112 – April 22
“No one has ever bet enough on a winning horse.”—Richard Sasurly
Even if you swim with dolphins, it’s best if you swim in the same direction. It’s hard to build relationships with people who are financially invested in projects diametrically opposed to yours. Let me tell you about my date with Steve:
Steve and I had a date to go to the races. I had never been to the horse races before, and was excited about going. Before the race, we sat down in the kitchen and picked our horses from the program. Steve was clearly an experienced handicapper, looking over the horses, jockeys, their experience and the odds on each race. Knowing nothing, I just looked at all the names and picked the ones that sounded/felt/good or just “grabbed me” in some way. Rolling his eyes, Steve snorted his contempt for my methods, but laughingly said, “Well, you’ll probably have beginner’s luck and win.”
How prophetic of him. As I put my meager two-dollar bets on my horses, Steve made much bigger bets on his. Of course mine won. Race after race. I screamed with excitement and joy while Steve morosely tore up his losing tickets. He littered the ground in front of him with the remnants of his losses as I joyfully ran off to collect my winnings.
The date was not going well.
The ninth and last race arrived. Steve buried his face in the race form, then looked up at me and asked, “What horse did you pick in the ninth?” I’ll never forget the name of this horse: Azalia Adios. When I told him the name, Steve brightened, looked again at his racing form, and said, “I think you’ve finally picked a good horse!” He bet all his remaining money on this horse coming in first place, while I upped my bet to four dollars. As we waited with excited anticipation, finally having bet on the same horse, I knew we had more than money riding on this race.
Azalia Adios was out of the gate fast. He took fourth position and held it until the straightaway, when he pulled out in front of all the other horses! First place! We won! Steve made back all of his losses and then some. Whew. The date ended on a high note after all.
The morals of this story are:
- Not every great horse will win the race.
- Not every mediocre horse will lose the race.
- But if you go to the races with a date, bet on the same horse!
“Money flows to me easily and effortlessly, waking, and sleeping!”
The poker world reeled over the Department of Justice’s action on “Black Friday” years ago on April 15, 2011 when it shut down the three largest online poker sites Pokerstars, Absolute Poker.com and Full Tilt, accused the owners of illegal online gambling, money laundering and fraud.
The fallout from that action continues. The estimated 10 million US poker players have been unable to access these sites and their money on deposit there. Although an agreement was struck between Pokerstars, Full Tilt and the DOJ to allow players to withdraw their money, Pokerstars was the only site to return the players funds to them. Absolute Poker filed bankruptcy as did Full Tilt.
Most of the televised poker shows have been pulled off the air, as these online poker sites were the major advertisers backing them. The sites have reported a drop-off in business of 38-50%. People lost their jobs in affiliated businesses like the poker magazines which relied on these sites for advertising revenues. Players who live close to brick-and-mortar casinos are flocking there, but there are many players who don’t. U.S. Professional poker players have moved to foreign countries.
Reuters.com reported “Antigua and Barbuda, licensee of several Internet gaming companies including Absolute Poker, are considering suing the United States for violating global trade law by shutting down several major online poker sites. In 2005, the World Trade Organization (WTO) had ruled the United States violated international agreements on trade by prosecuting operators of offshore gaming sites, awarding the Caribbean country $21 million.”
There are bills in committee in Congress to legalize, regulate, and tax online poker. Sounds like a good plan to me – we could use these millions in our budget, don’t you think?
After all, there are plenty of legal brick-and-mortar casinos, state-sponsored lotteries, church sponsored bingo games, etc. Why should online poker alone be outlawed? Something’s fishy somewhere. My guess is that the powers-that-be in the government weren’t able to come to an agreement with the online gambling sites about the money that would be due in fees, regulation, and taxes, etc. so they’re playing hardball now.
When looking for reasons why something has happened, the old adage holds true: Follow the money.