Tax Day: Time To Feed The Sheep

This morning, like millions of other humans, I have to send a check to the federal government. If I do not, I can be taken from my home, against my will, and placed in a steel cage, where it’s likely I’ll be raped. But I am constantly told that I live in a “free” country and that I’m a “free” human.

Sure, if by “free” you mean “tens of thousands of dollars per year.”

We don't even have to live in a cage!

We don’t even have to live in a cage!

Not only is the idea of prison for non-violent offenders one of the worst way it’s been things in modern society, it is literally the other end of the “pay me or else” mentality that rules the world we live in. We are told that we are “free”, we celebrate this “freedom” and mouth off to the rest of the world about how “free” things are in America, yet essentially we are being held at gunpoint to do so.

I do not dispute that there are things common to society that I use and should pay for, however I don’t like doing so with a gun to my head. I’d prefer a much simpler solution: I will pay for what I use. You pay for what you use. Neither of us pay for what we do not use.

This is the simplest and easiest way to break it down, yet there are so many people who can’t understand it, or even worse, they fully understand but they want to dictate how other spend their money anyway. I simply cannot understand the desire to control others.

It’s NEVER ok to direct how others live their lives, what they MUST give away (taxes, etc). The system has really grown to the point of just blatantly fucking everyone (those of us who pay) yet only a small minority of us realize it. The rest of you actually defend the exact thing that keeps you down. The joke is on you.

Ironically, I do not blame the 545 people in power. I don’t really blame anyone. I am just frustrated that the way it is, is just blatantly and unequivocally accepted by the 99%ers (sheeple) while I get called crazy for questioning things.

It’s not easy being the smartest person in the room.

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Hollywood Columbus Can Host Profitable Poker Tournaments

Here is a link to a simple spreadsheet that breaks down the money in the recently completed (and hugely successful) Queen City Classic at the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati.

As previously stated, I believe that Hollywood Columbus can host a series as great as this (or better). Previously, the powers that be at Hollywood Columbus were of the position that adhering to the Ohio Casino Control Commission’s required camera coverage for tournament poker was not cost efficient. In other words, they believed that buying (or renting) the required cameras + DVR boxes would simply cost too much to adhere to the current coverage requirements.

Event # Buy-In (prizepool) Buy-In (rake) Total Buy-In # Entrants Notes
1a 200 60 260 456 $500k Guarantee
1b 200 60 260 458 $500k Guarantee
1c 200 60 260 485 $500k Guarantee
1d 200 60 260 427 $500k Guarantee
1e 200 60 260 369 $500k Guarantee
1f 200 60 260 452 $500k Guarantee
Sub-Total Event 1 $529,400 $158,820
2a 1350 150 1500 363 Main Event
2b 1350 150 1500 167 Main Event
Sub-Total Event 2 $715,500 $79,500
Rake to Horseshoe Cincinnati from 2 events (see comment below) $238,320 <<<< This money should be going to Hollywood Columbus!

After seeing how successful Cincinnati was with their recent series, even charging $60 in rake on a $260 tournament (2600+ entrants!), I believe that Hollywood Columbus no longer has a reason to avoid hosting a large MTT series twice per year. Cincinnati plans on continuing their WSOPc events (next March) and complementing it with an event similar to the recently completed Queen City Classic each fall (September.) Why should Hollywood Columbus be any different?

This is not a critique of rake as much as a guide to show that a properly run tournament series can generate serious revenues. Horseshoe Cincy did not just throw this together – they hired one of the best crews in the business to craft a schedule and run it like clockwork. Besides the events listed above there were numerous other events generating even more revenues to the casino, while driving players to continue to show up.

For example, Event 1 gave a $2k bonus for each stack bagged after the first.  This bonus came out of the prize pool. The Turbo Series included $30k in added bonuses to the points leaders while all Nightly 2nd Chance Events added two $1500 Main Event seats to the prize pool. Finally, there was a $25k freeroll with numerous ways to qualify. The added money came from the poker promotional fund.

