Fantasy Football vs Online Poker

I cannot believe the rash of Payout Fantasy Football sites that have popped up this season. Let me start off by saying I am NOT against Fantasy Football in the least – I am in 4 leagues this season, commissioning one, and two of which require “league dues” and thus a payoff to the champion.

However, I cannot fathom why THIS practice is perfectly legal under our current internet gaming standards, and online poker is still deemed against the law. Again, I am in no way condoning the banning of Online “money” Fantasy Football sites… but I am failing to see how this is any “better” than Pay Online Poker.

My fellow Online Poker advocates and I will often argue that poker, unlike any other casino game, is a game of skill rather than luck. Poker requires you to read your opponents. Poker requires you to be able to calculate odds in your head. Poker requires you to truly factor and mitigate any potential risks in a given hand.

The difference between Novice poker player and skilled ones is knowing “when to hold them” versus “when to fold them.” A rookie mistake is not seeing the potential to be beaten, or at least not knowing the odds are not in your favor, and playing for a “lucky” draw. The seasoned player will calculate these odds, attempt to determine his opponents hand, and make an informed decision based on the percentages, the way his opponent has previously reacted, and if the risk is worth the potential reward.

I will be the first to say that fantasy football DOES in fact require skill and attention to detail. You’ve got to run the numbers, see how your players are doing, look at the upcoming opponents, factor in injuries and suspensions… you have to be attentive and really know your stuff when it comes down to it.

HOWEVER, at the end of the day, you are “betting” on another person’s skill. It is no different than horse racing – you can have all the information you want, but anything can happen. As such, Poker and Fantasy Football are in completely different realms of what the government likes to call “gambling.” One is riskier, based on the talents of others, and is for the most part out of the control of the participant… while the other is based on the participant’s individual skill level, and is governed by mathematics, logic, and reason.

Yet, sadly, one of these is deemed illegal while the other is the latest internet trend.

I cannot help but feel the Poker Community as a whole is just the target. I can bet on horse races and sports games using legal loopholes, and now fantasy football online without upsetting the government… but if I simply want to play some cards, I’m branded as a law-breaker, or accused of funding terrorist regimes, or being some sort of closet addict who cannot function in society.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was hastily tacked on to the SAFE Port Act – an act that is supposed to regulate the way the United States receives overseas foreign shipments (increased security, etc). Nobody wanted to shoot down an act that protects American borders, but pinning a completely unrelated act that shuts down online poker sites is no way to pass legislation. The single foundation for including poker in this Act is that it is called a “game of chance.” Somehow, Fantasy Football is not such a game, but Poker is. Our own government violated the terms against World Trade Organization by outlawing US access to offshore virtual casinos. As such, they were forced to pay out BILLIONS of dollars in compensation for the violation.

That makes me, as a US Online Poker Player feel pretty worthless in our government’s eyes.

We Poker Players must break this stigma and continue to unite and speak out to have our ban repealed. We are not lowlifes, nor criminals, nor uneducated gamblers trying to racketeer a quick buck. We simply seek the right to spend our hard-earned money on a form of entertainment that is near and dear to our hearts. We thrive in the spirit of competition. We seek the challenge of worthy opponents. We love the game our fathers and grandfathers taught us around the dining room table. All we want is the luxury to be able to enjoy it in the comfort of our own home on the days we don’t feel like making the drive to the closest casino.

For more information on what rights we continue to fight for, or what you can do to help, visit the Poker Players Alliance at http://www.theppa.org.

Open Letter to Gov. Scott regarding internet gaming.

For those of you who don’t know, Gov. Scott tweeted 6 days ago that he would like to maintain the “internet gaming” ban in Florida, and would furthermore support re-instituting the national band that so many poker players have tried to break.

As a poker player, and a tech-savvy one at that, this rubs me in the most wrong of ways. As such, I have forged this letter.

Governor Scott,

It is with the utmost respect I write to you, but please understand that as a registered voter, I must make my thoughts known to you regarding your tweet on the internet gaming ban.

Maintaining any sort of ban, whether it be statewide or nationwide, on “internet gaming” (and particularly online poker) is ludicrous and antiquated.

