luni, 23 iulie 2007

Things that scare the crap out of me

Things that scare the crap out of me
And this.
(from yahoo)

By NANCY ZUCKERBROD, Associated Press Writer Mon Jul 10, 6:42 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Gamblers who prefer their laptops to blackjack tables won't like what Congress is doing. On Tuesday, the House plans to vote on a bill that would ban credit cards for paying online bets and could padlock gambling Web sites.
The legislation would clarify existing law to spell out that it is illegal to gamble online.
To enforce that ban, the bill would prohibit credit cards and other payment forms, such as electronic transfers, from being used to settle online wagers. It also would give law enforcement officials the authority to work with Internet providers to block access to gambling Web sites.
Some opponents of the legislation say policing the Internet is impossible, that it would be better to regulate the $12 billion industry and collect taxes from it. The online gambling industry is based almost entirely outside the United States, though about half its customers live in the U.S.
Other critics complain that the bill doesn't cover all forms of gambling. They point to exemptions they say would allow online lotteries and Internet betting on horse racing to flourish while cracking down on other kinds of sports betting, casino games and card games like poker.
"If you're going to support legislation that is supposed to 'prohibit gambling,' you should not have carve-outs," said Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the conservative
Traditional Values Coalition
Other conservative and antigambling groups are supporting the legislation, sponsored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Jim Leach, R-Iowa.
John Kindt, a business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has studied the issue, calls the Internet "the crack cocaine" of gambling.
"There are no needle marks. There's no alcohol on the breath. You just click the mouse and lose your house," he said.
Congress has considered similar bills several times before. In 2000, disgraced lobbyist Jack Ambramoff led a fierce campaign against it on behalf of an online lottery company.
Online lotteries are allowed in the latest bill, largely at the behest of states that increasingly rely on lotteries to augment tax revenues.
Pro-sports leagues also like the bill, arguing that Web wagering could hurt the integrity of their sports.
The horse racing industry also supports the bill because of the exemption it would get. Betting operators would not be prohibited from any activity allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act. That law written in the 1970s set up rules for interstate betting on racing. It was updated a few years ago to clarify that betting on horse racing over the Internet is allowed.
Greg Avioli, chief executive officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said the mention of horse racing in the bill is "a recognition of existing federal law," not a new carve-out.
He said the racing industry has a strong future in the digital age and acknowledged the bill would send Internet gamblers to racing sites. "They'd return to the one place they can bet legally," Avioli said.
That's what some critics say is unfair.
"Somehow we find ourselves in a situation where Congress has gotten in the business of cherry-picking types of gambling," complained Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla. Wexler had tried unsuccessfully to include exemptions for dog racing and jai alai, both popular in Florida.
The Justice Department has taken a different view on the legality of Internet betting on horse races. In a World Trade Organization case involving Antigua, the department said online betting on horse racing remains illegal under the 1961 Wire Act despite the existence of the more recently passed Interstate Horseracing Act.
The department hasn't actively enforced its stance, but observers say it is possible the agency and the racing industry could face off in court in the future.
Regarding the House bill, Antiguan Finance Minister Errol Cort said Monday, "I'm very surprised and quite disappointed that the U.S. Congress would be pushing full force ahead."
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is leading support for the ban in the Senate. The issue has so far not been debated in that chamber this year.
I'm not looking forward to this vote. It is likely to go through. The New York Times has said that odds are well against any kind of gambling ban to go into law this year, but still, passing this through one house of Congress is a HUGE warning flag.

duminică, 23 iulie 2006

Update to the below

Update to the below
HR4411 has passed today, by a margin of 317-93. Exact text on HR4411.
A few things. First off, as was said on ITH and elsewhere, I'm very disappointed in the defense of poker today. No real strong arguments were brought up. The WTO's objection was not brought up. No strong rebuttals to the terrible sob stories were brought up. Online gambling basically rolled over and took it's beating, with the possible exception of the Nevada representatives who at least did their best.
Secondly, I'm disappointed that it passed with such a large margin. Rumblings were that this would probably get through the House, but the way I heard it, it was going to be significantly closer than this. This is a certified landslide.
This isn't over. There's still the Senate. There's also the very likely chance that the Senate won't consider this until far off in the future. There's also the chance that the pro-gambling forces could get their damn act together and show why this is such a bad idea.
At least my representative voted against this. Go Dreier! I'd like to think that the deluge of letters and emails made a difference. (For the record, Dreier also supports NO ASS. He's a great American) Check what your representative voted here:
But I'm still very worried right now.

