obnoxious and spit when he talked and wouldn't leave me alone. The irony being that I was completely sober.

It turns out that the drunk boy was an OSU wrestling legend, (three time All-American) Adam DiSabato, currently being inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame with Eddie George. He's also training to be a UFC fighter, for whatever that's worth.

All my local boys kicked ass - Hamill and Rich Franklin, respectively.

And the finale of Randy Coutere defeating Tim Silvia was unbelievable. I just feel so fortunate to witness such a historic moment in the UFC. There is no way to possibly explain the electricity that was in that building at the end of that fight.

It looks like I'll be attending the May Vegas UFC event. Brace yourselves.

Segue: this is an RGP regular off-topic post. I'll let it speak for itself. I sure would like to hear what the investment minds in our little corner of the Blogosphere think about this because I'm clueless but wish to be educated. For the record, there's over 110+ posts in this thread.

Subject: Is This the Right Time to Invest in Gold? (Long)

I sent the following (lengthy) correspondence to a businessman friend of mine. I am thinking about making an "all-in" bet with my retirement money. Accordingly, I thought it would be appropriate to share this with you folks. I will be very interested in the observations and thoughts of anybody on here who has insight or experience in the world of finance and investing.



This is a bit long, so I will apologize in advance.

Because I have so much respect for you as a businessman, I have decided to seek your advice and counsel. I won't be paying you a fee for this, so you don't have to worry about me getting upset if your analysis differs from my analysis. I'm just wondering if your thinking and my thinking might be on the same wavelength. Also, you've actually been over in the Middle East and had some experience with what it is like over there, so I think you are better informed on all this than the average wag.

I have been giving a lot of thought and contemplation to a major decision involving my personal finances. Like you, I constantly read articles in the press and on the internet concerning international politics and world affairs. I also watch a lot of "think tank" panel discussions on C-SPAN where foreign policy experts from places
like the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, and the Cato Institute dispense their collective wisdom. "Topic A" right now from all these various sources is the war in Iraq and the Middle East situation in general. When I read articles like the following:


from Mortimer B. Zuckerman, publisher of U.S. News & World Report, I become even more convinced that we may be headed for a major disaster in the Middle East. If the "dire consequences" that Mr. Zuckerman (and many others) warn about actually come to pass, then one must consider the following question: What are the financial implications for folks like you and I? More specifically, how should one be thinking about adjusting (or "rebalancing") their investment portfolio if one is convinced that the Middle East is headed for a major destabilization?

Many years ago when I was a young lad of 23, (that would be December of 1978), I had a very small fortune of about $1,000.00 dollars to invest. I had casually mentioned to my foster father that I thought buying a few ounces of gold Krugerrands might be a good investment. Keep in mind that December of 1978 was the month when President Jimmy Carter was in Teheran raising a toast to the Shah of Iran as an "oasis of
stability" in the Middle East. Shortly after that, the Shah abdicated and fled to Egypt, the Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile, our embassy was seized by militants, and gold went from under $300.00 an ounce to a high of $850.00 an ounce late in 1980. Several of the "gold bugs" who had seen all this coming got very rich
buying gold (and gold stocks) when the price of gold was under $300.00 an ounce. (I even recall watching a "60 Minutes" segment one night in 1980 where Dan Rather or Leslie Stahl interviewed some of these gold bugs who were selling out as gold topped the $800.00 per ounce threshold.) Of course, I didn't foresee (in December of 1978) all of this impending geopolitical instability. One would have needed a crystal ball to be that prescient ... My thinking (at the time) was that gold might be a good investment because, I thought, inflation would continue to worsen under the economic policies of Jimmy Carter and I knew that gold was a traditional hedge against inflation. (In fact, I told my foster father that I thought inflation was going to
keep running at double-digit rates as long as Carter was President.)