This is the exact kind of series that Hollywood Columbus can put on to bring in thousands of players from Ohio and a dozen surrounding states, a result that is good for the casino as well as the local community which is sure to see a boost in spending on things like hotel rooms, restaurants, gas, etc.

Show Hollywood Columbus that you agree! Tweet at them and ask about improving tournaments whenever you can!

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The Jason Day Project

As an avid golfer and PGA Tour fan, I am quite lucky to personally know two of today’s finest touring professionals. Following the careers of Cincinnati’s Jim Herman (@gohermie) and Warren’s Jason Kokrak  (@jaykokrak) is almost as good as being on tour myself, as I get to live vicariously through them without the burdens of things like pressure, money and golf.

Despite both of these phenomenal golfers being from my home state of Ohio (and one of them being from my hometown) I fear that neither of them spend much time in Columbus and the time they do spend here is reserved for Jack.

However, there is at least one top-notch professional golfer who presumably spends a lot of time around Columbus, Australia’s Jason Day (@JDayGolf). According to Wikipedia, Jason lives in Westerville, a suburb of Columbus just minutes from my house.

jason day

“Columbus’ own” Jason Day

Since Wiki is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, this may not be the most accurate or reliable information. Then again, if it is accurate, I can’t fathom a world in which I don’t get at least one chance to play with one of the world’s best golfers considering he lives just minutes from my house.

Currently ranked #4 on the planet, Jason is unequivocally one of the world’s best golfers. However being the best is not without its challenges as playing each week at the highest level versus the best in the world can take a mental and physical toll. I believe Jason could relax and take the edge off by playing a round with me and a few of my dearest friends. No PGA Tour pressure, no worrying about getting fitted for a green jacket, no huge prize pool, no trophy…just golf. And maybe a few beers.

At 13.9, I’d be the highest handicap in the group (likely playing a bit higher due to nerves) but I’d feel comfortable enough to play a $2 Nassau getting 20 strokes or so. Rounding out our foursome are Chris (@Chris_Thomson80) and Ryan (@RyanFightmaster). Both guys are solid golfers with handicaps around 6 and a deep love of the game. I’m sure they’d even play for $5′s getting a few shots per side.

So Jason, if you’re reading this, feel free to hit me up (@donniccolo) anytime you’re planning on hanging around Columbus. I’m sure you’re busy travelling the world crushing the PGA Tour, but even the best of the best need some downtime. If you feel like a fun round with a few fans, we are your crew. Obviously the entire day would be on us, so no need to worry about paying for green’s fees, lunch or drinks (times can be tough on tour these days and I wouldn’t want you to decline due to worries about money.) Of course, if you’d like to pull some strings and get us on Muirfield Village or Double Eagle, I don’t think we’d complain, but otherwise leave your wallet at home.

I hope to hear from you soon!


Nick Nicastro

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Winning A Poker Bad Beat Jackpot

My first thought after putting the ultimate cooler on a nice gentleman across the table was (sarcastically), “I wonder if Hendon Mob will include this in my results.” After all, it is now my first and only five figure poker-related score. Despite a decent amount of four figure scores online & live, by the time I started playing high enough stakes to regularly compete for larger prize pools, Black Friday was just around the corner.


That said, I certainly didn’t refuse my portion of the bad beat jackpot. When fun things like this happen (and when reflecting on important areas in my life) I like to look back and ‘connect the dots’. What exactly had to happen to lead me to be in the exact moment in space & time where I’d be in a certain chair at a certain table to be dealt the QClubTClub from my button straddle??

On Monday March 10, 2014, those dots started with a desire to finish a project that I had started only 8 months prior: an open letter to Governor John Kasich urging him to consider the revenue Ohio would bank if he’d lead the charge to legalize cannabis & to legalize online poker. Not to mention that it’s no ones right (certainly not governments) to forbid Ohioans (or anyone) from these things in the place.

While I usually have other plans on Mondays, this day was different. I closed down my favorite breakfast/office spot, and then moved on to another, vehemently working toward my goal of making a clear & logical case to the Governor.

