Posted by odiousgambit
Nov 05, 2018

Lying, Mendacity, and Justifiable Deception

It always stuns me a bit to come across a gambler who would condemn all deception but the the types where virtually everyone gives license, such as telling a Hatfield on a killing spree you are in his family when you are in fact a McCoy. It just seems a gambler automatically is thrust into a world of at least some degree of deceit as gamesmanship - to offer or accept a bet means to expect to win the bet, those not fitting that description belonging to some other category than "gambler", even if the expectation is based purely on wishing for luck. And to be sure, if some element favoring his side of the bet can be hidden, all the better almost universally. After all, someone winning a poker hand because he was bluffing is held in admiration by other poker players, perhaps excepting the victim. 

So if there are types of deception, one can not look at it as a black or white thing. 

Here I'll skip any further examination of Justifiable Deception other than to say there's no guarantee there's agreement in all cases.

Mendacity is a difficult gray area. Although when you look the word up, you usually find a pretty simple definition, perhaps just "lying", I have found it usually is used for cases where people use deception in the conduct of their business. And it seems it is always used to condemn, yet there also usually an underlying implied admission that such is normal or partly accepted, thus the choice of this word rather than "lying". For example, accepted sales practices have the seller pretty much only mentioning the positives and none of the negatives. If a realtor selling a house were to include statements such as "the roof hasn't been replaced in 25 years" "all the appliances convey but are truly ancient" "we all know this type of siding is the worst kind" he might not have excluded a thing else bad there is to say, but is guaranteeing a terrible reaction from the buyer. One of the reasons for that is in fact that the buyer expects the opposite; if anything at all negative comes to light from the seller, he assumes he is only viewing the tip of the iceberg and that the truth is much worse!

I have always said the insurance business is so steeped in Mendacity, for centuries now, that there is no hope that this can ever change. Yet all their practices are completely accepted by society, with little push today for changes. Most of the financial world has the same problem as well, even your local banks. 

So when a gambler says he deplores lying and will have none of it, I say I have to admire the person; if he deplores all the gray area and condemns all of it, whether he is involved or not, I have to wonder. Just saying.


billryan Nov 06, 2018

A man who lies over drinks has many friends.

A man who lies about drinking does not.

As a Ranger, you learn this simple creed. You can lie all you want ABOUT the Rangers to others but never lie to a Ranger or an Officer.

As Judge Judy says, telling the truth means its okay to have a bad memory.

FleaStiff Nov 07, 2018

A mendicant's views on mendacity.

YouTube womens channel features professional poker player having bad luck at cards and with babysitter. Finally its five in the morning at high stakes game in Beverly Hills and her kid gets dropped off for poker daycare by fed up babysitter. Amid usual disputes host says get out of my game, that's a forfeit but players prevail upon him to let her finish the hand. As is the little kid's habit he wants to peek at her hand prior to being set up in the corner with coloring book and orange juice. She whispers to him briefly. Then after going all in on her final bet he host thinks she is bluffing rather than slow playing and she asks permission to go take a pee during which time the host asks the little kid to draw thecards he saw in her hand with the other players generally criticizing him. Kid draws two aces and host surrenders his two kings to what is actually he

r single ace. She anticipated the cheating and prompted the kids response. So who was more honorable.

AI poker programs learn to bluff....but not consistently.

Tuscany had website saying 'the odds are in your favor'...I threatened to go to the gaming board. Website was down in two days. lying??

Posted by odiousgambit
Oct 13, 2018

More Home Poker Thoughts

We get a friendly game going about once a month, very low stakes. 

In this kind of game I usually drink, many times not caring too much if I'm not playing all that well as long as I'm having a good time. In the September game I was well buzzed though, and wound up losing my buy-in plus a bit more, which really shouldn't happen considering the caliber I'm up against. So I had to wonder how much it had to do with the boozing. Clearly not drinking at all is the best way to go generally, however, the dynamics of poker can be weird and in a strange way the drinking can help in some of the factors too, specifically, others' ability to 'read' you. Daniel Negreanu blogged about this once, though that would be hard to find now. 

