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Poker players refuse to fold to Congress

12 October 2006

Just over a week after Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, several of the biggest names in poker are pushing back.

World Poker Tour announcer and poker pro Mike Sexton will be in Washington, D.C. today and tomorrow to protest the signing of the bill and promote poker as a game of skill that should receive an exemption from the legislation.

"It's time for the silent majority to speak up when we feel our rights are violated," said Sexton, who acts as a consultant for Internet poker giant PartyPoker.com. "Who is someone in Washington, D.C. to tell somebody who works all day in North Carolina, Ohio, Kansas or anywhere else that they can't go home and play a $20 online poker tournament at night in the privacy of their own home? Who does that hurt?"

Sexton, who takes his role as one of poker's top advocates seriously, will appear on over a dozen local news stations across the country Friday during a "satellite media tour" organized by the Poker Players Alliance.

"If I am the ambassador of poker, I need to step up and do something for the rights of poker players," Sexton said.

Other top poker players are speaking out as well. Annie Duke, winner of the 2004 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, recently filmed a "freeSpeech" segment for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. The segment may air later this week. Sexton, Duke, Barry Greenstein and PPA President Michael Bolcerek are hoping to make appearances on CNN's Headline News, CNBC's On the Money, and other cable news programming.

The PPA is also asking members in New York City to go to Friday's taping of NBC's Today show armed with signs protesting the legislation.

In addition to looking for an exemption for poker in the law, the poker community continues to criticize the way the legislation made its way through Congress. The measure, which was attached to a ports security bill at the end of the Congressional session, never received a full debate on the Senate floor.

"It's just absolutely offensive and it's a weasely way of doing things," said poker pro Daniel Negreanu, a Canadian citizen who lives in Las Vegas. "It's one more American error worldwide as far as its worldview.

"The rest of the world is regulating online poker. Italy just recently passed a law that will make it legal in 2007; in the UK you have the publicly traded companies. And the U.S. moronic government just doesn't want five or six billion dollars a year so they can build more pretty pink bombs," Negreanu added.

Despite the setback, Negreanu is urging everyone to join the PPA and become active in the fight.

"The more people we have on board, the more likely we'll be able to get things done in government," Negreanu said. "Politicians don't do what they think is right. They do what they think is going to get them elected."

Poker players refuse to fold to Congress is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.