Author Archives: Marian Knight

Learn How the Pro Plays Video Poker

When playing this very popular online casinos game, be sure to play as an informed player. This may be poker, but it is played with a totally different strategy that it is when you are playing at online casinos against other players. Remember, it’s you against the game, no other players – so you are not playing a strategy that is based on other player’s skills. You are playing against the game and probability. Also, there are so many new video poker variations in play now at Internet gaming sites, that you may get lost in the mix trying them all out.

The best advice is to stick to one game that you really like and master it before you get excited about the next new game out there. Online poker games canada are really fun to play making it worth your time for entertainment alone, but if you8 are playing this game for real money – you obviously need to play to win. To do so, you must be disciplined and understand the strategies for these games when online gambling. Our tips section has great advice to further your video poker playing.

When playing this game (and even slots) at online casinos, the increments you wager are known as credits instead of coins or dollars. So, if you are playing a quarter machine where each increment equals 25 cents, to use three quarters would be to use 3 credits. By using the term credit instead of saying a quarter, online casinos are banking that you will be less likely to conserve your cash. Meaning, if you think in terms of “Oh, I am just wagering three credits” instead of “I am wagering 75 cents” – you tend to separate from the fact that you are wagering real money and therefore you will wager more. This is not to say that we believe you are incapable of knowing the difference, but the simple fact that Internet and land-based facilities choose to change the wording is enough proof that players will wager more if they don’t think in terms of actual cash value.

This in mind, remembers that your credits are real cash and you will always need to think in these terms when online gambling.

How long does it take to place a sports arbitrage bet?

A couple of seconds it doesn’t take long as I said the difference between this and matched betting is you don’t need to place a qualifying bet all you need to do is navigate, check the odds are the same, lock them in and you’ll be all good. Should I place stakes like £34.53 or so I just round them? Always around, the good thing with betslayer is we have a feature like that built into the software and this rounding stakes is obviously something just common sense to keep you under the radar of the bookmakes just in case they they care about it. How do I keep all my bookies bankroll high doesn’t take a long time to withdraw funds? if you use skrill your online wallet it only takes 12 hours not three to five days to withdraw funds to your account, this makes it easy because if one bet wins and you have let’s say lots of money in one account the other bet loses not so much all you do is you would draw it to Skrill and load up your other account so you have opportunities to make more arb bets again.

If I start with X pounds can I make X pounds per week? Yes if you assume you make 10% profit each day you know 1/2 arb bets then 250 pounds will yield 175 pounds a week the math is simple. How do I guarantee I don’t get limited by the bookmakers? Again email me team @betslayer.com or check out another video in this playlist which goes over all those ways to avoid it but you know it’s mostly common sense and avoiding unusual patterns.

Do people really do this? Absolutely you know hundreds and thousands of people do this mostly you know they you know either do it in the part-time or they’re interested in just investing like forex or they’ve run out of offers in matched betting lots of people do this. How much money I can I make? The maximum amount you can make is sort of 10 grand but that obviously requires a lot of capital like 50 to 100 grand a more reasonable figure that anybody can get to over a series of a couple of months is sort of one thousand two thousand every month Wont the bookie know if too many people arb a certain bet? Good question, usually with other arbitrage betting sites they can and do notice when thousands of members pick a certain bet but with betslayer we have process in place that means that arbs are only shown to a certain number of members to ensure you keep your accounts open for years and you know it’s all good should I open but make your accounts before I join Betslayer.com? They would be useful to have opened all your accounts first this way you know the best it would be maybe to the William Hill bet365 marathon Ladbrokes coral that sort of thing that they’re good they’re good people to start with what does the software do? Apart from providing the best arbitrage training on the web we also have one of the most powerful arbitrage platforms in the world identifies the Arbs, tells you exactly what stakes to place, which bookies and you know it’s just basically calculates everything for you so you just need to go to the bookmaker, place the bet, easy.

Do I need to be in the UK? you can add all over the worlds using VPNs but you need access to the bookmaker accounts so if you can register for the bookie, yes you can Arb but you know sometimes, it’s hard to do that so check it out I’m sure there’s more stuff on their email about that I’ll be able to help.

Can you have a free trial of our software? Yes of course you can we offer a 7-day free trial, cancel anytime just check it out it’s pretty cool Betslayer.com if you still have any questions yes you can email me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

The Ruins of Las Vegas

Here’s an idea. In Las Vegas, we’re are the America’s ruins. So when most people think of Las Vegas, they think of this– gambling, drinking, all kinds of crazy revelry, nonstop glitz, glamour, entertainment, and showmanship happening inside and around these massive, palatial casinos. Vegas’s sobriquet is Sin City, a place where one has access to any and every vice, assuming one is able to pay the price. And these buildings structure literally the whole experience. But this is also Las Vegas.

It’s just people don’t normally think about this part of it. Nevada was hit hard by the subprime mortgage crisis, where banks gave mortgages to people who technically couldn’t afford them, and then repackaged those mortgages as sound investments which eventually defaulted, leaving people with homes they couldn’t afford, investors with empty pockets, and gaping money holes in many markets. As of late October, 2015, Nevada has the highest home foreclosure rate of any state in the country. And metropolitan Las Vegas typically ranks within the top five. For a city that we associate so strongly with opulence, there is a fair amount of hardship here, and not just here but also here.

The casinos, Vegas’ monuments to diversion, excess, and abundance, but also provider of no shortage of employment opportunities for locals, also suffered in the wake of the recent economic collapse. This is Echelon Place which began construction in 2007 and was slated to be finished by 2010. It was to be an 87 acre project with 5,300 hotel rooms across four hotels. And it had a construction budget of $4 billion. In 2008, construction stopped, first for a year, then another estimated three to five years. So it sits here, waiting, now more of a memorial than a monument.

Echelon Place isn’t alone, either. In the last decade, there has been 10 hotels that have been abandoned or demolished. There are nearly a dozen massive projects which started construction but never finished. That Vegas is pocked with all of these foreclosed upon homes and incomplete monoliths is a testament to both it and America’s relationship to chance and chance’s relationship to wealth. Let’s do some history.

Long before The Strip, downtown Las Vegas got its start as a playground for construction workers building the Hoover Dam. At the time, Vegas was the closest significantly sized city with businesses that would stay open late. The state had legalized gambling in 1931, the year that the dam started construction.

But the US government wasn’t too keen on that move. They didn’t want their federally-paid dam workers spending their hard-earned dam cash on games of chance. So they schemed to keep the workers away. But of course, their scheming had the opposite effect.

Dam workers flooded Vegas– pun intended– and made it rave– pun and mixed metaphor intended. [MUSIC PLAYING] In 1936, when construction of the dam completed, the Great Depression was still in full swing, so all of those labors went elsewhere to find work. Vegas needed to figure out a way to survive, and quick, because it had learned to depend on that dam cash, which had vamoosed. Luckily, though the dam had stopped powering Vegas financially, it could now power Vegas literally. And building upon their long-held reputation as a playground city, Vegas began outfitting its downtown, Fremont Street, with bright lights a-go-go.

After not long, this part of town became known as Glitter Gulch. The rest is roughly and literally speaking, history. Vegas learned to depend on tourism fueled by glitz, glamour, and nearby scenic attractions. Gangsters and real estate developers learned to depend on Vegas’s lax law enforcement, regulation, and tax code. Entertainers from nearby LA, and eventually across the world, learned in Vegas, there is always an audience.

