Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Weeee. We win a small battle, but the war against online poker wages on.

From yesterday's RJ:

Backdoor move to ban Web gambling fizzles
GOP leaders vow to continue prohibition push

WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., tried to attach an Internet gambling ban to a defense bill last week but was rebuffed by two powerful senators, congressional sources said Monday.

Despite the setback, advocates said GOP leaders will keep trying to add an online wagering prohibition to must-pass legislation until Congress adjourns this year.

Frist approached Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and asked him to add an Internet gambling ban to a defense authorization bill, according to congressional staffers who requested anonymity.

But after checking with Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the committee, Warner rejected the idea because an online wagering ban would not be relevant to defense legislation.

A source close to Frist confirmed the majority leader made the proposal to Warner, but declined to elaborate.

After hearing of Frist's proposal, Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., sent Warner a letter urging him to reject any amendment that would ban online betting.

"We must not use this important (defense) bill as a convenient vehicle for political pet issues such as a ban on Internet gaming," Berkley said.

Berkley opposed an Internet gambling ban that passed the House 317-93 in July.

Although the Department of Justice has said Internet gambling is illegal, the $12 billion industry continues to grow, with more than 2,300 Web sites.

Frist, who has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2008, criticized online wagering during an August visit to Iowa.

While in Iowa, Frist joined Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, one of the two main sponsors of the ban that passed the House, in conducting an informal field hearing critical of Internet gambling.

On Sept. 5, the day Congress returned from its August recess, Frist made a speech on the Senate floor and listed an Internet gambling ban as one of his priorities as Congress rushes toward adjournment. Frist's second term expires this year, and he is not running for re-election.


Here's the 2+2 thread if you want to keep track of the analysis.

Mr. K, the Deep Throat of political poker analysis, offers this cautionary perspective:


You guys are getting ahead of yourselves. The DoD fight is not over, though the LV R-J article, combined with what I've been seeing/hearing, does point towards a lower likelyhood of success for Frist & Co. on that particular effort. You'd be surprised at how easily Frist could roll Warner and Levin if he wanted to... esp. if he had support from the House leaders on the DoD bill.

Back soon....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Change calls the tune we dance to."
Al Swearengen

Tis funny, the past two years of poker I've had infinite free time.
Now I have none.

And it's not the job, it's other things, which sadly I can't blog about even though it's fascinating fodder. Let's just say the past three weeks have been as stressful as just about anything I've ever experienced. And hell, I've lived through some strange stuff in my time.

Let's segue to something more light and fluffy: WHODEY!

It goes without saying that this is a big, big week for the continued existence of online poker. The next 48 hours are crucial. And the legislation forum on 2+2 is, by far, the best place to monitor the situation, with a few serious experts keeping us political troglodytes informed.

And while I truly appreciate the fact that there is a space out there for this topic, I've gotta somewhat agree with this thread that calls out the Powers That Be at 2+2 for not doing more to organize, educate and/or influence about this looming poker ban.

I mean, cmon. I'm just a humble little poker blog. 2+2 readership eclipses all of us poker bloggers combined on an exponential scale.

And thusly, here's a fascinating thread entitled:
Mat, David, Mason...where are you?

My favorite poster (and wpbt charter member), Mr. K, put up this fantastic post appealing to the owners at 2+2.

Part of me wants to really unleash an answer to that question, but in the interest of comity and productive discussion, I'm going to try and tread lightly.

The good folks who run 2+2 have done a tremendous service to the poker playing community by hosting this discussion board, and they ought to get credit for that. They ought to get credit in particular for dedicating a forum to discussion of the legislation pending in Congress, and for making the right move by designating Berge as moderator. He is the best man for the job, and he knows the issues. I doubt any other similar forum is moderated or structured as well.

On the other hand, there seem to me to be many other things that 2+2 management could do to "advance the cause." As others have pointed out, this "cause" is not one that 2+2 management should be indifferent towards -- it affects their bottom line in a major, major way. This cause also happens to be the hobby or even source of employment for a great many of 2+2's customers and electronic board users. In other words, participants and management are united in their interest on this question.

As I see it presently, there are no good reasons for 2+2 management not to be clearly advocating a position on the legislation, and taking action on that position. This is not a legal matter, where I could understand them being reluctant to get involved. It does not deal with taxes, where again I understand the hesitation. Nothing about advocacy on the legislation -- an exercise of constitutionally protected first amendment rights for both individuals and corporations -- would expose 2+2 management to litigation or other problems, whether real or perceived. There is simply no excuse that I am aware of (PM me if you know of one, I'll always keep an open mind).

