Employment Opportunities: Et cetera

[Content Disclosure: Poker 99%; Position Seeking 12%; Random Direction 4%]

For those who may be stopping by to see some of my poker writings, I guess I had better give you a few recent links. You might not scroll down far enough beyond my end of year musings to locate the evidence of my unmistakable poker wit and wisdom. Here are some highlights from the past few weeks with pure poker content:

National & International legislation effecting online poker

Run Good, Run Better, Run Best
Poker on the Fringe
Poker & Life; Life & Poker
The Poker Economy
Shameless Self Promotion
and, of course, The Book

Under the guise of semi-full disclosure, I would remind both potential employers and collaborators that this blog:

". . . serves several purposes. It is my personal not-all-about-poker blog. My professional poker blogging can be found on (nowhere at the moment, ah the great world wide economy). I am using this space to muse about things not always poker, which is why I begin each post with a "Content Disclosure". Some folks come here just for the poker and others for anything non-poker. This is where I do both and a wee bit more."

Emotional Drive-By

[Content Disclosure: 55% Life; 38% Memories; 19% Lust; 9% Love; 7% Long Forgotten Pain; Stir in a bit of Nostalgia and a Smidgen of Insight; .5% Poker]

When you live in Las Vegas, a lot of old friends come to town for meetings, conventions, trade shows and junkets. I have several variations of my "guided tour" depending on how worldly my old chums are these days. At the end of one such visit this fall, I found myself upwind from a cigar on the balcony of a garden suite at one of more elegant hotels on the Strip. Yes, some of my old college friends have done right well in the world of corporate America and some of the perks are quite interesting for an evening. The client's expense account had paid for a very nice dinner after which I had given my high end poker tour (Venetian & Bellagio). We even did and interior drop by in Bobby's Room as I had to bug one of the players about a interview we had been putting off.

Later on the balcony my college buddy and I were discussing olde thymes and olde friends, when Steve said: "Tell me again about your crazy girlfriend."

"Well Chris wasn't really crazy." I remembered that Steve had been around a few times when I was with Chris in the 70's.

"No not Chris, your actually crazy girlfriend."

Oh, right Steve had never met Barbie, but at some long ago college reunion, the boys had stayed up late on another balcony of that bed and breakfast in Kalamazoo and told tales of our lives since graduation. I had told of a Barbie weekend in Los Angeles with the drugs, the overtly sexual Sunset Blvd. excursion and the broken picture window at the Coldwater Canyon house.

"I have the impression you are not looking to hear just another love/war story, what is it you are asking me? You got a crazy person in your life Steve?"

"As a matter of fact I do. And you are the guy with the Ph.D. in psychology and some experience with crazy women, so how about serving up a side of insight for me."

I remember a very similar talk Steve and I had forty years ago on that big front porch of Harmon Hall. Older and wiser, we thought we were, but still having late night dorm room conversations about life and women. Some things really never change, just the cost of the balcony.

As it turns out, Steve's crazy woman had been running an African photo safari compound for the past ten years, so it had been email only for a long time. But she was back again and too close for comfort to his fully functional life in Atlanta. While he finished his cigar and we both emptied several bottles of wine, I gave what clinical advice as I could and we judiciously did not see the sun rise over the Strip. But that night has been rolling around in my psyche since then and I have come up with the highly theoretical and anecdotally tested construct of the Emotional Drive-By.

Ladies please feel free to reverse the gender roles in this theory, it works equally well with crazy boyfriends.

The Emotional Drive-By consists of an ex-lover dipping themselves into your life, yet again! The essential symptoms include most if not all of the following:
-they are not staying, this is not an attempt at permanence nor reconciliation;
-they are adventure addicts, action junkies and/or lost souls;
-you can't save them and they will harm you;
-you know that re-involvement is a mistake; yet often that knowledge does not translate into rational behavior;
-the entire encounter is overwhelmingly seductive;
-the moment they are gone again, you look at yourself in the mirror again and ask: "Why did I do that...again?"

If all of the above makes completely rational sense to you, I am sorry because none of the above will do you any good since this is not and never was a rational relationship.

You have several choices: Don't take the phone call, no really, don't take the call. I know, I know but the other option is to store up better emotional bandages than you had back then and carve out some time in our life for yet another emotional recovery. Its always a balance between the chaos in your life after she is gone and the junkie release you get while he is there.

For those who find this scenario way too familiar; my deepest, most insightful clinical advice is: Run Away!

Please pay the receptionist on the way out, remember I have a therapist who costs me a lot more than I charge you. And good night Barbie, wherever you are.

