Robbie Strazynski wrote this article where he vilifies
Olivier Busquet & Dan Coleman Pokerstars / EPT for wearing allowing “Save Gaza” & “Free Palestine” T-shirts to be worn by players during a televised EPT high roller. Check out the image PokerListings snapped:
BOOM BITCHES! RIGHT IN YOUR JEW FACES POKERSTARS!
Now, this could be a reaction to this:
where we once again have DN shooting his mouth off in his classic “I am smart. I have an opinion!” sort of way. Standard parrot of everything pro-Israel he was watching on the traditional media. Fair enough, the guy is a bit simple but hey, 300k+ twitter followers can’t be wrong – he’s a strong voice in poker. I think LivB and the newly minted “Silent But Deadly” Daniel Coleman think as I do, that Gaza is an atrocity and they wanted to voice as strong counter-point to DN.
Anyway so Robbie really didn’t like to see these brash pro-Gaza shirts:
And mentioned an exchange we had on the FaceSpace, where I pointed out that Religion and Politics are a big part of life, and life is often discussed at the poker table. There has been a long standing unwritten rule in poker that you don’t discuss religion or politics at the table. Like many long standing rules, this is a bad one. If you are going to make this rule, then let’s also group the blatant misogyny in there too, because if it makes me feel uncomfortable, imagine what it does to the women that play. The point is some guys are assholes, some are idiots, and they are all going to blast their mouth off at the poker table. There is no real civility to be expected in everyday poker table talk. Some are speaking solely to agitate you – how could topics be off limits? What will the rules be to enforce them? TDA rule on politics? How many times can you say “Obama” before it’s a 1-rounder? What if you just ordered “ice” and they thought you said “ISIS?”
I understand televised poker tournaments are different than your average $1-$2 NL cash game. Each promoter of said events can have their own rules regarding clothing, political statements on clothing, topics of discussion at the poker table, and every other aspect of player conduct. The NFL, NBA, and PGA are really poor models to follow in poker, because most poker is not televised. For the few prestigious events that are televised, players who have no sponsor like LivB & DCole are playing strictly for themselves. They have no affiliation to any brand or company to uphold, unlike the traditional professional sports. If a flag is OK, then do you allow the Palestinian flag even though they are not widely recognized and are only 141 square miles and basically totally dominated by Israel who controls their air, sea, 3/4 ground borders, & their power grid? What about the ISIS flag? Surely not that flag. North Korea? Slippery damn slope. Whoever is running the televised event makes the rules. Pokerstars decided these types of polarizing messages on shirts are -EV, so they banned them now:
Meh. Sure. Whatever. It’s their series, their call. Calling for a uniform rule? Meh, Whatever, maybe every venue and series will listen, maybe they won’t. Don’t really care. I think in general, humans should talk to each other about their world viewpoints. I think it helps us learn about each other, maybe question ourselves a little. I had a great conversation with Eli Elezra at Bellagio about a week ago, where he commented that we shouldn’t ever talk politics after reading my twitter feed. I said I thought just the opposite, I’d like to go to dinner and discuss anytime. We traded 10 minutes of civil discussion on the matter, and while I don’t think we are solving world issues, I think having civil conversations about it helps both sides to understand why the other feels so strongly. To make social constructs restricting this type of information exchange to me seems to the detriment of all. We are adults playing a slow gambling game that takes days to complete where they liberally serve alcohol – seems like a proper setting for politics and religion to be discussed. Headphones always and option.