Hell No We Won't Fold!

Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is a mainstay of Internet culture, an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis, Fascists or Hitler approaches one." [From Wikipedia]

Godwin's Law does not dispute whether, in a particular instance, a reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis might be apt. It is precisely because such a reference or comparison may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued, that overuse of the Hitler/Nazi comparison should be avoided, as it robs the valid comparisons of their impact.

Although in one of its early forms Godwin's Law referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions, the law is now applied to any threaded online discussion, electronic mailing lists, message boards, chat rooms and more recently blog comment talk pages.

Why do I bring up Mr. Godwin and his intriguing law? Well sports fans because not since Nixon and his tin soldiers were coming has the federal government done so much to invade our private lives. Methinks its the fear that some damn liberal democrat will take over in just two years that has pushed the feds at every level to use all their tinker toy illegally invasive procedures, under the guise of terrorism and the obscenely named "Patriots Act" to save our country, our children and our way of life from........ wait for it....... yes.... say it! say it! ........POKER!!!

You now how everytime someone gets busted by the cops for jaywalking or operating a lawnmower before 7 AM they scream: "Don't you have something better to do, like catch murderers and rapists?"

OK, then let me ask. Is there something else our governmental representatives might be doing with our money and our federal employees, say the matter of ... oh let's see, actually terrorism or Iraq or maybe our crumbling infrastructure, failing educational system but NO! let's deprive millions of Americans from enjoying themselves; oh and by the way let's put about 25,000 American citizens out of work.

OK now there is a lesson here that one would have thought we had learned once or twice before: Prohibition does not work. Never has, never will. This is not about Homeland Security or Money Laundering; this is about uptight, morally superior fascists telling us how we should live our lives. Which is why many of us called the country we once respected--Amerika.

You remember those days, some called it the 60s. Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends. And to think Richard Nixon loved Poker.

Melbourne Adieu and Hello Berlin

Could it really be the last day in Melbourne? Today is the Final Table of the Aussie Million Main Event and Dr. Pauly and I will be tag-teaming the coverage from the television set green room. Then the PokerNews team will split for places far and wide in Australia before we eventually all wander back to our various home bases. You have haven't checked out the new features on PokerNews, do that, in particular the great new "Hand in Depth" feature (that we will rename soon) and the PokerNews Team Tournament Coverage. There will be more news soon on future tournament coverage from Team PokerNews.

Before wandering off to Sydney, I must say Melbourne impressed me a lot! A perfect sized city with good mass transit, very friendly people (even the poker players) lots or art, culture, food, entertainment, food. A very cool Aquarium, a river running thru the heart of the city; lots of foot and bicycle traffic. I will be back for Aussie Milions 2008.

On the blog front, what with UIGEA and the US Federal Gambling Gestapo busting down door's of mildly related poker sites and owners. Joe McCarthy is smiling up from hell right now. Expect a lot more shocking revelations in the next 48 hours.

World Series of Poker Update

Jack Effel, Director of Poker Operations at Harrah's, has relinquished his duties as Director of the WSOP Circuit events to long-time tournament floor person Janice Sexton. A wise move if this means keeping Jack in the corporate office to oversee the Harrah's poker operations leading up to the big show in June. The increasing schedule of road events keep the Circuit Director away from Las Vegas and the day to day preparations for the Big Event coming this summer. Jack was doing double or triple duty lately with his titles of: Director of Poker Operations for Harrah's; Tournament Director for the WSOP Circuit events and WSOP Tournament Director 2007. This moves seems to be a recognition from Harrah's that the WSOP TD needs to be focused on the biggest event in poker. Good luck, Jack.

The Dark Side of Christmas in a Drug-Induced Oz Way Down Under

Let me set this scene for you. When you enter the Crown Towers in Melbourne, Australia you are greeted by a large cool space with striking black marbled floors. A huge sweeping double staircase, also in black marble, leads to an elevated second floor. The massive lobby, not the check-in lobby mind you, just a huge open space, is presently filled by what for a better description I will call "The Dark Side of Christmas in a Drug-Induced Oz."

My first morning, while breakfasting on the second floor, with a spectacular view across the Yarra River, I heard the Christmas music a couple of times. I could make out Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a few other saccharine favorites and took no notice. On the way out the steps of the maginificent staircase were crowded with families as I picked my way down to the casino level. Just as I was nearly out of ear shot I heard what sounding like a extremely dirty old man jolly St. Nick and made a mental note to take a closer look when the show was a bit less rugrat infested.