By the late ’40s, Vegas had stepped into its own as America’s playground, initiating its modern reputation as the perfect expression of American exceptionalism by way of a particular brand of flashy, capital-fueled, American excess, which works like gangbusters until 2007, when the boom became more of a dull thud. In the midst of a global economic recession, the glitz of Sin City can seem excessive at best or irresponsible at worst, which means that tourists are less likely to come visit. Add to that the fact that the city’s banks handed out some 35,000 loans that people technically couldn’t afford . I mean, I suppose in a city that’s defined by betting, it would make sense that real estate developers and lending organizations would bet it all. On the one hand, with civilian homes, it may be simple predatory lending.

But on the other hand, with things like casinos and resorts, I think it’s something else. The Vegas most of us recognize was constructed not to be used like a normal city, like a New York, or a Paris, or a Tokyo, to be marveled at. The Vegas we know is for gawking, not living. The Bellagio, Luxor, the Hard Rock Cafe, and their ilk all comprised a pseudo city which isn’t for residents, but for people who have come to play in as many senses of the word as possible.

These structures are for residing, but relaxing. And architecturally, this is all almost literally America’s playground in that we’ve perhaps outgrown it and abandoned it, except at great literal cost. Vegas is thoroughfares and signage, towering obelisks, and countless simulacra– a pyramid, but not the city, but not Europe, but not bodies of water, but not– were not built to age gracefully, but to impress immediately and then be demolished or abandoned. On one block between Sands Avenue and Flamingo Road used to sit Sands, Castaways, Nob Hill, Holiday Casino and Inn, the Imperial Palace, O’Sheas, and the Barbary Coast.

Now, it’s home to Treasure Island, The Palazzo, The Venetian, The Mirage, Casino Royale, Harrah’s, The LINQ, Caesar’s Palace, Flamingo and the Cromwell. Not one original building remains standing. In their influential book, “Learning from Las Vegas,” architect Robert Venturi, Denise Brown, and Robert Izenour write that in this landscape, architecture becomes symbol in space, rather than form in space.

Weirdly, they weren’t writing about this Las Vegas or this Las Vegas, but this Vegas. They compare the parking lots of Las Vegas to France’s Versailles, a massive, sprawling palace famous for its gardens that stands as a symbol of the wealth of the old ruling class, but also the absolute monarchy of the old regime before the French Revolution. The parking lot, they write, is the parterre of the asphalt landscape, beautiful for all of its uselessness, a status symbol for storing other status symbols. What then of those massive, sprawling, finished, and unfinished mega casinos? What symbol are they? I might say, our ruins.

Given the turnover of the strip, destruction and ruination is practically pre-built into them. Some of them become alike to ruins before they’re even finished. Sure, technically speaking, ruins are structures which at one point were complete and have become decrepit over a long period of time, though haven’t turned entirely back into dust. Machu Picchu, the pyramids, Petra, Teotihuacan, Angkor Wat, the Parthenon, the Acropolis, Caesar’s Palace– there’s this idea that the strength of a society is confidently communicated by the quality and resilience of its ruins. A powerful culture will build a long-lasting structures.

In short, America has all kinds of impressive structures which will look great in the post-apocalypse, while it seems a Vegas casino is unlikely to make it half a generation, let alone some millennia. [MUSIC – “VIVA LAS VEGAS”] strip in Las Vegas, as a location, is such a perfect distillation of that stereotypical American abundance that it feels like maybe this should be our Carthage or Roman Forum, even if it won’t be. These structures stand already fulfilling their role as a ruins, though of course, technically, they aren’t testaments to the things that are important to us, but also what isn’t at a time where the future of the United States’ longstanding cultural and economic authority is anything but certain. Though these things may not be ruins then, perhaps it’s meaningful for us to look at them as ruins now. What do you guys think? Are the ruins of Vegas something like Carthage after the fall of Rome?

Let us know in the comments and our response to some of them in next week’s comment response video. In this week’s comment response video, we talk about your thoughts regarding listicles. If you want to watch that one, you can click right here or find a link in the doobly-doo.

Thank you so much to everyone who wrote a short story to enter in to win an Idea Channel t-shirt. We had an awesome time combing through them, randomly selecting three winners, which we have. The winners are Papa Bad Dad, Observer of Worlds, and Chemical Word Smith.

So we’re going to be sending you guys a message via YouTube to get your information to send you a t-shirt. We are, however, going to also postpone the dramatic reading, because I caught a cold. And I don’t want my cold memorialized for all eternity having to read your beautiful short stories with a nasaly voice.

So maybe that’ll happen like next week. But I promise, it will. This week’s episode was brought to you by the hard work of these high rollers. We have a Facebook, an IRC, and a subreddit links in the doobly-doo. And the tweet of the week comes from Leif Nelson, who points us towards a post about the “Wizard of Oz,” which has been re-cut alphabetically, which means that every scene that begins with a word that starts with the letter A is first. And it works its way all the way through scenes that begin with the word zipper.

And it appears that there is more than one kind of movie that has been re-cut this way. I know what I’m doing this afternoon, while also drinking tea. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Sports Betting Star

I’M the creator of sports betting star the world’s number one rated sports betting system, and i want you to stop everything you’re doing and paid close attention, because in this video i’m going to share with you, i a simple system that you can use to easily win Over ninety five percent of your sports pets guaranteed: this is the same system that i used a year in day out and have captured the sports betting world by surprise. I have single-handedly become one of the most feared debtors to sportsbooks today and help build up one of the largest bank roles. Simply by using this system. This system is so simple to use it.

You don’t have to know anything about sports. You don’t have to watch sports, you don’t even have to like sports. You are not required to be a mathematical genius, it doesn’t even matter if you have never placed a sports betting, your entire life.

Have, i got your attention yet. I hope so. Like many of you are used to go with my dot in place by beds, in hopes for the best only to fail time and time again, that is until one night a thought to myself. Why don’t i create a program that could take historical data from sporting events and try to create a winning sports betting system after hundreds of hours of development, i was completely blown away at the results of the system when finished. If you want to see my past inka records, you can do so by simply check this website and, as you can see, my records are pretty flawless now, you’re, probably thinking to yourself how in the world to this be real. Well, that is a very simple answer numbers i have spent day after day an hours upon hours, developing this mind-blowing betting system.

The secrets my software program uses to produce a these amazing results is astonishing, but that’s the good news i am taking all of the guesswork out of it, for you, there’s no need to crunch numbers or obtain your head against the wall, not knowing what team are White game to bet on, if you simply follow the bats, i give you directly to your email. You won’t be a winner time and time again. This system is proven and it works. The system will never fail.

You this system will never let you down now. Obviously, i don’t expect you to take my word for it. The truth is i’m making some pretty big claims here by what separates me from any other handicapper or sports betting system out there today is proof undeniable proof. I received hundreds of emails and letters by mail. Every month from people, just like you sharing their testimonies with me, you can see many testimonies by clicking on the video testimony section of my website. You can also search google and yahoo by clicking on the white ngo icons on my website, and it will show you all the buzz about the system on the internet.

You can even click on the face book or twitter right cons on my website to follow end. Like this, along with the thousands of others that are following already many of these video testimony, some letters i receive are from people just like you and me, some of them the don’t even follow or like sports. Many of these testimonies are from people could just got tired of false promises and bad handicappers and wanted to find a way that beat the system and wind time and time again simply by betting on sports fi started recently retired added i’ve been hoping to make a Little bit of money for my retirement years, the last several years i have tried sports betting and uh …

I really ice chests aid, the money for my retirement, because i did making out like this for a terrible, well c anyways. That is until two months ago, when i uh .., subscribe to chad sports betting system. Well, the last two months. I have a twenty-seven, that’s and you know what my record is: twenty seven zero. They all came and identity, that money reinvest, dividends that says sister and then they fighting in the next several months of that more than enough money to have a really nice pleasant retirement chat.

