Are we ready to take poker from the kitchen table to the public forum? This is meant more than just physically but also metaphorically. Lets stop bitching and complaining around the table and take it to the streets. There are many I know that play poker online and are happy with this. The unknown is how many are playing poker that are willing to stand up in protest for the fact that it has to be a covert operation to play unless you are willing to travel to a government sanction and protected Casino. The awful truth is that they don’t even want poker other than for the magnet it brings in the form of publicity that it can generate and the clients it can generate for the lucrative house banked games and slots. The reality is that any local Legion, Moose Lodge, Lions Club would be more than willing to organize tournaments to draw people to their Halls. The money would be put to good use by these organizations in the charitable work they do. And it would be diverted from the suspicious dealings of the OLG and their self indulgent, self serving charitable distribution.
I would like to be able to go to a local pub and play poker and have a beer. Or at least the local Legion or Lodge and play a real game of poker. Real money not play chips for some sponsored prize if I get through a field of “nothing to lose” land mines.
I know. It echoes in my head from discussion before, the loser mantra of “nothing we can do because the government…”. Many of the readers are thinking that at this point. To that I say society makes the rules for society. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I grew up with “Men” or “Ladies and Escort” bar sections in Ontario. Women were not allowed in the bar without a male escort. Wine was only available in LCBO outlets. Right now it is the Liquor Laws that are stopping us from playing real poker for real money in “public house”. As long as there is no rake there is no law to stop us from playing poker in a pub other than the Liquor Law. To change this we must tell them we want the change. The “they” I am speaking about are the people who make the rules… the politicians. Our elected officials make those rules. If enough of us want the change it will change. It will take more than letters and petitions though. It will take protest, Public Protest. In your face protest, Media grabbing protest, but like Ghandi not Bin Laden.
For poker players though the protest can be fun. We can play poker. Here is the seed of thought. We have a day of protest in as many places as we can organize and go to a public park to play poker. Real poker for real money, no rake small buy-in public tournaments. We will all bring a few bottles of Root Beer. Our mantra will be “Why can’t I have a real beer and play poker in a bar?” We let the Media People know the day and places. At the very least let’s get a large group willing to set up an event in Toronto at or near the Parliament Buildings. Perhaps we can get some politicians to sit in on the game.
I see a thousand poker players around a hundred tables on Queens Park lawn. A big glass jar in the center in public view stuffed with $10.00 bills from each player. There are enough portable poker tables in Ontario, are there enough militant poker player? It will take a trio of Tournament Directors with 30 assistant Tournament Directors. It will take a lot of people and a lot of organization.
I am calling for all who are willing to take this seed and make it grow. It will take till next spring to get it organized, perhaps even till next fall. We have one or perhaps two years before the next election. Let’s pull poker out of the hands of the OLG and the LCBO and get new rules for the AGCO to work with.