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Does poker need its own referees?

May 27, 2003 3:51 AM

They asked Willie Sutton, the notorious bank robber, why he robbed banks. His simple reply was, "Because that’s where the money is."

About three years ago, there were five bank robberies in Las Vegas in one day. Yes, Carol, that’s right ”” five banks were held up in one day in our home town.

Now, Carol, don’t get me wrong, you know that I love poker players, poker and poker tournaments, and that I would rather trust a poker player than a doctor, lawyer, accountant, preacher, teacher, president of the United States or an Indian chief.

Unless, they too play poker, then we can double trust them.

I think poker is one of the most honorable games and most of the time it is played by honorable and trustworthy people.

I have tried all my poker life to assure my friends that if I am in the game, they can relax, play and enjoy themselves.

But, Carol, I honestly believe that more money has been stolen from poker players in poker games and in poker tournaments than has ever been stolen from banks.

As Willie Sutton said, "That’s were the money is."

And, yes, just like Ann Frank said in her diary, "I believe, in spite of all that has happened to me, that people are basically good."

I, too, believe that poker players are by nature the best and most trustworthy of all people.

So, let’s fix the problems, let’s clean up the sport that we all love so much.

We, the poker players, can do it. It’s doable.

I have many suggestions and corrections that I think would be helpful. But today, I want to advance just one idea.

Poker and poker tournaments need a third force. Call them anything you want, but we need a poker police force.

I would like to call them the Stewards of Poker.

The stewards would not be employed by the house. The stewards would not be players in the game. The stewards would be an independent third force.

Just like in most other sporting events you have the players and the owners (or the house), there are the referees or judges, who cause the players to follow the rules.

So poker needs the Stewards of Poker to be the third force in poker, to oversee, monitor and enforce all the rules of playing poker contained in a common rule book.

Poker is evolving and is being played around the world in hundreds of poker rooms, casinos and Internet sites, and there are several million dollar poker tournaments and TV events every year.

These events cry out for corporate sponsorship, but most of the corporate world is afraid of poker and poker tournaments.

How would you like to see an instant replay of a Steward’s decision about a certain play during a TV show or a large poker tournament?

The tournament director, host or the house should never be called upon to make a decision about the rules of the game.

Let the Stewards of Poker take charge of the poker game and handle that aspect of the game.

To fund something like this, I am sure that poker players would support a small percentage taken out of the player’s prize pool so that the stewards could be paid by the event.

I am sure that the house would like not having to rule against a high roller in a difference of interpretation of the rules of the poker game.

Many large hotels and casinos do not have poker rooms because they have the business of a high roller because of an unpleasant incident or decision that was made in the poker room.

The hotel and casinos would welcome and independent third force that would be totally impartial in making poker rulings.

There’s an old saying that it’s okay to trust other poker players, but always be sure to cut the cards before they’re dealt.

As Webster is to dictionaries, so is the book of Hoyle to poker. Read and know the rules of the game, and to make sure that the game is played according to Hoyle, help become a part of the third force and together let’s try to create the Stewards of Poker. Then you will have a better and/or fair chance to take the money home!