Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Presidents, politics and poker

4 days ago, ran an article by Sarah Polson entitled "Presidential hobbies include poker". She briefly chronicles the history of Presidents that play poker.

Most of the stories in this article have been described with great detail in many other places, but for some reason, this article really got me thinking.

The current push to get rid of poker and in particular online poker, mainly the UIGEA, centers around the religious right doing something shady. They slipped this into the Port Security Act which was necessary and well supported.

This sleazy act of political shenanigans, isn't why I'm here today. That's been written about ad nauseum. What I'm wondering is, why no one stood up and complained? Poker bloggers, we complained, and some of us (I can only prove I did...was hoping some of you did too), called their congressman. But if all of these important people played this much poker, why didn't they step up to the plate and say no? (And yes, I realize most of these Presidents are's the politically powerful ALIVE people I'm thinking about)

I don't fully understand what happened to the political process here in the US. Both parties appear to be run by the lunatics within. The religious right and Neo-Conservatives have taken over the Republicans, and the Democrats are controlled by some website and PAC's that haven't been near the center...ever.

Why is poker a right or left issue? Isn't it really all about liberty? Sen. Bill Frist needed this bill to make the anti-gambling Christians like him enough to vote for him. Why do people that enjoy poker and gambling not fight harder to restore it?

I have a theory, and I don't know if it's really all that true, but do gamblers and in particular, poker players, like being outlaws? Do we like to buck conformity?

Short-Stacked Shamus recently blogged about "The Double Life of the Poker Player." Could this have something to do with our malaise? While the Presidents have had many a poker player in the group, most didn't actively lobby for protection of our Great American Past Time. Is it that fact that it's forbidden draw some to the game?

The tide looks to be changing. Poker seems to be getting some better reception in Washington, and I'm encouraged by some of the progress made by the Poker Players Alliance. But Absolute Poker has done their very best to make this whole thing look to be just another sham way to swindle people out of their money. The remaining websites need to step up and prove that they take the game and the trust seriously.

I'd like to see the industry regulated. Controls and inspections introduced. Find ways to ensure the trust of the poker playing public. Personally, I'd don't find this game shameful or really enjoy the idea that it's forbidden. I love the competition and the challenge of matching wits with another person. Chris over at Ante up! needs to be assured that these games are legit.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, or if it really makes sense. I am by no means a legal authority, a poker authority, a political authority or even a statistician (just check out my results!), but what I do know, is unless more people make a fuss about poker, eventually, the morons in the religious right, or the "whose looking out for the children" campaign will get their way and we won't be able to ever enjoy the feeling of flopping a monster and getting everyone all in again.