As usual, my resolve to play the International £100 tournament on Saturday night crumbled to dust. Once I was out of London, I simply couldn't summon the motivation to go to Old Street and play the event, so I spent a non poker weekend enjoying the weather.
I am slightly concerned about my lack of deep stack, larger field tournament practice this year, but Dev pointed out yesterday, that our numerous cash games are reasonable proxies for the early stages of a Venetian deepstack, and the £50 crash bang wallop tournaments we play are good practice for the later levels. Perhaps I am indirectly getting the exposure I need after all.
Nonetheless, I shall endeavour to play the International £200 event tomorrow night to at least get one genuine tournament under my belt. That, of course, all depends on how late tonight's 6 man cash game goes on for, at an as yet unknown venue. The line up is fairly tough - Baron, Devski, The Nit, Fluke and David the other players.
The other guys crushed the Empire cash game (again) on Saturday night, and I'm determined to get down there before Vegas to see if these tales of tables paved with gold are true.
Speaking of the phrase "paved with gold", loyal readers of this blog will have guessed that I have, of course, been incandescent with rage over the MPs expense revelations in the Telegraph. Even writing this sentence about the wretched corrupt imbeciles that pass themselves off as UK politicians has wound me up, but I feel that the papers haven't picked up on a few key distinctions on some of the claims.
There is surely the opportunity to totally slam dunk some of these people - consider the following claims:
Salford MP Hazel Blears claims her purchased flat in Kennington is her second home, thus enabling her to claim a slew of allowances from the tax payer. She then comes to sell the flat, and now "flips" her primary home status from Salford to London. Result? She can now sell the London flat and not pay 18k of Capital Gains Tax on the disposal as it is now her primary residence. A classic case of "having your cake and eating it", but what she has done it not illegal. Contemptible/greedy/despicable - yes, but not illegal. A below average individual has simply creamed the rules to her maximum benefit at the taxpayers expense.
Former Home and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw owns a house in sunny Blackburn. This property is registered as his second home (as you would expect from a prominent cabinet minister). Since it is second home, Jack pays only 50% council tax on the property. However, since 2004, Jack has claimed back expenses for 100% of council tax. The difference between this and the Blears claim, is that to the casual observer this could be interpreted as FRAUD against the taxpayer. Jack has potentially claimed for several years from the public purse money to which he is not entitled.
Of course, as soon as Straw got whiff of the fact that MP expenses were going to come out into the open, he repaid the money saying "sorry" and giving the excuse that he was "too busy to fill out the claims correctly".
Perhaps I will see if this ruse works with HMIT next time I do my tax return. I'll indulge in a spot of tax evasion via dodgy expenses and see what happens. If I get a letter from HMIT saying that they plan to investigate me I'll simply reply:
I gather that you plan to investigate my tax affairs. Coincidentally, I have been reviewing my claims and have discovered that I erroneously claimed £5,625 for expenses which never existed. Thus I enclose a cheque for £2,250 to repay the money saved on this tax deduction.
I am sorry. I am afraid that the reality of life over the last few years is that I have often had to complete my tax returns in marginal time and without recourse to all records.
I trust this matter is now closed
P.S. Please don't mention this to the Daily Telegraph"