Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting Poker Strategy

After Hearing, Frank’s Poker Bill Nears Mark-up and Vote

Informational Hearing Features Some Heated Discussion, Colorful Analogies

Print-icon
 

Rep. Barney FrankAnalogies were quite popular in Wednesday’s Congressional hearing on Rep. Barney Frank’s online poker bill.

Rep. Spencer Bacchus (R-AL) compared poker players to heroin addicts, poker pro Annie Duke compared the opposition’s argument to the mindset of a tyrannical China or Iran, and two witnesses on the panel likened the notion of allowing current poker sites to operate in a newly regulated system to allowing drug cartels from Mexico or Columbia to be entrusted with the American drug industry if narcotics were ever legalized.

There was a lot of debate and little agreement in Wednesday’s informational hearing on HR 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. The House Financial Services committee, which the bill’s author Frank chairs, held the hearing, which featured testimony from Duke on behalf of the Poker Players Alliance, Lynn Malerba of the Mohegan Tribe, Ed Williams on behalf of the Credit Union National Association, Tom Malkasian of California’s Commerce Casino, and Michael Fagan, a law enforcement consultant.

In the biggest news development that came out of the meeting, Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) said he would propose an amendment that included a stop-loss to address concerns that a player could lose more than he or she could afford. It is unclear whether that stop-loss provision would be optional or required; if it is the latter, more than a few high-stakes players are sure to be upset with the final product.

Of the panelists, Duke, Malerba, and Williams all spoke out generally in favor of Frank’s bill. Fagan and Malkasian, whose casino is leading the efforts in California to legalize intrastate online poker, spoke out against the bill.

“The legislation is fundamentally flawed and unsound,” said Malkasian, before noting that he was against a law that would “brazenly award foreign illegal operators.” Fagan also voiced that concern, while saying he believed an open market would present money laundering risks.

Spencer BacchusThe hearing did provide some tense moments, including an exchange between Bacchus and Duke when the Congressman brought up the UltimateBet scandal and noted the panelist’s affiliation with the site. Duke responded to Bacchus by correcting him on the overall amount of money involved in the scandal, and saying that such a situation was precisely the reason the federal government needed to act.

“The site self-regulated and refunded all the money to its customers. I would prefer to have something like HR 2267 so that the government could oversee that regulation. I think that the customers of that site were lucky that they were playing under a site with new management that behaved in an honest way and refunded them,” said Duke. “The one individual who perpetrated the crime and breached the software has not been prosecuted because unfortunately there is no jurisdiction to do so.”

Another fiery moment came at the hands of Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), who opposes Frank’s legislation. Baca claimed that Native American tribes would de facto be giving up their sovereignty if they agreed to a 2% tax to the federal government on online gambling profits. Malerba, who is set to become chief of the Mohegan tribe, strongly disagreed and told the Congressman that tribes pay plenty in taxes now to state governments and that she would love a 2 percent tax on something such as her tribe’s slot revenue, which is right now at about 25 percent.

A lot of the talk in the meeting was once again about age-verification methods to ensure underage citizens cannot access online gambling sites. After Bacchus asked Fagan if current age-verification methods were fool-proof, the former prosecutor answered, “The short answer is no.”

Annie DukeDuke and other members rebutted by pointing out that various well-respected countries, including the UK, employ methods today that are arguably more effective than using an ID at a land-based casino.

Frank went one step further, saying the constant bringing up of a youth safeguard was more of a political ruse than anything else.

“You can protect children, but this is not a protection of children. This is a ban on all activity…The poor children here are being used here by the people who don’t like gambling,” said Frank, before giving his justification for the bill. “It is the death of freedom if you say that because some minority of adults will abuse something, you prohibit it.”

Frank (D-MA) is expected to bring the bill back to the committee for a mark-up and vote in the next couple of weeks. If he is able to get enough votes in committee, the legislation could then go to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Watch the entire House Financial Services committee hearing online right now.

Notes

  • In the hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) said that he was now evaluating the situation after originally opposing Frank’s bill, saying that he could get behind legislation if it punishes and/or bans the current poker sites that are “defying and violating U.S. law.”
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) hinted that he might be inclined to support the bill if the revenue were used to reduce the deficit rather than creating more funds for the federal government to allocate.
  • According to opencogress.org, Frank’s bill currently has 69 co-sponsors.
 