Movies of My Life

 “You can map your life through your favorite movies, and no two people's maps will be the same.” - - - - - - - - Mary Schmich

To enjoy this little motion picture distraction, it helps to have been raised in a movie saturated culture with the means and leisure to indulge such celluloid fantasies. But I will leave the sociological observations at that and wander down my own particular Movies of My Life.

A couple of disclosures: I was not a movie fan as a kid, it just wasn't something that interested me. In high school movies were for dates and the object of the date was not primarily to enjoy the movie. I do remember in the summer before my senior year in high school going to the art theatre in Ann Arbor to see
David and Lisa. I remember this because we had to leave early, the guy I was double dating with thought people speaking in poetry was .... well not something he understood. It was several years before I saw the movie again and remembered how different the use of cinema had been in that picture. Twas my first introduction to movie as art.

My further disclosures: Dialogue is paramount for me, followed by images and music. There just
aren't enough stories to really make a difference. You know: the Hero, the Jesus story, Buddies films etc. I also am not a big actor and actress fan. I dislike and avoid movies based on the cast a lot more often than I go to one because of an actor. Yes, I had my Woody Allen phase and Martin Scorsese is brilliant. Finally, I lived in L.A. for fifteen years (1975-1990) and more than willingly got into the movie mania of that city. Since L.A. I have drifted very far away from motion pictures, mostly due to cable television; the last seven pictures I have seen in a theatre are: 3 Lord of the Rings and 4 Harry Potters.

So then My List, in some sort of semi-chronological order or not:

David and Lisa (1963) because it was the first, even though I didn't get it for several years.

Fantasia (1940/seen by me in 1969) I am sure I saw this on television on a Sunday night Wonderful World of Disney before I got to see it on the big screen. I really don't know if the rumors about Uncle Walt doing LSD are true or not, but many, many tens of thousands of moviegoers equate Fantasia with some really awesome trips. Count me among them.

The Graduate (1967) One of the most significant Hollywood movies of its time and pictorial placeholder for the Boomer Generation. There was the whole Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack story. The Buck Henry screenplay and my first coyote-Mrs. Robinson. Plus the emergence of Dustin Hoffman was made even more stunning by his next film...

Midnight Cowboy (1969) If The Graduate was the dark side glossed over, then Midnight Cowboy was the dark side without edits and the Ratso character played by Hoffman stood in stark contrast to Benjamin Braddock from The Graduate. By the way, Midnight Cowboy was the first and only X-rated film to win the Oscar for best picture.

A Clockwork Orange (1971) The last X-rated film to be nominated for best picture. And yes "X" meant something very different 30+ years ago. Stanley Kubrick had come a long way from 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968. 2001 does not make my list, but I am not sure why not.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) With apologies to Johnny Depp, who I really like, but in this case the remake had no chance against the sheer brilliance of Gene Wilder in the original. Now that I look at my list it appears this may be the only "children's film" or fantasy to endure my personal test of time. Unless of course, you count the Lord of the Rings Trilogy which was brilliant even with the exaggeration of the war and violence plus the unfortunate loss of Tom Bombadil & Goldberry.

Harold and Maude (1971) The (year) on this list is when the movie was released, I am not really sure how many I saw when they first came out, probably most of them. Harold and Maude just had, well, Harold and Maude, and darkness and Cat Stevens before he found his faith.

La Grand Illusion (1937) OK, I am fairly sure I did not see this one when it first came out, but it was my first introduction to "foreign films" and I still remember the night in Cambridge where I saw this Jean Renoir classic.

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) Knew nothing about it, saw it in Hermosa Beach with someone I love and with the RHPS onstage cast, whose name I cannot recall (the cast not the lover) and well it was at a late night, double feature picture show.

Annie Hall (1977) I moved this up from the "other" list. It was really a seminal film and deserves to be in my life changing list, even if it does not stand up to what Woody Allen has done to his reputation.

The Deer Hunter (1978) Was the second Vietnam film of 1978, the first was Coming Home with Jane Fonda. The Deer Hunter had DeNiro, Walken, Streep and Michael Cimino and was a break-through picture about how we as a society would deal with the destruction that Vietnam caused at home to those who served, those who opposed and every one who suffered the ultimate loss.

Welcome to L.A. (1978) The most profoundly affecting movie I have ever experienced. This is not a recommendation, as most people who have seen it, really hate it. But I had a unique experience with this film and it has stayed with me for thirty years. Cast includes: Sissy Spacek, Keith Carradine, Sally Kellerman, Geraldine Chaplin, Harvey Keitel, Lauren Hutton, Richard Baskin, Denver Pyle. Robert Altman produced the film.

