Thursday, April 28, 2011


Hoyazo asked the question that's likely been on many minds since a couple weeks ago. What are the WSOP numbers going to look like?

I think his 3000 number is on the low side for the main event. I'd see in the 4000-5000 range as likely, but with nothing to actually back that up other than gut feelings.

What is really going to suffer is the other 49,000 (give or take 3 orders of magnitude) events. All those $2000 packages and events that the low-limit grinders can work towards. Sure, the broke-dick donkey events will still see plenty of walk-up business, but non-NLHE events will see their numbers drop even more I'd think. Percentage-wise of course.

After all, they online sites will still be running tournaments for WSOP packages, there just won't be as many, and the winners will all be from from outside US borders. I might even look at taking a few longshots, since the fields should be considerably smaller.

I fully expect to see Harrah's running all kinds of cheap satellites at all of their casinos. They'll have to do whatever they can to keep the numbers from being embarrassing. Backers are going to back off, and pros are going to have to budget a bit better. Those who truly play this game as a job will have already adjusted their bankrolls and accounting to compensate for the lack of online play (if US-based, then it's huge, if outside the Dead Zone, than for the lack of US donkeys). Some will focus on smaller fields, avoiding the $10k coin flip altogether. But the allure of that honey (even 3000 runners = $30,000,000 up for grabs) will still draw flies.

So, with properties scattered around the country, and even sneaking north of the border, Harrah's should be running satellites, super-satellites, and promoting the hell out of them. If they were really smart, they'd try and convince a few smaller casinos to run some too. You telling me Trump wouldn't LOVE to have the chance to say one of his properties is "Home to the 2011 WSOP Champion"?

My only question is... who will be around to cover the Series?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

90's Characters Kick-Off

If you haven't already, go read Goat's intro over at Filmchaw for the Greatest Movie Characters of the 90's. I'll wait.


Oh, sorry, I went to grab a sandwich, and then there was this thing on TV that reminded me to check out a site someone e-mailed me earlier... guess I didn't really wait. Anyway, we're both back now.

This is going to be fun. I'm not sure even the four of us writing this thing are sure how it's going to play out. Can our mastery of language sway our readers from the obvious choices? Did a late-position, "I can't believe they're still available" choice create insane first-round matchups? Are we missing obvious choices? Probably.

I think Goat's got some details on the drafting rules and such coming, so I'll spare duplication here. But one complaint I've seen in a couple places is the lack of women on the list.

64 characters, 10 years, 4 women.

I had a few on my short list, but with only 16 choices, I had to make decisions based on character strength. Looking back, perhaps not having Trinity in there is a mistake, but is she a better choice than Smith? In hindsight... probably. Oops.

We did have a limitation on picks from a movie - each of us could only take one character from any given movie. So once I picked someone from, say, Pulp Fiction, it fell to someone else to pick another character. Mia Wallace was on my list, but Jules is obviously a stronger character.

Lola from Run Lola Run? Thought about it, but she's not really as strong as just about everyone else. Darla from Dazed and Confused was there, but I couldn't figure an argument to put her above, say, Darth Maul (you'll see where I'm going with that one soon enough). I thought about Leelo instead of Zorg, but dammit, the more I thought about it, the more I liked Zorg as a character. "You found me beautiful once" just doesn't match up to "Honey, you got reeeeeal ugly."

But hey, at least we didn't create a ladies' tournament. The 4 that made this list are more than capable of holding their own against their male opponents. I mean, we already know how Sarah Connor vs The Terminator turns out... and she was a big-haired party girl when they first faced off. T2 Sarah would turn the first movie into a 15 minute short.

Let's do this.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The View Of Canada's Shorts

There was, to put it in the most understated way possible, an interesting development in the poker world on Friday. Online poker in the United States, for all intents and purposes, was shut down. I doubt anybody reading here needs the details, but here's a summary for the 3 people who MIGHT not actually follow both poker and this blog.

Bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling operations - three charges brought against 11 individuals, including the founders of Full Tilt and Poker Stars. The .com domain names of Tilt, Stars, and Absolute/UB seized by the FBI and DOJ. These sites quickly blocking all US players from playing real money games to try and cover their asses - too little, too late.

