Saturday, April 29, 2006

DoubleAs is Generous, FirePay is Not, and More on Poker Blogging (UPDATED)

Good karma. Scott (DoubleAs) just e-mailed to inform me that "we" did well in the followup to his "Casino Mystery Picture Challenge," which I got lucky and won. While I explained the logic in how I solved the puzzle in the comments over at his site, the truth was a bit more erratic --- I made a couple of fortunate guesses and they turned out to be right.

My prize? Shoot, that was a no-brainer --- taking a 25% slice of one of our resident expert players in his next $109 MTT. Lo and behold, Scott placed something like 16th and cashed for $240 and change. It meant $40 for me and $20 which is planned to go to Scott's favorite charity, kidney-disease research, which is part of my thank-you in turn to Scott and Wicked Chops Poker for coming up with this cool idea. I hope they keep doing it, though I've promised not to solve any more of these myself for a good while.

And we now we move on to my latest episode of windmill-tilting, an often fruitless enterprise for which I seem to have a special affinity. This time the culprit is FirePay, one of the most popular online banking services.

Screw 'em. May they rot in hell for their base dishonesty. All for a measly $10.

I'd like to preface the rest of this story by stating that I'm a small-potatoes player. My typical online poker transactions are in the $50-$200 range, and I can't think of one over $400. I do a lot of site-sampling, too --- I can play a bit, see if I like a site, gather enough information for a review and/or work on a small bonus, then move on to the next. I'm not a bonus whore in the strictest sense, but I won't turn down a good deal, either.

I am entirely unexceptional in this regard.

I needed to pull out some of my poker money recently, not that there was any profit to take. Rather, my car decided to break down during long-distance trips, not once but three freakin' times with what was essentially the same problem. Repair place #2, A-R-A of Madison, WI, gets a special wave of the toilet plunger for charging me $100 and change for gluing and wrapping a cracked plastic connector, instead of replacing it. Said connector was a of a type of plastic that oozes its own lubricant, and is not glueable.... so sayeth repairman #3. Of course, repairs #2 and #3 wouldn't have been necessary if repairman #1 hadn't cracked the connector when replacing the nearby fuel pump in the first place.

Grand total in damages, including two tows: approximately $1,000. Enter the need to use some discretionary funds.

So I go to my FirePay account to snag the couple of hundred I have in there, and I'm greeted with a banner keyed to my account that says in order to withdraw back to my bank, I have to pay a $10 fee, due to infrequent use of the account in the other direction. Of course, if I've recently deposited from my bank account into FirePay, then the fee for that is only $3.99, but the withdrawals are then free.

Okay, I can understand that a site has the need to charge fees. But how often does one need to make a deposit from one's own bank account to avoid this arbitrary $10 fee?

The customer-no-service person who answered my e-mail simply pasted back the same text as was already showing on my page. Thank you, Miss Duhhh. I returned that e-mail to them, writing that no, I wanted to know how often they'd like me to make a deposit. Now I quote from the "customer service supervisor" who sent FirePay's second response:

"Our records show that you had last made a deposit into your FirePay account on: (date/amount --- the date was in September of 2005)

"That is not considered as active user.

"The specific definition of frequently will not be supplied to you.

"Rest assured that you will be warned if there are any fees being charged to your transaction."

Unbelievable. These slimy creeps want to charge me a fee, but they refuse to tell me what the timing periods are involved with the application of the fee they want to charge. Can you believe their audacity?

I sent a third letter, rather more heated. This time I was answered by an Anthony from "Risk Management" who, among other things, wanted to know "Which payment method do you usually use to deposit funds at online merchant sites?"

I bet that you can bet what I told him, and which utensils to use. I also told him to go ahead and take the $10 fee (keeping the extra $6.01), because there was no way in hell FirePay would ever see another dime of my money --- I withdrew the remainder of my account immediately. I also promised that I would publicize to the best of my ability the bad faith in which FirePay acted... if I can cost them a thousand times that $6.01 in bad publicity, I will do so. Wanting to charge a fee is fine; refusing to disclose the nature of the structure upon which those fees are charged is the action of corporate pond scum.