Apocalypse Now (1979) This was my favorite movie ever the first time I saw it and has never left the top of my list in thirty years. The original version not the Director's Cut. The struggle between Coppola and Brando both on and off the screen created this epic film about war on the other side of the universe.

Raging Bull (1980) Yes indeed this may be technically the best picture ever made. I loved it the first time I saw it and have never been able to sit through it again.

Reds (1981) A film that defined my primary relationship of the 80's. Again a story for another blog.

Blade Runner (1982/1997) In this case the classic film is much better in the Director's Cut, but either version is head and shoulders above any other near post apocalypse movie. The darkness and the rain just lock you into the lowest vision of humanity.

The Big Chill (1983) Yes, true movie snobs know that The Return of the Secaucus Seven is the more radical and militant version but the Big Chill struck a perfect note in the late sixties edition of my generation. Also many of my friends from the 70s & 80s claim the William Hurt character is me, an observation that I protest and resemble.

The Hunger (1983) and White Palace (1990) and The Tempest (1982) and Atlantic City (1980) and, of course, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). You do know who these films have in common right? Of these, the sleeper is The Hunger with one of the most erotic scenes ever filmed.

Brazil (1985) Terry Gilliam's masterpiece. You love it or you hate it. I would have no problem if Time Bandits or the Life of Brian was more to your taste.

Dreams (1990) I did see this one on opening day, in fact, I saw the first showing in Los Angeles by complete seredipity. Still one of those "days to remember" with Jimmy & Audrey but that is another blog for another day. Akira Kurosawa directed, wrote and dreamt the film. I don't know how it holds up today, I have never wanted to see it again; don't want that memory disturbed in any way.

Notting Hill (1999/seen my me in 2006) I know-what the fuck is this doing on my list?! Well other than delivering one of my favorite movie lines ever: "What is love without a violin playing goat." This movie also defines another of my ill-starred relationships with just a girl.


The Hustler (1961)
A Thousand Clowns (1965)
King of Hearts (1966)
Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
The Lion in Winter (1968)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
M*A*S*H (1970)
Straw Dogs (1971)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
The Last Waltz (1978)
Das Boot (1981)
Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
Star 80 (1983)
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Jean de Florette (1986)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Mindwalk (1990)
Philadelphia (1993)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Fargo (1996)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Two Towers (2002)
The Return of the King (2003)
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

I reserve the right to add additional films in the future, particularly if they wake me in the middle of the night with a Doh!

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It... What the _______!

[Content Disclosure: 9% Poker; 87% Las Vegas; 65% End of Days Weather Report]

That is a shot of the famous Luxor pyramid on the Las Vegas Strip and yes that is snow. A lot of snow. Over four inches fell yesterday and virtually brought the desert city of Las Vegas to a standstill. Its been thirty years since this much of the white stuff fell here and today we are getting a slow melt because temperatures remain a good 15 degrees below average. We actually are having below freezing numbers over night. I won't go on about warm weather citizens not knowing how to drive in snow and ice because no one is actually from Las Vegas. But it was a strange day yesterday, the view from my balcony was one I have seen hundreds of times in my life but I had to keep reminding myself that this is the desert and I didn't have gloves and boots sitting by the front door.

I-15 South into California remains closed today, so my trip to San Francisco will wait a few more days, the plan now is to holiday over in Sonoma and San Francisco and then come back here for a final pack and ship before I move once again.

My favorite poker player remains in the hunt at Bellagio in the Doyle Brunson Classic, so I may hop up there today to root for Mike and to visit with the surviving media gang.

Purposeful Meandering

[Content Disclosure: more of that "What comes next?" stuff.]

Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind
Had to get away to see what we could find

Hope the days that lie ahead

Bring us back to where they've led

Listen up to what's been said to you

I have been thinking a bit about new paths and how a new direction also means you must leave others behind. So many choices and so few feet to place on the path, which reminded me of something my Aunt Alice used to say when we would be driving around in Detroit. "Just because you want to go around the block; doesn't mean the block goes around." You never get back to where you started, you never can put your foot back in the stream at the same place. Times passes, things change but what you can do is pay attention to what is flickering just on the edges of your mind, your heart or your soul.

Since putting my last project to bed, I have been mulling about with what comes next. Spent a fair amount of time yesterday researching collaborative writing and another intriguing topic that I won't leak quite yet, don't want someone getting a book proposal out before me. But clearly tis the season.

