Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Crap is King

It's easy to throw punches when someone's already down. It's easy to call people names when you know with almost near-certainty they're not going to, or can't, say anything in return. It's easier to point a finger than it is to look in the mirror. KnowImSayn?

I should probably just stop here and link to Jesse May's September 2011 Feel the Shame post, because he, as an insider, says it all so much better. But, I won't, because there are some things I just don't get and, well, yes - it's easy to sit behind a screen and give an opinion that no one gives two shits about.

Also - and let's be clear - I'm not a poker pro and I didn't have anywhere near $35k+ stuck on FullTilt. I did lose money in their tits up fiasco, but I'm just one of thousands of players to which that happened. I guess you could say I'm one of those players all you pros WANT in the online game because, on average, I'm donating money more often than I'm withdrawing it (or I was...). So before you go dogging me for this viewpoint, just recognize that without people like me in the game - all you're doing is shuffling money back and forth between the pros among you.

In reading the back and forth between Matt Glantz, Daniel Negreanu, and Doyle Brunson, I pick up on what I think is a real generational gap between perspectives. But first, let's point out - the only person of these three still wearing a "patch" from/for an online real money poker site is Negreanu.* And while it's certainly fair to say that in the grand scheme of things, PokerStars handled things a kajillion times better than all the rest of the online players, the fact of the matter is that they, too, are still under indictment by the DOJ for their activities in the US pre-Black Friday. Just like American players flocked to FT because of players like Ivey, Durr, and Jesus, they clamored, too, to PokerStars** in part because of players like Negreanu. I know I did.

But back to this generational gap perspective. In Doyle's time out on the road in back alley games, cheats were handled differently than they are today. Poker, and how one made a living at it, was a much different ballgame then than it is today. So while I get Negreanu's anger and his use of language harking back to those old-time methods for handling cheats ("baseball bat to the nuts", etc), it's just rhetoric, because that method cannot fly in today's multi-billion dollar industry. It plays to the justifiably angry masses, but it's just theater and nothing more.

As the epitome of much of what's right in today's industry, after all he's a product of today's game, Negreanu likely gets this better than anyone. Sure, he's the Regent of Real Talk, but he's also an accomplished player and, as he puts it in his most recent vlog, able to cast stones because he is without sin. I hope that will always be the case, but I ain't holding my breath because I'm from Texas and I know it's a long snake that doesn't turn.

A while back, I took Bill Rini to task for his Who's to Blame for Black Friday post, in which he articulately opined that "players, journalists, employees of the poker rooms, site owners, affiliates, regulators, or whatever" (all of us) were to blame because "we didn’t demand better. We didn’t demand more transparency. We didn’t ask the right questions." I argued then that it wasn't fair to lay blame at the players' feet for a multitude of reasons. In looking back, especially in light of these recent questions/vlogs/blogs from Glantz and Doyle and Negreanu, as well as re-reading Rini's post - and May's -  I have to say I now think he's right. I think I made some good points, initially, as to why I didn't think it was fair to blame players - and some of that still holds true - but all of Black Friday and the total FT meltdown has disabused me of any future naivete when it comes to online poker. When it comes back around, I'm going to - we're all going to - have to do our homework if we elect to get back into the game.

And that's what irks me about these bat to the balls vlogs from Negreanu, and some of the posts from others, insiders, piling on the bash FT bandwagon. The derision is absolutely warranted, people, I get that 100%.

But what good does it do us AFTER THE FACT to have blogs asking the indicted to answer questions the answers to which would likely be direct admissions against interest, or encourage bats to the balls?

Instead of piling on the rightfully persecuted (and soon to be prosecuted), why not come with some ideas? Some possible solutions?

Here are some for free -

Instead of bitching at the cowards in hiding, why not band together as insiders and pros and players to demand that the prosecutors (the DOJ) start answering some questions? They started this mess. Does the PPA have any leverage or not? Does the poker industry have any lobbyists or not? Do the pros and players have any balls or not?

Which one of you insiders or long-time paid poker bloggers/journalists or paid poker lobbyists or paid PPA members or sponsored poker pros or poker regulators is drafting - right now - the Poker Player's Bill of Rights (akin to the Patient's Bill of Rights) or creating a Player Advocate Foundation for when online poker comes back around (to the US) to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?...Bueller?...Bueller?

Aren't these the type of questions we should really be asking?

I'm disgusted. We're all disgusted. But it's too easy to sit back, after the fact, and cast stones and bitch and say woulda coulda shoulda.

It's much harder to actually do something...to come with solutions and ideas that actually create change and/or get something done.

I'm not an insider, and I certainly have no clout, but I'm willing to help and would be glad to work with any other like minded individuals on solutions. But if all you're gonna do is sit there and point fingers, call names, throw stones, or ask for answers to questions that no sane indicted person would ever answer, you're not part of the solution. You're part of the problem.


* Glantz appears to be a sponsored player of/for Epic Poker but to my knowledge they are not (currently) an online real money poker site.

** It may well be that when all is said and done that PokerStars walks away from the indictments completely unscathed due to their internal accounting, policies, and procedures. I hope that will be the case


  1. I don't believe Glantz is sponsored by Epic Poker but he is on their Standards and Conduct Committee so its likely that's where the connection lies. Epic has no for-money site, so its not like they really have anything on that level to advertise (yet?).

  2. Thanks for pointing that out, Mark. I wasn't sure.


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