Vegas Casino Review 2021 – Get That Vegas Feeling

DKNG - Fundamental DD Inside - DKNG

This is an example of fundamental DD that takes place at ‘smart’ money institutions based on my professional experience in IBD, Private Equity & most recently at a HF (mods can message me for proof). Not thoroughly fleshed out b/c you autists have limited attention spans, but a summary. Figured I’d take the time to give back to this community that has provided many lolz, & should be a good measuring stick when evaluating other forms of fundamental DD posted here.
NFA.
DKNG - DraftKings, Inc.: vertically integrated US mobile betting operator that also provides retail sports betting & back-end betting solutions through SBTech. Think of SBTech as the tech ‘market-maker’ for traditional sports betting, they do all the funny math to set the betting odds & seem to be working on back-end solutions for DKNG Casino
The Big Picture
Only ~2% of the ~$90Bn gambling revenues were placed online which is the lowest in the world where betting online is legal. For example, in other countries online gaming activity represents ~6% - ~52% of total gambling revenues, with ~12% being the average.
Wall Street expects online gaming revenue to be $20Bn-$40Bn within the next 10 years. For this to be achieved, the online gambling market will have to achieve a ~30% penetration rate on total country gaming revenues. There is an expectation that this is could be easily achievable given penetration trends overseas - see page 11 of this: https://s1.rationalcdn.com/vendors/stars-group/documents/presentations/TSG-Investor-Day_March-27-2019.pdf
Other catalysts include increasing adaptation of sports betting in more states. States that have both legal sports betting + online sports betting permitted: NV, NJ, WV, PA, IA. Sports betting permitted but no online: DE, MS, RI, MO, AR. Prior to COVID there was ongoing discussions across many States, especially ones with growing deficits to explore how permitting sports betting could create a fresh avenue of tax dollars. Post COVID there is an expectation that these discussions will be given extra focus as many States will be hungry for incremental tax dollars. Important to note that currently 43/50 States allow DFS, but given the small share DFS has on total Gaming Revenues, it increasingly looks like DKNG is banking on traditional sports betting for a variety of reasons, more later. There are entire articles on Google arguing this catalyst so I’ll end this here.
Digging Deeper
DKNG’s main offerings are Daily Fantasy Sports (“DFS”) products & traditional sports book products to its clients. Long story short, a metric to look for in my opinion (that is curiously not reported by management or remarked on) is the hold % in traditional gaming sector parlance or the ‘rake’ & compare it to the ‘traditional’ gaming products like sports betting & Blackjack.
For DFS: DKNG takes ~15% of the prize pool (note: used to be ~6-11% [2]). Curiously, their main competitor FanDuel also has moved up to a ~15% rake recently. Google searches show the smaller competitors have a rake in the ~13% range.
This ‘rake’ has grown ~2x in 6 years, but it has been a delicate move on behalf of management. Why? B/c the more ‘sophisticated’ DFS players (equal to autistic day traders on Robinhood) have noted this increase & based on some Googling, some have moved down market to the smaller players. As a side note, many live casino games have their rules altered to grow the Hold %. For example, Blackjack games with 6:5 payouts on 21 have materially higher Hold % than the traditional BJ rules that pay out 3:2. Given the findings so far, DKNG may not have much room to materially increase its hold % in DFS games in the near-term from current of 15%. More on this later.
Now why the fuck is this important? This is important b/c the typical sports book (ex-Parlays) have a ~5% hold %/rake. Parlays have up to a ~30% hold (which is why it’s commonly known as the sucker’s bet), & just for reference, the average Blackjack table clocks in 14.5%. What this means: Every dollar put into these games, the “House” or DKNG, will take 15% of your money for DFS games, for sports bets they will be pocketing ~5%, up to ~30% if you’re into parlays, & we’ll just use the standard 14.5% BJ hold for the DraftKings Casino platform.
So why the acquisition of SBTech & a foray into the traditional sports gambling market? As you can see previously, the illegal sports betting market is >30x the size of the current daily fantasy sports market. So it’s clear that the DFS providers including DKNG are foraying into the space to capture this user base & hopefully convert them into games that have a higher hold %, such as DFS/DKNG Casino.
As of May 2020, DKNG has achieved a 30% penetration rate on its ~4mm ‘monetized’ DFS clientele to its Online Sports Book (OSB), from the OSB+DFS clientele, DKNG has converted 50% into its DraftKings Casino platform.
Including non-monetized users, user base totals at 12mm. Based on these unit economics: every 1mm of additional users -> 333k monetized users for DFS -> 100k users for OSB -> 50k users for DraftKings Casino.
Some Numbers – Italicized/Bolded the important
Numbers that represent Risks to Long Thesis
Things to look for when going Long
- Progress of additional States legalizing sports betting – specifically, States with DFS already legalized
- Cost structure evolving to a more fixed mix vs. the mostly variable mix currently as this will be the forward figure that determines profitability
- Increasing User Base (Curr.: 12mm) -> Monetized Base (Curr.: 4mm) -> MUP (1Q’20: 0.7mm)
Share Price Target
Given the cost structure of the company, I’m going to base the price targets around Enterprise Value / Revenues (driven by MUPs & ARPUs).
Bear Case MUP: 5mm -> $20.32 - $45.73
Base Case MUP: 5.5mm -> $22.27 - $50.10
Bull Case MUP: 6mm -> $24.21 - $54.47
These MUPs imply a monetized customer base of 28mm – 33mm. At the high-end, this implies that DKNG monetized customer base will equal MGM’s current total user base.
At yesterday’s close of $43.70, DKNG is trading at 3.5x – 4.5x forward Revenues on an expected >5,000 MUPs.
Share Price drivers / considerations:
- Continued multiple expansion
- MUP Growth exceeding beyond targets
Management Team
Jason Robins, 39 – Co-Founder & CEO. Duke BA, started DraftKings from day 1 in 2011. The 2 other buddies he started the Company with are still at DKNG. Dude navigated the Company through the scandal that rocked them in ’15 & ’16, and was the trailblazer in getting DFS labeled as a non-gambling product that enabled it to open in States without a gaming designation. This shit is the stuff that gets people in history books. His accomplishments make him seem like a very competent guy. Has 3 kids now, and only ~3% economic ownership in DKNG but has 90% of the voting power through his Class B share ownership. Also he actively participates in venture investments, sitting on 10 boards.
His comp plan performance bonus target is pretty murky, but main drivers are EPS growth, revenue growth, then a bunch of margin & return metrics, along with share price returns. Overall, very open-ended & it’s safe to say as long as shit doesn’t hit the fan, he will be eligible for his max payouts year over year. I’m assuming the lawyers tried to encompass everything possible for maximum flexibility to justify him earning his max comp as long as DKNG is still around.
Since he’s got voting control of 90%, I’ll end the specific-person overview here, but want to note that they have a very bloated C-suite. 12 folks at DKNG, 8 folks at SBTech, all with C-suite designations. Whereas their main competitor FanDuel, has 3 guys with a C-suite designations & 1 EVP, but is a sub under a larger ParentCo that has its own management team of ~5 guys.
Looking through glassdoor you can see the biggest complaint among employees giving bad reviews is based on management, all of the specific issues they point out IMO are a result of a top-heavy company. Seems like a good starting point to optimize their cost structure, but given Robins' history of sticking this entire thing through with his co-founders since '11 stuff like this doesn't seem to be a part of his playbook. They’re a public company now though, so it’s going to be interesting to see going forward.
TL;DR:
If I were to initiate a position in DKNG, the stock would have to fall to the $35-$37 range for me to be a buyer of the stock, and based on this rough intro analysis I'll be considering Put options if it breaches $50. I would not touch Calls at this level.

[1] Wall Street Research - 6/27/19
[2] https://rotogrinders.com/articles/bang-for-your-buck-a-look-at-dfs-industry-rake-153302
[3] https://draftkings.gcs-web.com/static-files/8f3a5c5a-7228-45bf-aab2-63604111c48d
[4] Wall Street Research - 5/19/20
[5]https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/223071/Dont_monetize_like_League_of_Legends_consultant_says.php
[6] https://rotogrinders.com/threads/how-many-people-actually-play-dfs-regularly-252044
submitted by IAMB4TMAN to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Sam Harris on Michael Bloomberg and stop-and-frisk

Hi folks. In the latest podcast episode (189) Harris made some comments about Michael Bloomberg and stop-and-frisk. Let’s first of all take a look at what Harris said:
“Let’s start with Bloomberg, because he’s someone who is getting, you know there’s at least an attempt to defenestrate him based on a few things he said as mayor which may have been politically imprudent or too candid by half, but in many respects not obviously wrong. And the arguments against him really seem to be pseudoarguments. And so, at the time of recording this this is a fairly vivid scandal or pseudoscandal in journalism now. But, the Democrats are pillorying him over remarks he made that were just unearthed from the Aspen Institute in 2015 when he was talking about stop-and-frisk. And I have the quote here, so this is Bloomberg in 2015, after he was mayor. He was I believe mayor for 11 years of New York City, and the policy for those who don’t recall it, it’s been since more or less phased out, but, the cops were stationed more in minority areas and stopping and frisking people looking for guns, mostly, and crime rates plummeted. There’s some uncertainty about the causal factor there, but it was not irrational at the time to think that stop-and-frisk was part of the policy that was succeeding in causing crime rates to plummet. Anyway, so Bloomberg said:
'95% of your murders and murder victims fit one MO. You can just take the description and Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 15-25. That is true in New York. That is true in virtually every city in America. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people who are getting killed. So you want to spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets. Put those cops where the crime is. Which means minority neighborhoods.'
And then in a subsequent interview he said:
'One newspaper and one news service, they just keep saying ‘Oh it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.’ That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the crime. In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much, and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they’re saying. I don’t know where they went to school, but they certainly didn’t take a math course, or a logic course.'
Alright so he’s clearly making it difficult for himself there, in hindsight, politically. But the reality is, all the data I’ve ever read about violent crime support what he’s saying here. The disproportionate number of perpetrators and the disproportionate number of victims are coming from minority communities. And what these communities suffer from is not too much policing, it’s been the wrong type of policing. There’s too much policing around petty crime, and not enough policing around solving murders, and how to get that right is a difficult question. But the people who are saying that the only way to have arrived at a stop-and-frisk policy was borne of racism, and not caring about the disparities of the way in which crime victimizes communities, that’s just clearly untrue. A completely rational and compassionate attempt to mitigate violent crime could have given you this policy. And it seems to me that the thing the Democratic party has to be able to admit at this point, in order to talk anything like sense on this topic, is that it’s a difficult social problem, that, the mayor was right in his diagnosis, that you could win money all day long in a casino that would allow you to place a bet on the age range and gender and minority identity of a perpetrator of a violent crime in New York City. You know, it’s not the ultra-Orthodox Jews who are mugging people in New York City. But that’s a politically toxic thing to make salient, and the remedy of stop-and-frisk became politically toxic, and probably wasn’t worth doing in hindsight. He could have figured that out earlier than he did, perhaps. But, the fact that he’s being castigated on the left as a racist monster, just seems to be emblematic of all of the miscalibrations in our politics on the left, that the wokeness is ensuring. And it seems, above all, a recipe for giving us four more years of Trump in the end.”
Okay, well I have some thoughts about this. Let’s break this down into what was said, and what wasn’t said.

What was said.