Thank you for your system. I recommend chats uh .. sports betting system to everybody out there. It’S insist for means that certainly california, medical students tonight p_h_d_ sudhir school, as you know, is very, very expensive to be a medical student.

It’S been two years. There is a start pounding from all mister with being a medical student. I don’t have time for part. I need to find a way to make some certain day distance epistemic stumbling upon persisted sports fans in the past year and a little over two thousand dollars missus dole selection. That’S that yeah percent positive attitude all focused towards school.

After a little output tests and stuff. I think, but i’m a graduate of the equipment can definitely optic system to pay off for monday. Servicemen setbacks in uteach at, and i really do believe system and adjustments who were not there at the system does work. If you apply went to the future thanks again, chad for gotten now to me, is by far the best part of this job hearing and reading testimonies from people. Just like you about how my system has changed their lives financially for the good.

I get all kinds of testimonies from retired people, college students, people that have saved their home from foreclosure people being able to support their family, our loved ones, beyond what they could ever imagine. I will say it again: this system is proven and it works. I am so confident in my systems that they will change the way that you will look at betting on sports forever, that if you are not one hundred percent satisfied with my systems, i will give you a one. Hundred-Percent money-back guarantee getting started could never be easier. All you need is a few minutes of your time a day, andrew with the way, the rate of over ninety five percent.

You cannot fail if you know how to read an email click, a few buttons that your sportsbook, then you were well on your way to making a job crushing income, starting today, as a member of sports betting star, i’m going to email, you, my pics for life, You bernie right or life other handicappers out their charge, thousands upon thousands of dollars just for one session and most of them only when half of the time, if they’re lucky. Well – i’m not here to do that. I am here to show you the best sports betting system you of ever seen, nor will ever see in your life. I guarantee it.

You see when we place a bet. There is no guess work. We only bet on particular games where my system calculates tab exponentially high chances in our favor, and the best part is the price to obtain these pics for life can’t easily be made back by making your first that under the system.

What are you waiting for i’d that one of the next bet you make would be the cost you could have spent to have this sure-fire winning system for life? Why continue to risk your money on bet, you’re, not sure going to win? Why continue to waste your money on different handicappers that just don’t deliver?

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain to sign up and see what the house and ten thousand of people just like you are witnessing today. Simply click on the by now button. On my website, i look forward to working with you and showing you that this system works and will not never fail.

Card Games: Crash Course Games #13

Hi, I’m André Meadows and this is Crash Course Games. Today, we’re going to be talking about playing cards, gaming artifacts that have truly stood the test of time. These simple, small pieces of paper have been entertaining people for over a millennium. There’s a countless variety of card games, from Go Fish to Yu-Gi-Oh! to solitaire, which you probably play once or twice on your computer when you’re supposed to be working.

And if you need more proof that they’re an unrivaled phenomenon, we even have a gaming Mecca in the middle of the Nevada desert thanks to the popularity of gambling card games. There was even an entire family of cards that branched off hundreds of years ago and became the modern fortune-telling cards we know as tarot. The 20th and 21st centuries have seen a rebirth of the card game. Magic: The Gathering helped create the trading card game craze and games like Dominion helped popularise deck-building games. So let’s shuffle into the history of card games and see why they are so popular, and what effect they have on people and culture. [Theme Music] I want to start with the story of a man — Seth Manfield.

Seth had a particularly great 2015. He played a life-changing card game, winning the title of World Champion and walking away $50,000 richer. During the game, he commanded four Siege Rhinos, three Den Protectors, and even Tasigur, the Golden Fang. That’s right — Seth was playing Magic: The Gathering. And, just like Seth, Joe McKeehen also had a great 2015. Joe was the World Series of poker champion that year.

The 24-year-old from Philadelphia walked away with a cool $7.6 million after winning his first ever World Series of poker. So how do we reach the point where people make a living playing card games professionally? Well, it turns out that many cultures and civilsations have always enjoyed a good game of cards. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble.

Most scholars agree that playing cards were invented in Imperial China as early as the 9th century Tang Dynasty. These cards were originally based on paper currency of the time. But because using real money was inconvenient and risky, they substituted play money known as money suited cards. There were two varieties — Lut Chi, from the south of China that used four suits, and Kwan Pa’i, that had a heavy focus on coin imagery.

By the 13th century, the Persians had ganjifeh, which was probably introduced by the Mongols or traded on the Silk Road. And then the Mugals brought these cards to India in the 16th century. In India, the cards took on a circular shape that kind of looked like the game POG from the 90s. And, moving further west, the Egyptians had a card game known as mamluk, which arrived sometime during the 12th or 13th centuries. These ornately hand-painted cards were of Islamic origin and named after the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt.

A complete 15th century pack contained four suits — polo sticks, coins, swords, and cups — and three additional court cards — king, vice king, and second vice king. Gaming scholar David Parlett claims that “Egypt’s mamluk entered Southern Europe in the 14th century,” which is just one of many theories. But what we do know for sure is that France’s King Charles VI purchased three packs of playing cards in 1392. These cards featured similar imagery to the mamluk cards with cups, swords, coins, and batons, but also had 22 extra high cards that eventually became tarot cards used by mystics for divination. And as playing cards travelled to many European countries, their suits evolved with them. The Italians had cups, coins, clubs, and swords.

The Germans had hearts, bells, acorns, and leaves. It was the French who created the established suits we know today — hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades. Thanks, Thought Bubble.

So what about that joker we usually see in a deck of cards? Well, the US was responsible for that. The card started out as the highest trump card in euchre and then was adopted into poker as a wild card and renamed the Joker. Poker is one of the most well-known betting games. Poker can trace its ancestry back to the 16th century, with the Spanish game of primero, nicknamed “poker’s mother”.

By the 17th century, the French had a popular betting game known as poque, and by the 18th century, Germans had a similar game called pochen. These two games established betting and bluffing mechanics that would become a key component to modern poker. French colonists brought poque to Canada, which then followed immigrants as they travelled down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.

It eventually spread throughout the country and gaming parlors on river boats. It was growing rapidly in popularity and in 1834, Jonathan H. Green (different John Green) wrote that this new cheating game was dominating the boats and replacing the popular Three-card Monte games, and went on to coin the term poker in his book on gaming. And the game of poker continued to spread, becoming a staple in Western saloons. Poker had continued to increase in popularity, spawning versions like seven card stud and Texas hold ’em, solidifying its place within the gambling community. Now, before I reach modern times, we should also briefly cover the origin of skrill payments New Zealand. Trading card games are defined as games that are mass produced to be purchased and incorporated within a player’s deck for strategic play.

The first real trading card game, or TCG, was the baseball card game, published in 1904 by the Allegheny Card Company. The game consisted of 104 player cards that deck builders could supposedly collect to compete within the game. But because this game was only a prototype and never mass produced, the deck-building component was never fully realised. 1993 saw the first modern trading card game — Magic: The Gathering. Invented by game designer and math professor Dr Richard Garfield, the entire initial 2.6 million print run sold out within the first month, encouraging the publisher, Wizards of the Coast, to print another 7.3 million cards before its official release. Another 35 million cards would be printed between 1993 and 2007.

