I should be working on my novel this morning, but instead I've been bombarded with a blitz of emails, phone calls, and text messages regarding the events of the past few days. My cellphone won't stop ringing and I turned it off just so I can sit down and write.
I've always held fast to the belief that you really find out who your friends are and more importantly, who you can trust when a crisis hits. On 9.11, people who I thought were the coolest cats in the world acted like incompetent nimords while others stepped up and behaved and acted admirably in the wake of one of the most difficult moments in my lifetime. This is one of those watershed moments.
And if you are here looking for information, or for my reaction, or for some guidance, or are simply lost... I'm here to tell everyone to relax and take a deep breath. There are so many things that are beyond our control that worrying about it and freaking out will only making things worse.
And if you are one of my advertisers, I want to assure you that my traffic has been up the last few days and that Americans only represent 60% of my readers. My international readership is increasing everyday. As Bandit, a poker blogger from Hamburg told me at the WSOP, "Dr. Pauly, you have lots of fans in Germany."
Ich liebe poker und ich hasse meine Regierung.
The recent legislation banning internet gambling reminded me of an incident in college. My sophomore year the Greek Life Council at my university banned kegs at our fraternity parties. Instead of freaking out and declaring the end to all drunken sexual misconduct, we figured out ways to circumvent the existing laws. We hid kegs in rooms and in the attic and some folks ended up experimenting with party drugs. We still had a great time, got wasted, and got laid. The bottom line was that people wanted to get intoxicated and have fun... and they were going to find any means possible to make that happen.
Something similar will pop up with online poker. The addicts will find a way to get their jones while the folks who like to walk on the wild side will be forced underground like the rave scene in the early 1990s or poker clubs in NYC in the late 1990s. Of course, you are going to allow some time pass before all of that comes to fruition.
There are two types of people in this world... those who retreat and run away when fear confronts them, and then there are those who act courageous and stand tall in the face of opposition. You guys and gals are poker players. If a maniac keeps raising your blind, you're either gonna fold everytime or push back eventually.
I'm not going to tell you what to do. But if you will have peace of mind liquidating your online poker accounts and removing the software from your hard drive and kill your poker blog... then do that if it's going to allow you to sleep better at night.
If you are sick of the Draconian laws in the post-9.11 America and want to leave this country, I would recommend Vancouver, British Columbia. It's a beautiful city just over the border and they have some of the best marijuana in the world.
And if you want to fight the Man and march on Washington like the hippies did in the 1960s, then keep your eyes and ears open. The online poker sites like Party Poker are just covering their asses. Believe me, American poker players are a cash cow and the suits in those companies get to eat high off the hog because of the enormous rake that we generate. They will find a way to gain access to our player base. I suggest that they send large sums of cash to politicians in Washington and start digging up dirt on these skull fuckers.
Americans are going to play poker. Brash Americans will play online just like Americans got smashed in the speakeasies during Prohibition and just like most Americans smoke pot on a daily basis. We're a country made up of criminals and our leaders are professional criminals. On any given day, I break twelve laws. In the past year, I've gotten a ticket for jaywalking and talked my way out of a speeding ticket. With the exception of a few Mormons that I know, there are not too many sin-free and law abiding citizens in our country.
I'm not cashing out, instead I'll be sitting out a few orbits to wait and see. But I'm also the asshole who stayed up all night shorting gaming stocking on the London stock exchange for a nice profit.
The online pros pulling in six figures or more will set up residence abroad and keep on playing. But how about the average poker blogger with a mortgage, a wife, and 1.5 kids, with a dog and a minivan who will not relocate just so he can play poker? I'll gladly come to your house and play High Card Out of the Muck for $20 a shot.
So what am I going to do? I'm going to go back to writing my book. I knew I could not rely upon the poker industry for the rest of my life. And if you honestly thought it was going to maintain it's pace, then you made a big mistake. The recent poker boom helped get my name out there and paid my bills but if the party is coming to an end, I better sharpen up my non-poker writing skills.
And yes, I'll be playing on Party Poker tonight. And I'll be playing on Full Tilt and Poker Stars under my new screen name "DrPablo" after I take up residence in Barcelona.
Full Tilt Poker statement (Full Tilt Blog)
Nolan Dalla Statement that he sent to the BARGE mailing list (courtesy of Bill Rini)
Initial Impressions of the Internet Gambling Prohibition (Poker Prof at Las Vegas & Poker Blog)
Poker Stars statement (Lee Jones on 2+2)
Wicked Chops Poker is always on the ball. Stop by and read what they had to say.
The Fight Is Over (CJ)
Bill Frist and Satan Are Gay Lovers (ScurvyDog)
409-2 (Michael Craig)
Reaction To Online Gaming Bill Vehement And Outraged (Earl Burton at Poker News)
Tut-tut, Looks Like Rain (Ryan at Absinthetics)
Assessing the New Law: A Dark Day for Online Poker (Lou Krieger)
Online Gambling Set for Takeover Wave (MSNBC)
Neteller Statement (Neteller)
Real-time list of sites that are planning on pulling out of the US market and those that plan on standing their ground (NeverWin Poker)