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Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Blog, Examples, General Poker | 2 comments

Have Any Casino Gambling Companies Been Hit with a Recent Breech of Security?




Within just the past two weeks, I’ve been bombarded with several e-mails and even a few cold calls on my cell phone from “marketers” offering to sell me lists of active casino gamblers and poker players.  I estimate the number of e-mails received at about 12-15.  I’ve counted four phone calls (three left messages).

What I want to know is this:  What in the hell is going on?  Why is this happening?  Can someone explain?

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Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Rants and Raves, What's Left | 2 comments

The Assholes of America Find Their Ideal Candidate




The assholes of America have found their ideal candidate.

He embodies their deepest-rooted fears.  He plays to their crazed phobias and nuttiest conspiracy theories.  He exploits their frantic desperation for simple answers to complex problems.  He’s the grotesque political pathogen of mass ignorance.  Like them, he’s every bit as mean, as crude, as juvenile, as xenophobic, and overtly as sexist and as racist as they are — only worse.

Meet Donald J. Trump, the current Republican Party presidential front runner — otherwise known as the baron of bankruptcies, the oligarch of opportunism, pharaoh of fraud, the prince of pricks, and the asshole of all assholes.

Take a bow, sir!

No matter how many verbal gaffes Trump flubs or how much he flounders in his stump speeches….no matter who he savagely attacks anyone who dares to question his twisted sense of reality via social media….no matter how vile his treatment of news reporters has become… matter what derogatory phrases he digs up to trash highly-accomplished women….now matter how ridiculously hypocritical he sounds as a highly-privileged silver-spooned draft-dodger insulting a bona fide war hero who was tortured in North Vietnam while the joker from New York was fucking supermodels….and no matter how preposterous his actual policies and positions are when probed or given even minimal scrutiny, Trump’s celebrity-crazed sycophants have become unpaid extras in America’s most revolting reality television show.  Oh yes, it’s very real.  He’s become this summer’s Charlie Sheen.  They not only overlook the star attraction’s crazed idiocy, they embrace it.

Why?  Because they’re assholes, too.

So, what accounts for all this mass madness?  A generation ago, someone like Trump would have been considered a circus clown.  Can you imagine this opportunistic piece of shit standing next to Barry Goldwater in a debate?  The conservative icon would have wiped the floor with Trump’s hair(piece).  How did the political party of Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, the movement the spawned Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, and other gifted statesmen over the past 150 years sire the political bastard son of Frankenstein?

Trump’s popularity in the polls can be attributed to several factors, and a perfect storm of conditions.  Like no other candidate, he’s the beneficiary of genuine (and justifiable) anger against the political establishment.  Trump is also a naturally-gifted protagonist who understands celebrity-obsessed culture.  He’s all too well aware that many of his star-struck supporters aren’t much interested in real issues and answers, as being amused and entertained.  Note all the feedback Trump gets that “at least he’s entertaining.”  Finally, like a schoolyard bully, Trump’s power has only strengthened since he declared his candidacy.  He’s become almost untouchable, since most of the other Republican challengers in the race appear feeble and remain gutless.  Despite dangerously self-defeating rhetoric which threatens to demolish the Republican Party with Hispanic voters (not to mention many independent women), two critical demographics they will need in some percentages if winning back the White House in 2016 is to be a viable prospect, virtually none of the 18 other Republicans running for president have distanced themselves from the frontrunner’s divisive comments.  So, the bully keeps on picking on the weaker kids and the whole fucking school is terrified — and appalled.

Last week, Trump appeared at a campaign rally in Alabama.  Depending on which estimates you believe, his rally at a local college football stadium drew between 20,00 and 30,000 morons supporters eager to see a celebrity up close.  The speech, the context, the crowd, the setting, the anger, the rhetoric, and the targeting of people based solely on their skin color — it was all frighteningly reminiscent of an earlier and uglier time in our nation’s history when so-called populist politicians used to make hate-filled speeches to mostly all-White audiences waving flags with stripes and stars and bars on them, and the biggest applause lines were triggered by patriotic and jingoistic jargon at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised.  Oh yes, the rhetoric is all too familiar.

