Posts Tagged ‘Poker Players Alliance’

Federal Poker Bills to Get Full Hearing, April 16

by , Apr 10, 2010 | 5:54 am

A month-and-a-half ago Barney Frank (D-MA) was prepping us for life with the real UIGEA in fully enforced effect — at a time, no less, when Federal law enforcement was saying “we know who you are Full Tilt, and you better be ready to tell us who Isildur1 is!”

But this upcoming week, Frank’s online gambling bills apparently are moving … on the docket for Friday, April 16, are Full Committee hearings for H.R. 2266, Reasonable Prudence in Regulation Act and H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act-Governmental Perspectives.

Click here to watch the committee hearing live when it happens.

UPDATE: This hearing has been postponed, without a new date set.


The Federalist PPAers

Taking DC’s cause to the states

by , Feb 25, 2010 | 5:45 am

The PPA was in Massachusetts this week, testifying before a joint committee on behalf of H4069, which would classify poker as a game of skill — apparently important as that state considers a variety of casino-related legislation.

Go Massachusetts Skillaments, but elsewhere, far more is at stake for states that could care less about the nuances of what is and is not technically gambling amongst avowed gamblers. Thus, PPA Executive Director John Pappas has been crisscrossing the country addressing states considering intrastate online poker, trying to persuade them not to muddy the online semi-gambling waters with legislation that comes to the table inherently flawed, legally and from a competitive market standpoint.

Pappas was in Florida last week, addressing a Senate committee on regulated industries. Florida, as we know, has been working on more and more legal poker for the past five or six years with much success, so why not extend that to the internet? Well, Pappas explains, because problems needing fixin’ at the federal level first. Without it, anything any one state creates, he says, automatically will exist in a a legal gray area that could be challenged in a variety of federal ways. And because of this gray area, and the way poker works, regulated “state monopoly” sites will struggle to compete against the unregulated likes of Full Tilt and PokerStars. (He doesn’t mention those sites by name, but players know that’s who he’s talking about.)

It’s an important argument to begin honing, because right now we have California and Florida moving aggressively in the intrastate direction — supposedly with Iowa and Wyoming about to jump on the bandwagon. Legislation can be a rather cut-and-paste enterprise these days, so if those four states go, then it’s only a matter of time before some 40+ others follow suit, which could undermine, or at least complicate, years of work on by poker’s favorite grassroots advocacy group.

Have a listen. In addition to bringing the California arguments to Florida, for the first time we hear the PPA start to lay out some of the details on how internet poker taxation would work under either the Frank or Menendez bills — with provisions included for individual states to receive their revenue share from the federal regulatory system. We also learn of a new organization — the Poker Voters of America — that has effectively brought the idea of intrastate online poker to the Florida legislature. On its surface, the PVA doesn’t look too different from the PPA. But strategically, they’re fighting the UIGEA in a much different way. Well-meaning but misguided is the gist; can we have your donor list?


Fossilman to Conservatives: More New Taxes?

Greg Raymer repping poker to the teabagging set

by , Feb 22, 2010 | 3:01 pm

Greg Raymer is still alive in the NAPT main event (with 128 of 872 remaining). He made it just in time for the tournament … via Washington DC, where he was at CPAC 2010, bringing “our issue” to the people who came to see the likes of Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, John Ashcroft, Glenn Beck, and Tucker Carlson.

It’s kinda a tough sell when you think about it … the buzzwords in influential conservative circles these days are all about less government, not more. So here we have poker’s Libertarian ambassador trying to persuade GOPers to: forget the moralists in favor of personal freedom (ok, probably doable), set up a new government bureaucracy to monitor our financial activity on the internet (what the …?), and tax him a lot more personally. (“OK, now we gotta hear this; hey Jeb get over here, I think the guy who showed up in your office this summer wearing shorts and sandals with socks is gonna tell a joke!)

