Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published (2006) in Poker Player newspaper. As originally published, this entry covered two topics: The one you see below about government intrusion in poker and one about suited connectors in hold ’em (Mike Caro poker word is Connectors).
One of the worst things in the history of the world is happening right now, right here in America, right before our eyes. And you probably don’t know about it. It took more than 10,000 years of social evolution to get where we are today. For most of us, it’s the best civilization has ever been.
There are rough edges still, and wars, and terrorism, and inequity. But we’re free to discuss all this and we’re proud of being beyond the dark ages. And we’d like to share what we have with less advantaged regions of the world. We’d like them to evolve, too, and be hopeful.
We have developed a method of living that allows lots of freedom and still functions fabulously a lot of the time. And we’re about to lose it, mostly because of poker.
Yes, I’m talking about the legislation that will ban online poker, but this isn’t about poker or other forms of online gambling! We need to talk soul to soul. If we don’t, then this is where it starts – the long trek back into the worst in history.
We’re not there, but we’re opening the door. You might think I’m being overly dramatic, and – indeed – last time I talked about how sad it would be if United States poker players couldn’t join the rest of the world online in bonding though poker. Wouldn’t it be ironic if there were empty seats at those poker tables where players from the nation that holds poker as key to its heritage couldn’t sit?
But two weeks later the issue is much greater. Listen up. As part of my business, I just sent an e-mail the London Telegraph. It was an expected correspondence. Guess what happened? My message didn’t get through. It couldn’t get through. HughesNet (until recently known as Direcway) – the largest satellite based Internet provider in the world stopped it. It was because the text of the business message contained the words “doylesroom.com.” I couldn’t believe it. I tried again. Failed again. And again.
A long support call to the company confirmed that they were filtering outgoing mail. The representative mentioned the recent legislation that has passed the House and awaits a vote in the Senate. There was nothing he could do to resolve the problem, except to suggest I write to HughesNet. Well, consider them written.
I’m not talking about spam sent as advertisement or subject lines that might be identified as spam. I’m not talking about e-mail that was misidentified as spam upon arrival and put into the wrong folder. I’m talking about my e-mail and HughesNet stopping it from being sent based on the content of my private communication. And they didn’t want to do it; they were afraid not to do it! It’s fear of your own government acting irrationally. Is that where we are today?
These were ideas being sent – and they wouldn’t go out. I couldn’t communicate freely. I was sending them from the United States and they couldn’t reach anyone. They couldn’t even be sent to people in countries who seem to suddenly enjoy more freedoms than we do.
The recent legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives is scary. At a time when many of our beloved politicians criticize China for its repression regarding the Internet, how is it even possible that we travel that same road? But that issue now seems tiny. Where are we headed when we can’t even communicate ideas involving online poker (or other gambling) sites or mention them in our most private person-to-person e-mails?
Maybe it isn’t HughesNet’s fault. Maybe it simply overreacted out of fear. But if that’s the case, we should all be afraid – afraid of where fear of our own government will lead. Please think about this. This is really America; and this is really happening. Make it stop. — MC