After proudly finishing the piece, I still didn’t get into my regular routine, instead choosing to enjoy the fabulous weather with my dog. 90 minutes later, we returned from the dogpark and both of us were exhausted. Feeling like I wouldn’t be much use if I tried to get back to work at this point, I again decided to skip my routine and instead to head to my athletic club.

An hour later, I exited the club refreshed & relaxed. The problem now, however, was that I’d lost any motivation I had to work and instead felt like playing poker. I called Hollywood Casino & put my name on all of the lists. However, when I left my athletic club, instead of driving directly to the casino (~15 minutes), I was delayed when I ran into a mentor of mine and ended up chatting with him for a while.

Finally arriving at the casino nearly an hour after calling to put my name on the lists, I took my seat at  the only game available: $1/$2 no-limit. However, I didn’t play a hand. Instead, I finished up a call with a friend / business partner, missing a few orbits before finally sitting down to play.

Just a few orbits into play, a good friend on my direct right made a comment about missing his opportunity to straddle from the button (this kind of straddle was just recently instituted by Hollywood Casino.) Not having remotely thought of this myself prior to his comment, upon hearing it I instantly decide that I wanted to straddle from my button, which was the very next hand. So innocently enough, I tossed out a red $5 chip, representing a straddle raise to $4. The small blind folded, the big blind (BB) called, and only one other player in middle position called. I looked down at the QClubTClub and with already having $4 invested via my straddle, I raised to $15. Both players called.

Flop JClub9Heart9Diamond [Pot $45 Effective Stacks $250]

I’ve flopped an open-ended straight draw but the board is paired and I don’t want to bet/fold but I really don’t like bet/calling off with 125 BBs behind. I decide to check in position and to bet most turn cards if the action is again checked to me.

Turn JClub9Heart9DiamondAClub [Pot $45 Effective Stacks $250]

I’ve turned a flush draw. Amazingly enough, despite knowing my exact two hole cards (“queen of clubs, ten of clubs, queen of clubs, ten of clubs”) my brain does not register that my flush draw is also a royal flush draw. This is a major mistake and I’m ashamed that it nearly cost me thousands of dollars. Now that my hand had improved to a straight draw + flush draw, I again chose not to bet, knowing I’d be inclined to call off should I be check-raised.

River JClub9Heart9DiamondAClubKClub [Pot $45 Effective Stacks $250]

I’ve made a flush. Or at least that’s what my (small) brain thought at the time. Both players check to me for the third time, and I decide to go for “max value” by betting $50 into a pot of $45.

The big blind player calls (wee, we are going to win something with our flush!) but then the middle position player, who’d checked three times and just a moment ago looked quite upset, moves all-in for $250 total. In my experience in low-limit poker, players who look upset one moment and then put all of their money in the pot the next, are rarely bluffing (boo, our flush is no good!)

All of these thoughts occurred in just a few milliseconds, and by the time my natural instinct to re-check my hole cards was complete, I’d registered that I had in fact made the nut royal flush. After just a moment, I put my stack out to cover the all-in player, and the big blind laughingly folded, later stating, “I had nothing.” (sidenote: I love when people call me with “nothing”.)

Most people with a big hand in this situation would likely table their cards instantly, excited about the big pot they are about to win. But not middle-position player, LeBron (names have been changed to protect the identities of players).

Instead, LeBron just sat still, again looking upset, doing anything but tabling his hand. To break the tension, I lobbed some friendly needling his way, asking “show me two nines one time, buddy.”

LeBron’s face instantly lit up light a Christmas tree, his eyes as big as eggs and his mouth wide open as he turned his hand over: 9Spade9Club.

The poker gods had heard the prayers of every $1/$2 player in the history of poker and in return had sent a one-in-a-thousand shot our way. My royal flush had trumped LeBron’s four nines and we had hit the bad beat jackpot!

One time? Let’s hope not!

