Thursday, July 30, 2009

Suck my dick National Media fags

"Only in Philadelphia could a team trade for a Cy Young Award winner and have its fans say: "You got the wrong one."

This quote is the first sentence from the story printed on the ESPN website about the Phil's acquiring Cliff Lee.

This is yet another example of the some asshole cunt face, know nothing hack piece of journalistic shit that has no fucking idea what he is talking about other than just following everyone else because he can't come up with his own tag line fucking pric shit head fuck your dead mother in the ass cunt cock licker.

Yeah, it steams me a little to read/ hear this crap from some douchebag who knows nothing about philadelphia other than the group think that has gone on throughout the national media for years.

Let me tell you this... Most Philadelphia fans are floored by this trade. The consensus through talk radio and folks talking about it in the bars is that this trade is 1000x's better than what Halladay would have cost. The fans like it! WHY?? Because Philadelphia fans are the smartest fans in the world. They actual read about their teams. Take that much interest in the teams future. STAND BY THEIR FUCKING TEAMS!

"only in philadelphia"... I'll give ya Only in Philadelphia. How about only in Philadelphia are the fans able to recognize the genius of this trade, and the restraint it took not to dust off the best prospects they had for some god like mutant that has as much a chance to help us win the series as Lee does.

How about that the only negative shit I heard about the Lee trade came from METS fans laughing about how we got a guy who was 7-9!!! How about a guy who's run support was less than his ERA. How about a guy who is 12-2 against the NL. How about a guy who has pitched two complete games his last two outings? See Philly fans know this. Mets fans, not so much.

How about only in Philadelphia can you get your fucking throat ripped out of your neck for being a cock nosed cunt bag??? HUH?!?!? How 'bout them apples you stinkin' piece of mother fucking shit. Suck it all you fags! See you in October when all the haters can say is "WAAHHHH YOU LOST 10,000 games!! WAAAAAHHHHH!. And I'll be sitting there with my friends and colleagues laughing at your hate while we enjoy a realistic attempt at back to back World Series Championships! Oh and across the street the Eagles are tearing apart your suck ass Giants/ Bills/ Redskins/ whoever shit hole piece of shit poser town you come from while on their way to being 6-0.

Suck it FUCKERS!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No Halladay.... Lee

The Phils have scratched Lou Marson, Donald, and Carrasco from their minor league game tonight. Apparently a deal has gone down for Cliff Lee with the Indians. I think Knapp is going with those 4 players as well for Lee.

I'm not exactly sure how to feel about this yet.

The chance at Halladay is gone. I want to finish writing this up and will do so shortly.


OK, now that I"ve finished what I have been doing I can write this up and try to make some sense of it. If there is any to be had. And I am going to take this from the stand point of the organization and not a fan.

I think Halladay is an auto grab for whoever Toronto wanted. There's so much upside to him over the next two years it's ridiculous. But let's look at what they wanted for him. Happ and Drabek being the deciding factors. The other two are insignifcant for this discussion.

The organization has stated time and time again that Drabek is an untouchable. Should Halladay have changed their mind? The fan side of me says absolutely. But let's look at the Phil's situation.

And let me say there is no way I believe that the organization sat there and said "NO WAY are we giving up Drabek for anyone.". I firmly believe that they tortured themselves over this decision, and I can be pretty sure that there was much infighting about letting go of Drabek.

So let's look at some assumptions. They give Drabek Happ and whoever to Toronto (whoever being Brown, their best fielding prospect) in order to get Doc. That leaves us where in the rotation? Who starts 5th?

You basically have Halladay Hamels Blanton Moyer Pedro

Now you have Lee Hamels Happ Blanton Moyer / Pedro with Pedro probably going into the bull pen... and you still keep Drabek.

NOT TO MENTION that you keep LEE away from the Dodgers! Which is a very poignant statement when discussing WHY we settle for Lee over Halladay.

I'm not defending the fact that they wouldn't give up Drabek for Halladay. Christ, you have Charlie and Gillick screaming for it to get done. But from an ownership perspective and what would be given up in the long run, versus what you already have in offense and talent, adding and keeping seems better than adding and giving. Getting Lee for what they got is almost retarded anyway.

Marson isn't all that great. Donald has zero chance of seeing any time with Utley there, Carrasco has potential but has pretty much shown nothing when it counted. I like his size at 6'3" and his velo, but still pretty much a stiff. Knapp is unproven and behind Drabek. I actually like the deal and how it sets up the Phils for the rest of this year and moving forward.

Now all of this is under the assumption that the deal as I have written it goes forward. I won't be happy if Happ is inculded, but it doesn't sound like he is. As of now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Phillies Trade Hypotheticals

It was reported over the weekend that the Phils countered the Jays first offer for Halladay (Drabek, Happ, and Brown) with Happ, Carrasco, Taylor, and Jason Donald.

The Jays then went on a league rampage talking to other clubs such as the Angels and Dodgers (again), the Rangers, and one other team that is so insignificant I can't recall.

They're seemingly insignificant for several reasons. Each will have their own issue in signing Halladay, from not having enough cap space to not really having the talent that they are either willing to part with, or don't even have for Toronto to be satisfied with.

Toronto has stated that they are fine with not trading him, but I just don't see it. An arm like that without the surrounding talent is pretty much worthless to an organization who seems to be very interested in long term success.

