Best Games in the Casino - 10 Top Casino Games You Should Play

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Can anyone offer advice on the best games to play at a casino? As far as odds, profit, etc.

Firstly, I hope anyone with a gambling addiction doesn’t take this advice. My story is very specific and I don’t have any gambling problems. Please find help if you do.
TL;DR won a bunch of money on an online casino, already got most of it cash, I don’t deposit my own money, looking to have fun with the little bit of money I have left in the app and try to expand it.
One of the major casinos in my area has an app to play online. I got very very lucky and, after depositing $20 of my own money to play for fun and being down to $6, they gave me $200 in bonus cash. So I decided to focus and try to make something out of it.
I played one of the slot games, Euro Roulette, and Blackjack. I ended up going up to $400, so I withdrew $200. This happened a few more times and before I knew it, I withdrew $750 in winnings from the app into my bank account. Obviously most of this was luck.
So after investing $20, I am now up $730, and I still have about $20 remaining in the app. Does anyone have a certain casino game/strategy that works well? I’ve been using the James Bond strategy in roulette, which isn’t too bad.
Any ideas would be awesome!
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"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)

I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
 
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to.
Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547
I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can.
I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts.
Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T

Intro

CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association

"Who does this union really fucking serve?"

ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission

"They have been put in an impossible position."

Stream Sniping

"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"

Match Fixing

"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."

North America

"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."

Talent

"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."

Valve

"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"

Closing Statements

"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."

submitted by Tharnite to GlobalOffensive [link] [comments]

Fallout New Vegas Criticism

I love New Vegas, its my favorite game of all time. And it is for a lot of other people too. This unfortunately means that its almost impossible to say anything negative about the game on Reddit without getting massively shat on. The only point you seem to be allowed to criticize is the bugs, which gets rebutted by "but they only had 18 months to make it" or "Bethesda was in charge of QA", as if any of these things excuse it for you as a customer.
So now that the game is 10 years old and most of us have played it tons of times, I thought it would be a good time to make a thread where we can actually criticize this lovely game. I'll start, now bear in mind this is of course all degrees of subjective so don't throw "uR nOT obJEvTiVE" at me just yet:
  1. The bugs has to be meantioned first. The game ran horribly at release and still did for a long time after. Its first many years later with patches and mods that we reached something that can be called mostly stable. I'm playing it right now only with stability mods on and it still crashes about once every 1-2 hours, and its still very buggy and janky.
  2. Caravan, this game's made up card game, is horrible. Firstly its very buggy somehow. I am surprised they couldn't even bug fix a solitaire-like card game, but here we are. Secondly even when it works its not very fun. It takes minimum 3 cards to make a caravan and only one king or jack to ruin it. It means it heavily favors just fucking up your opponent and hope you win the war of card attrition. The game used to be stupidly easy but was then patched so now the AI will spam kings and jacks constantly. After I got the 30 games achievement I dropped it. Lastly the game doesn't do anything with Caravan. There is no quest to become the Mojave champion or such. I get this isn't needed but it would have helped make it interesting. The only other games in the game are casino games which all depends on your luck stat. I would love being able to play high stakes Caravan.
  3. Cut content. Roleplaying is best when you actually have good reason to join both sides. In Fallout New Vegas the NCR gets the majority of the content. If you side with the Legion you can finish all the faction quests in a few hours, meanwhile the NCR has so many quests I always have to check the wiki to remember them all. Its such a shame. It doesn't help that for 3 of the endings you can work with the NCR but only 1 for the Legion. I don't get this when in 2 of those endings you end up double crossing the NCR anyways, why not allow the player to double cross the Legion? The difference being that the NCR will stand down and the Legion will then try to fight you and your army.
  4. Caesar's Legion is weird. I love most of the faction. I love the ideological conflict between a faction trying to redo democracy but running into the same problems with corruption vs a brutal but safe dictatorship. I like talking to everyone and its cool to see how different peoples' options are of the factions. Some just hate the Legion outright because of their massacre. Some see the value of having a safe society, Cass mentions how she considered running her caravan in the Legion instead of the NCR because its safer. Its cool. However I can't get over the fact that this faction is a big ancient Rome LARP. They run around in football gear. Why not just make them look normal, or similar to Romans but not literally Romans. Its such a well crafted faction that gets ruined by this pretty silly design.
  5. Independent is basically the House route but with you instead. You don't get to choose what your plans are other than your interactions with the small factions, which also doesn't feel special. You don't ever get to use your securitrons. It would have been extremely cool to be able to send your army with you to wipe out or subjugate factions instead of just doing the same quest you do if you side with House. Again, you are also forced into a choice between an uneasy alliance with the NCR where you double cross them, or killing both major factions. You can't make it clear to them beforehand that you don't want to be annexed.
  6. The economy is poorly balanced. In Fallout 3 you barely made any money and vendors were just as poor, so it took a long time to accumulate wealth. Most players would just use gear they found instead of paying for it at a store. In Fallout New Vegas you can easily have 5000 caps by the time you reach The Strip. I had twice that when I reached it 2 days ago. Stores have tons of money and are more than willing to buy all your junk. The economy just breaks when vendors are willing to buy all the crap you pick up at such high prices as NV has. I think you can get them to buy for 90% of their value, that's fucking insane. I try to not level up barter too quickly as it just makes the game too easy but I also hate crippling myself like this. The game's vendors need to be selective about what they buy and how much they pay for it. You need 2000 caps to inter the strip, that's pretty much nothing. The game even gives you tons of ways around the credit check so clearly they meant for it to be a hurdle.
  7. The map. I'm not saying its bad, but going from Fallout 3 to NV makes you miss the feeling of being able to go in any direction and always find something. New Vegas is very railroaded. It has a ton of mountains and invisible walls to make the player go specific places (Edit: a lot of people are citing this one setence and using it to rebut me, guys read the whole damn thing). I can still let myself get lost in Fallout 3, in NV I always know exactly which way I'm supposed to go. The game has no counterpart to F3's Andale or Oasis. There are no small outskirts places for you to discover in some random spot. All the towns are along the main roads, with a handful of cool places that are off the beaten path. I love following the road through Primm->Nipton->Novac->Boulder City->Vegas, its an excellent experience for following the main story and finding a ton of side content, and I love they gave returning players the option to head straight north and try their luck. But when I just want to do some side content I always feel like I have to follow a track. I AM NOT SAYING THE MAP IS BAD. Just that it follows a certain design that some don't like. I like it when I just want to do the main story, its a really nice experience that way. But if you want to just go in any direction like in a Bethesda RPG you will get disappointed. There are tons of invisible walls and mountains in the way. Imagine if you started in Freeside instead and just had to get the cash to get into the strip (more than 2k). Then you can choose to follow the I-88, go towards Jacobstown, Bitter Springs, do stuff in Freeside or the other communities around Vegas. Would be a great alternative start for returning players.
Edit: some extra
  1. Combat is ass to say it bluntly. For some reason people always excuse the poor combat in RPG's because its not the games' focus or because its almost tradition at this point. I don't see why I as a player and paying customer should make excuses for a product I paid for. Its embarrasing how poor the AI is in the game, how poorly combat works and how unbalanced the game is. I can go through a ton of the game with my Couriers Stash 10mm and Vault armor and just blast entire legion or NCR camps, and then suddenly difficulty can turn on a dime and an enemy can kill me in 3-4 hits. Difficulty in RPGs is such an important thing as it directly influences your decisions. In Fallout 1 and 2 I did my best to not bite off more than I could chew. In NV can do pretty much anything other than go to Sloan at the start, which is a part that most have noticed too.
  2. The selection of guns is fine, but not armors. Without ultimate edition you don't get any good early game armor in the game. The only option is leather armor. Mid game you fight to get either power armor or combat armor mk2, and late game is all about Riot Gear from Lonesome Road. They could have made armor interesting by giving it stronger buffs and debuffs. PA and metal armor has a -1 to agility but often +1 to strength. Why not give such traits to all armors and maybe even make it stronger? Too much of the armor is also faction armor which you don't want to be wearing unless you are infiltrating somewhere.
  3. Speech is too much like Fallout 3 and not enough like 1 and 2. In 3 and NV dialogue either ends in a skill check (too often speech) or you having to do a task if you can't pass the check. What's being said is largely unimportant unless it leads to a different outcome. In Fallout 1 and 2 dialogue was much more about reading each option and thinking about how the character you were talking too would react. You often couldn't just [speech] 50 do what I want. NV has a few moments where you actually does have to argue and its some of its strongest parts.
  4. Crafting could have been more. This is more of a "what could have been" argument, but personally I don't see why you shouldn't be able to craft a lot more guns or armors. I don't want Fallout 4's style of somehow being able to craft tons of pre war objects you clearly don't have the tools to make, but just having a good selection of makeshift guns and armors would have made crafting and also survival much better.
These are my thoughts. Please feel free to share yours!
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Stokes's Bristol Nightclub incident in detail (From: The Comeback Summer by Geoff Lemon)

IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early.
The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster.
In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly.
The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged.
Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms.
The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist.
The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale.
‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing.
It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment.
Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge.
That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted.
The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions.
Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge.
Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it.
Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales.
Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others.
This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse.
Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away.
These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk.
If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced.
If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober.
The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs.
The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them.
This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame.
Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier.
There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language.
What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand.
That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough.
If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses.
As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial.
The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt.
Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame.
This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’
So Stokes punches him.
It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road.
Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks.
Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him.
Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended.
Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop.
Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance.
‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’
The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’.
The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back.
After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed.
If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence.
Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued.
‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass.
A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’.
The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now.
Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa.
It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’.
The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
submitted by wingzero00 to Cricket [link] [comments]

[Let's Build] Attractions in a demon pleasure palace that aren't sexual

My players are going to be visiting the palace of a demon lord of pleasure who's more CN than CE. I want to show that despite his title, he represents all forms of pleasure and good feelings, not just sex. Also space in his realm doesn't work the same way as it does in the mortal plane. He essentially has an infinite amount of space to work with and can customize it as he pleases, so there are no size constraints.
  1. A casino to feel the thrill of gambling.
  2. A dining hall with an endless buffet that visitors are allowed to eat as much as they wish.
  3. An idyllic beach with perfectly white sand to relax or play on.
  4. An arena where gladiators brawl it out against each other. The point of it isn't to kill each other as much as make the battles look stunning to the audience.
  5. A hotel with the most comfortable beds possible. Here anyone with enough money can enjoy a good rest after all the excitement.
  6. A beautiful and well tended garden filled with aromatic flowers and sweet fruits.
  7. A vineyard where exquisitely-aged wine can be produced just by pressing the grapes. (u/_SovietMudkip_)
  8. A petting zoo full of the babies of dangerous creatures. (u/_SovietMudkip_)
  9. An opulent concert hall where the best musicians of the realms perform (u/_SovietMudkip_)
  10. A small, cozy looking wooden library, with a cushioned bay window where rain gently scatters against the glass and a cup of some hot liquid gently rising with steam. (u/QuietOracle)
  11. An owl-bear hugging zoo. Go to sleep in the embrace of their soft down. (u/QuietOracle)
  12. The room of sensory experiences. The room itself is fairly plain, with the main feature being long tables running the length of the room. On closer inspection there are fist-sized carved holes, each one holding a small round crystal... (u/QuietOracle)
  13. A room with dozens of sacks filled with beans, lentils and grains where visitors can put their hands in and let the contents run through their fingers. (u/_WhiteCubeCat_)
  14. A hag (or any other long nailed creature) giving visitors a scalp massage. (u/_WhiteCubeCat_)
  15. A museum of little-known or long-forgotten art pieces, sculptures, and history. (u/MoonlightMancer)
  16. A festival full of colors, music, and drinks. Everyone seems to love you, and you can’t stop laughing. (u/MoonlightMancer)
  17. A hallway of endless doors. In each room is someone you know, complimenting you endlessly, sharing every positive, even begrudgingly jealous thought they ever had about you. (u/MoonlightMancer)
  18. A room full of bubble wrap. (u/EmmaDrake)
  19. A hot spring/spa, with fluffy towels, those showers that are like rain with perfect water pressure, mud baths, and refreshing food and drink. (u/lionesslindsey)
  20. A room full of people that constantly give you validation and laugh at all your jokes. (u/CountryJeff)
  21. Never-ending line of gold chalices, crystal vases, silver artwork, and other valuables. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
  22. People who are “better” than you are marched in a stripped of their superior qualities. Beautiful people are disfigured and turned ugly. Wealthy powerful people are ruined and made to beg you for pennies. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
  23. Mass groups of people enter the room and tell you how they admire you and how wonderful you are. They stroke your ego and inflate your pride. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
  24. Servants do everything for you. Feed you, give you drinks, wash you, wipe your arse, etc. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
  25. You are given a wickedly barbed leather whip. A slave creature is bound to a post and you can whip this creature to inflict your wrath upon them as much as you desire. If the poor soul dies, another is brought in to replace them. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
  26. 'Knight for a day'. The full experience; lance, shiny outfit, a squire, a trusty stead, a dragon and a princess/prince to rescue. (u/mr_earthman)
  27. The magical equivalent of a holo deck (u/cyber-viper)
  28. Wide, flat plain with the fastest vehicles in the multiverse (a good place to use the Avernus vehicles) (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
  29. A selection of cities and villages for you to destroy with war machines or your own magic. (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
  30. A collection of wand that allow you to test out powerful magic. (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
  31. A magical version of a movie theatre, allowing you to watch all manner of stories, true and legendary. (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
  32. A moderately large pool where small battleships with tiny animated crewmen can be deployed in teams to shell and board each other for the audience's amusement. Honored guests can put their strategic abilities to a test against other players by directly giving orders to their ships, and in certain hours guests may even swim in the pool to live out the power fantasy of being a sea monster. (u/VIixIXine)
  33. A colorizer-device that transforms any clothes/armoweapons/other gear to any desired hue you wish (as long as it doesn’t affect the workings of the gear) (u/PaigeOrion)
  34. A grand screen, showing a nearly infinite number of (screen)plays from all space and time, including the show with the disgraced human paladin delivering a green baby gnome back to his home land through incredible odds. (u/PaigeOrion)
  35. A tiara that allows you to experience the sensory experience of a black cat as long as you wear it and close your eyes. (u/PaigeOrion)
  36. A plethora of small, multicolored blocks that will magically interlock with one another to render almost any architectural structure imaginable. (But don’t step on them barefoot!) (u/PaigeOrion)
  37. A band of musicians who are the perfect musical backup for any performances. Alone, they are more low key, but no less skilled, playing haunting melodies of unknown origin. (u/PaigeOrion)
  38. A massive walk-in closet where you can try in any clothes in any fashion you like. (u/Tezla44)
  39. A "schadenfreude" theatre, with shows that rely on slapstick and cringe comedy. (u/Martinus_XIV)
  40. A REALLY good chocolate fountain (u/BrokenBanette)
