Saturday, March 31, 2007

Micheal Craig's Journal

A while back I did a post featuring Micheal Craig's Journal, a blog he did at He's since given up that blog and does one at FullTilt. He's had a few business relationships with FullTilt for a while and pimped for them a lot at his pokerworks blog, but his new blog is 100% pimping and not as interesting as it was when he only pimped most of the time.

I've taken the dead blog off my blogroll and thought about adding the new blog at FullTilt but decided not too. I've got to have some kind of standards

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Micheal Craig's Journal

A while back I did a post featuring Micheal Craig's Journal, a blog he did at He's since given up that blog and does one at FullTilt. He's had a few business relationships with FullTilt for a while and pimped for them a lot at his pokerworks blog, but his new blog is 100% pimping and not as interesting as it was when he only pimped most of the time.

I've taken the dead blog off my blogroll and thought about adding the new blog at FullTilt but decided not too. I've got to have some kind of standards.

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Future of the blog

I recently got the url and was going to move this blog over to it. But, I've changed my mind.

The Technorati ranking for this address and the google rank isn't bad so I decided to not give up this address. I am going to use the newly acquired URL also though. I'll probably focus this blog mostly on making rude comments about poker celebrities.

When I started this blog it was intended as an outlet for trip reports for some traveling I'd planned. Katrina kind of changed some of my plans, but I'll probably use the new site mostly for that kind of thing. I like having multiple blogs becuase it makes me feel like an important internet personality.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Online poker

I've updated an old overview essay of mine on online poker.

Update: I fixed the link

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Gulfport has a casino again. No poker, but a cardroom. Details at the new Poker Road Trips.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Personal info at the retail checkout

What do you think when a retail checkout clerk asks for your phone number or zip code? I think Radio Shack asks for phone numbers. Sears also uses phone numbers to track purchase histories.

Paul Phillips likes to refuse to give it to them.
he says
I have a habit of not giving companies my personal information unless there's some reason they should need to know it - which is approximately never. If I'm in your store and paying cash for an item then all you need to know about me is that I didn't fill my wallet out of my laser printer. Lately it seems like everywhere I go they immediately ask me for either my phone number or my zip code. I always politely decline to share that information.

The interesting part is how the clerks tend to respond to that.
Paul describes the reaction ...
I think that once people get accustomed to acting under color of authority (even minor authority as in the employee-customer relationship) they quickly become addicted. Soon they find any deviations from the script to be intolerable slights. There isn't a reason in the world a low-level retail employee should give a damn whether they successfully collect my personal information, but when nine people out of ten automatically answer their questions, they unconsciously come to believe that the tenth guy is only refusing because he's a dick who likes to cause trouble.

I have had the same experiences as Paul. I also usually refuse to give them the requested information and get surly reactions from them. But unlike Paul, who refuses the information because he's doing what's right and fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, I just do it because I'm a dick who likes to cause trouble.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Card Players supports the PPA position

Mean Gene has some nice comments on a suggested letter to your Congressman proposed by Card Player Magazine. The letter is terribly written and the position it takes is even worse.

Update. On a related not, Ed Miller shows really bad judgement by recomending PPA. The funny part about his post is that he's attracted by being able to join for free and that's one of the things that screams "scam" to me.

They just want numbers to be able to tout themselves as being influential. Numbers will help promote them but probably won't promote the cause. Lawmakers do care about voters, but few lawmakers are so stupid as to think that passing out free memberships represents influencing votes.


Heads up deals

In a comment on a previous post,
rockspark said...

Oh maybe one question. In a tourney like Poker After Dark, when down to the final two, should a chop (or partial chop with some money to play for) be based strictly on stack size? Is there a case or situation when you would not accept this type of deal?

I watch poker on TV but I don't pay attention to what it is I'm watching, so I'm not sure if Poker After Dark has some kind of special rules or anything.

But, in terms of heads up deal making, I think deal making is best done with a focus on what the other guy might be thinking, not a focus on chips.

Normally, I'm not interested in a chip count split. If someone proposes such a split I won't turn him down, but I won't accept it either. I'll say I want to think about it.

Then if something happens shortly that might disappoint him, like he loses a pot, or his wife comes up to the table and says she's hungry, I'll make a counteroffer that gives me a little extra.

But then again, all the heads up splits I've been involved in has been small tournaments with not so experienced opponents (or experienced but underbankrolled opponents).

Will rockspark email me about a free book preference, and address.

Here's an old rgp thread on splits (not headsup) that I think is interesting.

Here's another old rgp thread.

Legal Tender

I understand how a gambler might rely on tradition and expect a casino to honor a large denomination chip they got from a third party.

