Experts: Poker becoming a big mainstream activity
STATELINE (AP) – A “perfect storm” of favorable conditions has put poker on a path to be a mainstream event on the level of NBA games and NASCAR races, experts told a gambling conference Thursday.
Televised poker shows, which let viewers see players’ cards, and Internet gambling have given top poker players rock-star status and created a huge crowd of new players and fans, two-time World Series of Poker champion Howard Lederer and others said.
Even a move in Congress to crack down on Internet gambling won’t cut into poker’s growing popularity because newcomers could still hone their skills on many play-for-fun Internet sites, the experts said at the 13th International Conference on Gambling and Risk-Taking.
Lederer, World Series of Poker commissioner Jeffrey Pollack and Steve Lipscomb, creator of the World Poker Tour, likened the poker boom to gradual changes in televised NBA coverage from tape-delayed to live, prime-time games, and to the growth in NASCAR audiences from mainly southerners to fans throughout the nation.
Lipscomb said offbeat personalities of some top card players have fueled poker’s rise, adding they’re “some of the most compelling, interesting characters you could ever imagine” – and no longer seen as embarrassing “black sheep” by their families.
Lederer said “mainstreaming is just starting” for poker, and Pollack added that once the game peaks in popularity “you institutionalize yourself on the landscape” and it can maintain a big audience – and advertisers – whether television ratings are up or down.
Asked about potential problems for compulsive gamblers drawn to poker, Lederer said it’s different than blackjack or craps because of the skill level required – in knowing the cards, using psychology to gauge others at the table and maintaining self-discipline needed to stay in the game.
Arnie Wexler, a compulsive gambling counselor who runs a national hot line, said he has been around gambling for decades and in the case of poker had “never seen an explosion like this.” He urged poker promoters to caution new players about possible pitfalls.
Lederer said his advice is for anyone who gets into poker and thinks they’re pretty good to “keep their day job” for at least another year and then take a close look at their win-loss column from poker.
Asked about the potential for scandal, such as cheating or collusion among players, Lipscomb said big tournaments held in licensed casinos are highly controlled. Besides security guards, he said a skilled poker player “is the best hall monitor” you could have.
Lederer added that if online money games were legalized, there are methods to keep such games clean and seize funds if a problem was detected. He also said there’s developing technology to ensure the identity of players and exclude minors.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A newly formed Washoe Tahoe Housing Partnership will be coordinating a needs assessment and strategic plan this summer for local resident housing in the Incline Village and Crystal Bay areas of…