Firstly, Harris is generally misrepresenting the situation when he says Democrats are ‘pillorying him’ over remarks he made. If you look at the transcripts of the two recent debates, the comments aimed at Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy are generally not about the comments Harris quoted, but the policy itself.
From Nevada:
Sanders: ‘In order to beat Donald Trump, we’re going to need the largest voter turnout in the history of the United States. Mr. Bloomberg had policies in New York city of stop-and-frisk, which went after African American and Latino people in an outrageous way.’
Warren: ‘Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women and of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop-and-frisk.’
Biden: Well the fact of the matter is, he has not managed his city very, very well when he was there. He didn’t get a whole lot done. He has stop-and-frisk, throwing close to 5 million young black men up against a wall. And when we came along in our administration, President Obama and said, “We’re going to send in a mediator to stop it.” He said, “That’s unnecessary.”
Biden: ‘Yes. Let’s get something straight. The reason the stop and frisk change is because Barack Obama sent moderators to see what was going on. When we sent them there to say, “This practice has to stop,” the mayor thought it was a terrible idea. We send them there, a terrible idea. Let’s get the facts straight. Let’s get the order straight. And it’s not whether he apologize or not, it’s the policy. The policy was abhorrent and it was, in fact, of violation of every right people have. We are the one, our administration sent in people to monitor it. And the very time the mayor argued against that. This idea that he figured out it was a bad idea. He figured out it was a bad idea after we sent in monitors and said it must stop. Even then he continued the policy.’
Warren: ‘When the mayor says that he apologized, listen very closely to the apology. The language he used is about stop and frisk. It’s about how it turned out. Now this isn’t about how it turned out. This is about what it was designed to do to begin with. It targeted communities of color, it targeted black and brown men from the beginning. And if you want to issue a real apology, then the apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together and the willful ignorance day by day by day of admitting what was happening. Even as people protested in your own street, shutting out the sounds of people telling you how your own policy was breaking their lives. You need a different apology.’
From South Carolina:
King: ‘Mayor Buttigieg, mayor to mayor, mayor to mayor, you've certainly had your issues with the black community as well. Do you think the New York City's implementation of stop and frisk was racist?’
Buttigieg: ‘Yes, in effect, it was. Because it was about profiling people based on their race. And the mayor even said that they disproportionately stopped white people too often and minorities too little. ’
O’Donnell: ‘Senator Klobuchar, was the way that the mayor implemented stop and frisk racist?’
Klobuchar: ‘Yes, and I think that what we need to do instead of just reviewing everything from the past is talk about where we're going to go forward.’
So we can see that generally, the comments being made by Democratic rivals are about the policy, how it was implemented, or how Bloomberg responded to criticism of the policy. Ditto comments made in the press:
Repeating the phrase, “We will not beat Donald Trump with,” Sanders ticked off the issues that have dogged Bloomberg for a week: a “racist” policy like stop-and-frisk that “caused communities of color to live in fear,” his past opposition to raising the minimum wage and that he “blamed the end of racist policies such as redlining for the financial crisis.”
Biden slammed Bloomberg’s record on policing in New York and other issues important to African American voters, a crucial demographic for the Democratic nomination -- and especially for Biden, who has lost black support as Bloomberg’s support among blacks has picked up.
“You take a look at the stop-and-frisk proposals. You take a look at his ideas on redlining he’s talking about. You take a look at what he’s done relative to the African American community,” Biden said. So the idea that the criticism is simply about remarks Bloomberg made is either a misrepresentation or is misleading commentary.
Secondly, ‘the arguments against him really seem to be pseudoarguments’. Which arguments? Because lots of arguments have been made about stop-and-frisk as it relates to Bloomberg, and we’ve already seen that the criticism of Bloomberg isn’t narrowly lazered in on some comments he’s made about it, but is about the policy itself as implemented and handled by Bloomberg. Without specifying the arguments that have been made, or the people who have made them, this is just a lazy and vague assertion. Nevertheless, we can actually look at some arguments against Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy:
evidence has emerged of the harms created by the strategy. We now know that students heavily exposed to stop-and-frisk were more likely to struggle in school, that young men were more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, that this exposure fostered cynicism in policing and government writ large, and that it made residents more likely to retreat from civic life.
In effect, Mr. Bloomberg’s policing record — one of his greatest liabilities as voters begin to appraise him at the ballot box — may have clouded the other accomplishments that form the strongest case for his bid as president, in areas like education, public health and good government.
Recent research by Mr. Bacher-Hicks and Elijah de la Campa found that black middle-school students exposed to more aggressive policing were more likely to later drop out of school and less likely to enroll in college.
The researchers looked at parts of New York that had many stops, not necessarily because those places had high crime or other correlated factors, but because they happened to be assigned a precinct commander who was more likely to advocate frequent stops. Within these neighborhoods, students may not have been stopped themselves. But they went to school in communities where this kind of policing was pervasive.
The negative effects on education appeared for girls, too, even though they were far less likely to be stopped by police than boys or young men. That implies, the researchers suggest, that something deeply embedded in the girls’ environment — like fear or distrust of authority that students learned from it — might have hindered their education. More police stops, the researchers found, were also associated with chronic absenteeism.
That study adds to other research in New York finding that black male students who were more exposed to stop-and-frisk had lower test scores. And other research using surveys about experiences with the police has found that students around the country who were arrested or stopped, or who witnessed these encounters or knew of others involved, had worse grades.
That these effects appear strongest for black students suggests that aggressive policing could worsen racial achievement gaps in school as well.
“All these kinds of disadvantages can accrue and build up,” said Aaron Gottlieb, a professor at the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who has studied policing and student grades. “Let’s say a police stop reduces the likelihood that you go to college. That’s going to impact your earnings in the long run.”
Other research shows that negative interactions with the police can shape how residents think about government and civic institutions, and even democracy more broadly.
“It teaches something really important — and something really negative — about what agents of the state and bureaucracies are supposed to be doing in your community, what role they play, what their character is,” said Amy Lerman, a political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley.
She and Vesla Weaver, a political scientist at Johns Hopkins, have found that even minor encounters with police can reduce the likelihood of voting, a pattern other research of stop-and-frisk in New York has documented as well. Ms. Lerman and Ms. Weaver have shown that aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics can even have a chilling effect on whether residents use a service like 3-1-1 to report issues that have nothing to do with crime at all.
Is this a pseudoargument?
Data suggests that the vast majority of street stops made by the police in New York at the height of stop-and-frisk weren’t particularly helpful in fighting crime: Few led to arrests or uncovered weapons. But research has found that a small subset of stops, those based on specific suspicions by officers and not general sweeps or racial profiling, do appear to have helped reduce crime.
From the study itself:
Impact zones were significantly associated with reductions in total reported crimes, assaults, burglaries, drug violations, misdemeanor crimes, felony property crimes, robberies, and felony violent crimes. Impact zones were significantly associated with increases in total reported arrests, arrests for burglary, arrests for weapons, arrests for misdemeanor crimes, and arrests for property felony crimes. Impact zones were also significantly associated with increases in investigative stops for suspected crimes, but only the increase in stops made based on probable cause indicators of criminal behaviors were associated with crime reductions. The largest increase in investigative stops in impact zones was based on indicators of suspicious behavior that had no measurable effect on crime. The findings suggest that saturating high crime blocks with police helped reduce crime in New York City, but that the bulk of the investigative stops did not play an important role in the crime reductions. The findings indicate that crime reduction can be achieved with more focused investigative stops.
Is this a pseudoargument?
Thirdly: ‘There’s some uncertainty about the causal factor there, but it was not irrational at the time to think that stop-and-frisk was part of the policy that was succeeding in causing crime rates to plummet.’
While it’s not possible for me to say whether it was rational or irrational at the time to think that stop-and-frisk played some role in crime reduction, even at the time, going back to at least 1999 (predating Bloomberg’s first mayoral term), the City had been aware that stop-and-frisk involved widespread constitutional violations:
[The City has] received both actual and constructive notice since at least 1999 of widespread Fourth Amendment violations occurring as a result of the NYPD’s stop and frisk practices. Despite this notice, they deliberately maintained and even escalated policies and practices that predictably resulted in even more widespread Fourth Amendment violations. . . . The NYPD has repeatedly turned a blind eye to clear evidence of unconstitutional stops and frisks.”
Which would not seem to be a great thing for a Presidential candidate to have aggressively expanded and vigorously defended over many years, when there was awareness of widespread constitutional violations at the time.
Fourthly: ‘A completely rational and compassionate attempt to mitigate violent crime could have given you this policy.’ If such a policy were rooted in rationality and compassion, would there not have been consideration for the known widespread constitutional violations and the fact that the vast majority of those being stopped were innocent people having negative experiences with law enforcement? In addition to which, when the New York City Council passed bills which provided oversight of the stop-and-frisk policy, including an independent monitor of the police department, Bloomberg vetoed them both! Surely someone being motivated by rationality and compassion would not object to oversight of their practices?
Fifth: ‘And it seems to me that the thing the Democratic party has to be able to admit at this point, in order to talk anything like sense on this topic, is that it’s a difficult social problem, that, the mayor was right in his diagnosis, that you could win money all day long in a casino that would allow you to place a bet on the age range and gender and minority identity of a perpetrator of a violent crime in New York City. You know, it’s not the ultra-Orthodox Jews who are mugging people in New York City. But that’s a politically toxic thing to make salient…’
So Harris says that this is a politically toxic thing to make salient, but for some reason the Democratic party are supposed to say ‘Well, Bloomberg was right that it’s mostly young black or Latino people committing violent crimes, in fact you could win money all day long betting in a casino on this very proposition!’ and this is…supposed to help them in the election? This sounds utterly ridiculous and a surefire way to alienate and anger voters and depress voter turnout.
Lastly: ‘the remedy of stop-and-frisk…probably wasn’t worth doing in hindsight’. Is this all Harris can say in assessing the policy, it probably wasn’t worth doing in hindsight? No mention of its being unconstitutional in practice, of widespread constitutional violations being known since at least 1999, of the majority of those stopped being innocent people, of various harmful effects it could have caused and which may still be ongoing? This statement is so devoid of awareness or familiarity with the details that it just comes across as either callous or oblivious.

What wasn’t said.

Anyway, I have to say that, when considering both what Harris did and didn’t say about stop-and-frisk, I didn’t find him to be making much sense on this topic. What are your thoughts?
submitted by RalphOnTheCorner to samharris [link] [comments]

The Case of the Missing 40,000 Jerry Nugget Decks

The Case of the Missing 40,000 Jerry Nugget Decks: A Detective Story
NB: I first published this article (with pictures) at PlayingCardDecks here.
Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards. The story of the original Jerry's Nugget decks is a fascinating one, and there are many interesting side-stories to explore about along the way. You can read the main story about the Jerry's Nugget decks in my previous article here: The Legendary Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards.
But the full truth still remains somewhat hidden, and there are aspects about the Jerry's Nugget story that even today we can't totally be sure about. And with the passage of time, several juicy tidbits of lore have become attached to this famous deck.
In this article I invite you to join me in a quest to explore another juicy story that has become part of the Jerry's Nugget legend. Is it true that the final stock of 40,000 Jerry's Nugget decks was bought up from the casino by a mysterious overseas buyer? Because this is an oft-repeated part of the story, that you'll hear whispered rumours about across the landscape of the internet. But this a statement of fact or fiction, and is it truth or myth? It could mean that right now someone is potentially sitting on a small fortune of Jerry's Nugget decks worth around $500 a piece. If it's true.
So please put on your Sherlock Holmes trench-coat and deerstalker hat, arm yourself with a good amount of deductive logic and persistence, and join me as we see if we can really get to the bottom of this mystery, and dredge up the truth behind this famed haul of 40,000 decks!

A Secret Stash of 40,000 Decks?

If you are curious - like I am - and do some digging about the story and history of the Jerry's Nugget decks, it won't take you long to stumble across mention of the claim that a stash of the final 40,000 decks of Jerry's Nuggets was bought up in a single swoop, cleaning out the casino's remaining inventory of these prized decks.
The story about some lucky buyer nabbing a final stash of 40,000 decks is circulated quite widely around the internet. Do a Google search for "40,000 Jerry's Nugget" and look at how many hits this gets! Some places that sell the decks even include this in their ad copy. For example, here's the ad copy over at one online retailer, which was selling authentic decks for $525 before they sold out:
Another online retailer says the same. Many reviewers have parroted this information as well, such as this example. So do various sites dedicated to information about playing cards, such as this example.
As far as many people are concerned, this information is more along the lines of "fact" than fiction, and it's become part of the story that everyone accepts. Little wonder that it is often repeated by collectors in discussion forums about playing cards, and that it has given more than just one person a tinge of envy.

Who is the mysterious buyer?

So who is the lucky guy with 40,000 decks of precious Jerry's Nugget decks hidden in his basement or garage? And is the story even true?
Some of the sources for this story seem quite credible. And they also reveal the buyer's name: French magician Dominique Duvivier. One person quotes Jordan Lapping, apparently among the first cardists to get Jerry's Nugget decks and use them for flourishing.
Dominique Duvivier is a French magician who performs and works with his daughter Alexandra, and together they have a high profile in the world of French magic. They are even well known in the circles of international magic, and were featured on the cover of the June 2013 issue of Genii Magazine.
Norwegian magician Allan Hagen has a long-time interest in the Jerry's Nugget decks, and he also mentions Duvivier's purchase of 40,000 Jerry's Nugget decks as apparent fact in something he posted on Reddit in 2015, where he describes his perspective on their rarity and value.
You'll read similar reports in an article published by Ukrainian cardists Alexander and Nikolay about Jerry's Nugget decks in June 2017. Two things are common to all these accounts: the number 40,000 for the haul of decks purchased by the mysterious overseas buyer. And now his name: Dominique Duvivier.
I contacted a number of different sources, including people who had personal connections with some of the key players who were closely involved when Jerry's Nuggets decks first became a fad among magicians and cardists in the late 1990s. One source told me: "Interesting, the name of the European magician - it was a big secret back then. Someone actually told me his name back then, but it was on the proviso that I never publish it. Well, I see it's out of the bag now."

Was Dominique Duvivier the buyer?

But is there any evidence that Dominique Duvivier was really the mystery buyer whose name had been a carefully kept secret for some time at least? It was time for some more detective work. Google brought me to Duvivier's personal website.
It didn't take long to discover that Duvivier does indeed have a real fondness for Jerry's Nuggets Playing Cards. They are everywhere - in his photos, his videos, and his instagram.
Judging by the many French-language comments on his site, it also becomes apparent that Duvivier is highly respected and appreciated in his home country for his magic. It's also evident from reading some of the comments that his Jerry's Nuggets decks are a signature of his performance. Some even consider them to be the equivalent of a Stradivarius that Duvivier uses to perform with as a master magician.
But it was when I checked Duvivier's youtube channel that I found some real gold: Dominique himself performing with Jerry's Nugget cards in this clip. In fact, if you check out his other videos there, you'll find quite a few where he performs magic with Jerry's Nugget playing cards, like this performance from 2014, this more recent ace cutting routine, and this false shuffle. Duvivier has even contributed a Jerry's Nugget themed trick to the magic industry, entitled Jerry's Nuggets Cards in Bag.
You can watch the promo video for this trick in French or English. His daughter Alexandra Duvivier successfully used it to fool Penn and Teller on their show Fool Us. Here's the episode, and some unseen footage.
But just because Dominique Duvivier happens to really, really like Jerry's Nugget playing cards doesn't prove that he bought out a massive stash of the last 40,000 decks from the casino. So this still begs this question: Did any of this even happen? And is there really someone on this planet with a hoard of 40,000 decks, whether it is Dominique Duvivier or anybody else?
One of my favourite photos on Duvivier's site is this one here, with his haul. If that's any indication, surely the legendary haul was starting to seem somewhat plausible. It was time to ask around, and check in with some of the people who were around when the Jerry's Nugget decks first became the rage.
Of the sources I consulted, few could be considered more reliable than Lee Asher. For many people Lee is synonymous with the Jerry's Nugget phenomenon. He also had close connections with the events of the time, and was instrumental in bringing the Jerry's Nuggets into the limelight in the first place, by singing their paises. He was kind enough to respond when I contacted him for comment about Duvivier's alleged haul of 40,000 Jerry's Nugget decks, and Lee bluntly told me the following:
"This is misinformation. There weren't 40k decks left in 1999. We don't even know if Jerry's even printed 40k decks."
Really? Apparently Lee Asher knew Duvivier personally, and he was the very person who first told Duvivier that the casino even had the cards for sale. He also visited his home and shop in Paris many times throughout this period of time. In Lee's words:
"Without a doubt, I NEVER saw 40k of ANY deck there. That's basically nine pallets worth. The house, their magic shop and night club weren't big enough to house these decks. It also seems Duvivier isn't the last one to buy the remaining decks. Jerry's Nugget Casino believes they sold the last case of cards to someone in Japan in 1999."
Well, it seems that the story had to be put to rest. Was this entire story perhaps just a magnificent urban legend after all? And if it was, where does the number of 40,000 decks come from, and how did this story get so much traction that it spread all around the internet, and is accepted unquestionably by so many people? My task had just become a bit harder, but I wasn't going to give up yet. It was time to try to track down where the many websites that quoted this story got the figure of 40,000 from in the first place.

Where does the figure of 40,000 come from?

