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Views: 1608
Date Posted: Jan. 31, 5:18pm, 2 Comments

Back in mid November, I posted a humorous blog about the local community college's student newspaper word find.  I'm not sure if they bowed to public pressure or just felt it was fair game to give equal time, but here is this week's "all the girly bits"

bearded oyster
bonbons box
sugar scoop
ying yang*

I'm not sure if I should be depressed or elated that I had never heard of the * (starred) words in that context before.

Views: 1521
Date Posted: Jan. 29, 1:35pm, 2 Comments

J.D. Salinger, the iconoclast and recluse writer, world famous for his 1951 novel "The Catcher in the Rye" just passed away at 91.  I don't know if most American schools still have it as part of their high school curriculum, but growing up everyone I knew had to read "The Catcher in the Rye".  It was a seminal novel that accurately captured the mind-set of a sensitive 16 year old and his disdain for all the "phonies" in his world.  It was one of the first and best novels of its time to capture the disaffected youth that rejected all the values of their parent's generation.

One of the most fascinating aspects of J.D. Salinger's life was his choice to go into seclusion and shun all public life after the fame and success of "The Catcher in the Rye."  He said that he only wanted to "write for myself."  That got me to thinking about what motivates most writers and artists?.  Do they create for themselves?  Do they create to connect to others?  Do they seek feedback or acclaim?  Do they create to earn a living?  Obviously it is a different combination for each person.

Comparing the different poker bloggers out there, you see different motivations as well.  Some write a sort of personal diary to capture the happenings and thoughts of their lives.  Some write to gain feedback and input from their audience.  Some write sensationally to entertain and grow an audience.  Some write to educate, inform, and stimulate their audience.  When I examine my motivations, I can see every one of those motivations entering my considerations.  But maybe I'm not a true writer, like J.D. Salinger, because I don't think I would blog if no one ever read it.  I spend plenty of time alone in my own head, that I enjoy the occasional opportunity to connect to something outside of myself.  If J.D. Salinger had grown up in the age of blogging, I wonder if he might have found a more comfortable balance between anonymity, seclusion and the desire to write for an audience other than himself.

Views: 2239
Date Posted: Jan. 27, 3:18pm, 4 Comments

My last blog got me thinking about chips.  I don't play live regularly, and certainly not much in casinos, but I've always liked the variety of different types of poker chips you encounter when playing.  When I was out last summer during the WSOP Main Event, I stayed with a friend who had a small chip collection.  If I played more often live, I think I would start a chip collection.

I did some image digging today and thought I would share some of the various casino and custom poker chips that you can find out there.  Just about any theme you can think of has been done at one time or another.


poker chip

poker chip

















poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip



poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip



poker chip

poker chip

poker chip


poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

poker chip

and the most valuable of them

poker chip

Views: 680
Date Posted: Jan. 25, 6:49pm, 1 Comment

The guy who invented poker was bright, but the guy who invented the chip was a genius - Author Unknown

We post a poker related Thought of the Day on Poker Curious, presently located on our The Community page, but hopefully soon on our redone home page.  So I'm always looking around for more quotes (250 quotes already posted). I stumbled across this above quote recently, and while I didn't put it up on the site, I thought it would make for a decent little blog topic.

Poker is a card game where money, or chips, keep the score.  It is only when you can track results with some universal currency or rating that the game takes on a new competitive and comparative level.  Tournament players love their rankings.  Cash game players love their bb/100.  SNG players love their ROI.  Online players obsess about their all-in equity graphs. People crave parameters of comparison.  It isn't only a competition against who you play at the table, but who also plays your game or level.

It is basic human nature to compare results  We do it in all areas of our lives.  You look at someone's wife or girlfriend and compare to your own.  While in society we don't typically announce our earnings or salary, we compare our car, house or extravagant possessions.  We want to know where we stand.  

Personally, I'm not one to do as much of that.  I can notice differences, but they don't matter as much to me.  As long as I can manage my expectations, I can live with that.  My wife joked the other day that I wasn't ambitious enough, but I prefer to look at it as not caring as much about material and comparative elements in my life.  Maybe I simply have a different currency that I judge my chip stack with?