  41. A room designed to give you closure. When you enter this room, someone you loved and lost is there, sitting in a couch. The room feels vaguely familiar, but you can't place why. If Detect Magic is used, the room is full of magic (divination, transmutation, illusion) but the person seems like a normal person. You can chat with them for as long as you like. They behave just as you remember them, with the good and the bad. (u/ohsurenerd)
  42. A theatre performing the most magnificent tragedies. When you watch the performance, you find yourself completely enraptured: you cheer when things go right, scream when something terrifying happens, and moan and weep at the inevitable horrible ending. When you leave, it feels like removing a backpack full of lead that you'd been carrying for so long you'd forgotten it was there. (u/ohsurenerd)
  43. A room where there's a button, there's someone outside and it explains that if you enter there's a 50/50 chance of you dying or not, the room won't actually kill you and it's there just to make you feel the pleasure of near death experience. (u/SupremeGodDictator)
  44. A massage parlor with the universes best staff pampering your every need as you receive the most relaxing massage of your life whether it be scalp, back, foot, full body, etc. Has the worlds fluffiest towels and robes to luxuriate in while you wait or if you simply want to sit in a comfy chair and enjoy your ache free muscles. (u/Blue_Mando)
  45. An arena where you and your opponents heal near instantly, and you can fight endlessly (u/ellen-the-educator)
  46. A reenactment of your greatest failures in life, but this time they turn into your greatest achievements. (u/CountryJeff)
  47. A room with the world's finest works of art.... and a myriad of implements you can use to destroy them. (u/redrosebeetle)
  48. A torture chamber with mages on hand to create illusions of the people you wish to torture. Or increasingly realistic versions of them, depending on the level of magic you wish to implement. (u/redrosebeetle)
  49. A room full of gold and jewels you can roll around in, ala Scrooge McDuck. But woe betide anyone who tries to take a souvenir.... (u/redrosebeetle)
  50. As you're walking through the gardens, a person comes up to you. They introduce themselves as an adventurer who's also here on a quest. They seem to be the same class as you, and they're incredibly attractive-- almost exactly your type. You immediately click and end up spending the day together, talking about everything and anything. You tell them things you've never told anyone else before. They understand everything you tell them, almost innately, but they're still impressed by your feats and your stories. The two of you find an empty bedroom and close the door behind you. It's perfect in its imperfections. In the morning they're gone. No matter where you look, you can't find them. (u/ohsurenerd)
  51. A room lined with shelves and shelves of bottles and vials containing a crimson liquid flowing slowly (like a syrup), all with small labels on them. As you inspect the labels, you realize they've all got names on them: famous adventurers, kings and queens, great sages. If you drink one, you experience a selection of their memories as they experienced them: battles won, discoveries made, historical alliances and friendships being forged or broken... (u/ohsurenerd)
  52. A room that turns anyone that enters it into a child. It is full of every toy imaginable (u/arual_x)
  53. A tour of a chocolate factory. Kobolds work there, and the owner, who gives the tour, is a Metallic Dragon in Humanoid form. (u/arual_x)
  54. A fortune teller who has a Deck of Many Things with only the good cards. If you in any way offend them, they will sleight of hand vs perception check slip you a bad card instead. (u/arual_x)
  55. An island theme park of reanimated dinosaurs. The owner is a level 20 Necromancer called Hamm Johnand. (u/arual_x)
  56. A Virtual Reality style game that allows you to battle horrible monsters over and over again without risk of injury physical. But still allows you to gain XP... (u/arual_x)
  57. A perfect expanse of thick snowy ground. There is constantly a snowball fight going on. (u/arual_x)
  58. A giant room full of mattresses where everyone immediately gets a wonderful massage. (u/Revanclaw-and-memes)
  59. A room where you get to torture all of your worst enemies (u/Revanclaw-and-memes)
  60. A room where people applaud you, give you a trophy, etc (u/Revanclaw-and-memes)
  61. A room where you get something that was denied to you (u/Revanclaw-and-memes)
  62. A room full of gold and exquisite things, from beautiful furniture to magic weapons (u/Revanclaw-and-memes)
  63. A seemingly endless room where adventurers can drink a potion to grow wings and flit about to their hearts' delight (u/iriedashur)
  64. An ordinary classroom containing the adventurer's childhood friends, enemies, and their most hated teacher. Upon entering the room, the adventurer discovers that they are invisible, and free to pull pranks as they wish (u/iriedashur)
  65. A brightly colored room piled high with wrapped gifts, large and small, for the adventurers to open endlessly (u/iriedashur)
  66. A purple and black dragon named Ace who cooks you garlic bread and cake. (u/sanorace)
  67. A magic pair of goggles/glasses that simulate any “What if” question you pose to them. (u/lewiscann)
  68. A magical weather room where you can ask for any weather for your pleasure (I love listening to rain) (u/lewiscann)
  69. A room full of lounges with a floating slow burning piece of wood that warms the whole area, the piece of wood is so large you can see the flame spread through this piece of wood forever (u/lewiscann)
  70. A room where you can bite your fingernails and they grow back instantly ( so you can bite them some more )(u/razenastie)
  71. A room with incredibly weakened versions of powerful monsters. (u/Your_InsideMan)
  72. A vast room on wooden sculptures, oil, and torches. (u/Your_InsideMan)
  73. A zoo of sentient races (u/Paralytica)
  74. A collection of legendary heroes magically transfixed in blocks of ice. (u/Paralytica)
  75. Palanquin rentals (u/Paralytica)
  76. A booth that will remake your face whilst in the palace (ostensibly to make you more beautiful but it could be used for anything) (u/Paralytica)
  77. A magic chair that gives really good back massages (u/TenNinetythree)
  78. A playground where the slides and carousels are for adults (u/TenNinetythree)
  79. A room where you become a giant and can destroy cities and fortresses kaiju style. (u/Paralytica)
  80. Drug Olympics. A room with every drug imaginable to try. Leaving the room cleanses you of their effects. (u/Skitsafrit)
  81. No Pauses. A room that has the effect of making all conversations flow perfectly. No silence stretches too long, no one mishears you, and every topic segways perfectly into the next. (u/Skitsafrit)
  82. Deprivation Room. The room is so absolutely featureless and quiet, that you can meditate magnitudes better here than anywhere else. (u/Skitsafrit)
  83. A games room where you play against your perfect match (u/Nesurame)
  84. Similar to the previous, a games room where you're matched against nothing but weaker opponents (u/Nesurame)
  85. A smoky, dreamweed hookah lounge (u/reallyenjoyscarbs)
  86. A heist simulator where you always get away with the big diamond, chest, etc (thrill of theft) (u/reallyenjoyscarbs)
  87. A sauna room with a central pillar. Inside the pillar is a chamber containing a magic stone which can detect the exact temperature preferences of those inside, and making each person feel said preference. (u/TgagHammerstrike)
  88. An oval-shaped room with countless glass lotion bottles, with each smelling better than the last. If you look for a specific scent (no matter how rare), you'll certainly find it with the help of a goblin near the back of the room. (u/TgagHammerstrike)
  89. A room that consists of A bunch of mortals so utterly jaded from years of plesure seeking that they need the hardest of drugs and the wildest of sensations to feel anything,with lesser demons feeding on their pursuit of euphoria. Think the emperors children from warhammer 40k. (u/TgagHammerstrike)
  90. A buffet of the lids of yogurt/pudding cups to lick. (u/Hunter37594)
  91. An olfactory room that reads your memories and replicates smells that remind you of your most joyous moments. (u/lecorbusianus)
  92. A wildlife reserve for Druids to find new and exotic wild shapes. (u/lecorbusianus)
  93. A room with musical instruments that you're able to master immediately. (u/lecorbusianus)
  94. Zero gravity obstacle course. (u/lecorbusianus)
  95. A cooking class taught by a master chef that always seems to have enough time to guide you one-on-one. (u/lecorbusianus)
  96. An enchanter who allows you to relieve the best moments of your life over and over again. (u/lecorbusianus)
  97. An illusionary room that brings up past experiences and let’s you make different choices to fix mistakes or win arguments. (u/The_Rhibo)
  98. A murder simulator to allow an individual to live out the fantasy of killing that special someone. (u/Brann_The_Kid)
  99. A library full of blackmail and secret knowledge regarding historical and political figures. A conniving, plotting character’s dream! (u/MoonlightMancer)
  100. A room where you can see colors that shouldn't exist. (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
  101. A room with a creature in a dark robe sitting at a table covered in maps and dice. He helps you play a strange game where you and your party make up characters that go on adventures while the robed creature acts as all of the other characters and determines new events. (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
  102. ...
submitted by Quantext609 to d100 [link] [comments]

