My first experience playing poker on-line was with Pokerstars. In the beginning, I enjoyed the fun of playing with Play Money chips, and entering the small sit and go tournaments. I cashed in my fair share, won a few, and considered myself an above average poker player who was worthy of a WSOP bracelet because I’ve done it on the WSOP video game on Playstation. Ah, the power of dreaming. I’ve learned a lot since then.
A few years ago, the Poker Players Alliance announced some Freeroll tournaments on Stars, where they uploaded some cash into the tournaments. I’d never done one before, and thought “hey, this one would be fun.” The only pre-requisite was to register was I had to agree to register as a member of the PPA. I really knew nothing of the PPA at the time, and without a thought agreed so that I could play in the tournament. It was a good thing that I did, as I cashed in that tourney to the sum of sum $11 or $12, my first real money win.
The concept of real money on Pokerstars was completely foreign to me. I wasn’t even sure if playing poker on-line for cash was legal. In fact, I had an old version of Pokerstars loaded on my PC at the time, and I couldn’t even access the money for a few weeks. Finally, I contact PS support, and they had me install a new version and I played in my first cash games on-line.
Yesterday was a PPA trivia day on twitter, and the question was asked “Who holds the record for the most WSOP bracelets.” I had just dropped Jordan at the airport, and randomly checked my Blackberry and noticed the tweet. I figured (while driving, which is illegal in California now) that I’d respond back with Phil Helmuth, the appropriate answer. And later that night, I received word that I’d won the contest. The prize? A PPA T-shirt. I was stunned. I mean, I’d just won the Twitter Poker Tour contest a few weeks ago, and now a PPA T-shirt. I just couldn’t believe my luck through twitter.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the PPA and what they do, I’ve learned since my first encounter a great deal about their role and their importance to me as a poker player. The PPA’s mission statement is such:
“The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is a non-profit membership organization comprised of online and offline poker players. Our membership consists of enthusiasts from around the United States who have joined together to speak with one voice to promote the game and protect the right to play poker in all its forms.
The PPA’s mission is to establish favorable laws that provide poker players with a secure, safe and regulated place to play. Through education and awareness the PPA will keep this game of skill, one of America’s oldest recreational activities, free from egregious government intervention and misguided laws.”
I am a member of the PPA, and I am proud to call myself so. This is a link to a video that explains a little bit more about what they do, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_n_kvDX7lA
I encourage everyone to become a member of this group at http://pokerplayersalliance.org/
You can do so for free. Or you can upgrade to be a premium member for only $20. It’s worthwhile, and supports a cause that I believe in, Americans should be allowed to play poker.