One of the heartaches of filming a weekly television show about poker is not being able to include many of the most interesting things that happen — both on and off the set. Quite honestly, many terrific scenes end up hitting the cutting room floor and never get seen by the public.
Steve Lipsomb was honored recently with a special “Lifetime Achievement Award.” The honor was presented at the 2015 American Poker Awards, held last Friday evening at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Those in attendance included about 250 poker luminaries, including 14 other honorees.
I’d like to share a few thoughts about Mr. Lipscomb, which aren’t widely known. I’d also like to tell a personal story about a somewhat lengthy encounter I had with Lipscomb many years ago which made quite and impression on me and is indicative of the type of person he is. It also explains, at least in part, why he was the perfect recipient for this inaugural recognition.
First, I’ll borrow a line from Lipscomb spoken during his acceptance speech. As he was handed the award and stepped up to the microphone at the APA, Lipscomb remarked something to the effect, “just in case you’ve only been in poker five years of less, I’m Steve Lipscomb.”
To which I reply — how could we forget?
The inaugural American Poker Awards presentation was held Friday night at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. The awards ceremony and a preceding all-day conference were created and organized by Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of the Global Poker Index and the Hendon Mob. Call this poker’s equivalent of the Oscars, which was intended to recognize the game’s most accomplished players over the previous year, as well as honor those who work the elevate and grow the game behind the scenes.
Here are some of my personal experiences and observations on what turned out to be quite a memorable day and evening:
Driving down La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles at about 1 am tonight and while waiting at a red light, I pulled up alongside this veritable lighthouse of crime. And that’s when it suddenly hit me.
Look what’s open for business 24-hours a day, seven days a week. A self-professed “psychic.”
How in the fuck are these businesses even legal? And more important to the current discussion facing so many of us in what’s become a time of crisis, how is there an active movement and well-oiled machine to outlaw playing poker on your home computer here in the United States of America, but there’s no such even remotely comparable righteous indication targeted towards the swindlers and liars and con artists and menaces to society that make up those who run these cathedrals of exploitation? Where are the Sheldon Adelson’s of the world on this subject?
Can someone please explain this to me?
Here’s a look at the best and worst moments from last night’s 2015 Oscar telecast:
Earlier today, I did a little self-experiment.
I tried to remember the five Live Action Short Films that were nominated at last year’s Academy Awards since I happened to view them all. While I have serious trouble remembering exactly what I had for lunch yesterday, I was able to correctly recall the basic plot of four out five short films I saw a year ago.
That’s not so indicative of a great memory, as reflective of the power of short films.
Because they must be less than 40 minutes in length in order to be eligible for an Oscar in this category, there’s no time to waste. Most short films run in the 15-25 minute range. Their impact is immediate.
It’s Oscar time!
The 87th annual Academy Awards will be shown on ABC Sunday night. I haven’t missed an Oscar presentation since 1991. So, this will keep my current streak alive at 24 straight years — and 43 shows out of the last 45 years. I’m not really that old, but I can still recall my very first Academy Award memory — which was John Wayne winning Best Actor in 1970 for “True Grit.”
What follows are my thoughts on this year’s six major awards categories. I’ve included who I think SHOULD win the Oscar, who I expect WILL win, as well as comments on the latest betting odds, after a brief consultation earlier this week with awards-show guru Matt Lessinger. By the way, Lessinger perfectly nailed the Grammy Awards a few weeks ago with his four picks (including a 10-1 shot). Unfortunately for us this time around, he didn’t see any strong values among these Oscar choices, particularly at this late stage. The betting market has already made adjustments.
[Note: For those interested, Matt Lessinger’s comments to me about the Oscars are reprinted at the end of this article]
Next time the American Gaming Association (AGA) appears at a trade show, I suggest they provide some kind of giveaway.
Appropriate swag might be a yo-yo, a flapjack spatula, or perhaps a pair of flip-flops.
Given that the AGA has taken three different positions, each a contradiction, within just the past ten years on the big question of legalizing and regulating online gambling/poker in the United States, is there now a reason to take any of their policy statements seriously?
I pose this as a serious question. If a paramour initially pledges to be faithful, but then strays away when something better comes along, and then finally declares she’s in limbo about her true feelings, does such a relationship merit any trust or confidence? I think most of us would label her one of either two things — a manipulator or a flake.
So, which one applies to the AGA? Are they manipulative or just plain flaky?
Go back and read the poker forums sometime. The evidence is all there in black and white.
In 2006, popular sentiment at the time was the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act would never become a law. Then, after the UIGEA did indeed pass and become law, the prevailing thought within the poker community over the next five years was the federal government wouldn’t do much to shut down the most popular sites and actually prohibit Americans from logging online to play poker. Then, after Black Friday happened in 2011 an all the biggest poker sites operating within U.S. jurisdiction were shut down and hundreds of millions in player deposits were frozen, many of those same disengaged and apathetic voices are now saying the same thing.
Nothing to worry about, they insist. Nothing to see here, so move on. Just as before, the false presumption is — the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) has no shot of passage. After all, the federal bill which would outlaw online poker in all 50 states failed to muster enough support during the last session of congress. Our side won the last time around, so why won’t we repeat the same victory in 2015?
Will we ever learn?
Two recent news stories highlight a serious cause for concern for the proponents of legalized online poker in the United States.
Both developments reiterate to the alarming prospect that right now we’re not only sizable underdogs to win federal support for legalization and regulation in the foreseeable future. We even may be in serious danger of losing the significant gains made since Black Friday devastated the American poker landscape back in 2011. All indications are the Sheldon Adelson-backed federal bill known as Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) could very well pass both houses of congress during the current session, be signed by the president, and might become the law of the land by year’s end. If that were to happen, it would be tantamount to a federal prohibition against poker and most forms of gambling online. In other words, permanent Black Friday would be the law in all fifty states.