Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Lottery as a Voting Strategy?

Japanese crazy box with a hole in it to drop your ballot.
Drop in your ballot, get a fortune cookie!

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission have proposed a lottery to increase the incredibly low voter turnout for municipal elections in Los Angeles, California. It's hard to imagine that L.A. officials could really view the lack of voting turnout as a "crisis". From a strategic political view, this is anything but... politicians, even when not being completely cynical, only care about bringing out new voters who would support their cause.  I don't consider myself cynical in this regard either, as I can't see any benefit to bringing in people who are are destined to vote against you. That being said, I believe the following article describes the sort of strategy that I would consider to be a rather under-handed (translation: scummy) tactic to bring out the kinds of voters who would elect those in favor of....legalized online poker/gambling. Just think about it for a second: if a lottery with poor odds of winning a rather paltry sum of a proposed $100,000 prize is supposed to be enough motivation to get losers with no interest in the democratic process off their broke asses and out to the polls, wouldn't it make sense to plaster the poor neighborhoods with posters saying something to the tune of 

Stand up for your right to use your money the way you see fit. Online gaming for real money is a victim-less crime. Vote Rich Chance for Mayor on November 15th at the polls.

If you really want to see some eye-opening political strategy in practice, I strongly suggest reading the excellent book Gaming the Vote by William Poundstone.  If politics isn't your thing, check out one of his works that is sure to interest you, Fortune's Formula, which details the origins of blackjack card-counting, the Federal Wire Act, and the Kelly Criterion

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quick Recap: Dan Colman's Placing in the Big One For One Drop Doesn't Matter

Dan Colman standing in front of millions after winning the Big One for One Drop
Please contain your excitement for never having to work again.

Obviously, it's old news about Colman's decision not to speak to the media or promote poker after binking the One Drop for $15 million, but I'm not going to rehash my opinion on such since it has already been echoed by many people before. I just want to address the idea of Colman as the so-called "petulant child" as labelled by the Las Vegas Sun immediately afterwards (translation: spoiled brat).

The fact is that whether you agree with or support his comments after winning it, he is the only one who could say that and hope to have it taken seriously- the winner of the tournament, that is.

Picture him coming in any place below fourth. What those guys have to say doesn't make the press. Quite frankly, no one gives a shit what they think because they weren't even close.

Placing Third: angry for not winning and striking out not due to being petulant, but just sore for not winning.

Runner-up: Read above except multiply that impression by a factor of 10.