 
 
 

Comments

elpokero
almost 11 years ago

Now Annie Duke is going to compare poker ruling of US Congress with tyrannical China and Iran.
What a stupid greedy creature she is.
I wonder if she would be fighting for that bill If she was not involved financially in UB.
If she wants to play poker she can play 24 hours in Las Vegas, Atlantic City but no, she needs
donkeys to make money for her highness.

donkeys - thats how she would call people if she played against them at one table
and they would catch a lucky card on the river.

If she is as good as she claims and poker is not gambling than she and other pros should be
making enough money playing against tourists in Las Vegas and they would not need to involve
more people to waste their time and donate their money to likes of princess Annie Duke.

 
Reply
 

VEGASMIKE
almost 11 years ago

Yes Annie is a Well established player, and can run where ever to play. She enjoys like so many other players the ability to play when they want and have a family and personal life. Annie is sponsored by ultimate bet so their is a link but if she was not their any poker site would be jumping to sign a fine player as herself both on and off the tables. She Is a role model on and off the table. She does not need the money from donkeys like you

 
Reply
 

nxt007
almost 11 years ago

Don't ever or even think about bringing online poker in this country. If that did happen, it would be worst thing than the financial meltdown in 2008. Poker online would be a great way for Annie and her cronies to suck money out of hapless victims.

Even the people making money online poker are victims if you think about it. Consier all the wasted time. People don't value their time enough.

Listen! we all lose as social community if poker is approved for online. Only winners are those poker sites.

Ban the online gambling and start prosecuting people actively running these sites.

Where is the government that I pay taxes to protect the social fabric from these wolves?

 
Reply
 

bsktbllkng237
almost 11 years ago

If you dont like online poker then simply dont play. Its assholes like you that make the world such a horrible place. You go out of your way to make sure that others are miserable and take away there rights to play a fun and skillfull game. We have the right to play poker on the internet. If people choose to spend their time playing online poker then thats what they choose and we have a right to do it. If you dont like that then simply dont play yourself. I dont know who you are but let me give you an example of what your saying. Lets say you like playing golf every sunday for a couple of hours. One day the government comes along and makes golf illegal. Same exact concept. I like playing poker on sundays and i reserve my right to do it.

 
Reply
 

JohnnyOnTheSpot
almost 11 years ago

Hear, hear. Excellent example. People enjoying golf are the victims. Think of all of the time being wasted enjoying it. The only winners are the golf-course owners. Where is the government I pay to babysit society so as to protect them from needless passtimes that erode our communities and promote a destructive, freewheeling attitude toward life?

 
 

htrain3434
almost 11 years ago

I guess you are not a free country guy?

 
Reply
 

RyanOtto
almost 11 years ago

if the only winners are the poker sites then why have i not had to get a regular job like everybody else in society to pay for my student fees?

Online poker has been my income for the last 2 years. And i resent the fact that you lash out at people for being good at what they do.

Is it wrong to be good at somthing?
Iv personally poured hundreds of hours into this, and no it was not wasted. I enjoyed every minute and it payed off.

So baseline. You hate smart people for being better???

 
Reply
 

L2K4FC
almost 11 years ago

Nxt007 and Elpokero ....I don't know where to start with either of you. You both generalize and speak opinion as if it is fact. Nxt007 your assertation that online poker hurts our community is absurd. Online poker IS a community.

I'm glad Annie is there on my behalf to challenge these holier than thou politicians. The politicians have their own agenda which in the end doesn't have anything to do with protecting kids or preventing money laundering. What a joke, what an outrage. Hey Congress, get the hell out of my life and get the hell off my computer. What I do with my time and money is my business, not yours.

 
Reply
 

dmman24
almost 11 years ago

Wow the government has some terrible reasons for making online poker illegal. Kids? come on, Mcdonalds should be outlawed too then, it's done more damage to kids than online poker ever has and ever will AND if it's regulated by the US government that problem would be solved anyhow, what a bunch of backwards idiots we have running this country. I'd like to have a talk with BUCCASS about online poker and more so about how much of an idiot he is

 
Reply
 

dmman24
almost 11 years ago

BACCASS or whatever his name is lol

 
Reply
 

dmman24
almost 11 years ago

he even looks like some dumb bastard

 
Reply
 

dmman24
almost 11 years ago

he even looks like some dumb bastard

 
Reply
 

elpokero
almost 11 years ago

Well, grinding out in smelly casinos with no end in sight does not appeal to Annie Duke anymore.
And playing against the best is too hard and Annie knows she could not make steady living.

