Thursday, December 16, 2010

my thoughts on the PPA and the third draft of the Reid bill...

posted in legislation forum on 2p2 in response to someone who is frustrated with people like m criticizing the PPA:

Originally Posted by mpethybridge
To those of you busting on the PPA, I will say two things:

1. I rarely see any of you posting in this forum.

2. Harrah's, MGM, et al, have money to burn, are well-entrenched interests and have a tame senator who happens to be the senate majority leader; if we have lost, they lost, too.

Please explain how the PPA was supposed to win a fight that major corporate interests who own one of the most powerful people in America couldn't win.

I really want to hear it; it should be good.


response:
1. what does posting on this forum usually have to do with whether or not our criticisms are valid now? (answer nothing)

2. I've never held it against the PPA that they didn't win the fight. my only complaints are about how they fought and whether or not they are who they have claimed to be while asking for my support and money (which I have contributed).

finally what you have to understand is that most of the people that have a problem with the PPA don't have a problem with their rate of success, we have a problem with their intentions and whether or not they are who they've portrayed themselves as. To be fair they have claimed they are an organization for the game and the players. But frequently during this fight it has seemed that they have thrown their support behind corporations that care nothing for the game and players. And while I understand this may have been a genuine attempt to win a battle by trying to align interests, when things start to go totally awry (as they have with the third draft of the Reid bill as well as the fact that Reid and Harrah's basically cut out the PPA from having any influence on the writing and drafting of the legislation) then they need to step in and be honest with us. If the PPA made a statement that things have gone wrong, the bill is not in our best interest, and the deals that Reid is making to get it passed are no longer supported by the organization then I would commend them for their honesty.

Basically they've lost the fight regardless of whether or not this bill passes, and our support (letters calls etc) and money were not difference makers this time around (not surprising). But we haven't lost the war, and this organization can still stand hold on to its integrity by stepping up and repping what they claimed to be since their inception. If Harrahs and MGM are running the show to the detriment of our online poker future than the PPA should say so. If Reid has lost all interest in what the PPA and players have asked him to support and is now just trying to serve the people that paid for his campaign by cutting them an insider deal with this bill, then say so.

stand up for the people that you claim matter to your organization. tell us where things went wrong, even if we can't fix them now. Admit to how much money you guys have taken or given to the various parties that now seem to not give a **** about the players.

Also understand that our complaints about the situation are not attacks on the people themselves. I don't know the PPA board members and have no idea about them personally. I would guess based on most of their reps and posts around here that they are good guys that mean well. Maybe they just got played in the political game (standard) and if so I'll gladly sympathize with them.

But the fact is that this bill is a disaster now, and was borderline a disaster from the beginning. And I thought their adament support of it seemed contrary to their stated goals, and as the drafts have gotten worse and worse I've yet to hear them speak up and say "sorry guys but this isn't what we wanted and we understand why you guys are opposed to this garbage version of the bill".

end of rant although I'm sure I've left stuff out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I won a tournament




only a $50 buy-in. I've been donking around in these things while playing cash games the last couple of weeks. made a couple of final tables but this is the first win in a long time. biggest tourney score as well fwiw (I know that is sad). The funny thing is a had a brutal awful day at the cash tables, but winning the tournament got me up $1k for the day. I'll take it.

If you have something bottled up in side of you go straight to the snake-shaker.

updated cliff notes on reid bill (I'm really against this version even more so than previously)

HERE IS A REVISED SET OF ANSWERS, BASED ON THE RELEASE OF A NEW DRAFT OF THE REID BILL YESTERDAY. REVISIONS ARE IN GREEN.

Note: These answers are based on the most recently publicly available draft of the Reid bill. The final bill may contain some differences.

When will this bill be voted on?

We don't know yet when, or even if, this bill will be up for a vote. Senator Reid has been expected to attach this bill to some other must-pass bill during the lame-duck session of Congress this month. It takes a lot of political maneuvering to accomplish this and it is unclear yet whether or not he will be able to do so. The three likely bills that might be used are the Bush tax-cut extensions, the omnibus spending and the defense budget bills. The attachment and vote is likely to take place in a very short period ot time, making it likely that we will have only hours warning, if any, to know the final wording of the bill before it is passed.

How will licensing work?

Many current state gaming regulatory bodies will be eligible to become a "Qualified Body" that is authorized to license and regulate US iPoker sites. Those that currently regulate 5% of the total US gaming revenue ($62B*5%=$3.1B) (NV & NJ) are automatically designated as a QB upon notice to the Secretary of Commerce of their intent to do so. Those that regulate at least 0.3% of total US gaming revenue ($62B*0.3%=$186M) (IN, IL, CT, MI, MO, MS, LA, CO, NY and IA, plus others) will be eligible to apply to become a QB once the federal regulations for iPoker are issued (6 months after enactment of the bill).

NV & NJ are the only QBs that will be authorized to license sites which offered iPoker in the US prior to enactment of this bill, or any site which buys such or uses such as a supplier of software, hardware or services.

Who is eligible to apply for and receive a license?

Initially, any US casino or racino that has at least 500 slot machines, any US horserace track that has handled at least $250M of wagering at live racing in 3 of the past 5 years, any cardroom that has 250 or more tables, and any slot machine manufacturer who supplied the qualified casinos or racinos are eligible to apply for an iPoker license. After two years, the Secretary of Commerce can open licensing to other appropriate companies, including foreign sites, subject to the normal regulation development process of public notice and comment.

When will the initial sites be issued a licensed?

The QBs are instructed to issue as many licenses as possible simultaneously 15 months after the bill is enacted. The intention is to make a simultaneous launch of licensed sites to create a multi-site competitive market to the benefit of consumers (the players). Sites can become operational for play-money games and advance promotions before the launch date. No licenses may be issued prior to the publication of final regulations by the Secretary of Commerce.

Who can provide the software, hardware and services for licensed sites?

Any provider, including current offshore sites and current play-money sites (like Zynga Poker), can apply for a Certificate of Suitability to become a vendor to licensed sites. Licensed sites are prohibited from purchasing any site that ever offered iPoker or iGambling in the US prior to enactment of this bill for 1 ½ years after the initial licensing of US sites. Licensed sites can obtain software, hardware and/or services from such sites, but cannot for the 1 ½ years use the trademarks, trade name or customer base of such sites.

What happens during the period prior to the launch?

Current sites must cease US operations within 30 days of enactment of the bill, or they will become ineligibile to ever receive a US iPoker license or Certificate of Suitability. The bill does not enact until 30 days after it is signed into law, so the sites effectively have 60 days total to cease their US operations. US player account balances will remain available for withdrawal for two years, after which the funds are placed into escrow in the US for safe-keeping and dispositon by the Secretary of Commerce.

Can US players play on offshore sites during this 14-month blackout period?

It will not be illegal for US players to play on such sites. It will be illegal under US law for such sites to offer play to US players. Since such sites will be ineligible to ever receive a US license, many of the current offshore sites will become unavailable to US players. Those that remain will have difficulties providing deposit and withdrawal methods to US players, probably more so than currently. But, some play will no doubt be available as long as there is a market for it.

Who will be able to play on US licensed sites?

Initially, anyone physically located anywhere in the US, except in an opt-out state (see below), will be able play on any US licensed site. After 3 years, the Secretary of Commerce may determine to open the iPoker market to additional foreign jurisdictions, including combined player pools at the sites, with the approval of Congress by a joint resolution proposed within 30 days of such determination. There will no doubt be much lobbying pressure from the sites and players to do so. The Secretary needs to ensure that such additions of foreign players takes place only in locations where it is legal for the foreign players and only if doing so does not endanger the consumer protections of the US iPoker regulations. Therefore, it is likely to include only jurisdictions where there is existing government licensing and regulation, under mutual agreement between the US and such governments (imo).

What states will opt out?

Initially, these states will automatically be opted in: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. All other states will initially be opted out.

Until December 31st, 2011, any state may change their option status immediately by notice to the Secretary of Commerce. Such changes must be in accordance with state law, and cannot be determined by any state law that is already in existence prior to enactment of this bill. In most, if not all, states this means that a new law or public referendum must be passed to change the state's option status. After December 31st, 2011, changes to state option status work the same way except the change doesn't take effect until 60 days after notice to the Secretary or the date the new state law enacts, whichever is later.

There is much debate on which states will, in the end, be opt in states. Hopefully the easy revenue stream from licensed iPoker will encourage many states to be opt in, especially in these times of budget crises.

A state may adopt intrastate iPoker or iGambling and remain opted out of the federal iPoker program.

Can residents of opt-out states or foreign countries play in the US while traveling?

Yes. Play is only restricted by location of the player at the time of play, not by residence. In fact, there are no restrictions in the bill against opening accounts or making deposits or withdrawals based on either residence or location. US licensed sites can open accounts for, take deposits and send withdrawals to anyone anywhere in the world, including opt out states. The only thing these sites have to restrict is play based on location of the player at the time of play, which must be within the US and excluding opt-out states.