And as of 2015, there are 13,651 different cards in 11 languages, attracting an estimated 20 million players. In 1996, the Pokemon trading card game was released in Japan by Media Factory. Now, there were other Pokemon sets before this, but this was the first set based on the Pokemon video games, and would eventually be brought to the US in 2003. As of 2015, there are a total of 125 Pokemon trading card game sets and nearly 15 billion of these cards have been produced worldwide. There is even an official Pokemon League, where players can compete against others in their community.

And the Pokemon card game is so popular that it switched roles and became the inspiration for several Pokemon card game video games, including Pokemon TCG Online and Pokemon Card GB2. So what makes the TCGs so popular? Well, Mark Rosewater, the head designer for Magic: The Gathering, said that it was the player’s ability to customise and personalise their decks with a near endless supply of cards for success. He said, “If you compare it to something like Monopoly, every time you play you’re getting a pretty similar experience.”

“But what’s neat about Magic is that the game itself keeps changing.” “It’s about exploring, and you get to constantly rediscover it.” And people have certainly continued to discover it. According to 2008 sales data, trading card games earn around $800 million just in North America. But it’s not just the sales and prevalence of these games that make them significant. They are also having an impact on our lives.

Human-computer interaction assistant Professor Geoff Kaufman from Carnegie Mellon conducted a study in 2015 that used a new research method, known as embedded game design, in a series of card games. Kaufman wanted to see if he could decrease gender biases in people by including pro-equality messages in card games without making those messages too blatant. He found that his games were encouraging people to have increased social identity complexity, which is basically a measure of tolerance in groups.

Players tended to think more broadly and inclusively about social groups. They also had stronger and more assertive responses to multiple kinds of social bias. Basically, the games encouraged participants to embrace diversity. It may not always be as obvious in a game like Pokemon TCG or Yu-Gi-Oh!, but the study helps to show the small role card games may play in bringing people together.

Playing cards and their games have continued to have a hold on the public and players. There are many major card games we didn’t even have a chance to talk about, like blackjack, gin rummy, even Uno! Oh, draw four. And, of course, trading card games like Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG and the classic Legend of the Five Rings. And while you play games with physical cards with people in the same room, one unique aspect of the modern age is the digital card game.

In Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, players go online to play and collect TCG cards, as they would in real life. The difference, of course, that there’s nothing physical to own, but the cards come with animations and sounds. The game is increasing in popularity and shows the merger between modern tech and traditional gaming mechanics.

Regardless, the point is cards and card games have forever changed gaming, even in the modern age. They show no signs of stopping and are even responsible for some of our video games. Remember those century-old Hanafuda card that was made by that company called Nintendo? Who now has Pokemon? Who has card games AND video games?

That’s full circle right there. Ain’t that right, Eevee? You are Eevee, right?

We’ll see you next time. Thanks for watching. Crash Course Games is filmed in the Chad and Stacey Emigholz Studio in Indianapolis, Indiana and it’s made with the help of all these nice people.

If you’d like to keep Crash Course free for everyone forever you can support the series at Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows you to support the content you love. Speaking of Patreon, we’d like to thank all our patrons in general and we’d like to specifically thank our High Chancellor of Knowledge, Morgan Lizop and our Vice Principal, Michael Hunt. Thank you for your support.

Michael Jordan & Isiah Thomas | NBA Gambling Scandals

– Alright we’re going to talk about pro basketball superstars and NBA Hall of Famers Isaiah Thomas and Michael Jordan and their proclivity for gambling large amounts of money. In my expert opinion, both of them at least had serious, serious gambling problems that almost possibly cost them their legacy and parts of their career. Luckily for them, it didn’t. – And betting is legal. For what I bet, yeah it’s a little bit more than I wanted to lose.

I mean, I didn’t bet to lose, but I lost it and I paid off all my debts. I didn’t wanna go to NBC or anyone else and let them know hey I lost $500,000. I’m gonna pay it this, I’m gonna pay it that way.

You know, I thought I was taking care of what my responsibility was. To lose $300,000 is easy acceptable from the public, but to say he lost one point two, then the public’s gonna look at it and say oh god, that’s a lot of money. You know, that’s one point two. Maybe he does have a problem. – I use the term investigative lightly for Isaiah.

Oh sorry, for Michael Jordan. But both Jordan and Isaiah were investigated by the FBI for their ties to gamblers and their high stakes gambling and how it possibly might have compromised them. No charges were ever filed in either case and with the Isaiah Thomas investigation, it was much more intense than the MIchael Jordan one, but as a lot of people know, Michael Jordan, it’s documented that he was writing six figure checks, in some cases possibly even seven figure checks, to cover gambling debts and the media followed him in the 1990s before some of his playoff games, especially if they were playing in New York and the Knicks and the Bulls had a big rivalry and a lot of times the media would follow Michael Jordan the night before games and see him gambling in Atlantic City let’s say 11, 12 at night. So some questions definitely arose. – [Voiceover] Oh no doubt about it.

I mean, it was amongst the circles of the inner people involved in the NBA that he had a gambling problem and the commissioner asked him to step away from the League until he got those demons corrected and then he was gonna come back and that’s exactly what happened. So it was definitely something that everybody talked about. – [Voiceover] So you’re gonna confirm that that David Stern did, that is the reason why, in your eyes, that Michael Jordan stepped away from the NBA because of the problems he had with gambling circles?

– [Voiceover] Oh definitely. I mean, you know, I never had a conversation with David Stern about it, but it was definitely something that was discussed in locker rooms and discussed at lunches between the referees and people from the NBA League office. – His father ended up being killed in 1993 while he slept in his car at the side of the road and there initially were some implications that possibly had to do with gambling debts that never actually panned out and that wasn’t true, but Michael Jordan definitely was kind of playing with fire with some of that stuff, but it never bit him. Isaiah, it came a little closer to biting Isaiah.

Isaiah’s name came up in a really big Mafia racketeering case in the late ’80s, early ’90s, that all spawned, or a lot of it spawned, from after hours casino nights that Isaiah was hosting at his mansion in suburban Detroit. So all this news was actually broken on the eve of the Pistons repeating this NBA World Champions in 1990 and unfortunately for the Pistons, it dampened some of the spirits of the repeat effort. In fact, the Sports Illustrated kicked them off the cover of that week’s Sports Illustrated issue and replaced it with an article within the pages of the magazine and I believe the headline was “Repeat championship tainted by” or something like “roses are tainted” or something along those lines of that the Pistons championship was a bit tainted by this news about Isaiah’s name popping up in this big Mob case where he was called in front of a federal grand jury to account for hundreds of thousands of dollars of checks he was cashing through a friend of his, a best friend of his, a next door neighbor of his, who’s a convicted Mafia associate and he was cashing hundreds of thousands of dollars through that man by the name of Emmet Denha, had a chain of grocery stores and Isaiah was cashing, running it through this Emmet Denha who was a convicted Mob associate and the fact that the FBI was setting up a surveillance shop in front of Isaiah’s mansion a lot in the late 1980s watching these Mafia-hosted dice games. – What happened was Denha had a market where he was able to get large sums of cash in the LCN figures, used Denha’s market to take the gambling proceeds and convert them into cash. – Emmet wanted to be liked by a lot of people and I don’t think the feeling was mutual. I think he was being used.

They took advantage of that ’cause he was a degenerate gambler. They probably gave him a break on some of his losses and he cashed checks for them, cashed very big checks, and he got into trouble for it. – Wanted to gamble for very high stakes. The Mafia afforded them those opportunities.

