We need to stand strong for poker world

February 24, 2014, Scott Long, Christopher Cosenza  

Poker is a game built on deception. Few feelings at the poker table are more euphoric than pulling off a successful bluff, selling your opponent on a story created out of thin air.

That’s part of the game, and it’s part of why we love it so much.

But in the “poker industry,” there is no room for lies or deception. Not even if we cleverly describe them as “bluffs.”

This new year is barely two months old, and we’ve seen counterfeit chips introduced to a major Atlantic City tournament, a poker personality sentenced to probation for what police say was fishing dealer tips out of a toke box with chopsticks and top Scandinavian players’ laptops stolen and infected with a virus that exposes their hole cards online.

We urge the poker community — all of us — to strongly and publicly condemn crimes like these. Doing anything otherwise is a threat to the future of the game we love.

Most us want to see the game of poker expand. We want to see it expand online beyond the three states that allow it. But we face a chorus of opposition that says the game can’t be trusted.

We want to see it expand live to more places closer to home. But we face a chorus of opposition that says casinos breed crime and other detriments to society.

Each time something like the events above happens, and the poker community doesn’t vigorously distance itself from it, and doesn’t pledge to prevent it in the future, those choruses win.

We must get our house in order. We must keep it in order. Not doing so, by simply saying, “Well, there’s always a few bad apples in every bushel,” is ineffective and, frankly, what holds back supporters of other industries that invite controversy. We have to be different. We have to remember many people are rooting for us to fail, rooting for more criminals to make headlines in casinos and poker rooms. We have to remember we need to not only control our message, but control those among us who make that message much more difficult to sell. Please join us in standing strong against those who make us look weak.
We’ll see you at the (honorable) tables.

— Christopher Cosenza and Scott Long, publishers