E-mail makes for good Q&A exchange

Jun 6, 2005 1:15 AM

Carol, here is a letter that I would love to share with the folks that read the column. It’s from Jeff — answers to his queries will follow his questions.

I’ll try not to flood you with a ton of questions, but I have many racing through my mind. My first question: What is your opinion on the whole Internet poker craze, and how do you think it will affect poker in the long run?

ANSWER: I think that the Internet is for fun, not for gambling. I will have a new online room soon and my software will be honorable — players can do anything they wish to do and I can do very little to stop them. I can kick them off the site, but they will just go to another. So you should play very, very low limit when playing online. And never ever expose yourself to a large loss on the Internet.

Second, what is your opinion of the today’s pros compared to the old days? Do you feel (as I do) that most of them have lost or don’t have any respect for the game? Which pros do you like to watch, if any?

ANSWER: Sadly, I tend to agree with you on the first count. There are still a high percentage of good kids out there, but the rotten apples — the ones that spoil the barrel — are unfortunately the ones that oftentimes you see playing poker. The youngsters of today, the whippersnappers, are bad news for poker. They have very little respect for anything, not even themselves.

I respect a lot of old time poker players, but I do not wish to name names. I created The Seniors World Championship of Poker/Poker Players Hall of Fame that lists many of them. You can download the list at my web site, www.ok-j.com.

In your opinion, how has the World Series of Poker changed over the years? It seems like the concept behind the WSOP is dead; what you have now is a lottery.

ANSWER: I am going to try to resurrect some of the tradition in my new $1 million (first place award) Oklahoma Johnny Hale Open poker tournament in April 2006 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

How hard was it (in the old days) to become a pro, compared to today, where it seems like anyone can turn pro at any given time?

ANSWER: Pro poker players — there are more of them today — are finding it easier to become a pro than in the olden days. You do not have to fade the white line (drive miles and miles to find a poker game) because games are all over the place, including your own living room via the Internet.

Do you think that TV coverage of poker has or could ruin poker?

ANSWER: There is a storm coming. Right now, there’s too much money, which can have a corrupting influence. Things are being done behind the scenes that will eventually surface and cause a lot of trouble, and the government will have to step in to help clean up the mess.

I have created something that I hope will help the situation: The stewards of poker. This body of officials will oversee tournament action and ensure the rules and conventions of poker are being followed. My tourney in Tulsa will be the first to use the stewards of poker.

The stewards will be a third force in the action, above and beyond the house and the players. Just like football, which as a commissioner who oversees the players and owners, and horse racing, whose stewards can reverse the order of finish or pull a jockey down, the stewards of poker will assure the public that everything is open and above board.

Thank you again for your time and I look forward to playing a few hands with you in the future. I might make it to Las Vegas in July.

Thanks, Jeff, for the questions,

And remember to always stay lucky.