Without commenting on the wisdom of my thinking, my foster father referred me to his broker - who just happened to deal in gold Krugerrands on the side. So I went down to see this man one cold wintry evening in December of 1978. I never will forget that meeting. We both wound up disappointed. He thought I had tens of thousands of
dollars to invest and that I was a sucker. For my part, I didn't understand a simple thing called a "sales commission". (This would have been my first time investing.) Of course, he attempted to dazzle me by showing me a pile of Krugerrands spread out across his desk as he simultaneously lectured me with predictions about how high gold would go. At that point, my "financial literacy" consisted of reading Paul Samuelson, the economics columnist for Newsweek magazine, and watching "Wall Street Week" with Louis Ruykeyser every Friday night; so I thought I was an expert. (When you're young, I guess you think you know everything ...)

When this broker told me that there was a "sales charge" of $50.00 on every Krugerrand that I bought, (and another $50.00 charge when I sold), I looked at him and said, "So, gold will have to go up a hundred dollars an ounce before I break even?" He (finally) had a one-word reply to one of my questions: "Yes!" he said. I looked at him as if I thought he was crazy and got up to leave. Even a smart astute "investor" like me knew that inflation would never get bad enough to cause gold to rise $100.00 an ounce. (At the time, gold was selling on the open market for around $260.00 an ounce.) I never will forget his comment as I was walking out the door. "Mark my words," he said, "you'll wish I had hooked you up to an ass kicking machine
for not having bought gold!" The funny thing is, (as it turned out), he was right. But that was then and this is now.

Right now I have a small (very small) fortune of 401(k) money - a little over 100K - sitting in an account with a former employer. For the last fifteen years, that money has been under "professional management" primarily invested [equally] in two aggressive growth stock funds. To say that I am disappointed with the performance of my investments is an understatement. I read the quarterly statements from this investment firm that constantly advertises on television about "how smart" you are to invest with them. To be blunt about it, their performance (in my opinion) has been abysmal. There have been quarters where the total return (for an "aggressive growth" fund) was under 1 percent - despite the fact that the stock market as a whole has been setting records! There have been numerous quarters where these "professional managers" have actually managed to LOSE my money, but they always manage to charge their fees! In short, I'm beginning to wonder if I can do any worse than these "professional" money managers? I am now considering moving my money into a self-managed IRA or (possibly) a Roth IRA. The question (if I do this) is where I should invest my money?

Traditionally, standard portfolio management theory says that you should have 5 percent of your assets invested in gold (or gold stocks) as a form of "portfolio insurance" in the event that the stock market tanks. If (and it's a BIG "if"), but if these experts are right about the Middle East, then you should have nearly ALL of your assets invested in gold or gold stocks. So the question boils down to a simple "Yes/No" determination: Will the Middle East degenerate into chaos possibly leading to a wider regional conflict? That is the "nightmare scenario" that many of these geopolitical experts are forecasting. (Former CIA analyst Robert Baer has been predicting the collapse of the House of Saud and the replacement of the ruling royal
family by radical Islamic clerics for years - basically a repeat of what happened to the Shah in early 1979. He has even written a fictional book depicting such a scenario.) Of course, if these experts are right and there is chaos in the Middle East, then it's anybody's guess as to how bad things will get. The "worst case"
would be a disruption of oil supplies through the straits of Hormuz, although such a disruption would probably be temporary. Of course, if there is a disruption, then oil prices will skyrocket - and the stock market will tank - thus wiping out much of the value in many 401(k) accounts. So the question is whether it is "smart" to get your money out of stocks [now] and in to gold?

About a week ago, I watched two financial analysts being interviewed on CNBC about gold. Of course, both of these gentlemen took opposing positions about the future of gold. One argued that you should be buying gold, while the other argued that you shouldn't. (The guy who argued that you should be buying gold noted that the governments of several major countries - including China and Germany - are buying
gold; but I'm not sure what to make of that observation.) Whatever the case, it doesn't take a financial genius to realize that gold will be one of the few financial assets to appreciate in value if there is chaos and instability in the Middle East - or greater chaos than presently exists.

