The new year heralds a slew of new Poker shows on the TV in the UK.
The first one out is the Partypoker.com Premier League III featuring the likes of Annette Obrestad, Phil Hellmuth and Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott to name but three. The coverage is currently going out on Channel Five every Tuesday night/Wednesday morning starting between 00.00 and 00.15 (for some reason the start time isn't consistent from week to week).
The second one is another helping from Partypoker.com, this time it's their Women's World Open II. As the name suggests this is a women's only TV tournement. The format is six handed, deep stacked, sit and go's with the winner of each episode/sit and go progressing to a final table to play for the title, The coverage is currently going out on Channel Five every Wednesday night/Thursday morning starting between 00.00 and 00.15.
The last one is coverage of the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event of 2008. Unlike the coverage the 2007 event, commentary is being provided by Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, so if you like their commentary style while watching the coverage of the main World Series of Poker then you should feel right at home. The coverage is going out on Channel 4 every Friday night/Saturday morning starting between 01.00 and 01.15 each week.
I'm sure the new series of Poker After Dark will make it's way over here soon as well (if it hasn't got here already) so there is plenty of choice for the UK poker fan at the moment.
I've called my site 'God, Poker, the Environment and all that' as this encompasses the issues that I am likely to talk about on the site and also lists the priority that I give each issue (ie. The most important thing in my life is God and my Christian faith, followed by my passion for playing poker and my concern and interest in environmental/green issues and then any of the other things I am interested in such as T.V., Radio, American Sports etc.).
Some may be able to see a link between Christianity and Green issues but some may be puzzled with the poker part.
In fact there are some (possibly a lot) of Christians that would positively denounce me for even think about playing Poker. The reason? Poker is considered to be gambling and some Christians see gambling in any form as a sin.
Now, I have a problem with both parts of that. Firstly there is an ongoing debate as to whether poker is a gambling game or not. Whilst there is an element of chance to it (as a Christian I don't believe in the concept of luck, but that's a discussion for another day), there is also a substantial amount of skill needed to play poker well and the fact that it is not a game that is wholly based on chance (like lotteries or bingo) or the skill of others (like betting on sports or horse racing) and requires you as a player to apply your own abilities to win, I won't image that this would come under any definition of gambling.
The second point is that some Christians pronounce that gambling is sinful. This is not true. There is nowhere in the Bible that states that gambling is sinful or wrong. The Bible DOES warn about the possible consequences of gambling in the same way that it warns about the possible consequences of drinking alcohol but it does not say that it is sinful. So even if we accept the argument that poker is a form a gambling, it is not a sin to play poker.
If anyone is interested in a more detailed look at this subject, you can check out an episode of the Two Plus Two Pokercast that includes an extended interview/testimony with a gentleman called Danny Robison, a high stakes poker player come born again Christian. I found this mind blowing given this was someone that is effectively talking to a non-Christian audience and I was left feeling blow away by his testimony.
This episode of the podcast can be found here.
I am currently experiencing an odd phenomenon in my poker playing. I have money deposited in 4 online poker sites; Pokerstars, Betfair, BlueSquare Poker and PKR, and whilst I am making a profit on Betfair, BlueSquare Poker and PKR, I just cannot seem to win on Pokerstars.
Pokerstars was the first online poker site I deposited money on just under a year ago, attracted to it due to the fact that they organise the European Poker Tour (EPT) and, in my naivety, thought I could go straight for trying to qualify for the EPT instead of taking time to actually learn how to play the game!
Blew my first deposit on a couple of Step 1 Sit & Go's and some $3 or $5 regular Sit & Go's.
Put in second deposit and have tried chipping this up through mainly $1 and $3 STT's (also had one go at the Sunday Two Hundred Grand) but after all this was left with less than the 2nd Deposit I make. Managed to chip up a little bit through $1 Double or Nothing STT's during December and managed to almost get back to the value of the 2nd deposit but since the beginning of the New Year I haven't been able to win anything and the number of suckouts that have gone against me in that time is quite suprising (down right unbelievable to be honest).