My 2021 Portfolio

Albeit a week late, I want to share my 2021 portfolio for documentation purposes and for whoever is interested. I aimed to balance risk in this portfolio with some growth names and legacy plays. Down to brass tacks, I am putting my money in the highest quality companies (in my view) across a diverse set of industries I find attractive. Some of these names are overvalued in the short term. However, I have realized I am not in the business of beating Wall Street’s pricing, but would rather hold high-quality companies that I believe will grow faster that the market in the long term. In other words, I am totally fine paying a short-term premium for growth and quality. Below is a summary of the portfolio and big picture reasoning behind each investment. I'm definitely open to any feedback.
Company Ticker Entry Price Exposure
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF ARKG $93.26 6.60%
CrowdStrike CRWD $211.82 11.78%
Disney DIS $181.18 10.53%
Enphase Energy ENPH $175.47 7.98%
Evolution Gaming Group EVVTY $101.02 12.77%
Facebook FB $273.16 11.05%
Redfin RDFN $68.63 10.41%
Teladoc TDOC $199.96 9.60%
Sea Ltd SE $199.05 14.09%
Waste Connections WCN $102.57 5.19%
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (BATS: ARKG) - Invests in companies advancing genomics. The companies held in ARKG may develop, produce or enable: CRISPR, Targeted Therapeutics, Bioinformatics, Molecular Diagnostics, Stem Cells, Agricultural Biology.
CrowdStrike (NASDAQ: CRWD) - Cybersecurity technology company that provides endpoint security, threat intelligence, and cyber attack response services.
Disney (NYSE: DIS) - Worldwide entertainment company that you all are probably familiar with.
Enphase Energy (NASDAQ: ENPH) - Designs and manufactures software-driven home energy solutions that span solar generation, home energy storage and web-based monitoring and control.
Evolution Gaming Group (OTC: EVVTY) - Swedish company that develops, produces, markets and licenses integrated B2B live casino solutions for gaming operators.
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) - Enables people to connect through devices. It’s products include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus.
Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ: RDFN) - Provides residential real estate brokerage services.
Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC) - Provides virtual healthcare services on a B2B basis to its clients and provides services to consumers directly and through channel partners.
Sea Ltd (NYSE: SE) - Digital entertainment, electronic commerce, and digital financial services. The Company operates three business segments: Garena, Shopee, and SeaMonkey. The Company’s digital entertainment business, Garena, is a global game developer and publisher with a presence in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Latin America. Garena provides access to mobile and personal computer online games. Shopee provides users with a shopping environment that is supported by integrated payment, logistics, fulfillment, and other value-added services. SeaMonkey business is a digital financial services provider. SeaMonkey offers e-wallet services, payment processing, credit related digital financial offerings, and other financial products.
Waste Connections Inc. (NYSE: WCN) - Waste services company that provides non-hazardous waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services.

P.S. I have two other accounts - one with about 40 growth stocks and another with about 10 big names / ETFs. However, this portfolio has the largest allocation for 2021. My first time trying a more concentrated approach.
submitted by bull_doze to investing [link] [comments]

Before you spend money on this game, consider this.

I've been seeing a lot of posts where people are upset or complaining that they didn't get anything after spending "x" amount of money.
I just want to put my two cents in there since this is how I look at the game. Before spending any money on primogems, consider these things:

"If I get this character with $x, is it even worth $x?"

You're essentially paying to play with a character. Except in this case, paying for a chance to play with that character. What about the people who have spent thousands on this game? After getting Diluc or Mona for $3,000, was it worth it?
Think of all the things you could buy with that money. A Nintendo Switch costs $300. A game costs up to $60, and you know what you're getting. Rent money is $1,000-$3,000. The list goes on.

You're never guaranteed anything.

The ONLY exception to this is pity rolls. The maximum you'd need to spend is 28,800 primogems (around $400+) to guarantee getting the featured character on the banner. This is assuming that you didn't get any 5-stars before hitting the pity the first time, your first pity wasn't the featured character, and you hit the pity a second time to guarantee them.
Is any single character worth $400?
Other than the featured character, it can be REALLY difficult to pull any other character. You want Diluc? If you roll on the featured banner, its 50% chance you'll get the featured character. That means 50% chance you'll get a different 5-star. Since there are five 5-stars at this moment (not counting the featured), you have a 1/10 chance of pulling Diluc when you get a 5-star from this banner. On top of that, it's a 0.6% chance that you'll even pull a 5-star to begin with. As for the standard banner? The chance is even smaller with all the weapons thrown in.
To those complaining that they spent $100, $500, $1000 and didn't get what they wanted, you were never guaranteed it to begin with. It's all RNG, you aren't owed anything because you spent money on the game.

There will always be a new character that you'll want.

So you spent $400 on getting Venti. You needed him, he's your favorite character right? Of course you had to spend for him, he's the best character you've ever seen and you couldn't enjoy this game without him.
A few months later, a new character is released and you're in awe. Their skills...their looks....their element...you NEED them.
Well, that's another $400 you'd have to shill out to guarantee them. What's that? You only want to use them if you have their first constellation? Well better get that credit card out again, looks like you'll need to pull some dupes.
This is a never-ending cycle. I've run into this feeling countless times in video games. The new shiny thing will always be tempting you.
Not to mention power creep. New characters are often made to be better than older ones. As the game progresses, people who don't have newer characters are often at a disadvantage (mainly with DPS). In a gacha game like Genshin, it would be very expensive to keep up with this if power creep occurs within this game in the future. It's best to make the most of what you have.

Gacha = Gambling

When you go to a casino, do you walk in expecting to win millions? The odds are never in your favor when gambling. Rates are low for a reason. If everyone could spend $50 and get the exact characters they wanted every time, Miyoho wouldn't be making as much money as they are.
Gacha games have always been about gambling for characters. As stated previously, you're neverarely guaranteed anything, and by the time you've gotten what you wanted (unless extremely lucky), the company has already gotten what they wanted.

Don't be blinded by sunk-cost.

Sunk-cost is the idea that you've already put so much into something, and it'll go to waste unless you continue putting resources into it to get it. Do not be blinded by this when doing gachas.
Say you spent $100 and didn't get Qiqi. You've already put so much into the game, and not getting her would mean your money went to waste right? What if it would take another $1,000 to get her. Would that be worth it? It's best to cut your losses and walk away. Thinking about the sunk cost of something is what gives many people difficulty walking away, and causes them to over-spend.

Your party has limited space.

Yes, I know abyss is the exception. But overall the majority of the game only allows 4 characters at a time. You can't play with them all. It feels real bad to put a character you spent a lot of money on aside because they don't fit your current comp anymore.
-------
This comes from someone who is largely free-to-play in games like this. The only gacha game I've ever spent money on was Love Live a few years ago. I spent $125 and never got a single ultra-rare with my pulls. From that I realized what I was doing. Even if I could afford putting $30 per 10-pull, was the card I was going to get really worth that? No.
I learned from that experience and see gacha games for what they are.

Glorified gambling.

PS: If you are aware of all this and still want to spend $$/disposable income on primogems, by all means go ahead. But for many people it's easy to lose sight of what they're really paying for. I hope this is helpful in some way.
Feel free to disagree with any of this, but this is my perspective on the game and I get really sad seeing so many posts on the subreddit about how depressed people are after spending and not getting anything, and feeling entitled to it.
TL;DR: It's easy to sink lots of money into this game if you don't recognize you're gambling and never guaranteed anything. This is a warning post, not a criticism of anyone.

EDIT: As reddit user u/zapzya summarized: "...not everyone actually has the financial stability to invest in such a product, yet will do so anyway because they are not particularly knowledgeable in gambling mechanics or because shady tactics like the currency change ($$ genesis crystals primogems fates) actually work."
submitted by appleminte to Genshin_Impact [link] [comments]

How to Avoid Overspending with Gacha in Genshin

AKA gacha-ing responsibly within your means.
With the Zhongli banner coming up, I'm making this post to warn and help people from itchy fingers and the urge to 'get just... 1 more constellation!!'. For context, I've played FGO, Arknights, SinoAlice, FEH, and Onmyoji, and am fully F2P with other games, and I've seen how far itchy fingers can go - with this game, people are being introduced to the gacha mechanic for the first time and may find it difficult to 'just stop', especially with the constellations. Here are some tips to avoid over-spending and I'll use Zhongli as an example of a limited character you wanna get.