The Mafia specifically the Giacalone crew, their number one gambling lieutenant, a guy by the name of Allen Hilf. The Giacalone’s were the faces of the Detroit Mob from the 1960s into the 2000s. Anthony Tony Jack Giacalone and Vito Billy Jack Giacalone, they ran most of the gambling through Allen Hilf and Hilf’s crew was kind of known as the Capitol Avenue Social Club crew ’cause they ran out of the Capitol Social Club in Oak Park and Allen Hilf led that crew along with Freddy “The Saint” Salem who was a Middle Eastern Detroit wise guy who you know both Allen and Freddy were not Italian, but afforded the same level of respect and really reached the levels of power that only Italians in Detroit had in the past and you know these guys provided venues for high rollers and a lot of times they were floating games. They’d be one place on a Tuesday, one place on Thursday, one place on a Saturday to kinda throw the FBI off, but one of the ways they were able to lure high rollers was they were able to convince some local celebrities, local pro sports athletes, guys like Isaiah Thomas and Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, the pro boxing world champion from Detroit, to host these casino nights where the Mob would be the house and you’d have high rollers coming from all levels of society, from doctors, lawyers, judges, to drug dealers, pimps, loan sharks, mobsters, and then professional athletes. It’d be this hodgepodge and you know Isaiah was really, like I said before, was playing with fire with this and there were allegations that he was a point shaver for the Detroit Mafia. Again, these allegations never came to fruition and the actual case that he was called in front of the grand jury for to account for the suspicious check cashing activity, you know, the FBI came out and said that he was not a focus of that investigation.

It was still focused on the Giacalones and Allen Hilf and they would eventually be convicted in 1991 of the case along with Jackie “The Kid” Giacalone, Billy Jack’s son and the alleged current godfather of the Detroit Mafia. And you know, Isaiah was fingered by a number of federal informants for shaving points and there were three specific games that were pointed at by these informants that all took place in late 1989. One of them, Isaiah had his worst game of his career possibly.

I think he shot like one of 12. He had two points and seven turnovers. Another one he pulled himself out of the game literally 60 seconds before tip-off so the line couldn’t change in Las Vegas. Now, these are just allegations. You know, Isaiah Thomas has never been convicted or even charged with point shaving, but he was investigated by the FBI. There are many people connected with the Detroit Mafia that insist he was on their arm and was working for them at a certain point.

In fact, Allen Hilf, who’s been dead now for a couple years and I said was probably the most powerful non-Italian member of organized crime in Detroit, he at the very last let’s say 15, 20 years of his life, he didn’t have a lot of positive things to say about Isaiah Thomas. He really hated Isaiah and reasons why, I don’t know, that can be for you to speculate about. But Allen Hilf, who was alleged to be the point man on the Isaiah Thomas point shaving allegations really had a bitter hatred for Isaiah at the end of his life and Isaiah ended up not being charged and the Giacalones did, Allen Hilf did. They ended up being convicted and doing prison time. But these were very, you know, Isaiah and Michael Jordan both were in my opinion, in my research, were really skating on thin ice with the level of money they were gambling and whether or not Isaiah was shaving points or not, whether or not he was too close to the Mafia or not, the fact of the matter is Isaiah was gambling huge sums of money, so was Michael Jordan, and you know perception is everything and the perception is there that you could be compromised because of the crowds that you’re running in, the people that you’re doing this gambling.

This was 25 years ago. This year when that news broke in 1990 and Isaiah Thomas has since gone on to be in the front office of NBA teams as well as a businessman and MIchael Jordan is running the Charlotte Bobcats right now. So just some interesting tidbits on some NBA superstars, guys that I grew up idolizing, maybe you did too. But make no mistake about it, Isaiah and Michael Jordan were both running in some pretty fast circles.

How To Earn The Most Cash From Your Online Casino Bonuses

Getting the most out of your casino is the first priority that any new player should be focused on. Welcome bonuses are usually the best rewards that a casino is going to offer, so it’s best to make them count and get all you can from them before they’re all used up. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the steps you should take the get the most cash from your casino welcome bonus.

Welcome bonuses usually provide players with deposit matches on their first few deposits. Each deposit match will have a maximum payout, multiplying whatever the player pays in with each deposit. Since you only get a handful of these deposits, it’s best to go big and deposit on the larger side for these opening deposits in order to make the bonus count. Of course, stick within your bankroll, but there’s no point in being cautious on your opening deposits, only to drop in some big money after they’ve gone.

Wagering requirements come with nearly every casino bonus and effectively dictate how much money you’ll need to pay into the casino, before you can convert your casino bonus cash into real money that you can withdraw. The standard wagering requirement at casinos is about 30x, so try to pick casinos with wagering requirements that are similar to this, or lower if you can find them! The lower the wagering requirements, the less you have to pay back in order to enjoy your welcome bonus.

A lot of casinos offer free spins as part of their casino welcome bonuses and later promotions, but players need to be wary of the word free. Most casinos which offer free spins actually enforce win limits and wagering requirements on them like they do with any other bonus. Only a few casinos allow you to have free spins which are actually free, with Guts Casino being one prime example, so shop around and make sure your free spins truly are free.

Deposit bonuses are a great way to kick things off with your casino. However, a few casinos will offer additional no deposit bonuses before you even make your first deposit. These no deposit bonuses usually come in the form of small amounts of bonus cash, but they can include free spins as well. These no deposit bonuses are subject to the same wagering requirements as other casino welcome bonuses, but with no real investment on your end, other than signing up.

A few casinos have foregone wagering requirements completely and instead aim for the “keep what you win” method of casino bonuses. mFortune Casino gives players £5 from the moment they sign up and also lets them keep whatever they win on that cash, provided they meet a minimum win level. That means that you don’t have to deposit any further cash and can instead keep winning on that initial £5 until you hit that point where you can withdraw. We hope this Casinoslots guide helps you get the most cash you can from your casino welcome bonus and as always, we invite you to check out the rest of our articles, so you can keep on top of everything the casinos have to offer.

Keno and Luck

When playing in Keno live at a traditional casino, make sure you remain alert. There is a chance of being carried away by the comforts available and also being easily distracted. The lesser numbers you choose the more chances you have of winning.

Now that you have your lucky numbers here are some tips on how to improve your chances of winning.

Don’t just play them in the state lottery. You can also play lottery type games in casinos and online casinos. its called Keno, and it is exactly like the lottery except instead of once or twice a week a new game starts every 5 minutes 24 hours a day 7 days a week. As a matter of fact the odds of winning the jackpot at keno are much higher then in the state sponsored lottery.

The jackpots in keno go up depending on how much money you spend per game. There are many different games and the more they cost the less numbers you get to choose but the jackpots can be anywhere from 1 to 5 million dollars.

Unlike the lottery in keno you can pick your lucky numbers and pay for multiple games, instead of having to fill out a form for each game. Then you are free to go about your business in the casino maybe play some table games or the slot machines. Later you can return to the keno area and they can run your ticket thru the computer and pay you for any wins you may have had.

You must remember that the numbers you choose are not the only factors that affect the outcome of a Keno game. However, if you are able to affect the numbers strategically, which come up with the numbers you choose, you are possibly on your way to increase your bank balance.

Thanks for reading this article, I hope, you have learned something new. I really enjoy sharing my passion with you. Be sure to check other articles about games and casino. Stay tuned for new materials. Be responsive with your game and your money, Good luck, and don`t forget to have fun!