Apparently, what had happened is that I had six or eight small withdrawals, but no matching deposits. God forbid if you should actually win a dollar or two online --- even though most of what I pulled from an online site was quickly redeposited elsewhere, as this Anthony dude admitted when he relayed his research into my account. No matter.

So beware, if you use FirePay. Not only will they arbitrarily assess you a fee when they feel like doing so, they'll even tell you that it's none of your business when you try to plan the best way to use your own funds.

There have been several good posts on the nature of poker blogs and blogging recently. I'd like to point out two --- Jordan and BG --- that have well-reasoned ideas on the topic. I agree with both of them in part, neither of them in entirety. This is a good thing.

Please check into my previous posts as well, particularly my "Reviews, Apologies and Rants" and "Poker and Charity" pieces. Despite the fact that you likely won't agree with me, I'd like to add something at this time to the "Poker and Charity" piece, in which I said why I no longer have any interest in being part of the WPBT. Note that this is distinct from showing up to play in a DADI event or somesuch that has WPBT points attached to it; the WPBT part of it is no longer part of my concern. It's like the old running-for-office saw: "If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve." (Damn good thing, too, since no one would vote for me.) But I'm not here to please you; I'm here to entertain you and make you think.

Oh, yes, the WPBT. One thing that I was acutely aware of but chose not to mention when I posted my piece was the A-B-C-whatever structure of the poker-blogging "community." Please let me clarify me something here: I thought that the charity-tournament concept was wonderful, but I thought that selling out an otherwise-frivolous WPBT for the purpose of the charity was terrible. And I left out one reason, beyond everything that I did say: there was a hidden pressure placed on the C-listers to "pay to join" to feel part of the inclusive inner poker-blogging group. I could not be a part of that, whether I'm B, C, D, Q, Z or whatever. I recognized that and made my stand --- my principles, whatever they are, are way more important than whether some A-list or B-list blogger likes or hates my stuff, and links or doesn't link to me.

I'm not the only one who feels this way. I've got an e-mail or two to prove it, though I will not release the names of those who commented in support of what I wrote.

Overall, it's not even a close call. I'll huckster and promote myself to the best of my ability, but I will not pay anyone to like me. But even if you hate me, I insist on respect.

. . . .

An update on the above --- both BG and Jordan pulled down their posts after a flame war developed between the two, and at least one phone call was exchanged. I was mentioned temporarily as having "pointed out" the existence of BG's post to Jordan, but my input was rather more indirect --- I just said that I was linking back to both of those blogs to refer to the pieces. It was actually over at tripjax's place where I discovered the existence of both pieces.

But both of the pieces have been removed, now. ROFLMAO.

I did not point out the base hypocrisy in BG's piece as such, obvious as it was; rather, I just said it was an interesting post that would make the reader think. (Check what I said for yourself --- it's in the paragraphs above.) But removing the post, BG? Hiding your head in the sand and hoping the whole mess will go away? That's not hypocrisy, that's gutlessness. If you've got the cojones to write in public --- and get paid for it, no less --- then you better well have the cojones to stand up and take whatever heat comes your way. Own your words if you expect us to respect anything else you might say.

On that other stuff with EasyCure and Biggestron, I was never mad at them. I like both of them, too, Byron in particular. I just thought that the decision that was made wasn't a good one, for several reasons. I'd thought that I'd put that one to bed, and now I have --- I won't return to the matter. I had my say.

As always, people can leave comments for me either through e-mail or through the comments link (below). I do not know how to do the coding for comments or to generate an RSS feed on my own, which is why a comments forum is not at that version of my site. But I do value all feedback, even that of the idiot from Turkey who demanded an apology from me on another matter. (If nothing else, I enjoy a good laugh.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Content Thieves Again: The Poker Blogger Freerolls Fun-'n'-Sponge

Ever wonder how many people are willing to try penny-ante scams when a few bucks are at stake? Just mention the word "freeroll" and watch the drool start to dapple the floorboards. I was reminded of this while doing some long-overdue work on my own links page. Having a decent blogroll is like any other thing in this world --- if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.

