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The Human Expert Series: Human Disobedience

[Excerpt from the Mecetti Prime Gazette translated to Human units based on your location.]
Dear Readers, have you ever watched a disaster unfold right in front of your eyes? It really is a macabre sort of fascinating. You can’t help but stare entranced, unable to look away; the whole time wondering how bad is this going to get and how you are going to survive. Such was my bewilderment as I set my gaze upon the unbelievable Human activity that is Revolution.
A revolution, you ask? Yes, dear readers a revolution: a large systematic rebuke of civil law, the anger of the masses come to a boil against society itself. And Humans are really, scarily, good at it. “But Hal’Tol!” you exclaim, “Everything you’ve written about Humans so far has led me to believe that these Humans live in a wonderful societal utopia, not entirely dissimilar to our Greater Galactic Core! How could you have misled me so?” And to that, I reply simply: what in the names of the great and many heavens led you to believe that a species that throws themselves out of flying airships for fun would have a grand, stable, and unified system of governance across their many scores of independent colonies?
Humans are apparently biologically incapable of agreeing on how to govern themselves. Just about the only thing they do agree on is the idea that they will never agree on anything political. Unlike some species that biologically organize into hives or others that have mostly just wandered into one fashion or another and stuck with it; Humans more or less said ‘literally everyone else is wrong, this is how it’s done’ and then forcibly took power, and ruled until the next bunch of Humans comes along, which is probably sometime next [week]. In summary: some systems last for longer than others, and some seem to only inspire a never-ending cycle of violent succession. Yours truly happened to find a front-row seat to one such less-than-peaceful event.
And before you skip to the end of the article looking for helpful tips, my advice to anyone in a similar situation is simple: Get. Off. Planet.
Out of the sector is better.
Moving from story to story I had taken up the practice of hanging around the different popular gathering locations in the city or station I was currently in after work. It’s nice to get to talk with people outside of a formal context and it gives me a great perspective on exactly how diverse Humanity can be. One [week] I’ll be exploring a casino with a millionaire and the next I will find myself in the only tavern in a mining station. In this instance, it happened to be one of those that got me in trouble.
Dmitri Korda owned a large stake of a recently developed asteroid mining operation in the outer reaches of Jebscort II, a Human territory that consisted of nothing but metal-rich asteroids and far from anyone else, which was exactly how Dmitri wanted it. We were currently discussing the current commodities market for heavy metals as Dmitri showed me around the largest gambling establishment I’d ever seen on Greenford, one of the more populous and prosperous of the Human colonies and was located no where near Jebscort II. The Borgata on Greenford was a truly enormous establishment, and was truly extravagant. But I could not appreciate any of the lavish beauty, because Dmitri had insisted that we both get our species’ respective versions of heavily intoxicated, and I was focusing intently on not falling over.
Sloshed, limp-jawed, pissed, three sheets to the wind, I don’t care what you call it – Dmitri and I were well and truly in our cups as he threw money around that building. It seemed that for every fistful of money he lost at the tables he downed another cocktail of alcohol. And he was very insistent that I keep up, he gave me enough spoonfuls of Yyidcri Fruit to make the colored lights in that building drip down the walls. This was all well and good; some simple harmless fun watching a new friend drink their wealth away, that is until Dmitri answered his phone, downed one last drink and promptly led me to the roof of the building where we entered a private shuttle bound for orbit. At this point I fell asleep.
When I woke up, I was no longer on the shuttle. I was on a bed, a very soft and very short bed. An excellently furnished stateroom designed for Humans, then; I realized as I sat up and immediately watched the world explode into a rainbow of pain. Headaches, joint aches, stomach aches, every part of my body was the living definition of agony. So I bravely passed out and slept some more.
Eventually, after who knows how much time, Dmitri had one of his butlers come and roust me from my unconsciousness. Food and water helped what remained of the hangovers fade into painful memory and I began to feel like myself again. I was then brought to Dmitri’s lounge on what I was beginning to realize was an extremely large private yacht. “Hal’Tol! You look much better now that you’ve slept like the dead. How do you feel?” I explained that I felt well enough to never have another bite of Yyidcri Fruit again and he merely laughed.
The leisurely life of the ultra-rich is a fascinating thing, dear readers. Dmitri would spend [hours] on end laying about, relaxing, napping, eating, or simply doing nothing. His business mostly ran itself and his ‘work’ (if it can be called that) consisted mostly of talking to lawyers over the phone for a few minutes each day. Then he would congratulate himself on a job well done, have a drink and retire to his master suite with one or more of the female butlers he employed. Just watching him work so hard at doing so little made me exhausted.
We arrived after a mind-numbing amount of time at Oppetav, a water world. Only Humans would establish permanent settlement on a world with no land. Taking a private shuttle down to the largest city on the planet it occurred to me that I never asked what we were doing on Oppetav in the first place or why Dmitri had left so suddenly. “We are going to visit my sister, Alexi Korda.” He explained casually before laying down for a nap.
A quick search of my files told me that Alexi Korda was the iron-fisted dictator of the planet Oppetav and its surrounding colonies. The material wealth that the water world hid underneath its vast oceans fueled her wealth and military power. Her rise to power had been accomplished by the violent takeover of the previous, laissez faire democracy that had resisted extensive mining. The people had wanted a more industrious leader and Alexi gave that to them; now the planet was wealthy but the people were still poor. More than one or two whispers of revolution had managed to reach the Gazette’s files on the place, so I began to worry about how safe this little vacation really was.