  1. Define your goal clearly and budget how much is needed with the worst-case scenario
Worse-case scenario is you don't get Zhongli within the soft pity for accumulated limited banner pulls. At 90, it's a 50-50 chance at the banner character. So let's say you 'die-die' want Zhongli, meaning you're pulling until you get him which, if you're unlucky, is at 180 pulls. Budget for 180 pulls.
With normal purchases, that's USD100 for 50.5 pulls with the most expensive and most 'worth it' crystals per dollar. If you're buying just enough crystals for 180 pulls, you need 3 x the USD100 pack, then 1 x USD50 pack and 2 x USD5 pack and 1 x USD1 pack for a total of USD361 = 28840 crystals = 180.25 pulls.
If you anticipate future whaling, then 4 x USD100 packs will cost you USD400 = 32320 crystals = 202 pulls.
So if you want constellation 1 Zhongli, you need 2 x the above as an absolute minimum. Due to the exchange rates, it's gonna be more expensive in other regions.
  1. Buy before you gacha
Impulse purchases don't add up until you look at your card history and realise 'Oh shit'. After budgeting and before the banner releases, buy the exact no. of genesis crystals you want to gacha on for this banner and no more. That way, when you run out, you should have accomplished your main goal of getting the character + the constellations you want. Seeing there's not enough to gacha more with and having satisfied your goal, this prevents you from spending even more especially since you need to go through an additional step to purchase more crystals first. If you still get itchy fingers afterwards -
  1. You don't need higher constellations
Sure, it's nice, but do you really need a constellation 6 Zhongli? If you're financially secure and have money to spare, whatever, but if you also want Xiao or Ganyu, consider that with shitty luck, you'll need to reserve a minimum of USD361 for each of them and their constellations as well.
I suggest you use a financial planning calendar at tentatively 1 new 5* being released every month to save up accordingly.
  1. Read people's personal stories/Call your gambling addiction hotline
After achieving your goal and hitting pity, it's just gambling. Unless you have enough to guarantee another Zhongli, you're just betting on rng. If you don't have enough for 180 pulls, I would argue it's also gambling cuz it's still not guaranteed at 90 pulls - it's still a 50/50 for your husbando.
If you still wanna go, read some people's stories about gacha in Genshin first then carefully consider - this will help save you money as you evaluate if it's really 'worth it'.
Example: https://www.reddit.com/Genshin_Impact/comments/jp2cmk/i_amwas_addicted_to_spending_money/
If you still have that urge, call your gambling addiction hotline - it's not just for people addicted to casino gambling. There's no shame in admitting you need help in stopping, and they'll provide you with the advice to do so.
And remember -
  1. Gacha is predatory, but we can avoid falling prey to it.
If you wanna gacha even without having enough for 180 pulls, you can still go for it. But do not become desperate and splurge to get just 1 character - financial planning is a must with a gacha game. Plus, chin-up - there's always a re-run of the banner; limited characters are only limited in that they have a tiny chance to appear on specific dates. Just save your primogems accordingly.

Have fun, and all the best for your wishes!
EDIT: Just to clarify, I'm not F2P in Genshin plus the aforementioned games, in case there's any confusion, but I *have* been F2P in other games aside from the mentioned ones.
submitted by SimplyaStalker to Genshin_Impact [link] [comments]

The Ultimate Parlay: DraftKings ($DKNG)

The Ultimate Parlay: DraftKings ($DKNG)
Here on a Sunday night to give you autists some time to cross-check my info, start your RH instant deposit, and let your wife's bf know you're coming back with a vengeance. Here's an in-depth analysis on DraftKings and how to maximize profits over the foreseeable future to squeeze this for every tendie we can. Now that many states face revenue shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic and wider budget deficits, there needs to be a push to fill that gap and nothing is better positioned than sports betting.
As you all know, $DKNG came to market through a SPAC merging with Diamond Eagle back in April, at the worst of the pandemic when live sports were dead and there was more uncertainty than ever for what was to come. Jason Robins, Draft Kings CEO, has balls of steel and knew that they needed to get to market quickly for a sports betting run-up the likes of which we've never seen. Sports are now on their way back, with a huge amount of positive catalysts coming up in the next few months to skyrocket this stock to the moon and beyond.

Management

I want to clarify that a large amount of my conviction from this play comes from the incredible management team leading the company. CEO Jason Robins is a stand-up guy and has led the company through a huge amount of scrutiny since its founding in 2012. He comes from a data analytics background which could not be a better fit for the sports betting business. He prioritizes the high speed data that fuels the DraftKings platform as its most valuable asset and speaks often on the commitment his team has to ethical values and encouraging a trustworthy environment for its users to gamble their paychecks on the DraftKings platform.
I've linked a great interview to get to know the CEO and give further insight into DraftKing's plans moving forward below and highly recommend anyone going in on this play give it a quick watch. Jason is optimistic about the future of state's legalizing mobile sports betting moving forward and says they will continue to invest boatloads of money into customer acquisition costs through TV ads and billboards on a state-by-state basis. Link: https://youtu.be/2OVFB9piEC0
Any of you who have come across DraftKings commercials, YouTube ads, billboards, know that their marketing is on point. This is a great play because DraftKing's expansion has occurred thus far on a state-by-state basis. This means that there's a large part of the nation (actually the majority) that is still ignorant to the sports betting wave that is coming in 2021. DraftKings is positioned extremely well to lead the way into the ~25 states still waiting to pass the bill.

Legislation

The fact that the top 4 states in the country still have not legalized online sports betting presents a HUGE opportunity to ride this wave with little downside risk. Sports have already gone through the worst-case scenario during COVID shutdowns and survived—now we’ve got a great amount of positive catalysts coming up (NBA season, March madness, Super Bowl, etc.) that the general population is begging for some action on, paired with more money in their pocket from significantly less entertainment costs since the pandemic started.
The Wuhan Virus gave DraftKings a shot in the arm to streamline its way into most (if not all) of the remaining state's ballots during Q1 and Q2 due to the huge cut in tax revenues that the lockdowns caused across the country. Governor Cuomo of New York released a statement last week stating he is now considering the passing of mobile sports betting in order to raise the state's tax revenue during a time where Congress completely skipped them over in terms of providing aid through the stimmy. New York is a huge catalyst moving forward. In my opinion, this is a make or break for how things look for DraftKings moving forward, and will largely influence how other states react. Mobile sports betting scares states as it is new and so accessible, but if you do research into the Powerball and other loterry companies, it just took a push in the right direction for states to realize how much money they are leaving on the table by not participating in these emerging markets. Sports betting has already benefited the 9 states which passed the bill (NJ leading the way) and has NY as well as every other governor, feeling major FOMO.
Current states where online (mobile) sports betting laws have passed:
  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia
  • Indiana
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Hampshire
  • Iowa
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Tennessee
Some of the reported revenues from sports betting:
New Jersey: $931.6 million
Pennsylvania: $491.9 million
Illinois: $434 million
Indiana: $250.8 million
Colorado: $231.2 million

On May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court found the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the federal law prohibiting states from authorizing sports betting, to be unconstitutional. It is now up to individual states to decide if they want to authorize and regulate sports betting in their state. Congress can also take action on the authorization and regulation of sports betting but has so far left it up to individual states.
As you can see, states are cashing out on the mobile sports betting wave, with New Jersey leading the way and making a large part of that revenue from NY residents crossing state lines to get their gambling fix in. Gov. Cuomo has been opposed to legalizing sports betting in the past, calling it "a violation of the constitution"...buut that was before covid lockdowns and his state was drowning up to their neck in debt.
DraftKings management issued extremely bullish guidance without even taking into account new states passing legislation. This is one of the things that I love about CEO Jason Robins that stood out to me in the hours of interviews/articles I’ve looked over. This man is the pinnacle of underpromising and over delivering. The staff at Draft Kings are extremely customer centric and focused on strong ethics to help them provide a platform for sports aficionados to enhance their viewing experience.

Data-Driven/Proprietary Tech Stack (the MOAT)

Legislation aside, the other huge catalyst is DraftKing's unique approach to owning its own data and proprietary tech stack. I believe that this will be where DKNG separates itself from the competition that is rushing to this space and will give it the upper hand in acquiring, and retaining, a large percentage of new users across opening states.
From investor presentation: "Upon close of the business combination, DraftKings will become the only vertically-integrated pure-play sports betting and online gaming company based in the United States. Through the business combination, DraftKings expects to realize synergies by transitioning its risk and trading sports betting platform to SBTech’s, instead of relying on a third-party platform. In addition to reducing costs, DraftKings will control its backend system and product roadmap, differentiating the company from other U.S. operators and giving it the ability to tailor its sports betting product to U.S. sports and users."
"SBTech is a global leader in omni-channel sports betting and gaming, with more than 1,200 employees in 10 offices worldwide. Since 2007, the group has developed the industry’s most powerful online sports betting and casino platform, serving licensees in more than 15 regulated territories. SBTech’s clients include many of the world’s premier betting and gaming operators, state lotteries, land-based casinos, horse racing companies, and iGaming start-ups. The group supplies highly flexible betting and gaming solutions to clients looking for exceptional configurability and the quickest route to market, complemented by proven business intelligence and reporting capabilities. The SBTech offering includes its seamless sportsbook, Chameleon360 iGaming platform, managed services, on-property sportsbook and omni-channel solutions that provide players with constant access to sports and casino products across all online, mobile and retail channels. Supported by unrivaled expertise in trading and risk management, acquisition and CRM, and the highest standards of regulatory compliance, SBTech’s partners consistently achieve rapid growth, enhanced brand loyalty and record revenues."
DraftKings prioritized OWNING their own backend technology via this merger with SBTech, making them the first, and only company in this space to own their risk and trading platform. This gives DraftKings a huge edge to the rest of the market. It forked up the cash to keep everything in house not only to provide a better customer experience, but also to widen the moat against competitors as new states come onboard. The key here is to clarify that DraftKings and SBTech combined to be the only player in the market with 100% vertical integration and control of their own backend. Jason Robins and the rest of the management team are placing their efforts on having the best technology and the best product and really going all in on owning the U.S. landscape opening up, with as little need for cross-platform interaction as possible.
This acquisition of SBTech was a complete game changer because it allowed them to be independent from paying revenue share to a third-party for betting lines and risk management services.
Clarification: no other sports betting/fantasy sports/casino company currently has 100% vertical integration on the level that DraftKings has established.

