Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit! 

"When I returned to the Amazon Room Iggy was skillfully guiding his stack through troubled waters as me and Otis and Pauly and F-Train watched like nervous fathers at their kid’s first Little League game. Here we were, a bunch of goofballs who started writing about poker four years ago for the hell of it, and now a bunch of us are covering the WSOP while watching the Blogfather cash in the Main Event. And so we complete the circle of pokerblogging life."
Mene Gene

I don't know about skillfully. I think I'd use the word gingerly.

Five years of writing here. In dog internet years, that's roughly 35 years I've been wasting my life writing about my beloved poker hobby.

And I don't mean to come on here and harp about the WSOP, but again, watching the Main Event coverage on ESPN has gotten me time-traveling back to July.

Watching Men the Master trying to get his wife to say, "All you can eat baby!" to the camera was beyond creepy. For the record, I played with his wife for several hours on Day three and she seemingly made a phone call after every hand she folded. Too weird.

It also seems a tad trite to come on here and write about poker, what with our economy crumbling and a torrid historical presidential race nearing the finish line, but hell, maybe doing some good old fashioned copying and pasting here on this humble poker blog will allow me to stop reading about all this insanity.

So back to ESPN's coverage. Like most people, I'm disappointed with it, but I say be happy for what you get. Even if it still does feature Norm Chad. I was surprised that they didn't have any coverage on the lesbian cop that Pauly claimed I bullied. The cameras were diligently on her and she had some random connection to Norm Chad (like he used to work for her Dad back in the day or something like that).

I do have one hand at the very end of Day Two with her that still stings just a little.

With maybe fifteen minutes left to go for the day, this is 2 or 3 AM mind you, and I'm just ecstatic to be bagging chips and fighting yet another day, I peek down and find aces for the first time all freaking day.

I think the blinds were something like 600/1200 so I raise up five times the big blind, something like 6/7k. Directly to my left, she puts on her sunglasses and promptly pops it 5 times that.

Cue heavy sigh here. Instead of wondering about what it would be like to break her, I think about the past 14 hours of poker I've played on the day and how I really don't want my tournament to end here, like this.

So I do the obvious. I push.

She gets up and walks around. Ponders.

I attempt to quell the talk of yelling for the ESPN cameras.

I sit silently and await my fate. She finally sighes heavily and announces, "It's late so I'm making a professional lay down," and tables kings. "I've never folded kings before," says she as I show her my cards. Ouch. I must ask you, what's the point of being a pollack with long hair if you can't get a call there?

So sure, I was happy with the orange chips I got but I still wonder why I didn't just smooth call pre and play the hand from there. Answer = I was tired and made a mistake. Also, I'm a pansy for not wanting to play a flop.

Let's see here, on Day Two I played with David Singer and some jackass American who had won a WPT event but wore a scarf at the table. My apologies to my metrosexual friends out there, but there needs to be a rule complete with large signs printed and hung at the door: No Fucking Scarves in the Poker Room.

Somehow the table talk was on movies and I ended up asking David Singer the classic question; what was his favorite mob movie, The Godfather or Goodfellas. His reply? "Neither. I don't watch anything violent."

That was the end of my table talk right there.

David also wears giant gaudy silver rings on every finger. I sure hope this trend catches on for men everywhere. Turns out David is an ex-environmental lawyer and quite the poker player. Regardless, the fact that he refuses to watch Goodfellas or the The Godfather makes him a wingnut, gaudy rings notwithstanding.

So hell, that's all for my searing WSOP insights right now. I'm gonna tie one on and link the hell out of all this old poker news. I'm gonna start off slow and work into the good stuff.

Did anyone else see this on BoingBoing? I can only fantasize about something like this actually being developed and using it at the poker table. Shenanigans abound. Lie-detecting headband promises to find the truth with infrared light.

I hope someone smarter than me can tell me the latest about this bill that passed a week ago: House passes bill to relax Internet gambling restrictions. It's just too much to even think about a possible repeal of the UIGEA but it sure would be ironic if online poker is legalized to help this countries financial woes.

And yeah, the UB/Absolute Poker cheating scandal hit the Consumerist over a week ago but nobody cares. Same thing with the MSNBC "expose" entitled: Poker site cheating plot a high-stakes whodunit.

Mike Brunker reports that a $75 million claim is being made against the company that once owned and licensed software to UltimateBet. Apparently MSNBC has been in touch with a “court-appointed liquidator in charge of overseeing the voluntary dismemberment of Excapsa Software Inc. of Toronto, which formerly owned and licensed the poker software to UltimateBet and other gambling sites.”