This doesn't mean you can't visit other sites to see what other links are out there --- that's the essence of web-surfing itself. So if you've seen an upsurge in your site's own blogroll from an IP in the NW Chicago suburbs, it's probably me. Just checkin' things out.

But an oddity occurred --- I noticed that the blogrolls showing the participants in a couple of "poker blogger" tourneys showed marked contrast to those found on more traditional poker-blogging sites. I've done some checking, particularly into the links over at the "Poker Blogger Tour," a series of events with a largish prize to the eventual winner. Sure, I'll play in these tourneys from time to time --- my bankroll's too minuscule to not take a shot when some of these freebies roll around.

So what's the deal? What's worth the post?

Just the noticing of how vast the difference is between a well-managed freeroll and a poorly-managed one, which leads into the examination of why these sites are offering the freerolls in the first place.

For a recent well-run example, we don't need to look any further than Matt Crystal's work for the $1,000 blogger tourney sponsored by Decent affair, and smallish, too... by the time Matt was done weeding out the scammers who tried to sneak into the tourney, there were only 30 or so of us left. The tourney had two drawbacks. First, even with the overlay of perhaps $30 per participant, it still wasn't enough to interest some of the biggest-name, highest-stakes bloggers. (As for me, I go 0-for-2 on those counts.) Second, the event was at Titan Poker --- the favorite online destination of... damn few. But I've blasted Titan Poker elsewhere --- let's just say that getting a pure freebie was about the only way I was ever going to return to the site.

Well, I took fourth in the thing for $100. Thank you, Matt and PokerSavvy. I've even run that up to $135 or so, playing a few SNGs and a smattering of low-limit ring games. But it's getting that money out of Titan that will no doubt be the greatest tribulation.

As usual, though, I've digressed. Let's go over to the different-flavored beastie, that of the "blgger tour" at Here's a link that shows the current list of bloggers (loosely stated) itself. I'd recommend this one, or this one, or maybe even this one, or possibly this one. I could even cite flaming turdlets like this one, but I'll cut the guy some slack --- at least he's making a half-assed try at it. Looks like he's happy about the free money he's already received from and he'd like some more, please!

Note that these aren't the only examples ---'s blogroll has a flaming outbreak of ass pimples all over it.

Funny stuff. Which explains why simply programming a macro to check to see if your promotional banner is present on a given site is a shit-poor way of verifying these blogs. (Pardon my French.) It's also obvious that is catching on to the depth of the scamming they've suffered, as can be seen by this hilarious comment from their current tour page:

"Don't bother emailing us if you just chasing freerolls and have no intention of becoming a regular blogger. The same goes for anyone we have let play until now that does not have a regularly updated blog. Get writing on those new blogs of yours or you won't be playing in event #4!"

I sincerely doubt that many of them will even bother to check for that text... at least unless and until their invitation to another freebie doesn't show up as expected.

It's easy enough to ride for doing a crappy job of adminsitration, but the truth is that in the pursuit of raw numbers, it can make sense to take such an approach. Maybe can say they have 100 bloggers participating, as opposed to perhaps the 50 or so that would be left after the normal application of a crud filter. That's 100 banners floating across the web, right? Much better than 50. Easy to sell that to a boss who doesn't check the details, particularly if he's not likely to find out that 50 of those banners aren't going anywhere except back to itself.

That's the nature of advertising, business and so on: when in doubt, don't believe the hype. So why the appearance of the above admonishment, then?

Here's the likeliest explanation. Because the first prize is a trip to the WSOP, and it's already been established around the theme of "poker blogger," is setting itself up for big-time embarrassment if it sends out a "blogger" to the WSOP who doesn't know his umlaut from a hole in the ground. This appears to be a step to protect's own image.

