Saturday, February 09, 2008

I'll be back to poker tomorrow, I swear. For now, I'm still doing far too much reading about the damn elections.


Can Mrs. Clinton Lose?

If Hillary Clinton loses, does she know how to lose? What will that be, if she loses? Will she just say, "I concede" and go on vacation at a friend's house on an island, and then go back to the Senate and wait?

Is it possible she could be so normal? Politicians lose battles, it's part of what they do, win and lose. But she does not know how to lose. Can she lose with grace? But she does grace the way George W. Bush does nuance.

She often talks about how tough she is. She has fought "the Republican attack machine" that has tried to "stop" her, "end" her, and she knows "how to fight them." She is preoccupied to an unusual degree with toughness. A man so preoccupied would seem weak. But a woman obsessed with how tough she is just may be lethal.

Does her sense of toughness mean that every battle in which she engages must be fought tooth and claw, door to door? Can she recognize the line between burly combat and destructive, never-say-die warfare? I wonder if she is thinking: What will it mean if I win ugly? What if I lose ugly? What will be the implications for my future, the party's future? What will black America, having seen what we did in South Carolina, think forever of me and the party if I do low things to stop this guy on the way to victory? Can I stop, see the lay of the land, imitate grace, withdraw, wait, come back with a roar down the road? Life is long. I am not old. Or is that a reverie she could never have? What does it mean if she could never have it?

We know she is smart. Is she wise? If it comes to it, down the road, can she give a nice speech, thank her supporters, wish Barack Obama well, and vow to campaign for him?

It either gets very ugly now, or we will see unanticipated--and I suspect professionally saving--grace.

I ruminate in this way because something is happening. Mrs. Clinton is losing this thing. It's not one big primary, it's a rolling loss, a daily one, an inch-by-inch deflation. The trends and indices are not in her favor. She is having trouble raising big money, she's funding her campaign with her own wealth, her moral standing within her own party and among her own followers has been dragged down, and the legacy of Clintonism tarnished by what Bill Clinton did in South Carolina. Unfavorable primaries lie ahead. She doesn't have the excitement, the great whoosh of feeling that accompanies a winning campaign. The guy from Chicago who was unknown a year ago continues to gain purchase, to move forward. For a soft little innocent, he's played a tough and knowing inside/outside game.

The day she admitted she'd written herself a check for $5 million, Obama's people crowed they'd just raised $3 million. But then his staff is happy. They're all getting paid.

Political professionals are leery of saying, publicly, that she is losing, because they said it before New Hampshire and turned out to be wrong. Some of them signaled their personal weariness with Clintonism at that time, and fear now, as they report, to look as if they are carrying an agenda. One part of the Clinton mystique maintains: Deep down journalists think she's a political Rasputin who will not be dispatched. Prince Yusupov served him cupcakes laced with cyanide, emptied a revolver, clubbed him, tied him up and threw him in a frozen river. When he floated to the surface they found he'd tried to claw his way from under the ice. That is how reporters see Hillary.

And that is a grim and over-the-top analogy, which I must withdraw. What I really mean is they see her as the Glenn Close character in "Fatal Attraction": "I won't be ignored, Dan!"

* * *

Mr. Obama's achievement on Super Tuesday was solid and reinforced trend lines. The popular vote was a draw, the delegate count a rough draw, but he won 13 states, and when you look at the map he captured the middle of the country from Illinois straight across to Idaho, with a second band, in the northern Midwest, of Minnesota and North Dakota. He won Missouri and Connecticut, in Mrs. Clinton's backyard. He won the Democrats of the red states.

On the wires Wednesday her staff was all but conceding she is not going to win the next primaries. Her superdelegates are coming under pressure that is about to become unrelenting. It was easy for party hacks to cleave to Mrs Clinton when she was inevitable. Now Mr. Obama's people are reportedly calling them saying, Your state voted for me and so did your congressional district. Are you going to jeopardize your career and buck the wishes of the people back home?

Mrs. Clinton is stoking the idea that Mr. Obama is too soft to withstand the dread Republican attack machine.

(I nod in tribute to all Democrats who have succeeded in removing the phrase "Republican and Democratic attack machines" from the political lexicon. Both parties have them.) But Mr. Obama will not be easy for Republicans to attack. He will be hard to get at, hard to address. There are many reasons, but a primary one is that the
fact of his race will freeze them. No one, no candidate, no party, no heavy-breathing consultant, will want to cross any line--lines that have never been drawn, that are sure to be shifting and not always visible--in approaching the first major-party African-American nominee for president of the United States.

