Posted by Wizard
Sep 23, 2010

NFL picks week 3

To recap, week 1 I didn't make any picks, and week 2 I went 1-3. My return so far is -52.3%.

Here are my week 3 picks.

Ten +3 -110
NEP -14 -110
Min -11 -110
Den +5.5 -110
Mia -1 -120

By the way, I always get my lines from thegreek.com. I'm not one of these handicappers that claim lines that are nowhere to be found.


Ayecarumba Sep 24, 2010

Are you flat betting/laying 10, 11 or 12 units? Or do you feel stronger about certain lines?

Wizard Sep 25, 2010

I'm flat betting. If I'm laying odds, it is to win 1 unit. If I'm getting odds, it is betting 1 unit.

Posted by Wizard
Sep 22, 2010

Ted Loh -- RIP

I've just heard that Ted Loh has died, which takes me completely by surprise. For those of you who don't know the name, Ted founded the site got2bet.com, which was one of the best player advocacy sites for Internet gambling. He was also an avid poster at various online gambling sites, and knew both the players and casino operators well. About five years ago he sold got2bet, which is about the time I started to lose touch with him. He told me was going to start a travel agency in Bangkok.

I've known Ted Loh for about ten years. He was one of the few people who genuinely cared about ethical business practices in Internet gambling. We all have to make a living, including Ted, but he always put doing the right thing far above making a dollar. He also knew the business as few other have. If there was any kind of dispute or story, he always seemed to have the scoop on it.

Ted was not just an outstanding player advocate, but a truly warm and friendly human being. He brought fun and energy to every gathering he attended. Often laughing, and seldom angry, is how I will remember him. If I may take a friendly jab, despite being in the gambling business, he was often not on the sharpest of bets. He gambled to have fun, and put that far above fighting for the odds possible. However, that is how most gamblers are, and I think he connected to many of them for that reason.

So long friend. If there is life after death, you will have earned quite the bonus in whatever comes next -- fully cashable, with no play-through requirement.

Much of the above was copied and pasted from a thread about the sad news at Casinomeister.

Posted by Wizard
Sep 17, 2010

Casino Photography

Yesterday I had to go to Sam's Town. I hardly ever make it to the Boulder Highway casinos, and avoid it as much as possible. However, in this case, it almost couldn't be helped. As long as I was out that way, I used the occasion to take some photos for my hotel reviews, and to update my rule surveys for Sam's Town, Boulder Station, Eastside Cannery, and Arizona Charlie's East. Actually, I already have a Sam's Town review, so didn't need to bother with pictures there.

Normally, I like to have a pretty model with me when taking casino pictures. However, it just wasn't convenient this time, and besides, models cost money. So I took them solo. I know the casinos don't like it when you take pictures indoor, which I never did yesterday. However, I encountered heat just taking outdoor pictures of the buildings.

The first encounter was at the Boulder Station. You can see the pictures I took in my review. A guard at the front door saw me take the two on the right side of page: one of the sign and one of the building from a distance. Then I proceed to go inside to check on the blackjack rules, and put in some football bets. The guard was nice but firm in the following conversation, and I'm paraphrasing:

Guard: Get any good pictures?
Me: Yes, I'm happy with them.
Guard: Nice weather.
Me: Yes, perfect weather for pictures.
Guard: Are you taking them for yourself, or for someone else.
Me: They are for myself.
Guard: Okay then, have a good day.

No complaints there. I didn't understand what harm it could for anybody to snap some outdoor pictures, but no big deal.

Then it gets worse at the Arizona Charlie's -- Boulder. Again, click the link for the actual photos. After taking the two in the middle of the page I start walking back to my car.

Half way there a guard on a bike comes racing up to me and barks out "Who are you with?" Here is the full conversation, and again, I'm paraphrasing.

Guard: Who are you with?!
Me: Nobody.
Guard: Why were you taking pictures?
Me: I like to take pictures in Vegas of ordinary things.
Guard: No more photography!!!
Me: Fine, I won't take any more.

Then he proceeded to follow me until my car left the property. I wanted to turn left onto Boulder Highway, but couldn't so made a U turn and snapped one final picture from the road, the one on the right in the review. Hah!