With some more digging, the oldest article I could find on the subject was by a card collector who has a collection of fine articles on his site, White Knuckle Cards. This particular article dates back to 2009, and is one of the earliest references to the legendary stash of 40,000 decks that I could find.
This particular article seems to be the first time the figure of 40,000 pops up, pre-dating all the more recent mentions of it. And it's not hard to figure out how it spread from there. On 6 August 2015, someone called "Doctor Papa Jones" added these details to Wikipedia's article on Jerry's Nuggets, evidently relying on the White Knuckle Cards article. As a result the Wikipedia article now read as follows: "In 2000, a private collector purchased the remaining stock of 40,000 decks".
So now this "fact" is on Wikipedia and has some real "credibility". In fact, the number 40,000 stays up on Wikipedia for the next five years unchallenged! And that allows it to spread around the internet and go wild. Because where does everyone go when they're looking for reliable, authoritative, and trustworthy information about something? Wikipedia!
Despite the mention of the magical stash of 40,000 decks, Duvivier's name remained out of the spotlight for a further four years. It was simply a mysterious "private collector" who had purchased the big haul. But in 2019, someone connected the dots to Duvivier, and so the Wikipedia article was changed to include his name.
So how did that happen? Well the supporting reference that Doctor Papa Jones included in his 2015 edit was a link to an article by Dan and Dave Buck, dating back to 7 Dec 2011. This article is also no longer available, but can be tracked down with the help of the Internet Archive here. It doesn't give the figure of 40,000 but does drop Duvivier's name.
So the evidence seems to suggest this development: Apparently relying on the White Knuckle Cards article from 2009 as a source, the number 40,000 first embedded itself in the WIkipedia article on Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards in 2015. Slowly the story grew, until somebody finally connected the dots that were hidden in plain sight elsewhere on the internet, and as a result Duvivier's name gets added four years later. Now things are set up for a great story: Mr Duvivier is sitting on a massive stash of 40,000 Jerry's Nuggets in France.
The story gained even more traction as a result of the revived interest in Jerry's Nuggets that inevitably happened when a tribute deck was printed in 2019. It was inevitable that many would rely on Wikipedia as a source, and so the details even ended up being quoted in ad copy for the reprinted decks. What had previously just been a matter of quiet rumour or speculation, was now considered as fact. Oh, the joy of Wikipedia - it has certainly helped promote quite the legend here!
And it doesn't take a genius to see that if this is true, Duvivier could be sitting on a small fortune. At $500 each, 14,000 decks would be worth around $700,000. Naturally a market flooded with them would drop their value. But even if the going price dropped to $100 a piece, that would still value his holdings at over $100,000. Even if he just sold the occasional decks at $500 a pop, this windfall could generate a nice little secondary income. That is, if the legend is true, a fact yet to be proven....

Revising the figure

Because this year, the Wikipedia article was changed. By now of course the (mis)information about Duvivier's haul had gone far and wide, and a lot of potential damage has already been done. But on 25 March 2020 someone called "TheCongressGuy" changed it to read that Duvivier "purchased the remaining stock of 1,500-2000 decks".
Suddenly the number of Duvivier's legendary purchase had been reduced from 40,000 to something around 5% of the size. A figure of 1,500-2000 seems much more likely. So who made the change and what was their source?
I did some more digging and managed to track down TheCongressGuy. He is Kevan Seaney, who describes himself as an "antique playing cards collector, specializing in the Congress 606 brand" and posts here. In February 2020 he wrote here that he'd learned that Duvivier had not purchased 40,000 decks. I was curious, and eventually found the following video that he posted about this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2pctAEuiZA
And who was his source that Kevan credits for correcting the previous (mis)information about the number 40,000? If you watch that video, you'll find out that it is none other than the great Lee Asher. Lee Asher isn't just "anyone". He's a playing card expert, and the current president of 52 Plus Joker The American Playing Card Collectors Club. He's the guy who first generated public interest in Jerry's Nugget decks, brought them to the attention of cardists like the Buck twins and Chris Kenner, and was later a purveyor of these icon decks via his website. He's also had personal connections with Duvivier, was the person who informed Duvivier that they were available from the casino, and has personally spent a lot of time with him in Paris.
And Lee Asher is a key person that has helped get real Jerry's Nugget decks into the hands of a new generation today. He's the guy who was instrumental in making a collaboration happen between Jerry's Nugget Casino and Expert Playing Card Company, by suggesting that EPCC get the exclusive licence needed to reprint these iconic decks in 2019, as announced in an official press release here.
It's plain that along with EPCC's Bill Kalush, Lee Asher (pictured below) was singularly responsible for getting an officially licensed Jerry's Nugget deck back into the hands of a new generation and into the collections of those who couldn't afford the massive sticker price of the originals. So if anyone has a passion for the original Jerry's Nuggets, it is Lee Asher. Of anyone in this picture, Lee is the person with the most credibility, and his opinion and perspective should carry a lot of weight.
With Asher as his source, Kevan Seaney points out that 40,000 decks of Jerry's Nugget playing cards is the equivalent of around 8 pallets. That's a massive amount, and would weigh around four tons. And it would take up a tremendous amount of space! Kevan cites Lee Asher as saying (via voice messages in Instagram) that in 1999 Asher told Duvivier that he could get the decks from the casino, and that Duvivier bought around 1,500-2000 decks at the time. Lee subsequently visited his home and store - France's oldest magic shop - in France many times. And according to Asher, there was no way Duvivier had room for 40,000 decks. Kevin also says that Lee Asher pointed out to him that these were technically not the final lot of decks sold by the casino anyway, and that the last decks (a "case" of unknown size) probably went to Japan.
Wow. That really changes things! So based on this apparent "new information" from Lee Asher - who to his credit has apparently been saying this all along - Wikipedia gets a new edit by TheCongressGuy aka Kevin Seaney. The impressive figure of 40,000 is reduced to a much more modest 1500-2000, which is paltry by comparison to the much larger figures circulating the internet, and not nearly as impressive a story. But this is only after Wikipedia has been singing a different tune for five years, so the `damage' has been done, and the story of Duvivier's windfall of 40,000 Jerry's Nuggets is already accepted by most people as a true story.

Duvivier's own story

Suddenly it occurred to me to investigate Duvivier himself. Was this perhaps a line of inquiry that might produce some solid leads and definitive facts? Has the man himself ever commented on all these stories about his legendary haul? Could I find anything directly from the man himself that would shed some light on these legends? In fact, why hadn't I thought of this earlier? Just because nobody else seems to have dug up or reported anything from the man's own mouth, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. I slapped myself for my own foolishness, and headed back to Google.
As it turns out, Duvivier has written about this! But because it's an article in French, it's escaped notice from most people. Since he's popular as a professional magician in France, he not only has his own website, but he also writes his own blog. And sure enough, he's addressed this very topic in a blog article that he wrote in April 2011 under the title "Magiphageuh No 14: Les Jerry's Nugget".
With the help of an online translation tool, we learn this:
"As most of you already know, I only use real "Jerry's Nugget" cards to work with and have been doing so for many years. As these cards happen to be extremely rare to find on the market (I am obviously talking about the original Jerry's Nugget cards and not the recently reprinted ones) and they excite the magical world a lot, I am therefore constantly asked how many I own, how long have I owned them, what deal I made to get them and with whom, why do I have so many cards, why did I choose these specifically, why don't I want to sell them, why, why, eh?! And I hear such amazing stories about myself on these famous "Jerry's Nugget" cards that I decided to speak on the subject myself today."
This sounds very promising! Duvivier then goes on to tell the story about how the Jerry's Nuggets gained their legendary reputation, and the unique qualities they have. In France in the 1970s, American playing cards were quite rarely seen, and Duvivier knew a French pilot commandant called Reyno who loved magic, who would occasionally bring back cards from the US to a small circle of French magicians. At this time even standard Bicycle and Tally Ho decks were prized by these French conjurers, so besides them a Jerry's Nugget deck was considered a real crown jewel.
Over the years Duvivier occasionally got more of the Jerry's Nugget decks, sometimes even an entire case of them at once, especially via his friend Michael Weber, who was his main supplier. We fast forward to 1999, when he finds himself heading to Las Vegas to perform at The Magic Castle. Here's the story in his words, courtesy of an online translation tool:
"In 1999 (if I'm not mistaken) my daughter Alexandra and I were hired to perform for a whole week at Magic Castle and then for a few contracts in Las Vegas. You may think that I had only one idea in mind at the time: a trip to the original casino where my favourite cards were from, Jerry's Nugget! Michael Weber had told me that there were still a few decks for sale there, so as soon as we arrived I immediately asked Philip Varricchio, who had come to pick us up in a limousine, to take us there. He was rather surprised, as we hadn't even put our bags down at the hotel (yes, I'm a fool) and the old Jerry's casino wasn't really known for being a must-see place! So I told him that I wanted to go there to buy Jerry's Nugget cards. According to him it was impossible to get them for the simple reason that they hadn't been around for a long time, but I was so insistent that he finally complied (hey, hey, hey!). When we arrived there, we went to the gift shop of the casino and I asked the salesman if he was selling their decks.
- Yes," he told me, "I have a few.
He shows me a small piece of wall in the back of the store where a hundred decks were on display. I ask about the price. Not even expensive!
- Well, I'll take them," I say (laughs).
And of course I ask if he has more in reserve! Yes, there were about a hundred boxes left (each box containing a large number of cards, 144 decks!). After a little negotiation, the unit price was even lowered to less than $1.
That's it, that's how it happened and that's it. In fact, in all this story, the most difficult, the longest and the most expensive was to get the stock back to France.
Since then, I've been seeing, little by little, the bids going up on these cards in a rather hallucinating way, whereas, of course, that wasn't my initial motivation at all. From the moment I bought the remaining stock, it's as if everyone wanted to own even more! But I just wanted to have enough stock of Jerry's Nugget decks because I'm a card fanatic and these in particular. I use these cards because they're the best cards I know and I've fought like a big man to own enough of them for me (I should mention that I never had a middleman or a partner to buy these cards). Anyone could have done as I did and I don't understand why no one did: you just had to take the trouble to go to this casino, because the cards were available! In any case, now they are all warm and cosy in different safes, which I won't tell you about. They say I'm the person with the most cards in the world, but I have to say I don't care. I know Chris Kenner is the one who planned it, he has a lot of them too. I've been offered golden bridges to sell a few packages, or even my entire stock. I've had some incredible offers over the years. I never intended to create a buzz with these cards: I just use them for my own personal consumption, that's all...because they're my favorite cards."
Probably the key sentence in that account is this, and the best translation seems to be something like this:
"Yes, there were about a hundred boxes left (each box containing a large number of cards, that's 144 decks!)."
The formula is simple: around 100 boxes with 144 decks each. If true, that would mean 100 x 144 = 14,400 decks. Given that this is directly from the horse's mouth, suddenly the story becomes slightly more plausible. So too is his additional statement:
"In all this story, the most difficult, the longest and the most expensive was to get the stock back to France."
That suggests he didn't bring the whole stash to France in one go, which might explain why visitors like Lee Asher and others who saw his home and magic shop never saw any evidence of them. I'm not a French speaker, so I'm happy to be corrected if I'm misunderstanding anything Duvivier has written - by all means check the article for yourself in the original French, to see if I've got it right. But the long and short of it seems to be that Duvivier is saying that what he bought from Las Vegas around 1999 was not a stash of 40,000 Jerry's Nuggets decks, but 14,000 decks.
14,000 is not nearly as impressive a figure. But even though it's only a third of the size of what the legend floating around the internet says, 14,000 decks is still an incredibly impressive haul. Certainly the amount of pictures and videos that show Duvivier performing with Jerry's Nugget cards, seems to suggest that they are very much part of his regular repertoire. It could just be possible, and maybe I've finally found the truth!
Perhaps the most defining photo of all is this one (credited to Zakary Belamy), which shows Duvivier enjoying a bath with his Jerry's Nugget playing cards! Given the value of these playing cards on the market today, some might consider this sacrilege, but it sure suggests he has a large enough supply of Jerry's Nugget cards. At any rate, his collection of them seems large enough that he can even afford to take them to the bath for a photo op along with his favourite yellow rubber ducky.

But is it true?

Was the mystery solved at last? It was time to get back in contact with Lee Asher, and share my findings. But despite the claims of Duvivier in his 2011 article, Lee is not convinced that Duvivier is a credible source. To be fair, this is what Lee Asher has been saying all along, and for years he's been saying that the story about the legendary haul of 40,000 decks wasn't supported by the facts.
Ultimately what this comes down to is: are we going to believe what Duvivier says? For the most part, Duvivier has appeared to have had little interest in setting the record straight, despite the fact that the rumour of him nabbing 40,000 decks persisted as long as it did. And if he does have a large stash, why has he shown little interest in selling any of the decks that he does have, instead being happy to hoard them or use them only for himself? Would he really have spent all the time, energy, and money necessary to ship even 14,000 decks of playing cards across the ocean from the United States to Europe, just for his personal usage, at a time when the street value of these was only a dollar or two a piece? And if he did, where did he put them, and why has nobody ever seen his stash, including those who visited his home?
There are other details about Duvivier's record of events that call aspects of his narrative into question, such as his complete omission of any mention of Lee Asher, who was the one who made him aware of where he could get them. And in those days, the casino gift shop was very small, so is it really reasonable for them to display 100 decks on their back wall, as Duvivier claims in his 2011 article, when they had such little space to work with?
I had some private correspondence with another magician/cardist who has also stayed at Duvivier's house, and that individual expressed similar sentiments. He agreed that there was no evidence of Duvivier ever owning that many decks. Just do the math: 40,000 decks would mean Duvivier could use a brand new deck every single day for more than 100 years before he chewed through a collection of decks that size. Again: very unlikely. If he really did have that many, it would be way more than he could ever use, and surely he would have sold some by now - which he hasn't. This person remains somewhat skeptical, but acknowledges that the figure of 14,000 is a more realistic number that is not beyond the realms of possibility, especially if Duvivier has them locked up in a storage facility in Paris somewhere.
As an educated guess, it seems that there is good reason to cast some suspicion on this story, and there are some aspects about it that seem rather unlikely. Shipping that many decks, at the time only worth a buck or two each at most, all the way from Las Vegas to Paris would be crazy. But a man willing to jump into a bath with a yellow rubber duck and destroy $1000 worth of playing cards in the process strikes me as crazy enough to do it. Perhaps Duvivier's story is true after all.