But I don't understand how a high school graduate would think that makes the chip legal tender? I think that was covered in the 7th grade when I was going to school.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Texas Casinos

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Relationship with the boss

This post reminds me of a story from by previous life as a corporate dweeb.

It was the only time I ever had to actually fire somebody.

In the post above, Linda goes into one of her typical whines about how the people she works for don't know how to do their job. It might be true, but all the whining about she does is not going to be productive if she wants things to change.

In my story I was a Systems Officer in a Chicago Loop bank and Project Manager for an operations research/internal consulting type group. My team was a mix of MBA types, industrial engineering types, computer systems analysts, programmers, etc. We were part of information systems and did work on finance kinds of things for the Bond Department, optimization problems for bank location client problems (lockbox if you're familiar with bank operations terms), workflow problems for trust and bank operations, etc.

Every two years I had to physically be out of the bank for a contiguous two week vacation period (it's a security thing). Nobody really ever replaced me while I was gone. Usually there would be a senior programmer analyst, senior business analyst and an operations research analyst and the project responsibilities would just divide up among those three according to the project and their individual expertise. My boss only had two groups reporting to him, my group and wire transfer systems, so it wasn't a big deal for me to be gone. I thought.

One year though, I got back and I started getting phone calls from users that I really hadn't expected. My bosses vacation started the day I got back, so he and I didn't see each other for him to fill me in about anything that might have happened during my vacation. The phone calls where all complaints from various banking department people about the operations research analyst that had been meeting with them about a large project we were doing for them involving an Integer Programming model we were implementing for them to use in client consulting.

We had a product in place that they used, but it was a Linear Programming model that involved using some round off procedures to estimate an optimal solution to the problem. The Integer Programming model provided an exact optimal solution which in reality didn't really matter much, but made for a good feature for them to market their consulting services to clients.

This is kind of nitty-gritty technical stuff about the situation but it's really what makes the situation so similar to Linda's whines in the link above. She's whining because the floor took things into account that Linda didn't think should override her own view of how the operational rules were supposed to be followed in filling up tables.

The conflict for the Floor was between just letting some of the players run their own games versus being "fair" and following the rules to the letter. She bitches about it because the floor uses judgement in ways she doesn't approve of.

That's what happened at the bank. The total project involved not just the improved model and the more complex computations to be implemented (BJ, the analyst was the major contributor to that part) but also improvements in the way we reported the results (that part was being run by a programmer analyst, not an math modelling guy like BJ was).

Weeks before I had made the decision to get some improved reports done on time even though it meant a delay on doing the changes to the math part of the system. BJ had argued with me at the time about my priorities but he lost that argument. When I'd left on vacation I'd left BJ as the contact person for communication with the Bank Department about that project, even though he wasn't directly involved with the reporting production.

What I found out from the phone calls when I got back from vacation was that BJ had spent a lot of time in those two weeks I was gone trying to convince the users in Banking that I was screwing up and that they were wrong to depend on me to help them balance the priorities in what we devoted resources for.

The part that BJ wasn't involved in was that the programmer that would have been working with BJ on implementing the model was busy working on some stuff with the Bond Department. That part was really the biggest part of my job, balancing the competing need for resources among groups in the bank that reported to entirely different SVP's and EVP's. I was kind of the guy who had to make decisons about those particular programming resources. And in this case I'd pushed the reports first to Banking because that way I could do something for both Bond and Banking at the same time and try to make everybody happy.

BJ thought that was wrong and pretty much pissed some people off in the process. After returning 3-4 phone calls I figured I better talk to BJ. The conversation kind of degenerated and ended with.

BJ: I'm right, you're wrong, I know what I'm talking about and you don't even know how to do your job, I could do it better.

Me: Well, that doesn't really matter, it is my job, whether it should be your job or not, it's not. So, what we need to do here is you do your job and me do mine.

BJ: No, you're incompetent, I won't talk to you (at this point he was pretty much going nuts).

Me: I don't know what to do about that.

BJ: I'll talk to Bob Clark (that was my boss).

Me: He's on vacation and won't be back for two weeks. If you want to you could talk to Bob Hedrick (my bosses boss) but he doesn't really know much about this and I think your talking to him would be a mistake. The alternative, that I recommend, is wait two weeks, just do your job, then talk to Bob Clark.

BJ: I want to talk to Bob Hedrick right now.

Me: Okay, I'll call him.

I called Bob and told him that BJ wanted to talk to him. Bob had attended some meetings that BJ was involved in but otherwise didn't know him. He asked what about. I said, "I should probably let him tell you, he seems to have some serious dissatisfaction about me and I'm not sure I'm the person to explain it to you".

"Okay, have him up here at 11", Bob responded.