Back in the early 1980's the controversial billionaire investor George Soros reaped a fortune by making a bold bet against the British pound in the currency markets. Mr. Soros was roundly condemned by British politicians (including Margaret Thatcher) for his "irresponsible and reckless" speculation, but the fact is that he was right. Of course, I have nowhere near the knowledge and sophistication of a George Soros, but I know how to read the papers. Contrarian investors often point out that when the crowd is convinced of something, "the crowd" is often wrong. Right now the level of gloom about Iraq and the Middle East is widespread among the general public and nearly unanimous among Middle East policy experts. With the notable exception of the neoconservative ideologues, (whose "advice" managed to get us in this mess to start with), there are very few of these experts who are optimistic. In fact, one of the
major arguments by people such as Mr. Zuckerman for staying engaged in Iraq is that you may think things are "bad" now, but they could [easily] get a lot worse if we precipitously withdraw from Iraq. So, the defenders of President Bush's Iraq policy are saying, in effect, "We don't really have a choice here. If we don't stay in Iraq, then we run the risk that the whole Middle East will descend into a hellish anarchy." Balanced against that dire outlook is the political reality here in the United States: Iraq is increasingly becoming "political poison" to our elected representatives - especially the Republicans. It's kind of like Iraq has us stuck
between a rock and a hard place.

So it all boils down to this: I'm trying to put all the pieces together and figure this puzzle out. I'm wondering if we're about to have a repeat of 1979-1980, (or something worse), or if a miracle somehow happens and President Bush (and our brave folks in the military) somehow manage to turn Iraq around? There is no "betting
line" (that I know of) out in Las Vegas on the odds that we're about to have chaos in the Middle East. If I put all my retirement money in gold stocks (and I'm wrong) then I'm broke. (If I'm right, then I may be semi-rich - depending on just how bad things get.) This is a ghoulish thing to contemplate, (and I know a lot of people will get upset with folks like me who think about profiting from war and disorder), but the way I look at it is that the politicians and "advisors" who got us in to this predicament have put all of our investment portfolios in peril. I'm just trying to figure out how best to protect what little I've got ...

I know this is a lot, (and probably VERY unexpected), but I would be interested in your views on all this. In particular, I would like to know if you have been giving serious consideration (or any consideration) to putting some of your own money in gold? (Has your independent financial advisor maybe "dropped a hint" that it might
be a good idea to move five to ten percent of your assets into gold?)

I'll look forward to reading and considering your thoughts on this question - and I thank you for your time.


Alan C. Lawhon


Cue rimshot.

All I know is that the last guy who invested in Gold is still waiting for his $6 million.

I was pretty bummed to hear that Brad Delp died on friday evening and quaffed a few extra beers and watched old youtube videos of Boston in his honour. Mr. Nickerson has an excellent hometown retrospective of Brad's passing.

The following was perfect - funny cause it's true.

How to remove 85% of the threads on RGP.

Somehow make a FAQ show at the top of the list

Online poker is rigged.
The cashout curse exists.
Republicans are stupid.
Democrats are stupid.
Gays should be tolerated.
Gays should not be tolerated.
Religion is stupid.
Religion is not stupid.
Abortion should be legal.
Abortion should not be legal.
Drugs should be legal.
Drugs should not be legal.

Add Neteller and you'd have it covered.

Did you miss Tom Bayes post on Where Are They Now.

Excellent 2+2 post here: In which Ray Zee destroys a fish while the world watches from the rail

Because I'm still fascinated with poker expanding to Asia, I saw this post by poker media expert and fashion diva, Oliver Tse, that I thought I'd share.

WPT will be on Macau Cable TV in 2007. That's really small potatoes (expected viewership to be on the order of 1000 households or less) given that most of the gamblers in Macau are day-trippers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the GuangDong Province of China. (Cantonese is the dialect of choice in Macau.)

(Discovery Channel Asia won't air the BetFair APT in China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong until the Spring of 2007.)

I don't expect a WPT event in Macau at the MGM Grand Macau until the 1st quarter of 2008 at the earliest. The MGM Grand Macau won't open until the 4th quarter of 2007.

There is a possibility that another American-owned mega-resort casino in Macau (i.e. Wynn Macau or Venetian Macau) will host a major televised poker tournament in the 2nd half of 2007. That event obviously will NOT be a WPT event.

Nothing has been announced yet.

Texas Hold'em will eventually have a niche in Macau, but I don't expect much if any progress until 2008.

(My client swung my Macau on her trip to Singapore in November. She told me that those hourly Air Macau "gambler" commuter flights between Taipei and Macau were jam-packed.)

This wasn't bad.

