Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Poker Crossword... and a Contest Giveaway

Admittedly, one of the things I've wanted to do here was create a small library of interactive poker crosswords, both to generate site hits here and to possibly sell a few to poker print publications or online sites. I've had success selling some plain ol' words, but no puzzles, as of yet.

My loss is your gain. After a lengthy hiatus, I've created a new poker crossword, and this one has a prize attached, to be awarded to a lucky solver who completes it before January 15, 2007.  I'll send one lucky winner a brand new copy of Lou Krieger and Sheree Bykofsky's most recent effort, The Rules of Poker.  (I've got two, you see, and I'm keeping the other one.)

There's no fee involved, though I do have a bit of a structure in place to ensure that you actually do work the puzzle to its completion. The rules and the puzzle are available here, on the home site (for those of you reading this through my XML feed), so get crackin'!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Site Scraper Follow-Up

Just thought I'd share a small success story, concerning those six domains and 180 bogus poker blogs that were stealing content from most of the rest of us. The six domains in question were:

www.blogs-partypoker.com
www.blogs-everestpoker.com
www.blogs-pacificpoker.com
www.poker-blogging.com
www.gambling-blogger.com
www.blogs-gambling.com

After a bit of work over the last few days, I've now restored these domains to 'smoking crater' status. When ordered to divulge his identity and contact me directly, or lose his service, the site owner tore it down, although his domain-name service had been turned off, anyway; that part of it was a moot point. The site owner reportedly tried to explain it away as being due to some "black hat SEO" [Search Engine Optimizing sumpin'-or-other], meaning that he probably bought some scammer's program on how to rip off the Internet for personal profit and now doesn't want to take the responsibility for his own actions.

Ah, well, he's toast now, anyway. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Glitch that Stole Christmas

It didn't really -steal- Christmas, but it did have an effect of a thousand dollars or two in payouts at the final table of the Party Poker $200,000 Guarantee on Christmas Eve. The situation was that three players remained, and after some squabbling, the three final agreed to at least look at a deal. The first time they tried it, they couldn't agree. Same happened the second time.

By the third time they entered the deal-making setup, they'd pretty much ironed out their differences. Only one problem --- the chip totals fed to the deal-making software did not match to the chips that each player actually possessed. Proof? Of course, I was quick enough to snag a screen grab. You think I kid in these matters? (Not that I wouldn't, of course....)



Strange stuff. One of the three players --- I forget which one, but I think it was Yabai, noticed the discrepancy, pointed it out to the others, and they all scratched their heads trying to figure out what to do. Since they could not start from the correct figures, and had no direct access to the chip formula Party Poker uses to calculate the deal, they were at a loss as to how to proceed. Eventually they had the idea to leave the deal to refresh the software and come back into the deal-making setup again.

They did this, but exiting the existing deal forced them to play at least one more hand, and though the button and the small blind folded to the big blind, the blinds were large enough so that the chip-count chop amounts would have been affected by a thousand or two, compared to what they would have shown had the deal-making software worked correctly on the earlier visit.

So, it's an open question: Did a software snafu screw one of these players out of thousand bucks?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Devil and the Dutch Dutch Blue

I was searching for stories in a slow news period late last week when I ran across the weirdness that unfolded at the Bellagio, centering on two young poker names, Brandi Hawbaker and Dutch Boyd. That something very bizarre had occurred was continuing to occur was evident from the outset. I read about the Brandi Hawbaker accusations against Captain Tom Franklin, and picked up hints that Dutch had been acting a tad bit stranger than normal.