This morning while I enjoyed my morning bowl of muesli and lychee nuts and the morning view, I heard the holiday tinkling begin again and as my meds were just kicking in, this seemed like the appropriate moment to discover what this late Christmas show had to offer. Thankfully, the lobby was nearly empty with absolutely no sugar-charged linoleum lizards to distort my experience. And what an experience it was. First the carousel coughs out a holiday favorite as the cavorting animals circle around. On closer inspection the animals are leaping jaguars, several reindeer with obvious crack habits, some bear/centaur encrusted creature and all of them being ridden (ridden in all of its connotations by a band of what can only be described as the monkeys from the Wizard of Oz without the wings but with some severe anorexia issues.

Somewhere in what was only a 10 minute show there were Can-Can dancers in holiday red and white and flesh; a bright red plastic inflatable Rudolph, which I am told resembles a porn star blow up doll; a Christmas Angel who floated down from the five story high ceiling and I believe wore a Victoria's Secret tong. And finally a return to the LSD carousel where a magic box opened to reveal that Dirty Olde Santa.

I will have to drag Dr. Pauly over to see this display, so that he can put his own unique spin on the Spirit of Christmas Darkness.

Aussie Observations

After just a few days in Melbourne and most of those in the Crown Poker Room, I have come up with some impressions of at least the poker-playing, casino visiting, vacationing Australians.

If you drive on the left, wouldn't that also mean that walking in crowds would also go left versus right, just like the traffic? The answer is No! In fact, the simply act of navigating a crowd seems completely lost on nearly everyone here. People actually bump into me here because they can't figure out whether to pass on the left or the right and often a couple will decide on the completely opposite path, which is actually hilarious because as often as they split and go in opposite directions, they also both choose the middle course and run into each other in an attempt to avoid running into me. I have actually had crowd behavior studies done with me as a subject because most people in a crowd avoid the large alpha males but down here its pretty much pedestrian randomness. In the poker room it is actually worse and they have a fairly good traffic pattern set-up in there but obviously the Aussies, who allow backwards batting in their Cricket matches (in baseball its called a foul ball); the Aussies sense of pedestrian direction is just sort of "kinda that way sorta". Maybe it has something to do with the way the water swirls.

Speaking of water--there is a real shortage here. It makes home in the Nevada desert seem nearly oasis-like. And, of course, there is the political infighting over what to do about it. Reminds me that people like to think they are not subject to the laws of nature and particularly
the laws of human nature. One of my favorite lines--"No one actually thinks they are normal."

Example #1: Those who have voluntarily installed low flow shower heads and faucet flow restricters will now find that those devices will not work because the local government is going to turn down the pressure in the water mains and the water saving devices operate by doing exactly that function--lowering the pressure. So low-low pressure means--no water at all. So thanks for your civic mindness and enjoy that nice glass of air.

Example #2: Nevada just started enforcing a more restrictive ban on smoking in public places. Las Vegas is the third city I have lived in during the introduction of a smoking ban for restaurants and bars. In each city there were a series of lawsuits because owners feared losing business. Yet not once in the whole political and legal process did anyone and I mean anyone! point out that in every other city where smoking bans were put into place the number of customers in bars and restaurants went up! Up in numbers, up in money spent, up in total time in the establishment. No, they just sue and bitch and never consider that they are just going over the same old ground. This is us! We are unique! We want to bitch and whine and..... no you are just another bunch of hairless monkeys with way too much time on your hand and way too much fear of change.

Speaking of difference, the Australians I have encountered are as a whole--friendlier and more talkative to strangers than your average American. The poker tables have very few problems between players and disputes often involve immediate apologies. Most games are friendly but no less aggressive, its just that they do seem to get that poker is a game and a check-raise is not an insult to you or your mother.

The Crown Casino sits on the Yarra River in downtown Melbourne just a brisk stroll from a whole series of parks. Today I am off to the Alexandria Gardens and Queen Victoria Gardens. Until later, g'day mates.

Crown Casino, Melbourne #2

Well the jet lag is gone only to be replaced by poker banishment. Local gaming laws do not allow media to play poker and work in the casino in the same 24 hr. period. So a final pass at the tables has come and gone and now its down to blogging business.