Poker Documentary

I just completed a documentary on a 22 year old professional poker player. It's on Google video and can be found either by going to Google video and searching "Life at the Tables" (with quotes) or by clicking the link below.

Sometimes I read things on RGP and just scratch my head. This is one of those posts.
I don't even know what this means.

Subject: The perfect Full Tilt commercial for Clownie Gowan

I just saw a poker commercial on "Poker After Dark" that perfectly sums up why anyone would be interested in using Clownie Gowan, and poker in the same sentence. In summary Jesus says he can throw a playing card through a carrot from 10 feet away, Phil Gordon brags about being 6'9" and writing 2 best selling poker books, and Clownie brags about being "Miss Oklahoma at 15". After some careful deliberation 3 Asians in unison say "Miss Oklahoma", which accurately sums up her poker career. Just my thoughts.

Now wait a fucking second. Did I never blog the How I Cheated at Poker by David Sklansky? David backpedaled the hell out of RGP when Crazy Russ appeared. Not that I blame him.

What kind of an uber post would this be without a poker movie reference? That's right, a craptastic one.

I've never seen the following movie. I can't imagine I'd like it. Anyway:

The Most Realistic Poker Movie Ever Made

After watching Maverick (1994) starring Mel Gibson, I am convinced that it is one of the most realistic poker movies ever made. Either that or I'm completely exhausted and imagining things. To tell you the truth, it is probably the latter. Anyway, here are the reasons that I can come up with:

1) What is Maverick trying to do for most of the movie? Collect his loans from other people. How many real poker players would have a lot more money if not for loans and staking other people?

2) Mrs. Bransford (Jodie Foster), Maverick's love interest, is a thief and a hustler.

3) Winning money in a cash game doesn't always mean you get to leave with it. This happened early on when Angel accused Maverick of being a cheat before the five guys Maverick hired appeared to start a fake fight. This probably happened a lot more forty years ago rather than today though.

4) The fact that the Colonel tried to rig the big game with Angel is somewhat like modern day collusion.

5) Maverick's father was a pretty damn good tournament director and spotted a bunch of cheats in the game.

6) Many of the twenty people in the big game seemed to have no idea what they were doing. Just like modern day donks at the WSOP. They must have cut out the satellite scenes in the movie.

7) The scene where Maverick gives Mrs. Bransford $2000 to get in the game followed by the scene between the first round and the final table. That's right, the "phallus in the back" scene of the movie.

8) How does the big game end? Maverick hits a two-outer. Just like any online poker room ever created.

If only I could have remembered something that reminded me of a prop bet. I guess you can't have them all.

Some good points here. I don't know if there are any really fat people in that movie or any smelly slobs. You'd need those also. There were what you might call obnoxious players but they might not have been loud enough. Still, this movie does cover a lot of ground.

Esteemed tournament director, Matt Savage, had an interesting post on RGP about cursing and first time situations. Here's his take:

Poker Dome and the F Word

Another first in my career happened during the taping of show 41. Before each taping I warn the payers that due to the fact that this is a televised event swearing is not permitted. So, the current procedure is to give a 10 minute penalty during the first three rounds and 5 after that. When the tournament reached heads up player Mark Thevis blurted out those four little letters that start with F and I was forced to give him a 5 minute penalty.

At that point the blinds were 8,000-16,000 and despite him being the current chip leader I knew that he was going to get hurt really bad. This is not a situation that I like even though I do get more camera time when this happens :-). Unfortunately this is speed poker and the other player decided to speed up on top of it.

By the time he returned he was down to 30,000 of the total 300,000 in play. I found
myself almost pulling for him to get back in the match and when he double up he was one more double up from being almost even and then it happened, he said it again. I could not believe it and asked both dealers if it was true and when the other player chimed in that he did say it all I could do was let him be blinded out. He denied saying it and I even had to go to the tape but when I got to the production truck the producer said it was a fact.

As I stated before this was a first for me and I think it was a first for televised poker. He did apologize at the time but all of the sudden I got the feeling I was the bad guy in the situation. As he walked out into the audience he received a round of applause. I on the other hand met with production and others that said I did the right thing and thanked me for standing my ground. Mark also sent me an email later in the week and apologized which was a really classy thing to do.