What is the government taxation under this bill?

Sites will be taxed at a rate of 16% of their gross gaming revenues (total rakes and fees). Current offshore sites consider this completely acceptable, and less costly than their current situation of high payment processing fees and funds seizures. With many licensed sites going live at the same time, open market competition is likely to keep rake low and player incentives high.

Of the 16%, 2% will go to the federal government, 9.8% will be distributed to the states according to the location of the players and the remaining 4.2% will go to the state where the site is licensed.

This tax is on the sites, not the players. States will not be allowed to levy any additional taxation on the licensed sites.

Will players have to pay income taxes?

Yes, players will be liable to pay income taxes on their winnings just as they are now. There is no additional income tax added by this bill, but sites will be reporting player gambling wins (and losses) at the end of the year. The sites do not have to do any tax withholding for US players as long as you provide them with a standard IRS W-9 Form, providing your Taxpayer ID Number and statement that you are not subject to tax backup withholding. Foreign players will be subject to 30% income tax withholding on winnings, unless exempted by tax treaty (and the player provides the site with the proper tax form).

Some states currently have income tax rules that don't allow players to deduct losses against their wins. Any such state that is an opt in will no doubt act to change this rule as they will want players to participate from their state. It will be self-defeating to state revenues from iPoker to be an opt-in state and keep such a tax rule.

What player aids, such as HUDs, will be allowed at licensed sites?

Any such software that is allowed according to the Terms of Service of the licensed site is fine. If it is prohibited by the TOS of the site, it will be against the law and anyone convicted of such cheating will be subject to fines and imprisonment, as well as permanently banned from iPoker at all licensed sites. Similarly, any cheating behaviour such as collusion which is against the TOS of the site will be a criminal offense under federal law. Bots will be against the law.

What is the age limit?

Players at licensed sites must be at least 21 years of age.

Are there any buy-in, stake or wagering limits?

No. The only such limits are those available for self-exclusion under protections for problem gaming. Any player can choose to impose such limits on their play, and to remove such self-imposed limits at any time.

What games are allowed to be offered by the licensed sites?

Any game of poker that is not house-banked is allowed. As long as the game is considered a poker game, and involves some application of skill, it is legal.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

good cliff notes on the reid bill

since I've thrown out a lot of my own opinions I thought it would be helpful if I put a the latest FAQ concerning the Reid bill that were posted on 2p2. The following was posted by PokerXanadu in this thread (link):

Note: These answers are based on the most recently publicly available draft of the Reid bill. The final bill may contain some differences.

When will this bill be voted on?

We don't know yet when, or even if, this bill will be up for a vote. Senator Reid has been expected to attach this bill to some other must-pass bill during the lame-duck session of Congress this month. It takes a lot of political maneuvering to accomplish this and it is unclear yet whether or not he will be able to do so. The three likely bills that might be used are the Bush tax-cut extensions, the omnibus spending and the defense budget bills. The attachment and vote is likely to take place in a very short period ot time, making it likely that we will have only hours warning, if any, to know the final wording of the bill before it is passed.

How will licensing work?

Many current state gaming regulatory bodies will be eligible to become a "Qualified Body" that is authorized to license and regulate US iPoker sites. Those that currently regulate 5% of the total US gaming revenue (NV & NJ) are automatically designated as a QB upon notice to the Secretary of Commerce of their intent to do so. Those that regulate at least 0.5% of total US gaming revenue (IN, IL, CT, MI, MO, MS, LA, CO, NY and IA, plus maybe some others I haven't noted) will be eligible to apply to become a QB once the federal regulations for iPoker are issued (6 months after enactment of the bill).

NV & NJ will be able to license and regulate iPoker sites whether or not the federal government issues iPoker regulations in a timely manner. They are also the only QBs that will be authorized to license sites which offered iPoker in the US prior to enactment of this bill, or any site which buys such or uses such as a supplier of software, hardware or services.

Who is eligible to apply for and receive a license?

Initially, any US casino or racino that has at least 500 slot machines, any US race track that has run at least 250 days of live racing over the past 5 years, and any slot machine manufacturer who supplied the qualified casinos or racinos are eligible to apply for an iPoker license. After two years, the Secretary of Commerce can open licensing to other appropriate companies, including foreign sites, subject to the normal regulation development process of public notice and comment.

When will the initial sites be issued a licensed?

The QBs are instructed to issue as many licenses as possible simultaneously 15 months after the bill is enacted. The intention is to make a simultaneous launch of licensed sites to create a multi-site competitive market to the benefit of consumers (the players). Sites can become operational for play-money games and advance promotions before the launch date.

Who can provide the software, hardware and services for licensed sites?

Any provider, including current offshore sites and current play-money sites (like Zynga Poker), can apply for a Certificate of Suitability to become a vendor to licensed sites. Licensed sites can also purchase such companies, or some of their assets, and remain licensed.

What happens during the period prior to the launch?

Current sites must cease US operations within 30 days of enactment of the bill, or they will become ineligibile to ever receive a US iPoker license or Certificate of Suitability. The bill does not enact until 30 days after it is signed into law, so the sites effectively have 60 days total to cease their US operations. US player account balances will remain available for withdrawal for two years, after which the funds are placed into escrow in the US for safe-keeping and dispositon by the Secretary of Commerce.

Can US players play on offshore sites during this 14-month blackout period?

It will not be illegal for US players to play on such sites. It will be illegal under US law for such sites to offer play to US players. Since such sites will be ineligible to ever receive a US license, many of the current offshore sites will become unavailable to US players. Those that remain will have difficulties providing deposit and withdrawal methods to US players, probably more so than currently. But, some play will no doubt be available as long as there is a market for it.

Who will be able to play on US licensed sites?

Initially, anyone physically located anywhere in the US, except in an opt-out state (see below), will be able play on any US licensed site. After 3 years, the Secretary of Commerce can open the market to additional foreign jurisdictions, including combined player pools at the sites. There will no doubt be much lobbying pressure from the sites and players to do so. The Secretary needs to ensure that such additions of foreign players takes place only in locations where it is legal for the foreign players and only if doing so does not endanger the consumer protections of the US iPoker regulations. Therefore, it is likely to include only jurisdictions where there is existing government licensing and regulation, under mutual agreement between the US and such governments (imo).

What states will opt out?

Initially, these states will automatically be opted in: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. All other states will initially be opted out.

Until December 31st, 2011, any state may change their option status immediately by notice to the Secretary of Commerce. Such changes must be in accordance with state law, and cannot be determined by any state law that is already in existence prior to enactment of this bill. In most, if not all, states this means that a new law or public referendum must be passed to change the state's option status. After December 31st, 2011, changes to state option status work the same way except the change doesn't take effect until 60 days after notice to the Secretary or the date the new state law enacts, whichever is later.

Also, any state that enacts its own intrastate iPoker or iGambling legislation is automatically and immediately an opt-in state, with no further option to opt out.

There is much debate on which states will, in the end, be opt in states. Hopefully the easy revenue stream from licensed iPoker will encourage many states to be opt in, especially in these times of budget crises. Note that the only two choices any state will have is either to be opted in or to have a complete ban on all iGambling including intrastate (excepting interstate Horseracing wagering under the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978).

It is significant that any state that wants to offer any form of intrastate casino iGambling (like NJ is in the process of passing) must be an opt in to the federal iPoker system under the Reid bill. Any state with casinos are likely to receive pressure from these enterprises who do not want to miss this golden egg. Similarly, many state lotteries are looking to expand to iPoker and/or iGambling.

Can residents of opt-out states or foreign countries play in the US while traveling?

Yes. Play is only restricted by location of the player at the time of play, not by residence. In fact, there are no restrictions in the bill against opening accounts or making deposits or withdrawals based on either residence or location. US licensed sites can open accounts for, take deposits and send withdrawals to anyone anywhere in the world, including opt out states. The only thing these sites have to restrict is play based on location of the player at the time of play, which must be within the US and excluding opt-out states.

What is the government taxation under this bill?

Sites will be taxed at a rate of 20% of their gross gaming revenues (total rakes and fees). Current offshore sites consider this completely acceptable, and less costly than their current situation of high payment processing fees and funds seizures. With many licensed sites going live at the same time, open market competition is likely to keep rake low and player incentives high.

Of the 20%, 6% will go to the federal government, 9.8% will be distributed to the states according to the location of the players and the remaining 4.2% will go to the state where the site is licensed.

This tax is on the sites, not the players. States will not be allowed to levy any additional taxation on the licensed sites.

Will players have to pay income taxes?

Yes, players will be liable to pay income taxes on their winnings just as they are now. There is no additional income tax added by this bill, but sites will be reporting player gambling wins (and losses) at the end of the year. The sites do not have to do any tax withholding for US players as long as you provide them with a standard IRS W-9 Form, providing your Taxpayer ID Number and statement that you are not subject to tax backup withholding. Foreign players will be subject to 30% income tax withholding on winnings, unless exempted by tax treaty (and the player provides the site with the proper tax form).