Can anyone tell me who are these guards so worried about? Who are these other people taking pictures of the outside of casinos, and what harm could it to do to the casino itself?

After that I went to the Eastside Cannery, and felt I was being watched, but was never approached.


Nareed Sep 17, 2010

A few years ago I had to take photos of about 100 different products for work (don't ask). Easiest thing to do was go to the nearby Walmart and snap away. I also had a security guard tell me I couldn't take pictures. I put the camera away, but I took the pics with my cell phone.

the local Costco warehouse has a very prominent sign on the entrance warning against taking pictures or even taking notes inside. I've never tried photography there, but I've written down prices and specs from time to time. So far no guard has tried to confiscate my notepad.

Mosca Sep 17, 2010

Photographer's Rights Page

Photography is not a crime

This is my hobby, and there is a lot going on. There is a war against photography happening right now in America, fueled by fear; fear of anything that is not "keep your head down and your feet moving". People have been conditioned to confuse photographers with terrorists... high quality images on the internet and Google Earth notwithstanding.

You can take pictures of whatever you want to, within reason. You might be prohibited from setting up a tripod (blocking public access), but generally speaking you are allowed to photograph anything you can normally see. You can't take a 400mm lens and shoot into windows, but you can take pictures of buildings.

Here is the extant law on photography, excerpted from USA Today:


The law in the United States of America is pretty simple. You are allowed to photograph anything with the following exceptions:

Certain military installations or operations.

People who have a reasonable expectation of privacy. That is, people who are some place that's not easily visible to the general public, e.g., if you shoot through someone's window with a telephoto lens.

That's it.

You can shoot pictures of children; your rights don't change because of their age or where they are, as long as they're visible from a place that's open to the public. (So no sneaking into schools or climbing fences.)

Video taping has some more gray areas because of copyright issues, but in general the same rules apply. If anyone can see it, you can shoot it.

And yes, you can shoot on private property if it's open to the public. That includes malls, retails stores, Starbucks, banks, and office-building lobbies. If you're asked to stop and refuse, you run the risk of being charged with trespassing, but your pictures are yours. No one can legally take your camera or your memory card without a court order.

You can also shoot in subways and at airports. Check your local laws about the subway, but in New York, Washington, and San Francisco it's perfectly legal. Airport security is regulated by the Transportation Security Administration, and it's quite clear: Photography is A-OK at any commercial airport in the U.S. as long as you're in an area open to the public.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I've only been hassled once, and I talked my way out of it; I was on private property, but they let me continue shooting, tripod and all. I wish the shots'd been better, though.

FleaStiff Sep 18, 2010

Heck, the solution is obvious: win enough money that you can open your own casino where you can offer single zero roulette, 3:2 pitch BJ, a 100x craps table with 12-triples the Field ... and free disposable cameras for those who want to take photographs of an exterior sign that is seen by thousands and is there in the hopes that it will be seen by thousands!

Can you imagine if the VP of public relations just happened to have been passing by at the time... those dumb security guards would get some common sense put into their brains on the spot!

DJTeddyBear Sep 18, 2010

Quote: mosca

People have been conditioned to confuse photographers with terrorists...

high quality images on the internet and Google Earth notwithstanding.

I always think about that when I see the No Photos sign at the Lincoln Tunnel....

Mosca -

Are those rules just for personal use photos? I was told that I can't take photos at event where I'm the DJ to use on my promotional materials. I can't get the client to give me permission. I'd need to get permission from everyone in the photo before I could use it.

Wiz -

Maybe the problem was that, since you didn't use a model, that it was obvious that this wasn't for personal use...

Mosca Sep 18, 2010

DJ, also from the USA Today article, (bold added, commentary to follow),


There are a few more restrictions on publishing photos or video, though, as mentioned back in December.

You can't show private facts things a reasonable person wouldn't want made public unless those facts were revealed publicly. So no long-lens shots of your neighbors' odd habits.

You also can't show someone in a negative false light by, for example, using Photoshop tricks or a nasty, untrue caption.

And you can't put someone else's likeness to commercial use without their permission. This is usually mentioned in terms of celebrities, but it applies to making money from anyone's likeness.

