The biggest draw to Poker is without a doubt the money. That’s not what’s so special about the Poker community however. What is special, is how much money and resources the community gives back to the world. Last Saturday, May 14th, Pokerstars along with Jason Somerville hosted an amazing “onlive” poker event for Autism Speaks.
The event was hosted at Resorts Atlantic City as a way of promoting the Pokerstars New Jersey client and to bring the players together for a greater cause.
Run it up Resorts came with a loaded day of activities ranging from two tournaments, Q&A’s and of course the awareness on Autism. Players got to rumble with some of the biggest names in Poker like Chris Moneymaker, Jason Somerville, Barry Greenstein, Liv Boeree, Vanessa Selbst, and the chess champion Jennifer Shahade.
Let me tell you…….The trip from the Bronx that early in the morning was well worth it. None of my friends were able to make it, so I embarked on this journey alone. I’m not going to lie, being a fairly new poker player, I was a little nervous going to an event like this.
As soon as I got into the ballroom, I was approached by Lee Jones who introduced himself to me and explained a little about the event. he went on to talk about the Autism charity they were supporting as well. Lee’s introduction really set the tone for the entire day.
Pokerstars Poker Room?
Pokerstars has confirmed a poker room in the works at Resorts Atlantic City. The poker room isn’t complete, so the event was hosted in a ballroom on the second floor. There was a large screen in the center that Jason Somerville was streaming from. The final table of the main tournament was also broadcasted on the large screen later on as well.
The best part about an event like this is the positive image it gives poker. Poker is a fun, social, competitive game that is easy to pick up. I, myself as a new comer to poker got to see the faces of many online players. It put me at ease knowing I’m not playing against cigar smoking mob bosses and underground drug lords.
Most of the players were social and very passionate to each other about poker. Those who were new and reserved, quickly got engulfed by the hype and became just as involved. Even the employees at Resorts were running it up!
Early Bird gets the Worm
I always like to get to events early, especially events that are foreign to me. I got a seat, pulled out my iPad and began my get-up. To my surprise, Vanessa Selbst came in and sat across from me. At first, I didn’t recognize her. It wasn’t until she began peeling an avocado that she caught my eye.
I introduced myself to Liv and Barry. I explained how I was a new player who enjoyed studying their material. They were all very humble about it.
As I was mingling with my other table mates, I heard the word “ketosis” uttered from across the table. Vanessa and Liv were discussing a topic you all know is a favorite of mine. I quickly jumped in and we talked health for a bit. I wouldn’t expect any less than advanced health tactics from the two poker pros.
Shortly after, Twitch superstar and all around Poker personality Jason Somerville comes in to the ballroom. Jason walked around, introduced himself and talked to his followers and fellow poker players. I’ve only been watching Jason for a week or two prior to this event. Team Pokerstars member Nanonoko referred me to Jason’s stream after finding out I was playing on the New Jersey client. I checked Jason out and really enjoyed his hand analysis, humble personality and the humor he brings to the stream.
That’s why I was surprised when Jason remembered me. A two week old follower? No wonder he’s good at poker. I introduced myself and kept it short. The last thing I want is to come off obnoxious or intrusive to anyone out there.
Questions and Answers with the Pros
Liv Boeree had a great presentation about game theory. As a new player with a science minded brain, I enjoyed it very much. Her Goldenballs clips were very entertaining examples. Liv had her own Q & A session at the end which I happily bombarded with a ton of questions. This event was a gold mine for new players and there was no way I was leaving without getting my fair share of questions out.
Barry Greenstein, Vanessa Selbst and Chris Moneymaker had their own Q & A session as well. It was informative and covered topics ranging from legalizing online poker nationwide to personal questions about the players. I had some questions I was trying to get answered, but I didn’t get to it before the session was over.
Jason Somerville had his own Q & A session towards the end of the event. It was also very informative and of course pretty entertaining. Jason covered a lot of poker politics, strategy advice and a short biography of his poker/twitch career. If any of you are curious or interested in the man, Jason Somerville, check out his twitch channel.
How to Legalizing Poker across the Country
I had the privilege of speaking with Bryan Spadaro of Poker Players Alliance. The Poker Players Alliance is a non-profit poker advocacy group. Back when they were formed in 2005, they got over 600,000 members in their first year alone. I talked to Bryan about the status of online poker in other states. Of course, I was most interested in New York because I would love nothing more than to sit home in my boxers and play poker.
Bryan explained to me why New York might be getting closer to regulating online poker and gave me his card. I promised to get in touch with him and talk about this even further. If any of you want to know more about the status of online poker in other states, check out theppa.org
Overall, this was an amazing and successful event. The only complaint I have was that the food wasn’t exactly ketogenic/paleo friendly, but that’s why I pack my own food anyway. Thumbs up to Vanessa for doing the same. That avocado looked yummy!