A final twist

I was now several weeks into my adventures as an investigative journalist, and I was getting ready to wrap up my story and publish it. But there was one final lead that I had not yet explored. If I was really going to try every possible avenue of information, I had to try contacting Dominique Duvivier himself. Why not? Admittedly, the odds of getting a response from someone about his apparent stash of precious Jerry's Nuggets wasn't likely. If there was any truth to the story about his legendary haul, even to some degree, then he's undoubtedly had hundreds of inquiries over the years. Just imagine the long lines of people asking him about his stash, trying to convince him to part with some of it. If yet another email comes in on this subject, he'd probably roll his eyes and press `delete'. He is working full time as a professional magician after all, and has a career to worry about. I couldn't blame him if he was tired of responding to what undoubtedly would be countless messages from prospective buyers.
But I had no intention to buy anything, so as a good amateur journalist, I had to try. It was a long shot, but to my surprise, I got a response from Duvivier the very same day! It wasn't much, but it included one unexpected bombshell - especially after the journey I'd been on so far: "You'll be glad to know that a special article is going to appear in next Genii Magazine. It's called Dominique Duvivier and Jerry's Nugget cards."
I was stunned. Was someone else working on exactly the same story as me, and had they beat me to the punch? Maybe even Duvivier himself? Could it really be true that in little more than two weeks time, the next issue of Genii was scheduled to come out, and would potentially reveal all? Suddenly I knew that I had to wait with publishing my story. In further emails, Dominique was tight-lipped about any more details. At the very least, surely I would have to wait until that issue of Genii was available, and fork out my cash and purchase a subscription in order to read it. I owed it to my readers to explore every last clue, and give them a story that included all the evidence.
So that is what I did. I waited for the July issue to appear online. Digital editions of Genii are released online each month on the 20th of the month. Finally 20th of June rolled around, and I eagerly perused the contents of the latest issue. Nothing. Nothing remotely Duvivier related. Nothing Jerry's Nugget related. Was Duvivier for real? An inquiry with the editor of Genii produced this response: "Not this issue. Coming up." Would it be August or September maybe? Further inquiries produced only silence.
In follow up correspondence with the Frenchman himself, Duvivier told me "I wrote the article myself. It?s quite long." That sounded promising, but it could just be about his love affair with Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards, rather than a "tell all" story about his haul. There still was no guarantee that it would even be published. And I couldn't be sure that it would offer any more information than his blog article from 2011 which already gave his side of the story, or that it would be any more reliable than the version of events he'd provided there. Was it really worth waiting any longer? It was time to share my findings with the world anyway, and I could always provide an addendum to my story if any credible new information appeared.

Final Thoughts

Is this the final word on this subject? No. I've tried to do the best I could based on information available to me, and shared as much as I could with my readers, so that you can form your own conclusions based on the evidence so far. Undoubtedly there are still some missing puzzle pieces, and in future years some new information could come to light that shows that some of my conclusions were misplaced or that puts aspects of this story a slightly different perspective.
Today we are two full decades removed from the time when the original decks first sold out at the Jerry's Nugget casino. And the further removed in time that we come, the harder it becomes to uncover the truth. Memories become murky. As it is nobody at the casino seems to remember the specific details of what happened. At the time they were probably only too glad to get the remaining stock out of their hands, and nobody could have anticipated how these decks would become the famous icons that they are today. Even their chief evangelist Lee Asher has to be somewhat surprised at the turn of events he's produced since first singing their praises some twenty years ago!
So what can we conclude from all of this? Here's some final thoughts that I'll leave you with:
1. Don't believe everything you read on the internet.
Unfortunately, it's a fact of modern life that not everything on the internet is true. And as we've seen, this also applies to sites like Wikipedia. For topics that have a large number of experts or people interested in a particular subject, changing the facts on a Wikipedia article will quickly see the changes being reverted. But with a more niche subject, like Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards, and especially when it concerns circumstantial material that nobody is quite sure about, it's easy for misinformation to enter Wikipedia. And once it's embedded there, eventually the lore spreads and becomes considered as "fact". So it's important to check your sources, and don't take everything you see online as gospel truth - even if it's on Wikipedia.
2. The legend about the stash of 40,000 decks should be put to rest once and for all.
It's a myth, and there simply is no evidence for this claim anywhere. At most, there is the claim from Duvivier himself that he bought up about 14,000 decks. That might be true, but again, we only have his word for this. As a counter-point, there are those like Lee Asher who know Duvivier and have visited him many times, and insist that they never saw any evidence of this. The enormous cost of shipping a large stash like this to Europe already makes it somewhat hard to believe.
There's no doubt that Duvivier is a huge fan of Jerry's Nugget decks, and he appears to own and use them more than most. But in the end, how credible is he? How seriously are you going to take someone who is happy to post a picture of himself in a bath with a rubber duck and playing cards from a Jerry's Nugget deck? Either that means he has far more decks than he knows what to do with, or he is a little loopy. Or perhaps it's a bit of both. You've had an opportunity to read all the evidence for yourself, so you decide.
Either way, we can safely say that there has never been a stash of 40,000 decks, and the jury is out on whether there was even ever a stash one third of this size. But even if the size of the legendary stash turns out to be smaller than first thought, the reputation and magnetism of the Jerry's Nugget decks has only increased in size, and these now iconic decks will remain firmly embedded in playing card lore.
------------------
Update from the writer: After the original publication of this article, Dominique Duvivier personally phoned me on 24 July 2020 to discuss it, and to share his side of this story. He remembers events slightly differently than Lee Asher does. As Duvivier recalls it, his own interest in the Jerry's Nugget decks dates back to the 1970s and 1980s. At that time he was sourcing them from his friend Michael Weber, who along with magicians like Chris Kenner was also interested in these decks. According to Dominique, he only met Lee Asher during his USA tour in 1999, after he had already bought out the remaining stock from the Jerry's Nugget casino. Duvivier confirmed that the figure of 14,000 accurately reflects the approximate number of decks he purchased from the casino at this time. He shipped the majority of these to France by boat, and stored them in a warehouse, intending them to serve as a life-time supply for himself and his family. Look for his story in an upcoming issue of Genii magazine.
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[TIMELINE] Analyzing The Past to Predict the Future - Everything We Should Consider on the Road to GTA VI

[TIMELINE] Analyzing The Past to Predict the Future - Everything We Should Consider on the Road to GTA VI
[QUICK MOD NOTE] This post was originally posted by Lenlfc on GTAforums, original post here. ALL CREDIT GOES TO HIM FOR ALLOWING ME TO DO THIS. It's extremely detailed and extensive, but it also gives a full look at previous leaks and speculation about GTA V, RDR 2, and the upcoming GTA VI. It's well worth your read if you're at all interested in speculation and leaks for GTA VI, considering it has a lot of information about how Rockstar has done things in the past, and how they may do things with GTA VI. It also has all of the confirmed information we have for GTA VI, like everyone has been asking for. Enjoy!
LENLFC will also be updating his original GTAForum's post often when new, reliable information comes out that is worth adding to his timeline.
TL:DR: This is very long. Please don't be mean if you think I went too far. I just wanted to be as detailed as possible, and compile as much evidence and proof as possible, so we can work out the most accurate and likely scenario. I've never done anything like this before. So please be kind.
Hi. So, Red Dead Redemption 2 has come and gone. Feels like forever we waited for it. Hard to believe it released almost 4 months ago. It's that time when many of us will start looking forward to the next Rockstar game. I have been on this site since the first leaks for GTA V popped up online. In that time, I have watched fairly quietly, barely getting involved. I've read a lot, and enjoyed it all, but never actively helped out. I want to warn you all that this post will be pretty lengthy, and as I'm not a regular poster, my formating or writing may not be the best. But I'm a big fan of Rockstar Games, and have a weird fascination with remembering small things. So I wanted to try my best to compile everything we know about how Rockstar go about making their games, what they have done in the past and do some crazy conspiracy theory like deducing to try to predict when, where and how we can find clues to GTA VI, and when they may announce or release it.
Firstly, I'd like to credit and thank Dan Dawkins. Many of you may not know who he is, but long story short, he's a journalist, and back in July 2011 he wrote an article in the magazine PSM3. In the article he predicted many things about GTA V (some correct, some incorrect) he researched all the available data and pooled it together, and used that to speculate about GTA V. That was a massive influence on me growing up, on how to speculate responsibly and use common sense to work out where a game or series may go next. So thank you, Dan!

FACTS

Now, onto the main topic. What do we know about GTA VI? Not a lot. Dan Houser recently said that they're thankful they're not releasing GTA VI while Trump is in office. While he's never actually quoted as saying they won't release it while Trump is in office, I think journalists used that for a catchy headline. But the point remains. GTA is heavily based on British satire of USA. The current political climate makes it very difficult for them to do this. If we take it literally, GTA VI won't release until 2021 or 2025, depending on how long he is in office. Unless I have my dates wrong. I'd be willing to bet they had 2021 in mind. However, my personal take on this was that Dan simply meant "thank god we're not releasing GTA VI in 2018" And knowing it'l take them years to even release their next game, Trump will no longer be President.
We also know Rockstar Games will make another GTA. And that is about it. If there is anything else concrete, that we know, that I have missed please let me know.

THE PAST

GTA V TIMELINE
Here's where we start digging and look to the past, what Rockstar has done before and try our best to work out their timelines and how they go about things. Now, in order to do this, I'd like to begin with GTA V, as that is when Rockstar Games transitioned into the one big game every 5 years, as opposed to the game every year studio.
April 20th 2009 the first ever build for GTA V was created. I'm not sure if this is when development officially began, or just the date of the first build. Either way, I doubt there is much difference. They were busy working on TBoGT at that point, having just released TLaD 2 months prior. This was discovered from the Build Log. I will go into detail on this later. However this wasn't discovered until 2014, I just thought it was worth putting here to stamp the timeline.
The earliest rumors for GTA V began on July 26th 2010, with reports of Rockstar researching locations in and around Hollywood. Rockstar declined to comment on this, saying they don't comment on "rumors and speculation". To this day we still don't know if this was legit, or otherwise. However the game did end up being set in Los Santos. So it was either true or coincidentally correct.
Next came the domain name leaks on February 25th 2011. That date might be off by a couple of days, but the original GTA V Leak Topic has it dated to the 25th. (Fun fact, this is the leak and topic where I signed up to GTAForums!) Very GTA sounding website names. After GTA IV introduced the internet to us, it was no surprise to think GTA V would expand on that, and the domain names registered sounded right out of a GTA game. This was proven true, as the websites did appear in game.
On March 8th 2011 more fuel was added to the GTA V fire, when the codenamed "Rush" casting call was leaked online. Like the website, they sounded like something out of a GTA game.
This was further expanded on the 29th of March when Take Two put out a private casting call, further hinting at development on GTA V being well underway.
October 5th 2011 In an Asked & Answered article, 2 users asked about the next GTA, with Rockstar replying with the following
“When are we going to see a new GTA????? #bestgameever” - received via Twitter“When's the new grand theft auto coming out?” - received via Twitter
Big, big shout to all Grand Theft Auto fans worldwide who we know are anxious to hear about what’s next for the franchise but we don’t have any news at this time.All we can say is, right now, we’re focused on our next upcoming releases which are Max Payne 3 as well as L.A. Noire for PC, Red Dead Redemption Game of the Year Edition and Max Payne for mobile devices. When and if we have anything to report regarding the Grand Theft Auto franchise, you know that we’ll do so here at the Newswire or on our Twitter or Facebook.
And then it happened. GTA V was officially announced on October 25th 2011 at 12pm BST, linked below.
https://twitter.com/RockstarGames/status/128788090969001984?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E128788090969001984&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fgtaforums.com%2Findex.php%3Fapp%3Dcore%26module%3Dsystem%26controller%3Dembed%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FRockstarGames%2Fstatus%2F128788090969001984%3Fs%3D20
This announcement came only 20 days after saying the above on October 5th 2011
This goes to show that Rockstar can say one thing, then surprise us weeks later.
The first trailer then debuted on November 2nd 2011
Everything past this point, until release I feel is not relevant to this discussion. It is more to do with post announce schedules and marketing, and when to expect news or updates or trailers for an already announced major game. If this topic does well, I could add it, or put it in a spoiler box so it's optional detail. Otherwise the next points worth talking about come into play upon release, and where Rockstar go after this.
September 17th 2013 GTA V finally releases. We rejoice.
October 1st 2013, two weeks after the launch of GTA V GTA Online launches.
This is where it gets interesting and complicated. We know now that their next game was Red Dead Redemption 2. However, Rockstar weren't finished with GTA V. Many people claim that Rockstar stopped caring about their fans and gamers, citing images like these
You can actually pinpoint the year Rockstar discovered microtransactions.
Now, I bring these up, as it is important to understand just how Rockstar now operate. Love it or hate it, but GTA Online has allowed Rockstar to not release games as often. Allowing them to work on one game as Rockstar Studios, where they all work together, instead of separate teams, like Rockstar North (GTA) and Rockstar San Diego (RDR) for example. The income from GTA Online has seemingly allowed them to spend 5 years working on Red Dead Redemption 2, perfecting a masterpiece. Allowing them to make the game they wanted, and allowing them to take all the time necessary to innovate and make a living breathing world even more so than GTA V did.
Some time in January 2014 the GTA V Build Log was found. Apparently it was on the game disc, and dedicated fans dug into the files and found it. I bring this up, as it reveals some key interesting details. such as the date of the first GTA V build/when GTA V development began. This is important as we can use this information later to try to work out when they may start their next project.
Throughout 2014 Rockstar were hard at work developing the PC, PS4 & Xbox One versions of the game. I don't know how much work that would be, but they weren't simple upres versions of the game. They included new features and plenty of big enhancements. The PC version was delayed into 2015 for added polish. And leslie Benzies took a sabbatical on September 1st, for 17 months.
The next key detail to note is from January 2016, I think. Leslie Benzies leaves Rockstar North. I feel this is important to note, as it could have delayed a lot of Rockstars plans, as a lot of staff left with him, Rockstar would go on to deal with a lawsuit which could only be an unnecessary distraction. There was a topic here on GTAForums discussing it. Needless to say the whole situation was pretty shady and the details don't really matter too much.
Rockstar had also planned single player DLC for GTA V, multiple datamines suggested 3 packs, as well as Ash735 on Neogaf confirming this. We can take this with a grain of salt, but if it were made up, then it's a pretty dull and uninteresting thing to make up.
They had also promised Heists for GTA Online, which was quickly becoming very popular. I personally believe (And this is where speculation begins) that the SP DLC was the unfortunate victim in all of this. They HAD to get the next gen versions out, as if you're launching an online game, you can't rely on players sticking with old consoles when the next gen consoles launch only 2 months after GTA Online launches. They had to get Heists out, which were promised before the entire game even released. More so than the SP DLC, which was just a closing line on a Newswire article, albeit multiple times. And development on their next game ramping up, going into full production, combined with the restructuring of Rockstar North due to Leslie Benzies leaving... SP DLC may have been an unfortunate victim.
Article 1
Article 2
Article 3
GTA V launches on PS4 & Xbox One on November 18th 2014
PC version launched on April 14th 2015
Rockstar Games are now done with development on GTA V, now solely focusing on GTA Online updates, in terms of Grand Theft Auto
April 3rd 2014 Thanks to @EVOLUT7ON for bringing this to my attention. In a Q&A with DJ Whoo on BallerStatus, he allegedly reveals he will be in the next GTA, which will be in Liberty City again. BallerStatus. And thanks to iNero for his topic.

