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August 22, 2012


Mark Folkestad



Geez...poker isn't gambling. Whodda thunk it?


Riverboat gamblers are now to be referred to as riverboat professional card players. I need bgates or hit to work on what to actually call them now.


As I heard someone explain, in all the other contests, the house is more likely to win,


Bye Bye Page 9.

I did live a post on why I think Nevadans should be furious on what their state DoEd is pushing. If anyone knows someone living there.


Judge Jack Weinstein (EDNY) ruled. JACK WEINSTEIN. Jack has no respect for State Courts, the 2nd Circuit, the SCOTUS, statutes, common law precedent, the Talmud, the Koran, the Sermon on the Mount. Jack only respects.... Jack's opinions. I'm not surprised by anything he does, and I won't be surprised if this is reversed.

Mark Folkestad

Well, if the house wasn't usually in cahoots with the local law enforcement and getting away with booting smart players, blackjack is a way to slowly beat the house.


"Your winnings, your Honor."


Via Instapundit, it looks like Obama is trying for one really stupid picture a day:

Barack Obama’s Dan Quayle moment

I wonder what tomorrow picture will be?


Ranger... no, no no no, Arabic is read right to left, so Bam meant it that way--



Is he gambling on the public being as stupid as he thinks they are?


I think it's that, as MarkO says, he's just not that smart.


And he's a liar. ;)


First time I heard that.

Today. grin


Wow.... just wow.

From the WaPo:

Correction: There are different photographs of Obama’s attempt to spell Ohio from a similar angle. We incorrectly stated the first one appeared photoshopped.


Is that Obama pic at Ohio State? How nice that he happened upon three students in August wearing long-sleeved blue shirts that matched BOzo's tie.

hit and run


an efficient markets argument would be that in poker there is a profit opportunity for whover is the best player at a (relatively small) table.

I have pocketed triple digit winnings in each of our last three monthly neighborhood poker games*. I am willing to accede to the title of best player in the neighborhood.

Tomorrow night is our annual social before our annual inter-neighborhood golf tournament. I shall endeavor to prove again the efficient markets argument, this time in a market roughly double in size.


*Unless you talk to mrs hit and run (or any of the other wives [or the IRS]) -- in which case, in a stroke of unimaginable luck, every single player has broken exactly even, every time we've ever played. It's really uncanny.


Posting this on both new threads:

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog

How should Obama spell Ohio? L-O-S-T http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/08/22/yes-obama-can-spell-ohio/

Danube of Thought

If you doubt it's a game of skill, explain why there are certain guys (Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negranu, Phil Ivey, etc.) who keep advancing deep into the World Series of Poker.


For the full flavor of the WaPo correction realize this...

Mitt Romney Ohio spokesman Christopher Maloney thinks he’s caught President Obama in an embarrassing error — misspelling Ohio.

is the 'story' that the Ohio twit pic reporter reported the story as being the 'important' thing.

The correction says the paper thought the first photo (the one the Romney campaign tweeted about) was a photoshop.

So the correction is saying they thought Romney's campaign was photoshopping and posting the photoshopped pic.

Bias much?

Crumb and Get It owner said no to Biden event, introduces Ryan in Va

I found this link at Drudge (LUN) re the bakery owner, Chris McMurray, who refused a photo op with Joe Biden. He ntroduced Paul Ryan at a campaign event in Roanoke, VA. Nice large crowd (see photo) McMurray provided cookies for all attending.


oops, forgot LUN :)

Frau Duden

And as bad always reminded us, he sucks!

Danube of Thought

"...blackjack is a way to slowly beat the house"

No if they use six or eight decks and shuffle up halfway through. You'll never get that ten-rich remainder that Thorp played for.


No if they use six or eight decks and shuffle up halfway through. You'll never get that ten-rich remainder that Thorp played for

That's so true and I say that as being a former bj and poker dealer in a casino.

How the house makes money on poker is -- they take a "rake" from each pot or perhaps a defined percentage.

There are of course tables in Las Vegas where single deck blackjack is played but there are a lot of eyes in the skies watching for counters at those tables.