That said, there's one type of scammer that I really can't stand --- the plagiarizing kind. Content thieves. Asshats, as Bill Rini would say. And there's at least two of those in the current blogger-tour lineup. Here are the links:

"Limbo74 / Poker Articles" --- at

"Poker: Daily Tips..." --- at

The first one has stolen several advice columns from FullTilt and a longish piece from F-Train, slapped WSOP and WPT logos at the top, and has passed the stuff off as being a blog. The second one, assuming it's not the original author himself, stole most of his stuff from By the way, seems to be quite the target for content thieves --- here are three more (not even counting some foreign-language ones) you might want to help wipe off the face off the Internet: The Poker Strategist, and Feel free to contact the content's creators and help get these turds rightfully flushed.

Obviously, slapping down content theives is like playing Whack-a-Mole, but it still has to be done. So we'll return to Will they do the right thing and remove the two thieving "blogs" from their tourney? We'll see.

LATE UPDATE: Usually when I take a swipe at someone, I do them the nominal courtesy of letting them know I've posted something of interest via e-mail. Good or bad, I do this --- and so I sent off a letter on the above over to Oh, yeah, they answered. Twice. At length.

So I won't modify my original post -- it remains above, warts and all --- and if it upsets anyone who stumbles along and reads it, well, them's the breaks.

I was chided for my lack of "journalistic professionalism" in the above, with the admonition that I should have pre-written those folks for their side of the story. I chuckled at that --- this is a personalized blog after all, and when I'm on my own dime, I'll say and think what I wish. When I'm writing the stuff that I get paid for, then yes, there's a higher threshold. But this is my space; Heere be Dragyns.

That said, to paraphrase Kris (the rep), she wondered why I was so angry about the above, and the truth is I'm not angry at all. I just try to write with energy, be direct in what I say, and sometimes people take my bluntness as a form of anger. It is both my writing style and a direct reflection of my personality --- I have some sharp edges. Yet except for the two content thieves, I find this whole thing to be darkly humorous... and that's the stuff I enjoy writing about. And as for the content thieves, well, that's more a writerly public service than anything else. LadyXTermn8r, even.

But, seriously, though, I do want to take the time to thank Kris for her very lengthy and sincere replies. I've had other stuff going on for a couple of days and I'm just getting back to this. I see that it generated a comment from Matt at PokerSavvy as well, and all I can say is, thanks Matt, and can I get a plug or a link from ya sometime? :-D (The comment's over at the blogspot version, not the main site, for those of you reading this on the home domain.)

I'm shameless, I admit it. But I do appreciate the good works that these sites are trying to do in supporting poker bloggers. May we support those who are in sincere in their efforts in return. I think made a big statement here, in announcing a couple of changes to their tour structure in the wake of my (and perhaps others') post.

Although one small mystery remains. Despite the fact that I duly copied and pasted the code into both of my blogger sites, it doesn't seem to want to display properly. Is this a problem with my computer's Flash installation, a glitch in the blogger-tour code, or something else altogether? I know it's been verified, or else I wouldn't have particpated in the first events, nor would you be reading this, in all likelihood. Still, I wonder.

Fun time. Here's one of those gossip stories that's gathering steam on the internet, and I wrote about it for my other blog here. Go check it out. But, just on the off chance that the tale is true, then I think you'll see a few dozen of these stylin' t-shirts at the WSOP:

T-shirt sizes available are Men's XL, 2XL and 3XL.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Many New Poker Links!

A very brief note here --- I finally had the chance to update the poker-links section, both in the template here and on the "links" page over at the home site. If you have a poker link of interest for me, please send it my way!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Poker and Charity

Here's where my fellow poker-blogging brethen get mad at me.

Them's the breaks. I write what I feel, and say what I mean.

