Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Poker, Gambling and How to Solve our Country's Financial Mess

Fear. There is definite fear that things are about to spin out of control and get worse.

The Administration wants $750 billion to bail out the financial institutions. But the Democrats want to get elected and say it's all a scheme to help the rich. Even the Republicans are not sure if they want to come out to support the bailout.

I read Ben Stein on Yahoo Finance who finally reveals the real problem behind the mortgage mess...yep, gambling.
Read his article here:

It seems that the mortgage mess is only (only?) $250 billion. So that's small potatoes for our huge economy.

The problem is that there are entities that "place bets on whether or not those mortgages would ever be paid. You didn't have to own a mortgage to make the bets. These bets, called Credit Default Swaps, are complex. But in a nutshell, they allow someone to profit immensely - staggeringly - if large numbers of subprime mortgages are not paid off and go into default."

And these bets were backed by banks, investment banks and insurance companies. They lost their bets to these other entities. The result they owe real money--in the trillions. That's why they are all in a heap load of trouble.

Once again we see why bankers shouldn't be allowed to play poker. They stink at gambling. And they lost the farm and maybe your farm as well.

But, how about a solution. I am not a financial genius. But, I have a solution.

1. The Government buys these lousy mortgages back from these bankers for $250 billion. That's what they are worth.

2. The people who own the homes with these lousy mortgages are given a break. A low interest loan that is fair and it gives them an opportunity to stay in their home and pay off the debt. That would also help the value of your home to stop declining. The Democrats would love that.

3. My big idea: Remember that TV series "Dallas." One year that program went totally off course and had a story meltdown. So what did the writers do, they said, hey, let's make believe that whole year was a dream.

Why not do that here as well: Pull a "Dallas!"

Here's how:
a) Tell all the banks and financial institutions to make believe they never made any of those awful loans. Just restate all their past year financials. And all that money they just got from the US government to buy the lousy mortgages is free money they can now loan out to businesses and people for home, autos, etc. That makes the Republicans happy!


Ok, the above probably shows my ignorance in all things financial. But, I like it. And, it seems to make everyone happy--it's like finding out the chip leader was cheating, forfeits and the players in 2nd and 3rd get to chop the pot.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nice Tournament Poker win at the local card club-$5,000

I haven't had much of a chance to play any poker the last month+ due to work.

I needed some time off so I went to the no limit event. I actually looked through my book "Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves" before I left. Frankly I knew I was rusty from the inaction. But,

I won...$5,000. Not bad.

A few highlights...

1. I was low on chips when it was down to 4 tables. One player under the gun moved all-in, another player with lots of chips moved all in. I had A-9 offsuit, and frankly, it was not a big hand. I had as many chips as the first player. I figured the guy probably had a good hand, and the 2nd player was using the isolation play with a pair.
Since I needed chips I called.
First player had JJ, second player had Q-Q...and I won when the Ace flopped.

2. That hand kept me alive, but I really hadn't had a big hand throughout the event. It was down to 14 players, and I found A-7 suited. A player with lots of chips raised, and I was low in chips but needed chips so I moved all-in. It was only a few more to the raiser. He called with 4-4, and I hit the 7.

3. I got strong hands from that point on. I refused to chop 5, 4 and 3 handed. I was in the chip lead, when this hand came up.....The first player moved all-in, He had $80,000. I had $150,000 and found A-Q. I moved all-in. The player on the BB only had $20,000---and the blinds were $2,000-$4,000---he would make more money if the original player got knocked out, so folded.

The first guy had K-7. He hit his 7 and now he was in the lead.

4. When it got heads up, my opponent had a 2-1 lead. But he was inexperienced. He offered me a few dollars to end the match. I said no. He raised to $38,000, and I called with 10-8 suited. The 10 flopped, I checked and he moved all-in. I called. He had nothing. Now I was the 2-1 leader.

5. Another hand...he limped on the button. I had J-3. The flop missed me, I checked and he checked. The turn missed me, I checked and he checked. The river missed me, and he bet a little more than half the pot. I had J high, and didn't believe him. I called him. He showed 10 high.

5. I won a few more hands, and he was getting real low in chips. I offered him a sweet deal to chop. He said no, because his friends were telling him he can win. 2nd place was $3,600. We split the next two hands.

On the last hand he moved in with Q-7, and I called with A-10. No one hit their hand, and I won $5,000 and the Oaks Card Room jacket.

I also had my picture taken holding me book, which they post for a week at the card room. Oh well...back to work.

What's Your Poker IQ?