For example, if you shoot individual kids playing in a school football game, you can't try to sell those shots to the parents; the kids have a right to the use of their likeness. You can sell photos of the game in general, though, and any shots where what's happening ("A player celebrates a goal") is more important than who's doing it ("Star running back John Doe takes a momentary rest").

Sound like a gray area? It is if you're planning to sell the pictures, but not if you're simply displaying them. And if you're using them for news purposes, all bets are off you can pretty much publish whatever you want if it happens in public view.

The other gray area is copyrighted material. Even if it's in public, you can't sell pictures of copyrighted work a piece of art, for example. But if the art is part of a scene you can probably get away with it.

All this in mind, it's almost always a good idea to get permission where you can and to be polite and friendly with anyone you deal with. Like good urban legends, people are absolutely sure they know the law about photography, and they're absolutely wrong.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think that "photo of people dancing" is different from "photo of John and Mary Smith dancing". If the idea is showing the shot of the event, I would think you wouldn't need individual releases. And furthermore, there are numerous cases where "stock photos" have been used in advertisements without the subject being aware, and said subjects were then SOL when they tried to collect. But I think you should consult with someone in the know.

AZDuffman Sep 18, 2010

I think what they are worried about is out of place behavior, and in a way they are doing what a good security person should do. Ever watch "The West Wing" where CJ is receiving death threats? One Secret Service guy was with her and another charachter (her niece?) at a dress shop, buying a prom dress or something. The younbger girl asks, "what are you doing and looking for?" to the agent. He shows her how he is sanning the entire area and just checking everything. She again asks and his answer is, "I will know it when I see it." He was looking at someone dressed too warm in the summer, meaning possibly carrying a weapon. Or someone taking a little too long loitering. Or a guy looking at stuff mostly only women would care about.

The guard at Boulder Station handled it right IMHO. You were alone and taking pictures but not of what most people take pictures of, thus he investigated. You were polite back to him and he saw no reason to hassle you. But he was letting you know you were being noticed. Probably happens a few times a week.

The Guard at Arizona Charlies INHO overreacted. But again, he was doing hid job, checking things out.

BTW: If the NTSB did this kind of profiling instead of wanding 5 year old kids traveling with clearly traveling on a family vacation I'd feel more safe. It is simply good police work. A hassle, yes.

Wizard Sep 18, 2010

Thanks for all the comments. The piece that is still missing for me is what is the common way to abuse exterior casino pictures? Or do guards just hassle anybody doing anything out of the norm? When the AZ Charlie's guard asked "Who are you with?!," I got the impression that it is a common and organized thing to take such pictures. But why? Somebody sent me a message suggesting concerns over terrorism. However, what terrorist is going to target Arizona Charlie's on Boulder Highway?

There is a similar story at ' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>http://pokergrump.blogspot.com/2009/02/i-got-backroomed-by-casino-security.html] pokergrump.blogspot.com about a patron who was back-roomed for taking a picture inside the Cannery. Good reading.

EvenBob Sep 19, 2010

My sister in law collects Halloween stuff. A couple years ago she was taking pics of kids in unusual costumes who came to her door. A mother got irate and called the cops. She stood on the sidewalk till they arrived and they told her you have a right to take pics of someone who comes on your property, even kids. These are paranoid times we live in. Casinos obviously feel pictures can be used to compromise them in some way. They aren't smart enough to think of it themselves, I'm sure some lawyer told them to do it.

pacomartin Feb 10, 2011

Nevada casino security guards illegally detain man after taking photos

Quote: Carlos Miller

A Nevada man was illegally detained by casino security guards after taking photos of a mural inside the casino Wednesday night.

Robert Woolley said several security guards whisked him into a back room of the The Cannery in North Las Vegas because he refused to show them the images from his cell phone.

He was released 90 minutes later when police arrived and told the security guards that he had not broken any laws.

Nevertheless, the casino permanently banned him from ever entering the casino again.