I poked around and checked my sources; I ran across the first airings of some of the video clips available at sites such as Pokerwire and Pokulator. I discovered that John Caldwell, who I believe was present at the 'O' as a lot of this unfolded, was moved to do something he rarely does, making a post on the matter on his own blog. It is a very telling post, given that he made it early last Sunday before a lot of what is now known came to light. The more I know John the more I've come to respect the depth of what he knows about the poker world. I understood exactly what he was saying, and why, even though I wasn't quite sure I agreed 100%. That's okay, of course. My concerns, such as they were, followed those initial Hawbaker accusations. If they were true, then Franklin might have been guilty of a sexual assault or molestation or something along those lines, although God knows, these several days later, exactly how much of anything Missy Hawbaker says can really be believed on its face. Something may have happened there, but I reserve judgment, though Brandi comes back into this in a bit.

More disturbing was encountering the Pokerwire.com video presumably about Mike Matusow that Dutch Boyd barged into, muttering the already infamous "piss drinking" comment, followed closely by reports from other sources that Boyd had had himself quite the weekend --- peeing from the Fontana Room balcony, garnering several penalties from the tournament staff for erratic table behavior, making a most bizarre prediction/accusation about the aforementioned Franklin, grabbing a competitor's iPod from a live tourney table and making off with it... and that's just the top-of-the-head stuff. Shane Schleger (a.k.a. 'Shaniac') has now made a post about what even those of who weren't within a thousand miles of the Fontana Room could see as plain as day: Dutch Boyd was having another bi-polar episode.

That stuff hits home for me. I'm not bi-polar, but I'm a clinical depressive myself, something only perhaps two poker people knew about before I decided to post it here. So whatever. We take the post forward.

I'm not an expert on psychological disorders, despite suffering from two of them (and no, you don't get to know about the other). I am, however, probably more versed than the typical nerd on the street in the stuff, since I've also had some medical training, working as a NA/PCT and well on the educational path toward nursehood before I realized that, though I might be competent at this nurse-y thing, I just wasn't happy with it. I'm doomed to write. It's what I do. Writer's pay sucks, too, but it doesn't matter.

Back to Dutch. It's scary and sad to see him walking around saying things like "I'm crazy. Certifiably." True or not, it's not the being "crazy," as he puts it, that's the greater threat. The problem, and the really damning thing about Boyd, is that he's using his condition as a crutch to justify and rationalize his bizarre behaviors, and he can get away with a lot of shit, because he's the brilliant and famous poker-playin' Dutch Boyd. And behind that problem the real threat lies.

It works well, this getting away with shit on a small scale; think of it as a way of angle-shooting or gaining an edge on the world as large. "What, normal people don't do these things? But I'm crazy, therefore I can." The brain, though, is a tricky thing --- it's got a mind of its own, har-har. Take this from my personal experiences: manic and clinical depressive disorders are two different beasts, but they do share some similarities. Just when you think you're handling your condition well, your brain chemistry decides to throw you for a loop. When you're just a little bit out of kilter, you tend to not worry about it because, well, it's just not that serious. And all of a sudden it is serious, and you'd like to change it, correct it, get the damn train back on the tracks, and you cannot.

Welcome to an episode, gentle readers. When I have one of my type I can be immobilized for a day or three, and I do mean immobilized. Monday might become Thursday in a blurry haze where I simply couldn't remember the fact that life exists out there beyond my nose. Thank you, damaged limbic system and serotonin generators, for those days when I can barely recognize that the fact that the window pane is dark means that it's night outside, not that I care. I'll roll over and the pane'll be light, and then dark, and then it doesn't matter much any more....

It's abnormal behavior. But what it is on the inside is different than how it appears from the outside, and that holds for manic types like Dutch as well. When he's really deep in one of those episodes, he simply doesn't know how he's acting, or rather, on some level deep inside, the way he's acting makes its own sense. The slope is slippery, and the fact that Dutch is Dutch means that his window to recognize the steamroller's approach is scaringly small. Remember, this is Dutch Boyd --- he's both certifiably crazy and brilliant enough to take the cash off the world's best poker pros, or so he'll tell you in the same sentence.