So that leaves this weekends happenings with a huge question mark. Who is posturing? Of course the fans and overall baseball theorists believe that Halladays worth to the Phils is great enough to give away whatever is asked for. I think that Torontos demands are reasonable. I also think that the Phils counter was more than reasonable.

So that leaves us with the supposition that both sides are doing nothing more than posturing. Of course Buster Olney of ESPN's MLB Tonight reported that it got "nasty". Which I highly doubt, but he needed to report something to show he was in "the know".

My guess is that both of these teams understands what they are going to get/ give for this ridiculous talent, and something will pop on Thursday.

Toronto is taking it's stance because who knows what retarded thing could happen before then, either forcing the Phillies hand to give what they requested or getting what the Phillies countered. Halladay wont stand for not being traded and that will likely make for a rough end of season for Toronto so they want to deal him now.

It was reported that the Jays sent their scouts to the IronPigs (Phils 3A team) to watch Carrasco pitch. Unfortunately he gave up 6 runs in 6 innings that day and the scouts left unimpressed. Heck, even Glavin, Maddux, and Clemens have been shelled at some point. That and the fact that you're looking at something that you don't want to leaves a lot of expectations on what you are looking at. When he doesn't perform, it's an easy assumption. The fact that they went to look at him (again) so close to a possible trade is an indication that they really want to trade Halladay to the Phils. Why? Because the only value he has to them right now is trade value, and they know that the Phils are the only team that has enough to make that trade.

My guess is that you will see Halladay in a Phillies uniform by the weekend and Drabek, Happ, and if not Brown, then Taylor and Donald sent off to Toronto. Here's to wishful thinking :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

November 9 comment follow ups

I got some comments on the Nov 9 post that I wanted to address. Nothing special or Profound but I have nothing else to write. It's dreary here, Friday, and I have 113 kids running around. So I may as well do something :)

Hoy responded that because Ivey is at the final table this year, it will add auto growth to the ME in 2010.

I have heard a lot of reasons why those who play the "circuit" don't play the Main. One of the biggest is the fact that it's so big that the main becomes a luck box tournament, regardless of it's structure, and why would they waste 10k (call it a cop out if you want). I can see that point of view chasing guys back when Ivey is sitting there this year. It is afterall the Main Event. But those players are few and far between. And any increase in playership next year will have a number of factors to point to. I doubt one man will have any effect on a notable increase. but I get his point.

Bam wrote a whole post with his response. I answered in his comments, but for the long an short of it he referred to NASCAR being born out of the illegal booze runners. It's a valiant attempt to show why an immoral activity can grow into a mainstream sport. But there are two issues with that. One, being illegal doesn't necessarily mean it's immoral. Alcohol has never been immoral in our country (for whatever reason). But I answered in his post so go read.

Gorilla stated that high line sponsorship could be attained with high level stars. He compared it with Woods and Federer. Again, it's not so much about the pitchman, moreso with the audience he is selling to, and the vertical he is pitching from.

Baywolfe makes a great point as well by noting that Schulman is there also. Anyone paying attention long enough to poker knows who Schulman is. This could be the worst thing for the WSOP. He has claimed that he will throw the bracelet out if he wins in protest of Harrah's. Now, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Sure. But the firestorm this will cause... The whole focus of someone winning the World Championship will be taken away and be put on a pissing match between the WSOP and Cardplayer. Yeah, that oughta be GREAT! for poker.

With all of the crap poker has to wade through to gain some sort of credibility with not only mom and dad America, but with companies who would want nothing more than to be able to attract that whole 50 million person pool who play (with every conceivable demographic to shop their wares without the risk of alienating their brand because they are promoting gambling), you would expect a hero, or Ivey in this case to be the Knight in Shining Armor. I just don't see it.

So for now, players will stick with sponosrhips from online sites, Corem watches (as Doc said), and stupid energy drinks no one consumes.

Poker is a paradox. After a while, it's not just about the money. Everyone wants to play and win big dollars. But it's not enough to just win the money. They want to be able to have won it the right way. Does it really matter? Ask Jamie Gold.

I reckon that having Ivey there gives credence to that thought. Therefore, by default, being good for poker. I agree.

But I think I've been clear that being good for poker is one thing. Having an effect that will increse numbers, bring poker mainstream (or even acceptable as a mainstream contest), or even massively change the face of how poker is viewed in the long run will be obtained by having Ivey at this final table is just not going to happen. It's going to take a whole lot more.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ivey in the November nine... and why you're wrong

When the final nine were announced for the Main Event this year, and Phil Ivey's name was listed, people everywhere went ape shit. There were blog posts, Facebook status updates, and tweets representing the kind of hope that everyone believes will come of this because one of the worlds best players is there.

I posted that they were all wrong. That I would offer a rebuttal telling why they are wrong. My point is that their perspective is wrong. I am speaking to the folks in the business... players, reps, etc. Of course Ivey making it to the final nine is awesome. As Waffles said in his post, it gives good players, or players who have at least played the game while actually thinking about how it's played, hope that skill will eventually win out over douchebaggery drycockedness button smashing, limp calling, over-shoving retardedness.

So yes... in that sense, Ivey making the final nine is good. But not necessarily good for poker. Poker doesn't need to get any better. It's already there. What is good for poker? More players? Ivey making the final nine isn't going to do that. Respect for the players? Ivey making the final nine will only win him respect. Better Structures or lesser fees? Again, ,zero effect.

