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    MOFT: Episode 16 (PokerStars)

    You've seen a lot less of me on dagblog lately, and while I'd love to put all of the blame for my absence on my Beyonce and the wedding plans which have been set in hot and heavy motion (It's mostly painful, stressful stuff, but registering at Target was hella fun - come to Papa, Wii!!), but there is a much bigger badder beast than Mrs. All-Consuming Wedding at work here - and its name is PokerStars.

    The truth of matter is, if we're going to point fingers at anyone, Genghis is really the one to blame because it was partly due to his move to Philadelphia that our weekly NYC poker game, which has been going on regularly for more than eight years, has become very hit-and-miss, and I can't have that. I need my cards fix.

    So I decided to take the plunge and join Pokerstars, which easily earns the award for this week's My One Favorite Thing. This isn't the first time I played poker online - A few years ago I was on PartyPoker before that company decided to give up the U.S. market when Congress passed a law banning banks and other financial institutions from funding customer deposits.

    The whole issue of the legality of online poker remains in flux, which is a complete joke considering the haphazard nature of this country's gambling laws (yeah, state lottos and 'riverboat' casinos that aren't even on the water, I'm talking to you) and considering that poker is a skill game enjoyed by millions and millions of Americans.

    Indeed, poker is as American an institution as apple pie, and I'm pretty convinced now that the Democrats and card-loving Barney Frank are in charge that it's only a matter of time before online poker becomes a fully regulated, fully taxed, fully legal activity. In the meantime, I had no qualms about rekindling my little addiction by joining Pokerstars, which along with a couple of other companies decided to take the risk and continue operating in the US.

    As far as the site goes, it's pretty good, very reminiscent of the PartyPoker look and feel. While Texas Hold 'Em is far and away the most active game on the site, PokerStars offers up enough variety for a non-specialist like me to keep entertained, and I probably most enjoy playing Omaha Hi-Lo and 8-Game (which is eight different games that switch every 5 minutes or so).

    And also like PartyPoker, I am convinced that the card distribution on PokerStars isn't totally random - there are just way too many runner-runner flush suck outs that I see the bigger stacks hit. (This won't make sense to you unless you know poker, but it basically means that the site's algorithm seemingly has a mysterious way of moving games along - which if true makes the site a lot more money - by enticing people with few chips to call, only to nail them later in the hand. However, it's possible it only seems that this happens a lot because you see so many hands playing online - I generally have three games going on at any one time).

    I'm trying to keep my cardplaying to at least a reasonable minimum, but I have to admit it's definitely eating into my blogging time, and sleeping time, and eating time. I'm just thankful we have such solid new contributors to keep the site active. I promise eventually I'll start caring again about the real world - aside from poker and weddings that is. But right now, I have a game to get to.

    Image icon pokerstars.jpg6.13 KB


    Oh no. This is not good. Not good at all. The last time Deadman got caught up in PartyPoker, he all but disappeared--his friendships suffered, his work suffered, his relationship suffered, and forget about writing. His whole life became poker, sex, sleep, and work, in order of priority.

    Deadman already has a weekly poker game which, despite his excuses, have continued with about the same regularity since I went to Philly. This is healthy poker. We banter, bicker, pose provocative what-if questions (often involving incest), and sing silly songs. OK, so maybe it's not healthy, but it's social.

    Online poker, on the other hand, is an isolating escape. It's the gambling equivalent of drinking alone. If Deadman is following his previous pattern, then he is playing late into the night after his fiance goes to sleep. He can't throttle it; there is no possibility of playing casually for an hour before bed. The game inhales him like a vortex and then spits him out hours later, exhausted and bleary-eyed.

    I urge dag readers to intervene. Comment if you comment. Pray if you pray. Wear lucky underwear if you wear lucky underwear. Stop Deadman from destroying all that he loves!

    Seriously, though, D. We need you at dag. Mrs. Deadman needs you to plan a wedding with her. Your screenplay collaborators need you to write with them. Your friends need to you come out with them. Heck, your dog needs love and affection. does not need you. You have so much more to offer the world than Texas Hold 'Em tactics. For your sake and everyone else's, shut off that computer!

    Uh belay that. Please keep the computer on. Just turn off the poker.

    I'm going to need to know a little bit more about these "silly songs."

    It's for my psychoanalysis.

    Picture six straight men (age 25 - 45) singing a made-up song called, "What's the boo-ray?" I hope that this helps with your psychoanalysis. Are you the psychoanalyzer or the psychoanalyzee in this scenario?


    Are you the psychoanalyzer or the psychoanalyzee in this scenario?

    Uh, psychoanalyzer. But then, seeing as you're one of the chorus boys, I shouldn't be suprised that it wasn't obvious to you.

    For the record, I do not participate in the silly songs. (In contrast with Deadman, who participates joyfully and tone-deaf-ly.)

    Hoo-ray for Boo-ray. Hoo-ray for Boo-ray. Hoo-ray for Boo-ray ... Boo-Ray Now.

    Sung in the tune of I'm not quite sure.

    we always say we're the gayest poker game in american ... though in the words of the immortal George Costanza, not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Now I'm picturing a group of dudes singing that song wearing matching Snuggies... yup, that is the gayest poker game in America.

    i appreciate it G. I will admit that despite the fact I'm winning so far, there is very little healthy or productive about online poker. And I fully realize the danger that exists, and that an intervention may at some point become necessary. For now, I'm keeping the demons at bay and I've been able to function fully at work, with friends and my other obligations. I only play for a couple of hours late at night (if I play more it's because I've lasted deep in a tournament), and a bit on the weekend.

    Sadly, it's true that the writing has taken a hit because most of my prime blogging time came at night after Mrs. Deadman went to bed. however, it's a little bit of a chicken and an egg thing, too, because one of the reasons I joined Pokerstars was I found myself lacking a bit of a Muse.

    I will do my best to fulfill all of my intense and wildly varying urges, including the need to produce with the pen.


    Sounds like it hasn't reached intervention stage - yet - but I still frowningly discourage it, if only because many of us here miss your writing and dagbuzzing. I also doubt that online poker is an effective way to recover your muse. Perhaps you should take up reading instead.

    I support your attraction to gambling.  When I see a high risk/high reward situation, I ignore the risk and just see: high high reward.  Taking chances is one of the things that make us fundamentally American. 

    spoken like a true patriot ... and an AIG executive.


    Pokerstars is so ridiculously rigged and frustrating. In tournament NLH twice I have had my full-house busted by four of a kind and once my four of a kind was beaten by a straight flush. All the sticking Germans will stay in for any piece of crap. It makes me want to pull my hair out. I think I am going to go play right now, maybe I can show 'em who's boss this time!

    wow. you're lucky I'm already in love and engaged to be married or you may have had a stalker on your hand. a chick who digs god so completely and righteously and yet plays poker!! genghis, have you met kala yet????

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