Views: 775
Date Posted: Jan. 22, 1:37am, 3 Comments

I was surprised Tuesday, like everyone else, by the launch of Rush poker on Full Tilt.  I don't play NLHE these days, except for Poker Curious freerolls and tournaments which I host.  But then on Wednesday, they opened the first 'table' of Rush PLO (.10-.25 9 man).  I've been intrigued ever since I watched ChicagoJoey break the world record for hands played in a day.  He had an app that brought all his 24 table action onto one virtual table.  I've always had a challenge focusing on more than a couple tables, jumping my attention and mouse from multiple parts of a screen.  With Rush poker, there is an economy of motion and action that I can appreciate.  If you utilize the quick fold option regularly, the hands come flying at you at light speed.  It is never more than a few seconds until you have your next playable hand.  It accelerates all your important decisions.

I have chosen to play only short sessions so far, typically lasting 20-30 minutes each.  After a while, my mind dulls a little from the constant speed and intensity of action.  If you aren't sharp, you can make mistakes and lose quickly.  The first two days, I have played 12 of these mini sessions - having won money in 9 and lost in 3.  Averaging out the sessions, it's been about a buyin difference each mini session.  My bb/100 has shot up dramatically.  I'm sure players will be making quick adjustments to compensate for the different dynamics, but so far I have found it considerably easier to profit compared to my micro 6 max PLO tables.  That may not last long, as I noticed some different strategies and moves today, compared to yesterday.

I've heard various serious and casual players decry Rush poker as not pure poker, but all poker is adjustment.  The key to any poker game or format is to adjust to the changing dynamics and opponents.  That will never change.  Certainly for the professional grinders that were used to utilizing stats, HUD, careful table and seat selection, and established player reads this form of poker negates most of their prior advantages.  But the paramount skills of utilizing position, quick hand and stack reading, and bet sizing are front and center.

I will share some helpful suggestions that have helped me.  If you want to see a hand play out, but you intend to fold, click the 'sit out the next hand' option and you remain at the table until the conclusion of the hand.  That is helpful to gain some history and tendencies on players you are bound to run into again.  The other option I recommend is that if you don't remain at the table or missed the action, you can call up the hand history and it will tell you the cards they had whether you witnessed it or not.  Using the color dot option on players is also very helpful to type them and make quick future reads, but it's challenging to do it in real time as each time you fold you instantly move on to a new set of players. 

The only two times I've been full buyin stacked so far have been all in pre with AAxx vs. AAxx vs rundown hands that hit straights.  Try to avoid those...LOL

Some differences I've noticed from the NLHE Rush 'tables' compared to the PLO version:

- NLHE averages 250-280 hands an hour, PLO  only 175.  The action in hands is slower due to more considerations.
- Average pot size is 40% larger on PLO tables than NLHE, and 10-20% larger on 9 max vs. 6 max tables of each.
- There seems to be much more 3 and 4 betting preflop in NLHE, whereas the preflop aggression has been less at PLO.

I also learned from a friend that Rush poker is not a new idea.  It was conceived in Europe over 3 years ago.  It was originally intended for the Entraction network, but never saw the light of day for various reasons.  Thankfully, the creator/inventor persisted.  Full Tilt has now embraced it and I'm sure is working feverishly to establish its patent pending to maintain its competitive advantage.

Like any new form of poker, time will tell if it's here for the long haul.  It has been a breath of fresh air to my game.  In the end the casual and recreational players will determine its fate.  Will they value the increased speed of action, their anonymity, and the leveling of the playing field with the pros not having their usual tools at their disposal, or will their likely faster rate of potential losses ultimately deter them?  I'm in no hurry to pass judgment.

Views: 764
Date Posted: Jan. 20, 2:13pm, 0 Comments

This morning I heard some challenging news for my son.  The last several indoor soccer seasons, his team has gone undefeated.  You get used to winning and the confidence that brings.  But it also often causes you to relax.  He can relax no longer.  This winter indoor season, they have lost their first two games 6-2 and 3-2, against better teams.  Now I hear that their next match is against an older select team that beat those first two teams a combined 19-2.  They have their work cut out for them.  They are playing against older, stronger, faster and more skilled opponents.  It is in these moments of adversity that your character is tested.  Do you push yourself to improve, striving to be better, or do you accept your fate and complain of your misfortune. 

The very same dynamics shadow any poker player, as well.  Some days you can't win, no matter what you do.  You will have to face losing on a regular basis.  Your ego and sanity are constantly tested as you deal with variance and your own inadequacies.  The question is how do you respond to that adversity.