As a matter of fact, the only winners I see out of this whole mess is going to be ESPN. And that's a big fat maybe! Because guys like me and Hoy who watch poker on TV very seldom might actually watch this time around. Because Ivey is there. Ratings are sure to go up.

The whole table is actually pretty darned good. With the exception of Darvin Moon (who seems to be playing just a very aggresive game) everyone has proven to some extent some very high level of skill.

But this avoids my point.

One professional player posted on Facebook that he guaranteed "IVEY CRUSHES A MAINSTREAM SPONSOR" for making the November nine. My response was, I'll lay 3 to 1 that he doesn't.

Again, you have to define what is good for poker. In the industry, for players, reps, and publicicsts, what's good for poker is sponosrship. There seems to be this anticipation that Coke or Pledge, or Citibank is going to show up some day and pick out a player and offer him millions to endorse their product. I will tell you that in today's climate, as it stands right now... unless it changes, that will never happen. Ever.

It's a shame as well. If you think about it, Ivey, Helmuth, Lederer, Scotty, Jesus, Lindgren, Negraneu all have gotten more TV time than say Tiger Woods. The problem is what kind of TV time are they getting. Of course you can deduce that Poker is still gambling, and what type of reputable company that sells billions in goods and services would want to risk their consumer base by sponsoring gambling?

On top of that, you have to look at the players. Poker gets a ton of exposure. Even when TV ratings started to decline, poker still had a lot of exposure. The WPT, even though it has waned the last few years is still on a lot. The WSOP televises 4 months of new programming leading up to stupid prizes, and then reruns the rest of the year. High Stakes poker is a huge show with exceptional ratings. But it's the poker that is highlighted. Not so much the players.

Add to that the expense of sponsoring one specific player, and have him go on a bad run and you get zero return. None.

Poker players were told stories of paradise when the WSOP got those retarded ratings in 2003 and everyone and their mother started putting up poker shows. It was all about who was going to get the biggest piece first. Success meant TV time, and TV time meant endorsements. But with the exception of online sites throwing them a red name, or a couple of patches and some rake back and even an hourly rate, the promise of Michael Jordan money never came. And will never come. Yes, poker players will forever have to make their money the hard way. They'll have to earn it.

That being said, let's assume that Hersheys Chocolate takes a liking ot our boy Phil and decides to think about signing him up for a deal. He's not necessarily the world's best pitchman. He's no Billy Mays. As a matter of fact, I would reckon that he wouldn't want anything to do with it. Now, no one is going to look a gift horse in the mouth, but for the time he will have to spend, and the change in lifestyle he will have to make in order to get the type of dollars that players think they are entitled to, I would think Ivey would tell them very plainly to go fuck themselves.

So back to what's good for poker? As it relates to us as players and the game itself? Respect? The whole gambling monacher to be lifted? The fact that it will be seen as a game of skill moreso than luck?

Does Ivey sitting at the final table of the Main Event change any of that? I don't think so. Sure, he's a skilled player, but so is Helmuth. This is why I think Helmuth is one of the smartest guys going in poker. He realized that making money in poker, besides playing was going to take place in the poker arena only. He invested wisely in poker related companies. He didn't sit back and wait, or even complain about the lack of mainstream sponsorship that never came. He went out and created his own brand and made his money that way.

So no... Ivey will not be the savior of poker for making a final table at the Main event. Even if he does win. Which I hope he does. But for that matter, poker doesn't need saving. Sure it has it's problems. But neither Ivey or God himself making the final table of the most revered tournament in the world will have any effect on how this game is perceived by the non playing public, mainstream sponsors, or those that have enough influence to offer players a better game. Poker is and always will be about the money. From all sides. There's no one out there that isn't focused on sucking every last penny out of poker. Whether it be the players, the sites, or the casinos. And no one is bigger than that.

Look, I get as a player why you would think that a big named player, and possibly the most feared player ever making the final 9 is nice. But it sure as hell isn't going to do anything to improve poker as we know it. Not one I-oda! If you think Ivey feels some sort of kinship to other players, or some sort of responsibility to the poker community for being in what could be the largest spot light of his career... you're smokin' crack. He won't be caring about what others think of poker. He'll be thinking about 8 million. And that's that.

UIGEA Reversal Market effects

How does this thing pan out for us (reads us, not U.S.) players when the UIGEA finally reverses and allows the U.S. Government to stick their hands in it and take whatever they want?

One can only guess. So that's what I am going to do. Guess. But mine will be more of an educated guess. Again, these are all suppositions from my stand point so feel free to disagree. This is why I am doing this. I want feedback to incite dialogue so we can hash this out and get ready for an online ass raping. Because that's what I think is really coming. An ass raping of consumers and sites alike.

So where to begin?

For one, I think you have to decide how the market will look. That is, who will be allowed to compete. I've already posted that Harrah's has been pretty active and through a little persuasion it seems the government may preclude sites that have already admitted guilt, or have been recognized as "guilty" of operating illegally from even being allowed to play in the what will be a new sandbox of legalized U.S. online gaming.

I'm not sure this will actually happen. After all, the largest site pre UIGEA, Party Poker would be on that list. And I'm not sure the Government would preclude a site that has the capability of generating players (hence dollars) when they could realistically be the largest provider of tax revenue. We'll have to see how that pans out. But for now, let's assume that will happen.