I generally do not use the “F-word” penalty in most of my events because it is way too subjective of when it gets reported and additionally there are far more offensive words in my opinion that do not make the list. My rule about abusive language is simple, if it is offensive to or aimed at any other player, dealer, or tournament personnel that a penalty will be assessed. Due to the recent rule change that took place at the TDA meeting, time penalties will no longer be assessed.

There was far too much inconsistency going on with the current way penalties were timed. If a player or players felt that a penalty was not deserved or worse if their friend was on a penalty they could stall and negate the effect of the penalty or worse still speed up and decimate the player on the penalty. The rule now reads that penalties will be in stages 1-2-3-4 and at a stage one penalty a player will miss one hand for every player that is currently at the table. This will now make it more equitable for final table situations as well. Please send any comments or questions about the news rules to Asktheboard@pokertda.com. The complete list of new TDA rules can be found at www.pokertda.com .

Matt Savage

I'm surprised we haven't seen more posts echoing this theme after the legislation and neteller nonsense.

Everyone's Going Broke in 2007

So, at this point, I've spent a good bit of time with Chen/Ankenman's The Mathematics of Poker. I've toyed around with some of their Risk of Ruin models, and I can't espape a conclusion that I was leaning towards before I read their book.....2007 is the year everyone goes broke.

Here are some of the general arguments.....

1. The funnel up effect is over. For the past few years, the poker economy has benefited from a huge amount of money deposited in online sites.

This flood of deposits is over. The flood allowed two things to happen....
-a lot of players were able to make a healthy but not impressive sum playing low and mid stakes. -some players were able to make a huge amount of money. these players played high stakes and won money from lesser players who moved up from low/mid stakes to high stakes after a good run.

2. Online, it's widely agreed that the quality of play has gotten higher for each level of stakes.

3. This year will see a lot of online players moving to the B+M world. The mid- to high-stakes games should get tougher in places like Vegas and LA.

4. Taxes. The IRS has made it a priority to tax poker tournament wins (see 2p2 magazine this month).

5. TV poker isn't that cool anymore. WPT ratings are on a steady downtrend. It's true that the #players/event hasn't gone down, but I would content that the # of truly bad players per event has gone down (w/ the Northeast tournaments as a possible exception).

6. WSOP. huge fields, all payout at final table. The WSOP is a major killer of poker bankrolls. 9% juice in addition to wealth concentration.

7. Expenses. Most poker players spend a huge amount of money.

8. Playing too high. The availability of huge stakes is tempting a lot of players to play too high relative to their bankroll.

9. Variance. Most people dramatically underestimate their risk of ruin, especially if they are drawing living expenses from their poker bankroll.

Holy hell, is this an uber yet? If based on numbers of beers consumed while writing this drivel up, then yes, it most certainly is.

I'm feeling the urge to shill. It's been far too long, my friends. Far too long.

This post brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker damnit!

And for all of us hapless Americans, consider trying out BoDog. The software sucks and so do the players. Nuff said.

K, let's throw you a few more tidbits.

Here's a valid question, considering his blog died in June of last summer.

What ever happened to Josh Arieh?

I remember, if not mistaken, that he was quite an item a year & two ago, but haven't seen him present in any major tournament, nor posting to any newsgroup. Has he
gone broke & into silence - a not abnormal play given the poker world? Or is he just stuck back home licking his wounds?


This question gets asked about ALL the strictly tournament pros every few years. The 'big names' come and go unless they get can cash in their initial success by getting into other fields.

How often do you see Miami John or Amir Vahedi or Randy Holland in the mags anymore? The list is quite long. Sooner or later there will be a post asking 'Whatever happened to The Grinder?'

Course, there were a few cheap shots aimed Josh's way, but that's par for the course.

But lo and behold, Josh appears and replied.

I haven't gone anywhere. I recently had a baby and I've been in Atlanta since the 2006 WSOP. When I had my first baby, I made the mistake of getting right back on the tournament circuit almost immediately after her birth. This time I am doing something different. Establishing a relationship with my family is far more important than a poker tournament.