Some states currently have income tax rules that don't allow players to deduct losses against their wins. Any such state that is an opt in will no doubt act to change this rule as they will want players to participate from their state. It will be self-defeating to state revenues from iPoker to be an opt-in state and keep such a tax rule.

What player aids, such as HUDs, will be allowed at licensed sites?

Any such software that is allowed according to the Terms of Service of the licensed site is fine. If it is prohibited by the TOS of the site, it will be against the law and anyone convicted of such cheating will be subject to fines and imprisonment, as well as permanently banned from iPoker at all licensed sites. Similarly, any cheating behaviour such as collusion which is against the TOS of the site will be a criminal offense under federal law. Bots will be against the law.

What is the age limit?

Players at licensed sites must be at least 21 years of age.

Are there any buy-in, stake or wagering limits?

No. The only such limits are those available for self-exclusion under protections for problem gaming. Any player can choose to impose such limits on their play, and to remove such self-imposed limits at any time.

What games are allowed to be offered by the licensed sites?

Any game of poker that is not house-banked is allowed. As long as the game is considered a poker game, and involves some application of skill, it is legal.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

a comment I posted on doubleflys blog

doublefly's blog is one of the best so if you don't read it you should (see link on the left). he recently posted that some people he knew were considering playing poker professionally because they were anticipating losing their jobs. He made some very well thought out and valuable comments relating to going pro that I agree with and hope these folks will read and consider. I decided to type a comment because I both agree with fly and think that his general optimistic disposition and writing style might be painting the stresses of playing professionally a little lighter than he intended (or I believe them to be). FWIW I think I'm extremely lucky and have a great job and lifestyle. I wouldn't trade it for just about anything. At the same time I do believe that I work hard, and I've earned my success. And I think that I was lucky to be born with the type of personality and disposition that has greatly aided in my success in the game. I'm not by any means trying to induce sympathy for pro poker players or make it seem like we have it tough. I am however trying to illuminate the realities of why more people don't play for a living, and why I would in general not recommend people give it a go.

here is my comment relating to his blog post:

if you're looking to play poker for a living because you are about to be laid off chances are you have zero chance of successfully pulling it off. the only reason you should be looking to play for a living is because you've been playing so much and for so long that you already could be playing for a living and are just considering a life style change. this isn't something you can just start, or even start taking seriously.

I played poker seriously (playing/studying/reading etc) for hours nearly every day for probably two years before I considered playing professionally. during that time I was finishing grad school and working as an engineer. It wasn't until I had already made enough playing poker to have a working bankroll, 3-4 months of expenses, and nearly half a million hands of experience under my belt that I considered playing professionally. And at that point I knew my risk of ruin was very very small and I pretty much understood what my hourly would likely be for the near future.

If you aren't in a similar situation you are courting personal disaster (especially if you have dependents) if you try to pursue playing professionally. Don't confuse the phrase "playing professionally" or the fact that it is a game with the idea that pros are merely playing. It is work. And very emotionally and mentally taxing work.

I find poker during work hours to be considerably more stressful than the half dozen jobs I had before I went pro. And you will also likely find your sleep schedule as well as your social life will face some adjustments. I have no complaints as it has all worked well for me, but certain people and personality types simply couldn't handle it. For example my wife is the most intelligent person I know (about to graduate from Harvard Med school fwiw), and has the right type of intelligence for poker (brilliant math mind and majored in psych in undergrad). BUT she would never make it as a poker pro. The monetary stress, the weird hours, the potential social barriers would all be too much for her. For me they are no big deal, but by the same token I could never have made it into (let alone through) med school. To each their own.

cliff notes: you probably don't have what it takes to be a poker pro. If you do you probably already know that you do, and it's just a question if you want to.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

more on Reid bill

Post on 2p2 from PPA board member Skalligrim:
There is not a single post of mine that I think can reasonably be called "cheerleading" this bill. I hate this F-ing bill.

But sometimes it is necessary to take something you hate in order to get something you really want.

And I have also always said that this bill is so fraught with pain that it is a close call. But overall I support it.

But I will also say this. This has been lots of talk of more horsetrading going on in DC that we are not privy too. If only one additional poison pill is added to this bill, I may change my close call.

My best analogy is this: suppose you go into an antique shop and see a very valuable item that you have always wanted. At first it seems fair priced and you try to negotiate buying it. But the owner of the store is a real jerk and once he sees how much you want it he raises the price, and then he raises the price again. At some point the price is higher than the pleasure I will get from owning the piece. The bill as last reported on Monday was pretty close to having too high a price, but, IMHO, not there yet.

IOW, it wouldn't take much change for the worse for me to join in opposing the bill.

Skallagrim


my thoughts on it:

post by skallagrim a PPA board member in a thread saying that the bill is not going on the tax cut bill. they still think they have a chance to get it on some other piece of legislation, but that it is somewhat unlikely because Sen Kyl (tard from AZ) is doing everything possible to block it and Reid and company aren't going to make this an important enough issue to run them over on it.

the reason I post though is that skall is a PPA board member and a seemingly smart guy but not a pro (as far as I know). and if he can barely stomach this bill, the bill that his organization has fought for and backed and thrown all of their support behind, then I don't see why I should support it. Basically he's saying it's crap, we're getting screwed, but maybe down the line things might work out. and since it's my job to try and get things to work out I'm going to roll the dice and get shat on. Well since my job is to try and make money playing poker I'm probably going to say no to getting shat on. So I'll continue to not support this bill.

maybe things will change in the future and we'll have a shot to get a reasonable piece of legislation through (PPA guys are claiming that the kind of legislation I'd like to see would be supported by gaming and Reid just not Kyl and the religious right repubs) but this just isn't it. I'm more afraid that this will result in a death sentence for online poker in the US than if we just leave it alone and hope that it remains a relatively unimportant issue for the DOJ. and hopefully down the line we can get some kind of positive legislation through.

just my 2 cents, and if I'm wrong wouldn't be the first or last time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

blog of my posts on 2p2 regarding Reid bill dealing with online poker

I've been discussing and debating the Harry Reid bill relating to online poker in the FTP regs thread for the last day or so. Below are my thoughts on the subject including posts from other players that prompted my response. If you don't know about the bill check on the cliffs in the original post of this thread:

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/57/poker-legislation/reid-pushing-plan-legalize-u-s-online-gambling-summary-op-read-if-you-have-questions-930754/

harrahs wants anything that opens a market for them and shuts out as much competition as possible. a blackout, followed by state by state ratification gives them the best chance to become THE (maybe the only) player in the US online poker market. they already have the lobbying force putting money in every congressman's pockets. the blackout is fine by them, and they don't really care about the length of time since as of now they have no market share. they just want to make sure that when it is over everyone else is scrambling, the system is a mess, and their current power in the market and lobbying will set them up.

the more I read about this bill the more I am against it. frankly I don't understand how anyone that isn't a clueless casual player (or someone that derives their income from live games) would support this bill. the down sides of 15 months during which online poker could nearly disappear from the consciousness of the casual US player seems like way to great of a risk in order to get harrah's controlled online sites that only allow US players and may exclude a ton of states (if they choose not to opt in).

I'm really close to calling my senator and telling him I'm against this, but I think he's already against online poker because he's a religious right idiot.




Originally Posted by cheet
a PPA guy said harrahs and other b&m gaming interests will actively pursue a full internet poker ban if this doesn't pass, so they market is cleared for them when they can get a bill through
so I'm supposed to take the poison because if a don't they are going to shoot me in the head? whatever I'll take my chances by not getting in bed with these slime.

frankly seems like a good time to start talking about boycotting the WSOP. Harrah's can go **** a duck as far as I'm concerned.




Quote:
Originally Posted by PenelopeCruz
Why do you place so much importance on a one year period when the end result is the long term sustainability of your profession? As it stands right now there is nothing but uncertainty, maybe the current system is sustainable but all logical reasoning suggests otherwise...


because the more I read about this bill the less confident I feel that anything resembling the status quo will return after this period. Plus I think that's enough time for the game to be forgotten or lose the luster that it has gained in the last decade. People didn't really talk about poker 15 years ago. Kill the biggest reminder of it in the consciousness for 15 months and who is to say it will come back with the same gusto?

plus why should I believe that the government getting more involved is in anyway I good thing for an industry like poker? they are going to view this industry the same way they view alcohol and tabacco. and unnecessary vice that they can tax or regulate as they please.

plus how many red states do you think are going to opt in when it returns? how long do think it is going to take before the government decides to let international players play? plus how do we know rake doesn't become as ****** as it is in live casinos?

tbh just too much potential negatives with this version of the bill. I'm not saying I don't support full legalization of fund transfers as well as potential regulation of the industry. but the reid bill is not written in the best interests of online players. it is written in the best interests of live casino interests and congressmen who want to get more cash (both in campaign contributions and tax dollars to allocate). I'm willing to hold out hope for something better instead of getting effed in the A now hoping that everything works out in two years.




oh and I don't know if you guys realize it, but they are planning on starting to take taxing poker seriously for recreational players as well. which is a big deal since they can't deduct losses like we do and will end up paying taxes on winnings and then deducting losses from the entire income. maybe the IRS and pokerrooms just ignore this and it doesn't change anything in live games, but they can easily keep track of it online since every online casino will have to be licensed and the IRS and DOJ can easily get all of their records.

how would you like it if every casual player suddenly had several thousand less dollars to play with every year because the government taxed them on their breakeven or losing play?