Vanity Fair seemed to find it a little bit mockworthy. But according to Time magazine, what really matters is that poker players do know how to party:

But probably the coolest parties that first night at CPAC were secret ones — invite-only passes palmed to a select few. The first one was hosted by the Poker Player’s Alliance and included CPAC’s “It” kids, James O’Keefe of Acorn pimp fame and his three cohorts who were recently entangled with the law for messing with Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s phone lines; anti-tax champion Grover Norquist; conservative media personality Andrew Breitbart; and 2004 World Poker Champion Greg Raymer. The open bar at Medaterra got quite a workout with young conservatives ordering everything from beer to shots of Redheaded Sluts, a crimson concoction involving Jagermeister. (After some debate, no one was game enough to try a flaming Redheaded Slut.) Breitbart and the rest of the Louisiana Four — as they were fondly hailed by many at CPAC — then headed over to a party hosted by Mike Flynn, editor of the website Big Government, at Morton’s Steakhouse. Flynn not only had an open bar tab but stacks of fine cigars for guests to chuff on.

BTW, check out CPAC’s straw poll to see what issues matter most to people who consider themselves true conservatives in 2010. You’ll see on page 11 that the runaway favorite for president amongst these folks is Ron Paul (R-TX), who generally hates all things more-government, but as a co-sponsor to the Barney Frank bill, could prove a critical ally.

Internet Casino Expoing

by , Jan 30, 2010 | 4:38 am

Some pokery political types are in London right now for the International Gaming Expo. Figure out for yourself why there might be foreign interest in the likes of the Poker Players Alliance, right as this bill gets ready to go into “mark-up”. Our pal J. Todd is there and he tracks down PPA Exec. Dir. John Pappas to talk about the 2010 Barney Frank bill, what’s the strategy behind it, and what makes it different from previous online poker legislation.

It’s apparently all gonna be twitter-based this go-round —

Good interview helping mak sense of it all:

Semi-historic Vote Coming Up

How a Bill May or May Not Become a Law, Part 249

by , Jan 17, 2010 | 1:26 am

The PPA is giving a heads-up that they’ll be needing your help in coming weeks. Apparently, Barney Frank’s HR 2267 will be coming for a committee mark-up vote.

If I remember correctly, mark-up is where the committee votes yay or nay on moving the bill forward, but everyone, regardless of how they’re voting, gets to pipe in with what elements they’ll need to see in it to vote for it on the floor. So you know, maybe some sorta protection for the kids has to be included, or money for the Indians … that kinda thing.

Here’s PPA honcho John Pappas letting you know that anti-anti-poker legislation — a licensing and regulating bill — is indeed moving forward in 2010:

How a Bill May or May Not Become a Law, Part 186

Pennsylvania swears it’s ready to expand gambling+poker

by , Jan 5, 2010 | 11:40 am

Man, things take a long time in politics. Remember Pennsylvania? We almost forgot about them too … it’s been more than three months since they “agreed” to move forward with more casinos in a way that would bring more legal poker to the state with “must pass” legislation to balance the budget … which was already three months overdue. Yet as these things go, there’s been one hurdle after another in pushing this through legislative halls.

Anyhow, they’re back at it starting today — with Gov. Ed Rendell creating a direct and immediate association between casinos (+poker) and jobs. Specifically, the governor has said pass this thing THIS WEEK or 1,100 state employees will be without work. The process of firing them begins Friday.

The nitty-gritty they’re down to is upping the number of licensed resort casinos from two to three (with an option for four in 2017), and increasing the max number of slot machines at each venue from 500 to 600. Fuckin-A. How ’bout three resort casinos, compromise on the slots numbers at 550 … all for a vote to be named later? Politics doesn’t have to be this hard … or maybe it does?


Meanwhile, the Rivers Casino, in Pittsburgh, seems to be getting ready for expanded table games offerings by hiring a bunch of Harrah’s executives to help them run the ship in new waters. David Patent will be the new big-big boss in Pa. His plans include opening a sports bar and running TV commercials. [Pittsburgh Business Journal]

A few other semi-related links:

The PPA plans to attend CPAC again this year — that’s the Conservative Political Action Conference, where all the GOP muckity-mucks gather to shmooze/grovel for money and power. Should be a feisty event, and @TheEngineer is trying to rally some conservative troops to turn against Spencer Bachus (R-AL), calling him out as a past-his-conservative-prime dimwit whom the party should abandon, or at least treat as ineffective and irrelevant. []

In South Carolina, a Catholic church rejoices over Fr. Andrew Trapp’s near-million-dollar run on the PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge. If only he coulda prayed as well as Jerry Yang! [WBMF]