Here in Canada? Annoying pop-up warnings and e-mails from the site to tell us that US players are screwed but we're fine, and to download the software from the sites if we're having problems updating.

AA can still get cracked by JQo AIPF on the first hand of a SnG too. So that hasn't changed.

I, unlike seemingly 90% of the poker players out there, am not a lawyer. These days, I'm barely a blogger. But still, I've already surpassed the 140 character limit of Twitter.

In short - this sucks. You already know this. For most of my friends in the poker world, this is a minor inconvenience. Their hobby has been relegated to casinos, card rooms, and home games. For some though, this is a blow to their livelihood. A handful write for, or even run, major poker news sites and blogs. Some are employed directly by the sites that are facing these legal challenges. I send good vibes and best wishes your way, as it's about all I can really do.

For the sites themselves? I feel little pity. If these charges are true, they blatantly broke the law, and did just about the stupidest thing they could have if they had any hopes of legally running their operations in the States.

As has been stated by people closer to this than me - the online poker rooms aren't the issue here. The fraud and laundering are, and they're HUGE. The PPA's statement the other day was so full of stupid it hurt my brain - this has nothing to do with the validity of online poker, but the ways these sites circumvented the law to get their money. Tilt and Stars are doing the right thing by stating their disappointment and otherwise keeping their traps shut.

Does anyone else recall during the Netteller debacle that one of the major concerns of the anti-online-gambling proponents was that they had no control over where the money flowed? Money laundering, fraud, and terrorism were all invoked as the specters faced by those who supported these sites. Well guess what? You've proven them right on two of those counts. You've added fuel to the righteous fire of those paid by the horse racing and anti-gambling lobbies. You've made it much harder for poker to get the status it deserves as a skill game. You're Capone being taken down for tax evasion.

But it will still happen. It just won't be via Tilt or Stars or UB. MGM Poker, WSOP Online, WynnPoker - these will be the clients you'll have available to install. Possibly powered by Zynga. Why? Because these are big US corporations that will say "Look at what we already do! We run casinos across the country and are good corporate citizens and provide American jobs that can't be moved offshore, and you already have all our tax numbers." The government will take it's sweet time deliberating and finessing and wringing of hands about the poor addicts who will gamble away their children's tuition and the milk money, but eventually, in a couple years or so, will allow these good American companies to set up shop online. Maybe with their new identity ecosystem. One ID, multiple sites. Maybe Party comes back a bit after that, with the argument that they obeyed the laws and are publicly traded in a trustworthy country like Great Britain.

If we see anything faster than in 2 years from the casinos? It will raise my suspicion that the casinos had a hand in this. They might not be run by the mob anymore, but that doesn't make the casino business any less dangerous to deal with. The stakes are just much higher.

And maybe, a decade or so down the road, some descendant of Tilt or Stars shows up in Canada's pants again. Humbled, chagrined, and under a heavy yoke of regulation and watchdoggery.

Poker is legal in the States. They'll find a way to put it online legally. More importantly, the government will find a way to make money off it.

In the meantime, there will be lots of satellite stories to follow over the coming months - pros, affiliates, the World Series, and plenty of fear and drama.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Fight Like A Girl

I figure instead of just jabbering about photography, I'll throw some pics up here. Maybe this will become a photo blog. Probably not. But at least there'll be some stuff to see more often.

The Pillow Fight League has been running in Toronto for 5 years. Last month they held their last show of the season, taking the summer off and possibly returning come fall. I saw them near the beginning, and stumbled across a lamp-post ad for their last show the day it was happening. Naturally, I had to attend.

Here, the seemingly loves-all-comers Kitten Kaboodle has the resident zombie, Eva Dead, in well... some kind of modified camel clutch with pillows (after all, all moves must use the pillow at the point of contact)


Then there was the aftermath of the title bout, where Dinah Mite went down in flames to Apocalipstick in a brutal match that could have gone either way. The fighters all gathered to say farewell, but Dinah seemed both dejected and exhausted after her bout. Will the league return so that Lipstick can defend her title? Only time will reveal the answer.