If that is the case you can forget about Party, any 888 site, and Titan. These sites have been pretty succesful in the international markets since not being able to compete in the US. However, I don't want to micro manage this post, so I will focus on what could happen given the assumption that Harrahs will be stubborn and protect their brand, hence what they think is the GOD of all poker.

Assuming they will have the largest presence, it won't preclude other brick and mortar's from having their own sites. Other casino's with popular live poker rooms will also get in on the action. Foxwood's, The Borgata, the Bicycle, and possibly even the Commerce Casino. I would guess that some of these would most likely partner with an established site already to save on overhead. That is if the government allows it. There also has to be consideration for the media sites like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo. Time will tell how that will shape up. I'm still not sure if they come flying out of the gates wanting to provide gambling to their customer base. It may take some of their main stream advertisers away from their sites. Afterall, Coke andPepsi still have a consumer base to protect, and promoting gambling isn't the best way to do that.

But how will all these new sites effect online play other than being able to just play? What promotions will there be? Will things change at all?

Obviously it will bring new players into the frey. New, and more players will equal a feeding frenzy from those that can play, and those that think because they have played that they automatically are pre qualified as a shark.

Either way the waters will certainly get deeper. From a standpoint of being able to play, deposit and withdrawl money, and shed the notion that you are breaking the law from non-players, this will be a win from every stand point.

You will pay taxes on those monies now. Most likely from withdrawls. The sites will issue you some sort of tax form, just like when you win at a live casino. But seeing that the average withdrawal is a lot smaller than the threshhold for brick and mortar issues of those forms, I have to believe deposits will be taxed in some way. Only time will tell.

Don't think the sites aren't going to pass off their tax liabilities onto you as well. That can only come in the form of bonuses, rakeback, etc. It will be sad to see how that pans out. Of course competition will be fierce so maybe not (I'm just thinking outloud).

I believe that all of these things will have a very big effect on the industry. As more players flock to the now legal online game (and I recognize that online poker was not illegal, just the wiring of monies for the purpose as gaming), Brick and mortar casinos will have to compete more and more.

You will see things such as comps and credit when you play an online site for their brick and mortar counterpart. You will also see more brand protection. What this means is that you will no longer be able to qualify, or satellite into the WSOP off of the Foxwoods site. Unless of course Foxwoods pays Harrah's a fee for use of the WSOP brand. But I highly doubt that is going to happen at all. At least for quite some time. Harrah's is going to do everything they can to protect, and maximize any revenue off of that brand.

They will almost certainly utilize that brand to hoard players to their new site. You can guarantee that. There will be no more, "what's good for poker" actions. It will be more of a "what's good for our bottom line".

Because of this, the online competitors that don't have brick and mortar places (just yet) will do everything possible to offer the craziest games around. Stars WCOOP and Tilt's FTOPS will rival the real World Series. They will have events in place which will be highly marketed such as the first $50million guarantee. Ridiculous events that will only be feasible from the huge participation that only online sites can accomodate and offer.

The WSOP may even at some point become supplanted as the recognized World Championship of Poker. Other brands will come about as well. The WPT may become stronger, or just bought out and renamed.

Online sites will open their own poker rooms, or at least sponsor them with naming rights (think the state of PA and their impending law allowing poker rooms). The Pinnacle Casinos Poker Stars Poker Room in King of Prussia, PA is not that far off from reality.

You will also see a whole lot of more tournaments falling below the $3k entry mark. That is already, and has been happening for the last 2 years. But as casinos try to cater more and more to that new player, the buy-ins for Championhsip events will become increasingly smaller.

There are a ton of possibilities that will come about. The maket will definately be redefined. And it will happen in a relatively long but steady time. There won't be any surprises. In hind sight there will be some shockers, but everyone will see it them coming.

The professional players that have pined for years over a percieved right of sponsorship will jump from site to site. Deals will come and go. Quickly and painfully. Some will be deserved and those top players (maybe 15) will have a very nice future secured. But most of them will go the way of their profession. That is to play. They will quickly realize that this "main stream" market they've been told about, or have been talking about really doesn't want them as spokespeople. Their hopes will be snuffed out like an abandoned campfire in the rain and their sense of survival will turn them back to the tables.

With this, I am heading into my next post. Which is why I will stop here. That next post has to do with all of the tweets and articles about how Phil Ivey being at the final table will be such a boost for poker.

I'll tell you why it's not as hot as you think it is. And what to really expect.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

November Nine... teen billion!

I have read some opinions on why Ivey making the final table is good for poker. I disagree. I don't think it's bad, but I think people are deriving this from the wrong perspective. I will post my opinion(s) and the Market effects of the UIGEA (which is partly written) very shortly.

Stay tuned...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Full Tilt new cards?

This happened to me in-game while playing a $10 45 person tourney. It lasted exactly one hand and I did nothing to change it. After that hand it went back to it's original state.

I looked to see if there was an option to change cards to look like this and I couldn't find anything in game. No one else at the table would confirm that it happened either. One responded that he didn't notice any change. I'm not sure I like it. But I got a screen shot of it in time to post here.

It also reverted back to it's original look in HH as well. Wierd. But then so are all of the latest updates. Or at least their implementation.

The above pic is the new card look. The below pick is the original it went to and from. Also a look at the new HH replayer on Full Tilt, and a lost opportunity for me to crack AA :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Online poker posts - interuption!

A donk (reads friend) directed me to this post on the 2+2 forums. You absolutely have to check this out.