Very rarely does one get to land on a private landing platform, step out of a private shuttle and walk into a palace, greeted by immaculately dressed servants. For all their wild and wandering ways, Humans can put on a very tight show when the occasion calls. I suppose if you’re a dictator, the occasion is always calling. Alexi greeted us briefly in a cavernous hall and then escorted Dmitri to a private study where they could discuss ‘family matters.’ In the few moments I was near her I was immediately terrified of her. Where Dmitri was certainly slovenly and boorish, he was friendly in his own way and had little care for business or work. He could always be counted on for a jesting comment or a winning smile. Alexi, to my eye, seemed the complete opposite. She said not two sentences to Dmitri as she pulled him away, and her eyes bored into you with a predatory stare that reminded me more of a soldier than a politician. And if she was capable of smiling I was sure it could only be a smile of cruelty, probably as she put pins into calculated positions on some small furry creature. The woman was just scary. Watching the two walk away was like watching the night and the day – one casually dressed in a soft robe, the other sternly marching in full military dress. A servant then showed me to my suite. It’s no wonder the wealthiest Humans are all thin, they get all their exercise simply walking around their houses!
Not only did I get tired walking to the wing where my suite was located, I actually got lost once I was inside it. A modest palace all to itself my new accommodations consisted of an anti-chamber, hall, living room, dining room, study, and a bedroom that sprawled through three sets of doors; not to mention the closets larger than my house on Mecetti Prime and bathrooms that were closer to spas than any water closet I’d encountered previously. Of course, being on a world mostly made of water the local style of high-end decoration was with tasteful waterfalls gently slipping down the marble walls with no discernable sound. I busied myself with answering mail for business and when that was over I sat around and watched some Human television.
Eventually someone came to fetch me for dinner, whereupon Alexi treated Dmitri and me, along with several other apparently important oligarchs and world leaders to a magnificent dinner of local seafood along with delicacies from the Greater Galactic Core. I remarked to Alexi that she must have a classically trained Parltrix master on her kitchen staff, such was the craftsmanship of the Core’s dishes and she replied that her head chef Joshua had studied in the GGC for several years before she insisted that he leave his restaurant and cook for her exclusively. I didn’t bother to ask how she had insisted this upon him. Small talk was made, excellent food was had and refreshments were served. I alternated my time between putting on a good face of enjoying Alexi’s sorties, chatting pleasantly with some of the less overbearing guests and generally orbiting around Dmitri, the only one I considered a friend at the dinner and the one least likely to imprison me indefinitely.
But eventually, Dmitri broke out the cards and the liquor. So I retired to my suite for the evening, the whole time wondering what in the world I was doing here with these people. My editor was clamoring for a new article, and this trip had detained me for so long that I needed to start immediately on something. The next morning I asked Dmitri and Alexi for permission to go exploring the city beyond the palace to find a quick little story so I could keep my job. More bemused than anything else they said that ‘of course I had free leave of the grounds’ and ‘whatever made you think otherwise?’ I refrained from mentioning the imposing [seven meter] wall around the entire complex and the guards that topped it.
The city (officially and subtly called Korda City) was very interesting. Arranged like an upside-down J with the palace at the North end and the city sprawling away to the Southeast, the buildings became less and less well-kept the further from the palace you went. I realized as I walked that if you weren’t within sight of the palace you were basically guaranteed to be destitute. This wasn’t a hard realization to come by; there was literally a second wall somewhere along the curve of the city that marked the ‘middle quarter’ from the rest of the city, and beyond that wall was poverty.
I began a routine: wake up in Palace Korda, entertain breakfast with my hosts and talk briefly with the other guests, then go out into the city and walk or take public transit further Southwest than I’d been the day before. This probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I was desperate for a story, and interesting characters make interesting articles. It took four days for me to reach the southernmost tip of the city, and the view from the harbor key at the tip was staggering. Hundreds of ships, each larger than the last queued up to unload their ores and minerals lined the horizon from edge to edge. I sat with a foreman over lunch and asked about the operation.
“Each ship there comes from a different mine, each a small city in its own right.” The heavily tanned man told me between bites of his dripping sandwich. “From there we unload the contents into prefab containers and load those containers onto the elevator where they get sorted and shipped up in orbit.” The space elevator of Korda was the only one on the planet and it only handled unpressurized materials, no passengers were ever transported on it. I suspected that this was a security measure and also a way of keeping people from fleeing off world.
In actuality, the only visible signs of the government being oppressive was the heavily militarized and highly visible police force, and the extremely low wages mandated by the government, which held de facto control over nearly all aspects of the economy. No one seemed willing to talk to me expressly about the situation when I asked, except for that foreman. “It’s downright criminal. You haven’t been here long enough to see the things they done to us. The secret police storming houses in the night, the random searches on the street. They think that because they have the guns they can keep all us down. We outnumber them by seven thousand to one. It’s not going to stand for long. Keep that in mind as you go back to that palace tonight, buddy.”
