How does the government want your money, now or later?
Well, both now and later actually. In legislation that should chill the bones of avid online poker players worldwide, the government of Germany has decided to ban all forms of online gambling including poker. Germany chose to protect its lucrative national lotteries that they probably saw were trending downward in sales.
This is chilling because all of the European countries have national lotteries that generate immediate millions for their respective countries. The key word here is ‘immediate.’ Politicians like money, and fast money more than slow money. Daily and weekly lotteries, plus sales taxes, provide the gasoline that keeps the national government limousine running until the yearly tax payments can be gathered. Revenues only have to look like they are going to decrease to send panic into government offices.
The German government panicked. This is overkill by any measure. Yet it is overkill that’s going to make sense to any of the European governments, as those countries now look at their own revenue trends. Germany has given the others an opening to close down their Internet gambling portals without looking like the bad guys.
Germany did it, first!
Like many others of you, I’d fallen into a certain complacency that eventually the Frank bill or some other piece of legislation would be passed by the U. S. Congress soon. A new law that would return legal online poker here.
Now I’m no longer sure.
It looks like the boulder has gotten away from Sisyphus and has rolled all the way back down to the bottom of the hill.
Recently 43 U. S. State Attorney Generals signed an opinion to keep online gambling illegal, except horse racing of course. (How could horse racing be considered gambling? Can we get their lobbyists?) And these are the post-Gonzales fiasco lawmen and women. You would think they would want to lay low for a while.
Again, you have to look through the fog that is being manufactured by the governments and see the big picture. Unless online gambling could be shown to provide more ‘immediate’ money to those starving politicos than state run lotteries (nearly impossible) it doesn’t have a very good chance of passage.
At least for me, the optimism has diminished. We could see several European countries follow Germany’s lead against online poker specifically. In the case of PokerStars.com that had become the poker site of choice for German players, all that cash that was going out of the country can now stay in the country, where German government officials can waste it. Stay tuned. It could get ugly.
Max Shapiro and ‘smearing’ Andy Glazer.
At least the people who wrote have vindicated me of the charge of smearing Andy Glazer. And better yet, Max is writing about me again. His threat to never mention my name in his column lasted one week:
“Mike is a fearsome mix of Bigfoot, King Kong and Godzilla, not someone you would want to arouse.”
Max is kidding as always. He, and everyone else who knows me, is aware that I am the gentlest giant anywhere. More like 'Harry And The Henderson.'
He also sent me an email with a picture where he’d taken the time to PhotoShop my face onto a classic pose of Bigfoot. Fetching! This guy could get a date.
Wonderful to have my dear friend Max back. Now if I just hadn’t given him Wendeen Eolis’ fictional name ‘Windy,’ she might talk to me as well. She’s never gotten over the Andy Glazer article since, like the 9/11 site, she’s his protector in all things posthumous.
In another attempt to make this column interactive, here are some of the letters for and against my ‘smearing’ charge by Max.
From the email bag:
I like your articles. My name is Shaun Tobin and I've recently been asked to write for PP. Soon I'll be pissing off way more people than just Madd Max. This is a good thing. Alarm clocks are only annoying when two things coincide: people are sleeping and they don't want to wake up. Your friend was like every accomplished person I know-- an Idiot Savant. Hard to believe but keep looking and you'll see it all the time. Even though he may have been the greatest poker writer the pathetic (pathos) truth of it was he did he very best AND it was piss poor in terms of taking care of his mother or himself.
I'll be "smearing" Chip Reese in an article soon. We went to the same school but I'm younger and only met him briefly. But he's universally known as the player with the most discipline and obviously knew risk/reward scenarios well. Gastric bypass surgery for a man with great discipline? Unhealthy lifestyle for someone who assesses risk/reward for a living? Idiot Savant. I'm bummed he's gone.
Off to Santa,
PS. I'm 6'6'' and slightly over 200lbs. High was 270 for football years ago. Not many 300 pounders around over 60. I used to be paid huge amounts of money to make movie stars look better naked. Early 2008 I'm launching a business in Kauai to teach people like Chip Reese how to stay on the planet longer. Ring ring.
James Guill wrote my only semi-negative letter.
While I can see your point, I can see Max's as well. For the most part your blog entry was just recounting events leading up to his death. I don’t think that the article was overly controversial in my opinion until the following:
"I'm angry at his selfishness. It's not just what we lost in excellent tournament reports, or in personal friendship. He knew his mother was dying and he killed himself with her gravely ill. Children are not supposed to die before their parents. It's the greatest pain you can cause a mother. Did he secretly hate his mother? Only his psychoanalyst knows for sure. He certainly did something that seemed to show that he hated her.
If he was really a mensch, no matter how much pain he was suffering, he has to wait for his mother to die before he commits suicide. Don't you think? "
Where did this come from? I know the point your trying to make here about having compassion for his mother, but really, someone that is suicidal isn’t thinking in the least about anyone other than themselves. The part about wondering if he hated his mother was a little over the top for some people I think and probably one point of contention for Max. (That is a guess and / or an opinion) I think you could have gotten the point apart without putting that in. That could definitely be considered a smear.
"One of these days you will hear that Mike Paulle has died. Trust me, if you hear that it was suicide, it's a lie. I'm not that brave. Besides, my mother is still alive."
One thing I try not to do to a person, even IF I am badmouthing them is bringing their families, especially their parents into it unless they are truly part of the problem and I know it for a fact. It can never do anything but make the other person angry and make other people look down at you. The above statement can come across that you think that your better than him and the mother comment might have come across as another dig into the earlier comment about his hating his mother.
The above is really just my opinion as to why Max may have reacted as he did. I can’t comment on anything else, as I didn’t really get started seriously in poker until after Mr. Glazer had died. The above is just my 2 cents, and we both know what 2 cents buys you nowadays.
Anywho, hope you feel better soon.
From: Gary ‘Kreepshow’ Furness
Your Andy Glazer article isn't pretty, but it
sure isn't a smear. The last I talked to Andy,
he had been really upset about how a tournament was run, in Ireland, I
think. Complicated guy. And I think your premise that way too many
people interested in poker have no idea who he was/did for poker,
At any rate, hope the Holidays treat you well.
From Mike Gaberick:
I just read your blog. I remember everything about it and wrote you an email back then thanking you for the truth about Andy. I always read him and agreed with most people that he was the best poker writer out there. Most readers would want to know the circumstances of his death and you did a great service by revealing them. Max Shapiro got it all wrong suggesting that you smeared Andy by writing what you did. I continue to read you all the time and enjoy what you write. You have become the new Andy Glazer. Keep up the great writing.
Mike Gabarick - Easton, Pennsylvania
From: Herb Montelbano
> Mike happy holidays to you and your mom and the rest
> of your family. What an ariticle.
> Please be with us for many more years to come as you
> are the best at this stuff.
> Have a great new year.
Thanks to you all.