Apparently a Full Tilt Player going by ch3ckraise wrote a little script that he used every time he beat someone in a $50 nlhe HU game. I love me some chat abuse and this is classic. Out of this are two contributions from other readers that are just pure genius. The first one comes on page 89 of the thread. It's a poem, a'la Dr. Suess and is nothing short of genius. The thread is a must read up (UP UP UP, GREAT DAY FOR UP!!) to page 5, and then jump to 89 for the poem.

Secondly was a video made exclusively for this thread. It is below. Enjoy! I immediately thought that the brilliance rivaled J_Goat. I almost wish he had gotten ahold of it to xtranormal (and hope he still does).

Enjoy the video! I will be posting again this afternoon on the Market effects of the UIGEA reversal. Have fun!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Online poker and the government - quid pro quo

Over the last few post I have discussed online poker and the UIGEA. I need to give props to KenP for stirring these posts up. Even though I have had several conversations about all of this with some of you via manlove chat, I never really anticipated putting up an in-depth piece. But as the change looms, or at least the logistics and politics of change nears, I think it will be good for everyone to understand why it may be shaped the way it will be.

*Even though I am predicting and almost guaranteeing that this will be overturned, I will still use the caveat that maybe, there will be a slight pubic hair of a chance that it won't. 'Cause I like to hedge my bets. Maybe I should have been a politician?

I wrote in yesterdays post that I would break this down on two levels. That is, how online poker will change by regulation, and how it will change in the market place. The government is going to shape who is allowed, and how they are allowed to offer the products and service. Once that happens, the market will be shaped a whole lot differently as well.

For this post I will be writing about how the governement's regulations will effect how online poker will look, and possibly change. Again, a lot of this is based on my suppositions, and some of it is fact. But most of it will be my opinion based on those facts and suppositions alike.

Back before the UIGEA was actually passed, I know that a lot of the sites where trying to come together and form their own regulatory board. That is, a representative of each site would become a member of this organization and they would pass policy and rules on what sites could and couldn't do. They were to hire an outside organization for technical and financial audits, and also form an advisory committee to see how best to attack the US Governement and have the best shot at becoming legal. I think it was more of a last ditch effort to thwart something like the UIGEA. I know they even discussed forming a fund to act as payment to the US to act as almost a voluntary tax. They were desparate and had the cash. I don't know if it ever actually happened or never even got off the ground. For now, it's inconsequential.

The feds are going to to do that anyway. Only this time, it will be in the form of taxes and it will be the government that controls the board or regulations.

Before the UIGEA, US casinos were against online gaming. Obviously this made sense because they were competitors. And competition that the US gamers couldn't fight because they weren't allowed in that arena legally. When the UIGEA passed, there was a turnaround. US companies all of a sudden got on board with monies for lobbyists against the UIGEA foreseeing that this time around, they actually could get into the market.

So lets assume this happens today. What will be the parameters? Who will be able to compete, and at what costs to the business and the consumers?

It's been pretty well known in certain circles that Harrahs had built their own online site a few years ago in anticipation of the governemtn changing its mind and US companies having the ability to enter the category. So let's go there first.

Who will actually be able to compete in this US market? Bill Rini posted about this yesterday and it's quite eye opening. I know that most players were waiting for Party to come back because it was the easiest site to play on. The biggest fish were mired in that pond. But if the government stipulates that companies who have been charged or penalized already for operating illegaly will not be able to gain a license to do business this time around, Party will not be coming back. Either will several others.

Harrahs has spent a ton of money on this and they will do everything they can to gain the lionshare of the market this time around. So far it seems that the government is going to help them.

And it's just not Harrahs. Other US casinos will fall in place, and so will some of the more larger media types. How about Facebook? Google? Myspace?

Imagine playing online poker at Facebook after cajoling your friends and cousins to deposit $25. Might be fun, eh?

I am getting off track. You think that this is good. You think and suspect that the government is doing this because someone finally sees the injustice to our rights. You are excited because getting money on and off sites will be easy, and more and more players will be entering the arena allowing you the opporunity to earn and win more. You want more sites to play on, and you wish to choose where to play.

Well, be careful what you wish for. You will get all that. But there will be a cost. Not just in financial costs, but other things as well. You're deposits aren't going to go as far as they do today. You will be taxed. Youe rake will increase a bit. Rakeback may go away all together. Time will tell how the new companies in the industry price out there services, but with what will be a very high tax on internet gaming, and they will recover that from somewhere. Usually, it's the consumer. Either through higher costs or less services.

Now, just like before, internet gaming doesn't happen unless you have processors to move all that money. This time around the big guns will be able to play. The trans unions, the Chase Manhattens. These guys don't fool around either with costs. They know how to suck every single penny out of a transaction.

Until I actually see the proposed legislation and how they will tax the industry, I will resever my opinion. But I can see it going something like this. Consumers will be taxed either on deposits or withdrawls. Sites will be taxed on revenues, and processors will be taxed on revenues. Both processors and sites will pay numerous amounts of licensing and regulatory fees as well as yearly payments for renewals. They will also be asked to kick in to help fund an advisory board. Yes, the Government will be sucking from the teet of the online whore.

Processing will be a little different this time around. Some sites won't need processors. Why? Because Harrahs will be able to handle all transactions themselves with a simple click of a credit card. But other sites, and more importantly, most sites, will. Visa and Mastercard will take umbrage with what will almost assuredly be a huge jump in charge backs, and this will cause a nice increase in fees as well.