I know all the excuses, and I don’t mind diffusing them one by one.

“But what if children were able to access it?”
– That responsibility should fall on the parent or guardian of the child, as well as the institution offering online gaming. If a pornography site can get away with a simple pop up asking Yes or No to the “Over 18″ (or 21, depending) question, why are you sanctioning so much harder about simple online gaming? I’m sure that pop up has deterred every would-be underage smut viewer from proceeding.

“But the money will go overseas!”
– It might, but it wouldn’t if you allowed more virtual casinos to be based in the US aside from the brick-and-motars. And furthermore, so what? I can by French Champagne, Swedish Furniture, and Chinese Ginseng online if I so choose. As a consumer, I should not have the government telling me how and where I can spend my money. Of course I would RATHER buy American, but when you limit my options I sometimes have no choice. Let’s not forget, by enforcing the UIGEA, the US government was in violation of World Trade Organization laws, and fined BILLIONS of dollars!

“But what if someone has an addiction to it?”
– What about shoppers and hoarders… Should we outlaw Amazon and eBay? Again, what about the countless pornographic sites out there; I’d bet there are a lot more porno addicts than gaming addicts. I mean, are you going to prevent the morbidly obese from ordering pizza on the internet next?

Here’s the bottom line: it’s an online world now. I can buy groceries on a website and have them delivered. I can redecorate my house from my computer. I can watch movies and view live concerts from the comfort of my own home. It is unfair that as a poker player, my favorite pastime is deemed “illegal” when it comes to enjoying it on the internet. If you’re going to force me to go to casinos to play poker, you should have to pay my for my gas. And I should be allowed to not wear pants.

Furthermore, I still maintain that poker is not gambling; it is a game of skill. It is the only casino game where there is no house player, and thus no house advantage. Sure, casinos and sites both take a rake of the pots, but that is to be expected as the players are taking advantage of their resources, space, or bandwidth. It’s a business. But at that table, it’s a chess match. It is you, reading your opponent, anticipating their next move, running the odds through your head. It is so much more than crossing your fingers for that ball to land on 24 Black, or picking the fastest horse. It is a challenge; a skill that can be learned. For a good poker player, it has nothing to do with luck.

In conclusion, just because you don’t understand something, or don’t have the infrastructure in place to support it, does not mean you should ban it outright, making those who enjoy it feel like criminals. I simply get more enjoyment out of $100 Poker Tournament than a $100 pair of shoes. That is no crime.

I implore you to take the proper steps… Repeal current legislative bans. Encourage US-based poker websites. Create safeguards to protect both children and potential addicts. Let our government get their piece of this very large pie.

We players are loyal. We are not criminals or addicts. We are your doctor, your landscaper, and your neighbor. We have rights, and we have voices.

Respectfully,
A. Scott Murrell
Poker Player

10 Inevitabilities in Life

Call it bad karma, First World Problems, or just Murphy’s Law, I’ve found there’s a lot more things that are certain than just death and taxes in my life.

1. McDonald’s will screw up your order. Seriously, fast food places should have a third window where you can exchange all the wrong items for your proper meal.

2. The slowest, newest, or most inept cashier will be in the Express Lane. That grammatically incorrect “10 Items or Less” sign might as well say “10 Minutes or Longer.”

3. There will be traffic if you’re already running late. I’m convinced there’s a magical algorithm states that for every 2 minutes late that you leave your house, there will be 150 additional cars on the road.

4. You will forget something on your shopping list. And you can usually only find said item at the busiest store on the planet, like Walmart. Oh, and you really really need it, too.

5. Your car will stop acting up at the mechanic. Or your symptoms magically disappear at the doctor. You explain to them the strange sound and foul-smelling discharge (applicable in both scenarios), but when they take a peek under your hood (literally or metaphorically), things are running ship shape. Just be glad I didn’t make a tailpipe joke there.

6. Your kids will get sick at the most inopportune moment. Usually right before that vacation you’ve been planning for 6 months, causing you to cancel it… Or right at the end of it, and you need to convince your boss you’re taking care of a puking toddler, even though he thinks you just wanted 2 extra days on the beach.

