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Thoughts on the 2014 Poker Hall of Fame Inductees (Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu)

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Blog, General Poker, World Series of Poker | 2 comments



Earlier today, the Poker Hall of Fame governing council announced the selection of two individuals for induction as the “Class of 2014.”

The latest inductees are Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu.  They will be officially welcomed into the prestigious ring of honor on November 9th, one day before the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship (final table) is played.

Induction into the Poker Hall of Fame is the game’s supreme honor.  To date, only 48 persons have been selected in the 35-year history of the exclusive fraternity.  Of these honorees, 23 are still living.

This marks the first year that I wasn’t part of the governing council.  However, I did have a vote in the process and casted my ballot.  The choice from among the ten nominees was a difficult one to make, which was taken very seriously.  I see virtually all the ten nominees as being worthy of consideration and expect that some of them will be inducted in the years to come.

In the end, the living Poker Hall of Fame members, along with key media people voted and selected two truly outstanding poker professionals.  I am thrilled with this year’s class, and look forward to congratulating them personally when the official induction ceremony takes place.  I also have the great honor of serving as emcee at the event, which will be held at Binion’s Gambling Hall, the site of so much poker history and so many memories.

To Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu — well done!  You both deserve it!

Here’s the official press release which came out earlier today, from Seth Palansky at Caeasars Entertainment:

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Next Stop….”The Twilight Zone” (The Dozen Best Episodes)

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Blog, Essays | 5 comments




It’s hard to believe The Twilight Zone, perhaps the greatest television series in history, went off the air 50 years ago. [SEE FOOTNOTE 1]

The weekly series on CBS lasted just five years.  That’s a relatively short time for a television show which still enjoys quite an enduring legacy to this day.  Aside from the outdated fashions of the early 1960s, any episode plucked from vast The Twilight Zone treasury could air on modern television today and would be just as interesting to many viewers.  Perhaps that’s why this iconic series continues to run in syndication and has become such a popular on-demand option more than five decades after the final program was filmed.

Indeed, the cross-generational success of the show was sustained by the brilliant writing and shocking plot twists.  No other television writer aside from the great Paddy Chayefsky penned more memorable stories that made audiences think than the show’s creator, director, and star — Rod Serling.  Remarkably, he fought constantly with the network, censors, and even corporate sponsors while working on the show, finally surrendering to the typical frustrations which burden all great artists forced to compromise their vision for superficial commercial appeal.

Serling was a dogmatic a three-pack-a-day chain smoker who in 1959 came up with a novel idea for a new television show.  After being rejected elsewhere, he pitched a television series to CBS that would examine controversial issues and would even become a vehicle for social criticism.  Serling’s grand vision was to address the major events of the day, disguised as broadcast entertainment through the medium of science fiction.  [SEE FOOTNOTE 2]

The Twilight Zone was born.

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Preposterous Historical Revisionism on the Middle East Mayhem

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 13 comments




It was bound to happen.

The chamber of horrors that much of the Middle East has become is now being exploited for political purposes.  Call this grotesque disinformation campaign what is actually is — historical revisionism.  This mass deception is right up there with wacko 9/11 conspiracy theories and holocaust denial.  As the saying goes, the first casualty of war is truth.

Hard to believe, but many conservative pundits are now saying that George W. Bush was “right” about things over there.  They insist, the former president “warned us” of the dangers of what would happen if American military ground forces departed the region “too soon.”  Actually, this is nothing more than retreaded neo-conservatism.  Yet another labyrinth of lies from the same bunch who asserted the existence of weapons of mass destruction and then labeled any questioning or criticism as traitorous.

Have they no shame?  Won’t they ever take any responsibility?  Didn’t these neoconservatives do enough damage already?  Now, they expect us to ignore history and to really take them seriously?

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A Very Different FARGO Experience

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Blog, General Poker, Personal, Travel | 2 comments



(L to R) Steven “Ice’ Eidenstein, Steve Goldman, Rich Korbin, Nolan Dalla, Chris O’Connor at Bobby Flay’s in Mohegan Sun Casino — attending FARGO 2014


Who knew that a casual trip to the local Starbucks followed by a conversation out in the parking lot would result in me flying to Connecticut for five days to attend an annual poker gathering where I was invited to be the guest speaker.

That’s exactly what happened as I recently attended my first FARGO event in 13 years.