Posted by Wizard
Sep 15, 2010

NFL picks week 2

I'm in a handicapping contest with five other guys. We all chipped in a certain amount of money and the person with the best record at the end wins the pool, except second place gets his entry fee refunded. So, these are my picks for week 2. I had no picks for week 1. I document them just in case they do well then I'll have some evidence. Please don't bet on these picks because of any faith in me. My previous attempts at handicapping have ended in dismal failure.

Week Pick Odds
2 StL +3.5 -110
2 NYG +5.5 -110
2 Phil -4.5 -110
2 NO -5.5 -110


thecesspit Sep 15, 2010

You want me to track them with the rest of us schmoes in the Sport Betting Thread I started?

FinsRule Sep 15, 2010

I like the "Please don't bet on these picks because of any faith in me" line. Which begs the question... What is the opposite of a tout?

Wizard Sep 17, 2010

"You want me to track them with the rest of us schmoes in the Sport Betting Thread I started?"


Posted by Wizard
Aug 21, 2010

I stink at golf

I'm horrible at golf. I don't know why I even try. Yes, lots of golfers say they are horrible, but most of them are Jack Nickolas compared to me. There are few things that annoy me more on the golf course than to hear other golfers complain, "I'm just playing bogey golf today." I would LOVE to be able to play bogey golf...heck, double bogey golf would make my day. However, if I had to play strict rules of golf, i.e. no Mulligans or maximum strokes, then my handicap would be about 100. That is not a misprint. Most golfers would bitch about shooting 100 total strokes, I shoot that many ABOVE par.

Everyone tells me I should take lessons. I hate to bring it up to people who know how bad I am, but I did! For about two years from 1999-2001 I took a lesson every week from a golf pro named Gary Marlow in Baltimore. It helped at the time. Before I might have been a 150 handicap, as I often swung at the ball and didn't even hit it (I hear that counts as a shot). Now I can at least contact the ball most of the time, although usually somewhere on the edge of the club face. My distance is awful too. My best shot with a Big Bertha would go about as far as a good golfer could hit with a loft wedge.

The thing is, I would love to be able to just hold my own in golf. I'd love to play a game with friends and enjoy the game. I wouldn't ask to win, just to have a score worthy to write down on a card. Instead, I spend half my time looking for my ball, or hitting it all over the dang place. I don't understand why everybody else is so good. It is probably because I'm lousy at every game that involves a ball. I believe that golf ability is 90% genetic. In the bell curve of innate golf ability, I'm three standard deviations south of the mean.

The last game I played was at the Sandpiper golf course in Santa Barbara, a lovely course along the beach. I played with the UCSB Family' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>http://familyvacationcenter.com/]Family Vacation Center. In the pre-arrival forms they asked me what level of golf I was. There were three levels, and I chose the worst. In the comments I emphasized that I really was truly lousy, and to please put me in the worst foursome. However, they didn't. They put me with two strong golfers and the young guy on staff "Bam Bam" who helped to organize the day. It was horrible playing with people I didn't know and taking twice as many strokes to bet the ball in the hole. Nobody knew what to say about it, so nobody said anything. Imagine you're a 250 average bowler, and you're stuck playing with somebody with a 50 average. It is f**king awkward. What is worse is I could see afterward that the FVC foursome behind us were true hackers like me, and there were only three of them. In other words, there was room for me to play with them.

Another thing I don't get about golf is why is it so hard to just swing a dang club. You only need to know one thing, how to swing a dang stick. You can adjust distance with club selection and force. I recently saw the remake of the Karate Kid. Much like the original, the student started out doing a mundane task thousands of times. When he was done, the muscle memory came in perfectly handy for martial arts. Why is there no secret or gimmick to perfecting a golf swing like that? Like pushing a broom a certain way. One of these days somebody is going to invent something that will save golfers like me, and that person will rightfully make millions.

So, that is my rant. Thanks for listening. I wish somebody would just steal my golf clubs so I could have an excuse to quit playing.


Triplell Aug 21, 2010

I have the same results with golf. I'm 21 years old and I haven't golfed since I was probably 17. I can never hit the ball square. I either top it, slice it, or on the occasion that I do hit it square, it turns out that I was aiming the wrong direction.