Once all of this does pan out however, and the market is opened to licensed companies, and the tax base is figured and everything else to finally unlease the damn, how do you think it will effect the market? What tpye of competition will rise to the top? Will we see the WSOP be overtaken by an online event? How soon before we see our first $100 Million Guarantee tournament on Stars?

All that in the next post

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Moving Forward....

History is good. It allows you to look back and study proven results derived from specific actions. It also gives you a road map of expectation for any given undertaking.

A lot of times, it's nothing more than a precursor to what's next without yielding any advantages as far as predictions because, well, what's coming hasn't really been done before.

Like online poker for example. Or cocaine trafficking in the 70's. Both of these things got out of the gates extremely fast giving their providers little or no time to really perfect the system. Just get the product out there. People were making so much money it was just a get to market fast, instead of first.

But then things settled in, competition became relevant, and better products and better practices came into place. Bottom lines were being paid more attention to because of that competition, and customers were getting less of a better deal. But this also made for a better product so customers where happy.

Of course, when a product or service produces revenues so profoundly and abruptly, Uncle Sam immediately sticks his finger in the pot and starts to stir. Legal or not, it's always about the dollar. This is never about morals. The war on drugs wasn't about saving lives. It's never about that. Morality is just a campaigning benefit for politicians. It's always about the money. It goes a lot deeper than just what's being made through the sale of such illegal things. It's about the amount of money being made illegally and thrown into the market unaccounted for, therefore unable to be taxed. Uncle Sam doesn't like nontaxable revenue. Especially when it's in the amounts of what blow and online poker produced. And that's just the beginning. Those revenues grow exponentially when you consider the amount of illegal side business' that are spurred by providers of such products and services. Trafficking meant flying the product in. Or transferring monies to sites. Which even though is supposed to be illegal, still happens.

So here we stand. On the precipice of if we will or will not be able to continue on the same path that we have been. Make no mistake, I truly believe the UIGEA will be overturned, re-written, whatever. It wasn't online poker that was made illegal. It was the transferring of funds for such purposes that was criminalized. But if this does go bad, and doesn't go through, Online poker will cease to exist in the US. Meaning the whole kit and kaboodle will be shut down here in the states.

Temporarily of course because countries around the world will go nutso, silly, red with anger, bat shit crazy, and there will be yet another fight. The income opportunity this presents for other countries housing the processors and gaming companies will almost certainly be looked upon as nothing more than sanctions by the US, and there will be law suit after law suit.

But that won't happen. It will pass. And I don't know that everyone is going to like it. But first let me make this clear. Over the next several posts what I write will be pure supposition on my part. It will draw from my experiences with online poker room operators, lawyers, poiliticians, and just general business accumen and instinct. Which isn't saying much... but none the less.

I've thought about this lately with the idea that the government is going to want to take as much as it can. And the sites will no doubt stipulate to whatever demands they request. There is also the market effects as well. It's not just about the concessions the sites and processors will have to make to the Feds in order to get the bill signed. As a matter of fact I doubt there will be very little back and forth, if any at all. But once it does pass, the Market is going to be shaped a whole lot differently.

For this reason I will write two separate posts on each category. I have some of it already done, but I need to do some homework as well.

I hope to get a good dialouge going through these posts. Speaking through fag chat with some of you on this matter has really opened up the realization of different possibilities. It's exciting for me to plot it out and then see how close those assumptions come to a reality.

Kinda like the stock market :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


And it's a smart bitch as well! She really knows how to roll the customers. Get the most out of your wallet, and yes... We are the Johns. Jonesing and Jonesing for some "strange". The more times we get it, the more times we want it.

KenP's last piece tells the story of how On Line poker drastically changed when the UIGEA came about and how those changes basically saw the sites that benefited from that law basically ignored US players. That's not such a true statement when you consider the strategy.

Ken starts with Poker Stars and some emails he received as examples. I like the piece. GO READ IT HERE.

But I think it lacks a history to reveal the real motivations of the sites. Don't get me wrong. I think all the sites are pretty much cutthroat. But as a business person and part time psycologist, I completely understand why. And in no way am I trashing Kens Post. I liked it. I did. However, I think it is written from the good ole "consumer rights" handbook. I'm not defending the sites, I'm just clarifying some points so that you, as a consumer, can now be more educated. I'm just giving a different perspective.

Who am I to be writing this anyway? Where do I get my info? Well, if you need qualifiaction, I can tell you that there is virtually no one in the country that was more adversely affected by the UIGEA outside of those in the actual industry then me. That's right people. It's all about me. But that's another story. First off, let's start with the history pre UIGEA.

As Ken stated, Party Poker was number #1 in the industry, and Stars was #2. I also believe that 888 gaming (pacific poker, paradise, and they had another one) was #3. But I don't have the required documents to defend that so we'll forgoe that right now. Not that it matters. What does matter is the gap between 1st and 2cnd.

Party was TWICE the size of Stars. That's right. TWICE. Stars was a punk compared to Party. And they were positioned to be extremely competitive with Party before during and after the UIGEA. I knew/ know people at Stars and they were more than excited to sling a stone into the forehead of Party. But to truly understand what was at stake you had to know the industry numbers. That was, at the time an 80 billion dollar market. Of which 80%.... soak that number up... 80% came from the US Market. Let that sink in for a minute. 80% of 80 billion was told they could no longer play online poker. Once more... 80% of 80 Billion was told they could no longer play online poker anymore.