Mark Folkestad

Yes, DoT, but then the smart blackjack player would move to another casino, or to a table with lower stakes (you don't have to pay for that estate on the Riviera in one junket!). I worked with a guy who wasn't really terribly smart, but was the greatest stealth card-counter you could find. His Achilles heel was his drinking. We drove down to the closest of the Indian casinos after the last shift of the week, and he amazed me by working his way up to two grand ahead by the time he had agreed to go. But his blood alcohol was already soaring. He demanded to stay three more hours. I slept in the back seat of my car. When I came in to get him, he was so sloshed that he had trouble standing up, and he was enraged at me because I hadn't dragged him out, kicking and screaming, three hours earlier. He had lost the two grand gain, and was down a grand. I saw milder versions of that a few other times.


henry-if you are around and I have been following what you are saying, the LUN tour would be about getting businesses let MS take charge of their data systems?

So MS and our favorite vendor for example will have control over tremendous amounts of data and that's before getting to the whole Ecosystem and we will need tech cos to collect and manage lots of personal data so we can plan and manage economies based on Sustainability?

I am mulling a few things and want to make sure I get the implications.

Back to the poker game.

And what better place than Roanoke, Va to have Ryan and a small business owner. Someone may need to do a community sign that says "Where the 'You Didn't Build That Uproar' Commenced."

Frau Landkarte

Verrrrry interesting from Amazon via drudge: Election reading heatmap.

Ralph L

Hit, I saw your footnote first and wondered how many wives you have.


Very cool map, Frau (or maybe I should say, Really hot map)!


"If you doubt it's a game of skill, explain why there are certain guys (Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negranu, Phil Ivey, etc.)"

When I watched poker on TV some years back, Negranu in particular was spooky in his ability to "guess" what his opponents were holding.

hit and run

I saw your footnote first and wondered how many wives you have.

That's another thing I'd ask you not to tell mrs hit and run.

Danube of Thought

MarkF, lower stakes won't solve the problem. All you can do is try to find a house that deals single-deck, and they are an endangered species.

I was in grad school (math) when Thorp's bookcame out in '65. I got to be a good counter, memorized his decision rules, went up to Tahoe and won pretty steadily at single-deck tables. But given the stakes I was playing it was a hell of a lot of work for the payout.


rse, bullseye. add in our favorite online bookseller, the do no evil search guys, and every other tech firm with a pulse (although most sub contract to the big three: the bookseller, the blue guys, and the big O). Even I play this game a little (but sub to others entirely). MS and the search guys were after consumer info more than corporate, but the big A has crushed them lately.

The offer is "cheap" IT, or a cheap way to handle complex systems (aka bad engineering). Not everyone falls for it, and some vendors (me and Carbonite that I know of, possibly more) encrypt data in a way that foils big brother.

IT is as it always has been a caveat emptor space.

Ralph L

I never found poker interesting (I'm a bridge player) until I saw everyone's cards on TV. That was big on cable for a while.


Ralph L,

One of my great regrets is that I did not grow up in a bridge-playing age. Some guys I knew in college used to play and joined a club after graduating. I wish I'd tagged along and learned. My grandmother lived for bridge and was a great player (as she was with all cards). She had a harder time giving up bridge when she went blind than she did kicking her fifty-year smoking habit.

Mark Folkestad

DoT, at least around here, lower stakes means the house doesn't have six or eight decks in the shoe. They aren't worried about the little stuff.

Mark Folkestad

But, then again, around here the casinos are run by Indians, and, Lord knows, they certainly have no experience scalping people!


I, too, wish I had learned bridge.

Jane - Get off the couch your country needs you!

I refused to learn bridge because I figured my family would do nothing else.

I also refused to learn to type because I didn't want to be forced to be a secretary. That one was a mistake. I should have learned to type and lied.


I think to be a good gambler you have to know the percentages in any game is a given. But there is also some commonsense involved and a positive attitude certainly can help put person in the winner's column.

Confidence, that's the word that I was looking for to describe the gambler.

I worked for a fellow who at one time had been a shift manager for MGM and he said he absolutely feared a novice gambler and a dead drunk gambler:-)


I enjoy bridge very much and sometimes fill in at our local duplicate bridge club.
Talk about cutthroat..... ;-)


henry-hubby is an IT geek but I can be a bit like the ailing doctor's wife sometimes. He remembers punch cards and the days of DEC. He tends to think nothing about just inventing something to do what needs to be done.

New LUN then will be the mother of all data troves. One underappreciated point is data on primary kids ties in so closely to home it is practically like getting mom and dad to answer questions.

You marry all that data with the determined you may not know much/may not practice abstract or logical thinking/respond from emotion and we know what the pressure points are and it starts to feel like a bad science fiction movie.

I want a refund.


Jane-it would be interesting to do a survey of all the JOM lawyers and see how many of us hunt and peck.

My kids think it is hilarious like no one does it. Hubby like most IT gurus is the fastest typist I have ever seen.