The Right Poker Table

There are many things that have been related to poker, yet there is only one piece of furniture that has been a symbol of a real card player and a real poker player. Poker tables have been that symbol since the inception of gambling in modern society.

These poker tables have been seen in casinos, online, and even in people’s homes. These have been the standard of a social gathering and a gambling event. These tables have been something that have been so sought after that there are even poker tables that can be purchased or created. This has been a very encouraging thing to the fans of the games of chance that are played with cards and the stakes that can be very light hearted or profound.

Poker has been something that has been seen in movies, television, songs, and even in history itself. There have even been universities that have been started by gamblers in the United States. Some have questioned the common sense of playing a game that can make someone a pauper, yet still these games of risk and chance have been a factor in the course of many of the histories that are in the modern world.

Poker tables are something that can be spotted anywhere, as the velvet green surface and the designated spots on the table have been seen only on these tables. These tables can be spotted anywhere and many recognize them right off the bat. These tables have been a focus in the modern culture and have been considered to be a novelty that many have had an interest in having.

With the more distinct tastes of the people and casinos that have been seen in the world, variations of the poker tables has been something that has become more common in the more up to date tables. These tables have been the center of many of the things that have been seen in card games and also have been the standard between children’s games and those for adults.

Some have considered the poker tables to be nothing more than just a waste of funds, yet there are those that are avid fans of the gambling games and see that they are a means of having the magical feel that can be felt by some in casinos in their own home. Many of these people consider the tables to be more than just an item that can be focused for gambling. They commonly consider the tables to be an excuse for friends to gather together and to do one thing that they enjoy and spend time as friends ought to.

Nine Travel Scams I Have Known and Loved

Know Your Travel Scams

During your beautiful Italian vacation, while calmly strolling a touristy area, you suddenly notice excitable locals in a major brouhaha.  A woman is being accused of shoplifting and she angrily starts stripping off her clothes down to her underwear to prove her innocence.

Naturally a curious crowd gathers and, once the argument ends, many will have been relieved of their wallets by the pickpockets who staged the entire scene.

Welcome to the world of travel scams, a world where the hapless tourist must keep abreast of the creativity of thieves.

My Favorite Travel Scams

Once, I noticed a tragic gypsy woman begging on the wintry streets of Rome bundling her baby against the cold.  Except that the baby was a doll.  It was an Oscar winning performance.

Another time, on the street in downtown Mumbai, India, a polite man came up to ask me about on which street the American Embassy is located.  I ignored him (by the way, it’s in New Delhi, idiot).

After years of traveling the world, besides collecting mementos and photographs, I collect travel scams.  And here are my all time winners.

For women on the road, stay street-smart and watch out for:

  1. Beggars, with or without babies (see above)
  2. Helpful locals offering assistance at train ticket kiosks, ATM machines or anywhere else cash is present – that cash will mysteriously disappear.
  3. Any type of free pokies online game, no matter how much the other player is winning.
  4. A midnight call from the ‘hotel front desk’ asking to verify your credit card – don’t.
  5. Random men coming up and asking questions to engage you  (see above).
  6. A motorcycle rider who buzzes by a little too closely and ends up slicing your purse strap from your shoulder.
  7. Being handed a free gift, a flower, a sprig of rosemary, and then getting hit for money.
  8. Getting bum rushed by a bunch of kids who distract you from the tiny hands emptying your pockets.
  9. A stranger spills something on the front of your shirt.  Another stranger immediately approaches and apologetically offers to help you out – while helping themselves to your wallet.

I’m amazed at the creativity of thieves.  But our greatest weapon is the Internet, where information travels at light speed.   And knowledge protects us all.

Got a prized travel scam?  Share it now in the comments below.

Why Are We a No Vacation Nation?

Americans On Vacation – A Rare Event

 

Why Are We a No Vacation Nation?

Our German, Japanese and Australian counterparts get four weeks off per year, guaranteed.

And Finns, Frenchmen and Brazilians get a whopping six weeks off, guaranteed.

The reason why?  Their governments mandate paid time off by law.

How much do we Americans get off per year?   A shamefully under-used two weeks off per year.

Unguaranteed.

That means the U.S. is the only advanced nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee its workers annual leave, according to a report titled “No-Vacation Nation” by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Our Inability to Escape and Unwind

Our chances to escape and unwind are gruesome.  For example:

  • Only 57% of us use our entitled vacation days compared with 89% of French workers, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.
  • U.S. employers discourage us from taking off more than a week at a time.
  • If we do take a vacation break, we are still expected to check in electronically around the clock.

Vacations Threatened by Economic Crisis

Since the economic crisis has hit, it’s gotten worse.  Fearing layoffs and a faster work pace, many Americans are reluctant to be absent from the office.  If they do take time off, they’re anxious that they’ll appear uncommitted to their job.

Ironically, if we need to be good at what we do, unplugging helps us:

  • Gain new insights
  • Live in the present moment, good for mental health
  • Jump back in renewed and excited

Let’s Take Back Our Vacation Time

October 24th is Take Back Your Time Day.  According to National Coordinator John de Graaf, it’s not an issue of staying competitive.  He says we’re the most competitive country in the world yet Sweden, which offers five weeks of paid vacation, comes in second.

Are we shooting ourselves in the foot?

While our international counterparts take their (deserved) time off, returning tanned, rested and ready to kick butt, we stay trapped behind, fearful that time off means time out of the office, permanently.

What do you think?  Why are we a no vacation nation?

Why Vacations Are Good for You and Your Brain

She’s Improving Her Brain

Why Our Brains Need Vacations

It’s no joke that as women travelers we can be derided for taking time off to experience the world.

But taking off on a vacation from work and family is imperative.  As women, we need to be good to ourselves, to refill our creative wells.   Brain research tells us so.

Here’s why traveling is so good for you and our brains:

  • You can gain new perspectives to handle life’s challenges
  • You can become more creative with one simple trip away

Simply, tearing yourself away from emails and computers screens to experience the new and unfamiliar brings better creative thinking and new perspectives.

And you don’t even have to travel far to achieve it.  Even holing up in a nearby vacation home to catch up on books to read does the job.

But recent brain research shows that to really make your brain happy, to re-boot in  from stress, there’s one way of doing it best – travel internationally.

Why World Travel is Best

Landing and immersing yourself in a new culture gives you new creative thinking skills.   Whether in the Italian foothills or on an Asian beach, you’ll learn about a whole other set of social norms and customs.  Handling new languages and currencies, tasting a new cuisine or learning about another religion brings you a better sense of understanding yourself.

Best of all, you become intensely aware, taking note of new faces, things and events around you.  Free of your everyday routine, you become like a child again, fully engaged in discovering the new and different.

And you lose yourself in the present moment, a state of mindfulness.

What are you thinking about in the present moment?  How the blue seawater glints in the sun? The temple monk’s lovely smile?  The fiery burst of flavor from that paella?

Your brain loves this.

Why World Travel Makes You More Creative

Detaching from the familiar gives you a whole new perspective on your everyday life, according to research at Northwestern University.  And pulling away from your close perspective at home brings in new creativity.  Living in mindfulness is relaxing and allows your brain to do its job better.

And that is why world travel is so exciting.  Your brain is firing new synapses.  Your brain likes getting a workout.

It’s why Gauguin found French Polynesia so enticing for his work.  It’s why Hemingway took off for Paris to heal from his World War I trials and ended up writing “A Farewell To Arms.”  It’s why you need a vacation.

What do you think?