In any case I decided for the October game that I would hardly drink at all and see what happens. I was really focused on staying alert and applying all I knew to do. When I did finally have a beer it was one of those really strong ones that are almost as strong as wine, and I could tell just this one 12 oz beer was having an effect on how well I was playing. I was in this strange zone where I knew I had to focus and could tell exactly the degree to which I was distracted. Overall I still had it together and wound up not quite doubling my buy-in; maybe even I hit it just right, with people finding me hard to read. 

Some say not drinking to excess the night before is even more important, but in any case I think I can say for me the closer I stick to one beer the better.


TigerWu Oct 13, 2018

This is why I like to drink when I gamble... I have enough willpower to know that stupid decisions are made when drunk, so when I get tipsy enough it's a sign to walk away from the table and take a break. If I never drank I would just sit at the table until all my money was gone.* The alcohol gives me built in rest periods.

*By "all my money" I just mean my bankroll for the trip, not my life savings.

OnceDear Oct 13, 2018

With friends and low stakes, I'd say the booze is a must. For real stupidity, you want to try gambling online deep into the night while glugging stupid amounts of JD. It makes for some interesting OMG moments when you wake up an realise what you did the night before. ( Fear not, I'm still in budget and have accounts locked up tight as a drum with deposit limits )

odiousgambit Oct 14, 2018

yes, which night of the two was most fun? I swear a poker night is one hell of an argument for what's good about drinking ... one that goes counter to the idea that you don't have to drink to have fun. And I have fun playing poker sober too, depending on what my luck is like undeniably. I've counted and a player can expect to see maybe 40 hands in our particular game - there is socializing, eating, and a long cigar break too - and definitely it's not an all night thing. With that many hands it's possible to have crap for starting hands each time. Sober, I just fold instantly, but drinking ...

I think most of these nights you'll see me plan to only have one or two drinks with a frequent lapse into something past that

gordonm888 Oct 14, 2018

In poker, I am a strong believer in the importance of Awareness and Adapting. If you drink and get a buzz in a social game (where lots of other people are drinking) then I think that it is not a big problem as long as your are aware of your loss of persistent focus and adapt to it as well as adapting to the impaired playing of everyone around you.

In regards to doing poorly in your September game, remember that even the best players in the world do poorly in a significant fraction of their tournaments. Lady Luck is a bitch.

FleaStiff Oct 14, 2018

I assume its normal variance.

Is this just one table and all guys or is this a monthly home poker night with multiple tables? Too much booze will slowly make the females stop showing up.

If you want to slow your booze intake but not be obvious, try a different type of nachos/chilli/etc.

odiousgambit Oct 15, 2018

Thanks for all the comments

fleastiff, it's one table, up to 8 guys [and at least 5], women welcome but none have given the idea the slightest consideration, I don't believe.

FleaStiff Oct 30, 2018

Nope. Unless you've scrubbed the table, the kitchen, the bathroom, the ash trays, etc. women are not welcome and that is fine. Guys poker night. The sandwiches are either 'green' or 'brown'. That's okay.

But withloout fresh fish, how do you sustain the game. Don't you learn each others tells etc.

FleaStiff Nov 04, 2018

Anyway, we all think the incident you described was normal variance but if indeed something has been happening with your metabolism and alcohol, it is certainly best you find out about it at home in a fairly friendly game rather than in a casino or a casino's poker room.

Zinc and Bvitamin status is important, so of course is water intake. It can affect your response to that 'one beer'.

Posted by odiousgambit
Oct 01, 2018

We all know someone like this

Gamblers especially all know someone like this

My dear friend, sadly I have to conclude you are that guy, the guy who screws everybody he ever dealt with. I hope you don't take satisfaction from it, as it will be your Ruin. Nobody who matters will ever trust you. Dishonesty is your calling card, and Failure is your domain. You're young, you could turn it around, but you won't.  You're main-lining the Wrong Set of Values, the addiction to which it seems few ever kick. 

I was reflecting on that this morning.


MDawg Oct 01, 2018

I think it comes down to what the gambler is trying to achieve, and how much control he has towards staying steady on that goal.

