Sunday, March 11, 2007

D'Amato Does Exclusive Interview with Card Player

Along with the news that former Senator Alfonse D'Amato had signed on as chairman of the Poker Players Alliance came reports that an exclusive interview with D'Amato with an unnamed media outlet would soon appear. The interview was to be D'Amato's unveiling to the organized poker world, like Cinderella being announced at the top of the ballroom steps.

If you had any doubts that the unnamed media outlet soon to unveil the D'Amato interview was any other than Card Player, well, you just haven't been paying attention. The interview is up now, should you care to visit, and it's scheduled (with added material) as Card Player's next cover story.

This is so good it should be award-winning, so let's create one: The 2007 Beachball Award for Softest Interview in a Non-Competing Category, for those instances when the normal use of the phrase "softball interview" just doesn't suffice.

Pudding, kiddies, I love it. It's not bad, or wrong, it's just vacuous. Card Player certainly has a fiduciary responsibility to the poker world, and publicizing D'Amato's new and welcome role is also certainly helpful. That said, the interview further cements the uncomfortably tight relationship between CP and the PPA itself, as noted in this lead-paragraph line from Allyn Jaffray Shulman, the interview's author:

"Shulman sits on PPA's board and was granted the first official interview with D'Amato after he took the position."

Good deed, lousy form. Despite Card Player's eminence within all of poker, the more that the PPA is viewed as a mouthpiece for Card Player, the less effective it will be at claiming any right to speak for poker as a whole. Card Player isn't doing anthing to disavow this, either.

I'd like to see the PPA succeed. Really, truly I would. But confound it, I've seen so many instances lately of ham-handed, hidebound amateurism by the organization lately that I'm beginning to think they're just never going to see the light. Maybe Senator Pothole can do some good, but I suspect he's going to have to give the PPA a crash course in how professional lobbying and public relations really works. Lobbyists pull down big bucks for what is essentially a soft science, often with little or no concrete results. It looks like D'Amato's going to be earning his money, in more ways than one.

Despite the fact that the interview is pap, it does contain one nugget. Mentioned in passing by D'Amato is that not only is the UIGEA protectionist, it is in fact discriminatory, penalizing (as an example), a handicapped person who might not have ready means to visit a casino. It's something that's occurred to me previously, as well.

I can't prove it, of course, but in the day or two prior to the time Lou and Amy asked me to appear on Hold'em Radio, I was wracking my brains trying to come up with possible interesting topics to discuss. This is something that occurred to me then, having just prior to that stumbled across a forum poster of one such handicapped player bemoaning that very fact.

I'd make a lousy cause celebre, but a handicapped poker player denied one of his few recreational outlets would play to the crowds a whole lot better. It would be terribly dirty pool to suggest anything as crass as putting a quadriplegic poker player in front of a computer, pencil strapped to the poor guy's head allowing him to play, but then again, it was equally crass for a Senator Frist to boogie on down to the Katrina aftermath, posing in front of carnage withe admonition to his cameraman to "Get some destruction in the back." (I'm not sure of the exact quote, but he said something to that point.)

So maybe D'Amato has some dirty pool in mind. If so, good for him. The other side did it first, and this is one battle the poker world won't win by making nice. It needs to fight fire with fire.

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