* * *

He is the brilliant young black man as American dream. No consultant, no matter how opportunistic and hungry, will think it easy--or professionally desirable--to take him down in a low manner. If anything, they've learned from the Clintons in South Carolina what that gets you. (I add that yes, there are always freelance mental cases, who exist on both sides and are empowered by modern technology. They'll make their YouTubes. But the mad are ever with us, and this year their work will likely stay subterranean.)

With Mr. Obama the campaign will be about issues. "He'll raise your taxes." He will, and I suspect Americans may vote for him anyway. But the race won't go low.

Mrs. Clinton would be easier for Republicans. With her cavalcade of scandals, they'd be delighted to go at her. They'd get medals for it. Consultants would get rich on it.

The Democrats have it exactly wrong. Hillary is the easier candidate, Mr. Obama the tougher. Hillary brings negative; it's fair to hit her back with negative. Mr. Obama brings hope, and speaks of a better way. He's not Bambi, he's bulletproof.

The biggest problem for the Republicans will be that no matter what they say that is not issue oriented--"He's

too young, he's never run anything, he's not fully baked"--the mainstream media will tag them as dealing in racial overtones, or undertones. You can bet on this. Go to the bank on it.

The Democrats continue not to recognize what they have in this guy. Believe me, Republican professionals know.

They can tell.

Friday, February 08, 2008


I'm going to offer up this perspective from the Washington Post cause it's true, damnit. The days of the Clinton's are numbered.

Hell, Hillary can't even have Bill go stump much for her right now. He simply can't stay on message, and let's face it, the story has gotta be about him. That's not a winnable situation for her,


Why Republicans like Obama and what it means
A startling contrast with animosity toward Clinton

Barack Obama is not only popular among Democrats, he's also an appealing figure to many Republicans. Former GOP House member Joe Scarborough, now a host on MSNBC, reports that after every important Obama speech, he is inundated with e-mails praising the speech — with most of them coming from Republicans. William Bennett, an influential conservative intellectual, has said favorable things about Obama. So have Rich Lowry of National Review and Peggy Noonan. And so have I.

A number of prominent Republicans I know, who would wage a pitched battle against Hillary Clinton, like Obama and would find it hard to generate much enthusiasm in opposing him.

What is at the core of Obama's appeal?

Part of it is the eloquence and uplift of his speeches, combined with his personal grace and dignity. He seems to be a well-grounded, decent, thoughtful man. He comes across, in his person and manner, as nonpartisan. He has an unsurpassed ability to (seemingly) transcend politics. Even when he disagrees with people, he doesn't seem disagreeable.

"You know what charm is," Albert Camus wrote in The Fall, "a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question." Obama has such charm, and its appeal is not restricted to Democrats.

A second reason Republicans appreciate Obama is that he is pitted against a couple, the Clintons, whom many Republicans hold in contempt. Among the effects of the Obama-Clinton race is that it is forcing Democrats to come to grips with the mendacity and ruthlessness of the Clinton machine. Conservatives have long believed that the Clintons are an unprincipled pair who will destroy those who stand between them and power — whether they are political opponents, women from Bill Clinton's past or independent counsels.

When the Clintons were doing this in the 1990s, it was viewed by many Democrats as perfectly acceptable. Some even applauded them for their brass-knuckle tactics. But now that the Clintons are roughing up an inspiring young man who appears to represent the hope and future of the Democratic Party, the liberal establishment is reacting with outrage. "I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons," writes Jonathan Chait of the New Republic. Many conservatives respond: It's about time.

A third reason for Obama's GOP appeal is that unlike Clinton and especially John Edwards, Obama has a message that, at its core, is about unity and hope rather than division and resentment. He stresses that "out of many we are one." And to his credit, Barack Obama is running a color-blind campaign. "I did not travel around this state over the last year and see a white South Carolina or a black South Carolina," Obama said in his victory speech last weekend. "I saw South Carolina." That evening, his crowd of supporters chanted as one, "Race doesn't matter." This was an electric moment. Obama's words are in the great tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. Obama, more than any figure in America, can help bind up the racial wounds of America. In addition, for the past eight years, one of the most prominent qualities of the American left has been anger, which has served it and the country very poorly. An Obama primary win would be a move away from the politics of rage.