I used to play to win - all that mattered to me. I won a lot for many years, then I started to lose. When I started to lose, I quit - I had no interest in gambling if it didn't mean winning. I quit for over a decade, I mean didn't even gamble a nickel, literally no gambling at all.

I very recently started getting back into it, partly I suppose because I wanted extra excitement, partly I suppose because I have more money than I know what to do with these days. I reopened some large casino credit lines, just as large as the ones I used to have, but my goal these days is just to have fun and play for comps. I am not trying to hit a home run, just trying to stay even or a little ahead. Even if I lose a little I don't chase it, I just stop for a day or two, and when I go back I tend to win it all back with relative ease, because I am coming back from a small loss, not a large one, and in a clear state of mind, not a loss chasing one. Plus my attitude is that even if I lose some, still it would be a free trip given all they are comp'ing me.

I maintain the large lines because the casinos are more apt to comp me with a large line even for the identical play if I did not have such a large line.

So far, it has worked out.

FleaStiff Oct 03, 2018

There is a difference between wanting to win and being the type of guy who induces everyone to check their rings and wristwatches after a handshake.

Shot takers and outright liars are never trusted, but they are often rich.

odiousgambit Oct 03, 2018

I'm certainly not talking about a guy whose only fault is he just wants to win

Posted by odiousgambit
Aug 02, 2018

Wins, Losses, Goals

Some blogs lately have been about keeping track of bankroll and wins and losses. So here's another one; for the "it's too long" concern, see the final paragraph.

After changing my mind about "how much it is" about a million times, I have finally realized that it's not the size of my bankroll that concerns me. Of course I want to figure how much I am comfortable with losing, and how much I need to take out of the bank, or to get a marker for, on any given day or trip, and actually I have handled those considerations pretty well right from the beginning. But the question also comes up as to how much to budget for gambling, the same way you might think about the set-aside for other recreation, or just for vacations or hobbies.

So I thought I had to decide how big my bankroll should be. First I saw no particular reason to consider it less than $10k even though I walk into a casino with much less than that. Later I decided that was dishonest as I would never allow myself to lose that much in a year. And if it isn't to be over a year, then what period is it? No wonder the Wizard refuses to be helpful in these matters.

Instead, for me I've decided that I just want to have a goal in mind as to how much I've won or lost. If overall I'd won more than I've lost, I could have the goal of keeping it that way; but like most negative expectation folks, albeit contrary to the experience of some of our bloggers**, over the decade and a half I've been hitting casinos, that hasn't held up. Now I've set a goal of how much I'd like to keep the losses down to, and that is $300 per year + tips [a "normalized" year*]. Though I was near that fairly recently, I am missing that goal now, it currently being $441 per normalized year. This includes transportation and lodging expenses when appropriate too.

Two questions might come up: How did I come up with the idea? How did I arrive at some figures?

As for the first matter, I have always been a defender of the idea that gambling is a reasonable pastime and in fact can be relatively cheap entertainment, even when it is totally negative expectation. As expected, golf has turned out to be a good example. Mrs. OG is in fact a fairly avid golfer, and partly from knowing she is aware of how much more it costs I have often compared it, but do not say anything to her. Not even close, though to be fair if I gambled as often as she golfed there would be less difference. On the other hand, I am satisfied with the amount of gambling I do. Nor do I begrudge her what she spends as long as some effort is made to keep it down. And I have other unrelated recreational expenses too.

As for the matter of arriving at figures, for the golf expense I am using what we write in checks to the country club. That has averaged just under $300 per month recently. Now, out of what we send, I do get some benefit, even though it's never golf or any sport ... just some meals, really. On the other hand, what this represents is not her total golf expense, not even close. There's tips, vehicle expense, and many, many excursions to other golf courses not included in any check to the CC. Please note I am aiming for an annual expense that equals a monthly golf expense. This allows me I think to make the case that gambling for me has been cheap entertainment.

For the wagering side of the figures, I like I know many others do here, have always kept a close account of how much it costs me to gamble. Travel expenses are included unless we are vacationing anyway, or unless I am on some personal business anyway.