For this very reason, I never golf. My friends ask me to go with them all the time. I always have to decline, otherwise I would embarrass myself.

toastcmu Aug 21, 2010

Glad to know I am not the only one - I know my problem (I always stand up when I swing the club) - I have rarely played since I was in my early 20's - only occasionally play a scramble format. Even then, my drives rarely crack 125 yds. Good thing they only need two of em. When people at work ask me why I don't play, my answer is simple - someone has to be here when the other 10 people go out golfing on a nice day. :)


Wizard Aug 21, 2010

Thanks for the support, guys. If I had any sense I would turn down invitations to play too.

odiousgambit Aug 21, 2010

you have to see Charles Barkley try to play golf to feel better!


chook Aug 21, 2010

I hope that "every game that involves a ball" doesn't include roulette.

Anyway, poor golf ability is pretty common. Most people play like Jack Nicholson.

Wizard Aug 21, 2010

Thanks, that video did make me feel better.

DJTeddyBear Aug 22, 2010

>> I'm lousy at every game that involves a ball.

Does that include roulette?

But seriously, I feel your pain.

The only golf I will play is if the course has windmills and loops. And I suck at that.

ruascott Aug 22, 2010

I've golfed since I was about 3 yrs old. Like a lot of things, golf is a game that is about 1000x easier for kids to pick up than adults. Most anyone that I know and have played with that are decent/good players started prior to age 15. Most players that pick up the game as adults are solidly on your side of the bell curve. My father has played the game constantly for 40+ years and he is worse now than ever. Like you, he'll only play with people he is very comfortable with, out of fear of embarrassing himself. On the flip side, when I played in junior golf events around the state, I'd see 8 yr olds that could shoot par.

As far as training devices there are literally thousands of them, but most of them are pretty worthless. Probably the closest thing to what you describe is the SuperSwing Trainer. What makes hitting a golf ball so difficult, is that that the swing must be on the proper plane throughout the swing. Most high handicappers swings are WAAAY off plane, thats why they spray the ball all over the place. Of course, none of this helps with the short-game, which is where most of the strokes add up.

Nareed Aug 23, 2010

I'd be glad to steal your clubs. Just bring them on the next coffee around May 2011. I swear I'll find a high bidder to give them a good home ;)

boymimbo Aug 24, 2010

I am not an awful golfer, and my handicap is probably around 35. If you took lessons from a golf pro, you should be playing decently enough to not upset your partners. So I would just stop playing. You're not good at it. But you won't give up on it, will you?

Which actually surprises me. You know math, so you should know something about physics. Maybe your head is too much into the game. Try the driving range for awhile and get some practice. There's no one counting strokes, nobody behind you, nobody in front of you, no rough to hit out of. You just practice your swing there. Once you get to the point where you are hitting the ball consistently (either short and straight, or long and wild), you should try the course again. When you are at the range, try all of your clubs out. And, make sure that you work out a stroke that works for you, not the one that Tiger Woods uses, just one that will get you enough distance and enough consistency to work.

Good luck. You're not going to get any better if you play less than once a week, as your body doesn't remember what worked and what didn't.

I'll take you golfing next time we come to town. It'd be a great diversion from the casinos.

NicksGamingStuff Aug 24, 2010

Last time I golfed I was happy I could finally get the ball through the windmill!

Niblick Aug 26, 2010

My handle, "niblick," probably accurately indicates that I am a golf nerd.

For the folks who speak of their games like you just did, I tell them this:

"If you look at the drawings done by the Golden Age Architects (guys prior to the Depression), you'll note that very few of them make reference to par. Why? Because for them, golf was about the journey--they felt par set a benchmark for failure."

These guys had it right.

Pro's who practice constantly screw up; so just go out and have fun and forget about how you play. Enjoy the company and the course and to Hell w/the score.

You'll be a lot happier for it.

Toes14 Sep 17, 2010

I'm not a great golfer (I usually shoot 55-60 per 9 holes.) I used to be much worse, like the Wizard, even after taking lessons. One thing I eventually figured out on my own is that I wasn't warming up enough. Now I make sure to hit at least a small bucket of balls on the driving range prior to teeing off. It's helped a lot. I find that I have increased consistancy from it. I also tend to get more distance on my shots too.