In his rambling speech, Trump continued to rail against illegal immigration, reasserting his absurd intent to deport all the illegals in this country, construct an enormously expensive wall, and defy the 14th Amendment of U.S. Constitution.  Naturally, his angry rhetoric drew enthusiastic cheers.  Next, he moved on to South Carolina this week, and delivered pretty much the same message.

A closer look at what it would actually cost to do exactly as Trump and his asshole supporters want, which is to deport the estimated 11.3 million illegal immigrants in this country, reveal some starling facts, as well as unintended consequences.  No wonder this clod has declared bankruptcy four times, and failed in countless businesses.  His ideas are absurd.  According to Business Insider, which everyone will agree is pretty much a conservative and reputable pro-business media source, consider the following facts:

  • First, it would cost about $300 billion, which is about $1,000 per American to deport all illegals, which quite simply isn’t in the federal budget.  Put into perspective, that’s nearly ten times what we spend each on science right now — including funding for the CDC, NASA, NIS, and other agencies.  Anyone want to make a case that we need to blow this kind of money we don’t have right now?  Besides Donald Trump.
  • Second, deporting all the illegals would backlog the federal courts so badly, the justice system would likely collapse.  Assuming your’re not hoping to use Nazi Germany as the model to round up what would be “foreign-Looking” suspects, our jurisprudence system demands that we follow laws, and that means a mind-boggling number of court battles and appeals.
  • Then, there’s the cost of building a giant wall, which Trump clueless insists will “be paid for by Mexico.”  That’s not just laughable.  It’s absurdly naive.  Mexico is not paying for anything, and most certainly not a wall, unless it might be to keep Trump out of Mexico.
  • Fourth, there’s the cost to the price of many goods and basic services in this country, which would skyrocket.  Deporting illegals would cost farm labor costs to skyrocket, seriously threatening American agriculture.  Want to pay $6 for a tomato?  Deport the illegals.
  • How about the breakup of families?  There’s a favorite Republican chestnut — protecting the sanctity of families.  What bullshit.  Imagine the consequences of deporting 11.3 million illegals and the impact on families on both sides of the border.  The impact would be catastrophic, and cruel.
  • Next, consider the recession that would be triggered if a sizable percentage of communities across America were to be deported.  Real estate, retail, restaurants, farming — there’s hardly a sector of the American economy that wouldn’t be severely impacted by following Trump’s policy.  Since about 40 percent of illegals are homeowners, the mass selloff or foreclosure of another 6 million homes would be catastrophic to the economy.  As talk show host Bill Maher said recently, “If Trump gets his way on immigration, the only people standing out in front of Home Depot are going to be White people.”
  • Finally, there’s the most illogical argument of all made by Trump, which should horrify conservatives, but somehow doesn’t.  The growth of government, not to mention extending its authority, would be massive under the Trump deportation plan.  We’d have to hire tens of thousands of security to round them up, detain them, try them in court, transport them, and finally deport them.  Why?  For what?  For what common purpose?  For what greater good?  I’d like to hear a conservative explain how creating another agency quadruple the size of the TSA is something we really need right now.

So, under Trump’s “leadership,” we’d explode the deficit even further, expand the size and scope of government, create another recession, pay higher prices on virtually all products and services, and destroy families.  Nice going, Mr. Trump.  What an asshole.

By the way, that was just on immigration.  No matter what the issue, I could swat him away like a fucking fly.  And I plan to do exactly that if this sick charade called “Trump for President” continues much longer.

Trump’s hideousness as both a presidential candidate and a human being is a liberal’s dream come true.  On one hand, I hope he’s the Republican nominee.  Puuhllleeeeze. He’s almost too easy to annihilate.  No doubt, Trump will certainly win the asshole vote — in a landslide.  Fortunately for the rest of us, including some rational Republicans, there aren’t enough assholes to make a majority — you know, the jerks who impugn decency and decorum as “political correctness.”  They’re the assholes who openly laugh when someone as disgusting as Trump jokes about Megyn Kelly menstrual cycle as a political punch line (which he has a habit of bringing up with women he doesn’t like apparently).