And with those ominous words I went back to Palace Korda. Two trains, one falling apart at the axles and one brand new took me to the steps of the massive building. Inside, preparations were well underway for the ball Alexi was throwing for her guests, and it was looking to be the largest such event I’d seen at the palace, or anywhere else for that matter. Hundreds of wealthy, rich, or merely important individuals were flocking to the palace from all over the sector in expensive cars, private shuttles, and even showing off their wealth on a planet with no terra firma by arriving in carriages drawn by dray animals. Everywhere I turned there seemed to be a more extravagantly dressed couple than the last and works of art on prominent display were each more priceless than the last.
The feast was historic, the liquor flowed like water from the walls, and everywhere you looked indulgence was the game of the hour. Dmitri introduced me to no less than seven of his cousins each the owner of a different asteroid claim somewhere, room after room of industry barons and oligarchs, a sheikh, four dukes, three duchesses, more princesses than I can remember, two prime ministers, one extra prime minister that was so drunk she forgot her own title and introduced herself as president, and even the head of a theocracy were shown to me throughout the evening. People got roaring drunk, dresses tore, punches were thrown and then forgiven, the whole event was a bigger, more out of control mess than I could have imagined. I personally walked in on eight couples and one group of five in the midst of … intimate moments over the course of the evening while searching for an unoccupied room to get some peace and quiet. One couple even asked me to join them! (I politely declined.) Humans don’t often cut completely loose and they rarely have the resources to do so with such vigor, but when they do I suggest you stay sober and far away.
So it went, and just as everything started to settle a little the whole world came crashing down around me. I was somewhere on the third floor, on a balcony getting some air when out in the harbor in front of me one of the large water borne yachts launched an enormous greed flare. Everyone, myself included, mistook this for a firework (a large pyrotechnic explosion intended for entertainment) at first, but slowly word got around that there was no fireworks display planned for the evening, and I started to get suspicious. My suspicion was confirmed when, as I walked around the party looking for Dmitri I instead found Alexi, completely sober somehow talking very urgently to her head of security. Then they both disappeared into her villa. Right at that moment, as the doors to her rooms were closing I had the most perfect view of the landing platform as every single shuttle on it fell away into the sea as the platform sheered off from the rest of the city in a series of dull thumps and bright flashes.
From the top of the stairs I had no idea what was happening out front of the party, but it must have been something terrible because waves of people were pressing in towards main hall from the front doors as the people who had just witnessed the demolition of the shuttle pad started to run forward. These two great masses of people collided on a dance floor and complete panicked chaos was unleashed upon the party. Seeing how the only sensible thing would be to move away from the crowd of dangerous, terrified, drunks I ran to the windows that overlooked the front of the building.
To say that a mob had formed would be an understatement. This was not your run-of-the-mill gathering of angry people. If there was a person living in Korda City that was not rioting and carrying some heavy object I would be very surprised. The crowd was at an angry stand off with a giant line of armed police forces, somehow already mobilized and ready to fend off the mob. On the top of the walls were even more troops, each with a few different weapons at their disposal. Right now they were launching chemical smoke deep into the crowd, and even from behind inside the house I could smell the sting in the air.
Further in the distance it looked like there was less control of the crowd than I had first guessed. Once you saw past the organized and stalwart front lines that occupied the square the city proper was a different story. Bonfires raged in streets, houses burned, and looting the nicer homes seemed to be more the point than any political statement. A group smaller in number than the large force out front of the palace, but better armed, was climbing the walls of the relatively undefended statehouse and launching flaming bottles at windows. It was then I realized what my problem was: I was inside the palace, where the angry mob wanted to be and once they were in there was no way to protect myself.
Just as panic gripped me I felt a strong hand on my shoulder. “Hal’Tol! Get away from the window, man!” Dmitri yelled as he dragged me back into the corridor, as streams of screaming partygoers ran past in every direction. He bundled me down the stairs, across halls and through the guests, sometimes using force to get them out of our way, always moving us to the eastward wing. Somewhere in the distance the sound of rifle fire sounded in jagged bursts and a monumental roar came up from outside. People inside the building were going absolutely crazy, grabbing art, food, drugs, and other people even as they scattered, panicking. There was really no place for them to run, the palace was built on the far end of the city, and there was only one land entrance and it was blocked by the mob. Dmitri didn’t seem too concerned, however and as the last bits of rifle fire sputtered to a halt he stopped at an unassuming door. He opened it, via some sort of DNA lock, and stepped inside, pulling me with him. As he was about to close the door behind us I caught a glimpse out the front windows, now being shattered by the horde of people. Uprooted paving stones came through the glass, followed by people waving heavy pipes or stolen rifles. One woman in an impractical ball gown tripped and fell crying at the entrance to our room, begging for a place to hide. Dmitri took one look at her made a face and slammed the door closed, only hear a scream as her hand blocked the door with a crunch. Dmitri kicked at her broken hand until she recoiled in pain and he could finally close it.
“What was that? What are you doing? What are we doing?” I shouted at him, completely certain that my life was going to end any second now. He ignored me and angrily closed three locks on the door. Somewhere above our heads some giant gun started firing, the deafening buzz audibly chewing through the structure of the palace. Someone was banging on the door to the room, and then nearby gunshots silence the knocking. When I looked away from the door, Dmitri was preparing a small speedboat for launch from some sort of mechanized floor built into the room. The floor opened underneath the boat and he moved over to the edge. I started to move to the boat too but Dmitri angrily threw me to the ground. “Family only! Just stay in the safe room! You’ll be fine!” He shouted, one fist raised threateningly. I stayed on the ground as he jumped in the boat, and I didn’t move as metal cables lowered it into the ocean before separating and spinning back up. I hadn’t had the heart to tell him that someone had drilled holes in the bottom of his fancy escape boat.
