The Dumbest Thing Rick Wiles Has Ever Said?

Far-right radio show host Rick Wiles says monumentally stupid things on a daily basis, but this one may set the bar even higher than usual. The fact that there's a computer program that now plays poker, he says, means that "they" are building a computer with "Satan's brain." … [Read more...]

Graham Wants to Ban Online Gambling

Sen. Lindsay Graham has decided that we must ban internet gambling at the federal level. By sheer coincidence, I'm sure, he came to this position after Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who wants to rid himself of the competition, started raising big money for his reelection campaign. … [Read more...]

Poker, Psychology and the Science of Tells

A friend who has a PhD in psychology sent me a recent study that found that "the quality of professional poker players' hands is perceived accurately from arm movements." In the study, they showed 78 undergrads video clips from the World Series of Poker that included no sound but had one version where you could only see the players' faces and one where you could see their upper torsos too. They were asked to rank how strong they think the player's hand is on a scale of 1-7. And the study found … [Read more...]

The Brain and Gambling Addictions

Farris Jabr at Scientific American reports on studies of those who become addicted to gambling. He notes that the latest DSM-V reclassifies problem gambling as an addiction rather than a compulsion, as it was previously called, and that this was done because of the similar ways that both drug addiction and gambling addiction affect the brain. … [Read more...]

A Terrible Study on Poker

Sean Carroll (the physicist, not the paleontologist) calls attention to an absolutely ridiculous study on whether poker is a game of skill. It was published in the Journal of Gambling Studies, which apparently doesn't bother with that pesky peer review stuff. I'm not paying $39.95 for the whole study, but the abstract alone tells you how absurd the methodology is: … [Read more...]

Spotting the Sucker at a Poker Table

The first line of the movie Rounders, which helped spark the poker boom in the late 90s, is "If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker." I played poker with a guy recently who made it incredibly easy to spot him as the sucker (or one of them). … [Read more...]

Antigua Can Violate American IP Rights Legally

Someone sent me a link to this article about how the nation of Antigua is now allowed, under GATT, to violate American intellectual property laws as part of a WTO settlement of a dispute over the U.S. government preventing online gambling sites from operating in this country. … [Read more...]

Reid Screwed Up Online Poker Legalization

Politico reports that Sen. Harry Reid screwed up a chance to legalize online poker, though I'm not really crazy about the way it was going to be done. He did manage to get some Republicans on board but then apparently bungled the opportunity to get the package through the Senate (whether it would have passed the House is another question). … [Read more...]

Explaining Poker Lingo

Whenever I write about poker, there will inevitably be a comment or two by someone to the effect of "Wha? I didn't understand a word of that." This is because poker, like most activities, has developed a lingo all its own that is foreign to someone who hasn't played the game, or who has played it only casually. So I thought I'd take the time to explain what some of those terms mean. … [Read more...]

Probability and Political Predictions

Watching the right wing rage at Nate Silver is kind of amusing to watch. Andrew Sullivan points out that Silver's predictions on the results of the election are quite in line with all the other major poll analysts and betting markets, while Jonathan Last tries to explain how probability works: … [Read more...]

World Series of Poker 2012

I stayed up pretty much all night on Tuesday night to watch the final three play for the title in the World Series of Poker main event and it was worth it. Three young guys, all in their 20s, had an amazing match. As I write this -- I'll update it later -- they've played for 7 hours and no one has been knocked out yet. As of now, they're in the same order they started in, with Greg Merson the chip leader, Jesse Sylvia in 2nd place and Jake Balsiger in 3rd. But holy cow, has it been a roller … [Read more...]

Florida Keeps World Safe From Poker Players

Here's yet another story about a police raid on a poker game, but it's even worse than most such stories. This game didn't even have a buy-in. It was a free tournament at a restaurant, where the winners get prizes and the restaurant gets the extra business. Clearly a threat to public safety, so they had to send in heavily armed cops to break it up and arrest people. … [Read more...]