There is almost no hope now that I will see myself get ahead of the game, or break even, so since I will not be treated to that gratification, I am determined to seek it this other way. I have a goal to reach.

TLDR: I've ditched any ideas about keeping track of my bankroll size in favor of setting a goal of an annual gambling expense equaling one month of my wife's golf expenses.

*Normally I make about 5 trips per year to gamble, so if I make only 3-4 trips as is likely this year, I don't want to count it as a year. Recent prior years were more than 5 trips, and I don't want to count them as years any more than the year I didn't gamble at all. So I am averaging out things to 5 trips equaling a year. This also means I can't reduce my [normalized] annual rate by only going 3 times this year.

**Envy raises its ugly head again ... sigh


OnceDear Aug 02, 2018

I see your envy and raise you a sloth.

Remember being envious of my route up to £18k profit? Well, it's nearly all gone... down to around £1,400

So... does that make me a winner or a loser? I know my opinion.

odiousgambit Aug 02, 2018

the envy thing: well, you know, I enjoy making a joke out of it but am actually envious too. Now, tis true that my gambling record goes back further than yours, at least the record you keep talking about, which if I am correct goes back to 2015 [mine goes to about 1985*]. On the other hand, 'total action' is what matters, not time, so I am not sure how that compares

*there wasn't much casino gambling till 2003 though, and I am only counting that kind of gambling

OnceDear Aug 02, 2018

I KNOW from player history logs that my total action with 888 was just over 2.2 million pounds. I've certainly put more action through on Grosvenor, so total action probably about £5 million. I count only from Jan 2014, because that was my switch to blackjack. I'd previously lost one or two thousand playing roulette.

You know, you COULD easily, and with some certainty, claw back those few thousands of lifetime losses: Just throw a bankroll of say $100,000 at it from your pension or a remortgage and martingale it. :o)

That's what I might do to get my 'lost' £17K or so back. Roll on 31st August when I get the lump sum from my pension fund :o)

NNNOOOOOooooo..... Resist. Resist. Must Resist.

OMG, your country club fees seem high. Thats almost my entire JD and mischief budget combined.

odiousgambit Aug 03, 2018

I hesitated before giving actual country club figures ... "too much personal information"?? But oh well, what the hell.

The place we joined was very affordable compared to many. IIRC about $1500 to join; at a fancier one, that can be $100k or easily more. When no golf is going on, it goes down to $200 per month or so for cost. How that compares I don't know, I assume it is reasonable too.

Obviously, it's "plenty", enough for her to carp about things going on there in the half-ass category when they happen, as goes for everywhere in the universe. Sometimes she's ready to quit the place, but there will not be less golf. I support her playing ... happy wife, happy life.

Posted by odiousgambit
Jul 17, 2018

A Casinoless Summer

I've been really getting clobbered with health insurance cost as I near my Medicare entrance date, which, though I have the money to pay it, causes me to scramble for cash at times. Creating the funds to pay by cashing out stocks and bonds is easy enough, but it can be regrettable to do it willynilly what with the tax implications that can be next in line to give a guy a good whipping.

So, I decided this should be a summer without casino gambling; home poker games, OK [such small stakes anyway in my case]. Investment moves - unavoidable. But one silly enough superstition I have is kicking in when it comes to larger [and avoidable] wagering: when winning would come in handy, that's when you will suffer big losses. It's like one of the rules of the Universe. This powerful force of the Universe afflicted me in Biloxi this year, and don't try to convince me otherwise!

I still come to this site daily. Daily. I sometimes wonder what the attraction really is. I do find I have less interest in some topics, and I post less now that no gambling trip is in sight. Maybe because of less immediate interest, I seem to have gotten a little tired of replying to the people who make the wild claims, are full of misinformation, etc. And tired of those ridiculous superstitions too. The ones I have are OK though!

Will I get back to my usual posting patterns when a trip looms? We shall see. In the meantime, I'll be checking back in. To some degree I am on the same wavelength with people here it seems, as a generalization - plenty of exceptions, but still - no denying it.