I'm just basing that on what I read in the leg forum thread, so I could be wrong. but as far as I know the bill changes nothing about how the IRS or states tax gambling wins and losses. which fwiw in most states is terrible for casual players. IE you can't deduct all losses, must pay on all wins, and if wins bump you into a higher tax bracket so be it. I mean most tax laws on gambling are really really bad for casual players. the reason that nobody addresses it is because casual players never pay taxes since they either lose and nobody pays attention, or they are dealing in cash at live casinos. If you put it online in a regulated online industry you can bet the government is going to get their chunk. how many casual players are going to keep playing when their losses are tallied up for them by the site (so they see in writing how bad they suck) at the end of the year and then shipped to them so that they can figure out how much tax they may have to pay on losing money online? my guess is this is more likely to push people away then encourage them to play.




Originally Posted by Reefypoopoo
your points about poker losing it's appeal after the period and opt out states are valid.

However, there is no way recreational players are going to F themselves in the A in regards to the IRS under the retarded system. People just don't do that. Consider the average Joe who makes $50K yr, gambles regularly for $50K wins and $45K losses yearly totals. You think they're gonna pay additional taxes on that 50K? I don't.


if they don't they are subject to audit and fines because they would be committing tax fraud assuming they don't file as a professional gambler. the irs or doj would have the power to request the records of any site and it might actually be written into the bill that these sites are going to be providing 1099 to customers basically prepping the information for the government.

maybe a vast majority of casual players refuse to pay and it goes to courts where the consider changing the absurd laws on gambling taxes in the US, OR maybe people just get scared and quit playing. I don't know. but either way it can't be a positive relating to taxes for casual gamblers in the US that the government is going to have access and information regarding their wins and losses under our current tax code.




Originally Posted by Ditch Digger
Just because 1 or 2 idiots are babbling about this in the legislation forum doesn't mean it's true. 90% of the people in that forum have no clue of how anything is going down so stop taking what they are saying as fact.

If you find a post from a reputable poster that has connections in Washington I'll gladly eat my words in the above paragraph.


I dont really know what youre talking about. all i did was make some logical inferences based on the knowledge of the reid bill that is being presented in the major cliffs in the leg forum. you really think if the IRS has information on every online poker players income and losses that they would move to get some of that money? and how long until the states have access to this information so that they can pursue their own taxing of it? my guess is not long once they realize the potential windfall.

you guys can be all optimistic, and I hope youre right. but understand that the bill that you guys are rooting for was not written by people who give a flying crap about professional poker players or their abillity to make money. it was written by people who want to get their hands on as much poker rake as possible. united states owned and operated casinos that can pay taxes and campaign contributions. aren't you at all concerned about this future licensing process? do you really think that harrahs and MGM are going to sit on the sideline and let FTP and Pstars get licenses when the people with the power have been recieving campain contributions from Harrahs and MGM for years?

I think I have good reason to be pessimistic. I'm just hoping that this bill fails and the next attempt by the PPA or whomever gives some credence to an open and fair market place for all players. basically I want a bill that is written as if it is trying to tax an already functioning industry, and regulate the payment processors that will step up to work with these sites. I'm not interested in a bill that acts as though this industry has never existed and it's passing creates the entire environment for which all future sites should function.




Originally Posted by Nick Rivers
The IRS is going to insist that people pay their fair share of taxes. Some of us already (begrudgingly) do that. Perhaps you are ideologically opposed to paying taxes, but that's neither here nor there with regards to this bill. The government is not overstepping its bounds when it insists on getting access to income records for its citizens so that they can be taxed appropriately. This goes for state revenue agencies as well.


It's a question of which you think is the lesser of two evils. On the one hand, you have the PPA, Caesars, and the MGM coming together to make a ****** bill that hands online poker over to a bunch of scumbags. On the other hand, you have the status quo. Or do you? IMO if you think the status quo is really the alternative to this bill, then I think you're the one guilty of being overly optimistic. And that's saying something, because the status quo isn't exactly all that great. The GOP is coming back into power. These are the clowns who brought you the UIGEA to begin with. Do you think they're just going to sit around and let the status quo continue, or do you think they're going to start in with even more meddling and nonsense? I'm guessing the latter. If this bill does not go through, then online poker is once again exposed to potential GOP corruption and idiocy in the future. CEC can, of course, bribe them as well, but any bill that comes from them would probably end up being even worse.

I don't really like either outcome. Both are fraught with pitfalls, and it's definitely the case that nobody is looking out for the players in any event (and you're out of your mind if you think the PPA will at any point in the future). It's possible this was inevitable and that we live under a pretty awful political regime, or maybe it's possible that we've just been complacent and haven't made any real moves to protect our niche industry. Whatever the case, I'm not an optimist about online poker no matter what happens with this bill. Either way, it looks like things are not going to be as good for us as they have been. If I had to make a gun to the head decision, i guess I would want the bill to pass; I'd rather take my chances with CEP and MGM and pray for a miracle than wait and see what the GOP does next to ruin an already dwindling online poker landscape.


the second part is just agree to disagree, but as to the bolded I am not here to argue whether the government is morally or ethically correct in taking all possible steps to obtain tax dollars and I understand that they have a legal claim to lots of money in the gambling world that they never see. I pay all of my taxes and I always have, but if losing casual poker players aren't paying taxes on their play because they deal in cash and/or don't make enough that the govt notices than I don't really give a crap as it is in my best interest. is that selfish? hell yeah, but I don't give a crap. there are lots of things that people can do everyday that illegal or not supported by our government, but people get away with it. does the US government have a right to prosecute people? sure, but I don't care.

whether or not the government has a legal right to something doesn't mean that I have agree with it on a selfish, moral, ethical, or whatever basis. If the government currently can't get their hands on tax dollars of most casual gamblers I don't give a ****.




cliff notes: I'm against it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

the universe is mindblowing.

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/525347

playable model of the universe showing comparable sizes of objects. really really interesting.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm sad that the honeymoon is over and I'm back in Boston, but it's time to get back to work.

just got back to boston. going to have all of the pics on the pc tonight and should have a blog post to follow.

happy halloween!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In Buenos Aires for first leg of honeymoon, pics to follow

city is very cool, and the exchange rate is ridiculous. had a huge 3 course lunch with wine and coffe for $10 yesterday. Dinner was massive last night with coffee, the full dessert tasting menu, and a bottle of wine and it was only $55 for me and the wife. crazy.

the only downside to things so far is that they just ended a sanitation workers strike so there is piled garbage on almost every street corner. meh. but the rest of the city is great. The parks are beautiful, and originally I had planned on posting a bunch of pics I took today, but apparently the blogger image uploader is down for maintenance.

oh well I'll get back to it tomorrow. Staying at The Glu Hotel in Palermo. Really awesome place with cool rooms, fantastic breakfast, and a jacuzzi on the roof. I'm sitting on the balcony right now watching yankees rangers while drinking wine and typing this post as the sunsets. life is pretty good.

hope the grind is good for everybody at and away from the tables. see you guys soon.

piz

Monday, October 11, 2010

short update, more to follow

just wanted to let you guys know that I'm still alive and almost out of the DS. The poker gods have finally started smiling on me again and I've just about recovered from the 50BI downswing that I went through.

