Thursday, November 18, 2010

Online Poker Banned In Washington


This topic has been getting so much buzz that it was hard not to blog about it, some people want to know what I think on the subject. One of those people is my friend Alex who felt compelled to call me from his honeymoon in St. Lucia to ask me about it. Yes the stories you have been hearing are true, online poker has been banned in Washington state. Dan Martin, who stays in Seattle, has won more than $3 million playing online tournaments. "It's strange to have people tell you that you can't do what you want in your home", Martin said. 

This all started with the Washington Supreme Court ruling in the case of Rousso vs the State. Lee Rousso sued the state for the right to continue playing online poker, once his hobby was made illegal by a revision to a section of the Revised Code of Washington. Recently, the court upheld the amendment that made wagering on online poker a Class C felony, which calls for a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine per violation.

In the days following the Supreme Court ruling, PokerStars issued a statement saying it would no longer allow residents of Washington to play in real money games: In light of this decision, following extensive consultation with our legal advisors, we believe the right course of action is to now block real money play by Washington residentson the PokerStars.com site. This policy will remain in effect until the law changes or subsequent legal challenges succeed." Full Tilt Poker, the other leading poker site, followed suit last week.

So, basically if you reside in the state of Washington and you log on to your computer, get out your credit cards, and play poker online in your home, you could go to jail for five years! Oh and poker is fast paced, so if you played ten hands you'll also receive a $100,000 fine...$10,000 for each offense. The government telling residents of Washington what to do in their own homes that they pay taxes on, is this the United States or is this Iraq? Seriously, when I first read this I thought this can't be here in the U.S. this has got to be the Middle East where a woman could be killed if she walks outside without covering her face.

My email was filled with my friends teasing me because I am always the guy saying that poker is not a sport. If poker is a sport then so is crazy 8's and old maid. I stand by that by the way, if you want to call poker a sport then connect four and checkers should be in the Olympics but I am getting off my point. I don't think it's a sport I do think it's a hobby and who the hell is the government to tell American citizens who pay taxes and own homes, what to do on their own property? 

I play online poker all the time, I play in live action events all the time I mean I do live in Vegas, it's either poker with the guys or Keno and Bingo with Maria and Jessica who want a shout out. In fact I am on my way to the WSOP Circuit Event taking place in Lake Tahoe on November 21st. I am curious to know what the people who travel to these events feel about this court ruling. Politicians passing their personal views about gambling onto the general public is dangerous and I would go so far as to call it Communist. It doesn't sound very democratic to me, basically do what they say or go to jail and pay tons of money on your way there, yup sounds like Russia.

Well I hope Lee Rousso takes his case to the United States Supreme Court who can overturn this nonsense. He has my support and I'm sure the support of everyone out there who enjoys playing poker and enjoys freedom to participate in whatever hobby they wish to. Rousso had better hurry though because if he decides to appeal he has to file by December 22nd.

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