I lay on the ground for a while longer, listening to the enormous gun continue to chew away upstairs. After several moments there was a loud pounding at the door, and on the third hit the locks came out of the wood and the door flew open. Three angry, blood spattered Humans with rags over their faces each brandishing stolen police rifles. They paused when they found no cowering rich people in the room and seemed to be puzzled by the sight of one very tired alien reporter on the floor and a large rectangular hole in the floor. A forth Human came through the door hefting the homemade battering ram that had opened it. He looked at me and laughed then pulled the mask down off his bearded face.
“No, no, no.” The dock foreman shook his head as he chuckled to himself. “What in the world are you doing, buddy?” I simply looked up at him and shrugged. He leaned over the hole in the floor. “Is that Dmitri Korda down there, knee deep in that sinking boat with no power?” “Yes it is. He’s the one who put me in this room.” The foreman laughed to himself, “No one will find him. And serves him right for the way he’s treating those miners out there on Jebscort.” The foreman stepped away from the edge and offered me his hand, which I took because there were no other options that I could see. He hauled me up to my feet and motioned the small group out of the room and into the chaos. “Stay close to me, buddy! He said as we emerged into the fight.
If I thought the mansion was nigh on a disaster area before I entered the room, it was surely one now. Entire walls were demolished. The bodies of rich and poor alike lay all over, some still rolling and moaning and bleeding. Occasional bursts of heavy fire from three stories up would crash through the ceiling sending friend and foe alike scattering for cover, not that the wielder seemed to care about either. Groups of rebels huddled together in corners away from the sight of the military and police forces that had taken up residence in some of the rooms and halls. Screams still echoed down the halls, but they were shorter solo performances rather than the chorus of voices that filled the halls not even an [hour] ago. “We’re going out a side entrance for you, buddy. We want to stay away from crazy Alexi and her 30 cal. upstairs.” The foreman said as we moved down the hall quickly to a side window against a garden. Individual scenes of revolution were visible even outside the building as we dropped out a window. People chased each other in ones or twos and a small firefight had broken out in a far corner of the property between a few teenagers and an elderly man with huge grey whiskers and a left breast full of medals.
From there we went out a gate in the wall, which turned out to be surprisingly easy to do in the correct company. The foreman took me over the transit station, where the train was still running despite the chaos. As we boarded the otherwise empty rail car he relaxed a little and sat down to watch the chaos in the palace across the square. Someone had gotten fed up and set fire to the west wing of the house, and it wouldn’t be too long before the rest went up too. When the train pulled away he spoke again, softer now that were away from the fighting, “I know that you don’t have all the information about all the things they did to us, so I’m not going to ask you to write about our cause or why what we did was right1 .” I didn’t say anything as we passed over burning houses and looted stores. “I don’t even want you to write about any of this, to be honest. But I know you have to write something, and this is certainly a story. So, I’ll just ask you to keep in mind that we think we’re doing the right thing in all this. And yes, terrible things happened – murder and rape and all the other atrocities of revolution.” He waved his hand as if dismissing these things as merely part of the process. “But I think it’s worth it. To rid the worlds of those monsters, I’ll gladly blacken my soul if it means my children will never know their kind.” He meant it too, that much was obvious, and not just from the blood on his clothes and hands. I just sort of half-heartedly agreed and looked out the window.
When we transferred trains he commented, “you know the really ironic thing is that they forced us to build our homes with cheap materials – metal, pre-fab stuff. But their homes with the fancy wood and glass are the ones burning. We’ve got nothing to fear from the fires. I guess that’s irony, anyway. Never went to school.”
Eventually we reached the space elevator and he had some guys put me into a custom-made pressurized cargo box that they were using to smuggle high priority revolutionaries on and off world, and they sent me up to the station in orbit. From there I paid my way back to the more developed Human sectors on a cargo vessel. As we started accelerating out of the gravity well of Oppetav a few [days] later, well after the last of the old governments had been found and ended (including Alexi and her machine gun), and I had read up properly on all the terrible things that had been committed over the past [decade] by those people, I looked down at the planet and saw the still burning outline of Korda City against the inky black ocean and I knew that somewhere in that cold sea, Dmitri’s body was unrecovered somewhere. Then I closed the shade over the window and I smiled a sad little smile and had just one spoonful of Yyidcri Fruit in the memory of a monster.
May your futures be brighter than each yesterday, dear readers.
-Hal’Tol Valkin, Xeno Culture Correspondent, Mecetti Prime Gazette
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[Table] IAmA New York City underground poker player/grinder/rounder .. AMA

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Date: 2012-08-28
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Questions Answers
How do you find out about these games? (Friend of a friend of a friend?) Are they mostly hosted in Manhattan or within the other boroughs and NJ as well? I've been around the games for awhile, and through the loop I've discovered more games. I started out when Manhattan would have places with 14 cash games pumping before the big shooting then they really cracked down on it.
