by Dennis Yang

Filed Under:

Poker Players Lobby Washington For The Right To Play With Real Money

from the full-house dept

Back in 2005, there were a few stories circulating about people funding their startups and college educations by playing online poker. The passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006 pretty much put an end to most of these plans. The act prohibits banks and credit card companies from processing online gambling transactions. However, even though the exact details of the law are still yet to be flushed out, banks are already blocking such transactions out of fear that they might fall under its prohibitions. So, while it is still legal to play poker online, players have to jump through hoops to fill their accounts with money, effectively crippling the entire online poker industry in the US. This week, the Poker Players Alliance, which represents 800,000 worldwide poker enthusiasts, marched on Washington with 100 of their members, including famous poker stars Howard Lederer, Chris Moneymaker, Annie Duke, and former New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato. Poker enthusiasts argue that poker is a game of skill, and therefore, should not be banned under the gambling act. Not only do they think that poker should be allowed, poker enthusiasts go as far as to claim that poker is educational and aids in cognitive development. Well, whether or not poker is educational is still up for debate, but there's no doubt that online poker was big business in the US prior to the ban. And, with the lobby already spending $640,000 in the first six months of this year, they are betting big on getting back into the US market. Hopefully for them, it's not a sucker's bet.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Overcast, Oct 24th, 2007 @ 8:44pm

    Nope, won't happen. The only good gambling is lottery, where the state makes most of the money.

    I'm sure they'd outlaw poker completely if they could, and still might yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Marc, Oct 24th, 2007 @ 9:14pm

    It will happen -- online poker will become legal again, we just are not sure when. Poker IS a game of skill, and once the government realizes that a possible compromise to this situation is to tax player's winnings they certainly will not want to pass that up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Kevin, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 4:30am

    It could happen

    The ban was basically slipped into a piece of "must-pass" legislation by Bill Frist (or was it Trent Lott? I get those two assholes confused all the time). It wasn't debated or reviewed, and it alienated a lot of people. There's already some support in congress for repealing the act, led by Barney Frank of all people. Not to mention, online poker is immensely popular. I think that there's a better than 50/50 chance of getting this crap repealed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    RandomThoughts, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 6:21am

    To say that poker is a game of skill just isn't right. There is some skill involved, but on any given day, I could beat a professional poker player in a tournament. On any given day, I will never beat Tiger Woods at golf.

    That being said, I think online poker should be legal if they can get a handle on money laundering issues.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 6:30am


    While I won't disagree that a small bit of luck can play into winning at poker. Poker players usually play the people not the cards. Professional Poker Players know how to bet to get a rookie to fold, or they know by your betting style if you are holding crap or gold. I would say that it would take a massive stroke of luck to get enough good cards that beat out a professionals bad cards for an entire tournament.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Just me, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 6:47am

    #4 Not right?

    I almost agree with your points RT, but this time I have to disagree. Yes, on any given day you might be able to beat out a tourney winner at a *hand* or two you could not likely take the pot.
    Short of a foolish all-in no pro is going to lose over and over again enough times to cost the game. What makes them pro is the ability to read you, your style and the overall situation and adapt accordingly.
    Yes luck is a big part of what cards they get vs. what you get,m but it's the skill of the players that determines what each does with those cards.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 7:38am


    Sorry #4, but you're wrong here. Sure, you could beat a pro on any given day. Hell, you might even put together a nice streak of cashes in tournaments. But, in the long run, without sufficient skill, you'll lose. This is especially true in ring games, which is where most players make their money. After you play 6+ hours a day, 5 days a week, luck simply isn't a factor. If it was, players wouldn't be able to make a living off of their profits, since there wouldn't be any profits to be made.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    RandomThoughts, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 8:47am

    Hey, I play poker. I enjoy poker. I don't play enough poker. Is there luck in sports? Yes, is there luck in golf? Yes, I still don't beat Tiger Woods.

    Look at the World Series of Poker. The pros there say that there won't be another professional player that becomes champion. They say that. What does that tell you?

    I think it was Dan Harrington who put it this way when asked the question would he win the WSOP going into the final table. "You said I am the best poker player in the world. I have 13% of the chips remaining. If I am the best in the world, then I probably have a 20% chance of winning."

    I agree, over the long term, the pro will end up with all the money. On any given day? Not so much. Tiger still beats me every day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    Gambling is a SIN...PERIOD!

    Unless, of course, the state gets a piece of the action. Then GOD is OK with it. You must pay your tithe to Big Brother. Amen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    whatever you want it to be, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 2:50pm

    another joke at our expense

    while nobody ever ?? my online poker habits I did notice that since it passed my bank puts holds on funds to foriegn countrys and it's a real pita. Not only does it limit the places someone can play online it puts a real cramp in buying german software. best of luck to the PP Alliance.
    I still wanna know what gives our gov the right to tap my phones, read my mail, tell me what game I can play and where I can purchase my software. Oh lets not forget this past week of not telling about the fire i'm surrounded by. Did someone say "it's all good"?
    ps: yeah, you can beat em in tourneys, cant you? :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    RandomThoughts, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 4:44pm

    As for the luck vs. skill in poker, take a look at the past 5 winners at the World Series of Poker. Any pros win it? Didn't think so. I rest my case.

    As for banks holding funds for foreign payments, that probably isn't because of online gambling, more like anti-money laundering measures. Those won't be affected by the PP Alliance either way the laws go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    RandomThoughts, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 6:20am

    One thing I thought of concerning this is that not all poker is created equal. The fad today is Texas Hold-Em, but that is not all that is out there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 12:08pm


    As for the luck vs. skill in poker, take a look at the players that have successfully made a living off grinding it out at the tables. You don't continually show profits over years of playing by relying entirely on luck.

    And again, you can't judge a person's skill by one tournament. How many other final tables has Varkoni made? What about Moneymaker? Just like all of the random players that pop up at WPT final tables, these guys, while not outright horrible players, ride their luck to short success, but they soon fade in to obscurity.

    That's the nature of poker. That's why you don't see the pros get too distressed when some random amatuer beats them for a pot or a tournament. They know very well that poker isn't a game of single hands or tournaments, and that they'll eventually be counting their chips while the other guy's luck runs out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    www.washingtonpokerplayers.com, Nov 18th, 2008 @ 10:44am

    online gambling

    this is my concern, if it's illegal to play online gambling sites in the state of Washington, why do sites like pokerstars include our state in tournaments like the world cup of poker where states are matched up head to head for cash prizes, where players from washington state can't even get paid out for it??? it's illegal to play by law in wa, but sites still allow us to play

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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