Moving process

Moving process
There's nothing like moving to make you realize what you have. And what I have is too much junk and not enough useful stuff. I've spent the past week doing the whole moving in process and re-arranging my new room at least 10-15 times. And right now we're roughly back to where we started last week, but now I have a much better understanding of the exact look of all my things from every angle. Or something like that.
Also, I've realized that most of my things are too ratty for a nicer place. Everything looks out of place. I mean, say what you will about rats and cockroaches, but they at least made me feel at home. It's also good for my self esteem when I feel above my surroundings. Here I feel distinctly beneath my surroundings. I feel this great social pressure to upgrade everything in my life. Like, in the garage, my car stands out. While it is nice that my car is no longer a target of rage for an angry tire slashing cosplay demon, it doesn't fit in with a Lexus in the space behind me, a BMW in the space to the left and 2 Benzes in the space to the right. It's like high school all over again...except instead of shoes and jeans, it's cars.
Other than that though, so far things have been amazing. Just haven't had time for much poker lately. The biggest problem is that without a desk, the computer is just sitting on the floor. It's hard to play long sessions when my back starts cramping up. Hopefully I'll be able to make up for it next week. 8 hour sessions on WPX all week next week. I wonder if it's possible to make $1500 in rakeback in 1 week.

CardPlayer's take. Words of comfort.

Confusion in the Press
There seems to be some confusion in the press regarding what bill just passed in Congress. It has been reported that the “Goodlatte” bill passed in the House. Actually what is referred to as the Goodlatte Bill, introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va, is H.R. 4777, which was fraught with problems previously reported by CardPlayer. Click here for that article. The common name of that bill was the “Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.”
Another milder bill was introduced by Rep. Jim Leach, an Iowa Republican. That bill, commonly known as the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act,” is H.R. 4411, which basically prohibits credit card companies and financial institutions from sending payment to gaming sites.
The bill that passed was an amended version of H.R. 4411, which is the Leach bill that added some of Goodlatte’s proposals. Before this bill becomes law, it must pass both the House and the Senate. Currently, there is no commensurate bill pending in the Senate.
Poker Players Are Not at Risk
The first thing to note is that the bill does not prohibit a poker enthusiast from playing online poker. One Democrat introduced such an amendment to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the bill, but the amendment failed. There is no mention of the poker player in the bill nor any penalty associated with playing poker.
H.R. 4411
After almost four hours of debate, the bill passed by a vote of 317-93. In a nutshell, here’s the meat of the statute and the predictable problems associated with each section of the bill.
Online gaming sites are prohibited from accepting payment from a United States financial institution. Since all online sites are outside of the United States, our government has no jurisdiction to enforce this part of the law. Simply stated, the United States cannot make laws or enforce laws regarding business outside the United States.
Financial institutions are forbidden from delivering funds to online gaming sites. However, most banks and credit card companies already refuse to send money to offshore sites. Therefore, offshore third-party companies have already been set in motion to handle United States financial transactions.
The amended 1961 Wire Act modernizes its language by including the Internet and prohibiting games “predominantly subject to chance.” This will be the start of expensive and time-consuming litigation regarding whether poker is predominantly a game of skill or chance.
A burden is placed upon Internet service providers and other technology providers to block access to online gambling sites when requested to do so by a law enforcement agency. This will prove to be an unenforceable nightmare for all involved.
The bill directs the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to issue regulations outlining policies and procedures that could be used by financial institutions to identify and block gambling-related transactions that are transmitted through their payment systems. If the bill ever becomes law, these entities have 270 days to write such procedures. The implementation is mind boggling.