While it's hardly earth-shattering news, I've decided to cease participating in the WPBT "fun tour" events, effective immediately. The reason? The announcement that the next event was a charity event, EasyCure's "Hammer Out Cancer" event on Sunday, April 16th... perhaps not so coincidentally, Easter Sunday.

There's nothing wrong with running a charity event... heck, I'm all for it. But what is wrong is to denote this as a WPBT points event --- despite the frivolous nature of the WPBT itself --- and doing it some four events after the WPBT has already started to play. I've exchanged some e-mails with Ron about it, explaining my stance and why I felt I had to drop out. Basically, if any mention had been made before WPBT events began that charity events would or could be included, than all well and good --- it would've been up to me to decide to participate with that information in hand.

After the fact just doesn't cut it. It puts all participants in the position of having to donate to the organizers' pet charities (worthy or not) in order to maximize their chances of winning the whole thing... not that I'm in danger of that, mind you. But it's a line that's been crossed --- the purpose of the WPBT has been co-opted here --- a sellout, if you will. It also opens up questions of what other changes to the structure can be made pretty much at the whim of the organizers.

As Ron rationalized it in one of his e-mails:

"This will sound odd, but what the WPBT organization is is that it is not. There was never any decision to make a WPBT, it simply came to be. It grows organically and most of us like it that way. We reserve the right to make it up as we go along."

And I reserve the right to step out of it, too, as I've done... and to say why. I'm reminded of the first job I had when I graduated from school, working in a shoe store. A few weeks after I started, it was time for the company's annual United Way drive to commence, and the store's manager told me exactly how much he expected to see me contribute in percentage terms. "The stores have their own contest," he offered, "and I don't intend on losing my ranking."

I told him, in not-quite-so-blunt terms, to stuff it. It wasn't up to that long-ago boss, a nice man with the unfortunate name of "Will Rule" (I kid you not), to determine how and when I make my charitable donations. Whether it's the long ago Mr. Rule, or EasyCure today, I'm part of no one's quota unless I choose to be, and I accept no coercion in even the politest form in an effort to reel me in. Too often charities and those who work on their behalf justify their bad manners and practices because their efforts are "for the greater good."

I think that's bullshit. Always have, always will.

As an aside, while I am poor and cheap, I'm not heartless; I surfed over to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation today and dropped in a $15 donation. I did it today, frankly, for all the wrong reasons. But it's a worthwhile charity, too, as is the American Cancer Society. Pick one. Help 'em out.

As for the WPBT, yes, it's marginal silliness, and yes, this is something of a mountain-out-of-a-molehill situation. Nonetheless, it's crossed a behavioral line that's abused far too often in today's society, so it needed this further examination. In order to clarify the wrongness, let's just scale everything up a few hundred notches and create an admittedly absurd example:

Suppose the Toyota Player of the Year title at the WSOP was underway, and all of a sudden the WSOP organizers decided, halfway through the Series, that the last six events counted toward the POY title would have a buy-in of $25,000, with all the overage going to charity. Think the players would be P.O.-ed? Oh yeah, baby. And they'd be rightly P.O.-ed, too.

It's all about overstepping the bounds of decorum, and it's not the charity or the need to do good that's wrong. It's the changing of a process in midstream that's wrong.

And that's why I'm out of the WPBT. Best of luck to the rest of you, and my extreme best wishes to those of you who've been affected by cancer in any way.

As for the other, next time, just solicit me directly. That I'll respect.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Future "ZeeJustin" Appearance

Just a note for those of you capturing this feed... I was able to confirm yesterday that caught-'n'-confessed online cheater "ZeeJustin" (Justin Bonomo) will be the featured guest on the debut episode of Lou Krieger's upcoming webcast "radio" show. For more information, please visit my complete news release at the Kick Ass Poker blog. Thanks!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Always Something New Under the Sun

Honest to Peteza, I witnessed something in a tournament a week ago that I didn't believe possible until it unfolded before my eyes: a re-buy maniac so out of control that he managed to skew the structure of an entire tournament.