RDR2 TIMELINE

August 2013 Roger Clark's first day on set, for Red Dead Redemption 2
Roger Clark: "My first day on the project was in August of 2013. With the context of this particular installment, I was the first to come on, apart from Rob and Ben who worked on the previous chapter."
4th September 2014 Rockstar San Diego start hiring for next gen consoles. They allegedly went on a hiring spree for an upcoming project. Which we would later find out to be Red Dead Redemption 2.
December 11th 2014 Actor Jorge Consejo posts a selfie on Instagram, wearing a typical mocap or performance capture suit. However it doesn't match the one used in GTA V
September 2015, [Original Source] Rockstar started hiring for more jobs. They seem to relate to a stealth based game, but so far they haven't released anything that would indicate what they were hired for.
Then the leaks start happening...
November 29th 2015 An ex Rockstar employee hints that RDR2 is their next project. The infamous “Really, Dumbass. Really? Two“ comment by Danny Ross, on Reddit. Archive of actual post
April 13th 2016 the map for RDR 2 leaks on NeoGaf. This was unprecedented. The map for a huge open world Rockstar Games game has never leaked online 6 month before the game was even announced. Link to the map.
October 18th 2016 Rockstar finally announce Red Dead Redemption 2, after teasing in the days leading up to the 18th.
July 27th 2017 Stuntman, Tim Neff's online resume leaks that he worked on RDR2 and GTA VI. He denied involvement in RDR2, but claimed he worked on GTA V, and that it was a mistake. He also had personal instagram photos from Rockstar San Diego, with captions strongly suggesting he was there for work. He denied it, saying it was just a photo taken outside that anyone could take. He quickly removed them. He was not credited in GTA V, but by RDR2's release he is indeed credited in RDR2.
Friday September 29th 2017 A reddit user posted a thread mentioning a recent leak which had been deleted. I do not know the date that it was originally posted. But it was over a year before the game released. And was entirely accurate. these leaks will serve a purpose later on.
December 25th 2017 GTAForums User @Jabalous brings to our Attention the actor Jorge Consejo, his previously mentioned Instagram selfie, and his CV/Resume. Which mentions min being in GTA 6, playing the role "The Mexican" (Featured).
CGI meaning motion capture work, etc.
In April of 2018, I'm not sure of the date, maybe the 18th? The article has since been removed. But I copied the article into a notepad file. Trustedreviews.com published an article based of a memo and some notes about the game. They claimed to have received this information in August 2017, but didn't post it due to fears it was fake. It wasn't until Rockstar released a screenshot that matched one that they had also received that they decided to publish this information, now believing it to be genuine. Here is an image of the text copy of the article (reddit formatting issues)
November 1st 2018 Rockstar sue TrustedReviews for £1M Essentially proving the leak to be true. Although the game itself proves it to be true, it's interesting that Rockstar sued for that much. Or sued at all.
January 6th 2019 Rockstar start hiring for next generation
Rockstar's career opening page - Credit to @el carlitos for that one!
-----------------------------------------------Unconfirmed Speculation-----------------------------------------------
January 30th (Specific date still debatable) Film Florida have guest Leah Sokolowsky on their podcast. She briefly mentions a recent change in her work
Recently as you're aware we've had a change in the types of productions that are coming to our state. So I've also been very fortunate to get a large client that has hired me to arrange basically site tours and visits. It's uh digital media company. And I've signed an NDA so I can't disclose who it is. But they've been exploring various areas of our state, and of other states in the south east. And I've been planning and arranging those visits for their personnel and that's been kind of a very interesting expansion of what I normally do, as well.
Here's the link to that quote.
It's suggested this is Take Two Interactive/Rockstar Games, as a reddit user claimed on October 6th 2019 scouts were looking around his area, and asked for permission to take photographs of the building. Which was later followed up by a photograph of an alledged document/contract as proof on October 8th 2019
-----------------------------------------------End of Unconfirmed Speculation-----------------------------------------------
February 13th 2019 VP of product development Jeronimo Barrera departs Rockstar Games after 20 years. This might not seem anything significant, but it's one of his quotes that I think it very important.
"If I had stayed at Rockstar it would have been more GTAs, more RDRs and less of this other stuff going on out there right now." While that is nothing concrete. It does indicate that Rockstar will be working on Red Dead and GTA for the foreseeable future. That won't surprise many of us, but it's just a little detail that gives us hope that GTA is next, and not another franchise like Bully, L.A. Noire or Max Payne, for example.
April 18th 2019 a former Rockstar India employee has mention of creating vehicles for GTA V and upcoming GTA 6 in his artstation resume Thanks to ApolloThunder's post.
Now those are the most important details I feel. Now I may have missed some other details people might find important. In August of 2017 the stunt actor Tim Neff was involved in a alleged leak for RDR2 & GTA 6. It was quickly 'debunked' Although many believed there were holes in the methods used to debunk it. And his removal of Instagram photos taken at Rockstar San Diego was suspicious to many users. I do not believe it holds enough water to use it as any evidence. But we can use it to speculate.
July 9th 2019 Jorge Consejo likes and quotes a tweet about him being in GTA 6

Now We Use All This Information to Speculate

The first clues we should look for are reports of Rockstar scouting locations. We know from articles and or interviews that Rockstar take thousands of photographs when creating their worlds, so any reports of Rockstar Staff i researching locations should be a very good indication. However, they can be very secretive.
Same goes for Rockstar or Take Two registering domain names or sending out casting calls. So far we've heard nothing of the sort. again, we don't always hear these things. I don't recall hearing anything about casting for RDR2 at any point between 2012 & 2016.
Combined with the fact that Rockstar only just released RDR2 4 months ago. I think it's pretty safe to sat development on their next game hasn't fully begun yet, or will do very soon. If we look back to the build log for GTA V, they created the first build on April 20th 2009. pretty much one year after GTA IV released. By that logic the first build for GTA VI would have been created in September 2014, right? Well, considering they had to work on the next gen and PC versions for so long. I'd wager they started much, much later. We know that these days Rockstar operate as Rockstar Studios, all working together on one game at a time. But if the NeoGaf user is to be believed, pre production for GTA VI began in 2012, which is actually entirely believable. As Rockstar began work on RDR2 almost immediately after RDR1. "In early 2011, Dan began chatting with Rockstar San Diego about how Red Dead Redemption 2 would look and who the characters would be. Late that summer, he says, he had a “broad outline and rough flow of the game defined.” By fall 2012, his team had completed rough scripts for many of the game’s missions and started doing read-throughs on video conference calls with directors of game play, art design, and animation from Rockstar offices around the world. " Source
Now, unlike Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto is not a game about specific characters, like RDR is with John and Dutch's gang. So It's safe to say after GTA V, the Housers did not sit down and come up with scripts or ideas for GTA 6 revolving around those characters. But never say never. They could use this as an opportunity to bring back Michael Franklin & Trevor, working of some of the ideas for the Story DLC for GTA V, instead of scrapping it entirely. For the first time ever, GTA could be a direct sequel using the same protagonists. This however, I believe to be incredibly unlikely. But I thought it was worth mentioning.
So, they've finished RDR2. What Are Rockstar doing now? I believe they're hard at work on the PC version of the game. Many people don't believe it will release on PC, citing the fact that RDR1 never released on PC as evidence. I don't believe that is fair, as we know RDR1 was a mess, and was in such a bad state that they were lucky to release it at all. Rumours and alleged leaks stated the game was a coded mess, and they weren't willing to go through all the hassle of porting it to PC. We also know PC games typically have a high paracy rate, and Rockstar aren't fond of spending all that development time and cost on such an effort for little reward. Here's a clip of Lazlow talking about releasing their games on PC, and joking wanting to make their money back first. It's from 2010, right before RDR1 released. I think he was making a joke, but hiding the truth in there. Which leads me to believe that RDR2 could come to PC, but in order to make their money on that, also release it on PS5 & the Next Xbox, like they did for GTA V. Considering the gap between GTA V on PS3 & 360 and GTA V on PC (19 months) we could see a similar gap with RDR2 on PC. If that is the case, we could see a PC release in May 2020. At which point next gen consoles would likely have been announced, assuming Sony repeat their February reveal as they did with PS4. Or soon to be revealed at E3 a month later. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that they re release on Next gen with native 4K on PS5, higher frame rates, or other enhanced features. Next gen consoles will be backwards compatible, but if they want to keep RD Online going, a newer version with higher player counts could be a good option.
Speaking of next gen consoles, until specs are set in stone, I don't think Rockstar will announce anything. Dev Kits are allegedly being sent to some developers right now. Sony first party studios are already working on PS5 games. Guerilla, for example. I'd wager Sony's relationship with Rockstar is a good bet to think they have them, too. So, what does this mean?
Well, let's look at when Rockstar announced RDR2. 18th October 2016. 18 months after the PC release of GTA V, 3 years, 1 month after the initial release of GTA V. Lets assume they stick to a similar pattern, both GTA V & RDR2 were announced in October. It could be a good bet for what month to expect an announcement. However, GTA IV was announced in May 2006, with Peter Moore's infamous Tattoo. So...
Now let's look at when Rockstar started hiring for RDR2, which was September 2014. It took them 2 years to announce their next game. And they had the base map planned out within 19 months. We just don't know when the photo of the map was taken, just when it was leaked to the public (april 2016). But we do know Rockstar always start with the world. For GTA V, that discussion started as GTA IV was wrapping up – almost five years ago – although the latest game has been in full production for just three years.
“It comes from the idea first,” Benzies tells us in his office at the studio.
Where is it going to be set is the first question. Then that defines the missions; you’re doing different things in LA than in New York or Miami. The map and story get worked up together, and the story is a basic flow of how it works out so you can layer the missions in. Source
I think we can safely say that Rockstar already know where the game will be set, and Aaron Garbut is already hard at work at creating a concept of a map. If he hasn't already.
Based of that information, I'd say Rockstar are hiring for their next game, which will be PS5 and Next Xbox exclusive, Likely to be GTA 6, and will need 2 - 3 years of development before they are able to reveal it with a trailer. Putting the game at a 2021 - 22 reveal, with a 2023 - 24 release. I do believe the upcoming generation, and Rockstars desire to outdo themselves every time will only slow them down. Their games take so long to develop, and I can't see them putting out GTA 6 in the same timeframe as GTA V, from GTA IV. More likely to be similar, if not longer than GTA V to RDR2.

The Leaks

Remember when I said the leaks would serve a purpose later on? I find it highly suspicious that Rockstar had leaks as substantial as they had for RDR2, when they never had anything to that level before. They are usually incredibly watertight. So let's speculate as to why...

The Benz.

Isn't it strange how such a long time influential figure at Rockstar North was fired, and then leaks start popping up for their next game? It's no secret that there was more to his firing that we initially thought. Things went really bad between The Benz and The Housers. I think when he left the company, and many of his staff left, too. A lot of disgruntled employees may has decided to spill the beans on their next game out of spite. The entire game map leaking 6 months before the game was even announced, Epilogue spoilers down to finite details such as building a house or birthing a foal? Way too specific, and that's never happened for a Rockstar game before. I just find that suspicious.
So, why is that relevant to GTA 6? Well, it may end up not being relevant at all. But then I remembered the leak from last year, that stated GTA 6 was set in Vice City. Back then, I didn't believe it at all, as it was way too detailed for a game that wasn't even announced, and wouldn't be announced for at least 2 more years. Likely double that. Plus why did they choose The Know? And an anonymous source is always suspicious. But hey, nobody would be dumb enough to give their actual identity if it were legit.
But then I started thinking a while ago, at how detailed the RDR2 leaks were, and maybe, just maybe the person who tipped off The Know was legit, and the info was based of what was in pre production from 2012 [Unofficial Source]. The more I thought about it, I realized that Vice City, with the concept of crossing the border to South America is a simple enough concept that could have been decided upon during pre production (the world is the first thing they decide, remember?)