iGaming Boom

This is where the market is missing the mark. Take the time to read over analyst reports, news articles, and interviews and you'll quickly notice 99% of the general market is completely glazing over DraftKing's iGaming sector. This industry has been a CA$H COW in Europe for awhile now, and is only getting started in the United States. Out of the companies that occupy this space, DraftKings is the only one to create one synergistic platform for Fantasy sports/Sportsbook/iGaming. This will be a huge value proposition that will ultimately rocket DraftKings to the top of the gaming market and solidify it as THE gaming powerhouse moving forward.

The infrastructure driving DraftKing's products and Tech (all in one platform)
Anyone that's watched the run of Skillz and the hype pushing PaySafe, knows how much anticipation there is for iGaming to become the new norm in the world of gambling. DraftKings has emerged as the market leader in each state they've launched in, and continue to gain more and more market share. Once new users get introduced to their platform, the cross-selling opportunity is limitless and creates an extremely sticky customer acquisition cycle.
Competitors like Penn and MGM are dinosaurs in this space and have been playing catch-up to DraftKings since 2012. The new age of gamblers don't want to drive to a physical casino location or buy a home desktop to gamble. Everything will be mobile and run in real-time. DraftKings has been building an incredible live-sports ecosystem (first to market) and innovates the possibilities of what you can bet on a daily basis. Just download the app for yourself and do some exploring. I believe this is going to boom in the TikTok/millennial crowd as more states start to hop onboard.

2021 Projections

Pulled from the investor presentation, $DKNG has smashed every one of their 2020 assumptions listed below. For any stats guys out there, I would love to see some models at how much of this market is still up for grabs. DraftKings has positioned themselves to be at the head of this movement, and I believe that 2021 will be the year we really see them take off into triple digits share prices.
The catalysts are there, and the market is ripe for the taking. Their projections are extremely conservative and management lets the numbers do the talking. In my opinion, this is a bet on the management putting the dots together to EXECUTE as state legislation starts to go their way, once NY happens this shift will occur rapidly.

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgadata/1772757/000110465920032214/tm2012476d1_425.htm
The management is incredible and truly displays a vision for wanting to prop up shareholder value in the long-term through valuable data, a fully integrated platform, and aggressive customer acquisition to take control of this market as states realize the economic deficits which they are facing going into a new year. This along with the unprecedented hype that is going to be involved with sports events this year, will skyrocket DraftKings to new heights.
This is not a bet on sports betting alone, it is a play on a data-heavy and analytically driven behemoth, with strategic partnerships (league, team, and celebrity partnerships) and one of the most aggressive marketing strategies I have ever laid eyes on. The stock soared earlier this years upon news of the Michael Jordan partnership (https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/02/investing/draftkings-michael-jordan-deal/index.html) and there is many, many more big moves in the pipeline.

Conclusion

Long-term I am extremely bullish on people wanting risk to make up a daily part of their lives. The psychology of sports betting resembles that of the lottery and is becoming a must-have for people to have the choice to place bets from the convenience of their mobile phones. We are moving into a future where if risk and leverage are not involved, people will have little interest in dedicating their time to things. This shift can be seen with the boom in retail options trading (shoutout wsb gang) and will have a similar effect in sports, iGaming, and random prop bets/surveys that Draft Kings is innovating heavily in. This is not to mention the infrastructure that DKNG is continuing to build out to rival that of Europe in terms of live sports betting (which makes up three quarters of revenue for online sports books in the UK) and expanding their horizons to lesser betted on sports such as tennis, golf, soccer, etc.
If you've gotten this far, congrats you're just a few steps away from striking gold. Any feedback, comments, rebuttals, bear scenarios, etc. please comment. Good luck.

Positions

$70c 1/21/22
$90c 1/20/23
🚀🚀🚀 Bet at your own risk 🚀🚀🚀

Tl;dr

DraftKings has state legislation action coming, incredible management, is data-driven, is vertically integrated/owns its tech stack, has exposure to the full range of new world gaming (Fantasy/Sportsbook/iGaming), and is ahead of its competition forming league, team, and celebrity partnerships.
$70c 1/21/22
$90c 1/20/23

Sources (do your own DD dumbass)

https://youtu.be/2OVFB9piEC0
https://www.legalsportsreport.com/42835/draftkings-kambi-2021/
https://sportsbook.draftkings.com/help/sports-betting/where-is-sports-betting-legal?_ga=2.2847858.331721966.1608603855-1177209388.1608603855
https://www.legalsportsreport.com/46711/the-week-in-sports-betting-dec-21/
https://www.aol.com/news/why-draftkings-flutter-trading-lower-201654511.html
submitted by omertaproject to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

[OC] The Best MLS Player from Each Country That's Fielded One: Part 1 (UEFA)