While my son only just turned 11 and this wouldn't be considered serious adversity, no one goes through life without facing significant adversity.  My hope for him is that he faces his challenges head on with no complaints.  Managing yourself in the face of adversity defines you.  Every challenge is an opportunity.  I thought I would share some related inspirational and thought provoking quotes on the subject....

Adversity is like a strong wind.  It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.  ~Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.  ~William Shakespeare, Othello

We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, "Why did this happen to me?" unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.  ~Author Unknown

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.  ~Truman Capote

In this world there are only two tragedies.  One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.  ~Oscar Wilde, Lady Windemere's Fan, 1896

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.  ~Mary Engelbreit

Views: 800
Date Posted: Jan. 18, 4:06pm, 2 Comments

My son turned 11 this past week.  On Sunday, we invited another family that has two boys around his age to join us for some Laser Tag, then pizza and cake back at our house.  I've played maybe 6 sessions before, but I rocked it out, crushing all the grandpas, new moms, and over stimulated teens.  It's pretty difficult to come out on top out of 36 and 34 players back to back, though, because it's such a frenetic, haphazard setting.  There are supposed to be 3 distinct teams, but many people wander aimlessly with no team concept.  It's not something I do regularly, but it was good family fun for all ages. 

Laser Tag scores

Views: 942
Date Posted: Jan. 15, 4:03pm, 2 Comments

One of the great aspects of the internet is near instant access to information and answers.  The secondary innovation is that as you seek your intended information, you begin a new journey.  The most compelling sites offer multiple directions and suggestions of where you can go from there.  Let's take music for instance.  YouTube offers related videos that can send you off in many directions.  Pandora uses your starting point suggestion to introduce similar styles of music that you may not have heard.  Recently, I shared some Phoenix videos on the blog.  I started a Pandora 'Phoenix' station and it introduced me to a group I immediately liked, The Kooks.  Today I looked up some information on them in Wikipedia and noticed that they had feuded with a group called Razorlight for being too similar.  So that brings me to a couple of Razorlight videos I wanted to share; Golden Touch and Stumble and Fall.  Enjoy where your journey takes you.




Have a great weekend!

Views: 968
Date Posted: Jan. 13, 1:25pm, 2 Comments

Two of the things that really bother me are judgment and hypocrisy. In my view of things, they go hand in hand.  No one should be in a position to negatively judge when they are likely to be doing something similar or related.

Let's take gambling as an example.  Mention the word and you are likely to be looked down upon by the vast majority of society.  Say that you do it for a living and unless you are mega-successful, you are probably scorned.  There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the role gambling plays in all our lives.

Life is a gamble.  You would be hard pressed to name many occupations or activities that aren't a gamble.

Simple every day activities are fraught with risk.

- If I drive my car, it's a gamble.  I can be prepared, drive the speed limit, obey the laws and still have a car hit me.  Some animal, child or a ball may roll in front of me suddenly causing a terrible accident.

- If I decide to take my wife to the movies, I am basing my decision off some review or some trailer I saw on TV.  I am risking my time and $25 investment on the hope that the movie is good and worth it.  I know there are plenty of times I will feel it's not, and yet I still take that chance.

- If I go to a bar or party and start drinking, I am gambling that my decision making will remain reasonable.  There are a host of decisions I could make that I will regret (drunken driving, acting like an idiot, select a sexual partner I will regret later etc.).  You can't predict the result once you've had a few drinks and yet you still put yourself at risk.

Gambling is nothing more than taking calculated risks, something we do every day.  Wiktionary phrases it as any activity characterized by a balance between winning and losing that is governed by a mixture of skill and chance.  To me that encompasses most things we do. I think the problem is that society associates gambling with losing propositions, but there are no guarantees in life, except for death and taxes.  Poker is not a guaranteed  losing proposition if you have discipline, put in the time to learn your edges and game select well.

Risk analysis is something we all do daily. Most occupations involve the exact same elements that we associate with gambling.  I'll give some related dynamics from respected occupations as examples.

Doctor - An emergency room doctor or surgeon may be well educated and trained, but they don't know who may come through their doors or the severity of their condition.  They apply their skills to try to repair or heal the patient, but the injuries or sickness may be too great.  They can make errors in judgment that decrease their odds of success.