I told BJ.

About 11:45 Bob stopped by my cubicle and said. "Fire the son of a bitch, call personnel and tell them he's terminated and then call security to escort him out of the building. I want him gone today".

I told Bob, "I don't think I really have hire and fire authority, Bob." He said, "I don't give a shit, fire him anyway". Then he walked off to lunch.

I told BJ he was fired and to start packing his personal belongings.

Like I said, it's the only person I ever fired. But, the point of the story is that you really need to be careful about loud complaints about your supervisors.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why do people support PPA?

Here's one supporter of them. I made a comment.

The position the PPA takes is that it's illegal to play poker online and they don't propose to change that.

This is not something that's helpful to poker players. I've written about this a lot on my blog.

PPA is either misguided or they have a hidden agenda.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Parking lots

When I was 17 I hung out in a bar in Baton Rouge called the Liberty
Lounge, on Florida Ave. Kind of neighborhood bar with a wide mix of
characters. One was a guy called Fat Sally, he was a huge, overweight
guy who owned a bunch of ice cream trucks he leased out. Two other
regulars where guys named Mark and Joe, construction workers and
general ne'er do wells.

One night two strangers came into the bar and got into a fight with
Mark and Joe. Most of us just sat on the bar and watched the fight --
it was great entertainment, broken chairs, broken tables, etc.
Someone snipped the phone cord so the bar maid couldn't call the cops,
she ran out and went to the 7-11 across the street to call the cops.

The cops came, broke the fight up, told the two strangers to go home,
told Mark and Joe to sit down and shut up. Then the cops left. It
was a different world back then.

A little bit after that Mark left. A couple of minutes after that,
Fat Sally left. Fat Sally came right back into the bar. He walked up
to me, grabbed me by the elbow, and said, "Come on Gary, follow me".
and drug me out the back door. His white Cadillac was parked near the
back door.

Fat Sally opened the trunk. The trunk contained well over 20 guns, of
various shapes and sizes. He took a pistol for himself, handed me a
shotgun. He said, "Just follow me and point, you won't have to shoot

We walked around the corner of the building, there was Mark, bent over
the trunk of a car, with one of the strangers who'd been in the fight
pointing a pistol at his head and yelling at him.

Big Sally yelled something out. I pointed the gun and held my breath.
I had no clue what the hell was going on, what was fixing to happen,
or what I was expected to do. I was scared shitless, but I did point
the gun.

Nobody got shoot, Big Sally ended up taking the strangers gun,
watching him leave, then watching Mark leave. Then we walked back to
his Caddy and Big Sally threw the three guns into the trunk and closed

I really prefer to stay out of parking lots.

The above story is from an old rgp post, part of my response to Todd Brunson when he wanted to meet me in the parking lot of some Las Vegas casino after I said someting that he thought was insulting about his dad and his dads former partnerships with cheats.

I ran across it in the rgp archives when I was looking for something else and thought it was a good story.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Blast from the past

A few years ago when people insulted each other on they were professionals about it.

New leadership at PPA

The PPA is still heading down the road with the position that online poker is illegal but the government should treat it special and ignore it since it's a game of skill.

There are two alternative positions that they just reject outright.

1. Internet poker isn't illegal. That would be consistent with the findings of federal courts.


2. The United states doesn't have jurisdiction to regulate foriegn companies who do business on the Internet. That would be consistent with the WTO.

Those two alternatives don't contridict each other, you can logically take both positions. But taking the position that PPA takes rules out two strong positions that have been given support by both federal and international courts.

I don't know why PPA takes the position they do. The only possible reasons I can think of don't really imply many good things about PPA.

Antiga has been successful with prosecuting the US in the WTO. Although the US tends to ignore International Courts who rule agaisnt them, Antiga could make a valuable ally for poker players. PPA doesn't think so, they take a position against the progress that Antiga has made.

Promoter Linda Johnson has been carrying the banner for PPA as it's Chairman until recently. Linda has stepped down (she's still on the board) and they've turned to a failed politician from NY to serve as Chairman. Former 3 term Senator from New York, Alfonse D'Amato.

The Poker Blogs have been reporting the official press releases about it. Here.

Except for one sleazy stock deal, D'Amato doesn't seem to be much of a crook. I'm not sure what deal making talents he has though. When a Senator he was known as Sen. Pothole, it seems he did a good job of making the voters think he was looking out for them. Kind of like the old Cook County Machine.

I'll have to write more about D'Amato in a future post. He seems less than top notch to me, but I might be wrong.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hot girls and poker

Respect? Sport Where do these people come from?

If you're on TV then you get respect. That's the American Way. The idea that Shannon Elizabeth winning would be "bad for poker" is just insane.