Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

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My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

Poker Sites

Cardschat Poker Forum
Barstool Sports
Card Player
Internet Texas Hold-Em
Poker Pages


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    Tuesday, May 25, 2004

    Damn Liberal Media

    First of all, I finally have my link list working, and if you don't see yours there and are INCREDIBILY insulted just chill out. I just figured out how to get the links to show and I'll be working on getting my link list up to date and all-inclusive. There are so many blogs out there now that it's hard to keep up, and hard to keep on top of all the interested content out there. I'll try my best.

    Second, Paul Phillips doesn't quite agree with my stance on cutting Andy Glazer and Max Shapiro some slack for their reporting on Full Table Poker. Phillips might be a bit less accomodating because Shapiro criticized his play and because the report of a final table Phillips appeared in was, apparently, riven with errors. Paul's post is, shall we say, a wee bit sarcastic. I doubt his mood was helped by getting bounced early in the WSOP main event.

    Third, coming home from work yesterday I was listening to NPR and on their business show Marketplace they had a commentary by a "professional gambler" named Lee Austin Brown (which we learned afterwards is a psuedonym) decrying online poker players. He lambasted online players for using a program called PokerTracker to monitor their opponents betting patters, and as soon as he said that I started yelling, "PokerTracker! I use that! Wowzers!" Made me feel all special.

    Brown said that poker used to be a game you played in person, man to man, lying to their faces, taking their money, and then running for your life afterwards. I think he has a bit of a insanely romantic view of the old-time road gamblers. He talks about Doyle Brunson being a tough guy, but I think even Texas Dolly and other top shelf alpha males like T.J. Cloutier prefer games where they don't have to bring a gun to the table and the odds of getting to their car without getting robbed are better than the odds of drawing to that gutshot straight.

    I have to say that he has a bit of a point about players who use programs to accumulate info about the betting habits of their opponents. He talks about a friend who makes a living playing online and that he usually playes 6 tables at a time. Unless you're some kind of savant there's no way really to keep track of 50 opponents without help, and is that really poker? When you watch poker on TV and see Paul Phillips deciding whether to call that $250,000.00 bet, he's calculating odds in his head and reviewing in his mind's eye the previous play of his opponent. He doesn't have laptop propped on a chair giving him the exact numbers. But some folks playing online can and do have that info right at their fingertips. And it can gives them a HUGE advantage, obviously.

    I use PokerTracker, but mostly to analyze my own play, not the play of others. And that means I'm not using it to nearly its full potential. It is a way-cool program, it never ceases to amaze me with the amount of data it can crunch and spit out. Whether it's "fair" to play while using PokerTracker against opponents using only the computer packed in their skulls is perhaps a naive question, but it does pose an ethical dilemma. If collusion is an absolute no-no, as virtually all online players would agree, how about using computerized crutches like PokerTracker? Is playing six tables at the same time really "poker", or is it merely an exercise in stripping money from people who are technologically overmatched?

    Will online poker breed a new strain of player who knows that information about their play can be easily obtained, broken down, and analyzed, and will therefore dramatically change their play to prevent anyone from accurately predicting it? Today's top players are considered "hyper-aggressive", betting relentlessly, putting the other guy to the test over and over again. Might the next wave of top players be "hyper-irrational", their play so flying in the face of convention and rationality that even intensive computer modeling can't predict it? You'll know that poker has radically changed when you start seeing rounders talking about how they've incorporated chaos theory, quantum mechanics, and superstrings into their play. And when that day comes, I'm outta the poker scene. Wonder if there are any good cockfighting blogs out there? get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

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