Also in South Carolina, Attorney General Henry McMaster is appealing a court ruling that poker is a game of skill, and trying to take the prosecution of a busted home game to the state Supreme Court. [Charleston Post and Courier]

Toledo, Ohio, is getting ready for its first casino+poker to open. The pre-launch message going out: OK, we look forward to your money, but you better be damn good citizens. [Toledo Blade]

Although jobs and economic development are critical to the city’s recovery, Mayor Bell has to avoid the temptation to give Penn National Gaming a blank check as Toledo’s casino project takes shape. Gambling is not a panacea for Toledo’s ills.

Big score, btw, for Lyle Berman, who made a $4 million bet in October to help make Ohio casinos a reality, politically, and in return locked himself into 10 percent of Ohio casino profits. [Poker Player Newspaper]

Gambling gambling gambling seems to be the big buzz in cities, states, and regions looking to shore up their coffers. And to prepare for our gambling future, the National Center for Responsible Gambling is advising American universities to develop formal gambling policies for students. []

In Washington DC, readers are challenging editors on their usage of poker metaphors in stories about the Obama vs. Ahmadinejad heads-up match over nuclear proliferation. [Washington Post]

RE: Armed Robbery in Austin, Too

by , Dec 21, 2009 | 4:25 pm

The armed robbery of what looks like probably a 5/10 game was the lead story on KXAN’s 6 pm broadcast … and they spoke to longtime friend of Pokerati (and Texas state director of the PPA) Lavigne in Austin about the robbery at the Gaines Ranch Apartments for the skinny on what’s really at stake with these masked gunmen poker things:

“From what I understand, investigators are at a stalemate,” said Commander Chris Noble with APD’s organized crime division. “The victim is not being cooperative.”

But, Mike Lavigne, the Texas State Director for the Poker Players Alliance , blames antiquated laws for the robbers’ success and the unsolved crimes.

“A lot of times people don’t even call the cops if these places get busted by a thief because it’s not legal for them to be necessarily running that room in the first place,” Lavigne said.


“It’s not seen as a crime in most parts of the world,” said Lavigne. “It just happens to be the leftovers from some old laws in Texas. It’s not clear what’s legal or illegal in our state right now.”

UPDATE: Here’s the video:

NBA Commish: Anti-Gambling Stance May Be Outdated

by , Dec 15, 2009 | 10:55 pm

The NBA has long been in line with the NFL when it comes to publicly opposing betting on their games — especially since one of their refs got so deep into it with shady non-legal sports-betting types that it may or may not have jeopardized the purity of his calls.

However, it turns out that busting bad guy Tim Donaghy has had the NBA taking a closer look at sports betting and seeing some new realities … perhaps.

While the league’s seemingly softening stance gets Las Vegas excited about the possibility of having its own franchise some day (the NFL still says no way, not never!) the discussion has now been opened up in the sports betting world for the possibility of “nationally legalized gambling” on the NBA.

I don’t even need to waste your time pointing out how obviously connected this is to anti-UIGEA efforts, right? Good to see the big-league sports media embracing PPA talking points … and at least one big-league honcho open to changing a long-held anti-gambling position.

Click here to read SI’s discussion with David Stern on where fully legal gambling may or may not fit in the future.

Live-Blogging a Relatively Minor Congressional Confab

by , Dec 3, 2009 | 7:23 am

I may or may not be talking about this morning’s House Financial Services Committee hearing on today’s episode of The Poker Beat … so that’s why I’m up listening/watching/clicking. It’s kinda a big deal, I think … we got our 6-month extension on the enforcement deadline, and now, here in Barney Frank’s committee, the good rep is basically (re-re-re?)-reintroducing legislation that could effectively undo the UIGEA.

Here’s what I’m watching. Follow along if you we can …

* Yikes, video is great – HD! – but audio sucks, like irritatingly buzzy and scratchy.

* Barney’s opening argument … personal freedom. On the internet.

* He quotes John Stewart John Stuart Mill.

