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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Linda Johnson Among Poker Pros Heading to Washington, D.C.

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The number of professional poker players scheduled to join the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) in Washington, D.C. during National Poker Week continues to grow, but it is the select group that continues to stand up for poker players’ rights that will most certainly be in the U.S. Capital to speak to the issue of poker as a game of skill and its need to be legalized in America. Pros like Linda Johnson and Andy Bloch have already booked their trips and are anxious to garner support in Congress for the cause.

It was announced on June 22 at a press conference during the WSOP that the PPA declared National Poker Week to take place July 19-25. Along with a push to fill a poker petition with signatures to be delivered to President Obama during that week, the poker community has been asked to take the time to contact their members of Congress by all means available - phone, e-mail, etc. - to let them know of the vast support for the legalization of online poker. At the same time, the PPA announced that a group of individuals, including poker pros and approximately 35 PPA state directors, would descend upon Washington, D.C. on January 20 to host various activities in order to grab the attention of members of Congress, including lobbying many Representatives to ask for their support and co-sponsorship of Rep. Barney Frank’s recently-introduced legislation.

Linda Johnson is one of the poker pros headed to the U.S. Capital in a few days, and she wrote in her blog that Bloch will be joining her, as well as Annie Duke, Greg Raymer, Howard Lederer, Dennis Phillips, and Jan Fisher. In addition to meeting with members of the House of Representatives and Senators, they will be hosting a panel for any interested Congressional staffers for discussing the need for Frank’s legislation. All of this will be topped off by a Tuesday charity poker tournament, which will welcome members of Congress and PPA members to benefit the USO and Malone House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

While poker has been Johnson’s career for many years, she noted that there are many reasons for her staunch support of pro-poker legislation. For example, recalling the words she spoke at the June 22 PPA press conference, “I spoke about an elderly friend of mine who is going through very tough chemotherapy whose enjoyment in life right now comes from playing online poker. I spoke about the fact that there are many handicapped and disable citizens who can’t travel to card rooms, but can have fun playing poker in their own homes.”

For Linda, the issue is personal, as it is for many of the poker pros and PPA members who will travel to Washington D.C. for National Poker Week. But there are bigger principles at stake, such as the freedom to make personal decisions to play poker online in the privacy of one’s home without government interference. This is why some of the most influential people in the game of professional poker are taking time from their schedules just one week after the hectic close of the World Series of Poker to seek support for the cause from members of Congress.

For those not making the trip to D.C., there are many ways to get involved. First, poker enthusiasts and supporters can sign the poker petition (www.pokerpetition.com) that will be delivered to President Obama. Second, players can submit their own videos describing their support for the game at the My Poker Story website. And lastly, everyone is encouraged to write to their Congresspeople to encourage support of Frank’s legislation, which anyone can do in only minutes via the PPA website.

As Johnson concluded in her blog, “Let’s all get involved to protect this game we love!”

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