For those of you who enjoy statistics as much as me, here are a few fun ones showing just how unlikely we were to hit the jackpot, even after all of the dots that needed to connect to lead me to be in the exact seat that lead to the jackpot win.

(Thanks for the awesome poker odds calculator!)



Before the flop, we are a slight underdog versus pocket nines. Given our ego positional advantage, we can make up for this deficit and we can profitably raise with hands like this.



On the flop, we checked to ensure we’d see a turn card and potentially outdraw a hand like trip nines or top pair. Little did we know that we would win the hand just one tenth of one percent of the time, or 1:1000.



The turn card was one of only 2 cards in the deck that could keep our hand alive, increasing our chances of winning to a meager 2.27%, needing the king of clubs out of the 44 remaining possible cards (and only the king of clubs) to win .



Sometimes long shots come in, even those as long as 999:1. The key is to be on the winning side.

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Open Letter To Ohio Governor John Kasich: You Can Win Re-Election By Giving Ohioans Back The Freedoms All Humans Are Born With


Ohio Governor John Kasich

Dear Governor Kasich:

This November you will seek to win your second term as Governor of Ohio. Current polling shows that you have a slight lead over your nearest competitor, but all signs point to a tight race.

I believe that one way you can gain separation from the field is by giving Ohioans the freedoms that all humans are born with. Regardless of your feelings, I believe that you are smart enough to understand & agree that for humans to truly be free, the first (and most important) thing is that they are free to do as they please with their money and their bodies. Ancillary “freedoms” mean nothing if we are forbidden to spend our money at will or to eat, drink & smoke as we please.

So long as Ohioans are not negatively affecting another human (or domesticated animal), they should not be restricted in any way whatsoever with regard to what they can eat, drink, smoke, who they can marry, etc.

Currently, Ohioans are being egregiously restricted in two ways: Both playing online poker and the recreational use of cannabis are considered crimes in the state.

Regardless of your personal stance on poker and cannabis, the simple facts of the matter are that human beings in your state desire these things & these things do not negatively affect other “free” humans. In short, if an Ohioan wants to use cannabis or play poker online, in the privacy of their home, it is not your place nor mine to tell them they cannot.

Regardless of how you decide to handle these two issues, please understand that at some future date, there will be legal cannabis & legal online poker in Ohio. Should you decide to keep these things illegal, this date may not be for years to come. However, at some point, they will be legal. Society is slowly but surely making strides towards truly giving humans the inherent freedoms they were granted at birth. At this point, history will show that when presented with the opportunity to be a forward-thinking leader, you failed and instead hindered the very state you were elected to guide, costing Ohio billions of dollars in the process.

I do not believe that you want your place in history to be one of failure. Instead, with your guidance in calling on Ohio Democrats & Republicans to work together to legalize both cannabis and online poker, your legend can be written as one of a man of vision who understood the true role of government & the true meaning of freedom.

According to The Columbus Dispatch (via Joe Vardon & Jim Siegel), you are “expected to roll out your latest proposal for an income-tax cut” and again you are expected to “face opposition over how you intend to pay for it.”

I believe you can pay for it (and then some) by legalizing cannabis & legalizing online poker.

A simple call to Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado or Governor Inslee of Washington should be all you need to state your case for legal cannabis. Governor Hickenlooper was initially against legalizing cannabis in Colorado, but is now bullish about the cannabis industry, predicting cannabis will bring in more than $130,000,000 for the state of Colorado, while early estimates for Washington show nearly $200,000,000 in revenues for the state during the first few years of legalization.

Legalizing cannabis in Ohio would:

-Create jobs for Ohioans

-Lessen “crime”

-Lower Ohio’s prison population

-Free up Ohio’s police forces

-Lower the Ohio income tax

-Increase Ohio sales tax revenue [see below]

Considering that Ohio has 11.5 million people and Colorado & Washington have 5.2 million and 6.9 million respectively, I’d say it’s fair to estimate that legalizing cannabis in Ohio would bring the state at least $300,000,000 per year.

To put it simply, keeping cannabis illegal in Ohio is keeping a billion-dollar industry out of your state. That doesn’t sound like something the businessman in you would agree with.