Six Reasons Why Everything You Know About Vacations Is Wrong

1. We think summer is the time for summer vacation

And it’s exactly NOT the time to take off.  We got this idea from carefree childhood summers free of schedules and limitations.  Taking off during other times of the year brings unique opportunities beyond your imagination.  Not to mention the cost savings of traveling during shoulder season, usually during spring and fall.

Traveling off-season has its own particular joys.    During our Northern Hemisphere winter, summertime in Sydney, Australia is lovely.  A cruise in October down the Mexican coast means huge bargains for your vacation wallet as well as a more peaceful journey.

2. We think we’ll find peace and serenity during our summer breaks

And we are not.  During the summer, escaping a crowded city or packed freeway means handling even more daunting logistics and stress.  And relaxing on your patch of sand on a packed beach is no vacation.  Standing in a two-hour line into European museums is no picnic either.

3. A staycation is not the answer

You must take off for somewhere, anywhere, to get your much-needed break.  Despite the idea of ‘staycation,’ staying home is not the answer.  You’re still going to answer the phone, pick up your mail and check email.

Go away, anywhere, but do it and do it often, which leads to my next point.

4.  We don’t take enough vacations

Brain research shows that we need to disconnect and re-boot after long periods of stress.   And taking a long vacation is, yes, the answer.  So is taking more, shorter breaks throughout the year.   Turns out you’ll be more productive and creative upon your return.

5. We don’t vacation long enough

Europeans and even Asians take longer vacation time than we poor American suckers, a government mandated three to six weeks off.

And we only get an unguaranteed two weeks off.  Who thought of this?   Why, I ask, do we get glorious three months off as kids but only two weeks as a grown-up?  This feels so wrong.

6. Don’t take vacations – live as a local

The idea of career breaks or mini-retirements may be out of the purview of many.  But, if you’re like most entrepreneurs, you can take as much time off as you like and when.

But why not set yourself up as location independent and take an extended visit to Buenos Aires or Bangkok while still connected to your work?   You’ll get the best of both worlds, time off for new adventures, people and cuisine as well as keeping up with work.  And a tsunami of emails and work will not await you upon your arrival home.

Take a daily ocean swim or long walks, enjoy a Mediterranean diet or learn about local history.  Get to know your butcher and baker.  Watch your kids learn a new language.  Create fond family memories.

There are solutions.  Maybe you need to take some needed time off and think about this.

Can’t get away?  Tell me why?

Three Best Reasons to Go to Belize Now

What You Need to Know About Belize Before You Go

If you’ve decided on Belize for your next adventure, you need to know several things:

Belize is tough to get to.  Air schedules are not kind to the Belize-bound nor are the fares in the cheaper range.  American Airlines routes you through Miami, even if departing from the West Coast.  One friend took a cheap flight to Cancun, Mexico and drove to Belize.

Even though reasonably priced flights from Los Angeles to Belize City, via Houston, on Continental Airlines, can be found, you may have an inconvenient 6:30AM departure.

Belize is a Caribbean nation stuck inside Latin America.  The former British Honduras (pop. 300,000), Belize’s Creole population is English-speaking and identifies with its Carib Indian, African, Rasta/Jamaican and Spanish bloodlines with a splash of Mayan.  And the country exists (sometimes warily) next to its Latin neighbors, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.  In fact, squabbles over borders and access to the Caribbean Sea with Guatemala only recently calmed with a solid treaty.

Expensive to get there but reasonable once you are in country.  The Belize dollar is tied to a valuation of half of the American dollar.  So transportation and tours are reasonable, such as the 45-minute, $20 water taxi from Belize City to the Caribbean isle of Caye Caulker.

 

Best Reasons to Go To Belize Now

Belize offers so much for explorers.  Here are the three best reasons why you should go now:

  1. A wondrous array of Mayan ruins, many recently discovered within the jungle growth, with astounding histories.  In the inland Cayo District town of San Ignacio, you can explore the Cahal Pech Archaeological Site or ride horseback to Xunantunich, another Maya archaeological site.

 

  1. Eco-tourism hostelries and jungle lodges in Belize offer abundant hiking and butterfly farms in preserved rainforest, tube caving adventures, or canoeing rivers teeming with toucans and jaguars.  Wander the Rainforest Medicine Trail at Chaa Creek to learn about the herbal medicines growing in the rainforest called “bush medicine,” used by local healers still today.

 

  1. Home to the second largest reef in the world, Belizean cayes and clear water are prime for all ocean sports, sailing, diving, snorkeling.  San Pedro town on popular Ambergris Cayeis the dive and water sports capital.  Some, such as tiny Caye Caulker, have no cars, using bicycles and golf carts as transportation.

 

So explore this different corner of Latin America, where the people are Creole, your rice and beans arrive with coconut shavings and the sun washes massive Mayan plazas.

 

5 Surprising Discoveries About Belize

As I crisscrossed this Latin American natural wonderland, I made some surprising discoveries about adventurous Belize as an optimal destination for women travelers.  Read on.

Sleepy Caye Caulker on the Caribbean Coast of Belize

Belize is Safe for Traveling Women

1. Belize lacks the machismo culture of Latin America, identifying more with its Creole identity and British pedigree as the former British Honduras.  On Caye Caulker, I met a young Australian woman traveling alone who marveled at the difference as she traveled overland from Mexico to Belize.  From the adventure center of the Cayo District in eastern Belize to the Caribbean cayes on the coast, I felt perfectly safe, night and day, using a traveler’s necessary sense of caution, of course.

Avoiding Belize City at any time of day is a good idea as there’s no tourist infrastructure there anyway.  Most travelers ride cabs between the international airport and the water taxi landing or come in or out by shuttle from the inland.

Belize Is An English Speaking Nation in Latin America

2.   A traveler who only speaks English pointed out to me how much easier it is to get around, read signs, or strike up conversations with locals, making Belize an easy destination if you lack Spanish skills.  Though English is officially spoken in this British Commonwealth nation, you’ll also hear Creole, Low German from the Mennonites, Chinese from the shopkeepers, and even Mayan.

Jamal from Pacz Tours in San Ignacio, a typical kind-hearted Belizean.

Belizeans are Kind-Hearted, Friendly and Helpful

3.  After I dropped my digital camera into the drink before canoeing into Barton Creek Cave, I was devastated.  Back at Pacs Tours, my tour arranger, Jamal, heard my plight and simply said, “I know who can fix it.”

He headed next door to a clothing store in downtown San Ignacio where a fix-it man sat at a card table, tinkering on the town’s electronic devices and computers.  Mr. Fix-It deftly popped open my camera’s housing, wiped off the droplets and dried the interior with a borrowed hair dryer.  Disaster averted.  Thanks to the kind-heartedness of Jamal, a typical Belizean.

An Amish Mennonite Homestead in Lower Barton Creek in eastern Belize

The Mennonites Grow Belize’s Food

4.  Is watching an Amish Mennonite buggy negotiate San Ignacio’s unpaved roads or observing a barefoot Amish woman working in a long dress and white cap in the tropics seem incongruous?

Yet these are the scenes of everyday life in rural Belize.  Low German-speaking Mennonites feed Belize from their organic homesteads, producing most of the country’s eggs, dairy and produce as well as building most of its furniture.  After migrating in the 1950s, the Mennonites still remain insular and the government honors their refusal to pay taxes or serve in the military.

Belize is a Tropical Rainforest and Caribbean Wonderland

5.  Where else can you explore Mayan magnificence in monuments and history as well as chill to the sounds of reggae on a white sand Caribbean beach?