--(I'm a bridge player) --

Who's responsible for bridges?
You didn't play that.


If you doubt it's a game of skill, explain why there are certain guys (Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negranu, Phil Ivey, etc.) who keep advancing deep into the World Series of Poker.

Because they are very very good and there is a reason why so many of the top Hold 'Em players have math backgrounds. Negranu can keep the percentage odds in his head and knows them so well, he often appears to be clairvoyant. But the skill in Hold 'Em is all about knowing the statistics.

I play both bridge and Hold 'Em, and I find they both take skill, and neither is very friendly to those who aren't that bright to start with. To be a successful Hold 'Em player, you have to be smart, you have to have good nerves and not be afraid to take risks, but pure gamblers are not going to win over the long haul. Even when playing on line in the no money games, players quickly seem to find their skill level, the higher the blinds, the more skill you better have if you hope to win or break even.

My Mother's best friend and housemate for years used to take ocean liner trips to Europe with her sister, both champion bridge players and they would partner with Charles Goren and once in awhile with Omar Shariff. From what I was told, Helen and her sister, Marjorie, were almost unbeatable when they played together. My Mother was also a champion but still not in their league, so when I was learning to play as a young teen, there was little room for screwing up. And learning from really good players ups your own game. Hold 'Em is the same way.

I've read Helmuth's books, but then watching him play, he seems to violate all his own rules he lays out in the books.

I am not a gambler. I will take risks occasionally on a hand, but not before watching and assessing several hands and getting a sense of the type of bettors I'm playing against. However, it still comes down to knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em and that takes skill, some math ability, and experience.


For me, poker is a game of extreme chance. Especially, Anaconda with whores, fours and one eyed jacks wild.

I wonder if Elizabeth Warren is good at Indian poker.

Jane - Get off the couch your country needs you!

I can type without looking for the most part now, but that's because I spend far too much time here.


rse, that LUN is scary. "Complies with the Family Privacy Act"... right. Our tax info is never seen by anyone -- it is illegal to share (unless politically expedient). Doom.


She had a harder time giving up bridge when she went blind than she did kicking her fifty-year smoking habit.

My Mother said the same thing. In fact, she was hosting her bridge group, 2 tables, and in the midst of playing a hand when she had her first stroke, age 90. I joked with one of the bridge members that she probably insisted on playing out the hand. I was joking, but her friend's answer was, "Of course!" It wasn't until the hand was over and she excused herself from the table that anyone realized something was wrong when they saw her lurch into the kitchen (banging into tables and lamps) as if she was three sheets to the wind.


One more LUN then for you henry.

Everyone I know affiliated with this I do not trust.

Danube of Thought

"lower stakes means the house doesn't have six or eight decks in the shoe"

I didn't know that. It's been a long time for me, but back when I was doing it, once the multiple-deck stuff started the only single-deck tables i could ever find did not use a shoe, which I took as a red flag.

What amazes me about Negranu is how accurately he can guess what an opponent is holding. It must be highly unnerving to say, "raise $500" and have him say "Ace-Jack, right?" and be spot-on.


rse, a simple way to think about that one: efficiently shared data and privacy are mutually exclusive objectives. Without looking, I'm going to guess that SSN is the key to every file element (the efficient way to get the whole picture of any student). No matter how good the privacy and encryption at the school level, it is gone once a data set is transferred in standard form which includes this key for "analytical integrity" across the various schools from P to 16. The same problem exists in HR & Payroll software. I can encrypt SSNs and health info, and secure access to the data to very small levels. Yet the "standard" format for reporting earnings to the IRS/states, or similar required reporting to OSHA, EEOC ad nauseum requires SSN at the detail level and electronic reports to the government are not encrypted. Their rules, not mine. Plus neither I nor any employee has any control or knowledge of who in the government accesses this data, or even whether the government properly secures it. In WI we have had Dept of Revenue contractors mail tax forms with the SSN printed on the address tag! But the reporting standards ensure the government has efficient access to data. Doom.

Thomas Collins

Does anyone have the statute in question, or knowledge of the history of the extent to which games of skill have been classified as gambling? As NK suggested in a 12:18 PM post, Judge Weinstein is not necessarily bound by what mere mortal judges think bind them (although he has entertained with his opinions for several decades). It hardly seems to me to be a revelation that poker is a game of skill. Does that preclude it from being gambling?

On the other hand, if derivatives contracts can avoid coming under anti-gambling statutes, why not poker?