Any casino tournament players in this? Casino players love them because it's a lot more action and talent pool is very slim. Yes there are tournaments aswell, all sorts
What's your style? New age aggressive online type or old school mathematical? I work in Information Security and part of my work is social engineering gigs where I even worked with Law Enforcement to understand body language. Have you used something like that to your advantage? Most n00bs try to look for microexpressions when it's usually the feet and torso that are sure tells. So for huge winnings, how do you stash it away? Deposits of less than $10k in different accounts? What's your educational background and before you decided to make this your living, what was your work profile? Did you start of at casinos or was it always clubs? My style is and has always been tight aggressive. I'm very selective with my hands, everything has to go into consideration. Micro expressions are good of you pick it up and you're right about the 'happy feet' and torso. There are many many tells to pick up on in addition to timing and betting patterns and tilt factor. All those things give away valuable information. Figuring out what to do with the money is always a good problem to have and im business/street savy so I find options. I went to Baruch University and ran my first game in the school lol. We actually made the papers. I dropped out to open a clothing boutique (investment came from poker) It was always clubs and casinos were secondary but still profitable.
I'm reading this while in class at Baruch, I remember people used to play in the 3rd floor game room, but they seemed too good so I never got involved. Yep gameroom .. Where it all began. We had official tables there and everything!
What do you mean by happy feet/ torso? how can you see this at the table or casino? You can't see happy feet in most cases. Torso movement you can pick up by the shirt moving, it also depends on how close you are to the villain.
Hey, thanks for the AMA, just a few questions. Do you still consider it gambling or has it become another form of employment? Also what's your average income? Does it frighten you that you may lose a lot of money due to pure chance? Biggest win/loss? What are your thoughts on online poker? If given the opportunity would you choose another job? I havent considered it gambling since i got a real grasp of the game. I don't gamble. Never played a table game, scratch off. I won't even play lotto. All my friends are degenerates so I know the deal. My biggest win was 56k but I was being staked so gave away 60%. Biggest loss is 2k. Online poker is free money if you know what you're doing. A bunch of my close friends moved to Canada just to be able to play, 4 guys combined bankroll over 2 mill. I've gone too far in poker to walk away from it. It's like 2nd nature, most places would rather me not play because I'm a tightass or parasite in their eyes lol.
What was the buy-in on the stake game? I usually play 2/5 or 5/5 and sit down with a nickel ($500) Sometimes there are really good 1/3 games and I sit with 300.
being staked. Sorry - what does that mean? Yea it's when someone buys you into the game and get a % of the profits but covers the loss entirely in the event of a loss. I only let people stake me in bigger games I wouldn't normally play with my own money.
Knowing the games like you do, what is the lowest bankroll you'd consider having to sit at a $2/5 table? I go with the 20/25 buy-ins rule because I've went on bad runs before and I would rather have the insurance. So you if buyin for 300 to sit comfortably I want to have at least 6k to work with. Most people dont follow any kind of bankroll management and go broke over and over again.
What happens if you lose all the money? I understand they get nothing back but is that really what happens or do you have to pay a little back to them as a show of goodwill? Or do they just bust you kneecaps and call it even? Nope lol, stop watching Sopranos .. They take the hit as a bad investment. So far im up with all my backers
You have never had to pay makeup? Nope.
How about ARod? I've heard he's been to these underground spots on occasion. I was at the club when he was playing. You would be surprised how many celebrities I met at games. I have met more in clubs than in casinos.
What is the culture of these games like, or does it vary wildly? I saw some elderly Jews in your pictures - is that typical, or are there businessmen, or mostly gambling types? Do women play? Do you often play against the same people or does it cycle out fairly regularly? If I WERE to, ahem, get involved in these games, how what would I want to look for in a "good" room vs. a "bad" room, if there are such categories? I guess, what makes you prefer one place over another? They vary very wildly. Most places are a mixed crowd especially since nyc is a big melting pot. There are also games that are all albanian or asian etc.. One of the biggest factors in game selection is the rake/chop. There are some games that flat out rake 10% with no cap.they do this because they give out credit and because they are greedy. A good realistic rake for a city 1/2 or 2/5 is 10% with a $15 cap. Also you want to play against action players not tight ass grinders.
How many games are typically going on (say, in Manhattan alone) a weeknight vs. a weekend? It sounds like you've been around a while - do you have any sense of roughly how many people in the NY area are doing what you do, i.e. making living off these games? Dozens? Hundreds? More? At any given time from 8pm to 4am there are dozens of live cash games going on. Weekends most places open up earlier than weekdays because of the usual working clientele.
How would you compare the average skill level? For example, if you play online what stakes would you compare these games to? The skill level now is tougher than it was 5 years ago. When ESPN had poker on all the time it was literally free money if you knew anything. Now bad players lost tons of money and tightened up, still plenty of money to go around if you know where to look.
The most common games especially in the city are 1/2NL and 2/5NL .. Although the past year or so Omaha and rotation have been gaining momentum because it's so much more action.
Instead of putting up with 10% $15 cap rake, why don't you just take the bus/train/drive to AC and play at the Borgota? I go to ac and Parx frequently but you CANNOT compare the action in clubs vs. casinos
Meaning the action in casino's is more? Right? So why would you not want to play in them? The action in clubs is more.