Much like legal cannabis, Ohioans will legally be allowed to play online poker again at some future date. And much like how you steer the state re: cannabis, you are presented with an opportunity to be a visionary with regard to bringing back the online version of the skill game played at four casinos and dozens of other card rooms throughout your state. There are currently three states where online poker has been brought back. This number will be greater in the future. It’s up to you to decide if Ohio is a part of it or not.

Online poker was widely played by millions of Americans until Black Friday, 2011. Since this dreadful day, tens of thousands of Ohioans have been unable to play the game they love from the comfort & privacy of their homes. Not only is this unfair to the “free” men & women living and working in Ohio, but it’s costing the state tens of millions of dollars. Brian Pempus of Cardplayer Magazine states: “Legalized online poker is slowly, but surely, coming to the United States. Right now, three states — Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware — have online poker up and running in their respective borders. More are expected in the near future.”

The article further estimates that legalized poker throughout the nation could be a $2.2 billion industry or more (internet gambling in Europe is a $15b business). Why should Ohio, the 7th largest state in the union, miss out on a revenue stream that it’s residents obviously want to give it? One report estimates that Ohio would have the ninth largest market, bringing in over $30,000,000 to the state. According to Bloomberg, 18 states or more could have legalized online poker by 2018. I ask you to make sure that Ohio is one of them. (Note, also according to Bloomberg, over 10,000 players registered to play online poker in New Jersey…within 3 days of the start of legal online games and 55,000 accounts had been created within the first week. If this isn’t a clear indicator that “free” humans want to play online poker, I don’t know what is.)

I urge you to speak with Governors Jack Markell (Democrat – Delaware) & Brian Sandoval (Republican – Nevada) about their recent online poker pact. Clearly these men understand the upside of giving their citizens the freedoms they desire and clearly they are not afraid to cross party lines.

Additionally, I urge you to reach out to fellow republican, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Governor Christie believes that legal online poker in his state could produce over a billion dollars by July. Furthermore, New Jersey is “considering legislation to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states or countries where internet gambling is legal. That would allow people in those places to access the 15 gambling websites run by the Atlantic City casinos.”

Nevada, Delaware & New Jersey are great places, but Ohio is just as good (if not better.) Governors Markell, Sandoval & Christie are intelligent, open-minded individuals, and if you follow their lead by getting Ohio in at the beginning of nationwide legalization of online poker, your place in history will be one of vision, courage & an utmost desire to allow Ohioans the freedoms all humans are inherently given at birth.

[From your Wiki] In 2008, you were named the Honorary Chairman of Recharge Ohio, an organization with the stated purpose of electing leaders who would “get our state back on track.” You said that you hoped that through Recharge Ohio, you could “provide the framework necessary to allow Ohio to become a leader in economic and educational success.”

I believe the information presented above is more than enough to get you started on the path of allowing Ohio to become a leader in two emerging industries, while providing jobs for Ohioans and giving them the freedoms they desire.

[From your Wiki] Upon taking office, you received criticism from Phillip Morris of the Plain Dealer for appointing an all-white, 22-member Cabinet (containing only 5 women). You responded to the perceived lack of ethnic/gender diversity in your cabinet by saying, “I don’t look at things from the standpoint of any of these sort of metrics that people tend to focus on, race or age, or any of those things. It’s not the way I look at things… I want the best possible team I can get.”

I hope you will utilize the same logical approach used in choosing your cabinet when considering the two issues presented above. You don’t have to use cannabis or play poker to correct the injustices keeping them from Ohioans who do choose to involve these things in their private lives. Furthermore, consider if federal legislation is passed but Ohio has no existing statewide framework, you’ll have no choice but to be reactionary instead of being proactive & visionary like the aforementioned governors in Washington, Colorado, Delaware, Nevada & New Jersey.

Along with thousands of other Ohioans, I greatly appreciate your serious consideration in these matters.