Brandi Hawbaker? Not a depressive sort, as far as I can tell, all those bizarre 2+2 claims that she also must be manic/bi-polar notwithstanding. Her flavor of kookidom I'm not as familiar with, but it's possible there's a disassociative disorder there --- the self-cutting-with-glass thing is definitely something one can find in the ol' DSM. 'DSM' refers to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and I think Volume IV, or DSM-IV, is still the working version.

No matter who you are, you see, you're still a number.

Noting that there is something not quite right with Brandi, it hardly excuses the whole second part of her long 2+2 saga, meaning her crass using of recent WPT winner Mark Newhouse. (Newhouse, for his part, is likely to become a poster boy for socially-awkward poker millionaires taken for healthy hunks of their 'rolls. Mark may be a great kid, for all I know, but he sure got played here.) Maybe, like Brandi, one has to be warped to be a grifter. Mental disorders, however, are not license to do the things Hawbaker now seems shown to have done.

The same point holds true for Dutch. Dutch is a far greater danger to himself than Brandi is to herself, her reported suicidal theatrics notwithstanding. People that really want to kill themselves don't make a show of it, they just go ahead and do it. Worse, a deeply oscillating bi-polar type might not even be able to recognize a suicidal process as it begins to unfold. And for anyone tsk-tsk-ing me for bringing up the dreaded S-word, I say "Screw you." I live with that word and its meaning every day, and likely will for the rest of how many days I shuffle across the surface of this world.

I don't care much about Dutch, personally, but I'm also not quite so callous that I can't recognize a real problem when I see it. So, what does Dutch need? Two things: A trusted friend or family member with the guts to get him help when he needs it, and the maturity on his own part to recognize that as brilliant as he is, this manic stuff works in its own way. Shaniac implies that Part One is underway, but without Part Two, the cycle may be doomed to repeat. Brain chemistries and their interactions with psychotropic medications evolve over time; a drug that does the job in January might be causing damage by April. Been there, done that. Worse still are the complications caused by alcohol or recreational drug use, or under-medication due to financial restraint. I know about that second one, as well.

Such scary skeletons. Poker's no different than any other little world in serving up its sacrifices to the altar of mental illness. I noticed that Poker Shrink --- Hiya, Shrinky! --- mentioned two such in a comment to Shaniac's wonderful post, those being Stuey Ungar and Andy Glazer. Both were before my time in poker, obviously, though I do feel a connection to Glazer I'd rather not feel, not that I carry such lofty pretenses about my skills. Andy Glazer was a solid, solid poker writer and he is missed even by those that never knew him, including me.

Here be dragons, y'know. And I don't know what else to say, or even if I've said anything at all. Maybe, maybe, the fascination that I and some others have with trainwrecks like these is just one of those "There, but for the grace of God go I" tales....

Not too cheerful a read, for which I apologize. Welcome to our world. And happy holidays.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Call For Help --- Major Site Scraper on the Loose

Okay, I've uncovered a large site scraping operation that's stealing from all of us. I'm starting to chip away at this bastard --- I believe he's already lost two of his three affiliate contracts directly due to my efforts, and I had him knocked completely off the web for about 48 hours early this week. But he's working through a black-hat Montreal service provider, and his domains, as one would naturally expect, are secured behind the nasty wall provided by DomainsByProxy.

Now, for more details on this thief, and why you should care enough to help. If you're providing paid contact to a site or have a major poker blog of your own, then this guy is likely stealing from you. Near as I can figure, he's tapping everyone offering blog-style poker content through an RSS or XML feed, with special attention to paid news sites such as gamblingtimes.com, wire feeds and the like, but hey, those are paying outlets for any of us writing about poker, too. Just among the personal blogs I've noticed hit, in a very quick check, are:

Texas Calculatum and Poker Office Blog
The Surly Poker Gnome
Special K's Place
Linda Geenen --- Poker Works (Table Tango)
Maigrey --- The Poker Princess
Performify's Poker Page

And that's just a quick glance at two of the more that 180 bogus blogs set up on this site. Any bets on whether your work is out here somewhere? Of course, the thief really goes to town on poker news sites, including pokernews.com, gambling911.com, gamblingtimes.com, RGP, and dozens more.