Why Vice City

2 reasons why it's starting to feel like a likely location. Reason one, GTA Online. They introduced businesses and gunrunning into GTA Online, and a lot of people enjoy that stuff. Vice City would be a great location to create content around that concept. I don't believe Rockstar would pick a location based on what would make Online popular, but after GTA Online's huge popularity after GTA V, they'd be stupid to ignore it. Reason 2 was the quote Dan Houser gave about not releasing GTA 6 during Trumps presidency. Again, I believe it's taken a little out of context, but it's his words about satirising America is what caught my eye.
"Both intense liberal progression and intense conservatism are both very militant, and very angry. It is scary but it’s also strange, and yet both of them seem occasionally to veer towards the absurd," Houser said. "It’s hard to satirize for those reasons. Some of the stuff you see is straightforwardly beyond satire. It would be out of date within two minutes, everything is changing so fast." Source
Then there was this quote from Leslie Benzies, also covered in The Knows video:
IGN Source
Any chance that Vice City might return in a future GTA?
It is always a possibility. There are a few references to the city in our current-gen GTAs so it is part of that HD universe, and it is certainly somewhere we would love to revisit. However Vice City, perhaps more than any other GTA game, was as much about the era as the setting. Miami in the 1980’s is so iconic it would feel strange to revisit the city in a different time period.
exploring grand theft auto vice citys lasting impact on gamer culture with rockstars leslie benzies city cover. Of course at some point we would like to have one big world containing all our cities and let the player fly between them and revisit their favorite areas, and in that context reimagining Vice City would be very interesting.
So according to Rockstar, albeit someone who is no longer at Rockstar, it would be strange to go back to Vice City in a modern day setting. If you combine that with what Dan Houser said about parodying America today, and how difficult that would be, is it possible that the next game could be set in the past? Again, combining those quotes, with alleged leaks, and the possibility for fun and exciting gameplay and Online experiences... Vice City is an incredibly likely setting.
The only problem is GTA 6 going into pre production in 2012. If the location was decided upon then. It would either be a happy coincidence, or they may have changed the location. Or, it never was Vice City, and this speculation is clever, but ultimately wrong.
One key piece of information is the Neogaf user, who allegedly states that it WON'T be Vice City. Citing that production notes going around when he still worked there stated possible locations and concepts. And that it is likely one of the 4 options listed in the quoted thread.
Small town gta - tight stories, scheduled characters, ridiculous levels of ambience, every home interior modelled. Every building enterable. More realism - if your wanted you are on the run for a while.
Vegas 1970s- CASINO?
Somewhere snowy - chicago/detroit
Mexico City
You have to consider that what they may have decided in 2012 changed, due to the popularity of GTA Online. They could have chosen a smaller, more detailed interactive world. But due to Online, decided they needed a larger world. Or the location wasn't right due to modern politics and ability to satarise, etc.
I do think GTA could return to the past eventually. Sam Houser has an incredible knowledge of pop culture, and is very intelligent. It would work well for them to go back to an older setting for a GTA game again. That isn't proof of that, or even a solid reason for them to do a prior setting. His knowledge can be used in any setting, past or present. But it's an interesting piece of information to think about.
Another possibility is Dan's words were as simple as GTA 6 won't release while Trump is in office, and therefore GTA 6 will be set in the present day, but by then the political climate may have settled down, or they think/hope things will be different by then, and what they choose to parody will be easier. i don't know.

How about Las Venturas?

For the past few months, I've been thinking about the possibility of GTA 6 being set in Las Venturas. It's one of the locations mentioned as a possibility by @Ash_735 It's also a location that would be quite large, although not hugely diverse. However creative freedoms could solve that. If they return to a past setting as theorised. Then Las Venturas in the 70's or 80's could be seen as a pretty cool option. Like a lot of people, I'm a fan of Joe Rogan. Recently he had a guest on his podcast, Bob lazar. Whether you believe him or not is irrelevant. But he tells some interesting stories about working near Area 51, and working on alien UFO's. that really got me thinking... Wouldn't that be a perfect location for Rockstar to have some fun with? GTA V and RDR2 both featured UFO easter Eggs. There was a lot of mysteries tied to Mt. Chiuliad and Fort Zancudo. Can you imagine Area 69 returning, and what Rockstar may do with that? Now I fully understand that saying they may do a certain location, based of nothing other than easter eggs is a bit silly, but what else do we have? However, it does tie in with the notes (Vegas 1970's Casino?). Before RDR2 we never believed Rockstar would create a game, and build of a previous games map. After RDR2, we now know it's possible. I'm still not convinced they'd do it with GTA, as the GTA series is always an island, whereas RDR1 was a landlocked location. However, it is possible, however unlikely that they could build of Southern San Andreas and go east to Las venturas.
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Review: The Hermes & Hekate Road Show

The review originally appeared on my blog, but I’m reposting it on this subreddit as per the rules.
It can be frustrating when a really great audio drama podcast ends after only one season. It's frustrating, but that doesn't mean there aren't some true hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Why yes, this does relate to the podcast we're reviewing today. We're taking a look at The Hermes & Hekate Road Show.
The Greek Gods are no mere myth. They're real and very much active in the modern world. Specifically, they're messing around in the modern-day United States of America. Hephaestus' anvil has gone missing, and Zeus has tasked Hermes, god of thieves and travelers (among other things), and Hekate, goddess of witchcraft and crossroads, to retrieve it. However, they'll soon find that's far from the only mythological mishap going on in America. The two gods are about to take a motorcycle road trip of mythic proportions across America.
I love pretty much anything related to Greek Mythology, or mythology in general. If you follow my blog, you’ll know how much I love Percy Jackson and American Gods. As such, I absolutely loved this podcast. It only lasted for one season of five episodes. There were plans for a season two, but it never materialized. Sometimes life gets in the way, or creators move on to other projects. That's just how it goes. Still, what a season it was.
The series is created by Genevieve Williams and Ray Snyder. The idea started when they were at a festival late at night, and they began musing on what kind of vehicles the Greek Gods would drive. Then they began to ponder what it would be like to set those gods loose on the roads of modern-day America. It when through a few mutations before they settled on the final form. They cut down the number of characters, and focused on their original idea of Hermes and Hekate on a motorcycle trip. They figured the two gods would be a good fit, as they often appeared together in myths as fellow psychopomps. Psychopomps are those who help guide the dead to the afterlife.
The original plan was for Genevieve to voice Hekate and Ray to voice Hermes. That first half did happen, but Hermes wound-up being voiced by their good friend Greg Watridge (hope I spelled that correct). Meanwhile, Ray voiced a hobo, who has a bit more to him, but telling more would be spoilers. Really, the whole cast is absolutely phenomenal, and everyone does a great job.
Zeus act as the narrator who introduces each episode and sets the stage for the adventures to come. He makes an on-screen, for want of a better term, in episode three. I appreciated that he is portrayed as honorable, noble, and a competent leader rather than a one-not sex joke. That being said, both Hermes and Hekate snark about Zeus' many affairs behind his back. Not that Hermes is one to talk, given how he cheerily remarks about his own escapades at a pride parade in San Francisco. The opening and closing music is rock guitars, and it really adds to the motorcycle trip vibe of the show. It is nice that the show didn't shy away from the fact that many of the gods were, by modern standard, bisexual. It is true to the original mythology.
Our leading deities are both great. Hermes is energetic, easily distracted, and a bit overly flirtatious at times. Meanwhile, Hekate plays the snarky straight woman to Hermes' antics, but occasionally shows that she's not as above it all as she seems. They're also joined by several other members of the Greek Pantheon, and occasionally gods from other pantheons. Yeah, turns out the Olympians aren't the only gods running around modern America. In episode three we get to meet Baron Samedi of the Voodoo Loa, and a Native American goddess at the Grand Canyon, with mention of Anansi from West African mythology.
Athena and Ares join in the fun starting with episodes four and five, though Athena also briefly appeared in episode two and three. Athena takes the form of a butch-looking cop. She does her best to remain calm and level-headed, but there are times her temper gets the better of her. Again, not inconsistent with how she is in Greek Mythology. Ares appears as a Hell's Angels biker and tries his best to put on a though guy persona. He tries, but all the other gods never let him forget the time he was captured by giants and held hostage for months. Athena and Ares don't like each other and constantly make passive aggressive swipes, which kind of makes sense. Athena was the patron goddess of Athens, and Ares was the patron god of Sparta. Both city-states were bitter rivals, and this eventually lead to the Peloponnesian War.
It is explained that the gods don't need worship or sacrifices per se, but they do feel strong when they're around things related to them. For example, Hermes feels best when he's at the Caesar's Palace Casino in Las Vegas. Well, he is a god associated with gambling, and the casino does have a Greco-Roman theme. I'd imagine Athena probably loves to visit the full-scale Parthenon replica in Nashville; especially since it looks just like the Parthenon did in Ancient Athens, giant statue of her and all. The gods are perfectly capable of influencing the modern world. For example, the main plot of the season involves having to track down four items used in the judgment of the dead. Not having them around is causing the natural balance to be thrown out of whack. This is causing unusual weather events. So yeah, apparently the real cause of global warming isn't fossil fuels, but missing items from the Ancient Greek underworld.
I loved the way the podcast juxtaposes Greek Mythology and Americana. For example, at one point Hermes and Hekate have to take down a cyclopes at a roadside attraction claiming to be built on top of a dimensional riff. Though technically this turned out to be true, just not in the way the owners claimed. That's what I've always loved about urban fantasy. With urban fantasy you don't have to go to some far-off fantasy land like Narnia, Middle-Earth, or Britain to have an adventure. You can find adventure right in your own backyard. It's why I always preferred to Percy Jackson to Harry Potter. Yeah, technically Harry Potter is urban fantasy, but the Wizarding World might as well be some far-off high fantasy world. With Percy Jackson it was like "Hey, that could actually happen!" Well, I didn't literally think that it could happen, but it felt more real and relatable to me.
There is a certain kind of magic that can be found in the mundane world if you know where to look for it. I've always been of the opinion that America has a certain magical quality to it that could easily rival and fantasy book. That's very much a connection The Hermes & Hekate Road Show shares with American Gods.
There were plans for a season two, but it sadly never materialized. The plans was not necessarily to feature Hermes and Hekate, but perhaps another set of Greek deities who wouldn't get along. The first season came out in 2013, which is obvious because Athena uses an iPhone 5S, and there have been Facebook posts from 2015 and 2016 indicating the creators are still working on the show. Perhaps there is hope that more seasons will appear someday, but I wouldn't get those hopes up to high. Thankfully, all of the major plot threads are wrapped up by the end of the first season, so it doesn't end on a cliffhanger or anything. I desperately wish that we'd gotten more seasons, because the show is so good, but we should be thankful for what we do have.
So there you have it. The Hermes & Hekate Road Show is a podcast about Ancient Greek Gods on a motorcycle trip of mythic proportions across modern day America. I can't recommend it enough. Check it out today, you'll be glad that you did.
Also, here’s the link to the original blog post. You won’t find anything you didn’t find here, but if you want it, here it is: http://drakoniandgriffalco.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-audio-file-hermes-hekate-road-show.html?m=1
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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Oct. 1, 2001

