Archive for Jeffrey Pollack

Frank Visits WSOP, Discusses Legislation Drive

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2009 by mikewebb82

American political heavyweights are becoming familiar faces at the World Series of Poker. In 2008, former New York Senator and current PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato visited the WSOP with online poker supporter Rep. Robert Wexler.

The 2009 Series saw Rep. Shelley Berkley accompany D’Amato for his second annual trip to the Rio. But on July 5, poker’s staunchest supporter in Congress, Rep. Barney Frank, took time out of his busy schedule as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee to become more familiar with the WSOP with a first-hand perspective.

After being escorted to the Amazon Room at the Rio in Las Vegas just before noon by WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, Frank was introduced to the room full of poker players and fans. He spoke to the crowd with enthusiasm about current poker legislation and the importance of people getting involved by contacting their representatives in Congress to demand action on the issue of online poker. He then issued the “shuffle up and deal” command, toured the Rio Convention Center, and proceeded to hold a scheduled press conference early afternoon.

Frank was one of the many in the Congress appalled by the passage of the UIGEA in 2006 and almost immediately went to work on legislation to repeal the law. While his first attempt was unsuccessful due to the Republican-controlled Congress and promise of the Bush Administration to veto any such efforts, Frank continued to pursue change and introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection & Enforcement Act of 2009. In addition, he added a second piece of legislation to delay enforcement of the UIGEA until December 2010, and Rep. Jim McDermott followed up with a companion bill to add taxation to the legalization and regulation of internet gaming.

The current status of the bills is that they are awaiting committee hearings, which were recently pushed back to September due to financial regulatory priorities ordered to the top of the hearing schedule by the Obama Administration. Frank discussed the process and his own ideas with regard to the forward movement of the legislation at the July 5 press conference.

“I plan to move this bill,” he said. “As Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, I am now pretty vigilant to adopt a set of rules that will keep us from getting in trouble again… The committee could be done with that by September, so it is my intention this fall to bring up, in the committee, the bills I’m sponsoring, one to suspend the [UIGEA] regulations, the other to repeal the whole ban and substitute a sensible regulatory scheme. I think they’re going to pass.”

Frank did add that although he hopes to get both of his bills passed right away, he is aware of the potential obstacles and understands the need for priorities. If it looks as if the repeal effort will be delayed whatsoever, he will work on “getting the regulations suspended while we work on the other bill.”

During the waiting period for committee hearings, Frank hopes to obtain as many co-sponsors for the bill as necessary. With Ron Paul as the bill’s primary co-sponsor and the number of supporters growing consistently, one name was floated as to her support, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Frank responded that he hadn’t spoken to her about it as of yet, but noted, “I would be surprised if she wasn’t supportive.”

On another topic, a member of the press asked Frank about the recent seizure of online poker funds by the Southern District of New York’s assistant U.S. attorney. Specifically, in response to the notion that the Obama Administration ordered the actions, he responded, “I hope the Obama Administration and Justice Department wouldn’t be part of it. I’m pretty sure that’s the case… But the bottom line is that you can’t have the Justice Department order a subordinate to overlook things. I do intend to pursue with them clarification of what the policy is here.”

Frank’s visit to the World Series of Poker indicated, as does his movement on pro-gaming legislation, that his pursuit of change to the current law is serious and without reservation. 

His commitment to the passage of his bills to regulate online gaming in order to keep it safe and legal is a priority as a powerful member of Congress, and his advocacy on the issue will continue.

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WSOP: Players Shut Out of Main Event Day 1d

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2009 by mikewebb82

Approximately 500 players arrived at the Rio today with USD 10,000 in their pocket and the dream of winning untold millions and fame as

WSOP 09

WSOP 09

2009’s World Champion. But their dreams were shattered at the cashier’s cage, when they were told that the World Series of Poker Main Event had sold out.

Day 1d of the Main Event had reached capacity with every available table being used in the Amazon, Brasilia and Miranda rooms. There were even 13 tables set up all the way back towards the casino in the area by Buzio’s Seafood restaurant.

At the beginning of Level 1 a semi-angry mob assembled outside the 7 Star & Diamond registration office. A line of nearly 100 people snaked around a hallway at the general registration office. Notable pros, amateurs and every type of player in between started to gather. It seemed that Mickey Appleman, Minh Ly and Capt. Tom Franklin would be shut out of the biggest tournament of the year.

Tension in the hallway grew as one player said, “I have USD 10,000 that I won in satellite chips that are now completely useless. Is the WSOP going to give me a refund?”

Josh Sorenson, an amateur, said, “I don’t understand why there is no communication between the players and WSOP staff. We’re not being told anything, apart from the message that tournament is closed.” He continued, “Sometimes we need a gray area in life. Nothing is ever simply black and white.”

As players gathered and griped, somehow Mike Sexton found his way into the middle of the group. Several members of the shutout group asked Sexton if he would talk to WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack or WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel. Having already played on Day 1a, Sexton was a reluctant spokesperson, but he held true to his “Ambassador of Poker” title and agreed to speak for the crowd.

At issue was the fact that players believed that 3,000 entrants had been advertised for Day 1d to play.  Sexton invited Franklin to accompany him to meet with Effel. The three found a quiet spot near the feature table to discuss the matter. With a large crowd of disgruntled players building by the rail, the three moved into a back hallway for privacy.

After about 30 minutes Sexton and Franklin emerged and told the growing group that Pollack had agreed to meet them. All concerned players who were shutout were to go to the Pavillion in the Rio, and Pollack had a prepared statement.

About 100, mostly angry, players gathered to see if their Main Event dreams would come true. Pollack and the senior staff of the WSOP all gathered for the explanation.

Pollack opened his statement, “We are sorry, I am sorry. The last thing we wanted to do is deny entry to any player for the Main Event. But we are unable to accommodate any more people.”

“We pledge this won’t happen again and will be the first topic we discuss for next year. This is the biggest challenge we have faced in four years,” he continued.

The crowd was clearly displeased with Pollack’s statements. One requested if they could start at midnight and play all night to join Day 2a. Another asked why they couldn’t be accommodated and play ten-handed at some tables or allow alternates.

Pollack said, “We have not had alternates for the 56 previous events and the first three days of the Main Event and we’re not going to start now. We’ve had sellouts already this series.”

The hostile crowd grew louder as each player wanted Pollack to hear their complaints. Melissa Hayden grew impatient with the crowd and urged them to quiet down and speak gentlemanly to Pollack.

Pollack dismissed the rumor that two very high profile players were allowed entry after registration had been closed. He furthered his point saying,”The decision has been made. Operationally, we cannot accommodate any more players.”

Pollack answered questions for several minutes and the crowd seemed unwilling to accept anything he had to say. Pollack stepped away from the podium and exited the room. One very angry Australian player shouted “Shameful!” as Pollack left.

The players who were officially told they would not be able to play lingered upset. None of them appeared to be happy with the explanation. The previously mentioned Aussie even suggested that they could sue the WSOP.