7. You will always look your worst at the most inconvenient time. The cute UPS guy needs a signature, and you answer the door in a flannel robe with your hair a mess. You smile at a pretty girl, and there’s food in your teeth and mustard on your shirt. This is God’s favorite joke on mankind.

8. The item you need the most will be broken / lost or otherwise screw you over. Where the hell is that $200 tool you used once 4 years ago and need NOW? Why does the cable go on the fritz when it’s your turn to host The Bachelor viewing party? I once split my suit pants right up the ass seam… 45 minutes before my father’s funeral.

9. Your playlists will always fail you. If it’s on shuffle, you’ll skip 85% of the songs, trust me. Also, that moment Gram Gram stops by out of the blue will be the moment your filthiest song starts blaring through your speakers.

10. Your children will blurt out your deepest secrets. Usually to your boss, pastor, or ex. …Which is totally awesome to witness when it’s NOT you.

Reasons This Should Be My Job

Forealsies. Somebody should totally pay me to do this. Why, you ask? I was hoping you’d say that…

1. I think I’m funny, and that’s gotta count for something. I mean, I am a pretty good target demographic – single 30-something male consumer with toddlers. I’d sell to me. Humor sells, so lemme sell you my humor.

2. I’m intelligent. No, really. I kick ass at Trivial Pursuit, I’ve held a few jobs that have taught me new things, I did a little college, and I love to continue learning. I is learned real good.

3. I look like a writer. The beard, the distinguished flecks of gray in my hair, the glasses, the poorly disguised receding hairline… My image practically screams “stick me on the back of a dust jacket.” And it mumbles “or as an avatar next to a respectable web column.” On occasion it will whisper “I’ll write your term paper for beer money.”

4. I’m freaking awesome. Fur-serious. I am the most amazing, perfect, wonderful, witty, charming, handsome, and talented up-and-coming writer the universe has ever known.

5. I’m humble. I don’t like to talk about myself or build up expectations. I keep it real.

6. I am task-oriented. Right now my task is making money. So orient me, dammit.

7. I need to look good. Seriously, being a well-paid, famous author would really stick it to my ex wife. Will Work For Spite.

8. Editing would me minimal. I correct peoples text messages; I’m a bit of a Grammar Nazi. Sure, we all make mistakes, but I probably make less of them. *See Point 4*

9. Other people have hired me. C’mon, everybody is doing it. Don’t you wanna be cool? Please note: the first one is NOT free.

10. Please? Pleasegodpleasedon’tmakemebeg

New MIRACLE Food!!

So my girlfriend is all about healthy, and tries to get me to jump on to every diet bandwagon that passes by. However, I am the least healthy person on the planet. I drink, I dip, I smoke cigars. I eat one meal a day and it’s usually red meat. I would rather enjoy life; and that means greasy fast food and alcohol.

HOWEVER, today I tried to be healthy. And it backfired. Then I realized my most favorite meal on the planet is already 10x healthier than I ever even realized. Just what IS this mystery meal? Read on to find out.

 

For this example, I will measure: 1. My “Healthy” Meal, 2. My Kid’s Meal, (don’t judge), and Meal “X” – The Healthy New Alternative. My meal consisted of a Caesar Salad, my children decided to have Ramen and Garlic Bread (carbs much, kids?), and Meal X will be revealed at the end.

FAT – My salad contained 54% of my freakin’ fat for the day. Seriously? You’re goddamn salad, not bacon dipped in deep-fried mayonnaise. Jeesh. My kid’s ramen-and-bread regimen clocked in UNDER the salad at 29%. And Meal X?? Fat. Free. That’s right, ZERO. Salad: -1, Ramen: 0, Meal X: 1

SODIUM – Apparently something else you health nuts are concerned about. Thankfully Ramen topped the scales on this one at 76%, whereas my “healthy” salad wasn’t far behind at 41% (based on a 2,000 calorie diet!). Meal X didn’t even have it listed, so I’m going to assume a whopping ZERO again. Salad: -1, Ramen: -1, Meal X: 2

