Looking for Your Money on the Street Where You Lost It

 Posted on October 03, 2008 in Uncategorized

Trial lawyers are poker players. If you try cases and don't know how to play poker, learn. Don't play "online poker", where you can't look in the faces of the people whose money you're taking - that's not poker, it's a video game. Learn to play real poker at a real table with real human beings.

Trial lawyers have to be flexible. Don't just learn "Texas Hold'em", either. The casinos have popularized that game because it allows the most money to be bet in the shortest period of time (and therefore the largest hourly take for the house), but in my opinion it's in no other way superior to any other game. Learn to play five card stud, seven card stud, five card draw, low variations, split-pot high variations, and so forth. Read Herbert O. Yardley's Education of a Poker Player

Why my enthusiasm for poker today? Coupla reasons. First (and most importantly) the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association will be sponsoring a poker tournament at Live Sports Cafe at 407 Main Street in the heart of downtown Houston on Halloween Eve, October 30, 2008. The Tournament will be fundraiser for our HCCLA Community Service & Public Relations committee. HCCLA has been very active through this committee in helping our community by sponsoring events for Big Brothers Big Sisters Amachi kids and by contributing to the STAR Drug Court Christmas Toy Box. So it's for a good cause. Buy-in will be somewhere between $25 and $50. I will, naturally, be taking the title and trophy, but there will also be a trophy for the top prosecutor. Spread the word.

Second, Greenfield brings us discouraging intimations that the $700 billion bailout (approved by Congress despite my strong opposition) is "just the beginning." As Scott says, "this isn't economics. This is psychology." Now that they know that we'll let them steal $2,300 from every last one of us in a week and we won't mass on the village green with pitchforks and torches, they're going to keep coming back to the well for more.

The financial system's imminent meltdown (we must do this by lastMonday!) turned out to be a lie; the free market kept two major banksfrom going under, but we paid up anyway. We've been extorted.

For some reason I get calls often from people who are being extorted (after all, I'm Mark Bennett. I solve problems). I tell them to tell the extortionists to go to Hell. Extortionists never stop with their first met demand. The only thing that stops the extortion is defiance. That isn't law. That is psychology.

One of my poker axioms is that there's a sucker at every table. If you look around and don't see the sucker at the table, the sucker is you.

Another axiom is that money in the pot is already spent. Every bet has to be evaluated based on its potential reward, and not on how many of the chips in the pot came out of your stack. There's a natural pressure to stay in a pot that you've already invested in, even if the odds aren't right. Don't throw good money after bad. Poker isn't a card game, poker is psychology.

That $700 billion is gone. Another $700 billion, or $1.4 trillion, or whatever, is not going to bring it back. But we'll keep letting the government throw our money into the pot until we've got nothing left to hock.

This week the American taxpayer looked around Wall Street, and didn't see the sucker.

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