I will be getting back on the tournament circuit soon, I am looking forward to playing again. Once all of the important things in my life are straight, i will be back out there trying to win hands.

Thanks for your concern..


One retort to Josh:

Glad to see you changed your priorities. Hopefully time with your family will improve your table manners.

What to end with, what to end with....

I LOVE betting on politics. I can't help it although I'm not nearly the junkie I've been in the past.

So anyway, I've already laid down a nice chunk on the pending primaries. So please indulge my inner gambler by posting this week old article and wagering odds. The opinion polls every week are getting to be like high school popularity contests, are they not?


Subject: OT: 2008 Presidential Polls

Here is an analysis of the latest poll results from the Washington Post.
Giuliani is pulling away from McCain. Obama is gaining on Clinton.

Here is a proposition bet on the Republican nomination, if anyone is interested. I say the nominee will be someone other than McCain or Giuliani. Lay me 2 to 1 and you've got a bet.


Blacks Shift To Obama, Poll Finds

By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers

The opening stages of the campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination have produced a noticeable shift in sentiment among African American voters, who little more than a month ago heavily supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton but now favor the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton, of New York, continues to lead Obama and other rivals in the Democratic contest, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. But her once-sizable margin over the freshman senator from Illinois was sliced in half during the past month largely because of Obama's growing support among black voters.

In the Republican race, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who recently made clear his intentions to seek the presidency, has expanded his lead over Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Giuliani holds a 2 to 1 advantage over McCain among Republicans, according to the poll, more than tripling his margin of a month ago.

The principal reason was a shift among white evangelical Protestants, who now clearly favor Giuliani over McCain. Giuliani is doing well among this group of Americans despite his support of abortion rights and gay rights, two issues of great importance to religious conservatives. McCain opposes abortion rights.

Among Democrats, Clinton still enjoys many of the advantages of a traditional front-runner. Pitted against Obama and former senator John Edwards of North Carolina, she was seen by Democrats as the candidate with the best experience to be president, as the strongest leader, as having the best chance to get elected, as the closest to voters on the issues and as the candidate who best understands the problems "of people like you." Obama was seen as the most inspirational.

The Post-ABC News poll was completed days after aides to the two leading Democrats engaged in a testy exchange over comments critical of Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, by Hollywood mogul David Geffen, a former friend and financial backer of the Clintons who held a fundraiser for Obama last week in Los Angeles.

Early national polls are not always good predictors for presidential campaigns, but the Post-ABC poll offers clues to the competition ahead.

On the January weekend when she announced her candidacy, Clinton led the Democratic field with 41 percent. Obama was second at 17 percent, Edwards was third at 11 percent and former vice president Al Gore, who has said he has no plans to run, was fourth at 10 percent.

The latest poll put Clinton at 36 percent, Obama at 24 percent, Gore at 14 percent and Edwards at 12 percent. None of the other Democrats running received more than 3 percent. With Gore removed from the field, Clinton would gain ground on Obama, leading the Illinois senator 43 percent to 27 percent. Edwards ran third at 14 percent. The poll was completed the night Gore's documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Academy Award.

Clinton's and Obama's support among white voters changed little since December, but the shifts among black Democrats were dramatic. In December and January Post-ABC News polls, Clinton led Obama among African Americans by 60 percent to 20 percent. In the new poll, Obama held a narrow advantage among blacks, 44 percent to 33 percent. The shift came despite four in five blacks having a favorable impression of the New York senator.

African Americans view Clinton even more positively than they see Obama, but in the time since he began his campaign, his favorability rating rose significantly among blacks. In the latest poll, 70 percent of African Americans said they had a favorable impression of Obama, compared with 54 percent in December and January.

Overall, Clinton's favorability ratings dipped slightly from January, with 49 percent of Americans having a favorable impression and 48 percent an unfavorable impression. Obama's ratings among all Americans improved over the past month, with 53 percent saying they have a favorable impression and 30 percent saying they have an unfavorable impression.

Her position on the war in Iraq does not appear to be hurting Clinton among Democrats, even though she has faced hostile questioning from some voters about her 2002 vote authorizing President Bush to go to war. Some Democrats have demanded that she apologize for the vote, which she has declined to do.