FARGO probably isn’t what you think.  It has nothing to do with North Dakota, although you might see a few “Big Lebowski” types in the group.  FARGO is an acronym for the “Fall” version of “BARGE,” which is the largest and longest-running poker annual convention which attracts different kinds of people to the host city for the purposes of two things — to play poker and have fun.  What happens at FARGO stays at FARGO.

The parent group called BARGE formed 25 years ago.  It now has about 250 regulars.  FARGO, which is its close cousin in the northeast, has taken place since 1997.  There’s even an Atlantic City contingent called ATLARGE, which also meets every spring.  Like I said, I went to the first five FARGO events, but haven’t been back since I moved west.

I had no idea all the fun I was missing.

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Black Sambuca: A Cathedral to Licorice

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Blog, Personal, Travel | 8 comments




Today, I returned to sacred ground.

One doesn’t normally associate a cramped airport bar combined with a long flight delay with an epiphany.  But when the muse of inspiration called alcohol is involved, the blank canvass called the imagination becomes quite splattered indeed.  Call it the art of the possible.

My epiphany happened in “Providence” — which just so happens to be the airport located in the capital city of Rhode Island.  So, let’s just say it was a small epiphany.  I passed through here today for the first time in more than a decade, make that a decade and a half.  For those requiring quick geography lesson — the Providence Airport is the closest connection to the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos, located in nearby Connecticut.

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My NFL Wagers (Week 7)

Posted by on Oct 19, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments




NOLAN DALLA:  2014 NFL SEASON RECORD (through end of Week 6)




NET GAIN/LOSS:  – $3,600.

BEST BETS OF THE WEEK:  4 – 8 – 1 


You all know about the epic defeat from last week.  I won’t spend any more time on that shit show.  Instead, I’m focusing my energy on a new slate of games.

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A Random Act of Kindness at the Poker Table

Posted by on Oct 18, 2014 in Blog, General Poker | 6 comments


NAPT Mohegan Sun S1_$5KMainEvent_Day1_JoeGiron


I don’t know her name.

It’s unlikely that I’ll ever know who she is.  In fact, I probably won’t ever see her again.

But she certainly made an impression on me, and a positive one at that.  Bear with me, the story is worth it.

Last night, I played No-Limit Hold’em ($2-5 blinds) at the Mohegan Sun Casino.  The game was full on a very busy Friday night inside the poker room.

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What’s the Most Memorable Sporting Event You’ve Ever Attended? (Part 2)

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in Blog, Personal | 6 comments



Boca Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina — home of the legendary Boca Juniors


Let’s continue with the best live sporting events we’ve seen.

Yesterday, in Part I (READ HERE), I featured several games I attended from 1969 through 1979.  Today, I’ll look back on sporting events from 1980 to the present which I saw in person.

Feel free to add your favorite sporting event memory, either in the comments section or on Facebook.

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What’s the Most Memorable Sporting Event You’ve Ever Attended? (Part 1)

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Blog, Personal | 3 comments



“23 August Stadium” in central Bucharest (Romania), site of the bitter annual soccer grudge match between rivals FC Dinamo Bucuresti and Steaua Bucuresti — photo from 1990


What’s the most memorable sporting event you’ve ever attended?

I don’t attend many games in person these days.  That’s because I’d rather watch the action on television.  Ticket prices have become so ridiculously expensive, along with parking and concessions, that I’m no longer interested in spending hundreds of dollars while fighting crowds and blowing an entire day getting to and from the ballgame.  Besides, there’s no betting windows at stadiums.

That said, I have attended some really interesting games, although most of the sporting events that I’ve seen took place many years ago.

Listed chronologically, here’s a look back on some of the most exciting games and sporting contests I’ve seen in person.  Today’s list is from 1969 up through 1979.  Part 2 will include memories from 1980 to the present:

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What’s a “Marxist?” Perhaps Not What You Think

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 4 comments




de obmibus debutandum

(Translated from Latin, means to “doubt everything.”)


If Karl Marx were alive today, he’d be making frequent guest appearances on CNN, MSNBC, and perhaps even FOX News.  That’s right.  Imagine Marx sitting opposite Bill O’Reilly.

Marx wasn’t a political fanatic, nor was he an extremist.  Certainly not when you examine most of his writings.  In fact, back in his day Marx is what we’d now call a social commentator.  Think of a leftist version of George Will.  He wrote about politics, economics, and world events.

Since television “talking heads” didn’t exist back then, Marx instead scribed his ideas.  Those views were published in various newspapers and periodicals, including even some based in the United States.  He also wrote a few notable books, which weren’t particularly well received when they were initially written, another way of saying Marx was way ahead of his time.

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