Tomorrow (Saturday the 6th) is the first official event of the Aussie Millions: $1,000 + $100. Its a No Limit Hold'em event and a two day event. URLs for the coverage include: Pokernews.com, Pokernetwork.com and AussieMillions.com; all three sites will have simultaneous tournament reporting blogs with both audio and video enhancements--all brought to you by the Poker News team.

The Aussie Millions main event is $10,500, it will go off Jan. 14th and 15th with two first day flights and two Day Two flights as well. Final Table is Friday January 19th.

Also on the schedule a $100,500 NLHE event on Friday, January 12th.
The Aussie Heads Up Poker Challenge $5,200 on Tuesday January 16th.
The Australian 2 Card Manila* Championship $3,2000 on Thursday, January 18th.

All dollar amounts are Australian Dollars; current exchange rates 1A$=0.783897 USD; 1A$ = 0.598376 EUR.

Time conversion. US EST is -16 hours Melbourne.
Melbourne is +11 GMT

*2 Card Manila
2 Card Manila is played with a deck of 32 cards (2s, 3s, 4s, 5s & 6s are removed) with the maximum number of players being 11. The Ace cannot be used as a low card to form a straight in manila games.

11 players x 2 cards = 22
Community + burn cards = 9
Total = 31

In 2 Card Manila players are dealt 2 cards one at a time starting with the blind.
Flop comes down one at a time until 5 community cards are face up on the table. There is a burn card between each community card, making a total of 4 burn cards. In 2 Card Manila the 2 hole cards must be used, as well as 3 from the board.

Players are required to either bet or 'check' on each card as it is opened.

In 2 Card Manila an ace may only count high in a straight. For example, A, 7, 8, 9, 10 is NOT a straight. The only time you can use A in a straight is 10, J, Q, K, A

A flush beats a full house in any reduced deck game.

The betting structure for $2 manila is $2, $4, $4, $4, $8 and $5 manila is $5, $10, $10, $10, $20
Only one blind, before cards are dealt. (eg $2), all players can either call the $2, raise to $6 or fold.

After all bets are called, a card is burnt, and the second community card is dealt. Players can either, check, bet ($4) or fold. same thing up to 5 cards. The bet on the fifth card is now $8
The amount you can raise on the first round is double the blind and added onto the blind, so in a $2 game the raise would be $4 making the total to call $6. on a $5 blind, the raise is $10, making it $15 in total to call. All subsequent rounds, the raise is only double; eg. The bet is $4, first raise to make it $8, second raise to $12. Only 3 raises per round permitted when there are more than 2 players in the game.

At the showdown players use their two hole cards and any three cards from the five community cards in the center of the table to form a five card poker hand.

Crown Casino, Melbourne

Yes I have arrived in Australia. Unfortunately my bags went to London but hey let's be clear from the start this is not a blog for bitching about bad travel, bad beats or bad politicians (oxymoron). I am here and semi-dejetlagged and have been in the poker room. Ran into Tony G and played a couple of hours on a PokerPro table. The Crown Casino has ten of the all electronic tables in use and they work pretty well. Once you have Pro Card and have loaded your account, you can just sit down and play at any open seat, no more brush and no lines. And there are lines for the dealer cash games today, the crowds have definitely begun to arrive for the Aussie Millions.

Tomorrow I meet the PokerNetwork Team and we get a run through of the NEW software we will be using for our coverage of the Aussie Millions. More on the URL links for those events soon. But for now its time to deal with the rest of this jetlag and crash for the night, err day, well whatever time it is. Good Day Mate!

Beginning Again.....

Yes it is time for the PokerShrink to have his own blog. Now that PokerBlog.com has been put to rest. It is time and perhaps well past time for me to share my thoughts on all things poker and otherwise and yes I do promise a lot more of the otherwise stuff. There will be a short delay as I am moments from boarding a big bird for the long flight to Melbourne, Australia for the Aussie Millions. But soon, very soon, I promise.

In the last several months I have relocated from someplace in the midwest to Las Vegas. Yes, poker bloggers operate from everywhere on the planet but someone has to actually live here but I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.

I am still writing my PokerShrink column over on PokerNews.com and will continue to do so but for those not-so-grammatically correct thoughts-----Welcome to my new Blog and thanks for coming.

To all my poker buddies heading to Tunica this week; while it will be warmer in Melbourne, I will still miss you guys. Have a Debonair or two on me (the check is in the mail) and if you have a satellite moment--pass my regards to the redhead.