Politician - Someone running for office has no guarantees either.  Depending on their political party, policy stances, the present environment or even their looks can affect the outcome of an election.  They hope to use their intelligence and connections to outmaneuver their opponents and manipulate the electorate to their advantage.  Once elected, they are constantly assessing how they can forward their agenda while gaging public opinion.

Farmer - Every season, a farmer gambles by investing thousands of dollars of inputs into the ground in the spring with hopes that the weather, pest and rain will cooperate to allow a reasonable return on their investment when harvest time comes.  They manage some of that risk by acquiring crop insurance.

Futures trader/Stock Broker - There are tremendous similarities between poker and trading.  You are applying your knowledge and experience to make calculated risks on some future event that is unknown.

So if most occupations and activities contain a heavy element of gambling.  Why would we demonize the word?  I would argue that you can make both smart and dumb gambles.  It is up to each one of us to evaluate the risks and try to make educated plus EV decisions.  There is nothing inherently wrong with taking a chance in life.  We do it all day every day.  I'm thankful to have survived some of my poor ones and that I continue to benefit from some of my wise gambles.

Good luck with your gambles... 

Views: 1125
Date Posted: Jan. 8, 2:50pm, 2 Comments

In early December, I stumbled on an article slamming legalizing online gambling that really disturbed me.  I didn't have the time to look at it closely, so I 'favorited' the link so I could return at a more opportune time.  The sensational title of the article sums it up succinctly "Online gambling a threat to global economy." The entire article is essentially the opinion of one University of Illinois professor and national gambling critic - John W. Kindt.  He feels that legalizing online gambling (I will focus mostly on poker for the sake of this blog) "would fuel an epic surge of betting in the U.S. leaving lives in tatters and the world's economy in jeopardy."  I found every one of his assertions so far fetched and ludicrous,  I thought I would put together a blog with his statements and my brief counterpoints in bold.  Each one of his statements could be argued against much more deeply, but I don't have the time or inclination to invest any more time on his confused perspective.

1. He says "U.S. Rep. Barney Frank’s renewed push to overturn the decades-old ban on online gambling would put the nation at risk of an economic collapse rivaling the 2007 sub-prime mortgage crisis that sparked a deep and lingering global recession."  This is the worst kind of hyperbole.  His comparison to legalizing online gambling as having a similar to the much bigger economic issues and government policies have led us to our present struggles is laughable.  How can you call for more regulation and supervision in other industries but less in another makes no sense.  Sub-prime mortgages, cheating/derivative company failures undercut jobs and wealth to millions.  Legalizing and regulating a recreational area like online gaming wouldn't have nearly the same impact or potential downside.

2. He says "Barney Frank has been railing against the lack of regulation on Wall Street and now he’s trying to create an even more dangerous threat by throwing the prohibition against Internet gambling into the toilet".  That is not the case at all.  The idea is to legalize and regulate openly the business of online gambling so that Americans can pursue their given rights to play games of skill and chance with their own resources in a trusted environment.

3. He says "Legalizing online gambling and the firms that run it would create a potentially disastrous speculative bubble in U.S. financial markets similar to the sub-prime mortgage crisis, spawning fast-growing companies with exaggerated earnings expectations that far outstrip real value."  He clearly doesn't understand how the US government works.  A measured system would be put in place over time to introduce approved companies to participate in this newly regulated industry.  There are numerous publicly traded and experienced international companies presently profiting off this international industry.  This would finally allow American companies to do the same. It is absurd to single out online gaming when the US has had numerous speculative bubbles in regulated and unregulated industries previously.

4. He says "I actually think a speculative bubble on Internet gambling would be worse because it’s based on nothing. With the sub-prime crisis, there was at least some real property involved. With online gambling, there’s nothing but people dumping money into their computers.”  Poker uses money to determine the results of a card game of skill with significant elements of chance.  It redistributes wealth, but doesn't destroy it.  It is entertainment for others, and many business reporting on poker are based off the top players. Sports betting is based on your assessment of an outcome, which is similar to futures trading and stock trading. 

