After sitting by and watching poker explode worldwide in the last 2 years, it has been saddening to see the inactivity of our local government when it comes to capitalising on this issue. I have decided to start a poker players association to help the people of Canberra who want to play, play locally instead of over the border.
Since 2005 I have travelled to Sydney and Melbourne regularly to play No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em for cash and prizes and yet if I want to do it in Canberra I can only pay the massive fee’s at Canberra Casino for one tounament per week or $200 minimum cash games on Wed-Sun. The casino is the only premisis within the ACT to hold a Texas Hold ‘Em poker licence and to play anywhere else is considered a crime as local legislation classes Texas Hold Em as an illegal game. Even if I have more than 9 people playing in my living room for $1 each, I am still committing a criminal offence.
NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, TAS and NT all have seperate rules when it comes to poker, but they all still permit the playing of “Pub Poker” or variants thereof. Essentially, a company runs games in hotels and clubs for prizes or cash and said company recieves payment on a per player basis from the club for the increse in patronage. NSW currently has a pretty open legislation allowing for cash games to be played for any amount, just about anywhere. The ACT has taken a vastly different approach and outlawed Texas Hold ‘Em and all its variants territory wide, leaving us with little option other than to play in Queanbeyan. What frustrates me and many poker players I know is that by travelling half an hour over the border, we can do as we please, play for a million dollars if we wanted to and then come back to Canberra. The easy solution is to say that that’s fine and carry on crossing the border, but what about the profits we leave over there?
Poker players like to gamble, like to drink and like to eat dinner which is what we’re doing in NSW and these club profits go to community groups and charities in NSW, yet the ACT misses out. If clubs weren’t interested, then fine, but from my own research just about every club in Canberra wants pub poker available to their members as it’s a new form of entertainment available to them. The ACT Government has never budged on this issue and I think that all local players need to take a stand. No-one is willing to listen yet, but with the numbers that I’ve seen playing cards in this town, we have enough people to at least get some answers.
I will be setting up an email soon and for those interested in getting involved, please leave your email in the comments section below and I ill be in contact shortly.