If poker is not gambling then find sponsors and you pros play against each other regularly
like e.g. in golf, tennis and so on.
I would like to see how many pros could actually make a living this way
as opposed to taking money from clueless wannabes in casinos
or profit from online illegal poker operations.

And please don't make it about freedom, it sounds silly.

 
Reply
 

dare2
almost 11 years ago

Online poker sites exist for one reason. To create rake. They don't care who wins or who loses. Their software is set up to maximize profits by insuring more hands are played creating more rake.If you think that's technologically impossible you don't understand computers.Just a slight tweak and a 5%, almost undetectable, skew becomes millions of dollars for them. When your bank account is low you will win a slightly greater percentage of your "races" because having you go broke defeats their purpose. Which is to extract every nickle they can.

 
Reply
 

elpokero
almost 11 years ago

to ArsenicistheAnSr: "she is fighting for u"

Yeah, sure. Where do you live ArsenicistheAnSr, in La La Land?

 
Reply
 

L2K4FC
almost 11 years ago

@ Dare2 - you are right. The poker sites exist to make money. Where did they teach screwing your customers over relentlessly as a way to maximize profits in business school? They didn't. Owners of poker sites know this. By the way once you are playing on a "legal" US Gov't sanctioned site the smart money says you will still be complaining about the theoretical "skew". I'm all for it, let's "legalize it" and get a US poker site. I'd love to see if it boosts my profits.

 
Reply
 

MadPeepD
almost 11 years ago

Playing poker online is exactly the same as day trading stocks online. The more skill, information, and reasoning ability you have, the better you will do. And just like everything that involves risk, no matter how good you are there is a chance you will go broke. This is what this capitalist economy is all about. If you wish to keep online poker illegal, than, simply, you hate freedom. Poker is the epitome of the American dream, that with hard work, practice, and patience you can improve your station in life. For me personally, playing poker is me acting in the pursuit of happiness, the indivisible right granted to me by the Constitution.

 
Reply
 

htrain3434
almost 11 years ago

I guess there are alot of big government conservatives out there. Makes me laugh when I hear small government when you are arguing about what people can do on their own computer in their own home. Our forefathers are rolling over in their graves!

 
Reply
 

bigalpo
almost 11 years ago

I don't see what all the fuss is about. I've been playing on Pokerstars for 6 or 7 years now and live in the U.S. Getting money in and out of my account is a piece of cake. Trust me, you don't want our government involved in this. Everything they get their hands on they tax and then $%#@ up!

 
Reply
 

oldeschoolpkrr
almost 11 years ago

Barney Frank and Garry Studds...the 2 gays congressmen from Massachusetts....

Did anyone know that they had aBUTTing districts?

 
Reply
 

oldeschoolpkrr
almost 11 years ago

Pretty sad when pokers players have as their spokeman..

Annie Douche

 
Reply
 

overclock26
almost 11 years ago

Remember when this country was based on the idea of freedom. Its complete bull sh*t that people are not being allowed to make their own decisions. There is nothing different then playing online vs playing live aside from less hands live and being physically at a table. I don't get how people are criticizing Annie when she is fighting for what we as poker players want. If your not a poker player, then don't comment. Poker is gambling however there is a skill level involved higher than any other casino game ever created. And if you think otherwise then go look at the numbers, the casino has the advantage at every other game. If your a pro at poker you can make significant money day to day, thats not luck, thats a consistent science you fools. People seem to think because they suck it all must be luck, bottom line is you don't work hard enough at it, dont understand variance and don't want to put the effort in to succeed. Most people are content working their 9 to 5 getting their yearly raises and going about there life, not being anything more than average. However to be a pro you need to be better than average, you need to work at it. The people who comment here who don't like online poker, so be it, then don't play. Its not my fault your a degen who cant walk away. Why should the government tell me what i should do with my money. If you don't have enough self control to not play then thats your problem. If you go broke from playing thats your problem. But every person should have the right to choose. IF people are drug addicts i dont blame the supplier. Its the persons problem. They made the decission to do what they did. I'm sick of this country trying to think it can lobby people with protection ideas. Humans are making the decissions the same humans that supposedly can be sucked into this gambling addiction. So what makes them better than anyone else. Why are they allowed to tell us what the f we should do with the money we work for. If you wanna drink, do drugs, gamble. You know the consequences, you should be able to make that choice. THATS F'N FREEDOM

