Republican Congressman Joe Barton has long been a champion for legalized online poker in the US. And any time a Congressional legislator tries to convince other congressmen and women to share his viewpoints, he knows he must be on the top of his game verbally. He is speaking to people who make a living by trying to garner support for their own ideas, so they understand wholeheartedly that they are being “pitched” to. So recently when Barton gave a keynote speech to the rest of Congress, he expressed his positive feelings for online poker by changing tactics, and giving his fellow lawmakers a personal history lesson.
Bearing the self-administered title of “best play money poker player” in the world, Barton began his speech by detailing his first poker experience. When he was in the Boy Scouts, senior scouts prodded him and other younger Scouts to play poker for “nickels and dimes.” He trusted fellow scouts to be honest and forthright, but that proved his undoing. He found out later that they were literally stacking the deck, and the first time he ever played in that situation he lost what to him at the time was a substantial $1.50 out of a $1.75 stack. He said he immediately became hooked on the game, obviously searching for more honest competition.
During the enjoyable and sometimes comical speech, Congressman Barton expressed his belief that he is probably the best online poker player for fake money on the planet. He openly admitted to having multiple PokerStars accounts with a cumulative total of “about 10 million play dollars” combined in them. He admits that while he has never played for actual money online, he still totally supports online poker as an option for responsible adults in the United States. Barton went on to state that when he wants to play poker for money, he travels to Oklahoma or Louisiana where he can play legally.
The silver haired Congressman also mentioned that he enjoys flying to Tunica, Mississippi or Las Vegas, Nevada to play poker as well. The bespectacled Barton says that he prefers smaller sized poker games, such as $4/$8, $5/$10, $6/$12 limit poker, and that when he does decide to play no limit poker it is only with a $100 or $200 buy-in. He also proclaimed that he knows he is a winning poker player, since he shares his profits with his wife. He accepts 100% of the losses and hands her half of his winnings, and bragged about consistently heading to Vegas with $500 and returning with “$800 or something like that.”
Having such an open and honest proponent for online poker in the United States as the respected and admired Texas Congressman Barton is nice indeed. Having him refer to poker as an “All-American game” that requires strategy and skill is also positive, since the man plays real money poker himself. Barton also just happens to be the originator of a federal online poker bill which would legalize the game across all 50 states. He also described poker players as “being American as mom and apple pie,” and here is hoping Barton can get the rest of Congress to buy into online poker legalization in the US.