Frank of Life’s a Bluff vs. Poker Players Alliance

by , Mar 19, 2008 | 2:41 pm

What exactly does the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) stand for?

Frank Frisina of Life’s a Bluff has posed that question, specifically as it relates to the organization’s mission statement that, in part, says it will ensure the integrity of the game of poker. The fact that the PPA would not and will not make an official statement about the recent online cheating scandals at Absolute Poker and UltimateBet was a major concern for Frank. And upon the conclusion of an e-mail interview with John Pappas, Executive Director of the PPA, Frank decided that John’s answers – or non-answers – were the straws that broke the donkey’s back.

Frank has officially terminated his membership with the PPA and has explained his reasons in great detail. Life’s a Bluff as a whole has also stopped any support of the PPA. He asks that others who agree with him stand up and do the same.

The introduction and the interview are well worth the read, as Frank poses some serious questions to the online poker community about organization, legislation, regulation, and membership organizations like the PPA.

14 Comments to “Frank of Life’s a Bluff vs. Poker Players Alliance”

  1. BJ Nemeth

    I think I’m a dissenting voice on this issue, supporting the PPA. I left a long response in the comments on the Life’s a Bluff website, but here’s an excerpt:

    “But I really feel that this entire “controversy” boils down to a simple issue — the PPA stands for one thing (lobbying Congress to keep poker legal), and Frank thought they stood for something else (monitoring the safety and integrity of online poker). That’s it. The PPA is not the Better Business Bureau for online poker, and I was never under the impression that they were.”

  2. Frank Frisina

    and I left a long reply.

  3. DanM

    Perhaps Frank’s looking for the WPA? They haven’t had much to say about any important issues either, other than to renew your membership just because.

    I’ve worked closely with the PPA on a couple things, and I saw some people actively working hard to make stuff happen. When we were lobbying the Texas Lege, former Exec Direc Michael Bolcerek came down to Austin to share some PPA numbers, which was an important element of our overall pitch … to convince our representatives that poker players represented a real voting block that they stood to benefit from for getting on poker’s side.

    And then, of course, there was our meeting with Rep. Pete Sessions here in Dallas … where the PPA honcho and his newly hired professional lobbying gun came and worked with a bunch of regular-joe Dallas poker players and a few pros to successfully persuade an influential Republican to get behind some Democrat-created poker legislation.

    Not to toot our own horns here, but Lavigne and I — with great help from Robert Williamson, Clonie, DocJohn the anti-heroin shrink, Pat the Tablemaker, and Gentle Shane — put together a pretty damn-good show on behalf of the Wexler Bill. But we would not have had the chance to make our case face-to-face were it not for the efforts of John Pappas, Chris Giblin (the hired lobbyist) and the card-carrying supporters of the PPA.

    Don’t get me wrong, behind their back I’ll call those guys total friggin’ idiots … but I still know that ultimately they’re doing a good job that I support.

  4. BJ Nemeth

    I think it’s clear that I’m not understanding the source of Frank’s disappointment in the PPA. But I think it’s equally clear that Frank is misunderstanding the role of the PPA.

  5. DanM

    I would really like to see a BJ Nemeth cartoon.

  6. wptinsider

    Frank we definately need to see a BJ Nemeth cartoon….Dan that’s a classic image that you have posted….

  7. BJ Nemeth

    LOL … I’m willing to laugh at myself. Of course, everyone says that, and we all *think* we mean it. 🙂 But it would be less funny (to me) if a cartoon was created based solely on my disagreement with Frank on this issue over the last 24 hours. I’m certain we agree on far more issues than we disagree.

    But over-analysis and too-long comments and forum posts? Forgetting to invoice companies that owe me money? That stuff has “BJ Nemeth” written all over it.

  8. Frank Frisina

    I love how BJ is inside my head and knows what I believe. BJ tell me… Who am I going to vote for in the election? What am I thinking this very second?

    I am just now getting to the internet stuff. I haven’t yet had a chance to check the LaB posts but I assume you posted there and I will reply when I can. However since you are also busy putting words in my mouth here. I fell like I need to correct you…again.. even though repeating myself on various websites is not what I had in mind. War on multiple fronts I leave to the Republicans.

    I never for in one second thought the PPA was there as JUST a police watch dog. I knew and know full well that the PPA is a lobby group first. I have been an active loyal supporter since its inception. I have spent more hours than I care to admit on PPA support. So you insinuating that I am fundamentally confused is both insulting and condescending. How about if told you to just stick to what you do best? taking pictures and leave the real journalism up to those with the balls to do it Not very cool huh? Maybe you should pick your words a little more carefully when criticizing me for asking a simple question.

    When they tout a message like “ensuring the quality” of the game. I have a right to ask them what they mean by that. It is clear they too agreed with me that the statement was to ambitious and broad. They took it out of their motto/mantra.