I know that some people will read this and say that I'm probably just a bad player and this is some kind of variance thing that hitting me but at the microstake level I play a solid game, but if all you get dealt is things like 6-8o or 7-2o all the time there is no way, even if you manage to bluff some pots, of being able to win anything.
I'll have to see what happens for the rest of the month and see if I can chip up enough to try one of the small buy-in satellites for EPT Copenhagen (Thanks to this downswing I wasn't able to try any satellites for the EPT Deauville main event which starts next Tuesday, oh well!).
I'm guessing that anyone with a Green bone in their body is disappointed/sickened/enraged by the announcement today that plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport have been given the go ahead by the British Government.
This announcement exposes in a very brutal and visible way that the current British government has no regard for the environment and probably doesn't understand (or possible care) about the long term impact that such a decision will have.
They have fallen into the old, old right wing trap of putting profit (what they would call something along the lines of 'for the sake of the economy') over the social well-being and environment consequences of such a decision.
It now looks like the campaigning and protesting will need to continue before the government will have no choice but to back down over this issue. As the report on the BBC website mentions (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7829676.stm) this is not something that can happen over night (in the sidebar called 'What Happens Next?' in the BBC report it speculates that it would be 2019 (ie. 10 years) before the runway would be ready. 10 years is a long time, so you never know what might change in that time).
The Green Party have release a statement regarding this at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/heathrow-go-ahead-ignorance-and-stupid...
The article mentions the fact that investment in what it calls a 'real Green economic package' (what the party calls the 'Green New Deal') could generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and the tone of the article suggests that the Green party are puzzled by why the government doesn't appear to be doing much towards creating these new jobs.
Maybe I'm a cynic, but a big part of the 'New Labour' ideology appears to be to put as much business in the hands of private companies as possible and the focus of most private companies is to make as much profit as possible (not, alas, to provide a service to their customers these days!). Therefore the easiest way for a private company to maximize their profits is to keep their work force to an absolute minimum as wages make up a large part of any company's outgoings. So whilst the idea of the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in one respect is a very positive thing, what goes with that is hundreds of thousands of wages that need to be paid out and it is this that is likely to be unattractive to the current Government.
What can be done to try and change this very narrow minded and short term attitude, I don't know (a change to a Conservative government is not likely to change this kind of thinking within the UK political system), but I think this is the root problem with current government thinking.
More information about the Green New Deal can be found in the PDF document at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/reports/Budget_for_a_Green_New... (a link I found at http://www.carolinelucas.com/?q=node/67)
With the ongoing conflict in the Gaza strip, it appears that the USA at least, seem prepared to sit back and let Israel carry on with this atrocity without any criticism of what they are doing.
This is not the first time in recent history that Israel has been allowed by the international community to indulge in apparently illegal activities without any repercussions. One recent previous example of this was when they invaded Lebanon back in 2006, oh and there is the small case of illegal possession of nuclear weapons as well
The question that never seems to be asked is why the international community, particularly the USA and Western European nations, seem reluctant to condemn these types of actions and seem unwilling to do anything about them, yet are prepared to call Iran evil and invade Iraq when there actions have far less of an impact than what Israel gets up to.
Don't get me wrong, I know that from a Christian point of view Israel has a very significant part to do with Christian history, put we are called to condemn evil regardless of who happens to be doing it and not to give a country like Israel a free pass just because of their history.
One of the things that really irritates me in our society at the moment is the use of alternative phrases to make something sound different (in most cases better) that what it really is.
An obvious example of this in the UK at the moment is the expression "Credit Crunch". This is being banded around in the media as an alternative for the word recession because it doesn't make the situation sound as bad as calling it a recession.
I've just seen another one in a press release on the Green Party website at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2008-12-18-LibDemRoadOutofRecession.html. The phrase used is "tax avoidance". Sorry, last time I looked this was called tax evasion, a nasty thing that is worse that benefit fraud but something that the government does not seem to be doing much about, as opposed to the excessive amount of resources that they put it to "cracking down" on benefit fraud.
Still, the press release is saying that something should be done about this, but I wish they would call it what it is.
Anyway - Rant Over :-)