Incidentally, while I was playing I also railed the final table of the WCOOP Event #15 Pot Limit Omaha ($530) in which a Finnish player named Trabelsi outlasted Humberto Brenes (Humberto B.), taking the bracelet and a cool $93,852.75. (There were no deals at this final table.) Listened to the audio broadcast as well with Wil Wheaton and Lee Jones, which was entertaining and informative. Poker Stars is replaying some WCOOP final tables, showing the hole cards of those players who have allowed it. Pretty interesting to watch, actually. As a limit player, I’m finding it useful to get a look at players’ hand selections and playing styles at the Event #7 Limit Hold ’em ($215) final table. (Look under the WCOOP tab in “Events” and click on “All” and you’ll see which final tables they’re replaying.)
So that’s one reason why I’m feeling a little fatigued today. There’s another reason, though.
While thousands of us were up late last night competing with each other in the game we love, Congress was also burning the midnight oil in an effort to pass legislation before heading into their October recess. One of the final items discussed last night (or, rather, early this morning) was legislation describing measures to protect the country’s hundreds of ports from potential terrorist attacks. This act (H.R. 4954, the “SAFE Port Act”) -- supported almost unanimously by representatives and senators from both sides of the aisle -- attracted several last-minute add-ons, including the Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (a version of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act passed by the House back in July).
You might have heard about earlier, unsuccessful attempts to slide H.R. 4411 in with other legislation being brought before the Senate. Last week, Majority Senate leader Bill Frist (a Republican from Tennessee) tried to attach it to a defense spending bill, but was blocked from doing so by other senators. Frist has made clear his position that he believes internet gambling is harmful to families, “bringing an addictive behavior right into our living rooms.” Frist argues that internet gambling leads to other forms of criminal behavior, including money laundering, racketeering, and extortion. Frist has also made clear his intentions to run for president in 2008. He’s obviously betting that his chances won’t be affected should he lose the poker vote. (He’s probably right.)
Frist tried again last night, and this time he was successful. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was added to the SAFE Port Act, which the House then overwhelmingly passed by a vote of 409 to 2. Then the Senate -- or at least those senators who were still around -- discussed and passed the act as well (not by vote, but by a procedural maneuver). Some had suggested Frist wouldn’t be able to pull off such a deal. But he rivered this one and how.
What comes next? Now that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act has been approved by both the House and the Senate, all that is left is for the president to sign it. And he will. Within the next ten days or so. Then things should get even more interesting . . . .
I wrote about the Act back in July. If you read that earlier post, you'll see a rundown of what the Act says and my thoughts about its possible consequences at the time. Think I'm slightly more apprehensive about the whole rigamarole today. For better informed views on the matter, check out the “Legislation” section of the 2+2 Forums for up-to-the-minute news and threads about how the Act might affect American online poker players.
Meanwhile, I'm gonna be turning in early tonight. Rather not try to battle the late night crazies while not fully rested and alert. Lot of sneaky deals happening when it gets late.
Image: Seal of the United States Congress (adapted), public domain.