Friday, July 21st, 2006, 3:11 pm
Are we in the End Days of online poker? Every day brings more bad news. As Iggy posted yesterday, Sen. Bill Frist hopes there will be a vote before the Senate recesses August 4th on the Internet gambling bill that passed the House. Will the Senate really go ahead and pass it? Well, have you SEEN some of the creatures who inhabit the Senate these days? I wouldn’t trust most of them to sit the right way on a toilet seat. And with Iraq descending into civil war, with Israel and Hezbollah heavily engaged and the krayzees thinking that, oh boy, maybe that means the Rapture is nigh, our government is busy deciding if the right to play poker online is another freedom we need to be protected from.
And we DO need to be protected, if this CNN article is correct. Which, of course, it isn’t. It’s an hysterical, one-sided rant against online poker–you know, typical big-media jouralism. The reporter doesn’t quote a single person who isn’t a staunch opponent of online poker and fills the piece with unsubstantiated claims and anecdotal evidence from anonymous players. The sort of hack job we’ve come to expect. Seriously, I wish I’d decided to go into journalism as a career, it looks easy. You don’t have to think too hard, don’t have to ask tough questions, don’t have to be fair and/or accurate. BG wrote a pointed and lengthy letter to CNN about it, a noble gesture that will almost certainly fall on deaf ears. Still, the gauntlet must be taken up.
During my first journalism class we were given a list of facts about an event and then we had to write a brief blurb about it. You know, practicing the whole who-what-where-when-why-how thing. So I write my piece, turn it in, and the next day it comes back with a huge red F across the top. Why did I get an F? Becuase I had misspelled the very Polish last name of one of the people in the story. I transposed a “c” and a “z”. An automatic F. The teacher wrote at the bottom that the article wouldn’ve gotten me an A if I hadn’t misspelled the name. But I did. And that got me my own Scarlet Letter. It taught me a lesson, that you have to check EVERYTHING. All the facts, the dates, the quotes…and the names. These days, ehhh. Who cares about facts and accuracy and all that crap?
ScurvyDog had an excellent post titled Are All Poker Bloggers Going to Jail? Are we poker bloggers aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise? Those of us who advertise for online poker sites…are we the moral equivalent of hustlers selling crack outside the Greyhound station? Again, if you have the courage, I invite you to look at the people who inhabit the United States Senate. If they could get their poll numbers to rise by a tenth of a smidge by selling you and me out, you think most wouldn’t do it? You are either more optimistic or more naive than me. Not that I think there will be agents from Homeland Security swooping down on my blogroll if the bill passes…but these days how confident should anyone be that their constitutional rights will be protected?
Even if the world goes topsy-turvy and sanity prevails for a change, there’s other news that possibly spells trouble. Researchers at CMU reported that they’ve developed a new and improved Hold-Em computer program. It sounds like it’s designed to play against one opponent heads-up, so perhaps it’s value as a poker bot is limited, but still. I don’t like rooting against advances in technology, especially those developed in my hometown, but can’t these guys work on something that would better benefit society? Like a program that tracks and brutally kills people who release spyware. That’s worth a Nobel.
And if this hasn’t depressed you enough, go check out the roundup Bill Rini put together of the day’s poker news. Seems like these days if you play poker it helps to have a lawyer on retainer. Or at least read F-Train’s blog.
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