Also I've been really busy with wedding stuff since the big day is only 5 days away. It should be an awesome time and I'm sure it will be a blast to have all the friends and family in town. Went to city hall to get a marriage license last friday, and I've been piecing together the final parts of my tux over the last week.

but that is just the tip of the iceberg of work we've had to do, and katy has been putting in a lot of time and hours. lots more stuff I should be covering but I'm pretty busy with wedding stuff. I'm going to end the post now and try to get some more written up later.

hope everything is going well for everyone at the tables.

later

the pizzle

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PLO

EZ Game

Full Tilt - $1 PL Hi RUSH (6 max) - Omaha - 6 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 3: http://www.pokertracker.com

SB: $60.30
Hero (BB): $101.50
UTG: $97.80
MP: $269.55
CO: $42.20
BTN: $99.00

SB posts SB $0.50, Hero posts BB $1.00

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero has Qs Ah Ad Qc

UTG calls $1.00, MP raises to $4.50, fold, BTN calls $4.50, SB calls $4.00, Hero raises to $23.50, UTG calls $22.50, MP calls $19.00, BTN calls $19.00, SB raises to $42.50, Hero raises to $101.50 and is all-in, UTG calls $74.30 and is all-in, MP raises to $160.50, BTN calls $75.50 and is all-in, SB calls $17.80 and is all-in

Flop: ($460.10, 5 players) 2d 8h Tc

Turn: ($460.10, 5 players) As

River: ($460.10, 5 players) Kd

SB shows 9c 2c 7d 5d (One Pair, Twos)
Hero shows Qs Ah Ad Qc (Three of a Kind, Aces)
UTG shows 3h 2s 4s 5s (One Pair, Twos)
MP shows Ks Kh 6d 8c (Three of a Kind, Kings)
BTN shows 7c 4c 6s 7h (One Pair, Sevens)
Hero wins $457.10


fwiw I had 34% equity pf in a 5 way all-in, which in PLO is pretty sick.

watching scream (great underrated movie) featuring this awesome song by nick cave

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

downswing now at $20,000

thats about 40BI considering it is all 2/4 and 3/6. I'm running about 15k under EV, but I can't complain. I run hot all the time, only fair that I run bad some too.

trying to stay focused and positive, but I'm definitely making some bad plays from time to time because of it. Mostly I'm frustrated because I keep running bluffs in what I believe are really good bluff spots and I think I'm getting looked up a lot because all the regs have noticed I never have a value hand. and the reason I never have a value hand is because for the last 50k hands or so I'm not really ever hitting anything. or I get sucked out on.

whatever.

wedding invitations went out. need to get the registry started. other than that I'm just working and trying to stay focused. I really wanted to post another big month before october, but at this point it is going to be difficult just to get back to even. I've only once before started this far in the hole for a month and I didn't make it back that time despite my best efforts.

more importantly this really hurts my chances of posting a year like last year. I didn't grind nearly enough in the spring due to various distractions (mostly family related as well as getting the flu). I thought I could make it up by posting up 5 solid months to end the year, but that is going to be tough if september keeps going down the crapper.

oh and I played really crappy golf yesterday. which is frustrating because I had been swinging really well the last few times I had been out.

enough bitching

laterz

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

sometimes you just play like crap

that's what I've been doing lately. luckily I've pretty much broken even this week despite the fact that I'm stinking up the joint at the tables.

oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

good day

decided to take a day off after logging +30 hours in the last 5 days. Played 9 holes of golf at 6am (shot a legit 40 my best 9 of the summer), then made espresso and brunch around 11am. Took a little nap until about 4pm. Woke up and showered and cleaned the kitchen. Then I browsed the forums, watched a little tv, and made some dinner. Dinner was a NY strip, baked potato, carrots and tomato, and a glass of red wine. I did a pretty awesome job on the steak and it was tasty despite not being a fantastic cut (a little bit of gristle in the middle was disappointing). I did manage to set off our smoke detector though because I was cooking it in a pan with butter and when I put the steak on I got a lot of smoke. oh well, hard to make a good meal without a little smoke.

now I'm drinking a glass of scotch, relaxing and getting ready for an early turn in. Looking forward to getting up tomorrow and either golfing or running before I get my friday pokering on. Saturday is a group trip for a late lobster lunch in Maine, so that should be fun.

poker has been a grind lately. I'm making money, but it's constantly up and down. Games aren't great so I'd say that has a lot to do with it. I do feel like I'm starting to finally be a competent HU player. we'll see if that holds.

laterz

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

write a blog post, get smacked down

-10 BI night in 4 hours last night. games weren't good, I made some bad mistakes, and I was getting coolered quite a bit. Oh well still doing ok for the month and getting back into the grinding groove.

time to get some breakfast, coffee, and get on my grind.

Monday, August 16, 2010

bounced in ftops ME poker gods rewarded with cash-game beast-moding

basically got bounced in the FTOPs when I reshoved 20bb effective on a BB restealer from the CO with 55 and he snapped AA. I effed this up because he was a new player at the table that had just sat, but my HUD hadn't updated and I didn't realize it because I had 16 tables of cash going at the same time. then I shoved my 9bb stack over a LAGs MP open with AJo and he snapped with 53s (ldo) and obviously binked the flop and rivered a straight. So that took about 2.5 hours, and I was up about 1k playing cash at that point. Which felt really good because I had started out dropping about 4BI in about 20 min with some close plays early in the session.

But the games were great, and I was in the groove so I kept grinding, and 3 hours later I was up about 5.5k and decided to call it a day. Basically everything was going my way, my reads were good, and I was playing my A game. The poker gods really helped me out, but it also make a huge difference when you've been playing a ton lately and actually feel like your game is sharp. this weekend is the most I've played in well over a month and the first time in a long time I can say I felt my game was really sharp and I was owning people.

that being said I had a few frustratingly weak river plays where I could have put in value raises, but I was scared of the nuts. This is pretty much a terrible mindset in 6max, and I almost never have that problem in shorthanded games. but these situations were FR, and most FR regs are so nitty that when I pop them on the river they rarely call without the nuts. so when I get to the river and I know my hand is ahead of their range because I've slowplayed or binked or whatever I don't always have a cut and dry raise. because their b/c'ing range is dramatically tighter than their b/f'ing range. So I kept getting frustrated because I had river spots where I'd want to shove and I'd start thinking about combos and just figured there were more combos of nuts that would call than worse value hands and I just called. I felt pretty weak, but I think they weren't huge mistakes if they were mistakes at all.

that's a lot of poker stuff, and sorry if you don't understand all of it, but the grinders will get it.

we got bounced in the first round of the baseball playoffs. it was especially frustrating because our entire team believed we were better than our opponents. we won the first game and then lost 3 straight. we didn't hit well for the last 3 games, and our pitching was decent but not great. mostly it was mental mistakes in the field both from our pitchers and fielders. in general I just look at it as bad variance. We were one of the best teams in the league, and when everything was going our way down the stretch we went 9-2 and captured first place in the regular season. But then things start going against you in the playoffs and suddenly you go from being the best team in the league to looking very mediocre.

overall the season was good. we bounced back well from last years catastrophe, and my arm finally started feeling normal towards the end of the year. I had to quit lifting weights, and I've lost over 10 lbs during the season because I couldn't lift. But my velocity got back to upper 80s (I think I popped 90 a few times), I gained control of my pitches, and I finally got my splitter looking nasty by the end of the season. I also worked a little on a cutter and am getting closer and closer to having my slider back. I think next year I can be the most dominant pitcher in the league if I put the work in, and I plan to.

other stuff, currently enjoying shopping at giltman.com every once in awhile. really nice clothes and stuff at great prices. plus they ship from MA so I get it in like a day, and their customer service and return policy are awesome. if you want to sign up for them hit me up in the comments and I'll send you a link and I get a free $25. don't know if you get anything, but hey reading this post has got to have been worth hooking me up, right? ;-)

currently reading:



just finished:



listening to:


and listening to:


and back to playing golf.

wedding planning is keeping me busy.

life is good.

peace

piz

Saturday, August 14, 2010

friday night-saturday morning poker grind

too tired to get back to blogging, but I'll post a graph. long long night...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

not playing enough

only got 30 hours so far this month. eff the days just fly by. good news is that the poker gods have blessed me with their run good. I couldn't do it without them, all hail be to the poker gods.

but seriously today is hilarious. I win like 12 buy-ins between 400 and 600 NL, and then sit down to play some tired buzzed rush while I watch and old episode of WSOP from last year and insta lose 5 buy-ins. The hilarious thing is that rush poker is only 200nl, so I'm still up about 5k on the day. thank god for running good at MSNL and running bad at stupid rush poker.

other news, team is in 4th place in my baseball league (link we're grossman marketing). we need to win 4 out of our last 7 games and I think we'll make the playoffs. going to be a tough stretch since we have 5 of those 7 games against the top 3 other teams in the league. I'm leading the league in saves, but not surprisingly closers don't get much notice for the all star game so I'm not playing this friday. not that I think I deserved to make the team, but the game should be a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to going.

also working on planning our honeymoon in october. I think we're going to head to argentina for a couple of weeks. so if anyone has any advice on where to go and what to do in argentina post a comment and we'll get in touch.

that's all I got for now.

later

Sunday, July 4, 2010

10 hours down

been running very well, ty poker gods. played about 4 session so far for just under 10 hours. If I can get in about 2-3 hours on the 4th I'll be just slightly behind pace.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July = 120 Hours or Bust

So June was disappointing in that I wanted to play 100 hours and I only made it to 80. The biggest reasons for my shortcoming would be the 5 days I was sick when I only played one session, and not getting any play the weekend we went to our friends wedding. All that being said I had more than enough opportunity to reach my goal, and I didn't. I still had a good month, and I'm definitely not complaining about my results. But if I really want to have another solid year like last year I need to start putting in more hours.

