Was Greenstein Out of Line?

May 11, 2012

Poker pro Barry Greenstein urged Barack Obama via Twitter to consider the rights of poker players as passionately as he has the right to gay marriage after the president announced Wednesday that he would continue to back gay marriage in the US. Greenstein tweeted, “@barackobama admitted he things gays should have equal rights. Will he also admit poker players deserve their personal freedom?”

Known as the “Robin Hood of Poker,” 57-year-old Greenstein is a three-time WSOP bracelet winner and three-time WPT winner, who has donated every penny of his winnings to various children’s charities—a sum that totals around $8 million.

While Greenstein believes that after Black Friday, politicians are not willing to publicly back Internet poker, though things are slowing moving in the right direction since the DOJ had a change of heart regarding online poker last year. But the slow go of the federal government is no match for the faster paced state governments looking towards intrastate poker to fulfill financial needs not met by current tax revenue.

Many passionate poker players will agree with Greenstein’s comments, but Stuart Hoegner, gaming solicitor and accountant, sees the other side. PokerNewsReport reported that Hoegner said, “My problem is with the implication that the two rights are somehow equivalent. I support both rights, but they aren’t the same, nor are they equivalent. One is a fundamental issue of civil rights and human dignity.”

Hoegner finds faults in comparing a discriminating law that is based on someone’s sexual orientation with the right to play online poker, though he does give merit to the economic and personal freedom rights of an individual to log on to an online poker site and play poker.

Hoegner also points out that he doesn’t think Greenstein really thought the tweet through before he posted it. On the other hand though, it’s a social forum in which people are urged to post their opinion. It’s not meant to be taken so seriously, most of the time.


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