The bill contains carve-outs for such things as lotteries, horse racing, and the stock market. Every opponent of the bill criticizes the bill because, while it attempts to legislate morality, it prohibits only certain forms of gambling while allowing others.
As a matter of fact, although the proponents of the bill say that online gaming is destroying the moral fiber of society, the bill allows a state to house an online gaming site for its citizens.
Political Motivation
The bill was clearly politically motivated by Republicans who are worried about losing control in the House after the November election. Last month, House Republican leaders announced that this bill would be part of a 10-part “American Values Agenda,” which consists of 10 unrelated pieces of legislation, including a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, tax cuts, a flag burning law, and extensive restrictions on stem cell research.
Furthermore, this is a way our legislators can separate themselves from the now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who lobbied against previous versions of this bill using bribes, fraud, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist in the bill’s defeat.
The Future Players
As I see it, there are a number of players and organizations to be watching in the near future. Although Senate leaders have not identified the bill as a top priority, Arizona Republican Jon Kyl has pledged to pursue a similar bill in the Senate.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., the American Gaming Association president, recently announced that the AGA supports a study of the feasibility of regulating online gaming.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget said that although it supports the House’s vote, it has concerns about the bill.
Sam Vallandingham, vice president for the First State Bank in West Virginia has said, “Our concern is that the added burden of monitoring all payment transactions for the taint of Internet gambling will drain finite resources currently engaged in complying with anti-terrorism, anti-money laundering regulations, and daily operation of our bank.”
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, continue to vocally oppose the bill: “Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol, and it won’t work for gambling,” Frank said. Paul agreed, adding, “the only thing (prohibition) does is increase the price.”
U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nevada, offered an amendment that would have eliminated what she called the “hypocritical exemption” by completely banning all forms of Internet gambling. It failed by a vote of 114-297.
My favorite Representative, Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, also offered such an amendment. He called all the exceptions and carve-outs “loopholes as big as a barn door.”
The Poker Players Alliance is another group to be watched. Reuters reported that regulating Internet poker instead of banning it could bring the U.S. government $3.3 billion in taxes annually, according to a study by the Poker Players Alliance. Income taxes on winnings from Internet poker alone — which is estimated to have attracted $60 billion in wagers worldwide in 2005 — could amount to $2.5 billion each year. The study also said that a 1 percent user fee on online poker transactions would generate another $800 million to $1 billion in revenue per year for the U.S. government.
Finally, Rep. Jim Kasper from North Dakota should be watched as well. I had the pleasure of speaking with him this morning. He informed me that he was in contact with AGA president Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., discussing possible ramifications of the bill.
Rep Kasper told me: “I intend to draft the Legislation to allow any Internet company located in North Dakota to be able to do business worldwide, not just in North Dakota. If the DOJ or the Congress try to stop us, it is my intention that the state of North Dakota initiate legal proceedings in federal court, to have the courts rule on the Constitutional issues. And, I am looking for input and help from the gaming industry in the drafting of the new bills.” Representative Jim Kasper can be reached at
In conclusion, I will reiterate what I have predicted every year for about the last 10 years. My prediction is that no law will pass in 2006 banning online gaming. The attempts are more complicated but no more feasible than they have ever been. Online gaming is a $12 billion a year business that is here to stay. Show your support for the right to play online by going to CardPlayer and sending a letter to your Congressional representatives opposing this legislation.

