Poker Stars is Promoting Online Gambling Laws in American Canyon

Napa Valley Casino, American Canyon was filled with 100 participants at a poker tournament, among the participants were poker super stars, Daniel Negreanu and Chris Moneymaker who mingled with the locals at the same time doing what they love doing, playing poker.

Mr Negreanu, is a two time World Poker Tour Champion with winnings that total over $30 million his resume includes poker bracelets of six World Series of Poker. Mr Moneymaker is well known for his 2003 World Series of Poker Victory in the main event, at this event he turned a $40 buy-in into $2.5 million after he qualified for the main event on an online entry, he proved that an amateur could take on the professionals and win big, this ignited an interest in online poke across the country.

The online format that Mr Moneymaker made use of to rise to fame has since 2011 been unauthorised in California, when there was a crackdown on online gambling. Since then Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legislated that online gambling is now allowed, but California has yet to introduce law allowing online gambling into its books, despite many efforts by legislators to change things. Last year California came close to passing into law but it fizzled out by seasons end.

Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer introduced the AB167 bill which was named the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act, of 2015, for the authorization and regulation of online gambling. This legislation could create a process for licensing for online gambling outlets which will ensure players protection.

Mr. Negreanu and Mr. Moneymaker were in American Canyon as a part of the PokerStars’ Let California Play pro tour, this is a campaign for creating awareness of the Responsible iPoker, this is a grassroots coalition that is seeking regulation and authorization of online gambling in the Californian state.

Lee Jones, Director of poker communications at PokerStars, said that players deserve to enjoy playing poker in the comfort of their homes, he continued, that until online poker is regulated in California, players who enjoy gambling online will continue to play at unauthorised poker sites, placing them at risk. Players should be able to play in confidence knowing that their financial information is protected and that they will be paid their winnings.

Mr Jones hopes that the PokerStars’ Let California Play pro tour would inspire all levels of poker players to reach out to legislators in their states to ask for online gambling laws to be regulated.

Mr Jones said that poker players need to ensure that their voices are heard, that they want to play poker online legally, in order to do that, players need to get in contact with their lawmakers and tell them that this is important to them.

Some of the arguments from opponents, is that online gambling will take business away from the bricks and mortar card houses and casinos, however, Napa Valley Casino’s owner Brian Altizer, sees legalization of online poker as a bonus for their business.

Mr Altizer said that it could be intimidating for people to sit in a card room with a bunch of strangers, he also said that for people to learn about poker and also learn ho to play and strategies to improve their game, online poker is a great way to do it. Learning online gives people more confidence to take time for practice, as they feel comfortable, with not having to face other people, being comfortable in your home, even in your pyjamas, helps people gain confidence and if they want to go to a bricks and mortar casino, they will feel more comfortable to face people when they know they can play the game with confidence.

Both SuperStars met with fans to sign autographs and pose for photos prior to the start of the tournament, both agreed that there were good benefits of online poker for players who want to improve their game.

Mr. Moneymaker says that he practices 10 to 15 hours a week to improve his game, that the game is continually evolving and changing so its necessary to keep practising, he said that layers need to remain sharp at all times. Even pros continually practice to keep their game sharp.

Mr. Negreanu encouraged the amateur poker players to watch as many poker shows as they can online or TV, and listen to the commentary while studying the game as well as practising. To be a better player requires practice and to be focused on the game. Just like an athlete you need to train he said, learn to develop strategies, get to know your weaknesses, develop your skills before going into the high stakes games.

The two stars rotated tables to give each player a chance to play against the professionals Mr. Moneymaker and Mr. Negreanu changed game tables through the day, they chatted with fans while they played.

An American Canyon resident, Dean Curnen, was too late to sign up in time before the tournament stated, however, he attended the event to support a friend who got in on time. He expressed amazement to see amateur players playing with the professionals, he said it was unbelievable and that it could be the biggest thing to have happened in American Canyon. He expressed great excitement to see Mr. Negreanu said that he loved watching him play, was impressed what a ‘cool guy’ he was.

Saturday’s buy-in for the tournament was $335 and $300 went into the prize pot with the remaining $35 being donated to charity, the two charities chosen was Boys and Girls Club of American Canyon and Wounded Warriors. PokerStart pledged that a minimum of $1000 would be donated or the combined winnings of Mr Negreanu and Moneymaker to Boys and Girls Club.