Wednesday, October 31, 2018

10 things I want Trump supporters to know about me

I regularly engage in political discussions, here on Facebook and elsewhere. I’ve noticed a number of common themes in these discussions, so I thought I could save a lot of time and energy by establishing some of my positions in advance.

1. I don’t hate you. You may find this hard to believe, but I can and do separate my political beliefs from my personal relationships. 

2. I don’t hate America. This is one I hear all the time: “All liberals hate America” or other variants, along with variants on “Obama tried to bring down democracy” and “Obama hated America.” I love this country, and I know you do, too. The way I show my love for my country is personal to me, just like yours.

3. I don’t want to ban guns. If we could do it all over again, I’d rather that we view guns the way the UK does (pretty much no one has them), but I know that ship sailed 240 years ago. I am not at all opposed to private gun ownership. You and I might disagree about whether you need a 30-round clip, but I support your right to own guns and ammunition.

4. I accept that Clinton may have done bad stuff. However, I don’t believe that any of the bad stuff she did is relevant to *today’s political situation*. If you want to see her prosecuted for crimes she may have committed, I accept that. Just don’t conflate it with anything that might be going on *today*.

5. I don’t think you’re stupid. This comes up way too often in political discussions. I very much want to know what you’re thinking and why. If I sound dismissive of your opinions, that’s bad, and I truly hope I don’t. But you will never, ever hear me dismiss your opinions because I don’t think you’re smart enough to express them.

6. I will never call you names, and I expect the same from you. I’m not a libtard. I’m not a Dumbocrat. I’m not an “idiot lefty” (something I was just called a few minutes ago). If you call me names, don’t expect me to engage you in any discussion. I won’t pigeonhole or generalize about you; please show me that same respect.

7. In the context of a discussion about Trump, I don’t care what you think about Obama. Everything else I’ve said here probably sounds reasonable and measured, and this doesn’t. I’m really, really big on staying on topic. If you want to discuss Obama, feel free to bring it up in its own context and I’m happy to discuss. But whatever Obama may or may not have done is only relevant if the underlying issue specifically relates to the current discussion (and this also applies to anything Bill Clinton did). It doesn’t excuse any actions by Trump, nor does it diminish such actions.

8. You can support your guy without defending everything he does. I voted for Obama, but there were plenty of things he did that I opposed, some vocally and vehemently. I suspect that, even if you are Trump’s most ardent supporter, you’ve seen him say or do things that you don’t agree with. Your support for him isn’t diminished if you don’t come to his defense when he’s wrong.

9. I am over the election. I was honestly appalled that Trump won, and there was a long period, well after his inauguration, during which I remained incredulous that he was president. But the election is over, he won and I accept that. I am intensely opposed to many of his policies and actions, and I’ll express these as I see them. I felt the same way about many of the things that GWB did, although I felt less passionately about them than I do about Trump. But just to be clear – if you believe that I feel the way I do on any given topic because I’m butthurt over Trump’s win, you’re missing the point.

10. You and I want the same things – we just see a different path to get there. I'll do my best to keep this in mind when we talk, and I'd appreciate if you would do the same.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Why barred me, and why they might bar you, too

I have been playing on the World Series of Poker's online poker site,, for five years. I have done well, winning a number of WSOP entries (including three in one year), mostly playing before and during the WSOP.

Until today, that is. Today, barred me because they don't like the way I talked to them. And if you happen to say the wrong thing - you could easily be next.

This all started this morning, when I received this email from J'Cory at
Dear Dan,

To ensure we are meeting all regulations, we continually monitor for suspicious geo-location behavior. Recently there was potentially suspicious location activity on your account in which we detected the use of the following blocked software, Vysor, on your device which is prohibited. We have made the decision to keep your account open on the condition that in the future you do not log-in and/or play on from any devices running these software/program(s).

If it is detected that you are using a device with any of the above moving forward, we reserve the right to take action up to permanently closing your account. Should this happen you will not be permitted to create new accounts with any Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Inc. licensed brands.



