I have never regarded myself as the best “anything” in the world, but I guess that is where I differ from Texas congressman Joe Barton. The lifelong card player and lover of both play money and real money poker recently introduced a US online poker bill that proposes nationwide legislation. HR 2666 is titled the Internet Poker Freedom Act, and was created by Barton to offer a safe and consistent US online poker experience for all 50 states. It is similar in some ways to Congressman Peter King’s (R-NY) recently introduced US internet gambling bill, but Barton actually owns a poker pedigree.
The respected congressman from the Lone Star State addressed his fellow legislators when he presented the bill last Thursday, describing his poker upbringing. Starting at a very young age in the Boy Scouts of all places, Barton learned that not all poker players are trustworthy. He supplied an example of being cheated in his first ever poker experience as a Boy Scout to illustrate the need for regulation on a federal level to protect US poker playing citizens from predatory and regulation-free offshore poker providers.
He also openly discussed his personal habits when playing poker for real money, such as his tightfisted entry into no limit poker games with just a small $100 or $200 buy-in. Barton made a comical reference during his bill presentation to his self-appointed title of “best play money poker player in the world”, referencing his multiple PokerStars play money accounts which total more than $10 million in fake money. The Texas congressman also proclaimed his abilities as a profitable poker player when playing for real money.
Mentioning that he consistently leaves Las Vegas with more money than he arrived with, Barton expressed his belief that poker is a game of skill and talent. Upon news that this new US poker bill had been submitted, the not-for-profit Poker Players Alliance (PPA) immediately came forward with their support and praise for not only the bill which they say is based in common sense, but also for Mr. Barton himself. John Pappas is the executive director of PPA, and he applauded Barton’s honest and detailed description of his own real money poker experience.
Pappas went on to express the PPA’s joy at Barton’s support as not just a politician, but also a knowledgeable poker player. In his presentation of the federal poker bill to his fellow congressmen, Joe Barton admitted that the legislation was constructed so it would appeal to the greatest number of legislators. A central point and hot topic regarding this prospective new legislation involves credit card account funding. Using credit cards for deposit methods when opening online poker accounts provides the most protection for the consumer according to the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Association (SSIGI), and credit card funding is addressed in HR 2666.