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:
1991199219931994199519961997199819992000
1-1-2001 1-8-2001 1-15-2001 1-22-2001
1-29-2001 2-5-2001 2-12-2001 2-19-2001
2-26-2001 3-5-2001 3-12-2001 3-19-2001
3-26-2001 4-2-2001 4-9-2001 4-16-2001
4-23-2001 4-30-2001 5-7-2001 5-14-2001
5-21-2001 5-28-2001 6-4-2001 6-11-2001
6-18-2001 6-25-2001 7-2-2001 7-9-2001
7-16-2001 7-23-2001 7-30-2001 8-6-2001
8-13-2001 8-20-2001 8-27-2001 9-3-2001
9-10-2001 9-17-2001 9-25-2001
  • The wrestling industry in the United States is in uncharted waters right now and Dave is starting this issue by examining the overall situation. Part of it is due to outside factors. The mood of the country is still shaken by the events of 9/11 and the effects of the attack on the economy are still uncertain. WWF is the only major pro wrestling company and its closest competitor is UFC, which isn't even wrestling. Dave says it's been a horrible year for the business, with WCW and ECW folding. Wrestling magazines closing up shop. The Invasion angle was totally botched. By every metric, business is declining. It's a terrible time to start a new company in the U.S. because getting a major league product off the ground is a just too expensive. Dave thinks the WWA idea in Australia might be the best option right now. Build some buzz over there where the market is easier and then try to strike a deal to air it in the U.S. But the biggest problem with WWA is, well, Vince Russo is the guy in charge. Dave says that Russo's idea of wrestling was a massive failure in WCW and the problem is that he didn't learn from it, and to this day continues to blame his WCW failures on outside forces (18 years later, that hasn't changed). Dave expects WWF to feel the crunch of business declining and suspects that many of the low-paid developmental wrestlers under contracts should probably start being concerned for their jobs.
  • WWF and DirecTV struck a temporary deal to air the Unforgiven PPV. If you recall, they have been negotiating a new deal and it wasn't going well. But the two sides agreed to air Unforgiven under the terms of the old deal while they continue to negotiate a new one. Not airing the show would have cost both sides around $1 million each in lost profits, so needless to say, they both want to settle this. So for now, negotiations continue...
  • The unpredictable concerns over the economy in the wake of 9/11 are already becoming noticeable. Merch sales for WWF were down significantly since the attacks. House shows this week did okay but most of those tickets were bought when they first went on sale weeks and months ago, prior to the attack. The next round of house shows go on sale this week and seeing how those sell will be the real test. One WWF house show in Fairfax, VA was already cancelled this week due to low advance sales. WWF is also scheduled to return to Madison Square Garden in 2 weeks. Tickets for that show went on sale before 9/11 and were already weak and needless to say, they aren't picking up any steam now. Rock is working that show (one of the few house shows he's doing) and it seems that since returning from filming Scorpion King, even the Rock doesn't have the same drawing power he had beforehand. That being said, WWF has lots of revenue streams, lots of cash reserves, lots of stock they can sell, and they pay their wrestlers far less than any other sport. So WWF is uniquely positioned to weather this storm and probably still be okay.
  • For UFC, on the other hand, 9/11 couldn't have happened at a worse time. UFC's parent company Zuffa is based out of Las Vegas and the attacks have hit the Vegas casino business hard, with cancelled trips, people spending less money, etc. Nobody wants to get on a plane these days, much less just to fly to Vegas and throw away money in an uncertain economy. Zuffa owner Lorenzo Fertitta, who operates casinos in Vegas, also owns an investment company whose major offices were in the World Trade Center. Financially, Fertitta is getting hit on all sides right now, right as he's trying to get the revived UFC off the ground.
  • Oh yeah, speaking of WWF Unforgiven, that show is in the books and was highlighted by Kurt Angle winning the WWF title from Steve Austin in his hometown by making Austin tap out clean. The crowd was kinda flat for most of the show, despite a lot of good matches. From a long-term booking standpoint, Angle winning the title doesn't make a ton of sense, because there's a lot of mileage in Austin as champion, but it seemed as though the decision was made to give the crowd a feel-good ending considering the last few weeks the country has had (Bruce Prichard later admitted that, yeah, having Angle win the title here was purely a short-term "give the American audience something patriotic" decision). There were also a bunch of minor injuries during the show with Perry Saturn, Edge, Jericho, and Austin all got busted up lips or eyes.
  • The biggest story coming out of the show was the UndertakeKane vs. Kronik match which was so bad that it resulted in Kronik leaving the company after only debuting 3 weeks ago. Dave says it was the worst WWF PPV match of the year. No word on why Kronik left yet (some say they quit after the match and others say they were fired) but they have already reached out to Russo about working the WWA tour in Australia. The big story going around is that Jim Ross told them they would be sent to OVW or HWA for more training and in protest, they quit but Dave hasn't been able to verify that. If it's true, Dave suspects WWF was hoping they would quit because those 2 guys have lots of experience (both have worked for WWF in the past) so Dave feels like this might have been a way to push them into quitting. Considering they're not great workers anyway and they were notorious troublemakers in WCW, Dave doesn't understand why they were even hired in the first place, aside from the fact that Brian Adams and Undertaker are friends and it was basically a favor for Taker. (Dave clarifies a bit of this in later issues, not all of that is entirely correct).
  • Other notes from the PPV: Dave points out that Raven is in the best shape he's been in years. The first Edge vs. Christian match, which needed to be a star-making performance for both guys as they branch off as singles stars, was good but the lack of crowd reaction hurt it a lot. The aforementioned Kronik match gets negative-2 stars. RVD was one of the few guys to get a reaction, as the crowd was nuclear for him. This is the match where Jericho got his eye busted from a kick and needed stitches and Dave says RVD is getting a reputation for this sort of thing, which isn't good. And Angle's family celebrated with him in the ring after he won the title and they played it up as if he finally achieved his life-long dream, conveniently forgetting that Angle's already won the title once before. Lots of 3 and 4 star matches here, but the crowd really hurt the show overall.
  • UFC 33 is happening before you read this but after press time, so Dave hasn't seen it yet. And I wouldn't normally cover this but this show is legendarily bad, so here we go. Things were looking good at first. The show sold out weeks in advance, setting a record live gate and attendance for the company and UFC did a hell of a job promoting the main event for months beforehand. But then 9/11 happened and the economic woes of that are expected to take a toll on the buyrate. Then, due to 9/11, the high-profile Felix Trinidad vs. Bernard Hopkins boxing match got moved to within 24 hours of the UFC PPV, which is also expected to cause a major hit to UFC's PPV numbers. Then 10 days before the show, Vitor Belfort had to pull out of the show due to an arm injury in training, completely derailing the main event they spent months building. Vitor somehow fell through a glass window during training and suffered a horrible cut that required 40 stitches and partially severed his tricep. When he couldn't go, UFC scrambled to find a new, big name opponent for Tito Ortiz. First, they reached out to Ken Shamrock and offered him $180,000 to take the fight on a week's notice. Shamrock countered, asking for $500,000 and that pretty much ended those negotiations. So then Frank Shamrock was offered $150,000 but also turned it down, not wanting to risk his 4+ year unbeaten streak by taking a fight on such short notice with no time to train and prepare. It eventually went to Russian fighter Vladimir Matyushenko. Many insiders are predicting Matyushenko will win because he's a better wrestler and punches harder. Dave gives credit to Ortiz for also taking this fight without having time to prepare for it and thinks it's a hell of a risk for Ortiz. So we'll see.
  • Antonio Inoki and the promoters from PRIDE and K-1 held a joint press conference in Japan to announce another Inoki New Year's Eve show taking place on 12/31. It will be a joint show with PRIDE fighters, K-1 fighters, and pro wrestlers. The hook for the show is that there's expected to be a lot of Inoki's guys (all of whom fight for PRIDE) going against K-1 fighters, so basically inter-promotional MMA with a wrestling twist.
  • The idea of Universal getting into the wrestling biz is back on the table and it looks to be a go starting in November. Hulk Hogan had been in talks with Universal off and on for most of this year about starting a new promotion but as of press time, word is Hogan is not involved in this. Hogan is said to be more interested in returning to WWF than he is running his own promotion but until his lawsuit with Time Warner (over the whole Vince Russo/Bash 2000 incident) is settled, he probably won't be doing anything. Hogan is trying to argue in the lawsuit that the incident damaged his career, and it's going to be hard to prove that if he goes back to WWF and has a big money-making run there. Plus he's still recovering from a recent knee surgery. Jimmy Hart has continued negotiating with Universal and it appears he and Nasty Boy Brian Knobs will be running this new promotion, with Kevin Sullivan helping with booking. A 2-hour pilot is scheduled for filming in November and several former WCW stars and other unsigned names (mostly old 80s stars) have been contacted about coming in. They're also looking at some younger indie names and seem especially interested in former ECW star Super Crazy. Dave expects this to be run like an old Memphis-style studio territory show and figures Jerry Lawler will probably be involved too unless he re-signs with WWF before then. Anyway, Dave doesn't seem to have high hopes for this succeeding (indeed, it does not).
  • And now we have an article from Ben Miller. Dave drops an editor's note and says to welcome Ben Miller as a columnist for the Observer and expects him to have a column in here once a month or so. It's fine I guess, but it's really just an opinion piece by some guy who isn't Dave. But to his credit, it's a well-written column that makes some good points about what WWF needs to do to improve and make the Invasion angle and upcoming brand split work. But it just feels out of place here in the Observer. I believe Miller later become a columnist on the website and was involved for years after this.
  • In Puerto Rico, former WWF wrestler Tiger Ali Singh now wrestles for IWA and since 9/11, he has become the biggest heel in the promotion, with the fans chanting "terrorist!" at him (just in case you're wondering, Singh is from India and is not Muslim).
  • Remember the MMA fighter Brian Johnston who suffered a major stroke backstage at the last PRIDE show? Good news! It was originally thought he would be paralyzed from it and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but in the last few weeks, he's made a miraculous recovery, regaining a good deal of movement on his right side and is even able to stand with assistance. He still can't talk but he has total recognition of people who visit him. Doctors are optimistic that he will make a full recovery and should be able to walk again, although it would take an even bigger miracle for him to ever compete in MMA or wrestling again. (Here's an article about him from 2013. Long story short, he mostly recovered. He still suffers symptoms and doesn't have full motor control, but he recovered well enough to pretty much live a full life. But no, he never fought again).
READ: Brian Johnston: Where Is He Now?
  • Antonio Inoki finally made it back to Japan after being stranded in the U.S. after 9/11. As soon as he got back, he spoke with the media and criticized NJPW for the main event of their upcoming Tokyo Dome show, saying nobody wanted to see it and bashing them for not booking Fujita vs. Ogawa instead. Dave thinks this is some peak-WCW shit. The most popular icon in company history rips into his own company right before a big show, saying their main event sucks and nobody wants to see it. That's gonna do wonders for ticket sales. At least in WCW, the owners of the company weren't criticizing it publicly. While we're on the subject, Dave reviews the most recent NJPW TV show and says it's WCW-in-its-last-year levels of bad. Three different matches get negative star ratings. ("dAvE iS bIAsEd fOR neW jaPAn!")
  • Bushwhacker Butch was hospitalized this week with a staph infection. He had complained of a neck injury and then passed out and was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with staph and pneumonia. As of press time, he's still hospitalized and breathing through tubes (yeah he ended up getting sepsis and nearly dying).
  • In regards to the WWA tour in Australia, Vince Russo is reportedly pushing to have toplessness or maybe even full-frontal nudity for a women's bra & panties-type of match on the PPV they're filming. One of the women is former ECW/WCW valet Kimona/Leah Meow (so yeah, this match happened, but she wasn't in it. It was 3 women and a guy in drag, all nameless people who never went anywhere in the business. It was called a Skin To Win match. Two of the women (Penthouse Pets brought in to "wrestle" end up getting their tops taken off but they were wearing pasties because I assume they were forced to. When this PPV aired in the U.S., the match was edited off. Russo's brilliant billion dollar idea that would have revolutionized the industry, foiled by the censors again!).
  • Dave has been hearing rave reviews about a 4-way indie match featuring American Dragon, Low Ki, Christopher Daniels and Scoot Andrews, with many who saw it calling it the independent match of the year. Dave hasn't seen it yet but expects to have a tape in a week or two and will report back.
WATCH: American Dragon vs. Low Ki vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Scoot Andrews - 2001
  • The New York Times did an interview with Linda McMahon for a story about how WWF is handling the current real-world situation in the wake of 9/11. The story hasn't ran yet but it's expected to reference WWF's exploitation of the Gulf War in 1991. In the interview, Linda mentioned that the name 'Raw Is War' is going to be changed to simply 'Raw' and that the December PPV Armageddon will be renamed (it becomes Vengeance). She also admitted that the events of 9/11 did play a part in Kurt Angle winning the WWF title this past week (I completely forgot Linda admitted it here).
  • Notes from Raw: Dave says it was a strange show. For starters, the night before at the PPV, they talked about having a big birthday celebration for Stephanie on Raw the next night. But that didn't happen. Stephanie's birthday was acknowledged, but there was no big party or angle about it. They also spent the entire episode teasing what would happen when Austin showed up but the entire show aired and....he never arrived. Dave again points out that hyping something for 2 hours and then simply not delivering is some WCW shit (it's also some 2019 WWE shit). There were several little things like that throughout the show also. Dave thinks back to 18 months ago when WCW used to do dumb shit every episode and he would always write, "WWF would never do this," and here we are 18 months later and it's happening all the time. Shane McMahon announced a match with Kurt Angle defending the WWF title against Booker T, leading Dave to wonder how in the hell Shane, as part of the Alliance, has the authority to make WWF title matches. DDP is now doing a self-help gimmick (who'da ever guessed?). RVD has been getting over huge as a face lately, so of course they put him in a match with Rock (the most popular guy in the company) and had him lose clean, which accomplished nothing other than killing RVD's momentum.
  • Sean O'Haire got into a fight in the crowd at an indie MMA show last week and was actually choked out by another fighter before the police broke it up. The guy who choked him out was also a lot smaller than him, but he also came up behind O'Haire to do it. But size doesn't matter and Dave says when a trained fighter gets the jump on you from behind and puts you in a choke, you're probably going to sleep no matter how big you are. That being said, O'Haire is lucky he doesn't work for Bill Watts because losing a real fight (to someone smaller than you no less) as a pro wrestler would get you fired back in Watts' day. O'Haire and the other guy were arrested after O'Haire was awakened from his slumber.
  • Eddie Guerrero is expected to leave rehab soon. During his time in treatment, Guerrero has been living with Tom Prichard, who has also been battling some addiction issues. Guerrero is still being paid his downside guarantee and is expected to be brought back to TV when he's done with rehab. Dave talks about how some guys don't succeed in rehab but then points out how William Regal is seen as the best case scenario. Regal had a nasty drug habit and was on the verge of washing out of the business and being deported, but he cleaned himself up and is now back on WWF TV in a prominent role and doing great. Dave hopes the same for Guerrero. When he's out, he'll probably spend some time in OVW first before returning to WWF.
  • Jim Ross answered a bunch of media questions on some conference thing last week. It was mostly a discussion about the future plans for WCW and since there isn't any definite plan yet, he had to be vague. Praised Booker T, RVD, and Kanyon for being 3 of the WCW guys to adapt well to WWF. Others praised Hurricane for the same but Ross was kinda dismissive of him, seeming not to agree. Noted that Jazz from ECW has signed and will be working with Sharmell Sullivan in OVW. Speaking of Sharmell, she was pretty much only signed as a favor to Booker T. He also praised Rey Mysterio and Juventud Guerrera but basically said there's no place for them in WWF right now. Ross was asked about Ken Shamrock and praised him but said Shamrock has a lot of MMA stuff he wants to do and only wants to wrestle in WWF part-time. But they want him full-time, which is why he hasn't been brought back at all. In regards to Rock's blooming Hollywood career, Ross shrugged it off and basically said Rock is under contract to be a wrestler full-time and that's what he loves to do. Ross predicted that Rock may take off once a year to film a movie but that the WWF is his priority. Time will tell on that. If his movie career takes off, Dave doesn't see Rock sticking around.
  • Various WWF notes: the list of wrestlers who are hurt right now in WWF is absurd. Dave says it would be easier to list who's not hurt. Anyway, Dave lists everyone who's hurt, their injuries, their surgeries, when they're expected back, etc. There's going to be a WWF-themed episode of NBC's The Weakest Link show featuring WWF stars taping this week. Mick Foley is appearing on Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Shane McMahon was on the Opie & Anthony Show and was asked about Stephanie's breast implants, which led Shane to respond that "they are 2 good reasons to tune into Smackdown this week." Dave thinks that's kinda weird. Sara Undertaker has dyed her hair brown and is training to wrestle.
  • WWF is meeting with former WCW wrestler The Wall next month. He was originally going to be signed and brought in when they bought WCW, but then they learned he had a pretty nasty drug problem so they passed on him. Dave kinda doubts they'll hire him. He's big, but he's also not very good and already in his 30s with a drug strike against him. They might sign him and send him to developmental but they already have a ton of guys wasting away down there already.
  • If you've been noticing all the references to Ric Flair on WWF TV lately, it's not an accident. There has been a lot of consideration recently of buying out the remainder of his Time Warner contract. The reality is WWF has completely failed to create any new stars out of the WCW names they signed and if they are serious about running WCW as its own brand next year, they need big names. The other names discussed were Sting and Goldberg, but they both have a lot higher contracts with more time left on them and economically, it just doesn't make sense to WWF right now to bring them in. That being said, Dave kinda questions how valuable Ric Flair could be in WWF these days. WWF has a younger audience than WCW did and Flair isn't getting any younger. He can talk his ass off but as far as working matches, Dave doesn't seem to see much value in Flair as an in-ring guy beyond a few nostalgia matches with big name WWF stars. All in all, Dave feels like bringing in these big name WCW stars would have worked much better if they did it at the beginning of the angle months ago. Although in the end, it doesn't matter who they had. The way it was booked, with WWF just rolling over WCW like they were nothing and nobody wanting to sell for or put over the WCW stars, it would have still failed no matter who they had.
  • The latest on Triple H is that he isn't expected to make it back by Survivor Series as originally hoped. Now it's looking more like December (not quite).
FRIDAY: First season of Tough Enough comes to an end, WWF ordered to pay the World Wildlife Fund's legal bills, details on new XWF promotion, more on Kronik, NJPW ticket sales, and more...

