Would you, right now, play at the Venetian in Las Vegas?
This is a question that many poker players are asking themselves as the Venetian is run by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and its CEO is, of course, Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire funding the opposition to online poker and mass spender of cash to try and limit American liberty.
This past week, the Venetian’s 2014 Deep Stack Extravaganza $5K tournament (with a $1M prizepool guarantee) played down to a final table with some notable names in contention for the $377K first place prize.
Paul Volpe, Kevin MacPhee, “Action” Jeff Garza and Justin Young all found themselves in the top 7. As they got ready to play down to an eventual winner though, pro poker player Corey Burbick, who also plays at the Venetian, noticed something a little funny…a couple of these well-known players were, not too long ago, outspoken advocates of NOT playing at the Venetian – on moral grounds.
Check out this statement from Paul Volpe on Jun 2nd:
39 Retweets, 74 Favorites.
Then Kevin MacPhee, in reply to a Burbick tweet:
He “can’t believe” it.
Volpe went on to win $125,248, while MacPhee pocketed $56,619 – both healthy scores so congrats to them. And congrats to the Venetian. Congrats to Sheldon Adelson. While Volpe and MacPhee are just being singled out in this instance they were just two of the 367 players that plopped down $5K to play. When you think about it though, it’s a good tournament, yea? The juice on it wasn’t even that bad, right? $165 per person. So that’s really only just over $60,000 for the one tournament.
While that looks like a lot that can’t mean that much. After all poker players helped the Venetian to collect over $750,000 in rake just this summer so the $60K is less than 10% of that, so it’s not even that big a deal.
Seriously, let’s get real. What difference does the rake from one person mean anyway? Sure, people say you vote with your wallet, but when you think about it what does a vote matter? There were over 129M votes in the last US Presidential election, so really, vote or don’t vote – who cares? Your vote doesn’t even count.
One person in that last election hardly mattered. In fact, with over 7.1 billion people it’s hard to think that one person matters in just about any instance, much less poker or online poker or whether this old guy with his billions wants to tell you how you are legally allowed to spend your discretionary income as an adult. There really nothing you can do about it because really, one person doesn’t even matter – not you, not Sheldon, no one.
You don’t matter.
The only thing is…and, it’s pretty much the exception so don’t put too much stock in this (as we’ve established that statistically you basically don’t matter at all) in any given instance, in practice – you do matter.
Basically, statistically – and in poker we’re all about math – maybe the $750K in rake that the Venetian collected from its Deep Stack series (and any one individuals participation) doesn’t make a dent in this war on your freedom, which is still very much in the air, it is, historically, individuals that make change happen.
Adelson is an individual, he’s a rich son-of-a-b too, and he’s not wavering in his convictions ( just yet). He’s doing whatever he has to, spending whatever he has to, to try to keep you from playing a sit-n-go in your pajamas on Sunday.
Why wouldn’t he? Nearly 12,000 runners walked though his doors this summer and helped him pay for his fight.
He’s unapologetic, he’s ruthless and if you think that things have “gone too far” to turn back around – just remember UIGEA and Black Friday. It’s never too far.
He even went so far as to ban PokerNews from the Venetian from its own sponsored event during the summer. For him, everything counts.
So, while he’s one individual on one side, there needs to be an individual on the other. This is you. You have to do only one thing to make a difference: Not play at the Venetian. Don’t give them your money, your time, your attention, your loyalty as – while it’s not the dealers, floormen or cage workers fault – those in charge of the Venetian have no loyalty to you. Just don’t be lured in and don’t be swayed by the argument that you don’t matter.
While the numbers indicate that it may not be true, people make a difference and if you care about online poker, but for more importantly – if you care that a man, who has more money than you is trying to tell you how to live your life, what is good for you, impress his code of conduct and what’s best for him onto you – like he knows better than you, like he’s smarter than you, like he has more morals than you do – just don’t play there. Don’t do it. Soft field? Don’t do it. Big guarantee? Don’t do it. Super deep stack? Don’t. Do. It. Don’t play at the Venetian.
Ladies and gentlemen, you fucking matter. Boycott the Venetian.