Ok, now take off your consumer rights advocate hats, and put on your Business persons hats. This is going to take a while.

When all this went down, it went down in a very quick, super fast, lightspeed (I'm running out of adjectives) hurry. As in 30 M1 tanks stuffed into a shipping container and pushed off of a high ledge hurry.

I know this because I had a deal with Party Poker at the time. A very big deal. It took us 6 months to complete due dilligence, and in that time, I had a complete education on the online poker industry. Where it came from and where it was going. Thanks to math (yeah Math!) the future was plotted out. There were intangibles, of course (which is why I was getting a deal) but the future was well plotted out. We could tell which way the demographics would go, we could tell who would be around, who would be most likely to be bought, etc. The threat of the UIGEA was there for quite some time, but no one ever thought much of it. No one thought the US government would ever pull the trigger. But they did. (I wrote about it here on several occasions. Just don't have the time to find the link).

And when they did, it was on a saturday. To understand the surprise and speed of how this went down, I had a conference call on Friday. It was a good call. Talk about flights to London in two weeks, dinners, parties, etc. By Monday morning, I had a phone call that all deals were on hold until this was sorted out. Party was pulling out of the US (as well as others who traded publicly on the London exchange).

Party left because they had shareholders to account to. Stars and Tilt did not. They were (and are) privately held enitities. Which is also why you will never get an accurate number of what they make (want the number? :) ).

But those people at Stars (and others) weren't stupid. They understood that Party basically perfected the industry. They held at least twice the market share as Stars and now that they were gone. Where were US players going to play? Well, hell that was an easy one. Stars or Tilt. Basically they were the only two who had equity in the US market with their marketing campaigns. But there were other things to consider as well.

One was, at the time, how long was the UIGEA going to last, and more improtantly, how much was it going to affect the player, not just the company. There were some in the industry who thought it wasn't going to be around that long. And even if it was, how the hell could the government even enforce it. Then of course, the other side of the coin had the notion that maybe US players WON'T be able to play at all. Maybe the US Government would just be able to actually shut it down.

There was complete panic and total exhileration at the same time on the part of Stars and Tilt. On one side, it was, w00t! We have open access to a gabillion players! On the other side it was... FAWK!!! How do we even begin to compete in the international (which was widely untounched) with Party now focusing their Herculean marketing capabilities on it before we even have a chance.

When Stars and Tilt saw that US players were jumping to wherever they could get money on, it was like Christmas. Both sites saw massive increases in playership. And they got this new consumer growth almost free. See in the industry they calculated "conversions" by cost. A conversion was basically what a new player cost to get. Those parameters were based on a new player depositing $50 and playing "X" amount of hands. Pre UIGEA that number was $450. That's right. It cost the sites $450 everytime they got a new depositor. That cost was figured by counting the amount of marketing dollars, rake back, bonuses, etc that it took to lure new players onto their sites. Only this time around, Stars and Tilt were getting them a lot cheaper.

Sure, if you're a smart enough consumer, you can think that those savings could/ should be passed onto you. And they kinda were. Tilt went from $250 to $600 in deposit bonuses. But the sites had other things to worry about as well as a business.

Right about the time of the Netteller bullshit, yet another panic hit. Remember, no one was sure of how this thing was going to pan out. They scrambled for processors to be able to accept deposits, and the biggest one was siezed, bound and gagged, and basically raped. They had no idea how this was going to pan out. And even though they still had US business and growth at an alarming rate, they foresaw the need for the international market.

They also saw the emergence of rake back. And how every single player on the planet wanted to get in on it. They had the "rule" in place for other reasons. That is one account per person. It was initially put there for integrity reasons. But when they realized that a lot of players were opening up new accounts to get the benefits of rake back, (hence costing them more money), they decided to pull the hole card. Multi accounts are not permitted. If you weren't smart enough to get rakeback the first time, then you can't open a new account just to do so now.

See they had already paid their "conversion" for you once already. Rake back costs them more than the rake. It costs them the dollars they paid to sites that offered that rakeback. That's right. Affiliate programs cost the sites a lot of money. Costs that are already factored into the "conversion" equation. They certainly didn't want to have to pay it twice. So they weren't being mean or consumer non-friendly. They were protecting their bottom line. As any business would do.

I digress...

When Stars entered the Euro, and Latin market, they did so in an attempt to garner marketshare with what could have been the only place to do business. Remeber, everyone was worried about the US becoming a market where you couldn't do business. It wasn't pressing because the thought of that was almost unimagineable. But the threat was still there. And if you do nothing about it, you're dead. As silly as that sounds now, it was true. And that's what us business type do. Worry about devastation.

That and the fact that they were getting their growth there by default with the largest competitor pulling up stakes, getting the jump on the international business was paramount to their survival. At least until the UIGEA went away. Which I will tell you will go away. Hold out hope. Just as I have predicted that CK would win a blogger event to get into the TOC, and that she would go deep in the O/E WSOP tourney, and that Hoy would final table the WSOP event he would play in (instead he played the Venetian Deepstack and won $50k), I will tell you that the UIGEA will be overturned.

Basically, KenP writes his post from a consumers standpoint. Which is ok, because we ARE consumers. But as consumers we also need ot be educated. When we take something at face value and with the viewpoint of entitlement as consumers we do ourselves a disservice. It angers us. But when we understand why they do things, it makes it a little easier to swallow. You understand that the owness is on us.