The one thing that will keep Obama's appeal from translating into widespread support among Republicans is that he is, on almost every issue, a conventional liberal. And while rhetoric and character matter a lot, politics is finally and fundamentally about ideas and philosophy. Whether we're talking about the Iraq war, monitoring terrorist communications, health care, taxes, education, abortion and the courts, the size of government, or almost anything else, Obama embodies the views of the special-interest groups on the left. In this respect, he should borrow from the Clinton strategy in 1992, when Bill Clinton ran as a "New Democrat," championed free trade, promised to "end welfare as we know it" and criticized, on hawkish grounds, the "butchers of Beijing."

Bill Clinton ran an intellectually creative race whose ideas appealed to non-Democrats. Barack Obama has shown no such inclination so far (his speeches, while inspiring, mostly avoid a serious discussion of policies). If he wanted to demonstrate his independence from liberal orthodoxy, for example, he could come out in favor of school choice for low-income families, which would both help poor families and demonstrate support for some of the best faith-based institutions in America: urban parochial schools.

If Obama becomes the Democratic nominee and fails to take steps such as this, his liberal views will be his greatest vulnerability. Obama will try to reject the liberal label — but based on his stands on the issues, at least so far, the label will fit, and it will stick.

Barack Obama is among the most impressive political talents of our lifetime. If he defeats Hillary Clinton, the question for the general election is not whether he can transcend his race but whether he can reach beyond his ideology.

Wehner, formerly deputy assistant to President Bush, is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit! 

TGIT, indeed.

Here's a couple of quick thoughts.

I'm of the anyone but Hillary camp. Some folks just simply can't understand that. Allow me to preface the fact that I have a long history with the Clintons.

In fact, there's a photo in my office of me and Bill Clinton from 1978. Royal has actually seen it and I probably should post it here for grins, but I digress.

My main issue right now is that we have created this political class of "royalty" ala the Clinton's and the Bush's. And it's time for it to end.


Yes, I'm an Obamican. There, I said it.

I think the funny ironic thing is that the Political Machine placed him in this race to make Hillary look more centrist. Talk about backfiring. They just didn't expect how well his message would come across to regular folks just wanting to end the bile and acrimony of the past 20 years or so.

Yes, I may end up launching Guinness and Politics so I can properly address this nonsense. This is arguably one of the most important elections in our country's history and it deserves some attention.

But for now, I just wanna mention that MMAjunkie.com was featured on the home page of Yahoo this morning. That's something that doesn't happen every day.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Open Hillary Comments 

"Anyone that vitriolic and vehement has to be in love and in deep denial about it. Camille has a crush on Hillary."

WTO Ruling & Closing the Book on the Clinton's 

"Contemptuous condescension seems to be Hillary's default mode with any male who criticizes her or stands in her way. It's a Nixonian reflex steeped in toxic gender bias. How will that play in the Muslim world?"
Camille Paglia

Not sure what's going on. Fuzzy math? Complicated formulas?

But Obama is claiming the delegate lead this morning.

Two quick poker links. The first to our buddy MeneGene, who explains the ridiculous situation in the aftermath of the WTO complaint versus the US and online gambling. In trying to find out details, the reporter involved was blocked with this ridiculous reason:

Please be advised that the document you seek is being withheld in full pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1), which pertains to information that is properly classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958.

Blarg. Go read about it over at: We’re Oceania, Right?

Also, I noticed that Johnny Hughes is getting some responses from his
People Will Cheat If They Can essay over at 2+2. I personally couldn't disagree more. I've had ample room to cheat and haven't. Does that make me a sucker?

Wait, don't answer that.

And finally moving back to the Obama - Hillary race, I wanted to quote my favorite lesbian, libertarian and feminist writer, Camille Paglia, on her thoughts on Hillary Clinton and why she's supporting Obama.

Enjoy the question and answer.


Hillary without tears
Why it's time to close the book on the Clintons -- and herald the Obamas!

Subject: Hillary and sado-masochism

As her husband has dragged his numerous female play objects before her and has humiliated her on the public stage year after year, she still stays within the marriage.

Hillary seems to take every beating, and yet she appears to "keep on ticking." Does she thrive on this?