Okay, now that I've got your interest, I'll tell you about the operation. I believe the thief to be Quebec-based, as he currently is receiving services through Montreal-based MTOTelecom. The IP address is 208.66.69.199, and there are at least six domains involved:

www.blogs-partypoker.com
www.blogs-everestpoker.com
www.blogs-pacificpoker.com
www.poker-blogging.com
www.gambling-blogger.com
www.blogs-gambling.com

As you may well have guessed, the thief has set up affiliate deals with Party, Pacific and Everest, though I can confirm that not only are two of the three sites already investigating this matter, one has already confirmed terminating its affiliate relationship with this thief.

Our little scraper buddy has set up each of these interlocking sites in a way that makes it seem as though it's a work in progress, but his real goal is to siphon web hits and possible affiliate signups from their rightful owners, be they large sites or small.

Sure, I have no problem publishing the thief's affiliate codes; they are easy enough to see:

Pacific: 325419
Party: 2750517
Everest: U13Y4Y

By the way, if you think I'm exaggerating about the amount of traffic this guy is swiping, then feast your eyes on this:



His traffic totals are climbing steadily, huh? And that's just for one of the six domains; tgis is actually one of the smaller ones.

I am working on several avenues to not only bring this bastard down, but to expose his true identity so we know who it is and can mark him for future watch and/or litigation. But I need your help.

I need those of you who care to do some text-string searches on your recent work, and see if this guy has scraped your content as well. If he has, and if you're interested in helping, then please send me the following:

1) Your original content (URL);
2) The URL for where this mega-asshat has put up his stolen copy;
3) A screen-grab of the stolen content, including the URL at the top, just so he doesn't try to disappear some of this stuff.

You'll also need to know one more thing about this guy's setup. The six main pages as listed above don't really have much content, but it's by scrolling down to the bottom and checking the links numbered 1-30 that things get interesting. Each of the six domains has its own collection of 30 internal psuedo-blogs linked to in this way, and its within these faked blogs that the scraped content appears.

Please, if you have access to anyone that you recognize is being swiped, feel free to spread the word. There are several avenues we can use to tear down this monstrosity, and rest assured, I'm working my way into all of them. Others should do so as well, particularly those of you living in Canada or affiliated directly with a Canadian enterprise being damaged by this thief.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Please, Someone Tell Me That I am NOT Hallucinating



The main page of the Internet site for one of the three largest poker print magazines now shows a front-and-center banner ad for a product in gross violation of virtually every large online poker site's ToS.

That is all.

Monday, December 11, 2006

If Imitation is Sincere Flattery, Then What is Theft?

A recent post from Amy Calistri comes to mind today, in which she discussed a competitor site that had been rather freely rewriting several of her pieces.

I feel her pain.

Anyone who visits pokernews.com on a regular basis has probably noticed that editor John Caldwell uses me for two basic tasks. I'm in the rotation as one of the current news and events writers, and I've assumed a lot of the reporting duties for the biggest online events. Every Sunday night, for several months now, I've been monitoring the action at the Stars Sunday Million, the Full Tilt $250K $350K Guaranteed, Ultimate Bet's $200K Guaranteed, the Party Poker Once-Was-a-Million, and so on. I enjoy it, I'm getting better at it, and it's teaching me a whole lot about nuts-and-bolts tournament-action writing.

I'm also becoming skilled at juggling multiple computers and online poker clients to make sure I catch the majority of the action, because not all of the big sites have hand-history functions that work as advertised. Stars' hand history is the best, Full Tilt's is pretty good (although it only goes back 50 hands), and after that the other sites pretty much suck for third-party reference purposes. Ultimate Bet's history used to work fine but every since their last software upgrade, it does not track properly. And don't even get me started on the abominations at Party or Bodog.