The program J'Cory mentioned, Vysor, is software that allows you to mirror your Android phone on your computer. I did, in fact, use this software several years (and several computers) ago; however, I haven't used it in a long time and have never used it on this computer. It's not possible that I used it on my phone, because, as I explain below, incorrectly locates me when I use my phone and claims I'm out of the country.

I also didn't exactly love the attitude. My response:

(06/12/2018 10:00 PM)
Let me be sure I understand - I am one of your longest-standing customers. You somehow believe (wrongly) that I am using some software that you don't like, and you think the best way to deal with this is to threaten me? 
Here are some facts: 
1. You believe that my computer has a program on it called Vysor. I do not have and do not use such a program. 2. Vysor is, in fact, a program that allows a user to control their Android phone from a computer. I do have Vysor installed on my phone. However, it is not
possible that you discovered Vysor on my phone. Why? Because incorrectly identifies my Android phone as not being located in Nevada, and I have never been able to play from it as a result. I have tried about 10 times to log onto from my phone. I no longer bother to try. I get this message: 
"Sorry, due to existing regulation (sic), we cannot allow member (sic) from your country of residence to play for real money with us. You are still able to cash out your funds at any time. For 
assistance please contact customer support." 
Just to be clear - your email indicates that you are going to bar me if I log on again using the Vysor software - since I don't have it installed, I can't do anything differently from what I do now. If that means you're going to bar me for software I don't own, have at it. 
Customer support at has never been good, but this sets a new low. If you *believe* that a customer is running software that violates your Terms of Service, I respectfully suggest 
that you do some research before accusing and threatening your customers. 
Dan Goldman 

 Their response:
(06/12/2018 10:45 PM)
Hey smalltalkdan,

Thanks for contacting us; my name is Cadeem and I'll be helping you today.

Please note that the email wasn't a threat it was just advising you that the software is not allowed and not to use it again. 

I know you said you don't have it installed but just double check again before login so we don't have to close your account. 

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience in this matter.


So in my email, I made it clear that I had never used the software they claimed I had. Their response was to tell me "[do] not use it again." If you have ever met me, you know how something like this goes over with me. This is especially true because I have relentlessly skewered Caesars and's terrible customer service on this blog - and that is, in fact, the reason I was barred. They're sick of me. I would be, too. But if it were me, I'd say to myself, "OK, why is this happening? This guy is a tool, but does he have a point?" Caesars and think it's a better idea to just make me go away.

My response to that missive:

(06/13/2018 12:15 AM)
So just to be clear - I told you that I am not using this software, but you are advising me "not to use it again." I AM NOT USING THIS SOFTWARE. NOT USING IT. Is there some part of "I'm not using this" that you don't understand? Here is a clip from my list of installed programs. No Vysor. [clip removed]

You can dress up your words any way you like, but where I come from, if you say, "Don't do this again or we'll close your account," that's a threat. It's particularly egregious in this case because YOU'RE WRONG. I am
looking forward to your actually closing my account for this bogus reason; if you do, the 20,000 readers of my blog (, almost all poker players, will be very interested. Just in case this is unclear - yes, this is a threat. 
Dan Goldman 

OK, I stepped over the line there and challenged them to do what they ultimately did. If you're thinking I deserved it, you might have a case. However, these guys continually dish up marginal-at-best customer service and know that 99% of players will just take it. Apparently they deal with the 1% by making them go away.

Their final email:

(06/13/2018 03:54 AM)
Dear Dan,

This is Brandon B. from the Support Department at I am writing to you regarding your account with username "smalltalkdan".

Please be advised, your account has been permanently closed based on a decision by our management.

Your remaining balance of $895.40 will be sent to your registered address via a mailed check (bank draft).


Brandon B.
Player Support Representative

Yup. Tell them they're wrong, and their response is to bar you.

I have appealed this to the few people at I know, but the chances they will relent are roughly zero. I am a squeaky wheel. Caesars and the WSOP like people who do what they're told. That is as far from me as you can get.

But it's not over. It's far from over. Stay tuned.