Belize offers two kinds of vacations.  In the Mayan Mountains, fall asleep to jungle chatter in an eco-lodge after exploring crystal caves full of Mayan artifacts or climbing a pyramid.   Then head to the Caribbean coast where white sand cayes, such as Ambergris Caye, offers island resorts, mojitos at sunset and snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve on the Belize Barrier Reef, the world’s second largest.

Got any more ideas about surprising Belize?  Let everyone know in the comments section below?

Quick Belize Packing Hints

First in order, pack light!

As an ideal spot for vacations for women, Belize is a safe and casual place that’s gone troppo.   But pack your stuff into a hardy roller with study wheels for handling cobblestones, busted up sidewalks or, if you’re visiting an island with no cars, just bikes and golf carts, on white sand roads.  Just like Caye Caulker.

But here’s the deal.

I’m challenging myself to pack for the entire trip only the bare necessities in a 20″ carryon by Travelpro.  As Travelpro’s tagline states, it’s the choice of flight crews and frequent travelers.  And I always secretly envied the way flight crews jauntily march through the terminals looking all pulled together with their study rollier behind them.

Plus I’ve always wanted to see how I could handle a full-on international trip with one teensy bag.  Wish me luck.

 

The Travelpro Walkabout Lite 4 20″ Exp Wide Body Spinner

$101.99

www.eBags.com

Yes, it’s tiny.  Dimensions?  20″ x 16″ x 9″.

But the most exciting thing about this carryon is that it’s a spinner!  For easy gliding on the tarmac.  And it meets another requirement for any new piece of luggage.

It’s Not Black!

It’s blue so I actually stand a chance of locating it amid a sea of black cases in baggage claim.  And when you’re dead tired from a rough trip it can be next to impossible to distinguish your bag.

Can it all fit in there?

Belize Demands Packing For Beach and Rainforest

Belize demands packing for the beach and the rainy forest.  We’re going to the adventure center of Belize in the Cayo District for horseback riding to Mayan ruins and cave canoeing.  So we’re talking heavy shoes, long sleeves and pants for the rainforest.  And bathing suits and sarongs for the island part of our travel program in Caye Caulker.

So I’m stuffing this bag just the basics:

  • 1 Light shirt
  • 1 breathable t-shirt
  • 1 tunic and capris for going out
  • 1 breathable, long-sleeved insect repellant shirt
  • 1 pair breathable, insect repellant pants
  • 1 pair breathable, insect repellant cargo pants
  • 1 dress, Little Black
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 1 sarong (my Hotel Bora Bora sarong, of course)
  • A snorkel (Just the snorkel!  I have a thing about rental snorkel gear on my face – ick)
  • 2 pairs of flip flops, one flat, one that’s a higher platform style
  • 1 pair of comfy shoes for hiking
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 8 pairs of underwear
  • 1 pair of water socks – don’t want to harm the coral heads of Hol Chan Marine Reserve
  • Sunscreen for both face and body
  • My Waimanalo baseball cap from Oahu (Google it)
  • Electrical appliances in Belize are exactly the same as in the U.S. so I can pack a hairdryer
  • Yoga pants, shirt and pashmina wrap for plane ride
  • Toiletries, make-up, hair accessories, vitamins, etc.
  • iPad for the plane
  • Bose® IE2 Audio Headphones – ditto
  • Digital camera with back-up battery, charger and extra storage card

 

Design Meets Chaos

So I assembled the above and carefully folded it all into the bag.  And it all fit.

I did use the expansion zipper to increase the bag’s 9″ width.  I stuffed important documents, such as passport into the outside zippered pocket and my shoes into another larger one.  Everything is sturdily built about this bag and the zippers are no nonsense.  For dressier trips, it has a small suiter set up which can be unzipped and removed.  The panel of the suiter that’s left has a strap for strapping in the donated school supplies I was bringing down for Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy school.

In all, this carryon is well-designed and thought out.  In fact, I’m going to give a Travelpro suitcase away during the Passports With Purpose fundraiser.

And I’m happy to report that this little case made for a happier, more comfortable Belizean adventure.

How about you?  Got a great suitcase that makes the grade?

Riding Horseback to Mayan Ruins in Belize

Setting Off From Hanna Stables on San Lorenzo Farm’s 400 Acres

Setting Off From Hanna Stables in San Ignacio

In the upcountry Cayo District of adventurous Belize, I chose a wild adventure involving a half-day trek https://web.archive.org/web/20111113183706/http://www.travelgearforwomen.com/?p=1015by horseback to the great Mayan ruins of Xunantunich (pronounced shoo-nan-too-nitch), meaning “Stone Maiden.”  I arranged my unconventional tour of this great ancient Mayan ceremonial center through Pacz Tours in San Ignacio in eastern Belize.

A spring foal warily watches as we stride by.

We set off from Hanna Stables on San Lorenzo Farm in the upcountry Cayo District in eastern Belize with horseman Santiago Juan, a Belizean of Lebanese and British descent whose family had settled here in the 1920s.  We passed through the pasturelands of his family’s 400 acres where they run cattle, run a dairy and grow corn and beans.  As well as horse breeding.

Pasture soon turned into a jungle trail.

Soon we enter a fairyland of rainforest, surrounded by butterflies, orchids, and chattering birds.  This jungle trail gave way to the Mayan village of San Jose Succotz on the banks of the Mopan River.

The Hand-Cranked Ferry Across the Mopan River

The hand-cranked ferry across the Mopan River.

Riders and horses had to board this ancient, hand-cranked ferry to ford the river and head up to the limestone ridge where Xunantunich stands.  No worries, though, because of Santiago’s expert horsemanship, our mounts quietly stepped aboard.

Our noble aquatic equine companions took this hand-cranked river fording in stride.

 

Magnificent Xunantunich

A national symbol, El Castillo is as high as a 13-story building.

We head up a steep, 1 mile track to the limestone ridge where Xunantunich stands.  After dismounting amid the roar of howler monkeys in the canopy above, we climbed up to the main plaza to take in the Mayan splendor.

Xunantunich’s one square mile consists of six plazas and more than 26 temples and royal palaces.

This important religious center has stood on this flattened hilltop on a limestone ridge since 400 BC.

The climb to the top is steep and daunting and well worth it.

Don’t ascend this Mayan monument if you have any fear of heights.  The steep climb rewards your ascent with panoramic views of the Mayan monuments and the Mopan River Valley.

Security atop El Castillo overlooking the Guatemala border.

Atop El Castillo, Belize’s second highest pyramid, we can see across the rainforest into Guatemala.  Belize and Guatemala are unfriendly neighbors because Guatemala had always believed that Belize is a part of that country.  But Belize, the former British Honduras, strongly disagrees.

An important frieze used to encircle El Castillo; this is a preserved section on the pyramid demonstrating its former location.

A visitor’s center built by the Getty Foundation covers the Mayan magnificence of the famous hieroglyphic frieze that used to circle El Castillo, depicting jaguar heads, human faces, and royal religious rituals.  There’s also a scale model replica of Xunantunich as well as exhibits on its history as a power player in Mayan politics.

The Black Orchid, the national flower of Belize.

Back to San Lorenzo Farm

Those howler monkeys were still roaring as we remounted and headed back to Hanna Stables.  We rode back through the Mayan village of San Jose Succotz, about seven and a half miles west of San Ignacio, which is the adventure center of the Cayo District and the Mayan Mountains.

Back at Hanna Stables, our mounts get their reward in the thick grasses of Belize.