I bring that stuff up just to illustrate that on Sunday nights, I'm doing my best imitation of real work. I think I've done a good job at coming up to speed on the whole mess, capturing the highlights of what's usually four separate tournaments for a single article that normally comes in between 1,500 and 1,800 words. It takes several hours, but by between 2 and 3 a.m. my time on Monday morning I've fired off the copy to John, who gives it a good once-over before it pops up on the pokernews.com site sometime between late morning and the middle of the afternoon on Monday.

And like clockwork, two or three hours later, shortened and badly rewritten versions of my tourney wraps pop up on a Danish site, online-casinos.com. Fucksticks, they are. Maybe even asswipes. Yes, definitely asswipes.

As Amy noted when she wrote about her own discovery of content swipery, the devil's in the details. There are always two or three distinctive details that I incorporate into every piece, and as sure as the sun rises over Gary, Indiana, those same few details invariably find their way into online-casino.com's ripped-off versions of my work. It bugs me, because I know that my employer (pokernews.com) is the one really getting ripped off here --- they're paying me for my efforts, and then a shit site like this comes along and steals the effort that goes into the work.

To the dickwads at online-casinos.com: Put the effort into it yourself. Go sweat those tables on your own. Learn the difference between rewriting a press release and rewriting someone else's original content. And until you do learn the difference, don't expect even the slightest bit of public respect. I've checked on you, dear Danish fucksticks: Your unrepetentant thievery goes back for years, doesn't it?

As for the rest of you, I'd appreciate if you didn't patronize any of the affiliate or bonus links at online-casinos.com. There's not a lot I can do about these people, but public scorn is certainly well deserved.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Site Review -- MansionPoker

MansionPoker is one of the more recent entries to the online-poker scene, a heavily financed site including some Chinese backing that's tried hard to make a big splash in what turned out to be some very turbulent times. Mansion has caught some terrible breaks along the way, though they've plugged along like good soldiers.

As for the site itself, Mansion is a smallish, stand-alone enterprise that runs on a software engine produced by Malta's Skill Games, Ltd. That software can be found at a couple of other sites, including TonyG Poker, but despite the software similarities, the two sites do not share their player bases.

Most start-ups struggle to climb out that first part of the curve, and Mansion was no exception, and at first there was little to be found on the site excepting a handful of micro-limits NL cash games and some small value-added tournaments and freerolls, including online qualifiers for the MansionPoker Poker Dome tv show, the first big promotional gimmick tried by the site. I'd read about the Poker Dome concept and thought it wonky, but the guys I write for over at Kick Ass Poker asked me if I'd take a look at the site, play a few tourneys, and maybe write a review. Little did I know where that would lead....

That said, in June and July of 2006 the site was absolutely wretched; continuing and repeated system crashes discouraged many of the earliest visitors from really investing a lot of time or money into the site. On one occasion, a customer-service rep assured me that the problems were due to the large system stresses caused by a series of freerolls they were running for a London Times promotion. Okay --- except for those freerolls maxed out at 600 players... or in other words, not much traffic at all. If the story was true, than someone massively screwed up the site's original network configuration and capabilities.

But they worked out the bugs, and these days Mansion runs smoothly, still runs lots of neat promotions, and shows all the signs of evolving into a quality nice site. Sign-up bonuses exist, and value-added tourneys are plentiful.

The competition's not so hot, either.

While the cash-game traffic still centers primarily on NL Hold'em ring games, the other stuff does show signs of coming around. There are also two distinctive things about playing at Mansion Poker. First, the software will feel just a bit sluggish as action cycles from one player to the next, as compared to other sites. It's been that way from the outset, and you'll have to adjust to it or fly elsewhere. It's not a big deal, but it might make a difference of, say, a couple or three hands per hour of play.

