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Best of Vin Narayanan
The 'Naughty' Casino City Awards23 December 2010
10. Worst WSOP introduction – Emmitt Smith
The phrase "let's shuffle up and deal" is announced before play begins at the World Series of Poker. Before Day 1D of the Main Event, NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith was given the honor of proclaiming the world famous phrase to the field of 2,391. Only a complete imbecile could screw up saying those five famous words.
In other words, only Emmitt Smith could screw it up. "Let's shuffle and play, baby!" he yelled into the microphone. After much laughter from the crowd, Smith corrected himself and said "Let's shuffle up and deal." Unlike Nolan Dalla's epic introduction (which appeared on the Casino City Awards list), Smith's blunder is nowhere to be found on YouTube. – DI
9. Worst moment for a British punter – 'Hand of Clod'
In the U.S., June 12, 2010 was one of the greatest days in American soccer history. And in England, it's the day their 2010 World Cup -- and World Cup betting bankrolls -- went to hell. England entered the game as 2-to-1 favorites to beat the U.S. and opened as 6-to-1 favorites to win the World Cup. But England crashed and burned in the first game when the USA's Clint Dempsey sent an innocent rolling shot towards England goalkeeper Robert Green. The shot, struck with no pace, looked like an easy save. But Green fumbled the ball into the net, giving birth to the "Hand of Clod" and giving USA a 1-1 win (yes, you read that correctly). The goal sent British punters -- who had backed England heavily -- and English soccer fans into a tizzy. Neither the team nor the nation ever really recovered. In fact, it's hard to determine what was more embarrassing, their 4-1 loss to Germany, or the "Hand of Clod." My guess is the "Hand of Clod" was worse. Not only did they expect to win the USA game, but losing it cost them money. – VN
8. Worst parking fees – Atlantic City casinos
For a city that's struggling to get gamblers to come and visit, the casinos in Atlantic City sure have a great way to slap you in the face when you leave after a losing session -- a $10 parking fee. I visited Atlantic City for a bachelor party over the summer, and I was shocked when we were told we'd face a $10 charge upon leaving the casino parking lot. The bachelor and his guests had left far more generous contributions at the tables earlier in the night, so the $10 fee added insult to injury. The parking lot shouldn't be a disincentive to visit a casino. In Atlantic City, it is. – AT
7. Worst American politician – Jon Kyl
There are plenty of reasons to dislike Sen. Jon Kyl, including petulance. But the biggest reason for gamblers to dislike him is his war on online gambling. When Sen. Harry Reid attempted to meet Kyl halfway by only pushing online poker, Kyl, one of the chief architects of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, didn't budge. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who joined Kyl to become two of the just 26 Senators who voted against START arms-control treaty, at least listened to Reid and seemed a little open to the online poker bill because it could help the horse racing industry in Kentucky. But for Kyl, the online poker bill was dead on arrival. And that makes him the worst American politician of the year. – VN
6. Worst Casino Gang NFL prop bet – Tie, under on the Bucs wins (Vin) and under on Chiefs wins (Dan)
Way back in August, I predicted that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would win less than six games. I was wrong. Seriously wrong. Tampa is currently 8-6, and has a chance to make the playoffs with games against Seattle and New Orleans still on the docket. So where did I go wrong? I didn't appreciate how unspeakably bad Cincinnati, Carolina, Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle were going to be. They also caught Cleveland early, which helped as well. That's one pick I'd definitely like to have back. – VN
To say I swung and missed on my Kansas City Chiefs under pick would be a disservice to anyone who has swung and missed on anything. This is more like getting four at-bats in a baseball game and swinging and missing on all 12 pitches. I lost the bet before November was even over.
