Casinos hold power in policing poker games

Oct 21, 2008 5:01 PM

Back in the Saddle by Johnny Hale |

Carol, I just celebrated my 81st birthday and blew out every candle on the cake!

I have lived a long life and played a lot of poker hands.

Yes, I still play poker tournaments and do not wish to get even!

I know that the world is full of good people and some exceptional poker players. Regrettably there are some very bad folks that try to mess up our world.

Now I am not a preacher, nor lawyer and do not want the poker police to help us clean up the sport. We must do it ourselves.

The abuse of using F-bombs and other guttural expletives has to be stopped. If not we will lose all the respectability that we have fought for over the last 50 years in bringing the sport up from the back of the pool halls and illegal mafia controlled games.

Mike Sexton told me, "Johnny, you and the other old-timers set the table for us!"

Between us, I am happy to have been there and done that. However, I hate to see a few rotten apples ruin the whole barrel!

We now enjoy watching poker being played on our television sets in our front rooms. I think that there are some well meaning folks, who have tried to recreate the old Poker Players Association. I have supported their efforts in my writing and in person.

However, the PPA is powerless to administer any rules, except for the power of suggestion. The casinos hold the power and will make the rules of poker!

The selective enforcement of the PPA rules and the casino poker room rules is regrettable. It’s simply unfair to all of the poker players not in the elite classification.

Here’s a WSOP story from a few years ago. It’s the third day of the event and I am in good shape. Then I make a big bet against a good friend of mine! Three of the elite poker players got up from the table and begin to discuss the hand while the bet is being considered.

They talked loud enough so that I could hear them discuss what cards were thrown away, if the player should call and what they would do in the situation. My friend did not call. The dealer correctly asked the director to come over and correct the elite players.

All the director said was, "no harm, you won the pot!" Of course I did not get the highest action had the three elite players conducted themselves in accordance with the rules. At the bubble time late on the third day, I made an all-in play and got called.

Another player in the big blind covered his and I did not see that he still had a hand. I made the mistake of turning my hand up to soon. But the mistake could only hurt me since I was all in!

I won the pot and begin to sing "Back in the Saddle Again." This same director came over and said rudely, "I am going to kick you out of your saddle for 15 minutes!"

After 15 minutes away from the table, I was upset, could not recover my image and lost all my chips.

This director was one on the boys in the tux playing footsy with the elite poker players! Now this next story goes back about 30 years when I was one of the founding directors of the original PPA.

We tried to negotiate a deal with the casinos for their poker tournaments to abide with the rules of the original PPA! The Binion’s Horseshoe WSOP said no to everything. They took the position that the PPA was a union and they did not want to deal with a union. That was the end of the original PPA.

OK-J Tip of the Week

When becoming parents of children, we must realize that person will become citizen of the world.

Many of our children will go on to become poker players so we must be responsible in making them both honest and acceptable in polite society when they play poker.

Until next time remember to Stay Lucky!