Congresswoman Reaffirms Support for Online Poker

Senate hopeful Berkley: keep government off your computer, undo the UIGEA (now!)

by , Sep 6, 2011 | 5:17 pm

shelley berkley women in poker hall of fame

Berkley 4 online poker: Let's gitter done!

“We’re going to do everything we can to legalize online poker,” said US Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) to a crowd of mostly women Friday night at the Golden Nugget. She was the opening speaker at the Women in Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and wanted to let nearly 300 attendees know that she hasn’t wavered in her position against government interference in online poker, and now is the time for Washington DC to get Americans back online.

Berkley, who declared her intent to run for US Senate the day before Black Friday, was one of the few representatives to call the UIGEA “a travesty” at the time of its passage and one of the first to jump on board to co-sponsor Joe Barton’s (R-TX) post-Black Friday online poker bill.

“There’s no reason people shouldn’t be playing online. It will be good for the 26 million poker players … it will be good for our country, and it’s going be good for our economy,” she said. “We’ve got to get this piece of legislation passed!”

Have a listen to what all she had to say in Las Vegas before heading back to DC:

Shelley Berkley at the Women in Poker Hall of Fame 2011
4:58

[audio: http://pokerati.com/podcast/pokerati-raw/ShelleyBerkley_wiphof.mp3]

Here’s the YouTube video she references, where she balks at the Port Security Act’s prohibition of online poker as a shameful partisan angle-shoot (despite support for the measure by one of her biggest corporate constituents in Harrah’s).

And here is a piece in today’s New York Times that takes an in-depth look at the distinguished gentlewoman from Nevada’s political career. The story questions plausible conflicts of interest with her husband’s medical practice, but also reveals a certain level of political strength and savvy to make things happen when she wants them to.

I had long been rather meh about Berkley — thinking of her as kinda like Judge Judy, with maybe a little less authority and power. Sure, she supported various online poker bills, but that just seemed obv for any distinguished gentlewoman from Nevada. But the more I hear from her, the more I warm to her. For as much of a DC insider as she’s become, she might be one of the few who plays the poli-game as she has to but still crafts her lawmakering out of core beliefs moreso than the political gusts of big financial backers. At least that’s what I wanna believe the more I pay attention to her. But maybe it’s just the new hair …


  • Poker Grump

    Wow–now there’s a textbook example of a half-truth! She may have called the UIGEA a “travesty,” but SHE VOTED FOR IT! I don’t suppose she included that particular fact in her self-congratulatory speech at the Nugget, did she? I mean, it’s nice that she wants to fix the problem, but it would be nicer if she hadn’t contributed her vote to causing the problem in the first place. 

    • No, that’s part of why I respect(ish) her. I’ve seen her address that question straight on before (when she had a chance to dodge it) and she makes it clear in the YouTube vid (which is her speech against the dirty tricks – port security – used to force her hand.)

      I agree it would be better if pols simply didn’t play politics. But that kinda idealism doesn’t get them far.

      Barton voted for the port security bill too. Is he a hypocrite? (could be I suppose…) but then so is Reid and just about every politician save for Ron Paul.

      At least she was willing to put her name on the line, and stand up for poker at a time we were clearly beat.

      Listen to her speech (at WIPHOF) and she talks about how she was fighting the uigea before it existed. (I believe her).

      To let that vote – a crying fold – mean enuf to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater suggests you hate the game, not the player. Fair enuf … But if that’s the game someone wants to play, then they might as well move to costa rica.

      Politics IS compromise.Just ask Ron Paul, who abandoned the libertarian party (and their platform he helped write) because he realized he could do more as a republican. At least at a certain time.

  • No, that’s part of why I respect(ish) her. I’ve seen her address that question straight on before (when she had a chance to dodge it) and she makes it clear in the YouTube vid (which is her speech against the dirty tricks – port security – used to force her hand.)

    I agree it would be better if pols simply didn’t play politics. But that kinda idealism doesn’t get them far. 

    Barton voted for the port security bill too. Is he a hypocrite? (could be I suppose…) but then so is Reid and just about every politician save for Ron Paul. 

    At least she was willing to put her name on the line, and stand up for poker at a time we were clearly beat. 

    Listen to her speech (at WIPHOF) and she talks about how she was fighting the uigea before it existed. (I believe her). 

    To let that vote – a crying call? – mean enuf to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater suggests you hate the game, not the player. Fair enuf … But if that’s the case, then maybe you should move to Costa Rica?

    I semi-jest, but politics IS compromise. Just ask Ron Paul, who abandoned the libertarian party (and their platform he helped write) because he realized he could do more as a Republican. At least at a certain time.

    And that’s why I’ll give her (for now) a pass on the Port Security vote, when repeated actions before and since show where her intent is and willingness to back it up.