Once upon a time, American conservatism was sane, engaging, respectable, and even thought-provoking.  One of the last leading voices of what used to be the conservative intellectual movement is editorial writer and critic George Will, who I have read with intense dedication for nearly four decades.  In his most recent column, Will apparently has had more than enough of Trump and his unsustainable lunacy.  Sensing a hijacking of the movement he’s helped to build and the very real prospect that the bankrupt-prone TV-show blowhard is alienating most of the country with his rhetoric, Will finally stepped forward, showed some courage, and ripped into Trump as if he was swinging an ax aimed a rotten melon on a hot summer day.  America’s foremost conservative wrote, “If, after November 2016, there are autopsies of Republican presidential hopes, political coroners will stress the immigration-related rhetoric of August 2015.”  Will has now penned multiple criticisms of Trump, which can be read HERE and HERE.

So even with Will the intellectual horrified by Trump’s stupidity and antics, trouble is — hardly anyone in the Republican Party cares what smart people think anymore.  They don’t give a fuck about George Will.  They don’t read newspapers.  They dismiss what scientists tell us.  They don’t trust the so-called elites.  They hate Hollywood.  They despise the media.  Bottom line is — that still leaves is with lots of assholes living in an alternative universe of reality, existing inside an echo chamber of madness, desperate for a voice and a leader no matter how ridiculous he is.

Congratulations, assholes.  You’ve finally found your candidate.


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Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Blog, Personal, World Series of Poker | 1 comment

Michael Baden and Linda Kenney Baden: The Ultimate Power Couple in Criminal Jurisprudence




Preface:  Every World Series of Poker is special.  Attend enough of them, and each year becomes a well-defined moment and a new entry onto one’s personal timeline.  What creates such indelible impressions?  Not the poker hands.  Not the prize money.  Not even the coveted gold bracelets – and I have witnessed more than half of the final hands that have taken place in the tournament’s 45-year history.  Rather, it’s the people.  It’s all the interesting personalities and their unique stories that I remember, and even revere, the most.  This year, I had the great pleasure of meeting two remarkable people who I believe you will find just as fascinating as I did.


What do you get when you cross the nation’s most famous and widely-respected forensic pathologist with a high-powered criminal defense attorney who was once portrayed in a movie by Academy Award Winning Actress Helen Mirren?

Answer – Criminal jurisprudence’s consummate power couple.

Between Michael Baden and Linda Kenney Baden, they have independently worked on more celebrated legal cases and appeared at more notable trials that any couple alive.

Who could have guessed they’re also poker players?

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Blog, World Series of Poker | 0 comments

A Big Shout Out to Poker News




If poker is a game of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror, then writing about poker is quite often seemingly endless monotany interrupted by occasional episodes of exhilaration.

The wonderful staff of writers at Poker News do their very best to make the game fun for readers.  I’m constantly marveled at how creative they are in describing what basically amounts to a repeat of cards, hands, and flops that has been seen and reseen many times over.  Nothing is original once you’ve been covering this game for a few years.  You end up seeing it all.  Over and over and over.

What makes the game special, and magical on occasion, are the people and personalities.  Even the bizarre moments can be wildly entertaining to read about.  Consider the following account posted at Poker News, and linked to the coverage at

There are many writers here who also do some great work.  I wish I had time and space to link to all of those who help to give us different perspectives, as well as a few laughs.  My deepest gratitude to everyone who sacrifices their summer to be here at the Rio in Las Vegas.

The following incident which happened right after the dinner break was written about by two outstanding writer-reporters, Remko Rinkema and Rich Ryan:

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Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in Blog, Talking Points, World Series of Poker | 1 comment

Welcome Back Henry Orenstein




Thanks to Remko Rinkema at Poker News for this nice feature and tribute to 90-year-old Henry Orenstein, who participated in today’s $10,000 buy-in Seven-Card Stud Championship.  This marks his first appearance at the World Series of Poker in several years.

I was interviewed by Remko and was asked about Mr. Orenstein.  It was a great honor to speak about him, albeit briefly.

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