Wednesday, Apr 11, 2012 Poker Junkie Op-Ed: Poker Needs PPA Angle Shoot
The Poker Players Alliance has initiated its latest campaign for online poker regulation with the new slogan "Poker Players Will Never Fold."
Many have criticized the PPA for its lack of effectiveness over the last couple of years. Others feel that the PPA and PPA player representatives do not truly represent the game.
Poker Junkie blogger Compncards explains why those representing poker may not truly represent the game but are needed if Americans want online poker regulation to pass at a federal level.
Where Are the Major Stars of Poker?
Have you noticed when the Poker Player's Alliance and other organizations have poker players speak at Congressional hearings, major events, etc, they're almost never any "current" stars?
I'm not saying that nobody cares about Linda Johnson, Annie Duke or Greg Raymer, but when you think of poker stars, do you think of them or do you think of Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Jason Mercier?
I don't count a video blog or a video on a website by Daniel or another player as major support. When they show up before Congress or at a major news conference talking about online poker, then I will be impressed.
Better Spokespeople than Legitimate Stars
I understand completely why players like Raymer, Johnson and Duke are talking before Congress, the courts and in live press conferences. They all present a lot better than many poker players, and by and large do not bring as much controversy.
Before you jump in about Annie Duke, realize that a lot of what is thrown out about her comes from other sources (mainly Daniel) and she seldom responds.
Raymer, Johnson and Duke know how to present themselves to the general public and have more of a respectable image, so they're the ones that speak for poker.
The problem is they don't paint an accurate picture of the game.
Those Speaking Out Don't Tell The Entire Truth
The people that the Poker Player's Alliance use to speak on behalf of poker portray the game in the way they want it perceived by the public. And while they don't lie, they don't tell the whole truth either.
You aren't going to see Greg Raymer speaking about how poker players wager more money in side bets during the game than they risk in the actual game.
You won't hear Linda Johnson talking about how many poker players, even the top names in the game, have to be backed for a large portion of their events.
Annie Duke won't tell you about the addictions of many poker players away from the table or how massive downswings will hit every player and leave many broke.
You won't hear about how players risk their health, relationships, and even their families to make money in the game. Nor will you hear about the anti-social nature of online poker and how many players have the personality of a pet rock.
You hear them talk about all of the positives and very few, if any, of the negatives. They paint a rosy picture of a game that is completely mental and should not be illegal.
Players connected with lobbyists are part of the political machine and do what they can for the end result. If that means withholding the truth, so be it.
Do We Really Want Certain Players to Represent the Game?
While I've been breaking down how those connected with the PPA don't really represent the game, the question remains as to whether the big stars actually should represent the game.
I think many of us agree it's a good thing that many of today's stars do not represent the game.
First, some would just come across as entirely fake or would represent the game poorly. Can you imagine Allen Bari representing poker and telling Congress to "fuck off" when they said he was out of order? Can you imagine Jason Mercier showing up in his baller outfit to hearings - or better still showing up in a suit?
Can any of us imagine Tom Dwan showing up and actually not looking like a deer in the headlights when asked a question?
Poker Needs the Angle Shoot
The truth is that if we want poker to be taken seriously, we need to polish its image up a bit.
Poker is not the nice and neat mental game it's sometimes portrayed to be. At the same time, all poker players are not degenerate gamblers and jerks either.
Poker still has most of the seedier elements it's always has and, honestly, that will never change.
The PPA and those representing poker should continue to focus on poker's positive points and present poker in the way they have. It's really the only way to make the game palatable for lawmakers.
While it's not entirely accurate, it's an angle shoot that will benefit the game and players in the long run and we should just roll with it.