* Holy shit, you can pause this video? Like even without Tivo … awesome. I’ll be right back … need to get a beverage …

* OK, I’m back. While I was gone a press release came over the wire … apparently something that will be introduced forthcoming:


Poker Restaurant News

You say tomato, I say D’Amato

by , Nov 9, 2009 | 2:07 pm

That's one damn fine-lookin' Tomato Salad Phil Gordon ordered at N9NE.

As you know, poker players gotta eat …

From the official non-gaming pimpers for the Palms, on Friday night:

Phil Gordon, professional poker player, author and commentator, had dinner at N9NE Steakhouse with five friends on Friday evening (11.6.09). He enjoyed a Tomato Salad and 12oz Filet accompanied by Mushrooms and Asparagus. Also at N9NE Steakhouse was Gary Sheffield, MLB outfielder for the New York Mets, who was joined by two friends for dinner. Sheffield enjoyed the Lobster Bisque followed by Surf n’ Turf.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, through the connecting “skytube” over to Palm’s Place, the PPA was hosting a very private dinner with some of their biggest supporters at Simon. There wasn’t much tweeting about it from those in attendance — including Howard Lederer, Barry Greenstein, Mori Eskandani, Erick Lindgren, or even @PPAPoker — but we can deduce that this had something to do with the PokerPAC arm of things … and @RealAnnieDuke was kind enough to give us a little peek of Lindgren multitasking during the meal … though we’re not sure what the poker political big-wigs + Joe Reitman were chewing on.

Semi-live Everything Blog

by , Nov 7, 2009 | 6:48 pm

So much craziness going on, and we’ve hardly covered any poker. James Akenhead hit a sick three-outer — the crowd erupted — to triple up, and Antoine Saout called an all-in bluff from Darvin Moon with two pair to stay alive … that was like over an hour ago when this post started.

So here’s a rundown of the off-the-table things that have gone on … and maybe a few on-table situations as well.

HAND UPDATE: Akenhead vs. Schaffel … KK < AA and Schaffel doubles up to stay alive. Thanks to @haribo22 for sneaking me in to the special Harrah’s VIP room in the Palazzo Suites for the free sandwiches and Pepsis. Mooching off the elite, of course, is how we roll.

Turned out to be a good thing … as the original plan was to attend a special PPA gathering with free sandwiches and Pepsis … but the event got canceled when they ran out of food and neither Howard Lederer nor Annie Duke showed up. To be fair, one or both of them was on the air with Bluff Radio at the time.

The new-and-improved WSOP website has a pretty nice feature for following the action … combining chip counts, pics, and tweets:

(Click to launch.)

It’s funny, of course, because for the past few years, there has been so much to-do over number of posts per hour, and who covers what … and now, after so much chest thumping and kneecap cracking to figure out how it all should and does work … all that stuff is pretty much irrelevant in 2009 — not only because there’s no selfishly “official” info provider, but moreso because twitter has become the default way to go for immediate, albeit unofficial, results.

HAND UPDATE: James Akenhead is out 9th! 33 < 99 vs. Kevin Schaffel. Crowd doesn't so much erupt as respectfully and enthusiastically applauds. If you're not already, follow the action and then some on Tao of Poker.

Check it out: the Penn and Teller Theater did reach capacity (1,200). And the line outside the WSOP&T, stretching through that long long hallway that summertime WSOP visitors know all too well:

HAND UPDATE: Ivey folded. But he really had to think about it.

HAND UPDATE: Schaffel all-in again, with AA vs. Eric Buchman’s KK. Flop K-Q-J. WOOOOOT! 4th King on the turn … Schaffel out in 8th place.

Note for next year: How ’bout a visible tournament clock? We’re all guessing where we are in the levels.

Supposedly the WSOP website has been a bit slow at times … as has PokerNews. If in need for a super-updated chip count fix, check out PokerListings as a go-to backup. They also have rules there for a main event final table drinking game … which can still have you pretty hammered by heads-up, even with others having nearly a 6-hour head start.

HAND UPDATE: Shulman starting to come alive.

RE: Banks Prepping for Kibosh (2)

Old Congressional poker foes resurface

by , Nov 5, 2009 | 6:00 pm

via the PPA

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) have submitted their petition asking Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to ignore requests seeking to delay enforcement of the UIGEA.

