Bombs away

Jul. 17th, 2006 08:41 am
peterbirks: (Default)
Is this how world conflagrations start? With little local matters in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, then Syria, then Iran? I dunno. Maybe.

I have been to Haifa. Indeed, I have been to within a couple of miles of the Israel-Lebanon border. Fortunately it was more than 25 years ago and, at the time, Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin were friends. Both are dead now.

The place was quite peaceful when I was there. It didn't even occur to me that it might be considered a war zone, although I did get a lift back to Jerusalem from a soldier driving a truck.


Challinger is in Corsica which, I would imagine, cannot be much hotter than London. I'm not looking forward to tomorrow or Wednesday. The 33 degrees we are likely to get today is just about the peak of bearability. When it gets to 35 or thereabouts, you basically need air-conditioning or a very wet flannel. When it reached 38 degrees in summer 2003, well, forget it. Kill yourself.

Luckily the air-conditioning is holding up at the moment, and there's always the gym, where the air-con is absolutely ace.


The poker boom not only brought a lot of people into the game who aren't really anything to do with poker and who have no idea what it is really about (the individual against the world, contrarianism, a perpetual mental struggle), but clearly it has brought an equally significant number into the administration side. Ladbrokes invited me into a freeroll yesterday. I accepted. I wasn't registered. I also wasn't surprised, since they failed to send me a Rounders DVD from several years ago. But Harrah's seems to be attempting to break all records for fuck-ups.

I went to their website yesterday to check Flamingo rates for December. Needless to say I cannot book online because for more than 7 nights you have to dial 1-800-HARRAHS. Equally needless to say, there is no indication of what nummber you should dial if you are outside the US. Harrahs is a south US operation. They don't have passports in those parts. Their idea of "abroad" is somewhere like Ohio.

However, they do have a FAQ section. While this didn't answer my question, it does offer you the opportunity to ask one.

So, ayone who is interested to now how much (or little) Harrahs paid for the WSOP decks of cards this year, why not ask them on their site? Interested in how much of the juice feeds back to dealers? Well, why not ask them on the FAQ site? Wondering why Mainland European and UK and Ireland players have been treated so abysmally over the tax issue? Ask them a question on the FAQ site. I'm sure that Harrah's will be keen to answer.

Or, why not contact investor relations?

Telephone: 800-340-3626 or 702-407-6381
Fax: 702-407-6383
Email Address:
Mailing Address:

One Harrah's Court
Las Vegas, NV 89119

(This is in Caesar's Palace, I think).

All part of the Birks customer service.
peterbirks: (Default)
Well, there must be some reason for me sitting here, looking at a blazingly beautiful day outside, and knowing that I have to spend the next few hours trawling for insurance stories, so global warming is as good a vilain to blame as any. It hardly inspires me to add on an extra hour or so compiling the information on other people's blogs so that I can get some kind of all-encompassing "sense of the WSOP", even though so doing would be infinitely more satisfying than writing about insurance. Unfortunately, it would also be infinitely less remunerative. So, let's have some general impressions.

Added together, bloggers at the WSOP are down. However, throw in cash games, online games and satellites, and it's more marginal. They are probably still down, but not so significantly. The Youngster pointed out that putting online games in as part of a Vegas visit was, at the least, disingenuous, and at worse, self-deceiving, since you could just have easily have played those games without heading to the airport.

Anyway, my freelancer in the US has decided that the life of tapping away on the computer on Redondo Beach is far too stressful, so he's heading to the lakes of Italy for a couple of weeks, leaving poor old muggins here to write the American stuff as well. Fuck me, it's lucky that I write like a rat on amphetamines.

Will Harry Demetriou ever win a bracelet? I think that he will, but even he must be wondering when. The Short-Handed NL Hold'em final table seemed to have "Bracelet for Harry" written all over it. But it wasn't to be. Still, how many bracelets has Bill Hellmuth won with more than 50 entrants?

The extent to which Harrah's is damaging its own reputation seems so illimitless that you doubt that they can come up with anything new. But surely strong-arming the European players for taxes from last year, which the Europeans don't owe is about as bad as it can get. Well, no, actually. Because they also managed to recycle cards for a $50,000 buy-in. You have to assume that the half a million or so that they are trousering for running it doesn't stretch to hiring enough dealers or buying a new set of cards.

You have to assume that Harrah's is offering Boyd Gaming the Rio in exchange for the Barbary Coast (because that's the last bit of land on that part of the strip that Harrah's needs before it can tear down 70 acres worth of buildings and put up the new urban village that it is dreaming of). Otherwise why would Harrah's try so hard to destroy the hotel's repuation? I really would love to avoid ever staying in a Harrah's hotel ever again, or ever playing in a Harrah's-run tournament ever again. Unfortunately I can be fairly certain that my ambition will fail.

A biography of Spike Milligan last night fairly summarized the man's manic-depression, and I was a little bit too personally touched by some of his scrawlings when in his depressive mode. "Didn't I write that once?" I asked myself when I saw one particularly disturbing note. Manic-depression must be a truly desperate illness to suffer, particularly if, like Milligan, you are also very clever.

I caught the Milligan programme because it preceded a re-run on More4 of GBH, in my view AAlan Bleasdale's greatest achievement, and probably Michael Palin's and Robert Lindsay's too. It was this series that first alerted me to the land of TS Eliot beyond The Waste Land and The Hollow Men (for which thank Apocalypse Now )


(Later): After two hours of struggling with such august publications as The Hindu and The Philippines Star (not to mention motor insurance in British Columbia and California - darned socialist states; get some free enterprise like our insurance system. No rate setting by politicians here. Durned sounds like comoonisum to me..."

Anyway, I needed a break so I caught up with Julien Temple's Glastonbury. I didn't think I was going to enjoy it for the first 10 minutes or so, but it definitely improved as the film went on. I thought that he had got it dead right when he seemed to have concluded with Pulp's 1995 performance of Common People, which I think was probably one of the best ever Glastonbury performances. Unfortunately he followed this with David Bowie's (2000?) performance of Heroes, which had me feeling like shouting "Oi, Temple! NO!"

But he picked up on some forgotten highlights, particularly the incomparable Melanie, performing "There's A Chance (Peace Will Come)". Melanie Safka, unlike Janis Joplin, didn't die young, and didn't do heroin. But that didn't stop her having one of the freat female voices. I fell in love with the 1970 Melanie Safka in, oooh, 1969, and I've loved her ever since. The albums that I had of hers were stolen in the late 1980s, and she was unfortunately associated in Britain with her not-very-good hits such as "Brand New Key", rather than brilliant stuff like "Lay Down".

peterbirks: (Default)
Of the nine finalists, all had more than the average number of chips by the end of day 2. The closest to the average was Joe Hachem (a fraction above the average), while the furthest in front was Dan Bergsdorf (3 times avge stack).

The average position of the finalists at the end of day 2 was 106th out of 571. Two were in the top 50 (Bergsdorf and Kantner) and three more were in the top 100 (Barch,Lazar and Black). Only Hachem was outside the top 200.

Meaning what, you might well ask. Er, that although having a decent amount of chips is useful, it isn't vital. But having ENOUGH chips is very important.

I guess that everyone will be feeling sorry for Andy Black, who suffered what looked like the one genuine bad beat of the final table (an Ace on the river one of only five outs for Lazar in a massive pot that would have given Andy an overwhelming chip advantage).

Interesting that none of the finalists when they were interviewed post-defeat mentioned the money. Like I said, walking away from that table without the bracelet must be the worst ting in the world, millions or not.

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