► Observer Rewinds remaining: 13

submitted by daprice82 to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]

Commentary on Zubin Damania's (ZDoggMD) critique of an expose video by Nurse Erin Olszewski

Evaluating Doctor Z's "Critical Thinking Toolkit" - (as in "condition critical" relative to his grasp of matters medical and reality-logically in general:
This being commentary on Zubin Damania's (ZDogg) critique of an expose video by Nurse Erin Olszewski.
Numbers heading paragraphs represent time into Zubin's video under which this commentary is posted.
1:37 ZDogg labels Nurse Olszewski as "insane". This is the first hint that Zdogg is the spawn of at least one member of the psychiatric establishment. In this case, DrZ's mother is a psychiatrist, who (I have to assume, since DrZ moved to the US from Iran when he was eight year old) received her degree in psychiatry either under the Shah of Iran or one of the successor "Revolutionary Guard" Islamic regimes, all of which used psychiatry as a tool of repression and torture. Currently an Iranian born woman, married to a British citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff, after being arrested for "spying" has been moved from prison to a mental ward of a hospital controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The move is probably not a step up for her situation. From my observations ZDogg has not fallen far from the family tree with regards to abusing psychiatric labeling.
1:30 "Doctor Z" offers to save the potential viewer of Nurse Olszewski's video time by offering a version of her talk excreted through his own philosophical unique filter. He is sure to mention that Nurse Olszewski is "traveling", thus demoting her to the ranks of those who either can not afford rent in today's market, of match some kind of psychiatric label I'm sure he has reserved for such persons.
2:10 "DrZ" accuses Nurse Olszewski of video recording medical charts (on computer screen) "with minimal redaction". In fact all names are blurred and unreadable in her video. Only anonymous data necessary to support the claims of the video are visible on the video. He also accuses her of audio recording co-workers "without their consent". Whether "Doctor Z" knows it or not, the reader should know (since DrZ does not make this clear), audio recording another person without their consent or knowledge is completely legal in the state of New York, where the video was recorded.
3:05 Drz says Nurse Olszewski claimed that hydroxychloroquine had not been allowed as a treatment "because of Cuomo". In fact, it is correct that New York governor Cuomo had singled out hydroxychloroquine as the one off-label drug that can not be used as treatment of covid, except as part of approved studies. The restriction was later removed. The Lancet paper initially claiming hydroxychloroquine is dangerous, has been retracted. The initial article claiming hydroxychloroquine is dangerous was retracted May 22, 2020.
3:22 DrZ then reads of his "conspiracy checklist" to be applied to Nurse Olszewski's video. He sites the nurse's claims that covid positive and negative patients are placed together "because" the hospital gets paid $29,000 per patient. I did not hear Nurse Olszewski say that. She did point out that the negative and positive patients were placed together - an atrocious practice, and that there was a $29,000 payment to the hospital for deaths from among those subjected to this treatment who became new covid positive patients. It was other individuals in the conversation that linked the motive and monetary reward factors. DrZ calls it a "red flag" that this moral hazard of dangling a substantial cash reward to a hospital for allowing conditions that could result in additional covid positive diagnosis. DrZ criticizes Nurse Olszewski for not including counter claims in her video. Most likely, those "potentially" benefiting these conditions are not going to be willing to comment other than a message of warning from the hospital's legal counsel. DrZ claims "a ton of staff would revolt" were the conditions Nurse Olszewski claims were in fact real. DrZ pulls the race card out of his sleeve when it is pointed out that a very large percentage of the nursing staff are immigrants with questionable educational backgrounds and mastery of the English language, who are probably barely making ends meet (maybe they should become traveling nurses) and are desperate not to lose their job and the means to meet the month's rent. The audio recordings provide examples of nurses who are concerned about the conditions at the "covid epicenter" hospital.
4:30 Nurse Olszewski is an antivaxer, which DrZ claims "ought to disqualify her from being a nurse". He claims her Tweet posts denied pandemic existed without providing any examples or links supporting this claim. In fact, Nurse Olszewski said her reason for traveling to work at the New York hospital was that the number of patients in the Florida hospital she was working in was dwindling, reducing the need for staff numbers.
DrZ says Nurse Olszewski is "the queen of the antivaxers". While she is opposed to mandatory vaccination, she seems minimally involved in the "antivaxing" movement on a political level. One extremist antivax group published an article, titled Highly Organized Controlled Opposition in Florida Deceives and Betrays Anti-Vax Advocacy Groups (https://nationandstate.com/2019/09/27/highly-organized-controlled-opposition-in-florida-deceives-and-betrays-anti-vax-advocacy-groups/) tries to make the case that Erin is a mole for the government (deep state no doubt) who has infiltrated the true antivaxxing movement. They point out that Erin's presence on Twitter and her web page is very light, supporting their claim. Maybe it's because Erin is too busy doing her job as a dedicated nurse to spend all day Tweeting and passing on unsubstantiated data to be the internet success story DrD seems to be.
5:20 While in Florida, she spent time at the beach during the pandemic and that the vitamin D and fresh sea air supported her immune system. DrZ says this makes her a conspiratorial supporter of the "Plandemic" movement because the woman who put that movie out said that too. Erin points out that hospitals were not flooded with covid cases following the mass gathering of people on Florida beaches that made international news.
1:01:20 In Erin's interview video, she agrees that the covid-19 pandemic is real. at 1:03:05 Erin asserts that the reason for New York hospitals' having such a high number of covid patients is that they were "admitting everyone" as "possible covid when maybe, they just had a little congestion."
5:40 DrZ says of Erin's decision to travel from Florida to New York to work "however she structured it". Erin "structured" this decision quite clearly that there was less work for her in Florida and more in New York. What evil motivations must be harbored within that clearly malevolent statement?
5:55 DrZ's second conspiracy check features DrZ's definition of a "fake expert". Namely that they can be contrast with the "real experts". Unless DrZ is prepared to submit a thesis on the meaning of the word "expert" with regards to the medical field, his use of such a subjective determination renders his opinion on the subject moot. DrZ compares the urgent care doctor Erin discusses hydroxychloroquine/Zinc with to two doctors who's since mostly discredited theoretical covid treatment with no knowledge of the doctor Erin talked to other than to declare him "not an expert". at 46:55 in Erin's video, the interviewer says they called the hospital Erin worked at in Florida and were told by them that hospital had used hydroxychloroquine and zinc "to great effect."
6:50 DrZ accuses Erin of "cherry picking data". Data is a very small part of the interview of Erin. She mentions a few insufficiently tested treatments to a staff doctor and gets the response of immediate dismissal, probably just to prove their closed-mindedness. But the video is primarily to show the conditions on the floor of the facility, which it does do.
7:15 DrZ says Erin proposed to try hydroxychloroquine/zinc "because they're going to die anyway." This was after the doctor she is talking to says "I don't expect any of them to live - 90% will not survive." So literally, in the doctor's own words, there would be nothing to lose by trying Hydro/Zinc. Where is Dr. House when we need him?
7:30 DrZ makes the claim that Erin does not know what she is talking about because "she herself is a fake expert" because "she doesn't have the expertise to talk about these trials." Here DrZ is making the logical error of begging the question. I thought logic might have been included in med curriculums.
8:15 DrZ mentions that the doctor Efin questions and records is a CCU, which is a Cardiac (heart) Critical Care Fellow. A heart doctor i charge of a respiratory care ward with numerous fatalities from respiratory ailments seems almost as bad as putting a dentist in charge. At least the dentist treats patients down their throats and not by cutting through their ribs. DrZ mentions once again that Erin is an "antivaxer". Let's not forget that because it is the basis of his attack upon Erin's professionalism - because he has nothing else and that is a knee-jerk dog whistle to the left.
9:00 DrZ brings up another of his Erin's "huge logical fallacies" when she says "they're enterbating patients when you know when you enterbate patients, they die". This is exactly what the doctor Erin recorded said - that he didn't expect any of them (patients enterbated) to live.
9:15 DrZ brings up Scott Weingard, an expert in critical care, who, DrZ says disagrees with Erin's views. Interestingly, Scott has written extensively about the use of ventilators (https://emcrit.org/emcrit/vent-part-1/). In Scott's article he says "right now, the actual knowledge in most of EMs on vents is dismal [PMIDs: 27330658 and 25497896]." Scott is saying that there is widespread misuse of ventilators in treating patients. This is what Erin has observed and documented. Too bad Scott's wisdom on ventilator usage has not been integrated into the training the staff at Elmhurst that Erin observed making the very errors in usage that Scott had warned against.
9:45 DrZ claims Erin said "the primary diagnosis for many of these patients is anxiety". And that anxiety can lower blood levels enough to cause physicians to put a breathing tube in you. In face, Erin makes no such claim. She sites ONE case in which a patient presents with negative test results and no covid associated symptoms but becomes anxious after awaking from sedation in bed restraints. Erin goes on to say that other nurses threatened this patient with forcefully inserting a breathing tube. Erin criticizes the hospital for using the less expensive covid test that takes five days for results instead of the quick test which costs more but reduces the necessity of keeping patients in hospital (where they have increased chance of infection) waiting for test results. That patient ended up pulling his own breathing tube out. He was one of the very few to survive being ventilated.
10:35 DrZ says that if a patient "acts like" they have covid, that's a presumptive positive. Ignoring many respiratory and "flu-like" symptoms that are indicative of diagnoses other than covid-19. This, DrZ says is more proof that Erin "doesn't have the logic" to understand medicine. DrZ then launches into a general critique of conspiracists and how they "move the goal posts" without relating it to Erin's presentation. DrZ describes Erin's politics as "covid denial" which, besides that not being a "political" feature, is not true of Erin. She was asked point blank by her interviewer if she believed in the existence of a pandemic of covie-19 and sayd that, yes, she does. That's what she has specifically been treating. She just happens to disagree with many of the protocols practiced at Elmherst hospital.
10:45 DrZ says that Erin "doesn't have the logic" to understand
11:50 DrZ accuses Erin of making "slanderous claims" against Elmherst hospital's treatment of covid patients. If anyone is guilty of slander, it is DrZ, who repeatedly accuses Erin of being unreliable and having some kind of conspiratorial agenda. DrZ goes on to claim that "Elmherst deserves these payments" (of $29,000 for each person entering the ward is covid positive (regardless of test results), perhaps regardless of test results. DrZ defends Elmherst's receiving this bounty on the basis that they are a not "one of these big hospitals that makes billions of dollars in revenue". Redistribution of medical revenue one dead patient at a time.
12:25 DrZ says "there's a process" for nurses to call out errors in the hospital. Recall that DrZ has called for the permanent revocation of nurses licenses from openly opinionated nurses like Erin. This would likely be the result if Erin were to try and use the hospital's own error reporting system.
13:05 DrZ characterizes Erin of "badmouthing a teaching hospital ... they will make mistakes". MISTAKE ! Your mother dying a torturous, unnecessary death may be some half-schooled nurse's "MISTAKE" and it's all in a day's work at Elmhurst.
13:15 DrZ says that many of the "learning" nurses learning on covid patients are "immigrants" and foreign medical graduates then posits that Erin's criticism of their performance is "racism". He extends this labeling by pointing out that those she questioned and recorded on the floor "has a thick accent and she's calling them incompetent". The obvious alternative to DrZ's observation is that anyone who is an immigrants" and foreign medical graduate or has a thick accent needs to be immune from criticism of the body count amassed by their ill-education or erroneous practices treating patients.
14:00 DrZ says "This woman should be punished - she should lose any professional license she has anywhere in the United States". He goes on to say that "we should have a national licensure instead of the state license." This, he says, to keep nurses like Erin from "just going to another state and get another nursing license."
According to the doctor's Linkdin, the only in-hospital duty he has served has been as a Hospitalist (1).
The last three years, DrZ has been "Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at UNLV School of Medicine" - whatever that is. Since Wikipedia lists his address in Clovis California, I wonder if this is some kind of "virtual" consultant status where he just hangs his shackle on a web site and occasionally puts out a podcast or does one of his medical comedian stant-up routines. I guess Las Vegas might be a good venue for that. Stinking drunk casino guests are all as likely to laugh at his lame humor as inebrieted medical students.
Overlapping that stint, the last ten years he has operated ZDoggMD Industries (his web site and yutube channel).
He has also spent the last 3 years as Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine UNLV School of Medicine.
From 2012 – 2017 he was Founder and CEO, Turntable Health Turntable Health which seems to have been something of a virtual social media medical project that didn't stand the test of time.
From 2013 – 2015 he partnered with online shoe seller Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh "to revitalize and reinvent the community of Downtown Las Vegas." Damania was on the board of directors of Iora Health from 2013 - 1015. Iora was a partner in the creation of Turntable Health.
2003 – 2015 Damania was Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center.
From 2003 – 2012 Damania was Physician (Hospitalist) at Palo Alto Medical Foundation. "Full time inpatient-only hospitalist position" according to linkedin dot com. So for nine years we have indication that Damania did in fact work in a hospital treating patients. This stopped in 2012 after the CEO of online shoe seller Zappos discovered Damania in San Francisco and recruited him in his plan to "revitalize and reinvent the community of Downtown Las Vegas". Damania's in-hospital, patient contact experience is, according to Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/zdoggmd) nine years stale. He dropped out of medicine in real terms long before the current pandemic.
2002 – 2003: Content Manager Medsn, an HCP membership network and a medical e-learning startup. He participated in preparation of remote, medical educational products.
1995 – 1998: Instructor and Educational Materials Developer at The Berkeley Review.
1994 – 1995: University of California, Berkeley, Research Associate
1999 - 2002: Damania interned at Stanford University Internal Residency.
(1) A hospitalist is a doctor who is limited to practicing only on hospital in-patients while they are hospitalized (only). An article at the web site the-hospitalist dot org (https://www.the-hospitalist.org/hospitalist/article/123072/what-hospitalist) says that "... some hospitalists were primarily engaged in research or leadership positions and did not provide a great deal of direct patient care, yet clearly defined themselves as hospitalists." One has to wonder if DrZ is one of these since he does not seem to refer to any of his own experience treating patients.
As for myself. I am neither anti nor pro vax. I had the full gauntlet of vaccinations when in elementary school during the 60's, as did all of my classmates. No adverse affects were claimed by any parents to my knowledge. I have had no vaccinations since adulthood. I have contracted no viral infections the last 20 years - with a possible exception of a couple of common colds. I have studied nutrition and health since high school and take supplements including vitamin C, D and calcium/magnesium/zinc. I try to avoid polluted environments and stressful situations. If I had kids I would probably study the vax/no-vax options and perhaps selectively vaccinate them to the most threatening viruses. If private vaccination options offered a less threatening type of vaccination, I would try and utilize that. I am not in any way involved in the medical industry. I am a college graduate with a broad general education that included basic and several special biological subjects. I am skeptical of the medical establishment. I am glad there are medical professionals like Erin who question the authority which could end her career if she were to sufficiently rile them.
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