Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Poker at Harrah's Cherokee - Update

The Raleigh News and Observer published an article today updating the situation surrounding upcoming poker room at Harrah's Cherokee Casino. This article is written much better than a similar article from the Charlotte Observer last week (kudos to the big O for getting the story first). The entire N&O article can be read here:
The critical section of the article is this:
"If the house doesn't take a cut, the issue (legality of live poker) would fall to the National Indian Gaming Commission. Its spokesman, Shawn Pensoneau, said no request has been received from the tribe. If one is, he said, it would be screened to see whether the plan complies with state and federal laws.
"Already, though, the gaming commission has allowed live poker in New York and Arizona, where the casinos don't take a cut. The casinos make money by charging entry fees for poker rooms, requiring players to join a poker club, or by simply attracting new gamblers.
"The key test, he said, will be whether the game offered is either explicitly authorized by state law or not explicitly prohibited by state law.
"Poker is allowed across North Carolina, but only in video form and -- except at the Cherokee casino -- with no cash payouts.
"There is no law that specifically says live poker is illegal."
So the issue is likely up to the Indian Gaming Commission who has authorized poker in other states as long as it is not explicitly prohibited in that state. Poker is not explicitly prohibited in NC and is allowed in video form. You take that along with the fact that Harrah's has put thousands into construction of a new poker room, which I doubt they did without some research and lobbying (they are big into lobbying) and I begin to think that this may just be a done deal. I wonder why they are waiting to make their plans known to the state and the IGC. Is there some advantage to waiting until after the first of the year? That would have to be it if they plan to open in early 2005.
We continue to watch and wait.
Your comments are welcome.

The Wave

Prayers go out to the millions affected by the tidal waves in the Indian Ocean. When I stop and listen, it feels like the world is crying. Too much of it is.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

What won't I Write?

My thoughts always seem so clear when they are in my head. Taken as a whole they are a rambling jumbled mess, but taken one at a time they are clear, cogent, and down right bright on occasion. It is not until I sit to write them down that things start to blur. I never really thought about it (if I had, it would be clear, cogent, blah, blah, blah), but there is a big filter sitting at the base of my brain that tests what comes out for public suitability. This is a fact that my wife would often dispute given that I will say about 83% more than the average person. Not that I talk more, I just say things that other will not.
Every thought goes into the filter. Would this be funny if I said it? Would it offend? Do I want to offend? Only after passing the test does the thought go into the word processor to be published by the mouth or fingers. That is what happens when I sit down to write as I am doing now.
The filter and word processor are like a stone tumbler. I some ways it polishes the ideas up and in other ways it takes the edge off so I end up with a few bright shinys and a bunch of slurry goop.
In deciding what to write, I find myself asking "Do I really want my friends reading THAT?" As you guessed, the answer is often "NO!" When I think about writing out some basic poker strategy I decide that it wouldn't be helpful. First of all, I can't call my self an expert and second, I seem to have a small advantage over my buds, and I don't want to loose that. What I don't show at the table, I don't show here either.
Do I want to write about religion? Sometimes. I'm on a typical Christian journey. I'm looking for truth and justice and I should read the bible more. I think I understand a lot more than I used to and know that I have to keep searching with the time I have left. But some of my understanding would not be understood by those I pray with. I want to share, and I do share a ton with my wife. But I trust her with my life. I'm not to the point where I want to lead anyone and I don't think anyone is at the point where they want me to lead. So I'll keep watching and learning and you won't get any revelations here. Sorry.
One topic that I will go on about is my wife and our relationship. My friends are tired of hearing about it, so I'll go bore cyber-space, but not today.
I admire and pity those without a filter. Life must be a very simple place when you can say what you think and feel and not worry about the consequences. If that is strength, then I'm not that strong. But bluntness does push many people away. There are many treasures in life in sharing with others. You can't push them away and share at the same time. Therefore, I try to do my best to be honest and caring and helpful and nice, and try to keep it in that order. Within that framework, there is almost nothing I won't write.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Big update on Poker at Harrah's Cherokee

According to the Charlotte Observer's article on Monday, the opening of a new poker room at Harrah's Cherokee is still a bit up in the air. The Cherokeebelieve it can add live poker tables under its current compact with the state of North Carolina, which allows the tribe to operate the only legal gaming casino in the state. Gambling opponents aren't so sure, and Gov. Mike Easley hasn't taken a stand (typical).

Here is where it stands:
Harrah's spokeswoman said live poker tables would be OK as long as the winnings are split among the players with no cut for the casino. That falls under the definition of a Class II game and those are allowed by the compact. If the house kept a portion of the winnings, called "the rake," as many casinos do in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, that wouldn't be allowed under the current deal. Casino poker with no rake - it better be a big room.

