Friday, January 26, 2007

A Message from the PPA

I received this in an email yesterday and got permission to reprint it here. I think this is something that everyone who plays poker online needs to hear. The situation won't get any better unless WE speak out. The PPA is giving us a voice that will be heard.

The State of Poker
by Michael Bolcerek

Tonight, in an annual tradition, the President of the United States will address the Congress, his cabinet and our country on the "state of the union" and the goals of the government for 2007. It is not likely the president will include the "state of poker" among his crucial national issues. Thus, I would like to take this moment to provide an update on where poker sits today and examine how you and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) can continue to work together to preserve and protect the game we love.

As we know painfully well, poker has come under vicious attack over the past year. We continue to learn on a regular basis about home and tavern poker games being raided by law enforcement and how charitable Texas Hold 'Em tournaments are being shut down. Perhaps even worse, we have seen the federal government's full force efforts to curb this American tradition from the Internet. Legislation aimed at prohibiting you from funding your online poker accounts passed the U.S. House this summer, then was quietly slipped into a port security bill, literally in the dark of night, which was signed into law on October 13. During these troubling times, the PPA has given you a voice to express your opposition to the government's intrusive actions and to rally in a united fashion against these constitutional incursions.

The impact has been jarring, as the largest, publicly traded online poker operators shut down services to U.S. players. While many reputable sites still offer services to U.S. players, recent actions to close down payment processors and to subpoena banks are clear indications that the federal government is aggressively pushing the online gambling prohibition.

We don't have to tell you that a prohibition won't work, and in fact will likely cause many more problems than it aims to solve. The unintended consequences will soon be apparent and all the good intentions of protecting children, helping problem gamblers, and ensuring the integrity of financial transactions will be lost as rogue sites and unregulated payment methodologies surface to replace the trustworthy operators the government is driving out of business.

The PPA is not standing idly by. Poker should be exempt under the new law and that exemption is our primary goal. I have spent a good portion of January in Washington, D.C., meeting with lawmakers and others to get support for legislation that would provide a "skill game" exemption for poker. We hope to have a bill introduced very soon and then bring to bear the voice of more than 135,000 members of the PPA to push Congress to do the right thing. This would be a very positive development for the game. For the past year, we have been on the defensive, but now is the time to go on the offensive and get a bill introduced.

This year we will also be taking the issue directly to Members of Congress in their home districts, to truly nationalize the debate. We had a tremendous response from our members about becoming PPA grassroots representatives on the state and regional levels. Soon we will be announcing our positions across the country and engaging U.S. Representatives and Senators where they used to feel safe from facts and spirited debate.

While we are working toward the short-term goal of a poker exemption, the PPA will also be laying the foundation for the eventual U.S. regulation of online poker. This is the only proven public policy for online gaming. Licensing, regulating, and taxing online poker is technically feasible and the sensible and fiscally responsible thing to do. We will be working with others in Washington to move Congress in this direction.

Finally, we not only rely on your active participation but also on your active support to achieve our goals. Our new site now offers no cost introductory annual memberships. Please help us build our membership to enable us to deliver a full house to Congress and stop further threats to our game. Tell your friends, family, and fellow players to become members of the PPA. We also offer an ability to upgrade your membership from introductory to full membership and beyond. Our new and improved Web site,, gives you tools and information to help our cause, as well as make it easier for you to donate to the PPA. I hope you will make a contribution at

2007 will be an important year for poker. With your help and continued support we are optimistic that poker will remain a great American tradition.

Michael BolcerekPresident,
Poker Players Alliance

Help out so we can continue to Enjoy the Pokery Goodness!

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Poker Related (sort of)

This is a post I have been meaning to do for some time now. In addition to looking for work (I have at least one interview next week) and playing a little online poker, I have been playing a game online that has a dual purpose. That game is BlogShares. It is, at least partially poker-related.

Brief overview of the game portion:

BlogShares starts as a game where you are given five hundred dollars of play money and you can buy and sell "shares" in blogs. Once you make a little money on blogs, you can start trading in "Ideas". Ideas are like commodities and can be bought or sold.

Then there are chips which have no face value. Prices on chips are determined by how players agree to price them at any particular moment. The game can get really complex at times.
With more advanced gameplay, you can Restructure Blogs, perform Hostile Take Overs, and Raid Blogs for Ideas.

