Today’s settlement agreement between PokerStars and the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), which includes an announcement that PokerStars will acquire the entirety of Full Tilt Poker’s global assets, is an encouraging development for all poker players, and particularly positive news for those owed monies via their immobilized account deposits.
In fact, today’s news is the first break in the black cloud that has hung over the poker industry for 15 months. Given PokerStars’ longstanding reputation for integrity and the commendable manner in which they handled their own player-deposit crisis during 2011, all poker players should be grateful to the ownership and management team of this company for assuming a leadership role in what have been troubled times for the poker industry.
However, today’s announcement does nothing, nor should in any way, abdicate any of the principals associated with Full Tilt Poker for their irresponsible actions, criminal or not. Neither does the announcement serve in any way to remedy the gross negligence that led up to the crisis, nor amend the utter indifference of Full Tilt Poker and its principals to the suffering of innumerable poker players who endured severe financial and emotional hardships since the events of April 2011.
Full Tilt Poker’s actions during both the pre- and post-Black Friday period, represented an unprecedented level of irresponsibility and a grotesque violation of trust. The damage these industry outcasts have done to players, public confidence, and the game overall lingers and will not be forgotten nor forgiven until the principals have provided explanation, apology, and restitution.
Conversely, the actions of PokerStars during this crisis have continued to win favor from the poker community at large. I am optimistic that all poker players – residing both inside and outside the United States — who are deemed “victims” in the precise language contained in the official press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York on this date will be reimbursed IN FULL (emphasis mine). Moreover, the USDOJ should do everything in its considerable powers to ensure that all monies are returned as quickly as possible to all victims.
Nolan Dalla Las Vegas, Nevada July 31, 2012
Writer’s Note: The opinions expressed here are my own and do not in any way reflect the position of any company, publication, website, or entity with which I have been associated.
Passing through a crowded casino this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice hundreds of people – primarily men – crowded around several television screens at one of the bars.
So, what were they watching? It’s not football season yet, and no one gives a shit about baseball, at least until the playoffs begin.
Answer — the 2012 Olympic Games.
More specifically, the men were watching women’s beach volleyball.
Right. You’re thinking exactly what I’m thinking. I’m sure most of those guys with their eyeballs glued to the television screens really gave a flying rat’s ass that the United States was playing Australia in a preliminary medal round. Hell, it wasn’t even the finals. But for many of those men, no doubt, the match concluded with one hell of a climax.
Beach volleyball? Don’t call this charade a sport. It’s the world’s largest masturbation festival — plain and simple. It’s a cum-dumpster parade. Women in panties prancing around in the sand. They might as well be having a pillow fight or wrestling in jello.
Confirming my suspicion that most of the viewers had no real rooting interest in the Olympic match other than the tits and ass tally, sometime later when I passed through the same area after dinner and this time men’s volleyball was being shown, virtually no one was watching. MENS VOLLEYBALL. Poof! Everyone was gone! I don’t know — perhaps someone yelled “fire” inside the casino and I missed it.
The bottom line is, most of these gold medal events aren’t really “sports” at all. They are excuses for getting as many athletes from as many nations as possible into a televised viewing frame so that as many products as possible can be plunged down our throats in the form of a non-stop parade of commercials. That’s it basically. The Olympics are nothing more a delivery device for rampant consumerism — be it cell phones, sports cars, or soft drinks. It’s the globe’s biggest assembly line for product placement — on every wall, on every uniform, on every sign, on every conceivable frame of real estate that might possibly be viewed by someone, somewhere.
Which brings me to what should be the Olympic Games’ most expensive product platform — the ASSES of the volleyball girls. Hell, that real estate is more prime than a penthouse on Central Park West.
If you could go back and live your life all over again, would you?
I suppose most of us would answer – it depends.
Let’s say you could turn back the clock and relive your life with the benefit of all the knowledge you now possess. Given the inherent wonders of knowing what the future would bring, most of us would agree to a replay. Let’s say you could go back to 1969 and bet on the New York Jets or take full advantage of MicroSoft’s 1986 IPO, you’d be very wealthy indeed.
Then there is the “Dead Zone” prospect of going back and purposefully changing the future. For instance, who among us would not feel compelled to try and alter the terrible course of events which occurred on September 11, 2001?
But what about going back in time and facing utter uncertainty? Would you choose to live your life over again and then be willing to accept the consequences if things were to turn out very differently?
Each and every week, I receive a text-message inviting me to play in a local poker tournament. The weekly tourney is $120 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. — hosted at the MGM Grand.
My distaste for the MGM Grand and everything associated with the monstrosity is widely-known and well-documented. It’s been the subject of columns in both newspapers — the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Review-Journal. I won’t reopen those wounds and get into details now (see a future blog for that). I only say that I was fully prepared to move on emotionally and give this giant money-sucking leech another chance when I made my first entrance into the MGM Grand in four years.
And so, last Tuesday night — prompted by an invite from poker pro Karina Jett, the extraordinary hostess at the MGM Grand (probably the only wise executive decision they’ve ever made here was to hire Jett) — I decided to release those bitter bygones and set foot inside a casino that still owes me thousands of dollars.
At 6:30 pm, I pulled into the MGM Grand parking lot. Not much as changed in this regard since my last visit. One still must maneuver a giant maze of lanes and floors and then walk a mile to finally get to the building entrance. Indeed, it takes me perhaps five minutes inside what used to be the world’s largest hotel to instantly realize that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING has changed since I wrote the following review (which was posted at a gambling website back in 2002).
It should be noted that everything in the following review is a reflection of my experience there ten years ago. But, it’s just as relevant now based on Tuesday night’s visit. One update: The MGM Grand now has a poker room, which has moved again. For several years, it was located beneath a noisy nightclub. The poker room has since been moved off to the side, which I will add is nothing to brag about.
Moreover, all of the events relating to my fallout at the MGM Grand in 2005 occurred well after this review was written. So anyone who thinks I’m biased should be aware this review was originally written three years prior.
Writer’s Note: The Flame Steakhouse closed its doors for the final time in 2014. The replacement restaurant at the El Cortez is not recommended.
Finding a delicious “trout almondine” is next to impossible outside of New Orleans.
Or — so I thought.
Then, I dined at The Flame Steakhouse which is the gourmet restaurant inside the time-warped El Cortez Casino in downtown Las Vegas. I ordered and then devoured a Creole delicacy that was every bit as tasty as the world-class fare served at Antione’s, Galatoire’s, or Arnaud’s in the famous French Quarter.
In a city that has become dominated by flash-in-the-pan “celebrity” chefs and ridiculously-overpriced Haute cuisine, it’s refreshing to a experience throwback to a time and place when all that really mattered was great tasting food served at a reasonable cost in a comfortable atmosphere with reliable service. Sadly, those fundamentals are lost in what has become a sea of snooty waiters and obscene South Strip prices, which so often meet their well deserved demise.
Perhaps that’s what makes The Flame Steakhouse so enduring and consistent. Very little changes. It’s good – all the time. And since that first visit many years ago, I’ve dined here perhaps 50 to 60 times – always leaving both satisfied and with the feeling I got a bargain.