    Are you reading the entire blog posts over there along with the entire responses or are you just skimming over? It appears if you are doing the skim job.

    Look.. the PPA brought it on themselves to be asked those questions when they gave me the run around for 2 weeks. Everyone else might be satisfied with bullshit half answers straight from talking points… but I am not.

    As a long time member and poker player I very much have a right to raise an issue that I felt needed some clarification and for the sake of the various discussions that have come of it. I asked some questions that I think plenty of people wanted to know and needed to know.

    in 2 years and all the strips we did, I have never received this kind of overwhelming response to something I posted. I am getting an average of 5 emails an hour. People are emailing me from all over the world in support. If I had to put a number on it I would say at least 90 percent of the reaction has been positive. And very much like my poll… the numbers are so lopsided to those who think the PPA is either doing the wrong thing, or not enough of the right thing.

    No matter what… you cannot deny that. I would love to see a poll up on Pokerati and/or the PPA asking if people think the PPA represent them and/or do enough. Because I guess to Pappas.. 100 people are not enough to get a good statistic sampling.

    And its still worth screaming that the UIEGA doesn’t pertain to poker and never has. There is no need for clarification of a law, people with half a brain should already understand. The PPA really has done a great job confusing everyone. Fear tactics work on every level and subject…. its nuts…

    Why would Doyle’s Room return? Are Doyle’s lawyers not as competent as the PPA’s lawyers? I don’t think so. I think the PPA’s lawyers know exactly what they are doing and who they are doing it for.

    I still would like to know what they mean by regulation and what that does to the states that have laws making poker illegal. How do they think the government plans to enforce a ban on poker? Because making banking transactions harder is NOT banning poker or is it even in the same ballpark. Again… the whole problem with the banking issue comes from the fact they were allowing funding of sports betting and other CLEARLY illegal activities (according to wireact) and not because of poker. It is no harder to fund a poker account today as it was 2 years ago. Try funding a place that offers gaming/betting and you will have a problem

    Anyone wonder why the UIEGA = unlawful gaming act??? It’s because it means UNLAWFUL GAMING. Online poker has never been classified as unlawful by anyone other than a couple of states. The UIEGA is no more threating to poker now as it was when it first passed. It makes specific references regarding the WIRE ACT, which in turn also makes specific references to everything BUT online poker.

    In essence the PPA is raising an issue for the government to now define poker as either unlawful gaming OR not. What happens if the governement decides that any moron should have figured poker is indeed gambling/gaming and should be included into the wire act? And now since 1 million people with the PPA are confused and need clarification, they add it. Do you really think that poker is going to be classified with as a skill game??!!! You know that of the 6 billion people on the planet, the only people who believe poker is a skill game is the PROS or decent players. Go ask someone who doesn’t play poker what they think. That arguement has been shot down time and time again… the PPA is grasping at those straws because they know they have put poker in a bad spot. The governemnt is going to be forced to put poker into the gaming act.

    It’s going to be sadly ironic when The PPA itself turns out to be one that officially causes online poker to banned.

    The truth is the PPA is fighting for offshore gaming sites that for years have had problems with our banking systems not allowing transactions. They have been fighting this fight for a long long time. When they couldn’t gain any ground any other way… they latched onto the poker boom and are using the backs of poker players to now to forward their agenda. At the end of the day… who benefits the most from having open banking?? It isn’t the players AT ALL. I mean, Full Tilt is enjoying the most traffic it has ever seen so we know it’s not the poker only sites.

  9. DanM

    ***Why would Doyle’s Room return? ***

    Because Doyle needed money. It’s that simple, a highly reliable source on Doyle matters tells me.

  10. BJ Nemeth

    Frank —

    While we strongly disagree on this issue, it was never my intention to attack you — much less attack you on multiple fronts. For the time being, I’ll restrict my comments to your website, where you have homefield advantage.

  11. Ed

    Let’s stick to witty one liners..or a paragraph at least. I get confused when I have to skim these novels you guys are posting. Word make my head hurt worse than losing a SnG to 3 outs after I “tricked” the guy into putting all his money in on the turn. (Online play only of course…this would NEVER happen at a real table…never.)

  12. DanM

    Ed likes Bodog. Puppies are soft and ice cream tastes good.

  13. Ed

    It is a love hate relationship. I still think Calvin sits at a main control booth and flips a switch on me now and then…while cackling in some evil wizard way.

  14. Frank Frisina

    ED is right. I will try and keep my replies to a minimum from now on. I tend to loose track of how long I have been typing sometimes.

    BJ – I replied to you over there.

    here is my one liner btw:

    Life’s a Bluff, sometimes you have to put it all on the line when you might not have the best of it. 😉