Have been enjoying reading the blogs of those relating their plans to relocate out west for the next seven weeks. I see that Amy Calistri (AimlesslyChasingAmy, Calistri’s Corner), Mean Gene, and the Poker Shrink (Keeping Your Head in the Game, Pokerblog) are all there. They are joining Dr. Pauly (Tao of Poker), B.J. Nemeth (BJ’s Poker Blog), Change100 (Pot Committed), and others as part of the PokerNews team covering the series.
Also noting how the authors of several of my other regular reads -- Gadzooks & Khanwoman (who will be there with ElSnarfoGrande and others), Waffles, Grubby, Falstaff, Otis, the Pokerati gang, the Ante Up! guys -- are similarly planning Vegas trips in the near future. (Looks like Michael of Counting My Outs is also heading out this weekend, though he says he ain’t playing.)
Hard not to catch a second-hand buzz from all that eager energy. Over and above the usual second-hand buzz one gets over at Pot Committed, of course. (About which, see the previous post.)
I should mention that PokerNews has also recruited me to help out from afar, and so I’ll likely find it impossible not to talk about WSOP events here over the next few weeks. Probably why I find myself looking forward to this year’s WSOP more than I have any previous one.
There are other reasons for my increased sense of anticipation as well. Poker-related interactions over the past year have gotten me more invested in the whole scene, for certain. I’m also intrigued by the many non-hold ’em and mixed-game events on the schedule, all of which have become particularly interesting to me here lately. Finally, I’m anxious like everyone else to discover how and to what degree the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act will impact this year’s series.
Deserved or not, the WSOP has tremendous symbolic value in the poker world, with otherwise arbitrary figures like the number of players registering for the Main Event taken as an unambiguous indicator of how “healthy” poker is (or whether the “boom” is passed). The 2007 WSOP may not break records for participants and/or prize pools, but it will undoubtedly be the most heavily scrutinized series in history. And affecting almost all of those commentaries will be the UIGEA.
Adding to everyone’s anxiety is that “270-day” deadline which is going to land somewhere during the Main Event. Remember that? The UIGEA was signed into law on October 13, 2007. The Act directs the Secretary and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, along with embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, 270 days to send instructions to banks, credit card companies, and other “financial transaction providers” on how to obstruct their clients’ transactions with online gambling sites. Somewhere around July 10th, the UIGEA will have been law for 270 days.
In recognition of that upcoming deadline, CardPlayer’s resident legal expert Allyn Jaffrey Shulman posted an article yesterday with the misleading title “What Will Happen When the UIGE Act Goes into Effect.” I don’t know why commentators -- especially so-called “legal experts” -- see fit to keep repeating how the UIGEA “goes into effect” in July. It has been in effect since October 13, 2007! Anyone who has failed to comply with the law since October 13th is potentially subject to the penalties the law describes. For example, a bank who has allowed its client to conduct transactions with entities violating section 5363 (that is, online gambling sites), is technically violating the law as it is written. Bills become laws when the President signs them. Unless the feds’ regulations include some sort of “grace period” -- which they might -- the UIGEA is “in effect.”
Despite my objection to Shulman’s headline, I agree with her conclusion that for various reasons the feds probably aren’t going to be able to pull together regulations by mid-July. Thus do I also believe July 10 will come and go with little fanfare. Whether our government will ever be able to force “finanical transaction providers” to regulate their clients’ activities in this way -- in other words, whether the UIGEA represents an idea that can never really be put into practice -- remains to be seen.
We could be surprised, though. Not like we haven’t been taken off-guard here before.
In any case, lots to look forward to here. Can hardly wait.
Labels: *the rumble