Saturday, June 09, 2007

2007 WSOP, Day 9: Bill Collector

Lots of bills sitting on Capitol hillFollowing my eighth straight all-nighter (a lifetime record, probably), I managed to wake up in time to make a mediocre showing at today’s Ante Up! Intercontinental Poker Series Event No. 6 (Limit Omaha Hi-Lo).

Might be tempted to blame them brain-cloudin’ cobwebs, but that would just be fruitlessly reachin’ for excuses. I had won a couple of small pots early, then at the end of Level 5 had a nice juicy scoop snatched away from me on the river, leaving me with two-thirds of my starting stack. Ended up pushing with a damned dubious O8 holding -- 9cQsQdAs -- and was out just before the first break.

My so-so play ensured that the tourney highlight was Gadzooks giving me a chat box shout from Vegas. She mentioned meeting up with Falstaff and Columbo, and I know Khanwoman and ElSnarfoGrande are there as well. Have fun terrorizing the tourists with yr straddles, y’all!

The WSOP marches on. As do various legislative efforts by those opposed to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Prior to today, I was aware of three House bills introduced in response to UIGEA -- Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation Enforcement Act (H.R. 2046), Berkeley’s internet gambling study bill (H.R. 2140), and Wexler’s Skill Game Protection Act (H.R. 2610). This morning I noticed a fourth bill -- the Internet Gambling Tax Act (H.R. 2607) -- appears to have been (very quietly) introduced late in the week by Rep. James McDermott (D-WA). Haven’t seen the text of this fourth bill, although it looks like another attempt to regulate online gambling. There’s also that lawsuit against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to prevent the enforcement of the UIGEA. Will be interesting to see if anything comes of that.

I did manage to watch yesterday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing, pulled together by committee chair Barney Frank in order to push his IGREA. Saw the first half live, then watched the rest on tape today. The hearing -- “Can Internet Gambling Be Effectively Regulated to Protect Consumers and the Payments System?” -- lasted just over two hours, and provided a forum of sorts for Frank and certain committee members to express their feelings about online gambling, as well as a chance for their invited witnesses to opine on the feasibility of regulation and/or the rightness of laws against online gambling.

Am in the process of gathering some thoughts together about yesterday’s hearing, which I’ll try to share here before too long. My initial impression was largely influenced by Frank’s opening apology to the invited witnesses for the fact that a number of committee members weren’t present at the hearing. “When I originally scheduled this hearing we were under the impression that there would be votes this morning,” said Frank. Indeed, that is the next step in the legislative process -- you introduce legislation, you take it to a committee, and the committee votes on whether or not to forward the bill to the entire body. The IGREA currently only has 19 co-sponsors from Frank’s committee (out of 70 total members), and the fact that he couldn’t get committee members even to come to the hearing did establish (for me, anyway) a kind of air of futility over the proceedings.

Like I said, I will eventually share some thoughts about the hearing. Always interesting to hear poker discussed on the Hill. And while I’m mostly pessimistic about most of these bills -- I really only think Berkeley’s will make it beyond committee -- I do think the accumulated effect of these efforts to curb or even halt the UIGEA will be positive. As I’ve said before, even if debates over these bills don’t result in their becoming laws, such discussions will necessarily be of benefit insofar as they necessarily highlight the UIGEA’s many problems.

Remember, go check out PokerNews’ live reporting from the WSOP for the latest from the series.



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