Friday, November 30, 2007

Poker is a lot like gunslinging.

One of my all time favorite film characters is Doc Holiday from the movie Tombstone, played by Val Kilmer. Tombstone is not a movie about poker like Rounders or Shade or Lucky You, but Holiday's one-liners about poker are priceless.

The film follows the Earp brothers' ill-fated venture into the casino business. Along the way they meet up with Doc Holiday and war against a gang of cowboys leading to the fight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, AZ. I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone who has not seen it. That being said, go out and see it. It is easily in my top three favorite westerns, along with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and Unforgiven.

Doc Holiday

Doc Holiday in particular is a fascinating character. He is portrayed as both the best gun slinger and the best card player in the west. In a shot out I imagine the most important quality to have, even more than marksmanship, is an almost reckless lack of fear to loss of life. Wyatt is described as perfectly calm under fire, and the same can be said for Holiday. We all know the risk involved with gambling. Although we may not fear for our lives, we do fear bankruptcy.

It is a fear I don't want to completely shed. When playing with money you need for food or rent the fear is perfectly healthy. It is your mind telling you that you should not put that money at risk. On the other hand, after you put money aside that you can afford to lose if the game turns sour, you must play without fear of saying "all-in!" If you can't then you should listen to the words of the wise Doc Holiday.

"Maybe poker's just not your game."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

US gets "sued" over blocking Internet gaming!

I want you!Ever hear of the Safe Port Act? It's legislation that upgrades port security, which was of course passed by our government because no one would re-elect a politician who votes for a bill that is pro-terrorism. This is being brought up in a poker blog because pork barrel legislation sunk in the completely unrelated Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act--which is why many poker sites no longer accept US players.

You all may have known this, it happened in October 2006.

The fallout is being seen more recently. Antigua claims that the act puts the U.S. in violation of its commitments under the General Agreement on Trades and Services by unfairly prohibiting foreign Internet gaming operators from accessing the U.S. market. The European Union, with Antigua and others, is claiming over $100 billion in damages by this violation.

The US now must pay out the money that could lower taxes, feed the hungry, help with education or health care or even the war if it has too. The only other option would be for the US to honor the agreement with the World Trade Organization and allow Internet gaming again--even tax it for a profit.

Sounds like a tough financial decision...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A cautionary tale...

In case you aren't waiting for me to tell you how to play poker, let me interject with a quick cautionary tale before you go down the wrong path.

My poker network from college all migrated to on-line play at about the same time. We all deposited between 50 to 100 dollars and were on our way to poker stardom. There was the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly among us.

The Good were conservative to a fault, but made money. After a week of ups and downs they profited maybe $25. After two, about $75. The Bad just weren't at the skill level to profit on-line. After a week, those who hadn't lost all their original investment, cashed out what they had left and returned to the proverbial drawing board. The real tragedy is what happened to the Ugly. The best of us, myself included, played our best game at low to mid level stakes, and won. We won a lot. After near constant play during week one, some of us had accounts over a thousand dollars. But in week two we were over-confident and punch-drunk with our earnings, landing us in high-stakes games and playing looser than before. I was lucky enough to stop myself just before I fell below my original $50. All of us lost our brief fortunes.

The Party was Over
The party was over

The problem was in how we viewed the stakes. With Internet gambling you never see the chips and never hold the cash—it's all digital. As broke college students we would have never dreamed of sitting at a $5/$10 cash game or entering a $250 tournament, but on-line we didn't see the money as real or useful for anything but poker. It was just credits, like tokens at the arcade.

The lesson here isn't to never play high stakes games. If you are a good enough player and have built a bankroll to afford it, then go for it. The lesson here is to never disconnect with the money in your account. Keep it real by cashing out some profit after a good week. Not only cash out, but spend it. Reward yourself for good play, you deserve it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Welcome happy shiny poker people!

Hello and welcome to my newest venture into gaming journalism! You may know me from...okay, so you don't know me. I have no other ventures into gaming journalism. I do however game and journal so I think we're good.

If you are still reading, you probably like poker. You also may have read a poker book or two and subscribe to Bluff or All In or Card Player or Deal or Poker Pro or Casino Player or get the idea. These magazines offer insight into a poker pro's life and how to win the World Series of Poker. I'm not a poker pro and I don't have the 10,000 dollars entry fee to put up. Poker is my hobby, not my career. If that is true for you, bookmark this blog.

We are going to have fun, and pad our wallets while we do it.