How would this affect one's (female) psyche? Judgment as President? General perspective?

Robert Philips
Corrales, New Mexico

A swarm of biographers in miners' gear has tried to plumb the inky depths of Hillary Rodham Clinton's warren-riddled psyche. My metaphor is drawn (as Oscar Wilde's prim Miss Prism would say) from the Scranton coalfields, to which came the Welsh family that produced Hillary's harsh, domineering father.

Hillary's feckless, loutish brothers (who are kept at arm's length by her operation) took the brunt of Hugh Rodham's abuse in their genteel but claustrophobic home. Hillary is the barracuda who fought for dominance at their expense. Flashes of that ruthless old family drama have come out repeatedly in this campaign, as when Hillary could barely conceal her sneers at her fellow debaters onstage -- the wimpy, cringing brothers at the dinner table.

Hillary's willingness to tolerate Bill's compulsive philandering is a function of her general contempt for men. She distrusts them and feels morally superior to them. Following the pattern of her long-suffering mother, she thinks it is her mission to endure every insult and personal degradation for a higher cause -- which, unlike her self-sacrificing mother, she identifies with her near-messianic personal ambition.

It's no coincidence that Hillary's staff has always consisted mostly of adoring women, with nerdy or geeky guys forming an adjunct brain trust. Hillary's rumored hostility to uniformed military men and some Secret Service agents early in the first Clinton presidency probably belongs to this pattern. And let's not forget Hillary, the governor's wife, pulling out a book and rudely reading in the bleachers during University of Arkansas football games back in Little Rock.

Hillary's disdain for masculinity fits right into the classic feminazi package, which is why Hillary acts on Gloria Steinem like catnip. Steinem's fawning, gaseous New York Times op-ed about her pal Hillary this week speaks volumes about the snobby clubbiness and reactionary sentimentality of the fossilized feminist establishment, which has blessedly fallen off the cultural map in the 21st century. History will judge Steinem and company very severely for their ethically obtuse indifference to the stream of working-class women and female subordinates whom Bill Clinton sexually harassed and abused, enabled by look-the-other-way and trash-the-victims Hillary.

How does all this affect the prospect of a Hillary presidency? With her eyes on the White House, Hillary as senator has made concerted and generally successful efforts to improve her knowledge of and relationship to the military -- crucial for any commander-in-chief but especially for the first female one. However, I remain concerned about her future conduct of high-level diplomacy. Contemptuous condescension seems to be Hillary's default mode with any male who criticizes her or stands in her way. It's a Nixonian reflex steeped in toxic gender bias. How will that play in the Muslim world?

The Clintons live to campaign. It's what holds them together and gives them a glowing sense of meaning and value. Their actual political accomplishments are fairly slight. The obsessive need to keep campaigning may mean a president Hillary would go right on spewing the bitterly partisan rhetoric that has already paralyzed Washington. Even if Hillary could be elected (which I'm skeptical about), how in tarnation could she ever govern?

The current wave of support for Barack Obama from Democrats, independents, and even some Republicans is partly based on his vision of a new political discourse that breaks with the petty, destructive polarization of the past 20 years. Whether Obama can build up his foreign policy credentials sufficiently to reassure an anxious general electorate remains to be seen.

But Hillary herself, with her thin, spotty record, tangled psychological baggage, and maundering blowhard of a husband, is also a mighty big roll of the dice. She is a brittle, relentless manipulator with few stable core values who shuffles through useful personalities like a card shark ("Cue the tears!"). Forget all her little gold crosses: Hillary's real god is political expediency. Do Americans truly want this hard-bitten Machiavellian back in the White House? Day one will just be more of the same.

I will vote for Hillary if she is the nominee of my party, because I want Democrats appointed to the Cabinet and the Supreme Court. But I plan to vote for Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary because he is a rational, centered personality who speaks the language of idealism and national unity. Obama has served longer as an elected official than Hillary. He has had experience as a grass-roots activist, and he is also a highly educated lawyer who will be a quick learner in office. His international parentage and childhood, as well as his knowledge of both Christianity and Islam, would make him the right leader at the right time. And his wife Michelle is a powerhouse.

The Obamas represent the future, not the past.


Alrighty then. If Camille says it, it must be true.