Throughout its first 25 years, Major League Soccer has seen players from all different corners of the globe, each with their own career story. Whether it be a guy like Tim Melia or Chris Wondolowski who were scrappy guys that came out of nowhere to be stars in this league, or world famous names such as Zlatan, Beckham, and Henry, the league's history of big names is as diverse as they come.
Let's take a look at the best player from each country around the globe. This will be based on national team allegiance. Today, we'll be leading with Europe!
Please note that this is my opinion, and in some cases the decisions were tough; I'll be sure to add in honorable mentions where I can, or add notes.
Albania: Shkëlzen Gashi ( COL 2016-18)
Short list to pick from here, as Gashi's only competition is Jahmir Hyka and Hamdi Salihi. Gashi gets the nod, if nothing else, for his huge 2016 season, where he scored 10 regular season goals (one of which was that year's Goal of the Year) as the Rapids damn near won the Shield. The madlad then went and one-upped that with his absurd equalizer in the playoffs against the Galaxy.
His last two years weren't as fruitful, but man, when he was on he could pull something out of nowhere.
Armenia: Yura Movsisyan ( KC 2006-07, RSL 2007-09 & 2016-18, CHI 2018)
Four choices here, although in the end it's Movsisyan winning out over Harut Karapetyan, who played a couple seasons in the 90s for the Galaxy, San Jose, and Tampa Bay. The fourth pick in a strong 2006 MLS SuperDraft out of Pasadena City College, Movsisyan is mostly associated with RSL, who acquired him in a 2007 trade. With the Claret and Cobalt, he would tally 15 goals in 53 regular season appearances, and in 2009 he'd hoist the club's first MLS Cup. That'd be his last game with RSL until 2016 after some time in Europe with Randers, Krasnodar, and Spartak Moscow (even sharing the Russian PL Golden Boot in 2012/13 with Wanderson). He'd put up a similar clip of 16 in 57 before being waived and finishing his MLS career with four scoreless games with Chicago.
Austria: Daniel Royer ( NYRB 2016-pres.)
The choice here was largely Royer vs. Andreas Ivanschitz, who was a regular starter for Seattle's first MLS Cup, but I can't say no to a man with over 100 MLS matches played and three straight 10-goal seasons. In all comps, the former Austria Vienna man is just two goals behind Thierry Henry for third on the Red Bulls' all time goal scoring list.
Belarus: Sasha Gotsmanov ( COL 2005)
Gotsmanov qualifies by default as the only Belarusian player in MLS history. The Minsk native (and son of former Soviet and Belarusian international Sergei Gotsmanov) played one (1) single game for Colorado in October 2005, against RSL.
Belgium: Laurent Ciman ( MTL 2015-17, LAFC 2018, TFC 2019-pres.)
Shouts to Roland Lamah, who had his moments in Dallas, and Jelle van Damme, who played a season and a half for the Galaxy, but Ciman is the obvious choice. While he's fallen off a cliff as he's gotten older, he's a three-time All-Star and won Defender of the Year in his first MLS season; in his second, he played for Belgium at Euro 2016. At 35, he's lost a step and probably should only be used in emergencies, but at his best he was an elite MLS center back that could also be deployed at right back.
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Haris Medunjanin ( PHI 2017-19, CIN 2020-pres.)
The first one where I'm not totally confident in my pick, as Baggio Hušidić made this tricky (and as a Union fan I'm afraid of bias). But at his best, Haris is an assist machine (30 in four MLS seasons so far), and a threat on set pieces; the madlad even scored an Olimpico this year. His left foot is probably the best the Union have ever had. While his commitment to defense was nonexistent, give him the ball and he could spray a pass anywhere.
Bulgaria: Hristo Stoichkov ( CHI 2000-02, DC 2003)
One of three former Ballon d'Or winners to play in MLS (the others being Lothar Matthaus and Kaka, although "playing" is generous for the former), Stoichkov spent the last four seasons of his career in MLS, scoring 22 goals in 72 regular season matches for Chicago and DC. In his first season, a 9 goal in 18 match outing for the Fire, he also won the US Open Cup, scoring the opening goal of the final, a 2-1 win over Miami. (The winning goal, by the way, was scored by our old friend Owen Goal.)
Croatia: Damir Kreilach ( RSL 2018-pres.)
Mr. Miyagi's favorite MLS player for his crane kick equalizer in the playoffs, the former Rijeka and Union Berlin man has proven to be an excellent utility piece and core part of RSL throughout his time there, scoring 26 goals and chipping in 14 assists in 86 regular season matches and playing all over the damn place (naturally a central midfielder, he's probably still RSL's best forward). At 31, he still has a lot to give.
MLS has seen a huge influx of Croats lately, though; before Kreilach's 2018 signing there had only been four Croatian players in MLS history, two of whom barely played. Currently, there are five on active rosters.
Czechia: Luboš Kubík ( CHI 1998-2001, DAL 2001)
Czech players have had a good hit rate in MLS. In his lone MLS season, Bořek Dočkal led the league in assists, and Zdeněk Ondrášek was a very solid piece for Dallas, albeit one whose MLS time was brief.
But no. We have to go with Kubik. The sweeper was Best XI twice, in 1998 and 1999, and won Defender of the Year in 1998 helping Chicago to a MLS Cup-Open Cup double. He'd win another Open Cup two years later, before being traded to Dallas in 2001 and retiring due to injury.
So many lethal counterattacks started on the foot of this man, and he is rightfully seen as one of the greatest defenders the league has ever seen.
Denmark: Jimmy Nielsen ( KC 2010-13)
I debated going WAYYYYYYY off the board here and throwing out Miklos Molnar. His time in MLS was brief, just the 2000 season before he retired, but the man was the best attacking piece on a Cup winner. He could have balled out if he didn't retire early.
But nah. We're going with Casino Jimmy, one of the keys towards Kansas City's early 2010s turnaround. A two time All-Star, Nielsen was Goalkeeper of the Year in 2012, a year that also saw him win the Open Cup with the Wiz (on penalties, because KC and penalties, name a more iconic duo at this point). In 2013, he capped off his career by winning MLS Cup, again on penalties, while playing with broken ribs.
England: Bradley Wright-Phillips ( 2013-2019, LAFC 2020)
This league, man.
The list of English players to have represented in MLS is a long one, full of iconic names. Ashley Cole. David Beckham. Frank Lampard. Steven Gerrard. Jermain Defoe. Wayne Rooney. Hell, even Bradley's brother Shaun.
But nope. Many of those guys are the butt of many MLS jokes. BWP, on the other hand, is one of the greatest goal scorers the league has ever seen, with two Golden Boots to his name and well over a century of league goals. He was a part of 3 Shield winning teams, and made CONCACAF's Best XI in 2018.
And it all started with a quiet trial in 2013 after Charlton dumped him. This. League.
And This. Man. Even as a fan of Philly who doesn't care much for the Red Bulls, I respect this dude and everything he's done. I hope he gets another year after winning Comeback Player of the Year this year.
Estonia: Joel Lindpere ( NYRB 2010-12, CHI 2013)
The only other option here was Erik Sorga, who could dethrone Lindpere as he came to MLS at a very young age. But it's unlikely, as Lindpere was quietly very solid for the Red Bulls during his time. The Tallinn native was a two-time All-Star, and in 2010 he was named the Red Bulls' team MVP.
Finland: Alex Ring ( NYC 2017-2020, AUS pres.)
T O P I C A L
There's a few fairly talented Finns in MLS right now that could make this interesting (I really like Robin Lod's game, and Lassi Lappelainen would be excellent for Montreal if he'd stop getting hurt). Ring however has proven his worth across 4 seasons, including time as NYC's captain. Over 10,000 MLS minutes, mostly for good teams, as a defensive anchor, he will be a fantastic tone-setter for the new Austin team.
France: Thierry Henry ( NYRB 2010-14)
Oh man, as an Ireland fan I wanted to give this to literally anyone else. I am still bitter, dammit.
His best competition is probably Aurelien Collin, who has a closetful of trophies (including a Best XI and MLS Cup MVP). But no...it's Henry.
When a big name comes to MLS, what people want to see is someone who treats the league with respect. Henry did that. Not only was he dominant on the pitch, a three-time Best XI nomination, he also respected the history of the club he played for and gave 100%, even though he was getting up there in the years. He's a Red Bulls and MLS legend...as much as I curse that godforsaken hand
Georgia: Valeri "Vako" Qazaishvili ( SJ 2017-20)
It looks like the San Jose chapter of Vako's career is done and dusted. While the former Vitesse man struggled for consistency, he did put up 26 goals and 13 assists across four MLS seasons for the Quakes, including 10 while being coached by Mikael Stahre, which should probably get him and Wondo some sort of award.
We'll see what's next for him, if he leaves MLS or goes back to Europe. His only competition was Quakes teammate Guram Kashia.
Germany: Bastian Schweinsteiger ( CHI 2017-19)
I'm...actually not sure about this one. I actually changed this while writing, as I very nearly chose Julian Gressel; the former Rookie of the Year has two 10-assist seasons under his belt, and Kai Wagner has also been one of the league's better fullbacks for Philadelphia; Schweinsteiger was solid enough for Chicago in his advanced age for some very frustrating teams (and even moved positions to center back!)...but man, I don't know.