It really is not so much the road less traveled that interests me these days but more the road I have not traveled or maybe those I have and don't care to get caught in a cul-de-sac again. Maybe I should have used The Who here but one oldies reference per post seemed a parsimonious precedent.

Listen up to what's been said.

Would you know we're riding on the Marrakesh Express
Would you know we're riding
on the Marrakesh Express
They're taking me to Marrakesh
All on board that train

Graham Nash

Poker & Life; Life & Poker

[Content Disclosure: 53% Poker; 41% Life; 12% The Future; add 1 Star Anise, 3 Red Peppercorns, a dash of Nutmeg and well you get the drift... don't forget to simmer and skim]

Heedless to say, a lot of my life for the past four years has revolved around poker. I have lived in Las Vegas for over two years but I write more about poker than I play, which does not mean that I don't spend a lot on "non-work" time with all things poker rattling around in my head. I have considered recently that I might well take some of my own medicine.

When the Poker Shrink sees clients, his first question is always the same: "Is your life affecting your poker or is your poker affecting your life?"

My life does not affect my poker because despite the fact that I live in Las Vegas, I actually do not spend much time at the tables. I have learned from several years of tournament reporting that the professional poker players are playing at a level that most intermediate players cannot even comprehend. I have watched dozens of great poker players for hour upon hour and I can tell you they are playing a game that most semi-serious poker fans could not even understand. No my poker is not affected by my life, my poker is a hobby, it's research to understand on some level what the truly gifted players are doing at the table.

On the other hand, poker has indeed been affecting my life. I have over fifty daily Google searches focused on the minutiae of poker. I read dozens of poker blogs from around the world. Yesterday, the girl behind the counter at the sub shoppe asked me if: "I wanted chips?" I thought she was offering to sell me a rack of blues.

So it would appear that it is time for a change. I am nearly set on taking a sabbatical to the Sonoma Valley in Northern California until the World Series late in May. The Matusow book will be coming out just before the WSOP, so I expect we will be engaged in publicity and promotion during that time, here in Vegas.

But for now, some uninterrupted time would give me space to get a fast start on my next writing project. Now all I have to do is to pick which project to engage. I have nine on the back burner right now, yep nine books or screenplays awaiting my time and energy. Only three of them have a poker angle. Which do I chose - which do I have the energy and the passion for? Anyone got a dart?

Run Good, Run Better, Then Stroll a Bit

[Content Disclosure: 100% Poker]

The third and final qualifying round of play in the PokerListings Run Good Challenge was played yesterday. I managed to add more points to my total but missed the money when I pushed to end all the qualifying drama against yesterday's eventual winner, Kid Dynamite. Mostly I was simply trying to end his diatribe of rap lyrics but in the process, his departure would also have meant all the qualifiers for next week's Grand Finale would have been set. Unfortunately his tiny set overwhelmed my big ace.

Final results for the December Nine are as follows:

Poker Shrink20 points (clearly the dominant player)
Amy Calistri13 points (nit)
Luckbox13 points (name says it all)
Change10012 points (reigning champion)
Michele Lewis11 points (cougar)
Benjo11 points (frog)
Matt Showell9 points (PokerListings ringer)
Spaceman9 points* (loser in playoff last time)
Kid Dynamite9 points* (lag maniac)
Dr. Pauly9 points* (worldwide threat)

*In playoff for final two spots

The whole thing gets settled next Saturday with $2800 up for grabs. For those poker bloggers who missed this version 2.0 of the Run Good Challenge. There is a 3.0 on the way, just contact Matt.

Poker Stars Blogger Tournament

Online PokerI have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!
The WBCOOP is an online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers.
Registration code: 347571

Another Road to Travel

[Content Disclosure: 44% Poker; 56% Life, 72% Changes]

Once again my life is changing. My run with Party Gaming has come to an end, which means I no longer have a steady income from my poker writing. The Party gig, particularly at Poker Blog, was really a great opportunity but the whole worldwide financial crisis just caught up with them and me. Good people to work with, many thanks for the several years of space and freedom to write about all things poker.

This change means that I no longer "need" to live in Las Vegas. I am leaving for a often delayed vacation in a few days and will be exploring several relocation options whilst I am away. I suspect that the end of January would be a good decision point. Will let you know where I am and where I am and where I might be.

One benefit for those who like reading this blog. I will be posting a lot more here and dipping into my "KYHiAtG" folder for some of yet to be birthed musings & mullings. Clearly, more soon on what comes next.