And one final anecdote from this election:

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports a calculation done by Alex Vogel, a Republican strategist, showing that Romney has spent $1.16 million per delegate at this point in the race. At that rate, it would cost Romney $1.33 billion to become the Republican presidential nominee.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Poker Blogs love Super Tuesday 

"America is a one-party state, but just like Americans they've got two of them."
Some British political journalist

There's so much damn stuff I need to regurgitate per politics but am lacking the time. So I'm just gonna throw out a quote or two for now.

If I were you, I'd head over to see Otis at Rapid Eye Reality as he's been live-blogging the primaries all day and the comments are oodles of fun. See if you can't put a fellow blogger on political tilt, why don't you?

Yikes, has anyone seen this craziness coming after Hillary?
The C-word as a political tool

Sometimes I wonder just how insane you must be to covet our countries highest position. It's clear that the Clinton's live to campaign. It's in their DNA.

So I found this snippet per the campaign process and thought I'd pass it along. It's all I've time for, sadly.


In his recent memoir, Alan Greenspan says he's been pushing a constitutional amendment of his own devising. It reads: "Anyone willing to do what is required to become president of the United States is thereby barred from taking that office."

Per campaigning:

It's not pleasant to think of the life they lead, these Americans who would be president, from the first hints of dawn to well past midnight, this life of endless demands, this succession of superficial sociability, in which you smile and smile and pop your eyes wide open in delighted wonder at the ever-shifting kaleidoscope of faces and places that circles before you, and you haven't the time or leisure to settle on a single one.

Charming countryside, pretty little towns, sprawling centers of commerce and industry fly by and you haven't a moment to enjoy them or learn their tales. You rush to meet hundreds of people a day and never have a meaningful exchange of words with any of them.

From the backseats of freezing cars and vans you're hustled into overheated coffee shops and those packed school gymnasiums with the stink rising to the rafters and then the oppressive hush of corporate meeting rooms, where your nose starts to run and a film of sweat forms under your wool pullover, and you press the outstretched hands that carry every bacterial pathogen known to epidemiology.

You open your mouth and you release the same cloud of words you recited yesterday and the day before. And in the Q&A, when you stop to listen, you hear the same questions and complaints from yesterday, the same mewling and blame-shifting, all imploring you to do the impossible and through some undefined action make the lives of these unhappy citizens somehow edifying, uplifting, and worth living. And you always promise you will do that; you have no choice but to tell this kind of lie.

The man or woman who seeks out such a life and enjoys its discomforts is not normal. Not crazy necessarily, but not normal, and probably, when the chips are down, not to be trusted, especially when the purpose of it all is to acquire power over other people (also called, in the delicate language of contemporary politics, "public service" or "getting things done on behalf of the American people").

McManus poker column on Obama 

Well hell, I found this Jim McManus column on Obama and poker.


by James McManus

Before his recent loss in the Nevada caucus, Barack Obama took heat (from the Clinton camp and from casino executives) for his history of opposing the expansion of legal gambling. His campaign people never pointed out, in his defense, that their man considers himself to be “a pretty good poker player.” (That’s what he told an Associated Press reporter who asked him to name a hidden talent.) This puts him in the company of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Warren Harding, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon. And, like Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, Senator Obama seems to have played the game at least partly because it enabled him to form political alliances that he might not otherwise have formed.

Obama was greeted coolly by some of his fellow-legislators when, in 1997, he arrived in Springfield to take a seat in the Illinois senate. Perhaps realizing that both the Chicago machine pols and the downstate soybean farmers viewed him as an overeducated bleeding heart and a greenhorn, he decided to woo them with poker.

Along with another freshman senator, Terry Link, Obama started up a regular game in Link’s Springfield living room. It began with five players but quickly grew to eight and developed a long waiting list, which included not only Democrats but Republicans and lobbyists. “When it turned out that I could sit down . . . and have a beer and watch a game or go out for a round of golf or get a poker game going,” Obama told the Chicago Tribune last year, “I probably confounded some of their expectations.” But it was no Deadwood. Link, discussing the game over the phone the other day, said, “You hung up your guns at the door. Nobody talked about their jobs or politics, and certainly no ‘influence’ was bartered or even discussed. It was boys’ night out—a release from our legislative responsibilities.”

