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Know When to Fold 'Em

Last week's feature, which exposed the fallout from the federal government's shutdown of the online poker industry ("They Were Kings for a Moment," by Chris Parker), got readers talking.

Writes TCasey, "That's a very informative article about what happened to online gambling. I like your work, Chris Parker. To any lawmakers paying attention: I favor legalizing online poker; I vote."

Billdale disagrees. "If one person such as Walter Wright, Maxwell Fritz or Michael Minkoff can make enough money from their activities to provide for a lavish lifestyle, it's because they understand card-counting or know some other inside track that is sapping the life from other households. There is no free lunch. Whenever anyone wins in gambling, it's because someone else is losing, and getting nothing out of the deal but a bit closer to bankruptcy, or divorce or Gamblers Anonymous.

"There is no winning in gambling. Not overall. There is only money shifted from one soulless sap's pocket to another."

Sheryl J has a different perspective.

"There is definitely winning in poker," she writes. "Ever hear of entertainment? There is no reason why I shouldn't be able to play a $3.30 tournament from my home. That $3.30 tournament on a Friday night is my entertainment (I'm disabled and don't get out much). And I usually win enough to not have to redeposit. Sometimes I even win enough to withdraw, which is quite the headache right now. We need licensing and regulation in the U.S."

Korean Wars

But the big controversy in last week's paper proved to be not gambling but food — specifically, our food critic's roundup of the 60 Korean dishes that every Angeleno should know ("Seoul Food," by Jonathan Gold). Some of you were livid about which restaurants Gold included. Others were shocked that mutton was an ingredient in one of the 60 dishes at issue; Koreans, you huffed, hate the taste of lamb.

Some of you, we suspect, just wanted to bitch.

"Jonathan Gold does it again," Jean writes. "He thinks this listicle will cover up the fact that he doesn't know squat about Korean food?"

Adds Jayne, "Totally agree with you. He's not even Korean. Shaking my head."

"The only people who rely on Jonathan Gold for Korean restaurant recommendations are the ones who haven't a single Korean friend or have never tried Korean food," claims Aghast. "And if he has Korean friends, they surely must be purposely undermining him, because most of what he's written about Korean food in Koreatown is BS. Telling people to go to Koreatown and try the kimbap at School Food is like telling them to go to Boyle Heights and try a taco at a Mexican-run TEX-MEX chain. Unbelievable."

But it wasn't all detractors.

"Gah, it's just a damn review," writes Sun Joo. "Shut up. Freakin' Koreans, man! I'm Korean, and I like his recommendations. Be a cynical twit somewhere else."

"This list is legit," adds a reader who calls himself "Now Craving 60 Things." "So what if it's not as refined as some of the picky, finicky Angelenos would prefer? There is just way too much negativity in the comment section. Give the man the credit he's due. I am a Korean- American, and I am thankful for this list and will continue to refer/relish it. It does not mean it's the be-all and end-all of L.A. Korean cuisine, but seriously ... it's an amazing list. You guys all need to relax."

Jrpas agrees. "Whether this list is definitive or not, time and tasting will tell. But I suspect that's really not the point. Jonathan Gold is facilitating the exploration of what is, for many of us, an unfamiliar cuisine and culture. It's a starting point, a list of personal favorites, which Gold seems happy to supplement with those suggested by the reader. It's hardly worthy of the hostility seen in some of the posts. As someone whose only experience with Korean food/Koreatown is KyoChon, this is greatly appreciated, and I'm looking forward to the journey."

Joaquin agrees. "Jonathan Gold has opened up whole swaths of Los Angeles dining to unfamiliar audiences and has changed how we think, talk and eat, not only here but around the country. He has been eating, discussing and reviewing Korean food for years, and I'm sure he consulted with numerous Koreans before writing this piece.

"This is not supposed to be an exhaustive list of every single good thing to eat in K-town, so stop treating a difference in taste as if he's simply wrong about where and what to eat. There are a lot of Koreans in this town, and I'm sure they have differences of opinion, too."

Meanwhile, Back in K-town

Speaking of differences of opinion, we heard from Christie Curran, who thought our Koreatown issue missed the boat — especially our pieces focusing on its late-night offerings. Those stories, she wrote, "seem to glorify the 24-hour party culture, including remarking on the ease of obtaining beer after 2 a.m.

"As a Koreatown resident, I am constantly affected by the sophomoric behavior portrayed in your articles. The disrespect for people who reside in the adjacent buildings to these clubs is unbelievable. The noise, trash and violence that is a by-product is dealt with on a daily basis. Please know there are Koreatown residents who have more to their lives than 5,000 cc beers in copious amounts consumed into the wee hours."

You Write, We Read

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