Second, and this more than makes up for the first, is that the tournament structure here is the flattest I've ever encountered in an online site. If you want to play tournaments with blind structures that allow for the making of moves and othe real poker plays, you will do no better than the tournaments at Mansion Poker or other Skill Games-software sites. After playing here, a typical Bodog tournament feels like a turbo, and turbo tournaments feel like the crapshoots they really are.

There have been some banking issues with Mansion in the earliest part of their existence. One of the largest concerns had to do with the fact that Mansion will allow you to deposit at will, but requires a photo i.d. to be placed on file with them in order to withdraw. It's had a small dampening effect on Mansion's growth curve, as that extra step requires a bit of blind faith that some online players have been loath to offer. Still, I haven't seen any evidence that Mansion has made any untoward use of such information; it is just part of the security process that Mansion has chosen to put into place.

Customer service? Middling to good --- once they fixed the early network problems, I haven't had the need to contact them about anything. (Which is sorta how I like it.) The variety of poker games here is below average, but Mansion doesn't have the traffic yet to really justify the full gamut of games.

No glaring weaknesses; just a site in need of more traffic. To their credit, though, they're in there swinging with new ideas and promotions all the time. Rating: 3.5 (out of 5 max).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tracking the Big Sunday Online Events

Time for another update of attendance numbers for the four largest weekly online tournaments, not counting the new second-chance and warmup tourneys at Stars. It's offered here with no particular comment:

Poker Stars:

8/27: 2,425 --- monthly $530 buy-in version
9/03: 5,699
9/10: 5,375
9/17: WCOOP hiatus
9/24: WCOOP hiatus
10/01: WCOOP hiatus
10/08: 5,501
10/15: 6,157 (new weekly-event record prize pool)
10/22: 6,413 (new weekly-event record prize pool)
10/29: 2,785 (new record prize pool; monthly $530 buy-in version)
11/05: 6,606 (new attendance record)
11/12: 6,740 (new attendance record)
11/19: 6,733
11/26: 2,794 (new record prize pool; monthly $530 buy-in version)
12/03: 6,687

Full Tilt

8/27: 1,387
9/03: 1,191
9/10: 1,217
10/08: 1,336
10/15: 1,127 --- monthly $530 buy-in version
10/22: 1,726
10/29: 1,780
11/05: 2,006 (event upped from $250K to $350 beginning here):
11/12: 3,010 (FTOPS #2 --- $216 buy-in)
11/19: 2,449 (FTOPS #9 --- $535 main event; Full Tilt prize-pool record)
11/26: 2,279 (new record prize pool for non-FTOPS weekly event)
12/03: 2,187

Ultimate Bet:

8/27: 1,047
9/03: 937
9/10: 893
10/08: 876
10/15: 896
10/22: 863
10/29: 966
11/05: 992
11/12: 946
11/19: 910
11/26: 963
12/03: 1,341 (UBOC #3 -- $250K Guarantee)

Party Poker:

8/27: 5,523
9/03: 5,084
9/10: 4,885
10/08: 4,591
10/15: $1 Million Guarantee cancelled, $200,000 Guarantee announced (start 10/22)
10/22: approx. 900
10/29: 935
11/05: 926
11/12: 942
11/19: 938
11/26: 1,047
12/03: 1,027

Monday, December 04, 2006

"May You Live in Interesting Times"

The old Chinese curse is much on my my mind in recent weeks.  On one hand, it's a great time to be writing about poker, because there are stories everywhere.  On the other, it's a bad time to be writing about poker and expecting to be paid for it, as recent examples have shown.

First, Pauly broke the news last week about the layoffs occurring at Card Player and the World Poker Tour.  Now, Lou Krieger has announced that his endorsement deal with the Royal Vegas Poker site will expire as of the end of the year.  I don't like to see people taking employment hits under any circumstances, but I dislike it more when the people involved are my friends.