5. He says "Global markets have already seen the consequences. The London Stock Exchange, which permits trading of online gaming company shares, saw its value plunge by $40 billion in one day after the U.S. strengthened its ban on Internet gambling in 2006." His supposedly shocking statistic is very misleading. As one commenter stated...The LSE has an estimated value of 2.9 Trillion Pounds. That makes his mentioned "plunge" roughly 1%, even with the best possible currency conversion rate. The DOW and S&P 500 fluctuate more than that regularly, off little more than individual earnings statements, or less. The valuations of companies are based on their perceived worth, so adverse news would negatively affect a company, regardless of its industry.  If a company is consistently profitable, its valuation will increase.  There is nothing alarming about his stated history of their valuations tumbling when they lost access to the largest market.

6. He says "Online gambling also would “throw gasoline” on a recession that has already cut deeply into Americans’ savings and put more than 7 million people out of work."  I have heard that lottery ticket sales increase in a recession, so he may feel that people would gamble more in similar times, but they also have less money to risk at it as well.  The truth is that the regulation of the online gambling industries would increase employment in the US, by encouraging home grown companies to profit off this industry instead of just foreigners.

7. He says "Money that should be spent on cars, refrigerators and other goods that build the economy and create jobs would instead be wasted on Internet gambling in every living room, at every work desk and at every school desk."  He doesn't understand human nature. Firstly, there is a long standing stigma against gambling that wouldn't disappear.  Secondly, people don't like to lose.  If you lose at something, you call it quits.  It stops being fun.  Most people are not compulsive and are in control of their decisions using fundamental and responsible parameters with their financial resources.  The money isn't wasted and doesn't disappear, but is simply redistributed.

8. He says "Frank’s bill flies in the face of research that supports maintaining a ban that traces to the 1961 Federal Wire Act, pushed through by then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to curb the flow of money for organized crime. In today’s world, that money-laundering threat also applies to terrorist organizations." These are absurd claims.  The Internet did not exist in 1961 and there is no ban on Internet Gambling.  Prohibition never stops an activity that people enjoy.  It only somewhat minimizes the access, but increases the societal cost by increasing the crime elements and unscrupulous tactics in an unregulated environment.  His thinking is backward.  Money laundering and terrorism funding would be more prevalent in the present unregulated environment.

9. He says "The threat of addiction is especially high among younger people, who studies show are already twice as prone to gambling problems as older Americans. It’s getting worse and worse as gambling spreads and would soar if online gambling is legalized. Internet gambling is known as the crack cocaine of creating new, addicted gamblers because it’s so accessible. Bankruptcy and crime rates also would balloon as people deplete family finances or raid their employers’ accounts to cover online gambling debts."  Yet again, absurd conclusions.  I have yet to see studies that have concluded that online gaming in other countries where it is fully legal and regulated has had this affect.  It's the same failed argument as the US insistence on having 21 be the legal drinking age.  With his logic, Europeans, who can drink at any age, would all be alcoholics/out of control addicts.  If anything, you see a more reasoned approach to handling an issue by introducing it more reasonably.  While in sports betting, everyone can lose, in poker, for every loser, there is a winner (assuming the rake isn't outrageous) so while one family may deplete some finances, another would benefit.  The idea is to create a responsible environment in which to view the gaming industry and its role in our lives.

10. His final summation... "Online gambling should not be legalized for the same reasons that hard drugs remain banned. The social and crime costs are enormous and if gambling is easy to access more and more people will get hooked.”  The argument that you should ban an activity because 5% (big assumption to even say that much) of the population can't handle it responsibility is both unfair to the responsible 95% and historically a failed one.  Education and proactive solutions can be introduced to address the vulnerable population.  The reason to regulate something is to remove the crime costs that presently influence the nether regions of sports betting and online gaming. The comparison to drugs, that physically affect our bodies, is an unfair one.  We are all capable of addiction to almost anything in our lives.  To single out online gaming as worse than the others is irresponsible.  Online gaming is a enjoyable, stimulating, and challenging activity for many millions.

While I accept different perspective regarding online gambling, this professor seems very misguided and misunderstands most of the fundamental issues surrounding it.   Thankfully, Congress and the US government is slowly coming around to the perspective that online gambling should be legal as a matter of personal liberty and that it could gain significant tax revenue while gaining employment and new business if Internet gambling is properly regulated.  We should encourage healthy discussion of the best ways of regulating and supervising a fair playing field for players and operators, not fall into confused and incorrect assumptions that this professor mistakenly asserts.

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