The Post-ABC News poll found that 52 percent of Democrats said her vote was the right thing to do at the time, while 47 percent said it was a mistake. Of those who called it a mistake, however, 31 percent said she should apologize. Among Democrats who called the war the most important issue in deciding their 2008 candidate preference, Clinton led Obama 40 to 26 percent.

In the Republican contest, McCain was once seen as the early, if fragile, front-runner for his party's nomination, but Giuliani's surge adds a new dimension to the race. In the latest poll, the former New York mayor led among Republicans with 44 percent to McCain's 21 percent. Last month, Giuliani led with 34 percent to McCain's 27 percent.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia ran third in the latest poll with 15 percent, while former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was fourth with 4 percent. Gingrich has not said he definitely plans to run, and without him, Giuliani's lead would increase even more, to 53 percent compared with McCain's 23 percent.

When Republicans were asked to rate Giuliani, McCain and Romney on a series of attributes, Giuliani was seen as the strongest leader, the most inspiring, the candidate with the best chance of winning the general election, the most honest and trustworthy and the one closest to them on the issues. McCain was seen as having the best experience to be president, but only by a narrow margin.

Giuliani faces potential problems because of his views on abortion and gay rights. More than four in 10 Republicans said they were less likely to support him because of those views. More than two in 10 Republicans said there was "no chance" they would vote for him.

With Clinton and Obama as possible barrier-breakers in this presidential campaign, Americans were asked how a candidate's race or sex would affect their vote. What the poll showed is that Americans indicated they were less likely to support a candidate older than 72 or a candidate who is a Mormon than a female or black candidate.

Those findings could affect McCain, who is 70, and Romney, who is a Mormon. Nearly six in 10 said they would be less likely to vote for someone older than 72, while three in 10 said they would be less likely to support a Mormon.

The Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 22-25 among a random sample of 1,082 adults, including an oversample of 86 black respondents. The margin of sampling error for the poll was plus or minus three percentage points; it is higher for the sub-samples.


On intrade.com:

Hillary 1-1

Obama 3-1

Gore 7.5-1

Edwards 9-1

Richardson 24-1

Biden 42-1

Clark 200-1

Warner 250-1

Kerry 333-1

Dodd 500-1

Several others each 1000-1


On the Republican side:

Guiliani 2-1

McCain 2.5-1

Romney 5-1

Gingrich 16.5-1

Huckabee 17-1

Hagel 22-1

Brownback 29-1

Rice 76-1

Powell 124-1

Hunter 166-1

Cheney 166-1

Jeb 166-1

Bloomberg 200-1

Frist 500-1

Tancredo 500-1

Several others each 1000-1


Good God. It's late and I'm ripped.

Let's leave you with some snark from the peanut gallery, shall we?

Subject: CutiePi314 at Poker Stars

This week's TLB winner is Cutie Pi 314, and his picture is posted in the Poker Stars lobby, next to Raymer, Moneymaker, and that other guy, whatever his name is. Has anyone ever seen a picture so gay as CutiePi314?

Please, Poker Stars. Take the picture of Cutie Pi 314 off of your lobby. I can't take it anymore. I have never seen a picture that was quite that gay before. Every time I open your software I have to look at his picture in the lobby. It's too much. I can't take it. Please, Poker Stars, please take that picture down.

And btw, I'm getting pretty sick of looking at Raymer too. Thanks,

-Paul Popinjay

He has a point.

Best rebuttal follows.

I've seen way, way gayer. If you Google that name, btw, you get what look's like a girl's website. Maybe she put up a picture of her boyfriend. Or maybe
that's her pic in drag. I'm not sure. I don't intend to cyberstalk a complete
stranger enough to find out. But that name rocks.

If you haven't ever seen anything that gay, you have lived a sheltered life. I can think of a dozen gayer things off the top of my head. Here's three for starters:

1) Chaps with the asscheeks cut out.
2) Getting married to Liza Minelli.
3) Clay Aiken.

Again, that's only for starters.

Thanks to anyone reading this far.


Link of the Day:
Bob Dylan Sings Dr. Suess

I recommend skipping directly to 'The Cat in the Hat.'


Special bonus link:
Jeff Gannon Redux

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