Dan Michalski served up a thoughtful post a couple of days ago at PokerBlog on the topic, this fallout from the signing of the UIGEA, even as PokerBlog itself is also affected.  Pokerblog was created through Party Poker funding and their writers were a presence at last year's WSOP, and even though I'm at best neutral to Party itself, I liked the PokerBlog concept enough to all but give them the ad space at upper left.  It's a paid ad, but at a pittance, and it is the only ad I've accepted to date; I've turned down several other offers, because I didn't think that the products being pitched were a good philosophical fit to whatever the hell this blog is supposed to be about.  Still, Pokerblog itself is undergoing severe cutbacks, and while I don't think they've made public exactly who caught the axe, it's still pretty much public knowledge.  And no, I've never been a part of Pokerblog, even though I've cross-posted a couple of pieces there.

The ripple effect that the UIGEA's signing has brought was easy enough to foresee, and it's one of the reasons that I posted about the Gang of Goodlatte months back. nbsp;I've worked in a couple of cyclical, niche markets before, and I know only too well that sales and advertising dollars are the fuel driving the engine.  Card Player, like so many of the print magazines, still generates a significant portion of its ad revenue from spreads and full-page layouts pushing the online sites.  That business model took a wee hit.  Affiliate-model programs and those poker businesses with revenue streams supplemented by other sources stand to do better, but it's a crappy, questionable time.

For me, I don't know.  I feel endangered.  My two main sources of income are my Kick Ass Poker and Pokernews.com gigs, and both of those could disappear the next time I open my e-mail, despite the fact that my bosses seem to like my work and pat me on the head often enough that I know they're sincere.  Yes, I'd love to pick up two or more new paid gigs, but writing is one of those things that a lot of people can do --- it's almost always a buyer's market.  Now, consider the quality of the writers who've taken hits.  If it can happen to Pauly and Lou and dozens of others, it can happen to anyone.  And in the face of such competition, my chances of increasing my regular outlets are, for the near future, slim.

Lou's among the dispossessed poker names I expect to see pop up in a new location somewhere soon, as he deserves to.  His own blog, he says, will keep going, but let's face it --- he's got time on his hands and an established poker audience for whom to write.  He'll be around.  Nonetheless, banging against such heavyweights and writing talents doesn't bode well for any fledging poker writer seeking to eke out a living at the edge of the market.  Such trickle-down effects reshape the whole of the market, not just certain pieces.

I know that I've been peddling a big story very hard and have received exactly zero nibbles, in part because the outlets that one could hope to sell such a piece to have been significantly reduced.  My KAP bosses likely would allow me to run it there, but the piece messes with some legal matters, and I've advised them against running it, if that makes sense.  Even though the risk is very small, because my work is very well documented, I couldn't put their fledging business in a spot where even the thin chance of a punitive lawsuit existed.

As for me, I'm broke and judgment-proof anyway.  I'll write what I wish.

I haven't quite given up hope, but if I don't receive some positive interest in a few days I'll have to bite the bullet and publish myself, for no pay.  It'll still be good for my readership, but it will be lousy for my hourly rate.  I have something like 180 hours of research and writing invested in the stupid thing, but it was never intended to be a money-maker; I've simply written this piece because the story needs telling.  Had I been able to sell it on the quick, I likely could have made the run to Vegas for all the poker-blogger fun.  That won't happen this time, now, but I'm a fatalist --- things occur for a reason.

I don't know what the next few months will bring.  I know I'd like to return to the WSOP next summer, since it has the same allure for a writer as it does for a player.  It's hard work, but I will always want to be there.  I originally thought that 2007 was going to be the year that I made my first appearance there, in writer's garb, based on the rate that I was accumulating paid credits in the biz; that I made it to the 2006 edition was simply a commingling of lucky breaks.

Onward, then.  Reading this, and in need of a poker writer?  Have modest skillz, will hack....