So I'm declaring the goal now and going to be updating my progress throughout the month. I want to play 120 hours this month. I think it's entirely reasonable that I get there. Assuming I play 24 days during the month that only requires 5 hours a day. Basically two sessions a day 5-6 days a week. It is going to be taxing, and it is going to require putting my nose to the grind, but I think I can do it. People really underestimate how taxing that much poker can be on you, but I've gone through tougher stretches of work when I was in college.

so today is day 1 and I'm already behind. I woke up late and I've got a baseball game I'm getting ready to go to. But hopefully I can get in 1 good session late night. and then get up early tomorrow and grind all day. going on a harbor-cruise/concert tomorrow night so that will take away some of my hours. But if I work hard during the day I can get back on track.

later

jim

Sunday, June 27, 2010

got sick, didn't play much

only got about 12 hours in this week, and that was mostly in two days of play. I got a cold from my weekend of revelry and travel and it kept me down for most of the week.

I did get in about 6k hands this afternoon while playing 5 different tourneys. Went 0-fer the tourneys so down $750 or so for that, but made about $2.5k playing cash so thats good. I'm getting good at running AK and KK into AA, but I coolered some regs so that's good.

would really like to get about 25 hours in before the end of the month, but thats in 3 days and I doubt it will happen. going to try to get up early and grind tomorrow. we shall see.

later

jim

Monday, June 21, 2010

another wedding down

two good friends from college got married in Houston this weekend and it was like another college reunion. We had a great time and it was awesome to see everyone. They're a fantastic couple and wish them both the best.

now I've got 10 days to get in about 50 hours of poker to meet my monthly goals. I think I can do it if I adjust my sleep schedule back to normal hours and try to get my play in before baseball games. It is just really hard to play after being at the field for 3 hours especially when I catching guys in the pen and often warming up for potential relief appearances. My new plan is wake up in the morning. play from 12-5 or so in the afternoon. Then get a workout in after the game when I come home. I can eat a late dinner after the workout and pass out for the night. That would get me back to working out while still leaving plenty of time for poker. Hopefully I can put back on some of the weight I lost while I haven't been lifting over the last month.

that's about all to update from here. been watching a lot of WC, go USA beat algeria and get us into the elimination round. No comment on game 7 of the NBA finals.

later

jim

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

poker memories

posted this up in a thread on 2p2 after someone linked the youtube of the ESPN WSOP broadcast below:

this was my favorite year of WSOP broadcasts and that might be my favorite one ever. That was back when I was in college and taking summer school classes and I'd come home from class, then waiting tables until 11PM or later, and grab a 6 pack of beers and watch the WSOP broadcast that I had recorded on my VCR. I used to record all of them back then and rewatch them all the time. Then if it was a real good night my friends would get a .10/.25 NL game going I'd get to wander over to one of their apartments and play poker until 2AM or so. we'd always play until there were just a couple of us left because noone really wanted to lose more than 10 dollars, and in the end there be 3 guys playing for everyone's money and we'd finally just quit because we were all scared to lose 20 bucks playing HU. But whoever got the best of it that night would by beers for the next.

I'm not sure I'll ever enjoy poker as much as I did then. it makes me wistful just thinking about it.










Sunday, June 6, 2010

Let's get dumb, drink some rum. Make my teeth and gums feel real numb.

I'm appropriately drunk tonight. Had a fantastic dinner with good friends and some new folks that I didn't know who were also very very cool. Then stayed late with the host after the WAGs went home, drank a lot more of the booze and wandered home with a good buddy while we discussed the finer details of life.

this is drinking at it's best. not blackout, not stupid, not driving, or any other retraded (inside joke) nonsense. Just enough to get social and fun and enjoy each others jokes and observations.

and let's go celtics. Win game two, punk the lakers, and let's get things rolling. I didn't ever really hate phil jackson until this year, but I'm tired of his BS. Somebody needs to end his streak, and who better than these celtics.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

back

quick hitters:

- I've been playing a lot of rush poker because it is 6max NLHE crack. people can't play, I get to start and stop whenever, and I can get in a ton of hands 4 tabling. I actually play it on the toilet sometimes. That should be the next FTP advertisement; Rush Poker! The Best Form of Poker When You're Taking a Dump!

- our team is off to a great start 5-1. I've only thrown 5 innings but so far so good even though my control is lousy. We have a really deep staff and all of the other guys have been throwing fantastic. I'm hoping my arm builds and builds into shape so that at the end of the season I'm approaching what I was at the beginning of last year. It is going to be tough though because my rotator cuff is not happy.

- went on the 5th anniversary cruise with my buddies from duke baseball. we had a blast with so many hilarious stories and moments. pic at end of blog is us being rahtards on the boat one night. I really love those cruises and could easily just go ship around on one of those boats for a couple months if they'd let me. The guys are hilarious, the weather is fantastic, and we eat like kings. It was honestly the most food I've eaten in the last couple of years. I've really changed my eating habits and improved my diet and nutrition, but the boat was just a total delicious binge. We're talking 5 course dinners with 2 entrees every night (prime rib and lobster yumm), 24 hour free room service (think 3 sandwiches at 4am), lunch buffet, burgers for afternoon snacks, the hits just keep coming.

I didn't really weigh myself so I don't know if I gained any weight, but I know the first few days back I was hungry nonstop. I had totally altered my bodies expectation for food and found myself wanting to eat huge amounts all the time. It took almost a week to get myself back on to a reasonable diet, but it made me think about why so many people in this country are obese. If you allow yourself to eat like that frequently it becomes a mental and physical expectation. Almost like an addiction. And changing your habits (ie diet and nutrition) takes mental will power and work. For me its about not keeping junk food in the apartment (haven't for close to 2 years). No potato chips, no candy, no regular soda, no fruit drink, no ice cream, etc. I think a good general rule is that if the food takes no time to prepare and isn't a fresh fruit or vegetable you should probably reconsider eating it. sure there are exceptions, but if you start there you're going to immediately see an impact on how you eat.

anyway enough of that, but post cruise that was an interesting realization to me. to wrap things up the cruise was awesome again and I can't wait for next year.

- wedding planning is going well. katy finally sold me on the merits of a DJ. we found someone that meets my standards, and I look forward to bombarding the guy with information about what I do and don't want to hear. luckily he's totally prepped and expecting that, and doesn't want the role of MC so that helps considerably. I'm sure we'll need him to announce a few things, but in general the thing I wanted was a guy that could get the music I wanted to play in a timely reasonable manner that would work with the crowd. I want to take stuff I like and get people into it. and this guy gets that and seems to do it well. should be fun.

- botched call on the perfect game tonight was a travesty. I really feel for the player, but I also feel for the ump. That is the kind of perfectly normal human mistake that can haunt a guy and I hope it doesn't. It sounds like he felt terrible about it and even though I had a head asplode moment when I first saw my final thought was "whaddayagonnado?"

- celts lakers tonight is going to be epic. besides all of the teams history I'm looking forward to jesus shuttlesworth (ray allen) shooting sneers at kobe bryant. I'm not a kobe fan and ray might be my favorite celtic so I hope he has a big series. btw ray also perfectly predicted the kobe-tantrum mid 2000s years before it happened (which also set off their feud):

After the Shaquille O'Neal was traded to Miami, Allen was asked about whether Kobe Bryant could lead the Lakers back to the Finals:

He feels like he needs to show the league, that he is better without Shaq, that he can win without Shaq. That he can still average 30 points and he can still carry the load on this team. The point production is not so much what people will look at, because (Tracy) McGrady did it in Orlando and Allen (Iverson) did it in Philly. But can you win championships? Can he make everybody better? He has the talent. But is his attitude going to sometimes allow him to take the backseat and let Lamar Odom shine and let Caron Butler have his nights and bring those big guys along? If Kobe thinks he needs 2-1/2 good players to be a legitimate playoff contender or win a championship in about a year or two he will be calling out to (Lakers owner) Jerry Buss that we need some help in here, or trade me. We'll all be saying we told you so when he says that.


laters

me and 3 of the cruise bros being idiots on the cruise:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

quick hitters

still running bad and it really started to get to me last week. I definitely started playing bad and threw up some hands on the forums to confirm basically most of the regs I respect disagreed with my lines in every hand I posted and they typically disagreed exactly how I would expect them to. In general I'm just making weird leveling decisions and doing stupid things at the tables that I wouldn't do when I have full confidence. Not surprising considering I was in the middle of one of my largest monetary downswings ever. because of that I pretty much stayed away from the blog and the tables this weekend. here are some quick updates.

- exciting weekend of sports in boston all though there wasn't a ton of success. I got to go to red sox-yankees on friday night with great seats down the first base line thanks to a good friend who sold me his tickets for face. much thanks to him and it was a fun game watching the sox finally get the bats going. also been able to see both bruins and celtics home playoff games in the last few weeks. So its been a good sports month and I'm hoping it continues.

- went to a friends wedding in Boston this weekend. It was a great time and they really did it right. Great food, open bar, bluegrass band at the reception, and I got to school some people at cornhole. They are a fantastic couple and katy put it best when she said that she was really really happy for them because as great as they are individually they both are even better together. nothing but the best to kim and brent and congratulations.

