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Rant: I Can't Think of a Better Time to Start a Poker Trade Union
How do you feel when you hear that an online poker media outlet trying to cover an event in the Venetian card room was ejected by staff?
Does it make you, as a poker player, angry?
After all, the move means that Sheldon Adelson’s view on iGaming has manifested itself down the trunk of his organization and is spreading outwards along the branches, bark and leaves.
But what point does anger serve? Nothing, without action.
The End Boss of Every Game You've Never Played
Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) is going to cause iGaming a few problems. He’s not just a businessman with a hard-on.
This is a guy who is used to getting what he wants; he has prominent people in his pocket, and mountains of money to burn.
He is the end boss of every game that you have never played.
The Las Vegas Sands owner is attacking us and the way I see it we have three very different reactions to choose from:
- 1. We do nothing.
- 2. We fight.
- 3. We wait for him to die.
At the moment we're hovering between points 1 & 3, and most people are hoping he'll die long before his influence causes us any real problems.
So why aren’t we fighting him?
The single biggest reason might be because we don’t know how. We don’t have hope. Our judgment is clouded with availability bias.
We go fishing inside our minds to retrieve memories of poker players uniting to defeat the forces of evil and we can’t seem to find any reference points.
Nobody Looks After #1 Like the Modern Poker Player
It’s just like climate policy. We need to make changes in the present to protect our children’s futures, and we say fuck our children.
They can look after themselves. I am looking after number one, and nobody looks after number one like the modern day poker player.
All human beings are selfish, of that there is little argument. It’s how we survive and prosper.
But there is an argument that poker can strengthen these traits because of the very nature of the game.
Our job is to take the money from the person sitting in front of us, and we don’t give a shit about his, or her, sob story. We will rob them blind.
Last year, Nolan Dalla wrote a wonderful little piece asking people to boycott the Venetian. It strummed up a lot of potential.
Facebook fluttered, Twitter accounts lit up and e-mail inboxes were filled.
But nothing happened. When the poker media outlet was ejected from the Venetian, I expected a similar response.
But nothing happened.
I saw on Facebook that several poker players from the UK were playing in the Venetian, just days after the news broke.
I wondered why they weren’t boycotting the place? Then I realized that we have online poker in the UK, so why should the British players care about the ripples Adelson and his cronies are creating in the States?
But then I saw prominent American players openly talking in the social media forums about their intention to play at the Venetian.
Who Really Runs the British Railway System?
Now I understand that even a successful boycott doesn’t change much, but what about a point of principle?
I won’t step foot in any of his establishments. So why are poker players playing at his tables?
We dare to call him a hypocrite because of his views on gambling, but look into the mirror. What do you see?
Do you know who runs the British Railway system?
It’s not the managers, it’s not the board - it's the train drivers.
A single train driver has no power over his line manager, but as a collective force the train drivers trade union, known as ASLEF, has the power to bring the railways to a standstill.
How do I know this? Because it has done so on numerous occasions, and I have been on the side of management when they have pulled down their knickers and we have gone as limp as Elton John’s wrist.
It’s the reason they have some of the most favorable terms and conditions in the UK. It’s the reasons they have the best pensions and death in service benefits.
And it’s the reason they have the best salaries.
The ASLEF Company Council eats end bosses for breakfast because they have understood the power of numbers.
If ASLEF created a trade union for poker players, they wouldn’t ask their members to boycott. They would tell them to boycott.
And they would follow with strength in numbers swelled by an innate power of pride, stubbornness and resolve.
Stop Giving This Man Your Business
I’m a realist. I know that there are too many recreational poker players who would never join a trade union and would still play in the card rooms should the professionals boycott.
But we would be sending a message of strength. We would be trying to make a difference. We would be taking action.
Instead, we turn a blind eye and hope that our governments will fight for us. We have just moved all-in - blind.
I don’t know if the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has ever tried to create a trade union movement, but if they haven’t I can’t think of a better time to do so.
We need to start taking action instead of pissing our complaints up against the hollow walls of 2+2. By all means keep that anger. Just follow it up with some intent and action.
Stop giving this man your business. He’s laughing at you. He thinks you are a joke, and you are letting your own selfishness fuel that.
Change your values. Start having some pride. Lead by example, and who knows? Perhaps others will follow.