They did make a sweet graph, though.

I can't offer any analysis on the above. I'd head to Shamus or Haley for that. Or hell, I just saw that Pokergrump stuck up his thoughts on the Kentucky nonsense. I'm just sitting here waiting for the 60 Minutes piece to air.

Of course, now things have taken a turn for the surreal as past WSOP champion, Russ Hamilton has been fingered as the superuser cheater. I'm not even capable of any snark on this yet. My mind is blown.

And if true, I hope dire actions are taken.

Here's the press release:

Kahnawa Gaming Commission Imposes Sanctions on Ultimate Bet with Regard to Cheating Incidents

For immediate release

(MOHAWK TERRITORY OF KAHNAWAKE - September 29, 2008) Kahnawa:ke Gaming Commission (”KGC”) Chairman Dean Montour today announced the initial findings of the audit conducted on licensee Ultimate Bet, as well as the sanctions to be imposed.

According to KGC Chairman Montour, the Commission has reviewed the information provided to it over the past months from Frank Catania of Catania Gaming Consultants of New Jersey; Gaming Associates, an Australian game testing company; and the permit holder. Chairman Montour said, “The Commissioners have made several findings of fact with regard to the cheating that occurred on the Ultimate Bet web site that included the identification of some of the individuals responsible for these incidents as well other significant violations of the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations.”

The Commission found clear and convincing evidence to support the conclusion that between the approximate dates of May 2004 to January 2008, Russell Hamilton, an individual associated with Ultimate Bet’s affiliate program, was the main person responsible for and benefiting from the multiple cheating incidents. Furthermore, the KGC is currently in contact with the appropriate law enforcement agencies and intends to fully cooperate in the prosecution of all individuals involved in the UB cheating incidents.

Mr. Catania states, “My intention is to provide further information as it is uncovered, although the information already submitted to the KGC relating to Ultimate Bet warrants the KGC taking the actions it has today. Any further evidence uncovered with regard to cheating, withholding or destroying records in our continuing investigation will be reported to the KGC and the proper agency for appropriate action.”

As a result of the KGC’s findings of fact, the Commission called a special meeting, at which time it was unanimously decided to impose the following sanctions against Ultimate Bet:

1. Ultimate Bet is directed that by November 3, 2008 it shall, under the close supervision of the KGC, its employees and agents, commence refunding all players accounts found to have been adversely affected by the cheating of individuals under the control and supervision of the licensee. It is estimated that Ultimate Bet has to date reimbursed $6.1 million USD to players’ accounts found to have been adversely impacted by the cheating activity

2. Ultimate Bet is directed that by November 3, 2008 it is to remove any and all persons deemed as “unsuitable” by the KGC from all involvement with the company, which shall include all levels of ownership, management and operation. Ultimate Bet during that time period until November 3, 2008 is required to continue to provide complete details of all day-to-day operations of the company. These shall include financial as well as daily gaming records to Frank Catania and or his assigns. It is anticipated that this action will provide full disclosure and prevent any further improprieties or wrongdoing from occurring while ensuring that the public is being offered fair and honest games and all player monies will be protected.

3. Ultimate Bet’s control system as defined in section 9 of the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations has been modified to prevent any further incidents of cheating or related improprieties.

4. Ultimate Bet will not delete or modify any logs including but not limited to web logs and game logs as required by the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations and will continue to have those logs immediately available for inspection by the KGC or its agents.

5. Ultimate Bet shall immediately pay a fine of $1.5 Million USD to the KGC for its failure to implement and enforce measures to prohibit and detect fraudulent activities.

6. Ultimate Bet’s failure to comply fully with these measures will result in the immediate revocation of its KGC gaming permit.

I guess compared to Wall Street, Russ doesn't look so bad. That being said, I'm still speechless. Feel free to read the peanut gallery at 2+2: Russ Hamilton directly implicated by KGC

Sigh. It's funny how things all turned out after five years, isn't it? Funny in a John Wayne Gacy in a clown suit kinda way, that is.

Kills me. As an added bonus of being an American these days, I STILL can't play on Party Poker. And yes, I read all about their new lobby and tables and even logged in to check it out and allowed myself to weep like a little girl upon perusing the Bad Beat Jackpot.

Will we ever be able to play there legally again?
Perchance to dream.