Germany is weird. For a country with such a great footballing tradition, the pickings are fairly slim. Arne Friedrich had one good year for Chicago before injuries claimed his career. Lottar Matthaus was as committed to this league as Schalke are to winning football matches. Stefan Aigner was stifled by Anthony Hudson going galaxy brain. Torsten Frings...existed.
I dunno.
Greece: Alexandros Tabakis ( ATL 2017)
The only Greek in MLS history...and our second one game wonder. Atlanta's FOURTH string keeper in 2017, he managed to sneak into a game against Minnesota with Brad Guzan on international duty, Alec Kann injured, and Kyle Reynish sent off during the match.
Atlanta lost 3-2. He's now in USL.
Hungary: Nemanja Nikolić ( CHI 2017-19)
Dániel Sallói and Krisztián Németh had their moments, but the winner is Nikolić, who came to MLS from the Ekstraklasa and immediately won the Golden Boot. His totals diminished in the three seasons he spent with Chicago, but 51 goals in 96 appearances isn't too shabby at all - it's second in Fire history behind Ante Razov.
Iceland - Guðmundur Þórarinsson ( NYC 2020-pres.)
Not much choice, 3 guys, all of whom were mostly bench guys. I almost went with Kristinn Steindorsson here on the merits of "he didn't have a penalty saved by Rodrigo Schlegel."
Israel: Gadi Kinda ( SKC 2020-pres.)
It was either him or Dedi Ben Dayan, really. And I nearly went with the former Colorado left back, but nah, Kinda is very much the superior player. The midfielder born in Ethiopia, Kinda shone brightly in his first season in KC, with 6 goals and 4 assists in his debut season. He'll be a DP next season.
Italy: Sebastian Giovinco ( TOR 2015-18)
A signing that changed an entire club.
Before Giovinco, the Reds were a laughingstock. He came in, won a Golden Boot and MVP right away, led the league in assists, made Best XI three years in a row, led them to their first playoff game, their first MLS Cup final, their first MLS Cup win, and a historic treble. And they damn near won CCL too.
The Atomic Ant was must-see from Day 1. It's not just because of him that Toronto is now one of MLS's elite...but he was a huge part of changing that culture. 83 goals in 142 games in all comps. And he dished out his fair share of assists too, with a telepathic partnership with Jozy.
Latvia: Raivis Hščanovičs ( TOR 2010)
Not much to write about here. 14 games for a bad Reds team. Gets in by default with no other Latvian MLS players.
Liechtenstein: Nicholas Hasler ( TOR 2017-18, CHI 2018-19, SKC 2019)
Another one by default. 66 games as a utilityman. Won MLS Cup and the Shield, though.
Lithuania: Vytautas Andriuškevičius ( POR 2016-18, DC 2018)
Only other choice was Edgaras Jankauskas, a forward who played 14 games for the Revs. Vytas played 37 for Portland and zero for DC.
Luxembourg: Maxime Chanot ( NYC 2016-pres.)
Another one by default but this one's an actually really solid player that finished fourth in Defender of the Year voting in 2019. We take those.
Malta: Etienne Barbera ( VAN 2012)
2 games in 2012. Only Maltese player in MLS.
Montenegro: Branko Bošković ( DC 2010-12)
Pretty much every other Montenegrin player played less than 20 games in MLS. Bošković played 43 before returning to Europe for family reasons. 7 assists in his final season though, which is technically something.
Netherlands: Johan Kappelhof ( CHI 2016-pres.)
Much like Germany, bright footballing tradition, very shaky MLS history. Which is weird because the Eredivisie exports a lot of guys to MLS.
Also, I'm excluding Kelvin Leerdam, as he is probably changing his international allegiance to Suriname.
So I'm going with 2017 All-Star Kappelhof, who I think is still fairly solid.
But really the choices aren't great. Dave van den Burgh? Roland Alberg scored a hat trick once I guess? Danny Koevermans was decent but injured all the time?
Maybe it's a hot take. It probably is.
North Macedonia: Oka Nikolov ( PHI 2013)
Never actually played, only in a friendly. Watch this space though as North Macedonia is apparently courting LAFC's Danny Musovski.
Northern Ireland: Johnny Steele ( RSL 2012, NYRB 2013-14)
Another case of shaky opposition, it was either Steele or Steve Morrow, who played 41 games for Dallas in the aughts.
Steele played regularly for a Shield winner, the 2013 Red Bulls. Easy peasy.
Norway: Vadim Demidov Ola Kamara ( CLB 2016-17, LAG 2018, DC 2019-pres.)
Adama Diomande is the main competition here. Kamara's first stint in MLS was a smashing success, scoring 48 goals in 90 regular season matches for Columbus and the Galaxy (he was traded for Gyasi Zardes before 2018). A brief foray to China followed, and while he's back in MLS with DC he hasn't quite been the same.
Still a good player on his day, maybe just the Bennyball effect.
Poland: Piotr Nowak ( CHI 1998-2002)
When I think of early Chicago, Nowak and the earlier-mentioned Kubik are the first two names that come to mind. Kubik held down the back while Nowak was the chief creator in the midfield. Three-time best XI, three-time All-Star, and MLS Cup MVP.
...can I drink my water now?
Portugal: José Gonçalves ( NE 2013-16)
Gonçalves fell off a cliff in his latter years, but in his first MLS season he won Defender of the Year and in his second he was a key part of a team that made the MLS Cup final and damn near won the thing.
Runner up here is Nani who is probably closing in.
EDIT: I also forgot to mention Pedro Santos, thanks to the Crew fans who pointed that one out. I still think Gonçalves pips him for his 2013 if nothing else, but Santos is probably closer than Nani.
Republic of Ireland: Robbie Keane ( LAG 2011-16)
A LOT closer than you think; Time Person of the Century Juventus legend Ronnie O'Brien was two-time best XI himself.
But nonono. This is Robbie freaking Keane. When we see these big name Euro guys interested in MLS, this is the man we want them to be.
Hypercompetitive and holding guys accountable on and off the pitch, and scoring for fun. 83 goals in 125 MLS regular season appearances. Best XI four times. 2014 MVP. MLS Cup MVP in 2014. A closetful of team awards including 3 MLS Cups.
This man was a baller, and frankly his departure was the beginning of the Galaxy decline into irrelevance, but that's a story for another time.
Romania: Alexandru Mitriță ( NYC 2019-pres.?)
Question mark because he's on loan and I have no idea if it'll be permanent, but he was punted out by the Pigeons just as he was really starting to break out. He scored 12 goals in his debut season last year but filled in nicely this year while Maxi Moralez was injured. EDIT: NYC fans have informed me he wasn't punted out, but was loaned out to be closer to his pregnant wife. My apologies.
Honorable mention: Alex Zotincă, who played for the Wizards and Chivas USA in the aughts. Brave man.
Russia: Igor Simutenkov ( KC 2002-04)
Not a lot to pick from here either. 49 games, 12 goals for this forward from Moscow, who now serves as an assistant coach at Zenit.
Scotland: John Spencer ( COL, 2001-04)
Give Johnny Russell another few years and he'll pass Spencer, but for now I'm leaning the latter. Spencer as a coach was frustrating as hell, but as a player he was Best XI twice and an MVP finalist once. Dude could score goals despite battling injuries in his time in MLS.
Just don't let him sign Kris Boyd. Then you lose to Cal FC. No one wants that.
Serbia: Aleksandar Katai ( 2018-19, 2020)
FROM A SPORTING PERSPECTIVE.
And mostly due to a weak pool. Runner up was probably someone like Miloš Kocić.
18 goals in 62 games for Chicago before getting yeeted back to Serbia for Bad People Reasons
Slovakia: Albert Rusnák ( RSL 2017-pres.)
He has tenure on Ján Greguš, who's the closest competitor, but Rusnák is also good. He followed up a 14-assist debut season (4th in the league) with back to back 10 goal seasons before struggling this year with injury.
Slovenia: Robert Berić ( CHI 2020-pres.)
Once he got acclimated to MLS, the goals came, and Chicago has its successor to Nikolić up top. He finished with 12 goals in his debut season, tied for second in the league with Ruidiaz and Zardes.
Also, from what I saw early on, seems like he's a dark-arts type of guy that gets in your head. That's fun.
Spain: David Villa ( NYC 2015-18)
I really didn't want to put him here due to recent allegations, and the fact that Pozuelo has already matched his MVP and two Best XI performances....
77 goals in 117 games though, that's tough to pass on.
Sweden: Zlatan Ibrahimović ( LAG 2018-19)
It's Zlatan.
He pretty much dragged a sorry LA organization to something resembling competitiveness.
What the hell did you expect?
(Anton Tinnerholm made this hard, though)
EDIT: Forgot Gustav Svensson as well in my honorable mentions.
Switzerland: Stefan Frei ( TOR 2009-13, SEA 2014-pres.)
Pretty self-explanatory, one of the most accomplished keepers in MLS history and with a closetful of hardware. And all it took Seattle to get him was a late first round pick that pinged around so much that it was eventually traded for a coach.
Turkey: Sercan Güvenışık ( SJ 2012)
5 games that year. No one else has flown the Turkish flag in MLS.
Ukraine: Dema Kovalenko ( CHI 1999-2002, DC 2002-05, NYRB 2006-08, RSL 2008, LAG 2008-10)
I'm afraid he'd break my legs if I didn't. One of the most physical and downright dirty players the league has ever seen. Made nearly 300 appearances though, and has one each of the 3 major US trophies (MLS Cup, USOC, Shield), all with a different team.
Wales: Andy Dorman ( NE 2004-07, 2013-15)
Dorman was a key part of that real good Revs team from the mid-aughts, and just beats out Carl Robinson. He made 112 appearances in his first stint, and played in 3 MLS Cup finals, though they famously lost all three. The Revs brought him back in 2013 after some time in Scotland and England, and was playing semipro in the area as recently as 2018.
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