DOT: I don't think Negranu "guesses" all that often. He knows his opponents and probably knows what they bet with every possible hand. When he doesn't do as well, it is usually a table of young guns he hasn't played against at all or very often. I do agree it must be unnerving though to have someone "guess" right as often as he does.


I love playing bridge and also play a family card game called oddly enough Pedro. I've never met anyone else who knows how to play this game.
In college kids would play in what was then called the smoker and fill in for each other when it wastime to go to class. One girl named Nellie would sit there the whole day playing with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. It is a vivid memory in my mind.
I still hunt and peck on the keyboard and feel better knowing tht Jane does also.


should be that in the previous post.

Ralph L

In college, we played bridge at breakfast and lunch before exams for relaxation. Most of us were social players, which was probably tough on the serious few.

My grandparents played a faster game, Setback, in which you & partner play for high, low, jack, joker, and game points. It was fun when we were teenagers.


There is nothing like Cribbage to teach a kid how to count IMHO:)


I've played setback, but I think we played it as a version of pitch. We played games and games of spades in college, quite a bit of pitch, but no bridge. Have played against some very good spades players. I play some hold em now, and i generally wind up in the top three out of seven or eight but just can't quite get the whole chalupa when it's actual money on the line. A hold em tutor with percentages for every hand helped tremendously.


maryrose, my family plays a card game called Fan Tan that no one else seems to know how to play. Wiki tells me that it's also known as Sevens. Not much skill involved but just enough to get kids into it.


"lower stakes means the house doesn't have six or eight decks in the shoe."

It also means a fair number of novice or otherwise dumb players who give the house a big edge.


"lower stakes means the house doesn't have six or eight decks in the shoe."

It also means a fair number of novice or otherwise dumb players who give the house a big edge.

Mark Folkestad

I know that the standard wisdom is that novices and practiced incompetents give the house an edge, but, without doing a statistical analysis of it, that seems to give the house an edge against the morons. I've won when morons were killing themselves with mistakes, and I've lost when everyone at the table is fairly sharp. Sure I might wind up with a bad card because the idiot either hit when he shouldn't have, or stood when all reason screamed for him to hit, but I've also won because of the cards I did get after those errors. The morons give the house an edge because THEY bust more than they should, or fail to best the dealer's hand.


oops, sorry for the double. Yes, that's all I meant, Mark. I don't think they affect (on average) smart players' odds against the house. But in my experience the number of dumb players at low stakes tables is high enough so that the house makes money even with only one deck.

Mark Folkestad

Okay, jimmyk, and the fact that incompetent players make money for the casinos gives good players who aren't greedy to actually come away with a tiny profit after the entertainment. AND, I am not too proud to take advantage of casino promotions like free play chips or match play slips to enhance MY edge. I went down to Jackpot Junction Casino, run by a band of Dakota/Sioux, with a three-bus junket crowd, back when they were more generous with promotions. Each bus rider got, among other things, three $5 free play chips and match play slips totalling twenty bucks. Half of the people only wanted to play slots or bingo, and gave me their blackjack items, with the understanding that, if I won, we would split the money. I left the casino after that red-eye trip with over four hundred bucks just from that group deal. With my own blackjack, slots and bingo (free session), my grand total for the night was nearly a grand, which came in very handy for my utility bills and property taxes.


I used to play pinochle at lunchtime with the guys, and a couple of gals on the factory floor back in the day. We would usually play some system for who bought lunch on payday. I miss those days.


Matt: Pinochle was the card game of choice when I was in my late teens and through my twenties, both cutthroat and partner. Since that time, the only time I've even seen a game was when I was on jury duty and sitting for hours in the jury pool room, where there were tables of bridge and pinochle that people were moving in and out of all day long as they waited to see if they would be called up. That was way back in the mid '70s. I love the game, but I don't know anyone who plays.


In an old W.C.Fields movie, he's in a saloon in the old West playing poker at a table. A showgirl comes up and says, "Why don't you buy me a drink and come play roulette?"

Fields replies, "I'm sorry my dear, but I promised my sweet mother on her deathbed I would never engage in games of chance." The showgirl objects, "But you're playing poker right now - that's a game of chance!"

"Not the way I play it," he answers.

Can Blackjack be far behind?

Buddy Hackett told the story of a middle-aged couple who joined him on an elevator in a Vegas hotel. They were arguing, the man yelling at the wife, "How can you lose $500?" She shot back, "You lost $5000!!!"

"Yeah," he replied, "but I know how to gamble!"


That's funny!

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