Should California outlaw online debates?

by PokerAnon ~ April 28th, 2011. Filed under: Gambling, Poker and life.


Here’s a local paper, from Sacramento, where two writers have been asked to debate the topic of whether the state of California should legalize on-line poker and other types of gambling.

First off why identify poker, and then throw in “other types of gambling”? The first bill in the article refers specifically to online poker, and, though the other effort to repeal the UIGEA would affect all forms of gambling, the article refers to the fact that it specifically “bars U.S. banks from handling transfers from poker websites”. As the first writer points out, though only very briefly, poker is not the same as other casino games because you don’t play against the house, you play against other players and therefore it is possible to come out ahead. There is an element of chance involved but a skilled player can actually win rather than just lose more slowly if you have skill at the other casino games. Maybe the second writer asked for the extension from poker to gambling in general.

From what’s written I’m not sure that Ben Boychuk knows poker. It sounds as if  he has asked some friends or has done some internet research. But that’s better than Pia Lopez who has chosen to ignore the difference between poker and other games (perhaps intentionally since the difference weakens her argument). She doesn’t even use the word “poker” on her side. Instead she refers only to “online gambling” and likens it to “state-sanctioned prostitution, heroin sales, child porn sites – any number of human vices”.

Let’s face it; those degenerates that play online poker are the same undesirables that buy prostitutes and sell drugs and child porn. We’ve all known that all along; why don’t we just come out and admit it? They probably buy state-run lottery tickets, for that matter. And play in office sports pools. Maybe even some bingo.

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2 Responses to Should California outlaw online debates?

  1. Ben Boychuk

    Thanks for the post. I didn’t write the headline, so I don’t know why they added “other types of gambling.” That puzzled me a little, too, but so it goes.

    The challenge of these columns — and we write ’em every week — is making a fairly coherent case in about 400 words. So, you raise the point “I’m not sure that Ben Boychuk knows poker.” Depends on what you mean by “know.” Have I played the game? Sure — in Vegas even. Have I played online? Yes. I was on Full Tilt for awhile, but never played for real money there. So I’m a casual player, at best.

    Obviously, I’m aware there is an element of chance in the game, but without getting into the particulars, I thought it was enough to lay it out as I did in order to get at the public policy angle. All I tried to do was make a case for legalization and liberalization. We try to focus on California in the column, so I didn’t get to say all that much about UIGEA, but if I have another opportunity write about poker online or off, I’d certainly get into it more.

    You’ve got my e-mail if you’d like to drop me a note. Anyway, thanks again for taking notice of the piece.

  2. PokerAnon

    Thanks for stopping by, Ben. Hope you weren’t offended by my questioning your poker experience, but as much as anything I mentioned it to point out that you had done more than your opponent who didn’t even mention the word “poker” in her side. I wasn’t intending to imply that it seemed that you didn’t know poker, rather that I literally couldn’t tell whether you did or not.

    I’ve stopped by later and read some of the comments posted to the article, and poker players seem to have picked up on the same aspects there as well.

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