Borgata or Parx: which do you prefer, and which has the better action for a moderate-skilled 1/2 player? Also, Casino 1/2 PLO; is the preflop action as heavy as it's rumored to be? I've heard that at Borgata, typical preflop PLO pot is $70. I get to Parx in a hour, borgata in 2. I would go to Borgata for the weekend and give it 3 solid sessions. Borgata has more talent but there's still money for the taking in 1/2. The 2/5 in Parx is juicy if you go at the right time. Well yea in a action packed game it's going to be potted preflop. Te underground games it gets repotted often, W I L D.
I would think you have more experienced players in clubs, where you need to know people to even be allowed in the game, than the casino, where someone can wonder over from the slots. Word spreads quick especially with free rolls and stuff so people brings friends and friends of friends.
So how is Teddy KGB doing these days? Prick still owes me 2 dimes.
I see you smoke reefer. Is drug use something you see often? Are you willing to share if that answer is yes? Yes and yes I guess.. It goes w the territory, there used to be games that would spark up the entire table nonstop.
How much money have you made? I don't even want to know how much I'm up lifetime because i spent so much money doing crazy stuff. I used to not keep track but I average 2k a week for 3 1/2 nights work, cash obviously. I should've been saving but for 5 years I was making more because of action and more bad players. Also, going around the world, crazy shopping and living life.
How are you making so much from 1/2 a week? is bluffing a big part of your game? I still dont know how to incorporate it into the 1/2 cash games since most people are willing to call you light. I play 1/2s in Brooklyn. It's a younger crowd and they're either overplaying or scared money.
Do you launder your money at all? Only when I forget to take it out of my pockets.
You mentioned action at the clubs is way looser than that in casinos. What are we talking about here? Are there a lot of LAGs? Loose passive? How do you find out about the games? Are they open to anyone, or do you need an invitation or someone in the know to bring you in? How are you supposed to overcome a 10% uncapped rake? You need a huge edge over the table to make that work. Is the play that bad? Loose passive for the most part, business men that get out of work and want to fool around before going home. They won't even play, just fish. They are open if someone brings you in and vouches for you.
Where's the advice? We're all ears.. I was bluffing.
Let's say I wanted to host games. First, is there money in it? And how does the house get paid? How much would the house make from a typical game you go to? What does the house provide? Just a secure location and a dealer? Yes and waitress/massage girl. You can rake a % from every pot. You can also do a tournament with a fee say $100+$15 for the house. They make a fee thousand a night before expenses. Big games make alot.
What would the typical % per pot be? 5% with a cap is optimal for you so you won't affect the game much and still make a few.
Ever bang Famke Janssen? No but I wouldn't mind owing her money and have her come try to collect.
So you were setup by the house and not the players? Did they deal from the bottom or something? What hand did you lose with when you were 'set up'? I think I flopped a straight and he rivered a boat. He had a loaded deck, did a fake shuffle and ..
How could you tell you were being setup? 1st hand new deck, and house player beats cash player on the river suckout.
Damnnn... doesnt the deck get cut after every shuffle before the deal? I dunno the typical underground shuffling/dealing routines so I really am curious. If they can fake a shuffle they can fake a cut too eh. Although; I'm assuming there aren't permanent dealers unlike what you'd find in a casino. When a new dealer comes in every 30minutes they have a deck. They're supposed to fan it out and show the players, sometimes they'll just wash or shuffle to speed things up.
While it looks suspicious I don't think that's enough info to conclude that the hand was rigged. I've seen suck outs like that in casinos yet nobody ever would make that conclusion but because it's an underground game suck out on the river is a set up? Aren't you jumping into conclusions too early? Or did you actually see more suspicious hands which added up to the whole game looking suspicious? I've taken nasty beats as well. In Vegas I lost w quads twice in one night (no BBJ) it just didn't add up, i felt a very bad vibe and I took a shot and approached the guy. He could've denied and taken his stand but he folded instead.
Could you talk about the 1998 movie "Rounders," and how realistic/not realistic the movie was? Surprisingly realistic to some degree.
Was it really based on norm macdonald? Does a zebra have spots?
Some might.. still doesn't answer the question. I'm not aware of any Norm McDonald connection.
Thanks for doing this AMA. What do you think the biggest weakness in your game is? Do you ever pick up on live tells? I havent really been able to spot any and wonder if there is anything to it. Do you love the rounding life? Regret it? My biggest weakness is not playing more often. I do well so I only play 3/4 times a week because of gf, family, business ventures and life. Also I usually cash out once I triple up. I figure if I book a win for a thousand im satisfied, sometime I should stay of game is juicy. I pickup new tells every session. My people reading skills are definitely up to par. The money is good but the lifestyle around it is crazy .. The late night hours and characters involved. I don't regret it for a second, poker has been supporting me for a long time and has given me a flexible schedule to do other things on the side like go on reddit lol.