- my arm is messed up. I've got tendonitis in my rotator cuff and its made prepping for the season a huge pain. basically my arm really realy hurts at the beginning of every bullpen and its a struggle to find some kind of comfort on the mound. I'm working hard to get some control and really maintain velocity. and I still haven't settled into a comfortable spot with my off speed pitches. the only good news is that I'm starting to get my slider back although I'm not sure if it's game ready yet.

- I've been playing some Rush poker on FTP again. when I want to get in a quick 30 minute session while waiting for katy, or during half time of a game I'm just firing up 4 tables of rush and getting a quick grind in. I think it isn't inconcievable that my winrate is something like 5ptbb/100 at rush since the regs are not very good and there are a lot of fish (is 1/2 NL so the stakes are quite a bit lower than I'm used to) and considering the hands/hour I see I think it's a actually a pretty good way to make some money here and there. I wouldn't want to make it my primary game, but it is a nice change of pace.

thats about it for now. hopefully next update will have me running good again

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

running bad

haven't been updating because I'm running like crap right now. and it's somewhat frustrating. I know overall I run great so I really have nothing to complain about, and noone likes hearing bad beat posts so I tend to just not blog when I'm not winning.

the poker gods still love me and they treat me good so no complaints from this guy. just need to get in more hours on my grind, especially now that I have a few weeks with no traveling.

going on a cruise on the 21st, but I'm in boston till then and going to be trying to get in an average of 5k hands a day until then. wish me luck.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

biggest comeback of the year

so this was a grind. Almost 7 hours and almost 7k hands. At the low point I was down about $6k. Finished up $75 and just immediately decided I was done. It was a gross session of a lot of coolers, and I had a rare moment of tilt. I don't think I played particularly bad even when I tilted, just I realized that I wasn't giving every situation maximum focus.

I guess it's an accomplishment in a way.



first baseball scrimmage of the year in a little bit. I got run cause I'm going to be late.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Now when the sun come up...I'll be there to say what up

up up & away - kid cudi

I had a great time at my 5th year college reunion over the weekend. it was great to see some of my best friends that I hadn't seen much of in almost half a decade. Especially to see everyone without the stress but with a ton of free time to relax and hang out. I wish I had been able to make it in for thursday night but tax week is always stressful. uncle sam got a huge chunk of change from me which is a double edged sword. the upside is that I am extremely blessed to have had the financial success that I've had over the last year. the downside is that so much of the money that I earned is going to a government that I believe is rife with bureaucratic inefficiencies. but enough tax and politics talk.

I've put in three sessions since being back and I'm definitely running well. I also think I've taken advantage of a few days away from the table to find some mistakes that I had gradually developed. it's easy to develop bad habits over time, and sometimes just stepping back and trying some new things or watching the game a little closer can reveal some mistakes. I also think I'm running pretty good right now, so thanks again to the poker gods.

last but not least someone is apparently opening my mail. I've gotten two pieces of mail from american express the last two days with offers for free airline tickets if I signed up for something. Both had been opened. I'm not sure if something had been removed, but as far as I can tell there was nothing of value for the person to take.

however being a past victim of identity theft I'm a little disturbed about this. I guess my only recourse is to go down to the post office and file a report. if anyone has had to deal with this in the past please post a comment with any advice or thoughts.

thats all for now. just got back from a late night bullpen. next update will probably have some baseball info.

later

Thursday, April 15, 2010

good session, must read article, and Gus Johnson

Had a really good session. Felt like I played well and had very good results. Clearly the poker gods were smiling on me.

but the real reason for the post is a couple of links. first is an interview with shane battier discussing things to do that could improve the NBA. It's really a must read as the guy is ridiculously smart and has some fantastic ideas. Frankly after reading it I just want to see all of his suggestions immediately implemented.

http://www.nba.com/rockets/news/the_think_tank_shane_battier_2010_04_13.html

the second link is the gus johnson soundboard. if you haven't messed with it I highly recommend it. just plan on losing a few minutes of your day.

http://www.gusjohnsongetsbuckets.com

enjoy

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm on the pursuit of happiness and I know... everything that shine ain't always gonna be gold. I'll be fine once I get it, I'll be good.

(pursuit of happiness by kid cudi)

its been a weird 6 weeks.

I'm going to my 5th year college reunion on friday. So getting on that flight will be the 4th time in 6 weeks that I've been out of town for 3 or more days. Honestly I'm pretty exhausted with flying.

Combined with getting the flu a few weeks ago and I'm really behind schedule for my play this year. I'm also behind on prep for baseball this summer. I threw a pen last night and felt pretty good about where I'm at considering I'm almost a month behind schedule. I'm just going to have to crank up the prep and get caught up.

Also trying to turn my normal 2-3k hand grind sessions into 5-6k hand grind sessions. I figure if I can make that my norm for the next couple of months I'll get closer to where I wanted to be in terms of hands played at this time of year.

Also had the crazy up and down that was a week in which my sister got married, duke won the national championship, and then my grandfather passed. His death wasn't a shock as I've watched his body slowly deteriorate for the last few years. And with all of the travel and lack of sleep when the news hit me I was just kind of numb. I felt the loss more when I was home with family, especially my mom and uncle. But I'm not sure it has really hit me. He was such a wonderful man, a role model, and one of the important supports in life. It's hard to imagine that he's really gone. I guess what's really weird is to think that I've been operating for a few years now essentially without him because his body just couldn't consistently support him.

I'm not really sure where all of the above is going, but I can't deny that it feels somewhat cathartic to write some things down. there are a lot more thoughts I have on my grandfather. And I've definitely reflected on a few things since he's passed. but some of these things are personal and certainly don't belong in a blog. especially if I can't quite wrap my head around them.

I think this is definitely a loss that I'll feel more in the near future than I do right now. The combination of being emotionally and physically exhausted by the time I flew back to WV (where I just flown from 48 hours before) and not being shocked with the news definitely somewhat limited the emotional penetration. I think I'm going to find thanksgiving, christmas, etc much more difficult.

I know this hasn't been much of a pick me up. and this might be a weird time to end a post, but that's what's happening.

hopefully I'll have a big session this evening and that will give me something to post about.

later

jim

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Great Team

"What the hell," Krzyzewski said with a sigh, "it worked." He looked happy and dazed and proud and like he was not entirely sure what had happened. This victory takes his already legendary career one more step up -- now he has four championships, more than his mentor Bob Knight and as many as Kentucky icon Adolph Rupp. Krzyzewski did not want to talk about all that ... he said reminiscing about his own achievements is for another time, once he's retired, once he can look back.

What Krzyzewski did want to talk about is that, after the game, he went into the locker room and looked hard at the players on his team. There was all sorts of emotion. They all realized that they just had won one of the great games ever. They all realized that for the rest of their lives they would be connected by this game and this championship and that final heave that did not go in. And, as everyone quieted down, Krzyzewski said to them in his craggy voice the words he had been waiting all year to say.

He said: "You are a great team."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/joe_posnanski/04/06/duke.title/index.html

Monday, April 5, 2010

This is it...

Final game of the year, and I couldn't be more pumped. I just finished watching the Butler-MSU game so I'll try to compile my thoughts and give my take on the championship game.

First off the most interesting thing to me was how unimpressed I was with both teams. Frankly I didn't think it was a particularly well played game and I don't think that either of those teams could have beat the best 4-5 teams in the country if they brought that level. I was much more impressed with Butler against Syracuse and MSU against Tennessee because both teams offense looked much much better in those games. That is likely due to the fact that both teams play good enough defense that they dragged the game to a crawl. But even if we assume that is the case I still am shocked that Butler was able to win the game with almost no offense besides the free throw line for almost 10 minutes of the second half. They make little to no effort to rebound on offense, despite being a very good defensive rebounding team. Butler really put all of their eggs into one basket: defense. They prevent nearly all transition points, they challenge every shot, and they help very well on drivers.

Frankly they look a lot (and I mean a whole lot) like the Purdue team we faced two rounds ago. They have a couple of skilled scorers but really don't shoot the basketball well. They play tenacious defense in your face on the perimeter and really stifle guards. They try to force turnovers and turn them into transition buckets. And they don't have a lot of size but attempt to fend off post play by fronting and preventing passes into the post. In fact the simulations of the game give really similar results to purdue with the difference being that Hayward is a better player than anyone on the boilermakers, and Butler does a much better job of not turning the ball over.

So I think it's going to be another ugly, slow, struggle of a game. Fans of high flying transition basketball are probably going to be turned off. But if you like the drama of games within 10 pts you'll probably be happy. Even if Duke is outplaying the bulldogs I doubt they'll get out to more than a 10 pt lead. Unless we shoot the ball like we have over the last 3 halves of basketball. If duke is rebounding and shooting like that this game could get out of hand. Simply put Butler can't win a game in the 70s, and they are going to have trouble winning a game in the 60s.