CARBOHYDRATES – Weren’t these good back in the day? Now they are bad? I dunno. Ramen: 52 grams. Salad: 29 grams. And meal X I went with 3 servings of said meal, just to try and make the contest fair — still UNDER 20 grams! Salad: -1, Ramen: -2, Meal X: 3

PROTEIN – That’s still good, right? The cheese on my salad probably added a bit. The chicken-flavor in the ramen musta given them some, too. However, Meal X, at just ONE service, clocked in right around a full gram of protein.  Salad: -1, Ramen: -2, Meal X: 4

CALORIES – My totally UN-healthy salad clocked in at 450 freakin’ calories. Nearly 1/4 of my day (if I actually believed in that 2,000 calorie BS. Ramen & Toast was a close 420 (lol), and again, THREE servings of Meal X was the winner at 330 calories.Salad: -2, Ramen: -2, Meal X: 5

 

My salad was no better than top ramen, and Meal X came out on top by 7 points over the competition. I’m seriously considering going on a Cleanse with Meal X. I mean, I could have approximately 24 servings of Meal X a day and be right around 2,500 calories, which is good for my size. That’s right around 22 grams of protein, ZERO fat, ZERO sodium, and 480 grams of carbohydrates — which I still maintain have to be good for you. I swear they used to be. Are they still? Anyway.

I may opt out of all other foods just because Meal X provides me with so much I need; protein, carbs, no fat, etc… and on top of that is has many other secret benefits. This substance is known to increase stamina, provide a heightened sense of self-worth, can make you feel invincible, and even provide courage  to do new things.

I know many of my articles are satirical, but this magical substance actually exists. In fact, it’s been around for thousands of years!!! I have not stretched a bit of the truth on any of the above facts. And it just so happens that this Meal X is readily available, and already conveniently comes in 24-serving packages. Sounds too good to be true, but I’m about to share this medical breakthrough with you, and see how many will join me on a Meal X Cleanse.

So what is it that grants all these benefits to you, and happens to be healthier than salad? What can you consume nearly 24 servings of and still keep you hovering right around 2,500 calories? What have the ancients had for thousands of years, which I have only discovered the health benefits of THIS VERY EVENING?!?!?1

Beer.

Bud Light, to be exact, in the above references.

I am thoroughly convinced, based on the extensive research I’ve shared above (collected over approximately 25 minutes), that I could pop a multi-vitamin in the morning and chug a case of beer throughout the day, and be MUCH healthier than those kale-munching, organic-farming, cardio-loving hippies out there.

Numbers don’t lie, people.

The Pros & Cons of Having A Beard

I’ve pretty much had my beard in one way, shape, or form for roughly 5 or 6 years. The one exception being Movember, when I shaved clean and just grew out the ‘stache, but that’s another story. I’m pretty sure my own children didn’t recognize me, but I digress. I love my beard, and now beards are apparently cool (who knew it, I’m a hipster!). However, living with my facial hair longer than my first wife, I’ve learned more than a few things I’d like to pass on to the newly-bearded.

PRO: I barely have to shave. Ok, so maybe a little on my neck, keeping my jawline even, and the cheek lines… but it’s not like I’ve gotta slather up and drag blades across every inch of my face every day. It’s pretty great.

CON: I have to trim. Constantly. And brush, and groom, and trim again. There’s a big difference between looking fashionable and looking homeless. Unless you’re into Derelicte by Mugatu.

 

PRO: Many women find it attractive. Especially with this beard trend going on, it certainly garners attention from the ladyfolk.

CON: Many women DON’T. I find a lot of smiles coming from my end are returned with looks of fear and panic, or general “hide yo kids, hide yo wife” antics. To each their own.

 

PRO: My face stays warm. I’m serious on this one; with winter on it’s way out, I can honestly say that it definitely cuts down on the wind-chill.

CON: Most meals require a full face-washing. Especially foods like chicken wings, corn on the cob, and cherry pie. (I happen to enter a lot of pie-eating contests.) It’s never fun being out to dinner and having to excuse yourself to take a shower.

 

PRO: I save money. Razors, replacement blades, shaving cream, aftershave, even facial soap… I don’t have to buy a lick of it, smooth-faced sucka foo’s.