Screen grabs included, as evidence. This is a good one.

The scene of the crime was a familiar one, for me --- the "Expert Series" on Royal Vegas Poker (Prima skin) on Thursday evenings. (With the recent Daylight Savings Time change, they now start at 6:00 p.m. EDT). Something was afoot in the 3/22 tourney --- this re-buy/add-on event averages 80-100 players, and on most occasions there's a large overlay when all is said and done. We were up to 127 players when play begin, with lots of new faces. It turned out that Royal Vegas had opened up additional entry paths through its newer sister skins, Poker Time and 7 Sultans.

Good to see. Even if it did make my chances of winning or even cashing tougher.

Our opening table looked to be an average mix. I'd drawn the #10 seat, site host Lou Krieger was over in Seat #7, and seats #6, #8 and #9 also included players that are regulars in the game. Typical to see Lou... if he or Matt Lessinger doesn't end up at my table it's a bit of an upset. On the other side of the table, seats #1, #4 and #5 were all newcomers, or at least unfamiliar to me. (Seat #2 might've been a newbie as well, but that player didn't last long --- I flopped a set against that player's top-pair/top-kicker holding, getting it all in on the turn, and that player chose not to re-buy.

What was unexpected, however, was the all-in ferocity of the newbie over in seat #5, whose name on the images below is mercifully blurred. We've all seen the type --- the player who goes all-in hand after hand after hand during the re-buy stage, trying to randomly jump his stacks up to six or eight times the original buy-in. Trying to intimidate the table, too, by impressing upon us just how meaningless these $10 re-buys really were. (For a truly hilarous lesson in how this works, I recommend the "Big Buck" tourneys on Paradise. Priceless.)

Only one problem: most of the other players in this tournament aren't likely to be intimidated. Despite the low buy-in and the across-the-gamut talent range of those who play, the competent players still have the clueless ones outnumbered by a healthy margin. Here's a screen grab that shows the average in-hand situation:

Hand after hand after hand it continued. The player moved all-in pre-flop, and the rest of us, as you'd well expect, sat back and took turns picking him off. I caught hot early and jumped up to about 8,000 chips, the chip leader at an unimportant juncture. And on occasion, this player would suck out some garbage collection, build a bit of 3,000-5,000 chips... but give it right back in another hand or three. After one such 3,000-chip beat, one of the other newbies, the "rollie" dude over in seat #1, went off on a rant. My thought was, "Are you kidding me, sir? When you know this maniac is going to turn around and hand those chips right back?"

Which the player did, of course, and in fact by the end of the hour "rollie" had replaced me as the chip leader by a wide margin... but more on that in a bit.

Players slowly dropped out and the tables shifted and condensed. We picked up another name you might recognize, over there in seat #2:

Think our table-boss wannabe was going to figure out that the competition wasn't likely to get shoved around?

Nahh. The buy-ins kept on coming. Click. Click. Click. And all this within the first 40 or so minutes of play. Just a few minutes later:

My God. Look at those chip stacks, and compute in the fact that besides our original buy-ins, perhaps two re-buys from the group, and Barb bringing over some chips when she joined the table, everything else came from our maniac. 15... 20... 25... and the re-buys just kept coming. Now, I have seen this level of manic buying-in before, though rarely at even the $10-per price we had here, but when you've got two name pros at the table and a handful of others who can be presumed to at least understand the basics, at what point do you figure out that you're not going to out-aggress your way to the top of the board?

Well, never, in some rare instances. Our chip-stack financier made it to the hour two, but disappeared (as expected), shortly thereafter. And after all that, it wasn't even the point of this post.

Think back to the intro. There were only 127 players in this thing, and simply by being at the this table, three or four of us took our turns at the top. Our benefactor single-handedly turned this from an overlay to a non-overlay tournament --- the first time this has happened since I joined the fun --- but even that fact is unimportant when one considers the greater skew: Even though his own actions were unlikely to succeed, his re-buys significantly increased the chances that the winner and other high finishers would come from our table.

