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Attn, DC Reasonoids: Reason Presents the Politics of Poker, Tuesday, April 1

What: Poker Night at Reason HQ!

When: Tuesday, April 1, 5.30PM to 7.30PM

Where: Reason HQ, 1747 Connecticut Avenue NW (near S Street)

On Tuesday, April 1, please join the staff of reason at our D.C. offices for a short panel discussion about the great American game of poker. What's behind its massive recent surge in popularity? Why do moralists in Congress want to ban online poker? Why are local governments sending in SWAT teams to bust up private games? Our panel will feature two of the best players in the game:

  • Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, 2000 winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event, five-time WSOP bracelet winner, and winner of $6.6 million in career poker winnings.
  • Andy Bloch, one of the MIT students who beat the Las Vegas casinos at blackjack, inspiring the The New York Times bestseller Bringing Down the House and the upcoming Columbia Pictures film 21.

After a discussion and audience Q&A moderated by reason Senior Editor Radley Balko, we'll shuffle up and deal specially embossed free reason playing cards. Drinks, light snacks and poker paraphernalia provided.

Here's your chance to play Texas Hold 'Em and blackjack with two of the greatest players in the world, so deal yourself in on Tuesday, April 1, from 5.30PM to 7.30PM, 1747 Connecticut Avenue (near S Street).

The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are mandatory. Please RSVP to events@reason.com or 310.391.2245.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Liquor in the front and poker in the rear.

  • ||

    Poker--ha! Make mine baccarat.

  • ed||

    Poker is for sissies.
    Old Maid is the real he-man's game.

  • ||

    Congress did not "ban online poker." The 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act bans acceptance of payment instruments for unlawful internet gambling, but it doesn't make any internet gambling activity unlawful that wasn't already.

  • ||

    Is reason HQ on an indian reservation?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    I dunno. I got invited to a high stakes poker game once and was promised a sucker would be there, but he never showed up and I lost a fortune.

  • lunchstealer||

    TANSTAASEFRPC

  • LarryA||

    High irony: scheduling a discussion and playing a game dedicated to lying on April Fool's Day.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Is reason HQ on an indian reservation?

    Good point. Being in DC, they probably should have held it here.

  • ||

    Won't somebody think of the papooses?

  • ||

    Man! I'd love to be there and get to meet Jesus. I always knew he was good at poker.

  • TallDave||

    $6.6 million in career poker winnings.

    Sure, they don't mention his $6.599 million in poker losings.

  • ||

    brec | March 27, 2008, 1:57pm | #

    Congress did not "ban online poker." The 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act bans acceptance of payment instruments for unlawful internet gambling, but it doesn't make any internet gambling activity unlawful that wasn't already.


    Yes, Congress did ban online poker, although they did it long before 2006. The 2006 just strengthens and clarifies existing laws (written before the Internet existed) that banned using telecomunications devices for certain types of gambling.

    Basically, there are multiple Federal laws that ban on-line poker, which means the statement "Congress banned on-line poker" is automatically true, since Congress (and the president, except in cases of an overridef veto) must approve of all Federal laws.

  • ||

    OK, lunchstealer, what does TANSTAASEFRPC mean?

  • ||

    Why so early? I'd come to DC after work for this. As it's a 3 hour trip, this means I'll have to take (most of) the day off from work :(

  • ||

    There Ain't No Such Thing As A Sucker's Event Free Roll Poker Chair?

  • ||

    Banco.

  • ||

    Yes, Congress did ban online poker, although they did it long before 2006. The 2006 just strengthens and clarifies existing laws (written before the Internet existed) that banned using telecomunications devices for certain types of gambling.

    If you're referring to the Wire Act, it's a lot more complicated than you're making it seem, and very much a legal gray area.

    Nobody legally disputes that the Wire Act applies to sports betting, but if anything, recent case law tends to suggest that it doesn't apply to internet poker.

    And to the best of my knowledge, no American citizen has ever yet been charged with a crime and prosecuted by the government for playing poker on the internet. The only people who have been arrested and charged under the UIGEA have been foreign operators of the sites.

  • ||

    It's nice to see those guys actually play without sunglasses on, unlike all the other pusies.

  • ||

    Sorry, anon; Chris almost always wears sunglasses while playing, and Andy sometimes does, too.

  • ||

    So is Reason thinking of taking their show on the road? Well, specifically, to Boston and other high-concentration (relatively speaking) libertarian areas?

  • ||

    What are the multiple Federal laws that ban on-line poker besides the Wire Act, which doesn't?

  • ||

    You guys do a chess night and I'll make the scene.

  • lunchstealer||

    There Ain't No Such Thing As Specially Embossed Free Reason Playing Cards.

    No idea why that popped into my head, but it did. And thence to my fingers, and lo! a crappy blog comment was born.

  • danm||

    Wow, look at these comments! I forgot what people who are not full-on poker addicts are like.

    Wish I could make it. Maybe next time!