 
Reply
 

nxt007
almost 11 years ago

Last time I checked gambling is illegal in most states except in few cities like vegas and Indian reservations. You can't compare poker to golf or tennis or any legitamate sports and games. You can try to put lipstick on a pig but it is stil ugly and smelly.

Legalizing online gambling is going to be beginning of demise of this country. Online poker is going to be like parasitic cancer devouring a body.

How many more young children have to be subjected to child ngelect because more dads and moms will be consumed by online poker when it becomes legalized? It is sickening to see infants and kids intow at casinos already.

Everyone has to understand if you want to be part of this society you have to play by the rules which was set up for good for overall soceity and not some few who managed to game the laws for their benefits.

Online poker is illegal and big fishes playing it and companies being prmoted and players promoting them should be all given warning legal letters to stop

 
Reply
 

DaveC2000
almost 11 years ago

You should check again. When you look at all forms of gambling, racetracks (horses & dogs), casinos, lottery and Indian reservations EVERY state in the US allows some form of gambling. Check this Wikipedia entry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling_in_the_United_States

 
Reply
 

RyanOtto
almost 11 years ago

Annie Duke is doing us a great favour taking this to congress.
Im not American but i hate the idea of your freedom being destroyed and losing my opportunity to play you all over some retard government.

 
Reply
 

Xo4
almost 11 years ago

I can't believe these douchebags in neck ties are going to decide the fate of online poker as we know it. Booooooooo! What we have here is just another bunch of bitter-middle-aged-farts whose last pleasure in life is in trying to regulate someone else's life. I have complete disdain for this whole process.

 
Reply
 

Xo4
almost 11 years ago

Also, as a side note - The argument that online poker is bad because people are wasting their lives with it or something is a very, very poor argument. There are more than 10 million accounts for World of Warcraft. When Halo 2 first came out years ago, I remember there were millions of people online every single day playing that game. Even on the heaviest days of traffic I'd imagine online poker still doesn't even come close to those numbers (just a guess). Now imagine if you added up ALL the games and ALL the players, we're talking millions upon millions of people playing video games every single day. So Hey, once we're done with poker let's shut down all video games, huh? I think we're on the right track here (sarcasm).

 
Reply
 

Xo4
almost 11 years ago

Reading more of the comments here ... JohnnyOnThespot makes a good point about poker being no more a waste of someone's time than golfing. Agreed. Think of how costly golfing can actually be. I also want to take this time point out that the vast majority of people playing online poker are playing for nickels and dimes, or a few dollars and spare dreams. There are very, very, very few poker players who can't control themselves and self destruct (Mike Matusow perhaps?). Most people are playing for a 'cheeseburger and fries', not a 'house and car'. Seriously, it really frustrates me that people who don't know the ins and outs are in control of this, and they think it's a big degenerate thing to do with your time. Where do they get off? Poker is the nutz.

 
 

Xo4
almost 11 years ago

Regulating the many to protect the few is terrible public policy. Flat out terrible.

 
Reply
 

elpokero
almost 11 years ago

Poker is gambling - not like roulette but still gambling - plain and simple.
If poker was not gambling we would see poker pros beating regular folks easily.

If Tiger Woods, Federer, Nadal, Body Miller, Michael Jordan, Garry Kasparov, Fisher in their top form
competed against billions of people they would still end up winning or being in top 10 regularly
which cannot be said about best poker players in the world.

If Phil Ivey is the best player in the world (as most pros claim) and poker was not gambling
he would have to place among 10 best every World Series Event which will NEVER happen.
Why? Because there is too much luck involved.

