Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Does Mark Vos -Really- Think Online Gambling is Rigged?

Y'know, every once in a while something happens in the heat of the moment that you don't recognize fully or appreciate at the time it occurs; it requires time and distance... and sometimes a reworking or explanation of what was meant to be said, rather than what was said. I'm guilty of this myself on occasion, as are most of us.

Consider it the theme for this posting.

A week or so ago, I posted a funny bit excerpted from a 2+2 posting wherein young Aussie pro Mark Vos (pronounced "Foss") kinda sorta went on tilt after a string of beats to Mike Matusow, and let loose with one of the most succinct, all-encompassing insults ever to grace a chat window. If you haven't checked out that post, then go ahead; it's probably worth the visit.

And here's the kicker, but recognized only from a distance: There was a far more questionable slip of the tongue from Vos in that heat of the moment exchange. (Image source: Wikipedia.com) I now excerpt this little snippet of text, from just after the line that generated that other post's heading:

Mark Vos: im just being honest
Mark Vos: lol
Mark Vos: im not sur
Mark Vos: but im sure mikey wins a red on red confrontation (italics mine)

Okay, wow. And I missed that the first time, as did everyone else. "Red on Red" is code for the Full Tilt "pros" and official "friends" on that site. Did Vos infer that he suspects that the pro-vs.-pro matchups on Full Tilt are rigged in favor of Matusow? It sure reads that way.

But I don't believe it, nor, I'm sure, does Vos; it was indeed just one of those things that slipped out in the tilt of the moment. Still, it makes you wonder just what some of these guys are thinking about when they do tilt, the willingness of even fledgling pros to grasp out at the irrational to explain away a run of bad luck or a nasty confluence of events.

It's certainly not some sort of indication that online poker is rigged; I believe that oft-muttered line of hooey about as much as I believe Matusow's post-drug arrest line that he was just doing a favor for a friend. Yah, and I'd kick both their asses at the table, if I only had the money.

But tilt is a funny thing; as I said above, we all do it. One frustration involving me involves none other than Michael Craig, the author of the Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King. I'm in the minority on one thing concerning the book, because I think it's just an -okay- tale, nothing great. It's neat to have the story of that biggest-of-all-big-games captured into text, but I think the book has serious flaws, about what one would expect of a writer's first major effort. For what it's worth, I think that Michael's subsequent telling of the later matchup, serialized in Bluff, was much better, far more engaging writing, and he's written some nice pieces over at his new blog, too. As a writer, he's gotten much better.

(Michael Craig watches his table's action in the 2006 WSOP Main Event.)
Furthermore, Michael's a genuinely nice man, who I had the chance to talk to repeatedly at the WSOP. Too nice a man to be a lawyer (his former profession). But some time back I left a comment somewhere deep in his blog that I realized only much later that he could take as a personal slap, even though the comment I made wasn't even meant to be about him --- it was, rather, about some third-party readers and writers at a different site. It had to do with the inane practice common to writers of all types (not just poker ones) of sucking up to (a) their friends, and (b) the biggest names in the field. For instance, over at the left you'll notice the link to Tau of Pauly, "Dr. Pauly" McGuire's long-running, very well-written blog. But do you need me to preach to the choir, and waste your time telling you how great a blog it is?

I think not. I'll point out the excellence when it's unusual or distinctive, and figure that all of us should expect the rest, the merely excellent, or pretty-good, or whatever it happens to be. Nonetheless, there are those sites whose owners believe that this form of writerly "group masturbation" (as I'm fond of calling it) is the way to go. It just sort of sickens me, and when I see it carried to extremes, it can put me on a little bit of tilt, too. It's dishonest writing, the same way that the movie reviewer at the Tribune Co. division I once worked for gave letter grades to all the movies he reviewed. Problem is, he never gave even the worst waste of celluloid a grade worse than "C". What a weenie.

That's cheating the reader, just the same way that waxing enthused about everything under the sun is, too. It makes the telling suspect.

It's okay to praise the good, but too often we're afraid to condemn the bad... or at least to point out what's wrong or improveable with the merely okay. Sometimes the preponderance of this secondary garbage can lead to tilt; in our own times, each of us is guilty not of saying things wrongly, but of saying things that one discovers only later have other, hidden meanings.

As with Vos, and the above. Et tu, tilt. And bon voyage, too.

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