Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cold turkey

"Can you let me go to hell the way I want to?"
--Wild Bill Hickock, "Deadwood"

I'm bored. I should be playing poker or clearing a bonus.

Instead I'm trying to put off washing the dishes while writing an e-mail response to my dad about a media conspiracy column he sent me in the mail.

I started reading a new book. I played Guitar Hero and beat "Cowboys from Hell" on Hard for the first time. I paid bills. I read mail. I watched four episodes of "The Shield" from Season 4. I used a coupon for two free tacos from Jack 'n the Box. I watched part of "The Colbert Report." I read Sports Illustrated. I tried to go out and get drunk, but nobody was up for it on a Monday night.

This sucks.

My bankroll is being safely deposited in savings and checking accounts. Neteller came back online slightly behind schedule and quickly transferred my money. Every site was efficient with cashouts.

I know this isn't the end of the world. Lots of people are continuing on with poker life as normal and acting as if nothing happened. I would guess that only a small minority of players have emptied their accounts like I did, even though there's no FDIC insurance in the Wild West of illegal gambling.

And maybe everything will be fine. Perhaps no one will lose their money, and maybe even online poker will eventually make a comeback.

But why would anyone trust Party Poker -- or any other site -- to protect their accounts if things get a little more rocky? This is the same company that has terrible customer service, can't give its customers a straight answer and has made every move with an eye on the here-and-now rather than the future. This is a company that has shown little concern for cheating and masked a rake increase in its Monster jackpot promotion (which will now help bankroll Party's planned expansion into new international markets). This is a company that stabbed its skins in the backs and then rebought them when they hit bottom.

I don't think there's reason to panic, but there's also no excuse for acting oblivious to the shitstorm hitting the online gambling industry.

Today was Day 1 without Internet gambling. It's a world of salaried pay and a 9-6 job. After work, there's no hope for riches or dread of horrible beats. I don't get to feel superior when I bust a fish with my Aces vs. his pair of 3s because he thinks I'm bluffing. I can't yell at myself when I make a true donkey move. I can't use my poker skills nor try to learn new ones.

Poker is the perfect distraction. I listened to music, IM'd, took notes, made moves. I felt up or down depending on how I played. I didn't have to waste time dwelling on my consistent lack of a girlfriend, my friends' issues or my worry about the direction of the world. And I could tell myself I was being productive because I was making money.

For now, it's over. It's back to a normal life.

"And that's the hardest part. Today everything is different. There's no action. I have to wait around like anyone else. ... I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook."
--Henry Hill, "Goodfellas"


thecaffiend said...

I used to be able to play Cowboys From Hell on a real guitar. Now, I can only play the blues.

There has to be a way to use the internet to our advantage in this situation, perhaps by getting some massive flash mobs or a well done google bomb organized. What about the Colbert Report? Look at what happens when he champions a cause. If nothing else, the games can continue using software available since the beginning of the internet, though as you stated yesterday, the games will probably suck.

We need to start getting people into office who understand what the online world is, and realize that it not strictly American, and realize that prohibitions on the internet are even less effective than in the real world (not to mention that they will only get less effective as more and more of the population grow up with tech and those making the rules get further and further removed from them).

This will trickle into the TV realm as well. What about the fact that over half of those in the world series got their seats online, with a vast majority being American. 2007 could be what, the second ever year to show a decline in the number of entrants to the main event? Party Poker and UB both hosted tourneys for the WPT. What about those now? Is it worth it for an American market that no longer exists?

I'm pissed. Not mostly since I can't play online (though that is quite a reason isn't it). No, more about the egregious violations of civil liberties on a daily fucking basis, with nothing but apathy (ah, whatever) or fear (oh no...the terrorists) from the masses.

Captain said...

Cheer up! With the state of the world and our runaway anti-constitutionalists in office, we're probably going to spark World War III sometime in the next decade. You're a reporter! Massive wars are golden ages for reporters. I would start investing in fatigues and bullet-proof everything if I were you.