Brief overview of the blog service portion:

As part of gameplay, the blogs are voted into different categories called "Industries". Players get chips for voting. Votes are moderated by the more experienced players. The byproduct of this voting is a rather large catalog of categorized blogs.

If you want to find a blog about, I don't know, say POKER, there are about 255 of them list there now. If you are into kayaking or French Politics or just want to read a blog from someone in Dublin, Scotland you can find it at BlogShares.

Go, Look, Enjoy! Play if you want, find blogs if you want, or do both.

Who knows, maybe I will start another blog about BlogShares.


Poker Source Online

This might interest one or two of my new readers, and maybe one or two of the long time readers.

The other day, I received an email from the good folks at Poker Source Online. It said they are in the process of renovating and changing their site. In the past, they have offered good deals for new player (money for signing up on various Poker sites) and for rakeback deals.

I did not find PSO until after I had signed up, and I have not played enough to take advantage of their rakeback deals.

They expect to roll out the new site on or about February 1, 2007. I will give you more information when and if I get it.

Enjoy the Pokery Goodness!

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WV Gaming Law Update

It was reported yesterday that the Table Gaming Legislation (not yet introduced as a bill) only calls for about 12 percent of the gross proceeds to go to the state. Governor Manchin wants that percentage to be 24 percent. According to the State Lottery Commissioner, the higher percentage is more in line with the state and industry. Gaming industry officials say they want the lower percentage so they can build and renovate to make each Race Track a "resort" facility.

I hope they can compromise on the percentage. This one of the things that killed the bill two years ago. If they do not find a compromise, then the visitors from Pennsylvania will stay in their state and play their slots there, people working at the tracks will lose their jobs, communities will get less money for local projects, and most importantly (hee hee) I will not be able drive 20 minutes and play poker.

More updates later.

Enjoy the Pokery Goodness!

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Recent Emails and Other Things

In the past week, I have received several emails about this blog. They fall into three broad categories.

The first category is what I call link exchange requests. I do not go for link exchanges. If you want to link me, then go ahead and put up a link to my blog. I will link to blogs if I find them interesting and/or useful. Links, in my mind, are not obligatory.

The second category is what I call request for review. From time to time I post about blogs/sites/media. Most I find on my own, but I welcome suggestions. I will have a couple of reviews up sometime next week.

The third category is what I call payment for placing content. Every now and then I will get a request to put up content someone else has written in exchange for money. I have not done that in the past and I will not do so in the future. Rest assured that any content you see posted here I have written myself and am not receiving any money in exchange for said content to appear.

On to actual poker content...

This week has been a little slow for me poker-wise. I played a few SnGs at FTP and UB on Tuesday and Thursday and was in the money (play money) in a majority of them. My play is slowly improving. More and more of the choices I am making are the correct ones for the situation.

Look for an update on the WV Table Gaming Legislation this weekend.

Enjoy the Pokery Goodness!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Table Gaming in WV 2007 edition

The West Virginia Legislature will try again this year to pass a Table Gaming Law. The law would make it legal for any of the four race tracks in the State to have Table Gaming such as POKER, BlackJack, Craps, Roulette, etc.

This year's incarnation of the bill may hinge on who ultimately votes to allow the Gaming to take place. Some want everyone in the state to vote in a state-wide referendum, while others want only the 4 counties with race tracks to vote.

I find it amazing how they are getting off their butts about this only after Pennsylvania voted to put in slots. The legislature now has to act quickly to keep their gaming edge or lose out on revenue and jobs - lots of jobs.

I will be tracking this pretty closely, so stay tuned.

Enjoy the Pokery Goodness!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cash Equity Article

About a month or so ago I received an FTP email newsletter that crystallized what I had been thinking was correct about play late in tournaments.

The article in question is called "Cash Equity at the Final Table" by Rafe Furst (#85) and is part of FTP's "Lessons from the Pros" series.

In it he talks about a situation at the WSOP $1500 Pot Limit Hold'em event where he has figured that if he calls and goes all in he has the correct pot odds to call, barely. He then looks beyond the pot odds to the cash value of his chips versus the cash value of his opponent's chips and decides to fold.

Go and read it for yourself. It could be well worth it. I know it has helped me a bit in multi-table SnGs at UB.

Enjoy the Pokery Goodness!