Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published (2006) in Poker Player newspaper.
I need you to do me a favor. I need you to read the short address I delivered last week to the Poker Players Alliance rally at the Rio and see that it gets distributed. We need to do something to stop legislation that will keep United States players from joining the world at poker — a traditionally American game. And we need to do something right now.
For reasons that transcend poker itself, reasons that have everything to do with freedom versus repression and how the U.S. appears to other nations in that regard, we must act. And I’m asking you to act by simply distributing the text of my address. I’m also making it available at Poker1.com, where you can freely borrow it and put it on any other web sites of your choosing.
First, let’s talk about the 2006 World Series of Poker. They all have the same stories, the folks who get knocked out of tournaments. The tales are about painful draw-outs and terrible bad beats. Nightmare material, all. And I listen to it, and I nod sympathetically.
But it only makes me think about myself and my own misfortune. In 19 events I was four times in the money and once at the final table. You’d think that would be enough to make a profit, since twice in the money would be an above-average showing. But, actually, I lost money so far.
Perhaps it’s because I was eliminated from the biggest $50,000 entry-fee mixed-game tournament as a back-to-back favorite to scoop two high-low pots, getting scooped both times instead. Perhaps it’s because in the opening no-limit hold ’em event I held 8-8, flopped 8-8-6 and lost with the four eights to a straight flush on the river. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that on the second day of play on the final championship event I was eliminated by a 21-to-1 shot on the river. (That’s right, 42 cards could give me the $45,000 pot and two cards could give it to my opponent.)
I started to itemize all the other “bad beats” that happened to me recently, and I stopped. You know what? It doesn’t matter. Why should we depress each other? Usually, you’re supposed to get eliminated from tournaments with bad beats. Otherwise you’re not playing well, right?
Readers who are lining up to tell me about tournament misfortune, think about this. If you had the best of it, you did your job. You earned a theoretical profit. And although you won’t be able to spend that theoretical money right now, in the long run — if you stubbornly keep playing correctly in the face of misery — you will win real money. And then you can spend it.
Now here, as promised, is the text of my address to the Poker Players Alliance — the brainchild of Michael Bolcerek, which also boasts Howard Lederer, Linda Johnson, Greg Dinkin, and Jan Fisher on its board. (You should visit them at PokerPlayersAlliance.org. While you’re there, please join.)
Mike Caro address to Poker Players Alliance
Rio in Las Vegas / July 28, 2006
Let’s fill in the blank: In order to operate our business, we will need ____. (A) employees; or (B) parents.
The answer is (A) employees. Employees are the people who work for us. Parents are the folks who tell us what to do when we’re children.
The United States is traditionally thought to be a beacon of freedom in an increasingly uncertain world. It has a government of the people, which means we hire employees to help us live free and happy lives, and we don’t pay parents to repress us.
Some of our employees in the House of Representatives temporarily forgot why they were hired. They became confused and acted as unreasonable parents. And so, because we care about them — as we care about all our good employees — we must counsel them and make sure they understand that we are not China.
You see, many of these same employees in the House have criticized China for denying its citizens free access to the ideas and activities on the Internet. Now they have passed a bill that would threaten American access to poker — our traditional card game.
At a time when the world is bonding with us online through poker — a game that is at the heart of our heritage — are we going to leave empty chairs at those online tables, showing the world that we are repressed, that our parents have sent us to our rooms?
In counseling our employees in the House of Representatives — employees we may choose to hire again — let us remind them that repression isn’t part of their job description, that poker is our game, that we’re proud to share it with the world, and that we are not China. — MC