Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Supremes say STOP, Everyone Else says GO

I was just going to write a quick post on the news that the Supreme Court declined to hear the DiCristina v. United States case, which many hoped would finally decide, perhaps once and for all, whether poker is a contest of skill or luck. I didn’t imagine they’d “step into the gambling/poker morass” - although I have to admit a 5-4 or 6-3 decision either way might have been appropriate. No matter - there are many more events in the news that tend to overshadow the Supremes decision, and my Monday pessimism departed in a hurry. In just twenty-four hours news that Full Tilt repayments are on the way and the announcement of the first interstate online poker partnership.(Nevada and Delaware) made my heart skip a beat, and I don’t even have money coming from FT. Add to this that both Illinois and California are expected to take a hard look at jumping into the online poker world, and…my nipples are hard.
I am a trained optimist, and it’s caused me more pain than I care to think about. Immediately after Black Friday I remained hopeful that the shutdown of PokerStars and Full Tilt were temporary, and that we’d regain our senses in DC and let play resume. Three years later and I can’t believe I was that stupid. I also believed in Joe Barton and his Internet Poker Freedom Act, and still murmur, “yeah, yeah”when he says that Federal legislation might be possible once more populous states launch their own markets. Joe says, “I can't say when…but I can say it will occur and that it won't be 20 years from now. It will be, if not next year, the year after or soon after that.”
Like so many things, the Feds dawdle, and the states take action.
There is a part of me that cannot believe we are even dicking with all of this. We have an energy crisis, an environmental crisis, lax rules for bankers and Wall Street and a huge divide between the 1% and everyone else, including the impoverished who keep voting for the assholes that do nothing to alleviate impoverishment. We want clean water, safe streets, a decent wage and a chance to enjoy life as best we can, and what is Congress doing today? Not much.
Do we really expect them to step into the gambling/poker morass? C’mon, get real. The states have led the way in all forms of gambling -lottery, casinos, card rooms, horse racing - you name it. With state budgets hurting, every dollar counts, and while still relatively tiny, online poker has the capacity to be huge - that’s why so many are fighting about it. Three states are already up and running, others have approved the idea, and now two more biggies are taking up the issue (and New York, Texas, and Iowa might not be that far behind).
The Supremes had a hit called “There's No Stopping Us Now.” They sang about love. We love poker. I can’t take any lyrics from that song and make a good closing, but it I take the lyrics from “You've Really Got A Hold On Me” (originally sung by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles) and just switch around two letters (e and m) I can do it just fine:
…and all I want to do...
Is just hold em, hold em, hold em, hold em….

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