Two Interesting Articles on Online Poker

For those of you craving some poker content; feast away:

I ran across two interesting articles the other day I thought I would share. First comes from The Sentinel and profiles a young Josh Froment who buried himself in debt to go to college. He had loans, credit card debt, the whole lot. He had good grades, had served in the Marine Corp and was a pretty good kid who was having a hard time making ends meet. He had to drop out of college and take a job at Walmart and the prospects of him being able to get his head enough above water to get back into school looked pretty bleak.

But things turned around for Josh when he entered a $30K guarantee on an online site for $60 and took down third place for $3,150 which was just the kind of help he needed to pull himself up out of his current situation. He’s back in school now and currently scheduled for an Iraq deployment but he’s happy he’s getting in another semester at college.

Oh, and the $60 he spent on the tourney buy-in; he won that too. He started playing freerolls and won $9. He built that up to a $700 bankroll playing $2 tournaments before taking a $500 whacking at the virtual tables. But all in all he’s way up on the game and he’s done it all without a dime out of his own pocket.

Bravo Josh!

The second article is an opinion piece by Radley Balko over at . . . FOX News! For those who may not remember Mr. Balko was one of the more impressive speakers at the Barney Frank’s hearings on online gambling. I’ve included the video of his testimony below. But his take on the government’s payoff to avoid WTO sanctions is just brilliant. I can’t say it any better than him so I’ll just quote one of his more intelligent arguments.

Had the U.S. not settled with the world’s economic powerhouses, we might have seen a massive battle unfold between the U.S. entertainment industry and the moral majority types behind the gambling ban.

That doesn’t mean the settlement is something to be proud of. On the contrary, it’s pretty despicable. It’s bad enough that the federal government feels it’s proper and appropriate to tell American citizens what they’re permitted to do on their own time in their own homes with their own money. But it’s also willing to spend tens of billions of dollars of money paid to the government by those same citizens in the form of taxes to ensure it retains that power, and that it’s jurisdiction to enforce that power covers the entire globe.

Ah, but it gets worse.

The U.S. could have actually resolved all of this and preserved its precious gambling prohibition by simply making the prohibition uniform. But that wouldn’t do. Just as important as the ban on Internet gambling itself were the carve-outs for politically-protected special interest groups—lotteries and horse racing. So the tens of billions the U.S. government is paying to settle the trade dispute is not only to preserve the gambling ban, it’s to preserve the congressionally-granted monopoly on online wagering for interests with more political clout than poker players.

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.