Gambling opponents believe it doesn't matter whether the casino makes a profit or not. Federal law allows the Cherokee to offer games only if they're already authorized in some form by state law according to a spokesman for the N.C. Family Policy Council, a socially conservative research and education group.

Easley's office said any decision on whether the casino can operate a live poker room under current regulations would have to come from the National Indian Gaming Commission. A spokesman for the commission confirmed the Cherokee interpretation that Class II games would not require an amendment to the compact, but didn't know if the Family Policy Council's objection would prevent the tribe from opening a poker room.
You can read the whole Charlotte Observer article at

Just from reading this, it's looking pretty good. It may come down to how much noise the NCFPC can make and will anyone care. It is happens and with no rake, this could be one of the best poker games in the country.

More news will be coming soon.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Just How Rude Can We Be to Each Other

It is the Christmas season. Everyone is hustling and bustling to and fro. As I join the fray or just pass by on other business, I am amazed at how rude and self-absorbed people can be. For the most part, I believe that these people are nice. Most of them probably go to church or contribute to charity or help old ladies across streets, but put them out in public with some shopping to do and they become a danger to themselves and everyone around them.

Case in point: I'm driving home by a different route one afternoon. My dog has recently eaten a Christmas present so I've got to buy a replacement on the way home. I drive up on a small car moving at an even smaller speed. Doing 25 in a 35 where most folks do 45 is bad, but I decide that can wait it out. Then all of a sudden the little car stops at a side road intersection that has no traffic light and no stop sign. SLAM on the breaks. Anti-lock breaks engage and I stop with 5 or 6 feet to spare. The car behind me and the car behind him does the same. Why did she stop?!? To let the car in the oncoming lane turn left. I should have pulled her from her car right there, pulled her license and broken her keys. Unfortunately, all I can do in a semi-civilized society is shake my head and finger and go on.

Something that goes on all year long, but seems to get worse this time of year, is the rudeness at the gym. Specifically people (mostly guys) that like to take their break sitting on a machine. They sit and rest until someone (me) shows up wanting to use the machine. That is when they decide to do their 'one more set'. So now I have to stand there and wait for them to complete 'one more set'. Either work out of get up. I didn't come over here to watch you work out. (Calming down now).

And another thing (huff, puff), why do people in groups in the mall walk shoulder to shoulder. It is like they have to, they are compelled to. No worries that they walk half speed and folks behind them can't pass. And no worries that oncoming traffic has to pin themselves to the side walls to avoid the phalanx. No, they chat and push their baby stroller with out a care for anybody else. Then, just when you see some daylight, an opening, a break in the crowd, the group will stop, perhaps wondering where to go on maybe just to chat, blocking the entire way. Anyone who does not believe in ESP should watch a group like this work. Without a word, they will stop and move and adjust to maximize the disruption to other shoppers.

What is the answer. I think those of us who are aware of our surrounding need to get aggressive. Pull over and tell the woman that stops for one while four others almost wreck that she needs to wake up and look around and be nice when appropriate before she hurts someone. Tell the guy at the gym to rest while standing up. And above all, don't move out of a pushy group's way at the mall. Make them break the formation. Tell them that they are in the way. All of these folks will get angry with you, because they won't want to admit to themselves or you that they are wrong. But if enough of us say something, eventually things will get better and that would be good for all.

Harrah's Cherokee - Poker Room Update

Harrah's is no longer promoting the opening of a poker room in early 2005 on their web site. I called the casino and the operator says that the room's construction is coming along nicely and that the opening is expected in mid to late January 2005. There will be no blackjack due to gaming law restrictions, but omaha, stud, and hold'em will be played.

Hopefully, the lack of an announcement means nothing. We'll see.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Another NC Poker Bust

Late Thursday night, another illegal poker game was busted up. This time in Greensboro. As Mike Sexton would say, the price of poker just went up. The police not only nabbed the operators of the game, but they also collared the players as well.
The full article is here:
A couple of interesting notes from the article. The most surprising was that the police took any extra money that the players had on them, not just the money in play, and that money will be forfit to the state with a guilty plea or conviction. Ouch. So let that be a lesson to all of you tarheel poker players out there. Only take the money that you intend to play with.

The second take-away was the legal nature of Poker in NC. The article states that poker is not illegal in NC, as long as you don't play for money or items of value. Actually, the article just mentions playing for money, but I have read the 'items of value' part enought to believe it.
You will notice from the article that the state got involved because the operators were selling liquor without a license. Of course, if they had a liquor license, they would have lost it for running a poker game. So it looks like the state was only interested in getting it's money. Not paying taxes on the rake and not paying the liquor fees makes the state very angry.
Of course, we all feel safer now that all of those doctors and businessmen are not playing poker at night in that business park. Geeez.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

An Industry that I do not understand


I recently took a business trip to Vancouver, BC. It was a last minute trip. I got the call to go on Monday afternoon to be there Wednesday morning. That's OK, I do last minute better than most. I get on the reservation tools looking at flights. I'm interested in getting there with minimal hassle and not looking to upset anyone with the price of the ticket. It's not long before I find a flight on American Airlines that has a reasonable layover in Dallas, TX.
That would be the first thing that I would question: Why does the best flight from North Carolina to Canada go through Texas. But I do understand how airlines operate hubs and DFW is American's hub. OK.

