Saturday, November 18, 2006

Is Online Poker a Bad Thing?

The recent signing of federal legislation has had a chilling effect on the world of online poker. Some poker sites, like Partypoker, have refused to accept any money deposits from American players, and have frozen their cash accounts. You can withdraw your cash and get your money back (as I did), but you cannot play in any money games or tournaments. Other sites, such as UltimateBet or PokerStars, still operate and accept money from American players, but it is much more difficult to deposit money on their sites. The new legislation prevents banks and credit card companies from allowing deposits to gambling sites, and includes poker sites in the definition of gambling sites.

And that is where I, like most serious poker players, differ with the federal government. We don't believe that serious poker constitutes gambling. Gambling is a game of skill, and over the long run, the luck factor evens out, and the skill factor seperates the good players from all the rest. It is wrong to equate poker with such gambling games as blackjack, roulette, craps, and slots. There is no skill involved in the pure gambling games, while there is clearly skill involved in poker.

As a tax-paying American adult, it inuriates me that our government feels a need to protect me from myself. It's insulting and degrading. It also represents everything I hate about big government. Don't regulate my personal life, damn it!! That's not what government should be concerned with.

I understand that online poker needs regulation, that better checks and balances should be in place to prevent underage players from playing. Compulsive gambling is certainly a problem with the true gambling sites, and I get it that something needed to be done. But don't take away my rights, or my ability to play on and utilize a poker site. That's just wrong. I don't believe online poker is a bad thing. Big government infringing on my right to play online poker is, however, a very wrong thing, indeed.


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