So the computer died.
And when it did I discovered the software that we use for the site, an antique MSDOS application apparently, has gone the way of half of the species that used to fill the rain forest. Eventually, with some help from our friends I've gotten a copy, and been able to get an update on the site (tonight). Though I wonder if part of my love for poker died with that computer.
As I was sidelined, I quite enjoyed not trolling the web for new items or being fully immersed in poker. During that same stretch I've also traveled with the fam for a vacation in Pcola and to a wedding in Washington, DC, without playing much.
Poker has been on the brain in kind of a peripheral way, kind of like I'm musing about the vagaries of an NBA lockout and a poker thought will flutter through my mind. Sometimes a break can consolidate all those loose thoughts and give you clarity, other times as I've just learned they can blend into ennui.
Chino Rheem is a scum? Jungleman is a cheat? Phil Ivey is broke? Full Tilt have perpetrated the world's biggest heist. Guy Lilberte was teamed up on on high stakes poker? Invariably it appears the old saying "the most honest people are the cardplayers because there a handshake and reputation are the only commodities" is as empty as the salesman saying "Well, to be honest...".
Well to be honest, only implies that you are sometimes not honest, and since liars mostly lie, it probably also means the next words out of your mouth will be anything but the truth. As these scandals play themselves out on the forums that's what they feel like... Seems like you peel a layer back and it's somebody saying "Okay, well, here's THE TRUTH."
It's a bit disgusting. When I was in DC we played a home game and alternated decks. One was the most wanted deck they gave out around 2002 in coordination with the War on Terror. The crooks weren't limited to the deck. The Aces and Kings had folded corners. With the Aces slightly different folds than the kings. About as amateurish "a marking" as I've seen. I think my buddy tried that scam in fourth grade.
We played for a while, primarily because I didn't get dealt any Aces or Kings and it was only in a break in the action when I played with the cards and saw my suspicions were correct. We weren't playing for much so I didn't belabor the point. I told the host they were marked and he quickly did away with the deck, albeit somewhat quietly.
It's possible some visitor did it long ago, or it's possible he did it, I didn't really care. I didn't inspect the new decks either for fear of being let down again by poker and deciding I was willing to lose a couple of small dollar games just to enjoy the friends I hadn't seen in 10 years even if somebody was cheating or they were not.
I've been rereading some of my poker books and I keep dwelling on these stories of cheating that a few of them seem to have. In doing a google search to follow up I find quite a bit of unflattering information about many of the people in poker that the masses revere. Seems like cheating at cards is license to steal and even better you don't go to jail.
What's worse is I fear this just the beginning. Protect yourselves out there.