Having established that there are good reasons to take action, and that none appear to exist suggesting otherwise, I will name just one easy thing 2+2 management could do to bring its resources to bear on the cause at hand. They could combine their intellectual capital, which is significant, and their electronic membership databases, which are also great -- but perhaps no match for the previously mentioned intellectual capacity -- and make a call to action in their usual, well thought out fashion. Put differently, they could send a blast PM or e-mail informing all 2+2 members of what is happening in Congress, and in a very matter of fact format, what could happen if the legislation becomes law. At the close of the e-mail or PM, a link to the legislation forum could be included where users who decide they want to learn more, or take action on their own, could be provided.

We learn in 2+2 poker books to weigh the odds intelligently, and to use limited information to the best of our advantage. We learn to play tight when playing tight is +EV, and to play aggressively when conditions dictate. This is one such situation where aggression gets the money, and the price of caution and silence is much, much greater than the costs associated with action.

Call it the Fundamental Theory of Politics if you want, but I am quite sure that I am right on this one, and the events unfolding in Congress right now do a great deal to prove as much. I do not think any of us should expect David, Mason, or other 2+2 leaders to expend great amounts of their time, money, or energy on lobbying Congress or their membership. These folks are poker experts, not lobbyists, and we should remember that. Nonetheless, 2+2's management is uniquely positioned to make a positive contribution to a cause that they (and their customers) are very much invested in, whether they like it or not.

To David, Mason, Mat, and the rest of your management team, I thank you for hosting this forum, and for doing so much to revoultionize the poker world through your books. We would not be where we are today as far as the state of the game, online or offline, without your contributions. Throughout, you have focused your energies on helping us play better poker, and your efforts have paid off.

We now stand at a crossroads where many of us face the prospect of no longer being able to play at all -- and when you consider it, that's a lot worse than playing badly. Lend us a hand... you'll be glad you did.

Please, go read the thread and absorb Mason Malmuth's responses. While I don't beleive in attacking the guy, I'm still scratching my head over his seemingly willful obtuse comments. Very strange.

Again, this is surreal. Poker is as American as apple pie, for Gods sakes.

As much as I wanna bang out an uber tonight for ya'll, I'm gonna do something long overdue.

Pimping new poker bloggers.
It's what I do best.
I'm sad for myself that I've never pimped I.A.K. before.
Several of these blogs have been around for quite awhile. My humble apologies.

Go read these fine folks, damnit.

Flights of Iakaris

SLB Poker

NeverTilt Poker

HomeTown Poker


Loathing & Loving Poker

Donk to Shark

Building a Hold 'em Poker Bankroll

The Cloud - Volume Two : Poker and Life
Nick "The Cloud" Cantwell and his tales of life and poker.

Good Beers and Bad Beats - Mostly a Poker Blog
Because good beer and bad beats happen to everyone (who play poker and drink beer)


Poker Chef
Poker and Cooking? Sure, why not?

TheRealKram420's Blog
Linda's buddy.

Nine Outs and a Zero Balance
Musings about life, poker, and syphillis.

Ship It Fish

Music, Poker, and Life

Poker Blog Though Not Exclusively About Poker. BTW 'Im Rigged!'

Micks Poker Pages

Stanspoker Blog

Adam LaBare's Poker Blog

Math and Poker

Hard-Boiled Poker

Rizen's Poker Blog

The retarded gambler

Continuation Bet
You can lead a donkey to the river, but you can't make him fold...

From Glasgow: TillerMaN's Blog Spot


Link of the Day:
Male Wanding, Gate 1

John Hargrave:

Every time I'm asked to remove another piece of clothing at the airport security check, I go nuts. But quietly, lest they probe my bum-bum.

My question was this: are the security checks really any more effective? To find out, I decided to re-enact the classic scene from the 1984 movie This is Spinal Tap, where bassist Derek Smalls puts a foil-lined cucumber down his pants, which is picked up by the security wand. Only I decided to go one better, by putting a buzzing vibrator down my pants.


Bonus Link of the Day:
Honey, I Killed Your Dad

Dear IGGY,

I have fallen in love with a woman I knew from childhood and ran into again after not seeing her for 20 years. (Let's just call her Little Orphan Annie.)

As kids Annie and I hardly noticed each other, but when we met again after all these years we felt an immediate attraction. The problem is that when I was 12 years old I did something terrible that caused an accident that killed her father. No one ever found out it was me and I've never told anyone after all these years. I feel horrible about what happened, but it was a long time ago and I've gotten on with my life. But now what? Should I tell this woman that I caused her father's death many years ago?

P.s. The sex is great.

All Content Copyright Iggy 2003-2007
Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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