Obama’s analytical mind helped him excel at draw, stud, and hold ’em, and also at the sillier, more luck-based variants of the game that other players chose, such as baseball. Yet, even with the beer drinking and cigarette smoking, there were unspoken rules of conduct. When a married lobbyist arrived at a Springfield game with a person described as “an inebriated woman companion who did not acquit herself in a particularly wholesome fashion,” Obama made a face indicating that he wasn’t pleased. Link says that the lobbyist and his date were “quickly whisked out of the place.”

Obama never played for high stakes. Only on a very bad night could a player drop two hundred dollars in these games, typical wins and losses being closer to twenty-five bucks. Link describes Obama as a “calculating” cardplayer, avoiding long-shot draws and patiently waiting for strong starting hands. “When Barack stayed in, you pretty much figured he’s got a good hand,” former Senator Larry Walsh once told a reporter, neglecting to note that maintaining that sort of rock-solid image made it easier for Obama to bluff.

Many Presidents have been known to use poker lingo when they talk policy. Lincoln used a poker analogy to explain his decision not to apologize to Queen Victoria during the Trent Affair. Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal sprang from a poker sensibility. “When I say I believe in a square deal, I do not mean . . . to give every man the best hand,” Roosevelt explained. “If the cards do not come to any man, or if they do come, and he has not got the power to play them, that is his affair. All I mean is that there shall not be any crookedness in the dealing.”

F.D.R. played nickel-ante stud games—“an exchange of much conversation but little money,” according to Justice Robert H. Jackson, who played in them regularly—to unwind after his gruelling days managing the Depression and then the war. Truman had played as a doughboy during the First World War and kept up with war buddies at poker games, including during his years in the White House, where he played with chips embossed with the Presidential seal.

On the campaign trail, Obama has been known to play Uno with his daughters, but no card games involving chips. It may be that his advisers are being cautious. In some forms, poker, after all, remains illegal in much of the country. ♦

Life & Guinness 

This is the exact opposite of what I do here on this humble poker blog, but after 20 years of political bile and polarity, I'm offering this pithy platitude as perspective.

It's Super Tuesday and I'm on semi-political-tilt. 24 states decide today.

And so this old story helped my perspective:


Life & Beer

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things, your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions, things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house, and mow the lawn. "Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mark Seif & Absolute Poker 

"A ‘super-user’ account does not exist in our software. Absolute Poker was created by poker players who value security and fair play. The back-end of the Absolute Poker software prevents the possibility of any such feature."
Absolute Poker Press Release 2007

Freaking Lying Liars.

How ironic is it that Mark Seif blogs at Bluff Magazine where the EDITOR got fired for cheating?

Anyway, Mark was supposed to release his hand histories from the tournament when he was accused of having a super user account.

Guess what. Absolute has said they "lost" the hand histories.


Anyway, I just wanted to post Mark's last blog entry from November. Feel free to
click the link if you want to read all the comments that are posted in response to Mark's post.

quick blog to clear some things up...

Here's the post:


This will be a quick blog today, as I have a very packed schedule with quite a few meetings. I think it’s important though, to again, clear up some confusion. Specifically, I want to address two points that have legitimately been raised. One, why haven’t I severed all ties with Absolute Poker? Two, why do I feel Todd Witteles has acted improperly? This second question, I have to be brief about for reasons that will be obvious down the road. Also, I want to make a brief point about the hand histories from my February 15, 2006 session that has been called into question.

I have not severed all ties with AP, despite numerous requests for me to do so, for one main reason. The investigation is not complete. There is still a tremendous amount of information to be learned about what happened. Such as, how it happened, when did it start, how long did it last, who was involved, who knew about it, and how pervasive was it? As I write this, there are third party independent auditors travelling to AP’s world-wide offices looking into the Company’s practices, procedures, databases and systems. They are accumulating tons of data about every aspect of AP’s operation. Doesn’t it seem reasonable to wait until the investigation is complete before I make this decision?

Would it not be hypocritical of me to ask the public to wait until all the evidence is in regarding my own involvement before forming an opinion, but at the same time, quickly conclude that AP is guilty of such egregious conduct that I must sever all ties with the Company before the investigation is complete? Wouldn’t I be doing the same thing that some are doing to me? That is, unfairly jumping to conclusions without all the facts?

