Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Obligatory "Black Friday" Post

So that happened.

I assume all of my American readers have been affected by and/or heard about the government crack down on on-line gambling. The quick version is this: suits from major sites like Poker Stars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker have been formally charged with fraud and all funds and transfers from US players have been frozen, which, by all accounts, sucks.

I think we were all hoping that little bill in 2006 making on-line gambling illegal would never be enforced. Now it looks like Uncle Sam just took its sweet time making a case against the big three gaming outfits. To be fair, the enforcement is justified in my opinion. Just like I feel about immigration in the US, what laws we have in place should be enforced, but I also think we should change the laws. It appears Poker Stars and the rest were laundering money, which is illegal. They may have been forced into a life of crime by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but “enforcement” is right their in the name, they should have saw this coming. Let’s face it, with their assurances of safety from the bill, they weren’t honest to their customers either.

As a fan of the game and the profits it allows, I’m still rooting for the gambling sites. I hope PPA lobbying and Full Tilt lawyers put this madness behind us. However, the perfect solution is now being called for not only by Bluff and Cardplayer, but also by Fortune and the Washington Post--legalize the damn game! Let the rake go to American businesses and provide American jobs. Let Harrahs and the Bellagio make sites to compete with Poker Stars and Full Tilt in a free market.

Will this happen? I thought so, but who the hell knows anymore? Color me jaded, which I think is a shade of green. At this point, I just hope their vague promise of letting us cash out our account comes to pass.
I guess I’m back to selling my body for cash. What? That’s illegal too?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Maniac Flu

Do you yawn when you see or hear someone yawn? I do. I even yawn when I hear the word "yawn." What does this mean? It means I'm tired.

I may be tired, but studies show contagious yawning is a function of empathy. You yawn because you relate to the emotional state of being tired, bored, or whatever. You are yawning vicariously though the other guy.

In poker, empathy helps to get you into the mind of your opponent. This is a beneficial place to be as long as you don't get too attached. I theorize that bad play, like yawning, is contagious.

In my own "studies" I have seen a maniac sit down among responsible, veteran players and slowly drive them insane. Before I know it, the whole table is playing every hand, chasing to the river, consistently over betting the pot...madness! I admit nothing changes a player's outlook like a bad beat, but even before the maniac draws out on someone, the maniac flu spreads. This is true live, and even more true in US Online Poker, but is there a strategy around it?

I know the strategies at play here: "you must become a maniac to beat a maniac" and all that, but these are BAD strategies. If you can't inoculate youself from maniac flu, the best strategy is to find a new table. Put emphasis on empathizing with the pros.