Drama was out in full force this past week, with allegations of hypocrisy, cheating, and extortion exploding through the poker world, which was still feeling aftershocks from an Annie Duke/Daniel Negreanu feud that had reached new levels of nastiness after Negreanu’s aggressive C-bet. But the poker fight that really blew up late last week was between the Commerce Casino and PPA, and shows how heated political matters can get in a very short period of time.
Open letter from pros, PPA website target Commerce
Though Barney Frank’s online gambling bill made it out of committee last month relatively unscathed, one troublesome opponent came from the Commerce Casino in California. In an effort to squelch the impact of their dissent, the PPA sends its million-plus members word of an open letter to the Commerce (signed by a few dozen top-level pros) and launches PlayersBeforeProfits.com, making it easy for poker players to bombard the Commerce with tweets, emails, and phone calls voicing displeasure.
Commerce says PPA misguided, Frank bill will cost jobs and hurt poker
Commerce board member Tom Malkasian, who testified against HR 2267 last month, turned up his rhetoric against the PPA, saying they are ignoring key issues. The Commerce has a right to fight against unfair competition from offshore operations, he tells PokerNewsDaily, and its something they must do to protect California revenue, American jobs, and poker player interests, he says. At least Duke and Negreanu seem back on the same team, having both signed the initial letter and both tweeting to help get thousands of signatures for the PPA in just a couple days. Duke hints at plans for a boycott.
Bike, other California casinos lock step with Commerce
In what’s becoming an increasingly hostile back and forth, the PPA appears to be winning the PR battle, now with more than 6,000 signatures and countless tweets to Congress. The Commerce counters with even bigger numbers and a sign their side is growing, too. They mass-email a press release late Friday, announcing a unified front with other major California card rooms, including the Bicycle, Hawaiian Gardens, and Hollywood Park. These card rooms claim they collectively represent more than 20,000 California employees and handle $13.4 billion in wagers, all of which would be severely threatened by the Frank bill.
The letter suggests HR 2267 is too broad, and would be more acceptable if it tried to legalize poker-only, not all online gambling. It also says the Commerce welcomes the emails, but asks concerned players to use their new email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twitter suggested lots of support for the idea, but few if any have thus far declared intent to cancel plans or skip the upcoming Commerce Hold’em Series, which kicks off Wednesday with a $500k Guarantee.