Sunday, January 15, 2012

Games of Skill & Chance

To me, poker is a perfect blend of skill and chance. And although I may not sing this song when my aces are cracked, chance is good. Chance makes the game accessible. A complete newbie has a chance to beat a seasoned pro in the short run. This is good for the newbie obviously, but also good for the pro as it draws in a new player to the game for him to teach the hard lessons.

What games can compare to the skill/luck ratio of poker? Well there are games like tic-tac-toe, checkers and chess on one end of the spectrum. These are all skill based and at varying levels of difficulty. The flaw in not involving chance is that each aforementioned game can be won with a predetermined best move in every situation. We all should know how to play tic-tac-toe to either a win or a draw by now. Checkers and chess are the same only at a much more complex level–as proven by computers ability to overcome the best of us.

The other side of the spectrum? Keno is devoid of skill and a good example of how chance can quickly go too far. (Despite what Bizarro Grundy might have to say.)

So if poker is a middle ground, what other games can compare? Well, there are other card games of course...bridge, canasta, gin rummy to name a few. I am not too experienced in most of these, but without the opportunity to bluff it takes away some of the psychological element that I love so much. Of course you can bluff in "BS," but that game lacks the gentlemanly quality.

Backgammon is a popular gateway game into poker. The introduction of dice bring chance to an otherwise skillful game. Stratego is another favorite of mine. It involves neither cards nor dice, but the mystery of the placement of your opponents pieces allow for lucky guesses at times. Man, I miss that game.

What else? Are there any other games that achieve the balance of skill and chance?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Poker Can Make The Government Money

Do you...

(a) think the government should not be in so much debt, but don't really feel like paying more taxes to cover the IOUs?

or

(b) play poker and want to enjoy the game legally from the comfort of your own home.

Then you should pass this letter on to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (found here http://deficitreduction.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact because...

(a) you'll sit back and watch a bunch of degenerate gamblers pay a vice tax to help get the country back on track.

or

(b) it will let the government know that you want to enjoy the game legally from the comfort of your own home.

Here is a sample letter provided by the Poker Player's Alliance.

"Dear Honorable Joint Select Committee Members,

Please support HR 2366 -- raise revenue without raising taxes

As a voter and tax payer, I am writing to ask that you please consider H.R. 2366, the Online Poker Act of 2011, during your deficit reduction discussions. This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), will provide much needed federal and state revenue without raising taxes. It will also bring American companies into the Internet poker market, creating thousands of new jobs that we so desperately need. It will provide for strong consumer protections and age verification requirements as well.

Former Homeland Security Advisor Tom Ridge supports federal licensing of online poker because it addresses control and accountability of cash flows. Additionally, WiredSafety, the world's largest Internet safety group, concluded that "combining a thoughtful regulatory scheme with education, technology tools, and support appears to be the most effective means of handling the realities and risks" of online poker. This groundbreaking study can be found at www.theppa.org/harvardstudy. U.S.-based horse race wagering sites have proven that online betting sites can successfully implement these important protections. The game of poker deserves no less.

This bill does not authorize video poker or any other house-banked casino-style game. Rather, it provides for sensible regulation of the game of online poker -- the electronic version of the game families across America play at the kitchen table -- and is limited to this person-to-person game of skill.

Every federal dollar wasted on efforts to stop American adults from playing online poker is another dollar added to the federal deficit. Quite frankly, there's simply no reason for the deficit reduction super committee to ignore HR 2366.

Thank you for your consideration,

Add your name here"