What I have failed to do in this post up to now is explain why they continue to do the things they do. One of those reasons is the fact that we play. Continuously. Without remorse, or regret. No matter how bad it gets. We play. Just like the whore, they know they have what we want. And we will continue to pay no matter how bad it gets. Because we need our fix.

The way things have gotten is because of how the market, the UIGEA, the competition, and the supply for the consumers have shaped the industry. If you haven't read between the lines, the US players have basically paid for the marketing programs of these sites into the international market.

I have a whole other post about where I think this is going, and how this will pan out WHEN the UIGEA is overturned or re-written. This will come shortly. Maybe a day or two. But for now, I fish.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gone Fishin'


I know a few who will be happy with the news. I know a few others who will be disappointed.

To them I say... See you in December :)

Best of luck to those playing in the WSOP. I will be following via Blackberry. (I can't/ won't give that up).

Flies and tippet and nymphs, and copper johns will fill me days. Scotch will help us solve the world's problems by night.

I owe Astin an email before I giddy up. Which I will do shortly.

See you on the other side

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Borgata Summer Open Tragedy

The Borgata Summer Open is finished. It was a great event. It really was. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people they get playing in their June Events when they are so far away from Vegas and the WSOP is going on.

It truly is a testament to the staff, the facilities, and the product they provide to players.

I have a lot of crazy stories, funny stories, and weird stories. All sorts of things from weird player behavior, to hand histories, to chops.

But what I want to discuss now relates to dealers. So gather around and pull up a chair. Pay attention to what I am about to discuss because its important to us as poker players. You may think the point I am about to make is trivial,, but believe me, when you are grinding it out for 3 days, dealers will have as big an impact on your performance as the retard sitting in seat 5 will as he tries to tilt you.

What I am talking about are dealer tokes. Tournament tokes to be exact.

It has gotten pretty bad recently. I don't know if it's because of the economy or because of the influx of new players who just don't understand the rules. Even though they are told and get suggestions from people like me. It's a shame when the total prize pool is $1.2 million and the dealers get a grand total of $3500 for tips (and a three day event).

The bulk of dealer compensation comes from tips. They are (or should be) a requirement of any winner. And tournament dealing is worse for the day to day dealer because the make so much more dealing ring games.

I can't tell you how many chops I have covered that have included a piece off the top for dealers BEFORE the deal is made. That's when the experienced players are involved. But this time around, it was down right comical. To the point where a guy who cashed for over $80k refused to give a penny, and then lied to me about it saying he did.

It's gotten so bad that the New Jersey gaming commission has enacted a bill stating that the casino will be able to take as much as 3% off the prize pool for dealer tokes. It will largely be up to the Casino to do so, but I know a lot of them in AC are considering at least 1.5%. This bill is effective starting in September.

And if you are wondering, it is usually customary to tip 1.5 to 3% of earnings to the dealers. Usually the lesser earners get a pass and the higher guys negotiate putting in more to cover them. Playing for three days and coming in 9th earning a total of like 2k after your buy-in doesn't make it easy to fork over any more than you have to. This is why experienced players get it.

But let me tell you about some things that went down to highlight my point about how the dealers can effect your play.

When they realize that their pay out is going to be close to nothing, they lose interest. Dealers are there to help the game. They are there to help the players. A good dealer will fire off as many hands as possible to make sure the players get the most out of every round. When they feel slighted, their performance diminishes. And I wouldn't be surprised if it was on purpose.

The overall treatment of dealers by players today is shameful. Some of the things I saw were down right retarded. It was the middle of one deepstack tournament and someone raised. Another player shoved all in and everyone else folded.

While the initial raiser was contemplating his call, some punk who wasn't in the hand started yelling at the dealer. "Pull that in". The dealer just looked at him and didn't say anything. Again he got louder and said in a very demeaning way, "Do your job and pull that in". She shook her head in disagreement and he responded yet again, "You friggin people are atrocious. The worst dealers in the country".

What the idiot didn't know was that the dealer is NOT ALLOWED TO PULL IT IN, unless she is requested by the other player to get a count. Once that happens she then pulls in the two bets and counts out the remaining stack to be called.

If you ever notice (and I know most of you do) when the dealer pulls a pot in throughout a betting hand, it gets piled in the middle. Not stacked up neatly so that you can count whats in the pot. They can't even give you a count of the pot. They can and will spread it out for you to count on your own, but the only count you will ever get is from an opponents stack that has already pushed in. NOT THE POT.

So here is this idiot who is complaining about something that he is completely WRONG about, and is blaming it on the dealer. Not only does it piss off the dealer, and subsequently hurts the rest of the players by doing so, but it holds up the hand. This gives you less play in any given blind round.

The point is... TIP THE FUCKING DEALERS! $3500 for a $1.2 million prize pool is atrocious.

Adam Gerber took 4th place in the Main event. Adam has won several tournaments and has cashed for over a million by doing so. When he went to sign for his money he asked for a calculator. He multiplied his winnings by 2% and gave that amount in a tip. He was the only one to do so.

Everyone else through $50 bucks or so. Some didn't do anything. As a poker player, I was appalled.

Please, pass this on to everyone you know. The old adage, "act like you know" encompasses every part of tournament play. Including knowing how to tip the dealers.

Gawd, I pine for the old days again!