Nicholas Nicastro

Columbus, Ohio


Posted in Common Sense, Finance, Miscellaneous, Poker, Politics, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Folding Overpairs In Multi Way Pots

In passive/weak live full ring cash games, playing middle pairs for set value is usually ok. We want to make sure that we are deep enough and that our opponents are too.

We also need to understand what we are peeling for. In the following $2/5 hand, I felt that despite flopping an overpair, my hand was not likely to be best in the multi-way pot.

2/10/13 $2/5 NL $500 effective stacks, I cover.

I limp with the 7Heart7Diamond for $5 from B3 (button +3) after two other limpers. B1 limps. The button raises to $35. The small blind (SB), big blind (BB), and both limpers call. I am the 5th person to act with 4 people already having called $35. I debated simply jamming in my stack to win sans showdown, but I elected to call. It was a close decision and it may not be optimal in the long run (neither may the limp). However during the flow of the game, both seemed appropriate. B1 calls, closing out the action and seven of us see a flop for $35.

Flop 5Spade 3Club2Heart [Pot $238 Effective Stacks $465]

SB checks. BB older gentleman bets $115. Two folds. Action is on me with B1 and button behind, along with the SB who has already checked. There is now $353 in the pot and it’s $115 to call. Despite having an overpair, I do not feel great about red sevens on this seemingly innocent board and after some thought, I fold. My limited live full-ring experience has shown me that older men typically are strong when they bet into the field in a multi-way raised pot.

After my fold, B1 flats and everyone else folds. [Pot $468 Effective Stacks $350]

The board runs out 5Spade 3Club2Heart5Club9Heart and they get their stacks in on the turn. Surprisingly, the BB older gentleman had the 4Club4Heart, having flopped a pair with an open-ended straight draw. I read him for much more strength than that and I was mistaken to fold to his bet. Had I known his exact hand, I’d have snap jammed with more than 60% equity vs his pair + draw.

However I’d have been in critical shape vs the B1, who held the AClub4Spade, a 95% favorite vs my silly overpair.

There are definitely times to set mine, and there are times that we need to play overpairs fast and aggressive. But, like most things in poker, we also need to balance our play by finding folds in borderline & tricky spots. In my limited experience playing full ring, multi-way pots can be quite tricky and one pair is simply not often a strong enough hand to win, even when it’s an overpair.

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Columbus Is Missing Out On Google Fiber. Let’s Speak Up & Change That!

Google Fiber may be the future of the internet, but that doesn’t mean a thing to me until Google decides to roll it out in Columbus.

I was excited to see an updated list of cities that Google is targeting, but disappointed that Columbus is still not on the list.

We can change that! If you live in or around #Cbus, you can speak up simply by tweeting and re-tweeting @googlefiber, showing them how much you want Google in our city! The more @googlefiber sees “#Cbus” and “Columbus” in their tweets, the more likely they are to add Columbus to the next list of cities.

Google Fiber will be a great thing for Columbus and showing the city leaders how Google can benefit the city is also crucial to bringing @googlefiber to the city. Be sure to tweet to the mayor, @MichaelBColeman, as well as to the city’s news outlets & any other Columbus-related twitter accounts.

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Freedom Doesn’t Exist

All of this talk of America being a “free country” is making me sick. American nationalism is insanely high on a normal day, but during the Olympics? Fahgetaboutit. The zealots come out of the woodwork.


USA beat Russia after 8 shootouts? Fahgetaboutit.

I’m willing to concede rooting for your country as a kind of sports team. I don’t necessarily do it but I understand how it’s a pride thing for a lot of people. However, to honestly believe that people from one country are inherently better than any human being anywhere else in the universe is pure insanity.

The nationalists are like a broken record, constantly harping on and on about how “free” America is and how no one else in the world is as “free” as an American. To them, because there are state-sponsored atrocities outside of America, they ignorantly argue that Americans have it best as if “best” and “free” are synonymous.

Worst of all, they honestly believe that Americans are “free.”