Well, that certainly makes me feel a little better. I think the important thing to note is that the fight is far from over and looking at the exact text of the bill, our odds of outright defeating this in the Senate are good in addition to our odds of just outlasting it.

vineri, 23 iunie 2006

Results for the month of June

Results for the month of June

Rakeback: $1129
Poker Profits: $791
Sun: http://www.sunpoker/ com
Bonus: $40
Poker Profits: $117
Will Hill: http://www.williamhillpoker/ com
Bonus: $25
Poker Profits: $177
Bonus: $250
Poker Profits: $373
Poker Plex:
Bonus: $50
Poker Profits: -$257
Poker Stars:
Bonus: $0 (not earned yet)
Poker Profits: $295
Money made off Bonuses/Rakeback: $1494
Money made off Poker Profits: $1496
The final numbers for June: $2990

I thought I'd do this a couple days early since I'm in the process of moving and about to dismantle the computer and be offline for the next week or so. It'll take a couple days for me to get Internet services connected again and I'll be in Los Angeles July 1 and 2 for the Evo West regional.

Anyways, it was a pretty good month this month. Breaking it down even further, there were very few losing days. Obviously there were a few, but overall things just kind of progressed slowly, usually winding up on the positive side of even. Very few big wins too. Just steady, careful progress. If only grinding was always this easy! Strange for me since I'm usually so streaky.
The other major change for me is the dramatic lessening of sites I've been playing at. As you can see, I spent most of the month on World Poker Exchange this month. And I plan on doing so in the near future. Quite frankly speaking, 100% rakeback is the best deal on the net, bar none. The only reason I even have other sites up is because in the beginning of this month the tables were a little sparse and you're only allowed 3 tables at a time. Otherwise, I probably would have never left. Even the very best bonuses at other networks don't come out to 100% rakeback. Now that the traffic is improving, things just seem to be looking up for WPX.
I stuck with Crypto as my site for extra tables because of some great offers. This month Interpoker has been having pocket kings promotions almost every week, so combining that promotion, with their $30 for 350 raked and their monthly bonus, it's been the only thing close to WPX. Other than that though, there just doesn't seem to be that much of a reason to be chasing bonuses from here on out. Poker Room network has been running a whole lot of bonuses this month and for the first time ever, I gleefully told them where they could stick their 10x bonuses and their rock tight tables. I can't tell you how good it felt to see the BW bonus updates in my email and to just click delete.
I don't mean to sound like a shill for WPX, but it's just a dramatically better deal than anything else on the internet (other than propping), and it's so much easier. Once they add saved hand histories and fix the software, it'll be a dream come true.

Another site on the boycott list

Time to uninstall Check n' Raise poker from the computer. Why? Take a look at this from ITH (also reposted to 2+2 and RGP):
(emailed from CnR poker to winners of WSOP seats)
"We regret to inform you that CnR will be unable, at this time, to make a lump sum payment for the 10 WSOP seats that were won this year through the “CheckPoints to Millions” and “Freeway to Vegas” promotions on ChecknRaisePoker. However, we plan to make this up to you over the coming months. We will deposit into your player account 5% or more, as cash flow permits, of the value of your entry in monthly installments starting July 31st , 2006 until 110% of the cash equivalent is paid in full.
Unfortunately our cash flow did not allow us to set aside sufficient funds from the time that you won your seat in March. If you plan to attend the WSOP in any event, we wish you the best of luck and we are sure you will have a great time.
Please accept our sincere apologies for having to break this news to you just weeks prior to the event we promised you. Please do not hesitate to contact us by return email, if you have any questions or comments. If you would like to speak to us by phone, please suggest a convenient time and provide a phone number and we would be happy to call you and provide more details and answer any questions that you may have.
Best Regards,
XXXX and the ChecknRaise Team"
Wow. Just wow. First off, how could they have mismanaged money this poorly? What this basically means is that they STOLE the money from the tournament entry fees that were to pay for the WSOP seats. That's borderline criminal. Then this casts serious doubts on their cash flow situation if they couldn't raise $50,000 in a pinch. For a room that's a part of a large network like the Poker Room network, they should be doing that in a couple hours, maybe a day or two max. I seriously doubt any of the winners will be seeing any of this money.
As if anyone needed any more of a reason to not play at Poker Room or skins, here's one. I'll certainly never play at CnR ever again.
Free poker money

World Cup is rigged

My thoughts on the World Cup game and they're brief.
--When did they hire Dick Bavetta to ref World Cup games? I mean really, the US has been jobbed out two games in a row. I don't even care about/like soccer and I feel like rioting anyways.
--And that's another thing. While I do like a healthy dose of nationalism at 7 in the morning. It sure beats coffee, or that horrible Folgers ad that's been making rounds on the Internet lately. If you haven't seen it yet, clicky. It's worth it:  .
But yeah, the downside about having a sports event on at 7am is that it's now 11am and I'm thoroughly disappointed in sports. There's a reason these things are usually late at night. Cause like...I really do feel like turning over cars, drinking and setting something on fire. But it's only 11! This would be inappropriate with the sun still up. And by the time the sun goes down, I'll be calm and normal.
--This is supposed to be the best US team ever? I mean, I realize that if we had Mexico's bracket we would have won something but still...underacheiving sucks.
--Also, why the hell do we have short people playing on our team. I don't know much about soccer, but I know that at least 1/2 of attacking for good teams (which would be about 90% for bad teams like us) is throwing prayers into the box and having jump balls. So it stands to reason that tall people have an advantage. The announcers kept crapping themselves over the 6'8" Czech guy during that game, for example.
We're a nation known for being large. When foreign people came to UCSD, they would always remark about how tall and big everyone was over here, and American is synonymous with "bigger" to a lot of Europeans. Yet we have 2 guys who are 5'6" in cleats starting for our team and another couple guys under 6'. Come on! You're telling me you couldn't find a couple college basketball washouts and send them out there?
Blah. This has pissed me off enough. I'm off to go waste gas, eat at McDonald's and call someone a terrorist if they don't look like me. American power.