I didn't think there was any way the Chiefs would have over 6.5 wins, partly because they had six wins total the previous two years. But I underestimated the difference new coordinators Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel would have in their first year. The one-two punch of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones has provided a consistent running attack. And wide receiver Dwayne Bowe made the leap from underachiever to bona fide star. I still don't expect the Chiefs to do any damage in the playoffs, but then again I'm not the best expert when it comes to this team. – DI
5. Worst political sound byte – Margarita Prentice
Washington State Sen. Margarita Prentice was already no friend to poker players. A former member of the Washington State Gambling Commission, it was Prentice who pushed for the state's law that makes playing online poker a felony. But Prentice ended up back in the poker media spotlight when she told ESPN.com's Gary Wise that it was ridiculous to believe that online players might be forced to move after PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker decided to block people in the state from playing on their sites.
"You mean you're going to move so you can play poker?" Prentice asked. "Gee, lots of luck in your life … I have nothing against card playing. That's fine. If you want to do that, but I'm sure not going to worry about someone … you know. Let them go pump gas."
Always a shrewd politician, Alfonse D'Amato, the chairman of the Poker Players Alliance and former U.S. Senator from New York had the best retort: "She denigrates both poker players and people who pump gas." – AT
4. Worst poker play – Joseph Cheong
The player who made the worst poker play of 2010 still won over $4.1 million after his decision, which obviously is nothing to sneeze at. That doesn't change the fact that Joseph Cheong's all-in move late in the 2010 WSOP Main Event will remembered for years as one of the most questionable plays of all-time. Cheong, the chip leader when the final table became three-handed, was by far the most aggressive player left. In what would become the biggest pot in WSOP history, he traded bets with Jonathan Duhamel until he moved all-in. Duhamel snap-called and showed pocket queens, while Cheong flipped over a meager ace-seven off-suit. Duhamel's queens held up and he grabbed an overwhelming chip lead. Cheong was eliminated a few hands later. The second biggest benefactor of Cheong's was John Racener. The Florida poker pro earned more than $1.4 million just by staying away from the action. – DI
3. Worst bad beat – Matt Affleck's aces cracked
In one of the biggest pots leading up to the World Series of Poker's November Nine, Matt Affleck suffered a reversal of fortune that must still be leaving the poker pro from Washington wondering what might have been. With just 15 players remaining, Affleck got his whole stack in with pocket aces against Jonathan Duhamel jacks and needed to dodge just 10 outs. But instead of taking the chip lead and having a virtual lock on a November Nine finish, Affleck watched in horror as Duhamel hit a straight, sending Affleck to the exit. Duhamel used those chips well, parlaying his chip lead into the Main Event title and the $8.9 million first-place prize. Affleck, meanwhile, had to settle with a $500,165 cash and fame as the epitome of the agony of defeat. – AT
2. Worst engineering feat – Vdara 'Death Ray'
I generally don't worry about the sun. I'm fortunate that when I'm out in the sun, I don't burn. I just get darker. But even my skin's natural defenses wouldn't have helped me earlier this year in certain spots of Vdara's pool area. Vdara's curved glass tower was collecting and reflecting sun rays onto the pool area like a magnifying glass, melting plastic bags and chairs and singing human hair. Hotel employees dubbed the effect the "death ray." Solutions to the problem were being worked on this year, so this likely won't be a problem moving forward. But despite the possible solutions, the Vdara "Death Ray" earns this year's worst engineering feat. – VN
1. Worst launch of an online casino – British Columbia Lottery Corporation
Some politicians (hello Jon Kyl!) love to pontificate on the dangers of the Wild Wild West world of online gambling. Your money isn't safe! You can become addicted! What about the children?! Your personal information will become compromised! Of course, this would all be solved if the government stepped up and offered regulated and legalized online gambling. Right?
Well, that wasn't the case in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The B.C. Lottery Corporation disabled its online gambling site in mid-July after 134 user accounts had been compromised. It had only been open for hours.
This public relations problem surrounding the security breach was compounded because a company official previously said the online gambling site had been shut down because of "slowness" due to an overload of traffic. The site eventually reopened for business on August 19.
We understand that security breaches can happen and that hackers are smarter and more sophisticated than we'll ever be. But as the saying goes, the cover-up is always worse than the crime. And when it's a government getting egg on its face, it's that much sweeter. – DI
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