 
Reply
 

Xo4
almost 11 years ago

Nobody wants to beat that dead horse again. Poker has already been PROVEN (don't make me find the links on several noted game theorists who have already proven it) to be a game of SKILL, but it also contains a good amount of short term luck/variance. That still doesn't make it "a game of luck". I mean, that's fact. You'd have a point if there were other Phil Ivey's out there who just weren't winning because of their bad luck. Wrong, there's one Phil Ivey, and he's the best of the best because he can go one level further than any of his poker counterparts. If you have real skill (real) it's only a matter of time before the game pays you back. Your "luck" argument is like beating a dead horse. Besides, what's the point? How about this, let's ban all leaisure activities that cost people money they could be spending on improving our society instead? Okay, everyone bust out their hammer and sickles! This is just sooo retarded. People play online for pennies at a time and you're making waaaaaaaaaay too big a deal out of it. The lowest limit in a casino is $1/$2 - Meanwhile $1/$2 is full of "pros" online. These fools need to back off, honestly. Especially when you make an argument that's been squashed a million times already - hey, I'm sorry you can't win consistently but nobody is going to print the universal-full-proof-instruction-manual-on-how-to-crush-poker? And if you ever think you found one, they probably lied to you. It's gotta be a personal journey, or just give it up already, you know? Stop whining about the couple thousand people online playing .01c/.02c, .10c/.20c - seriously, opponents of online poker have got to be coming from a place of bitterness for something that happened to them once upon a time. It's certainly not rooted in logical caring thought. That's bologna.

 
Reply
 

AnthonyStone
almost 11 years ago

By definition poker pros DO beat regular folks easily. That's why they are called "Professionals." It's kind of like saying that professional surgeons are going to do brain surgery easily better than "regular folks." Duh! Geez,is it me, or is the whole country just getting dumber?

 
Reply
 

elpokero
almost 11 years ago

to Xo4: Yeah, you can beat that dead horse again and again
and poker would still remain gambling and gambling is illegal.

I wondar why Annie Duke don't fight for sport betting too.
Actualy I know why.
She does not have stake in it.
If poker is a game of skill then you can consider sport betting the same.

If they legalize poker then they should legalize sport betting too.

to AnthonyStone: "By definition poker pros DO beat regular folks easily."
That's not true.
How many best poker players in the world
won the biggest poker event WSOP Main Event last 10 years?

Those kind of results would not ever happen for example in chess - in real game of skills.
In poker as promotions and even poker pros say anybody can win on any given day.
In chess you can be lucky but 99.999999% people could NEVER beat Gary Kasparov even with the best luck in the world.

Look at the other games.
Tiger Woods, Federer, Nadal, Body Miller, Michael Jordan, Garry Kasparov: when they were the best
they were winning it all for years in a row.

 
Reply
 

Xo4
almost 11 years ago

It's fitting that you keep mentioning Tiger Woods because there's a great article on twoplustwo somewhere about how professional golfing tournaments are a lot like poker tournaments when it comes to the combination of "skill & variance". Mathematically speaking proker pros experience the same percentage of late finishes/wins as the top golfers in the world can expect. Think of it this way, Phil Ivey won two majors last year (two bracelets) - and final tabled the ME - and won millions online. How's Tiger doing? If someone can find that article from twoplustwo, I'd appreciate the link. Statistically speaking the best players in both games can expect the same sort of swings - but overall, in time, the players that are truly superior will eventually accumulate the most wins/most top finishes/most money. The problem is too many guys think they're superior, they really suck, and when they can't win they blame luck and call it gambling - seen it a thousand times. If you actually had any idea how hard some of the top players work at this you'd be sining a different tune.

 
Reply
 

L2K4FC
almost 11 years ago

Let's take an impromptu survey. All those who claim poker is gambling equivalent to any other form of gambling say "aye".

Those who disagree say "nay".

Next, all those who are showing a lifetime profit playing poker, say "aye".

And all those who are showing a loss over their lifetime of play thus far, just say "nay".

And try to be honest kids.

I'll start first. Nay and Aye.

 
Reply
 

kingwalter
almost 11 years ago

The ignorance in these posts is amazing! Online poker is not illegal in the USA! Funding a poker account is illegal for financial institutions, yet not illegal for me as an individual. There has never been anyone convicted of playing poker online in the USA! NEVER!

 
Reply
 

showtime629
almost 11 years ago

King Walter, you are wrong. At the federal level, you are correct, however states such as Washington have banned online poker at the state level, and yes there have been people arrested for it.

Although I do not know if they were convicted...it could just be a deterrent strategy.

 
Reply