The relationship between online poker players and bricks and mortar poker players is often times a complicated one. While some professional players have embraced the online game in both advertising and by playing on the sites themselves, some have yet to give online players legitimacy. Following last Friday’s online poker indictments, many professionals took the opportunity to bash online players on Twitter.
Greg Raymer is no such opportunistic basher. Last night he appeared on the Fox Business channel to discuss Friday’s online poker indictments and defended the online poker community.
Raymer, of course, is the 2004 World Series of Poker Champion. A former patent attorney, Raymer is credited by some with re-igniting the poker craze in America with his unlikely win in 2004. After winning the WSOP Main Event in 2004, Raymer finished 25th in 2005. When you consider that the 2005 WSOP Main Event had 5,619 participants, its easy to see why some herald this two year run as one of the great achievements in poker.
Up until very recently, Raymer was a member of Team PokerStars Pro. Raymer and PokertStars parted ways due to a contract dispute, way before Friday’s indictments.
On Fox Business, Raymer spoke briefly about Friday’s incidents. On the program he said that he doesn’t think online poker is illegal under federal laws, or even New York state laws where the charges were filed for that matter.
Raymer discusses why poker should fall into the “skill game” category like a golf or tennis tourney instead of the “gambling” category like slots or roulette. He states that online poker has no victims, but with Friday’s actions poker players are now the victims.
Raymer also feels that the federal government has so much invested in online poker investigations that they needed something to show for it:
“It’s really just a money grab I think. I would estimate the Department of Justice and the FBI has literally put tens of thousands of man hours and therefore millions of dollars into their investigation leading up to this indictment. They could have spent all that time and money getting people who are actually doing evil in the world.”
Yesterday, we told you about ESPN pulling certain poker advertising and programming. Based on tweets from an ESPN poker editor, we suspected that the WSOP was safe from this content pull. Bloomberg has confirmed via ESPN spokesman email that the network will air the WSOP starting in July.