So now I've got my flight. There is a co-worker going with me on this trip. He happens to work in Dallas and, as these things happen, got his reservation on the same flight from DFW to Vancouver as me. So here is what will never make sense to me. We both bought tickets on the same day using the same tool and my ticket was $200 less for flying 2000 miles more. It's no wonder these people are going bankrupt. I guess if I had flown from England, I would have been routed through Mexico City and the ticket woutld have been twenty bucks.

When I fly on US Airways out of Charlotte, I get the same shaft. That is unless my destination is also being served by a discount carrier. In that case, US Air drops its price to the same as the discounter. Can we all say Price Fixing?!? When I am king, all airlines will charge by the mile with charges for each successful landing (unsuccessful landing are free). That will be the day.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Poker News from North Carolina

This would seem, at first glance, the kind of subject that would fill a short pamphlet or less. In fact, poker news has been flying here in NC. I'll start with the good news: I looks like legal poker is coming to North Carolina.

Legal Poker Coming the NC Looking at the Harrah's Cherokee web site (, you can see that they have announced the planned opening of a 25 table live poker room. This is unbelievable. Currently, residents of the tarheel state have to drive to Mississippi to play a legal game of poker. That is about 10 hours. Now Cherokee, NC is not real close to my home in Charlotte, but it is one heck of a lot closer than Tunica. Quoting the Harrah's site:
"Get ready for live Poker! The exciting new addition is coming to Harrah's Cherokee early 2005! Our new Poker room will feature 24 poker tables with some of the more popular games such as Texas Hold'em and Omaha, as well as 5 and 7 Card Stud."

Illegal Poker is already here Next, we come to the down side of having to drive so far for legal poker. It's called going to the poky and that is what happened to 3 young entrepreneurs from Huntersville, NC. On Tuesday November 23, the 3 were arrested for running a high-stakes poker game. Police claimed that they had been investigating the games for a year. I don't know why they would admit that they are so inept that it takes them a whole year to bust up a game that was widely known around the county. More likely, they tripped over the game when one of the players was caught cheating, stripped of his winnings and tossed out. Problem was that he did not have his car keys on him and the players would not let him back in. So he called the cops. I guess the cops got an eye full and returned a few days later with a warrant and made the arrests. The story is availble here:
Maybe one day, all will be free to playFinally, the Associated Press reports from Durham, NC that a group is trying to open a poker room and is challenging the Durham County DA on his finding that poker is a game of chance and therefore illegal in NC. At the time of this posting, this story is here


I've been reading lots of blogs recently. I guess I've grown fascinated by the technology and its power to communicate quickly to a broad audience. This beta of MSN Spaces makes it look easy, so I'm giving my own blog a try. What I write about and how well I write will determine how broad that audience becomes.

So what am I going to write about? My plan is to write about the things that interest me. That will change over time. For now, the major topics will be Poker, Photography, and a little Pool. As I think of other things that begin with 'P', I'll add them. Poker means Texas Hold'em. I like to play. I like to talk about it. I like reading about it. This is what got me started reading the blogs. Any beginning poker player would be helped by reading (, FeliciaLee (, FullContactPoker ( (Daniel Negreanu's site), and Phil Helmuth's site ( Reading these will lead you to other good sites. I had the fortune of meeting the guys who run the LasVegasVegas site on my recent trip to Vegas. Very nice folks who I hope have great success with their site.

Photography means digital now. I tend to take lots of landscapes and a few sports pictures. You could say that I am in my panorama phase. I have been to several sporting events (baseball and football) where I have taken a series of shots and later stitched them together into a panorama that will print out beautifully at 8" high and about a yard long. Now if I can just find frames for the puppies. Waterfalls are still the most fun. Hiking to a nice fall with my wife finding a nice spot to enjoy and maybe take a picture or two (or twenty). I will post some pictures here, but I already have a bunch at my main web page (

Pool will be tales of my exploits in the local pool leagues. I play on an APA team and an 8-ball express league team. I'm ranked as a 6 in both leagues (1-8 scale), but I feel like I'm really a 5. My APA team just finished first in our league, so we feeling good going into the playoffs. Finishing first in the city tournament will mean a free trip to Las Vegas. Whoohoo. More Poker.
So the adventure begins. Enjoy.