Thanks for the response! The one pattern I have noticed is if I play 4-5 days in a week my level of play seems to go down. Then if a take a break for a few days I always come back to stronger. I guess regarding tells there really are no global signs and its just very person specific? Caros book of tells.. Use that as your foundation
Hey man, thanks for the AMA. Enjoyed reading it so far and have a few questions. Do you still enjoy playing? Is it more work now, or a bit of both? I ask as you mentioned you don't play too much. What's the biggest misconception, or thing that people get totally wrong about what you do? A lot of people here / on Reddit will ask about playing like a pro, but only for use in their house playing against friends and family. Would there be any more general advice you'd give to people in this situation about which aspects of their game to aim to improve? Cheers. More work now .. People that dont know me and they don't know the grind just think I gamble it up trying to get lucky. I sit and wait then keep sitting and waiting and think and analyze players. Lot of information gets processed I before I even get involved. It takes me at least an hour or so to get a feel for the game. Be aggressive!
I just started playing poker, doing usually 6 table micros on LockPoker or so, and coming out for the most part winning. I have the hardest time with implied odds though, and using them accurately to calc EV and such. Can you explain them a little to me? Its just not second nature to me yet. I played a .5/1 live cash game last night and busted, it sucked but I guess its fine, last time I went I came out hundreds up, How do you deal with the bad beats? I have read mostly every 'good' poker book, but what one would you suggest I re-read? If you are playing in underground rooms, do you skip (some/all) taxes? Name on 2+2? I just got back an hour ago from a long night, I'm sorry I don't want to type novels about ev or implied odds (google it) .. I deal with bad beats very well. I do NOT get emotional, if it's normal bad beat i simply play as if nothing happened. I'll actually get more action from the table because they assume I'm steaming. If its a huge monster bad beat I either cash out or take a trees timeout, that does the trick. No clue about the book, I've read and analyzed them all and you can extract valuable info from even the worst one, it's all about the experience on the table on my eyes. I have a side business for tax purposes.
What is the business? I import merchandise and sell on amazon/ebay and to retailers
How old are you? How did you start finding these games? How long have you been playing poker? 27, I was 18 when I first discovered what goes on behind shady looking doors.
Talk etiquette. Is everyone friends? If not, are you friendly with these strangers, or is it all business? Do you shake hands, joke around, etc, or sit down, play and leave? Very friendly usually.
I see a big jewish community, as a palestinian will i get harrased if i go to one of these clubs? Not at all. Somehow everyone blends well in poker games. I know a lot of palestinians that play on the regular.
What would be the best way for a beginner to improve their game? Any specific books that you would recommend? Super system thoroughly to get your brain thinking about it. There are plenty of very good forums online (2plus2). Plenty of resources out there.
How much time do you put in studying the game away from the tables? I've always heard that for every 4 hours you play, you should spend 1 hour studying (reviewing notes, reading the books, 2+2, etc). Is that an accurate ratio? I've read all the books and go on forums all the time. I don't really have a ratio
How much do you rely on math in your play? I have a strong math/statistics background, I just finished reading Mathematics of Poker by Chen and Ankenman. It covered basic probability, bayesian probability, game theory, and heuristics for quick calculations. Do you find yourself using this stuff or is your play more intuitive? My play is more intuitive.
How much do you usually go in the room with and how much do you take out? Since every place knows me and I'm not stupid I dont walk in with cash just in case spmething goes down. If I lose I just take care of it after the game or day after. I usually have 3 bullets of 500 each. That's for an average 2/5 or 5/5 to sit down comfortably.
Do you give lessons? If so how much? I gave pointers to friends and have helped people bring their skill level up. Me and some friends were thinking of marketing private poker lessons but im too lazy. If you're close by I wouldn't mind helping you, what's your offer?
Thanks for your input, gambling is not allowed in this sense in iceland so there is no culture for that, from as neutral or personal of a standpoint that you can manage, do you think gambling in this sense is good for a society/community or does it make t worse? I don't know about society but I'm glad poker is around.
My question is how deep is Chinatown? I have heard there is gambling behind every Canal Street store creating almost a second level. Can you confirm and describe any of the places you have been in Chinatown? That was not so recent. I'm sure i could find games in c town but they all speak chinese and I definitely don't trust that.
Do you have alligator blood? Also how does one find these games? You gotta be in the loop and I'm not sure about the blood, gotta ask my primary care physician to be sure.
So presumably a lot of guys are making their living money this way? Where does the money come from? How do rubes get into the game (so that they can give you their money)? Actually most people at these games come to gamble and hangout.
What's your cover story? Do you work a day job to keep up appearances, or do you just try not to live too extravagantly and draw too much attention? Does your girlfriend/family know this is what you do? Yes they know what I do and I do daytime work as well. I definitely calmed down compared to how I used to live.
Is dealing at things like these done how movies depict it or how you would at a house game, with the "dealer" role actually moving with the button? Or is there a dedicated dealer for each game? Curiosity as a casino dealer. Same as a casino dealer.
Do you ever splash the pot? No but it's on my bucket list.
Biggest pot you were involved in? Win it? 38k pot .. Won 56k that session but I was being staked so only kept 40% .. Still booked a monster win so couldn't complain.
Wow awesome, do you look up to any pros? would you play HU with any of them if you had the br? My style is more for a full table. I know a bunch pros personally and I invite them to games when they are in town. I fly to vegas on the regular just don't want to move there because I have too much stuff going on here.
Tips on finding these games? if i live in a different state. Ask around? I can smell a game and I can pick out a poker player out of a crowd .. I'm a sick child.