The key matchup everyone is looking for is obviously hayward vs singler. Hayward is a really impressive player and remarkably similar to single both in body type and skills. Hayward is probably a little stronger and has a little more vertical game when attacking the basket, but Singler definitely is a better shooter and has an edge in D and rebounding. I expect both players to play well, but Butler needs Hayward to really have a big game since he'll likely control 40% or more of the teams offensive possessions. If he's shutdown their in trouble, whereas Duke still has a chance if singler has an off night.

I think the other interesting matchup will be Jukes and Howard against Zoubek, Thomas and the Plumlees. Frankly this is a really big mismatch in Duke's favor. Duke's big guys have a significant advantage in size, athleticism, and fouls to give. They should be able to get a lot of O-rebounds and either kick it out for 3s or get relatively easy putbacks. Howard needs to try and stay out of foul trouble so that the can create some offense, but honestly I think Butler might be better when they go small. At least with a small lineup they can go for steals, transitions baskets, and try to get the Duke bigs in foul trouble while attacking the rim. If they try to match size with us Howard and Jukes are going to have to play at a level that we've yet to see from them in the tournament. I don't think Butler's coach Brad Stevens is expecting that, so I would guess he'll go small often.

I do think that we won't see the devils have the same kind of game from behind the arc. Butler does too good of a job of contesting 3 pointers and our guys typically try not to take contested 25 footers. I think the game is going to be slow (think less than 60 possessions) and you'll see both teams working deep into the shot clock. Duke can have a good offensive game by working high post screens, getting offensive rebounds, and taking advantage of their size when attacking the rim. If Duke scores more than 1.15 pts per possession they'll very likely win the game. It's a very interesting matchup because Duke has (and has had all year) the most efficient offense in the country. And Butler has one of the most efficient Ds and has been outstanding all tourney.

On Butler's offensive end they must avoid turnovers. Each possession is important to them because they are typically one shot and out. They need to find their stroke from behind the arc (extremely difficult against the best 3 point defense in the country) and they need Veasley, Nored, and Hayward to attack the glass and get the Duke bigs moving their feet. They also need to attempt more FTs than Duke because that is one of the ways that they can overcome a poor shooting night.

It should be a good game. I expect a slow, low-scoring defensive struggle. If Duke plays up to its capability it could turn ugly, if Butler plays to its capability Duke could be struggling to score and trailing most of the second half. My prediction is a close game most of the way, but Duke's offense and rebounding will prove too much late. I see the devils winning something like 70-62. But if Butler keeps us under 65 pts it's anyone's game and I'm sure I'll be pacing the apartment at the end of the game.

go devils and lets bring one home to cameron.

getting ready to watch butler game, my take to follow

didn't really get to watch much of MSU-Butler the other night (I was too busy enjoying my sisters wedding reception). but they're replaying it on CBSCS in a few minutes so I'll get a chance to watch. I'll be giving my breakdown afterwards.

Wasn't able to make it to indy for a couple of reasons some standard and some personal. But needless to say I'll be just as excited to watch the game with katy tonight. I'm planning on screaming and fist pumping at the TV all night, and hopefully the team can continue the excellent play that I saw on saturday night. If Duke plays like that there is no team in the country that can beat them. Butler has been proving people wrong (myself included) for 5 games now so I don't expect an easy game.

back with a detailed analysis in a few.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

my thoughts on the game

much thanks to ken pomeroy and basketball prospectus. They really do the best most comprehensive breakdowns of the games and teams.

Both teams are coming into the game leading the tourney in rebounding margin, and especially offensive rebounding margin. This obviously makes rebounding the focal point and I think you'll hear the announcer allude to this fact repeatedly. The advantage Duke has on the boards is size and numbers. Duke is bigger on the blocks, and can bring in more big athletes to go after the boards. The helps as we can be more aggressive on 50/50 balls without fear of foul trouble. WVU definitely won't back down, but whether the game is called tight or the players are given free reign I think a physical rebounding struggle leaves duke with a slight edge. A lot of this is predicated on both Plumlee's giving us solid minutes as they did against both Purdue and Baylor. Both have improved their defensive discipline and help defense throughout the season and that will be very important when they see the floor to spell Thomas and Zoubek.

I think the second big factor will be mismatches, and this is a much tougher comparison. WVU's two biggest threats (imo) are Kevin Jones and Desean Butler (not Ebanks). Jones is a problem because he's the same athletic play away from or near the basket type of forward that gave us problems against Baylor. The difference is he can also shoot the 3. In the Baylor game I thought Zoubek should have sloughed off of Acy and Udoh much more and tried to remain under the basket where he could be more effective on help defense as well as avoid some of his reaching and late-hacking fouls. However if he gets matched up with Jones he'll have to follow him out to the arc as the guy is too good of a shooter to be left alone. The Plumlees and Thomas are much better matchups in this department and I expect Coach K to do his best to avoid having Zoubek chase these athletic forwards 25 ft from the basket.

Butler is arguably the biggest scoring threat on the floor, and I think K will put singler on him hoping to slow him down like he did against Dunn last week. Really the only other choice is Lance Thomas, but that leaves singler playing under the basket a lot on defense and Lance less available for rebounds. Scheyer isn't quick enough and Smith isn't big enough, but Singler should be ok if he can avoid reaching and picking up early fouls like he did last week. I think it is very likely his wrist was reinjured in the Purdue game (his shot has been a wreck ever since he fell on it in the second half) so I wouldn't be surprised to see him putting more of a focus on defense and rebounding since his shot may not be falling. I think his offensive impotency in the Baylor game affected his focus on the defensive end, but I don't think that will be a problem this week. Also it will be incumbent for him to attack the basket when given a step on offense to both create space for himself on the perimeter in the future, give Duke a chance to get Butler a few fouls, and to create offensive put-back opportunities for all four of our big men.

One thing I don't expect is to see Joe Mazzulla have the kind of impact he did two years ago or last week in the UK game. While I think Mazzulla has a really quick and strong move to the basket, he's going to face a more disciplined and focused help defense effort this week from Duke. Duke's team two years ago wasn't really comparable to this group now, so we really can't draw many conclusions for that. But Mazulla isn't a huge threat from the outside, and if Smith stays in front of him and forces him right I think he can to a large extent neutralize his offense. I think last week's game against UK was more of a testament to John Wall's undisciplined defense than to Mazulla's potency as a scorer.

As for Duke's offense I think it comes down to taking more shots, and making open looks. WVU is a fantastic defensive team, but whether they play zone or man-man we're going to get open looks. I expect Huggins will play more man than zone as he won't want duke to be getting the open 3s that he was contest to let UK shoot. At the same time the man will allow our screens to be more effective and also give us a better chance of getting them in foul trouble as we attack the glass. Expect this game to look more like the Purdue game (somewhat depending on the mood of the refs) than the Baylor game. Except WVU has some tougher scorers than a Hummel-less Purdue.

But back to the main point. As ludicrous as it seems to imply that the team that shoots better is going to win, I think there is a good chance that is the case. In the first half of WVU-UK, WVU stayed in the contest thanks in large part to one of their best outside shooting performances in the year. That success lead to a disheartened and undisciplined UK defense in the second half. I think you've got to put the blame squarely on Calipari for UK's failure to make basic defensive adjustments (never mind jacking up 36 3s with a team that was full of bad shooters), and I don't expect you'll see Duke make those mistakes. So in a game in which neither team will be touting their scoring prowess, the team that has the better shooting night is likely to win. That is both the beauty and madness of the NCAA tourney. It's one and done. Any team can get hot at the right time and negate a large portion of their opponents edge.

Duke's only chance if they find themselves shooting like we did for the first 3 tourney games is to look to zoubek, thomas, and the plumlees to crash the glass. It is very likely we could come up with close to 50% of our missed shots as offensive rebounds. And I think we may need to get over 40% in order to have a good chance to win. Nolan Smith as also got to be strong off of the dribble because Scheyer and Singler will have some trouble getting their first step by the quick and strong WVU man defense. If WVU decides to go zone we'll have more opportunities for offensive rebounds, but we'll also need to make shots because we'll certainly see open looks from behind the arc.

Final thoughts, Duke is the better team and has a slight advantage. If the game plays out as expected it should be a grind the whole way and a late Duke run along with good FT shooting down the stretch could be the difference. Much like the Baylor and Purdue games. I think neither team gets more than about 70, and I think Duke is about a 3 pt favorite. But with those expectations this game could easily be won by either team, and I don't think Duke is much more than 60-65% to win.

This should be the toughest most complete opponent either team has faced all year. Both teams are coming in playing their best basketball of the year, and I expect a great game albeit maybe not a pretty one. I think my devils have a slight edge in size, depth, offensive weapons, and coaching. Overall I think those traits carry the day against WVU's quicker and more offensively dangerous forwards.

go devils and here's hoping I get to write another of these before monday.

later

piz