The great thing about America is that a guy like me can follow his dreams and do what he loves to do and still support his family.
I play poker for a living. Poker is not for everybody. Some people have the skill and the mathematical ability to be great at poker, and some people do not.
I got my big break winning an online poker tournament, which gave me the chance to go to Las Vegas and compete in the World Series of Poker. I was able to win that tournament and the rest, as they say, is history.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw that the United States Congress decided to make it more difficult for people to play poker online. In 2006, the Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a law that tries to stop Americans from playing poker for money and has the effect of keeping American companies from owning Internet gaming Web sites.
That’s a stupid law, I thought. Online poker is not going away. Millions of people play online poker all over the world, especially in America. Why penalize Americans and leave open the market to companies from other countries?
When it comes to politics, I am a libertarian. I believe that giving people the freedom to do what they want to do to achieve their version of the American dream is what this great country is all about.
I am also a patriot. I love this country, because it truly does serve as a beacon for freedom for the rest of the world.
That is why I am so angry at those members of Congress who have tried to take my version of the American dream away from me. Taking freedom away is not what America is all about.
Poker is an intrinsic part of America’s soul. Poker is an American game. Poker was a vital part of the American frontier. Harry Truman was playing poker in the Speaker’s office of the United States Congress when his boss Franklin Roosevelt died, and he became President.
It’s no secret that current members of Congress play poker, our president is a poker player, and that there is a regular poker game that includes Supreme Court justices. Isn’t it hypocritical for some of these politicians to try to ban poker playing for those of us who play poker online?
Some say that we should be concerned about kids playing poker online, and I agree. But the answer is to regulate online poker, not ban it for everyone. Regulation is the only realistic way to protect our kids.
I love America. And I love to play poker. It is my version of the American dream. I have a simple message to Congress. Keep your hands off of my poker hand. Repeal the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, license and regulate online poker, and stand up for freedom in this country.
Greg Raymer is a professional poker player. He is best known for winning the 2004 World Series of Poker main event.