I dunno, maybe things are heading back for a swing our way. Wil Wheaton, after all, did put up a poker post for the first time in eons. That's gotta bode well.

My WTF moment of the day was watching another snippet of the Palin interview with Katie Couric.

They say follow the money but what are we supposed to do in today's climate?

But anyway, back to poker. And more importantly, the health of poker.

Here's one players take:


If you're unable to see how poker is on the decline, then you're not looking around you, and a lot of the "facts" you posted are out and out wrong.

Yes, ME attendence was up slightly this year, but still significantly off from 2006. Last year, Harrah's prepared for 10,000 entrants, expecting growth from 2006. This year, they planned for 7,000 entrants, and if you look at the day by day entries, it was only the big rush on the last day that saved this year, the earlier days were all down from last year.

Seen Celebrity Poker Showdow, Ultimate Poker Challenge, Professional Poker Tour. The Poker Pit, Poker Superstars, ESPN Broadcasting the USPC, etc. lately? All RIP.

Own any WPT stock? They've never turned a profit, and their stock will be delisted if they don't trade for over 1.00 for 10 consecutive days out of the next 180.

Seen any poker books in the top 10 lately; top 20, top 50?

And poker rooms all over the country are seeing a decrease in business. Ask any dealer in Vegas, where several rooms have closed, more are closing at 2am, and more are downsizing. Two years ago, if you could speak English and throw a card, getting a job dealing poker in Vegas was a snap. Now, experienced dealers can't find work, and new rumors of layoffs shoot around town every day.

And Pokerstars upping their guarantees? Do you not understand what that means? Sites don't spend more on promotions when business is booming, they spend it to compete for more players when it's not so good. When's the last time you saw a new site launch? How many have gone under in the past two years? It's turning into a battle between PokerStars and Full Tilt, with Ultimate Bet and a few others as secondary players. The big sites haven't seen much dropoff, as they've picked up the players from all the little rooty-tooty sites that have gone under, but they're not seeing growth.

During the peak of the poker boom, any half-assed operator with a few bucks to invest could put up a poker site, open a poker room, publish a poker book, etc. and make money; the world was poker-crazy, and people couldn't get enough of it. Now that things have cooled off, it's the solid operators with good management and capitalization who will thrive; the rest will fall by the wayside.

Poker is alive, well, and healthy. It's just not trendy anymore.


I suppose that's hard to debate.

Here's an interesting read. Funny enough, I referenced this study about poor poker players in a past uber post:

My candidate, myself
Even when faced with new facts and insights, most voters don't change their minds about their favorite candidates. A neurologist explains how they might.

Perhaps the single academic study most germane to the present election is the 1999 psychology paper by David Dunning and Justin Kruger, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments." The two Cornell psychologists began with the following assumptions.

# Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
# Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
# Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.

The converse also bears repeating. Despite the fact that students in the top quartile fairly accurately estimated how well they did, they also tended to overestimate the performance of others. In short, smart people tend to believe that everyone else "gets it." Incompetent people display both an increasing tendency to overestimate their cognitive abilities and a belief that they are smarter than the majority of those demonstrably sharper.

Yup, that would be bad poker players. And that's why only good players can recognize other good ones.

Notice I didn't say what group I belong to. I haven't won in months.

I did notice that Lee Watkinson called out Mark Seif in his blog from a week old thread on 2/2: Watkinson's blog re: Seif

I just realized the time, damnit. I really wanted to blow this out, but alas, I'm gonna pick the lowhanging fruit and be done with this. I have loads of pictures to post, after all.

But if you haven't rolled through this Sammy Farha photoshop thread, you are denying yourself some drunken chuckles. It's the best thread on 2/2 in a long time. At least since Sklansky took down his personal forum, anyway.

This is a pretty lame post for a 5th year anniversary but it is what it is. I'm going to pick up the poison pen and get back on the horse here in the near future. It may be here or somewhere else, but regardless, I'm getting an urge.

Consider yourself warned.

Thanks everyone.

Random Links of the Day: Thanks to BG: STRIKE ONE NANCY, STRIKE ONE

For my friends getting crushed by the economic shenanigans, consider
Leave Wall Street - Join A Startup

From one of my web heroes, Chris Anderson, comes a short post entitled: A passionate amateur almost always beats a bored professional

And doing my hometown proud, is this arrestee: Woman Wearing Cow Suit Charged With Disorderly Conduct

Time for the photo dump. Enjoy.

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Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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