For clarity’s sake, I will go on the record again regarding my involvement. I never engaged in this malfeasance in any way, shape or form, nor did I know about it, nor did I benefit from it in anyway. Yet some people SWEAR I was in on it. They are 100% wrong! The evidence and the truth will eventually come out. But, it takes time.

Just look at a fairly recent and very similar matter in the news the Duke Lacrosse rape scandal. Everyone thought they were guilty because charges were leveled against them. It turns out they were not guilty. It took many many months before there was even the slightest hint that they might be telling the truth, that they didn’t do it.

Second point. Witteles has made several false claims and he continues to do so. I’ll talk a little about this and after that, I’m pretty much going to refrain from talking about him. He clearly enjoys the spotlight much more than I do and he has opportunistically used this situation to try to elevate his standing in poker. In the end, when all the evidence comes out, I think, people will have a very different view of him and his role in this matter.

He says I owe him an apology because AP has admitted there has been a security breach; therefore he must not have been lying or exaggerating. Does that make any sense at all? What about the statements he made about me personally? What about the statements he made about the February 15, 2006 session?

I believe very strongly that he has knowingly and intentionally or with reckless disregard for the truth (which are not elements of the offense by the way) made at least one statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation. That’s all I can say about it for now.

One last thing, my hand histories from the Feb 16, 2006 session. I have been told that it is likely that Absolute Poker does have those hand histories along with all other real money hands ever played on the site. They apparently are on tape and will be retrievable. I hope this is true. I really really hope so. I think the person who told me they don’t have them may have been mistaken. I really don’t know at this point. I’m just telling you what I have been told by two different sources, obviously in direct conflict with one another.

When I agreed to show my hole cards I had never requested them from AP at that point and was shocked, as everyone else was, to learn they weren’t available. That is the truth! That’s why I am cautiously optimistic that the earlier statement that they are not available, may be incorrect.

One last point about these HHs. I have agreed to expose my hole cards because of 15-20 minute session, if I recall correctly, where my opponent (through his “friend”) wonders if I could see hole cards because I ran so hot/made all the right plays. Imagine how many times that happens every single day in poker. Tens of thousands? I think that would be conservative. So every time a site’s pro has that kind of session, we should all demand to see his hole cards right? I know there is a difference here in that impropriety has taken place at AP, and for that reason, I have agreed to turn up my hole cards.

I am just trying to illustrate a point. My opponent and his friend’s claim will be proven false when and if the HHs are retrieved. I am certain of that because I know I did nothing wrong. But just think for a moment, if you were me how you would feel about such a serious accusation because you ran hot for 15-20 minutes?

-- Mark A. Seif


And a follow-up.

This is Dan Druff in a pretty well done expose of the Absolute Poker cheating as well as addressing Mark Seif's thinly veiled legal threats.

Whew, what a weekend. Lost every possible wager there was to make, including the SuperBowl.

And even though I lost a nice chunk on the game, I was actually rooting for the Giants by half-time.

The commercials were pretty dreadful this year. I'm still wondering how people can pay $90,000 a second for some of this drivel. I voted for the SalesGenie ads being the worst, hands down, and was wondering about the racial overtones of featuring Ramesh and his, um, seven children.

Turns out I'm not alone. Lotsa squabbling out there but it turns out the ads weren't done by an agency, rather they were written by the CEO of the firm, who WANTS to be voted the worst advertiser. Interesting tactic.

For one Super Bowl advertiser, being voted the worst ad turned into a huge money maker. Salesgenie.com, the leading provider of sales leads and mailing lists, is set to unveil a series of three new spots during Super Bowl XLII, February 3rd on FOX, in the hopes of capturing America’s collective “thumbs-down crown” for the second consecutive year.

Vin Gupta, founder and chairman of Salesgenie.com, conceptualized and wrote copy for the ads himself. While other brands battle for accolades, Salesgenie.com isn’t phased by boos and jeers from the audience. “It was judged to be the best by the real pros,” says Gupta. “Our ad was one of the few to feature a call-to-action, driving more than 25,000 people to the Salesgenie.com website. If it positively impacts business like it did last year, we’d be thrilled to be the worst again.”

Alrighty then.

My favorite ad blog is AdRants, for what it's worth.

On an unrelated note, it's taking all of my willpower not to blog about politics with Super Tuesday looming. My politico reading has gone into overdrive and I feel the urge to regurgitate it somewhere. I'm just not sure G&P is the appropriate place.

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