Poker vs. Pie

Battle for American(a) Values

by , Dec 11, 2008 | 3:27 pm

Who says poker and pie can’t peacefully co-exist in Branson?

The frontlines in the the War on Poker (or maybe now we should start calling it the War for Poker?) are always shifting … but currently there’s quite the firefight going in what might seem the most unlikely of places: Branson, Mo., which you may recall from an episode of The Simpsons, is “like Vegas … if it were run by Ned Flanders”.

At issue is what to do with upwards of a quarter-million dollars designated for a PR event to bring positive exposure to Branson tourism. With instructions from regional officials to think “outside the box”, the leading contender right now is a three-day “Great American Pie Show”. But the editor of the Branson Courier is calling instead for a squeaky good-clean $150,000 No-Limit Texas Hold’em freeroll.

What if that hand were playing against a hand that held one of the largest non-alcohol, smoke free, and free Texas Hold-em Tournaments ever, with a minimum of $150,000 in prizes? The governing word here being “free,” no pay to play. Given the same level of funding, promotion, and community effort as the pie show, in terms of the potential number of people that the event could bring to Branson and the value of the PR Branson could get, which ranks higher, the pie show or the tournament?

Nice! At first I was gonna kinda joke/be serious in saying they should definitely go with the pie. But then I kept reading what The Ole Seagull had to say (awesome name for an editor, btw), and realized this is an incredibly good sign when some of the most conservative folks in Americana (and poker’s opposition’s base) are starting to consider the game in the following context:

Now let’s not get all emotional, hostile, and judgmental about the morals of gambling and how it will destroy our community. We’re only talking about one three day event. Besides, isn’t gambling used for charitable purposes by some organizations within the Branson community to further the good works and services performed by them? That brings two things to mind.

The first is, “Would these organizations use gambling as a method to raise funds if they thought gambling was morally wrong, after all, what kind of example would that set for the community?” The second is, “Why base a charitable event around gambling in the first place?” An Ole Seagull would respectfully answer, in order, by saying, “No” and “Because it’s a fun entertainment thing that people like to do and helps attract people to the event.”

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