[DC] Bachus Kyl Letter (11/03/09)

Utah Rep Warns: Fully Legal Online Gambling Is Coming!

by , Oct 30, 2009 | 1:01 pm

Freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) fears online gambling, but hopes his TV show does as well as 2 Months 2 Million.

I’m not sure how much we’re supposed to be sayin’ about this … it seems like a major change in online-gambling law could still be in play in 2009 … but if so, our peeps in DC may be trying to keep it all on the downlow. At least that’s what a staunchly anti-gambling Republican in Utah is trying to suggest.

“I’m raising the red flag,” Chaffetz told the Deseret News on Wednesday. “I feel the imperative to get this organized before it is too late.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is speaking to his constituents sounding the warning bells that the billions and billions from online gambling that government just may not be able to say no to could dramatically alter everyone’s way of life. And he doesn’t just mean the positive stuff that we see from being able to play in safe and secure US-based games …

Chaffetz says a chance meeting he had with Frank makes him worry that unlike similar past efforts that went nowhere, Frank is deadly serious about legalizing online gambling this year, and it could come up quickly without much time to organize opposition.

“I saw him in the airport in Salt Lake a number of weeks ago,” Chaffetz said. “I said, ‘Barney, what are you doing here in Salt Lake?’ He was traveling back from Las Vegas, which led to our discussion about his Internet gambling bills.”

Chaffetz said, “He assured me that come this fall, he would be getting these bills through his committee, and I believe him … He may be bluffing, but we can’t afford to take that chance.”


“This has an unfortunate and real potential of happening,” he said. “This is a big deal. I can’t impress upon you how big of a deal this is.”

Wow. Cool. Awesome. We know we have public support for “our issue” and in general our facts fall on the right side of the law … so I gotta think we only stand to benefit if a guy like Chaffetz is using Frank’s efforts to rally his own base in preparation for 2010 … because really, isn’t that his game here?

Link props: @TheEngineer2008.

UPDATE: Chaffetz is on Twitter, too, as @JasonintheHouse. And he’s also star of a new reality series on CNN called “Freshman Year”.

It is TV ratings season … and mainstream media folks tend to figure a few times a year that gambling stories are “sexy”.

PPA Partners with National Horse and Dog Racing Associations

In effort to delay Dec. 1 UIGEA enforcement deadline

by , Oct 23, 2009 | 1:40 pm

People may not realize this … because we have gotten along just fine even with the UIGEA for more than three years now … but December 1st is something of a D-Day for online poker. If no bill or procedural measure undoes the status quo in the next six weeks … well it’s not clear how the game will change, but it will. Dramatically.

That’s why the PPA has partnered with many groups to get this enforcement deadline extended — including the horse racing people, who should LOVE the UIGEA, since it specifically singles them out as A-OK. But even they know the law itself, as it was passed in 2006, is whack … and potentially will mess up their business big-time.

The PPA’s John Pappas gives a brief explanation:

Kentucky Domain Case Goes to State Supreme Court

by , Sep 13, 2009 | 7:13 am

Mark it on your calendars (or just check back here) around October 22. The case of the Governor Beshear and the Commonwealth of Kentucky trying to claim the ability to seize 141 online gaming domains, or “gambling devices” as they were called, to keep them from accessing Kentucky residents will see the halls of the KY Supreme Court next month on an appeal from the Commonwealth.

Many months ago, a group of organizations representing internet freedoms and the rights of online gambling companies won an important appeal in the Kentucky court system, and that victory prohibited the Commonwealth from proceeding with its attempted seizure of those domains. The state promised to appeal to the Supreme Court, and that latest appeal was granted this month. Those fighting the state on the matter include iMEGA (Internet Media Entertainment & Gaming Association), PPA (Poker Players Alliance), ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), CDT (Center for Democracy and Technology, EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), Internet Commerce Association, eBay, and Network Solutions. (Can we win on number of appellees alone?)

According to iMEGA’s announcement:

The Supreme Court has set oral argument in Commonwealth of Kentucky v. IMEGA, et al for 11 a.m. on Thursday October 22, 2009 in the Supreme Court courtroom. The order allots 15 minutes for each side.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and we’re going to win again,” said Joe Brennan Jr., iMEGA’s chairman. “From the beginning, Kentucky law has clearly supported our position, and a win in the State Supreme Court will put the final emphasis on that.”