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Mr. Wrong

Poker in the Front

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 3/18/2009

I've never asked you readers for anything, right? I mean, The paper or web site you are looking at right now is provided free of charge, and you can read my column gratis, or skip it and move your eyeballs on to the astrology, or the sex stuff, or any of the items between here and the last page of the paper/end of the Internet, yes?

Look, I take my money from The Man, who has now got my action squeezed down to once every three weeks, with the excuse that it's The Economies, stupid, but I'm not stupid, see, I'm smart, I can handle things, not like everyone says, not dumb, and I want respect. You readers, you don't owe me anything, and if there was a way to prove that somehow I keep Getting Paid because readers read my column, I would have to say I owe you, the Gentle Reader, a debt, a debt of gratitude, but I'm not handing out money to any readers, so I want to repay all the Gentle Readers out there in a manner which will also be to the benefit of the non-Reader, and the Hater, even, by offering a Public Service to the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, with the implication of  ultimately benefiting the entirety of The United States of America, Inc., as I ask you to install me as the first Gambling Tsar of Baltimore, plus tax. Or maybe it's spelled "Czar," whatever, spell it any way you want, I want to run this thing, get it?

This is what my Entire Life of going to the track, scratching at scratch-offs, playing at cards, pressing buttons on video poker and slot machines, ripping open those cardboard pull-tab things, punching out little rolls of paper on punchboards, playing roulette, craps, bingo, you name it, man, putting money on baseball, football, golf, has all been leading up to: the opportunity to straighten out the idiots, the greedballs, and those with a general lack of Vision who have had all kindsa opportunities to get all kindsa gambling going to be Steady Making Dollars for all kindsa people in the City That Already Gambles Heavily on the scratch-offs, lottery, illegal poker machines, and even Dumb Animals, as in the parimutuel thoroughbred horseracing of horses, the Sport of Kings, if you will. We (as in The People) like to gamble so much we gamble on animals, man.

And yet even though We The People of the seventh state to ratify the Constitution of The United States of America, Amen, are koo-koo-krazee for the Gambling, the gambling opportunities are totally lame, so people travel to places like New Jersey, West Virginia, and Delaware to Get In On It, i.e. slot machines and table games such as cards and dice and all that fun stuff.

Even though a Legal Majority of voters in the State of Maryland voted to Believe in the Slot Machines, so far we got nothing but a bunch of goofballs who can't get their money up to put a roof over some slots, except for the guy who wants to put a casino at the Arundel Mills, but have you ever been to that mall on a busy day? There's no parking, man, people put their cars up on the little median things around the lot, but whatever, he's the only guy moving in the right direction on this stuff. Where are the politicians who are supposed to be looking out for ways to pull in revenue for the City and State, besides doing stuff like raising the sales tax and the cigarettes tax and the hooch tax, hah?

That is why I appeal to you, the Gentle Reader, to Rise Up, go forth, instigate for and otherwise, like, foment or whatever, the Popular Uprising that will culminate in my installation as Player Number One in the City That Needs to Get Paid. My designated representatives will replace all of those mom-and-pop poker machines you see all over with State slot machines, thus beginning the Flow of Revenue. The Revenue Must Flow! But that's just the beginning, see? The next step is to go up to Pimlico--"Old Hilltop," if you please--which, no offense, is a depressing Soviet-style horseracing track compared to what should appropriately befit the City That Hosts the Preakness, and we will get out on that infield and pitch some fucking tents and light up some slot machines, man! Gambling Now! Do It Now! Don't wait for me! Then we can work on the knucklehead politicians who are screwing up the slots and have them get to work on legislating some legislation for some table games, goddamit. What kinda gambling is going on all over the country? What kind of gambling has its own teevee shows, like Poker After Dark on NBC and all kindsa other poker shows? Right, Poker! Wake up, man; they don't have teevee shows about slot machines, except on that Breaking Vegas show where they show how people steal from 'em. We got to get the Poker going in Baltimore, legal! Then we'll get going with the Blackjack, and the Baccarat, and the Pai-Gow, and Roulette, Craps, maybe even a dog track! Then we'll get the Sports Book going, and people can bet on sports without sending all their dough to the Internet, man, and people will come from all over to gamble in Baltimore, man, they'll come from New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and Oklahoma, and Arizona, and North Dakota, and New Mexico, and they'll come from California, and Texas, and New York, and South Dakota, and Oregon, and Washington, and Michigan, and then they'll come from Washington, D.C., and we'll take all their money! Yeeeeaaarrrghh!!,

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