What was your revelation in the game? I mean what insight really opened up your game and made you a good player instead of an average player and seperated you from the mass? I started out dealing before playing for real. After a few months I noticed that players are making plenty of mistakes I could make them pay for. I slowly started grinding and found my style and it's been working for me for a long time. It's just a grind, you wait for your prime opportunity then you maximize and wait again.
Most profitable exploit? Reraising a tilted aggressor with a set if you know he hit anything good.
Lol. step one. flop set. step two... make sure villian has something good and is on tilt. step 3.. raise. Yes, huge exploit you discovered there. Maybe you can give me a good example and I'll put it into use lol.
What's your best advice on becoming better in general at poker? Absorb as much information as possible and actually apply it! Find your leaks and seal them
Hi thanks for doing this. 2 questions. How did you fund your initial bank roll? What is a good way to work on reading people? I organized a house game and raked a little bit and went from there. Caros book of tells and just start watching people. Look at the flop and your hole cards last, first watch players and pickup info to use. You'll get used to it after awhile.
How good are you at online poker? Definitely rusty havent played for real in years.
What do you generally buy in with for a 5/5 NL? I usually buy in whatever the average stack is. If the biggest chip stack is a fish then I'll buyin for the max. $500 is the usual amount early in the night/game.
Is there anything you do to maintain your health? Sitting for hours while eating junk food and stressing over hands must take a toll on your body. I don't eat junk food and I try not to stress. I workout 5 days a week and play plenty of sports.
Is it "card-shark" or "card-sharp"? Shark.
How to you keep from going on tilt after losing a massive all in 80/20 ? I'm used to the bad beats. It's part of the game man.
How did you build your initial bankroll? I started out running a house game without any intention of playing for a income and once the game died out and I had about $800 and didn't look back m. Never went broke either, I'm owed plenty though.
You mentionned robberies/raids and it never involving the players , im wondering is your money somehow ( insured ) even in the case of a robbery by the hosts ? 99% of the time you wont get your money back, that why I dont walk in with cash. There has been cases where the house gives players money back out of their own pocket but usually people take advantage and lie about the amounts lost.
Do you play on Merge? I don't know what that is. I don't play online since they closed main sites I down years ago.
Ah, yeah just the network that US players use now. Was up in Canada last week playing on my dad's Pokerstars account. Goddam do I miss that shit. It'll be back.
Let's hope! :) Anyways in regards to your thread: what are some of the bigger names you've played with in these underground games? Players or celebrities?
Players. Matusow, jamie gold, Ivey for 5 minutes. Lots of Internet pros, sry I'm tired can't think straight lol.
When you play can you calculate in your head the number of outs, pot/implied odds and EV? I can roughly calculate the number of outs in certain hands and maybe pot odds, but it's still gets my head spinning. It boggles my mind that people can do that much number crunching in their heads every hand they are in, so I wonder if serious players actually do it? I ballpark it.
Is your thinking along the lines of "I have X many cards to make my hand, if I call $X I can win $X" and make your decision on that? That's about as far as I am right now with my thinking. For example, if I'm facing a call and I need one card to make a flush and say I need to call $3 to make $30, I will usually make the call. Is that proper thinking? Give or take .. I do all the equations in my heads during the actions while trying to read players and order a drink from waitress as I smoke a cigarette
As someone who lives an hour from AC, I can confirm that Asians love to gamble. Because they can't drive properly on the way there?
Do you ever plan on "retiring". If so, what will you? Sure why not.
I went to the casino last weekend for the first time. I went into the poker room and sat down at a 1-1 table with $60. As soon as I sat down I completely forgot how to play. I have been playing since I was like 8. I just got so nervous for some reason. Did that ever happen to you? Have you ever gotten so nervous you completely forget what you're doing? No.
Why do you think super system is relevant to the current hold em game? Frankly, why do you think 5/5 live poker is interesting enough for an AMA? I don't know.
Word met up? i have a few friends in bk. Send me a pm.
Does the place get shaked down by the mob? A few games pay for 'protection'
What is the best advice you can give to a player suffering consecutive losses? I always felt I was decent at the game, but my record lately doesn't seem to agree with me. Take a break and analyze your game. Maybe the stakes aren't right maybe your game selection is off.
What is your current bankroll? About 55k.
At what point will you move to 5/10? (i'm assuming these clubs run 1000NL, right?) I play 5/10 if a friend refers a juicy soft game to me.
The Sands casino in Bethlehem, PA has real juicy 5/10 action. $1500 max. I never had a chance to go. I'm going to check it out this coming weekend.
I'm curious about this.. I would never expect big faces in an underground scene especially since they probably know plenty of ("home") games. Why take a risk (seems like a small risk from what OP has been saying) when they can just play legit. Action and credit and comfort of it. Trees alcohol strippers whatever the players want basically.
You should crosspost this to /poker How can I do that? I'll give u poker advice in return.
I hope your not smoking them dutches also where in ny im in ny i want to play Bk all day.
Some horse/backer agreements will have a make-up or cake stipulation. The losses are originally eaten by the backer, but then a percentage of future wins goes towards paying back a percentage of the previous losses. True.
SPOILERS! I'm only on Season 2 :( He misses the gutshots :/
Came here to ask about robberies/raids. Go on.
Last updated: 2012-09-02 17:16 UTC
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