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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin's Top-10 dreams for 201026 April 2010
If licensing and regulating online gambling at the state level in the U.S. is going to be successful, California needs to lead the way. It is one of the few states that has the player liquidity needed for successful poker rooms. It also has a built in regulatory infrastructure for gambling. And for the past two years, the state legislature has seriously considered creating a regulatory environment for online poker to generate revenue for the cash-strapped state. But the big holdup is most Native American groups, which wield a great deal of political influence in California politics, don't want online poker in California because they're worried it will keep customers away from their casinos. They're wrong. But they don't seem open to the fact that they're wrong. In fact, the Native American groups have said they'll try to block online poker in court on the grounds it violates the compacts they signed with the state. So until California decides it's ready for a legal fight, and the legal consensus appears to be the state would win in court, I'm just California dreaming. But I really hope this happens. Once states see California succeed with online poker, several other states will follow suit.
9. Isildur outs himself
I don't know who the online poker player with the screen name Isildur1 is. I frankly don't care. He's fun to watch play, and that's all I care about. But this drama over figuring out who he is driving me nuts. So let's end it. Isildur1, please out yourself. I don't want to be talking about this again next year.
8. Pai Gow insurance takes the world by storm
I love playing Pai Gow. For proof, see here and here. When I was playing late last year in Atlantic City, I was at a table that had a Pai Gow insurance side bet. I'd never seen Pai Gow insurance before, and I asked what it was. The Pai Gow insurance side bet pays off whenever you have a hand with no pairs, straights or flushes. And the "worse" your Pai Gow is, the more money you win. For example, if you have an ace-high Pai Gow, you could win 3-1 on your bet (depending on where you play). If you have a nine-high Pai Gow, it could pay 100-1 or more (depending on where you play). I haven't seen Pai Gow insurance outside of Atlantic City. But someone recently told it it's in Vegas now. My dream is it takes the country by storm. I was a having a bad session of Pai Gow at Atlantic City until I learned about the insurance bet. Then I hit the insurance bet 12-straight hands, and I was a happy camper. I don't play it unless I'm on a bad run. But if you're on a bad run, this side bet could make you a lot of money.
7. Play baccarat
I've been talking about playing Baccarat for about two months. But on my last trip to Las Vegas, I didn't get a chance to sit down at a baccarat table. So now I'm going to have to wait until July when I go out to Vegas to cover the World Series of Poker. But when I do play, I'm going all the way. I'm going to dress up. I'm going to deal a couple of hands. And hopefully, I'll luck into winning some money.
6. Visit a California card room
I've been to California several times. Most of my travels take me to the Bay area. But I've spent some time in Southern California as well. But in all my visits to California, I've never been to any of the state's popular card rooms. I'd love to play at the The Bicycle Casino (The Bike), Commerce Casino or Bay 101. These are legendary gambling spots that I'd love to visit. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to see them this year.
5. Dine at Alex in the Wynn
One of the reasons I love Las Vegas is its plethora of outstanding restaurants. There are so many good places to eat that I can go to new restaurants on each trip and enjoy truly great dining experiences. One place I've had my eye on is Alex, which can be found in the Wynn in Las Vegas. Alex is a restaurant designed to bring French Riviera cuisine to Las Vegas. It's a formal restaurant where jackets are suggested (but not required). And it's expensive. Without beverages, you'll be spending a minimum of $80 per person. And if you go for the tasting menu including wines, you'll drop $590 for a dinner for two. Is this out of my price range? Yes. Do I still want to eat there? Yes. That's why this is my Top-10 dreams list and not my Top-10 goals list.
4. Have a positive slots session
I've never won money playing slot machines. Not only have I never won money playing a slot machine, I've never had more money than what I bought in for at a slot machine. When I play the slots, my money disappears, and it disappears quickly. I would love to have one winning session, just to know it can be done.
3. Go 16-0 in NFL picks one weekend
On the Casino City Gang, my colleagues and I picked every NFL game against the spread this past season. All of us did well, and each of us finished at least 15 games above .500, if not more. But not one of us had a perfect week. That's my dream. One week this year, I want to pick every game against the spread correctly.
2. Cash in the WSOP Poker Players Championship
If you listened to last week's podcast, or if you read last week's Top-10 list, then you'll know I want to play in the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship at this year's World Series of Poker. There's only one problem -- I don't have $50,000. But this giant mixed-game tournament (Limit Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Low, Razz, Stud, Stud High-Low, No-Limit Hold'em, Pot-Limit Omaha and 2-7 Triple Draw) is perfect for me. So if anybody wants to back me, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's see what we can work out.
1. Reid passes online poker legislation
Two weeks ago, the very idea that legislation that would set up a regulatory scheme for online poker was a pipe dream. But last week, reliable whispers began floating my way that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is working on online poker legislation and I dared to dream. Now, it's entirely possible that nothing will happen or come of this. But while I'm in a dreaming mood, federal online poker legislation might as well top the list for 2010.
Best of Vin Narayanan