Bluefire challenges Obama to $1m poker game

Barack Obama

The pros at Bluefire Poker believe that poker is a game of skill, and the Web site is willing to lay down $1 million to prove it.

The site is offering $1 million for charity if Obama or any member of the U.S. Congress will play one of its pros in an effort to prove poker is a game of skill.

Bluefire Poker, a nonwagering poker training site, said it will put up $1 million against $1, with the winnings going to the charity of the players' choice.

Billy Murphy, from Bluefire Poker, said the specific terms of the game haven't been set yet. However, the format will include an equal number of chips at the start of the game, and the opponents will play long enough to demonstrate the advantage of skill in the game.

"Poker prowess and experience demonstrate themselves over time - in the long run, the better player wins the game because the player's skills increase the odds of success," explains the poker training site in a press release.

The challenge was thrown down as Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) plans to reintroduce legislation this month addressing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Supporters of live and online poker have argued that it is a game of skill and as such should be considered a legal form of gambling.

"In courtrooms across America, judges and juries are reaching the conclusion poker players have known for decades - poker is a game of skill," said John Pappas, Poker Players Alliance executive director.

Pennsylvania Judge Thomas James Jr. ruled poker a game of skill in a court hearing earlier this year. He even quoted Mike Caro's Secrets of Winning Poker, saying "the money flows from the bad players to the good players."

In February a South Carolina Judge also declared poker a game of skill after hearing testimony from experts such as Mike Sexton. Also that month, a Colorado jury decided poker was a game of skill, and found the organizer of a poker league not guilty of illegal gambling.

"This common sense argument is gaining ground, even in Washington D.C., and by putting their money where their mouth is, Bluefire Poker is effectively capturing the attention of the highest levels of government - the White House and Congress," Pappas said.

"It remains to be seen if a lawmaker is up to the challenge, but we are appreciative of efforts that help to augment our policy reasons for separating poker from other forms of gaming."

Murphy said that other than President Obama himself, Bluefire Poker doesn't have anyone specific in mind right now to play.

They don't realistically expect Obama to play, but he said the site has already got interest from others wanting to take on the challenge.

If anyone accepts, they could be playing against any one of Bluefire's team of pros. Phil "Jman" Galfond is the team leader, and he is joined by Niman "Samoleus" Kenkre, Jason "PBJaxx" Senti, Martin "Giggy" Fournier Giguere, Ryan "Fees" Fees and Don "SoCalQuest" Nguyen.


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