Posts Tagged ‘Joe Straus’

Front Page Poker

by , Jan 25, 2009 | 9:43 am

First, my apologies to any loyal Pokeratizens who may or may not be run out of business in a fully legal poker environ. You know I respect (most of) your game(s) … the Morning News called asking for my informed opinion, and I shared it with the reporter. It seemed like she was unbiased and getting our points — raids+robberies+I-35=bad — but you never know with real journos … there’s always a few quotes that can be taken out of context and/or used against you if they have an agenda. But I decided to take the risk … and I think I’m happy with the results.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about … click here to read the story about efforts to legalize poker in Texas that appeared on the front page of today’s (Sunday) DMN.

Be sure to read the comments, too … 35 of them so far. They are overall very encouraging, particularly because much of the support seems to come from people who care more about proper Texas governance than they do poker. (It certainly doesn’t appear that any representatives will lose any votes over supporting this issue.)

And, of course, if you haven’t sent your email to Joe Straus et al. yet … well you suck here’s the link:

Support legal poker in Texas.

Where Poker Currently Stands in Texas

by , Jan 24, 2009 | 5:33 pm

This article breaks down what issues on the Texas Lege’s radar in 2009 — essentially our political competition. Gambling is high up on the list of matters to tackle, but others will be seeking to hoist the gambling flag (for better of for worse). Specifically, The Dallas Morning News explains:

Is luck in the cards for casino, slot machine bills?

Proponents of expanded gambling in Texas will be back in full force this session, fighting for Las Vegas-style casinos, slot machines at racetracks, tribal gaming rights and legalized poker.

Bills to open casino gambling statewide are unlikely to go far, though the struggling economy may give them slightly more traction. Even if a bill passed, Gov. Rick Perry would probably veto it.

But measures granting special permission for the Alabama-Coushatta and Tigua tribes to reopen their casinos – shuttered in 2002 after a court order by then-Attorney General John Cornyn – may well succeed. The tribal reservations have struggled to fund basic services since the casinos that ran their local economies closed, and very narrowly missed getting legislation approved last session.

Past efforts to legalize slot machines at racetracks have fallen prey to industry infighting, but the horse racers and breeders are presenting a unified front this year. Though they would appear to have an ally in likely House Speaker Joe Straus, who has financial ties to the Retama Park racetrack his father helped found, it’s still unclear what good it will do. Straus has said that in his new role, he will do nothing to further racetrack legislation.

FACT: Advocates of legalized poker have filed legislation to develop a regulated poker gaming system in Texas.

Meet Joe Straus

(Psst … we need this guy)

by , | 1:42 pm

One of the powerful and important people we’re hoping will support a pending bill that establishes a framework for legal poker in Texas is new House speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), who describes himself as a “pass-the-budget-and-go-home conservative”. Sweet, then he should get it: with HB 222, the state increases its revenue while protecting citizens (and their personal freedoms); without it, state and local authorities have to spend lots of resources to ineffectively shut down poker while seeing more and more money shipped to Oklahoma and an increase in violent crime in otherwise peaceful Texas neighborhoods.

Evan Smith interviewed Straus the other day on Texas Monthly Talks. Specifically the new Speaker discusses his views on gambling-related issues (and his family’s long-time involvement with the horse racing biz) at 20:00:

Don’t tell anyone, but psychologically speaking, we want Straus, through the course of the session, to make a subconscious positive connection when he thinks about HB 222 … remembering fondly a flood of intelligent, warm-hearted, well-crafted emails from from frazzled poker degenerates who just wanna play a friggin’ game!!! concerned poker citizens who are proud to do whatever they can in pursuit of a better Texas.

Email to Joe Straus et al. expressing your support for legal poker in Texas.

I’ve improved the link, btw, so you only have to click once … type a brief message … and then click send. Two clicks for poker! Customize it to your liking — give’em your name and city — and yo, Texans (and non-Texans interested in playing poker in Texas) … conditions are good for this bill, and we know we are on the right side of the law-to-be. But if we can’t show that we’re serious about it, the number of representatives willing to vote for us won’t matter … because, frankly, we won’t ever get that far without this first step. Need some talking points? Here ya go:

* Poker is a game of skill
* It is being played every day for real money in Texas
* Tens of millions of dollars are passing hands unregulated
* Live poker games are increasingly a safety issue
* Poker could bring in millions of dollars in State revenue, and many more millions in economic impact

Do You Want Fully Legal Poker in Texas? (Yes.)

Then the action’s on us …

by , Jan 19, 2009 | 1:31 pm

A new political season/era is about to kick off. The PPA seems to have things moving in the right direction on the federal/online front and are kinda busy in Kentucky. So Pokerati is taking it upon itself to move things forward in our beloved homeland of Texas, where we have a very real chance of finally legitimizing Texas Hold’em.

Right now, it’s time to build up the pot …

In 2007 (the Texas Lege meets bi-annually), we sent hundreds of emails, and they had a great impact. So this year, as the 81st Texas Legislative Session gets underway, we want to start early making sure the poker playing minority are indeed a priority … or at least on the VIP guest list as all the other important stuff (health care, education, jobs, etc.) gets bumpin’.

The Texas House has a new Speaker, Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), and by all accounts, he may be more open minded about the game we love than his predecessor. Meanwhile, Rep. Jose Mendendez (D-San Antonio) has filed HB 222, which is essentially the same poker bill as last time (one that engaged readers like you had a say in crafting) … a lot of the right pieces are in place. We have more information than last time and generally more favorable table conditions. It’s on us, though, literally, because like who else is gonna do it, to kick it all in to gear. That’s how things work in politics — or so I’ve begun to see.

What you can do, at this stage, is simply send emails as a concerned, patriotic Texas citizen. Even if you’re not from the great state that hates little more than losing to Oklahoma, it would help your friends here to let a few important people know how much you would love coming here with fully legal poker as an option. We need to show the people in Austin that we are driven to this call to action not just by our Texas-size love of poker and personal freedoms, but also because we strongly believe this is a matter of sensible government — recognizing that this bill brings jobs, security, tax benefits, and other goodness to each and all of us.

Cool? You down? Then be sure to spend a few minutes of click-time today or tomorrow to mail new Speaker Straus, Rep. Menendez, and the PPA too. Let them know this issue is important to you. And though I may regret this request, feel free to CC me if you’re so inclined, as I’d like to take a pulse on what really matters to poker-loving Texans and Texas-loving pokerers.

The email addresses to hit:

Your emails really do make a difference, especially when part of a coordinated effort. At least that’s what I’ve come to believe … and hey, I’m practically a political sophomore now! I’ll have some talking points up later. Regular readers pretty much know them already — I know I trust you all to make the case. In the meantime, seriously, let’s do this. It’s like top-pair-top-kicker with the nut-flush draw and a gutshot — booh-yah! — and from early position the best move we could make is to lead out.