Without ever stopping and thinking about it, nationalists simply regurgitate “free free free free free”. The fact there are hundreds (likely thousands) of insane laws that blatantly suppress this so-called “freedom”  seems to go completely over their heads.

Freedom? Try eating or drinking or smoking. The government dictates what you can eat, drink and smoke. If you try to eat, drink or smoke certain things, they may forcibly remove you from your home and place you in a metal cage with a high chance of being raped.

Freedom? Try growing a plant, from a seed, on your property. The government tells you which ones are ok to grow and which ones can result in your being confined to a metal cage with a high chance of being raped.

Freedom? Try selling your goods or services in a fair and private business transaction. The government states what you can sell and how much you must give to them regardless of your profit. The government also dictates what you cannot sell.

For example: The government tells professional massage therapists where they can and cannot touch their clients. It’s not up to the actual human being that is willingly offering money in exchange for the massage, rather it’s the government’s decision. The government dictates that you can pay someone to rub your back, but if you pay them to rub you in certain spot below your waist, you can both be forcibly put in a metal cage with a high chance of being raped.

Ironically, if you meet the same massage therapist anywhere else on earth, he or she can rub you as you both please, anywhere on your body, for free.

To put it in a way that everyone can understand: the government is telling you that you can’t pay someone to do something that they are allowed to do for free.

Not only is that insane, it’s completely anti-capitalistic, and it’s about as polar opposite of “free” as you can get. The government should have zero say in these kinds of matters and if you don’t understand that, I implore that you educate yourself and your close circle.

Forget about your views on things like prostitution and drugs. Your opinions on those things are only supposed to affect you. If you don’t want to bang a hooker or do some drugs, you can choose not to. However you have no right to dictate what another person does with his or her body, what they eat, who they sleep with, etc.

It’s sad that our society has morphed into a place where individuals get to lobby for and vote on issues that affect private businesses and other humans. Regardless of your views on prostitution, drugs, etc, you need to understand that supporting the current scope of laws against these things (and many others) is the exact same as supporting oppression.

I find it very sad that most men and women simply do not understand these concepts. They hear criticism of America or thoughts rebuking their supposed “freedom” and they become instantly defensive.

Don’t be one of these “way it’s been” type people.

Stop and think.

Use your brain.

Ask yourself if there are any examples of your life being hindered by the government. My life was hindered today when I received a parking ticket. Think about that: we have come to accept that the governments in the cities where we live can tell us where we can and cannot park our car. I’m not talking about total anarchy where cars drive everywhere (that would be ridiculous.) I agree that some level of structure is a good thing for society. But to dictate that we cannot park in an otherwise perfectly acceptable parking spot is borderline tyranny. Yet we all blindly accept it.


Rack up enough of these and the government can place you in a metal cage, with a high chance of…do you get it yet?

A sad and funny irony is that from what I’ve observed, all of the people who ignorantly get hung up on the idea that the USA is “free” are being oppressed in numerous ways themselves. They have a Stockholm syndrome-like attachment to the very institution that is holding them back.

The idealist in me still believes that along with other like-minded thinkers, we can change things for the better. Spread the word. Don’t accept the status quo. Do Americans enjoy some freedoms? Absolutely. Are Americans free to do as they please? Absolutely not.

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Open Letter To The Ohio Casino Control Commission

[See below for ways you can contact the OCCC to voice your opinion]

Dear Ohio Casino Control Commission:

Thank you for doing what you do. Ensuring fair outcomes with the games of chance that are offered by the Ohio casinos is a vital step necessary to ensure that players are not being taken advantage of.

Poker is an entirely different animal, as it is not a game of chance where the player is pitted against the house, but rather poker is a skill based game that pits players against each other with the house there to ensure a fair outcome (and the Casino Control Commission there to ensure the house does its job.)

The Ohio poker room with which I am most familiar is the Hollywood Columbus, however I fear all four poker rooms in Ohio are suffering from the same restriction with regard to offering TOURNAMENT POKER games OUTSIDE OF THE POKER ROOM: camera coverage requirements that are far too strict. Simply put, the current requirements mandated by the Ohio Casino Control Commission are cost prohibitive.