I've never seen a tourney entrant pull that off to quite this extent. Halfway through the first hour, I said to myself, "This guy's gonna make a winner out of one of us."

And he did, too. Though it wasn't me, or Lou, or Barb, or any of the other regulars.

The winner turned out to be the "rollie" dude over there in the #1 seat --- the same player who'd berated our maniac for his hyper-splashy play. "rollie" busted me, too, in bubble-land, when his A-rag in the small blind stayed ahead of my slightly-worse A-rag in the big blind, when I was down to about 11,000 chips with 1,000/2,000 antes, and had to make a stand. This after he'd taken a chunk of my chips at our earlier table, when he dodged a couple of big, big draws that I held when he let me play them far too cheaply. That didn't matter. It was "rollie"'s night; he was meant to win. Good enough.

Justice? That the guy who wins it was the loudest whiner at the maniac who put him in position to win in the first place? Silliness to even think about it. This is poker, after all; short-term justice in the cards is seldom what transpires. Take the next week, for instance: a chnage in the format for the tourney had been enacted, placing an additional bounty on the head of the previous winner --- in this case ol' "rollie."

Came the bubble's approach, this subsequent week, and I was switched to a new table as mine broke and the others were condensed. I find myself in middle-late position, about in the middle in terms of stack size, and two seats to my right is a short-stacked "rollie"... looking for all the world like low-hanging fruit. Even better, he comes in for a standard 3x raise, which is just about half of his remaining chips. (!) I find a true monster, a pair of eights, but re-raise in hopes of isolating the bounty boy anyway. That part works, and of course "rollie" comes in for what's left, turning over an unsuited A-J.

Neither of us improve... and I snag the cheap $50 bonus. So guess who groused?

Some folks just don't know when they've had it good.

Housecleaning stuff.

Spending undue wordage on the thanky-thanky-thanky stuff is not something I'm good at, nor often choose to do, because too often the practice degenerates into the print (or pixel) version of group masturbation. (That's why this stuff is down at the bottom of this post, too.) Nonetheless, enough has transpired in recent weeks that I need to acknowledge some credits and thanks where such things are due. So...

My continuing thanks go to Jason and Brad over at Kick Ass Poker for the chance to contribute to their growing site. In addition to a few other chores, I get to do the poker blog, and I've been doing my best to make it an entertaining read. It's appreciated, guys. As for the rest of you, get your butts over there once in a while. You might not agree with everything you'll read, but I'm damn sure going to try to make your visits worth the surf.

A couple of thank-yous for recent citations of my various blogs, because they took unusual form. Wil Wheaton quoted one of my Kick Ass Poker blog entries in his recent post on Card Squad. Now, I'll do shameless self-huckstering when it comes to procuring links within blogrolls and such, but in-story mentions are a different beast; it's the difference between advertising and editorial. (For a claasic example of what happens when that line is crossed or ignored, do a little research into the demise of once-mighty Omni Magazine.) Wil groks this difference, too; once one knows why the line is there, one can tell. So on behalf of my bosses, Wil, thanks for the mention --- they'll appreciate the added traffic.

It's good to see that Iggy seems to have popped out of his recent malaise. Iggy's own postings venture into deeper areas than most of what's out here, and I value that when I do my own 'switching of the hats,' from writer to reader. I don't know Iggy hardly at all, apart from a couple of e-mails and a few dozen words of chat at the table; nonetheless, there's enough of him in his writing to know when he's running hot or in a bit of a funk... as has shown recently. I've been there.

Lou Krieger --- who I already owe more favors to then I could count --- once described this stuff to me as "life tilt," a neatly-turned phrase that speaks volumes more than the words themselves. Here's hoping that Iggy continues remembering the difference between a contributor and a filler, and that he's part of the first group.

Lord knows, the world needs people that have an operable shit filter. Iggy passes muster.