CON: It costs money. I burn through shampoo and conditioner faster than most men, because I have an entire extra set of hair to take care of.

 

PRO: It makes one look manly. Lumberjacks, Moses, the Brawny guy, Yosemite Sam — all bearded pillars of power in our culture. By proxy, having a beard shall make you manly, too.

CON: It makes one look like… something else. Let’s just say some people associate the bearded look with somebody who enjoys children sitting in their lap and is NOT Santa Claus.

 

PRO: Decreases time getting ready. All that not-shaving adds up to some extra sleep in the morning; run a comb through it and you’re good to go.

CON: Increases time in Olympic Events. That’s a lotta drag and resistance cutting through the wind or water.

 

PRO: It’s actually healthier for you. Having facial hair is scientifically proven to leave you with healthier skin and less breakouts, as it helps you maintain many of the natural oils we constantly wash up. I also hear that it increases testosterone and makes you able to lift small import cars with one hand.

CON: Tan Lines. If you have it for a while and decide it’s time for the beast to go (which I don’t know why you would), I kid you not, if you’ve spent any amount of time in the sun, you’ll have this super-creepy beard-line of white skin. Sexy.

 

PRO: Jesus has a beard.

CON: So does Satan.

 

PRO: It’s just plain awesome. If you can pull it off. Experiment with differing lengths and styles to see what works for you. Don’t try a facial comb-over if it’s patchy; stick with a goatee or chops or something.

CON: Your mom will hate it. No matter what she says.

10 Reasons It’s Hard To Keep Clients

I am a Writer, a Graphic Artist, Landscape Designer, and Horticulturalist. The latter two are my bread-and-butter jobs, the former are what I do on the side for freelance work. When I turn down work or lose a client, I used to chalk it up to bad luck or the client’s problem; but I’m sadly starting to see a trend. Here’s what I’m realizing…

  1. I’m smarter than you. At least I think I am. Look at it this way: you hired me to write about your product / design your logo / diagnose your turf problems… and then you want to argue with me that I’m wrong? I’m the expert here for cryin’ out loud. I don’t tell my doctor it’s not Hep-C or my mechanic its not my clutch, I take their word for it. They are smarter about those things than me. POINT: Shut up and trust me.
  2. I’m better than you. That’s a fact, at least for whatever job you’ve hired me to do. I don’t care if you spent 15 minutes on the internet googling “ganoderma” … that’s not what it is, and I’ve got years of experience, training, and schooling that tells me that. Likewise, if you could construct a cohesive sentence on your own, you probably wouldn’t need a ghostwriter. POINT: Stay outta my sandbox.
  3. I get distracted easily. I mean, come on, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is on as I write this. This movie is beyond epic. You’re not going to NOT enjoy Ford and Connery lighting up the screen, slaying Nazis, and receiving eternal life. Oh, my bad… Spoiler Alert. POINT: …wait, what?
  4. Nobody has paid me enough to warrant my full attention yet. Money talks, people. You want 100% of me, you pay 100% what I’m worth. POINT: $$$$$
  5. I like to do things my way. I don’t care if you like the logo with blue, I like it green. I don’t wanna write about medical breakthroughs, I wanna make stupid lists. Will anybody pay me to make green logos and stupid lists? I think that job is a close second to Beer Taste Tester. Someday. POINT: Get up off my back.
  6. I have a beard. Beards command respect and reverence, but also instill fear and wonder. It’s a blessing and a curse. POINT: Behind my beard is another fist.
  7. I have kids, and a life in general. I already pull 50 hours a week at work, plus phone calls, facebook updates, and emails… so my 2 year old daughter and 4 year old son is going to take precedence over whatever crappy ass blog you want me to peck away at. POINT: I know the words to all the Bubble Guppies songs.
  8. I say fuck sometimes. People tend to dislike that. POINT: fuck off.
  9. Sometimes I don’t finish what I start. I get bored easily, or I run out of clever ideas. You think its easy being witty and on-point 24/7? Well… for me it is, but you don’t know that, so it’s a good excuse. Many times I’ll quit juuuuust before I’m finished, and hope nobody notices. POINT:
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