  • danm||

    And hey Brec, while you may be technically correct, in its practical implications, the UIGEA has DRAMATICALLY affected a lot of people's lives, regardless of whether or not it would hold up in court. Seriously, I could introduce you to HUNDREDS of people whose lives this law changed ... and show you some businesses whose bottom lines were altered by millions despite your claims.

    Just sayin' ...

  • Jeff Wartman||

    anon | March 27, 2008, 3:45pm | #

    It's nice to see those guys actually play without sunglasses on, unlike all the other pusies.



    Chris is wearing sunglasses in the picture, genius.

  • ||

    danm said, "the UIGEA has DRAMATICALLY affected a lot of people's lives."

    I've no argument with that. "Seriously, I could introduce you to HUNDREDS of people whose lives this law changed ... and show you some businesses whose bottom lines were altered by millions despite your claims." I'm one of those people. My only claim was that Congress [and I'm pretty sure that meant the UIGEA] did not "ban online poker." Note that the text of the entry has changed since the thread began, to "Why do moralists in Congress want to ban online poker?" Don't feel badly, H&R, other media, including the Wall Street Journal, have made the same error, but not always with a following correction.

  • ||

    I have stopped making off-topic nitpicking posts about grammar and diction. --Except about my own. In the previous, "Don't feel badly" should be, "Don't feel bad."

  • Mike Laursen||

    Hey, is that guy on the right Bono without his sunglasses? I thought they were surgically attached.

  • ||

    Nope, Andy Bloch, former member of the MIT Blackjack team. Average poker player, but part owner of Full Tilt Poker

  • Brian Combs||

    Oh, this sounds like fun. Too bad I was in DC last week, not this week.

  • John Kindley||

    Unfortunately, I can't make it because I'm already booked up for April Fool's day -- It's my wedding anniversary.

    I got a t-shirt from Full Tilt poker for busting Andy Bloch in an on-line HORSE tournament. (Ask him if "BigBadBeater" rings a bell.) I also played at the same table with Jesus in the 2006 Main Event after winning a seat on-line at Full Tilt, though he was only at our table for about 20 mins so I doubt if he remembers me.

  • ||

    Andy Bloch ... Average poker player

    Hmm... with $3.2M in tournament winnings and this record I think he's above average.

  • ||

    Well, he's no KidZee.

  • ||

    Historical note: in the mid 1990s, deadhead (see comment just above), I, and JESUS (Chris Ferguson) all played serious tournament poker online with no money involved.

    Well, Chris and I took it seriously.

  • ||

    Anyone who can make the final table (much less the final 2) of the 50k horse event is not average.

    Im not sure if you can even fluke into the money in that event. Actually, Im pretty sure you cant.

    It looks like there are some people on here who might know the answer to a question I have had for a while - If Bloch were to, for example, bust out of a tourney and wanted to hang around and blow off some steam for a while, could he go sit down and play some blackjack or would they still ask him to leave?

  • ||

    I can dodge bullets baby.

  • ||

    Well I think this has to be the first time I ever wished I was in Conn. Ah nevermind the feeling has passed.

  • ||

    robc asks,

    If Bloch were to, for example, bust out of a tourney and wanted to hang around and blow off some steam for a while, could he go sit down and play some blackjack or would they still ask him to leave?

    Most places would still ask him to leave once they identified him.

  • ||

    Andy has been barred from the BlackJack tables in every casino in Vegas, and I am pretty sure A.C. as well. While I will concede that he is MUCH better than the average poker player on this, or most, Forums, Andy Bloch is simply NOT thought of as a top-flight pro. I would hazard a guess that he derives more income from other sources than the green felt.

  • Robert Stacy McCain||

    Since we're doing this Vegas style, perhaps you'll need a crooner to swoon 'em with a tune in the showroom?

    I'm available. Just call my agent.

  • ||

    the government is not anti online poker. let's be clear about that. as soon as it can figure out how to get its "cut" it will make it legal. remember when the "numbers" used to be illegal, well once they figured out how to implement state run lotteries we had legalized "numbers". it will be the same with online poker. and seriously isnt online poker as important as inflation, energy, the war in iraq, the infringement on our constitutional rights, our engery crisis? www.resetamerica.com people.

  • ||

    "Anyone who can make the final table (much less the final 2) of the 50k horse event is not average.

    Im not sure if you can even fluke into the money in that event. Actually, Im pretty sure you cant."


    That second part is not true. Anyone that knows the rules of the games and has an elementary understanding of strategy can run hot and cash.

  • ||

    Let's hope the party doesn't get broken up by a SWAT team.

  • Alex Nielsen||

    Hi,

    If you truly want to be successful at online casino, then you need to make it a habit to learn more about the odds while it seems like everyone would naturally seek out the more favorable options, research has shown that the average player consistently chooses casino games in which the odds lean more in favor of the house.

    That is way I made this site....

    http://www.online-casino-secrets.info/

    Regards

    Alex

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