Again, I do not refer to the camera coverage requirements inside the poker room (where there are chips with monetary value alongside cash), but rather the requirements for the ballroom or any large meeting space that would be necessary to host a large poker tournament.  Note: tournament poker chips are vastly different from every other type of chip in the casino, and have no actual cash value.

As a poker enthusiast with businesses based in Columbus, I have great interest in seeing tournament poker flourish in the city of Columbus and in the state of Ohio. Since 2005 I have regularly traveled out of Ohio to play tournament poker. As recently as January 2014 I spent seven days at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, alongside hundreds of other Ohioans who chose to travel outside their home state specifically to play tournament poker.

It is to my extreme disappointment that I have learned that the current camera coverage requirements for Ohio casinos (for ballrooms, meeting rooms, etc) are far too strict to hold a large series of events (one that would require the tournaments be played outside of the poker room).

I respectfully ask that the Ohio Casino Control Commission review and revise down the current camera coverage requirement for ballrooms & meeting rooms used to host poker tournaments.

I believe there is a compromise that the casinos will agree to and I ask that you aggressively pursue remedying this matter as soon as possible. Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati are all large enough markets to boast quarterly poker tournament events (if they were able to utilize casino space outside of the poker room.) These events would bring in thousands of people from outside of Ohio. Besides playing poker, these people would be utilizing Ohio hotel rooms, eating at Ohio restaurants and shopping at Ohio stores, exactly what Ohioans are currently doing in Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Lawrenceburg & countless other markets.

At the Borgata, one of the largest poker rooms in the country, tournament series are generally held in one of the ballrooms. Only for player overflow do they use the actual poker room. This is quite common in casinos across the country. It should be no different for Ohio.

The World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPc) Event held in Cincinnati in late 2013 was a resounding success, noted by Circuit regulars as one of the best they’ve ever seen. With your help, Ohio can boast two of these per year (Cleveland & Cincinnati) as well as numerous similar events in Columbus. I fear that if you fail to act, Ohio will fall so far behind that tournament poker will never recover and Ohioans will forever be forced to travel out-of-state to enjoy their preferred pastime.

Thank you for considering this situation and for understanding that the players who you are hoping to protect are actually being hurt by the excessive camera coverage policy with regard to tournament poker.  Our local economies are taking the worst of it, however.   Millions of dollars are being spent outside of Ohio as thousands of Ohioans like myself are forced to travel outside of state lines to play in a large poker tournament series.


Nicholas Nicastro

[Here is a link to contact the Ohio Casino Control Commission to voice your opinion. ]

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Amazon Prime? How About Amazon Smile: The Definition Of ‘No Brainer’

It’s no secret that online shopping is starting to dominate the retail environment. Ok, dominate may be a bit of an exaggeration, but clearly people are choosing to shop online more than ever and that trend is only going to continue.

There are countless online retailers but one has stepped up and started to make a serious play to solidify the #1 spot – Specifically, Amazon Prime.


Amazon Prime is a service that anyone can buy for just $79/year (for now). In return for paying the yearly fee, subscribers receive benefits from including FREE two-day shipping (on eligible purchases), FREE access to Amazon Instant Video (TV & movies…think Netflix), and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owners’ Library.


Whether you frequently purchase things online or not, you should definitely check out this service. You’ll be surprised at how many things you can buy and receive in just 2 days, often times for much less money than you’d spend at a traditional brick & mortar retailer (dog food, diapers, phone chargers, ear buds, baby formula, etc).

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Amazon and more specifically, their CEO, Jeff Bezos. Not only do Bezos & his company provide an exceptional experience, they also provide one of the best philanthropic opportunities on the web: AmazonSmile!


AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support a charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. Best of all, it’s extremely easy to use: simply visit and begin to shop!

To make things even better, the best web-browser available, Google Chrome, offers an extension that automatically directs you each time you visit! Check out the Smile Always extension. Install it once and donate for free every time you shop!

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