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Billionaires Can Be Idiots Too

By , Rakeback.com Executive Editor

Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has made waves in the mainstream media with his recent arguments against online gambling. Mr Adelson has made billions of dollars from gambling, and ranks 15th on Forbes list of the richest men in the world.

But he’s still an idiot.

He states several arguments against online poker, perhaps the most erudite was his opinion that the idea that poker is a skill based game is “a bunch of baloney.”

He worries that underage and young people burdened with student loans will get drunk, get high on drugs and lose their money gambling online in their pyjamas.

In an interview with Bloomberg he tells the presenter that she hasn’t made the argument that online gambling is “desirable and necessary.”

People and politicians listen to billionaires. But those of us who love poker and especially online poker need to leap to defend our great game.

First, he has become so embedded in the status quo that he believes that everything should be illegal unless it can be proved that it is “desirable and necessary.”

John Stuart Mill published his seminal work “On Liberty” in 1859. In it he described the restrictions on the powers of States:

The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant . . ..

Harm was defined as actual physical injury or the damage or denial of someone’s own property.

A hundred and more years later, President Ronald Reagan reiterated the point: “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”

Philosophically, Adelson has aligned himself not with the proponents of freedom for whom he fought during the Korean War, but the proponents of Marxism who were on the other side of his gun.

The reversal of roles has almost been completed as it is Chinese Hong Kong which rejected US efforts to extradite whistleblower Edward Snowden, instead, it said that “the United States, which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyber-attacks, has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age."

On today’s PokerStars blog, that revolutionary extremist Barry Greenstein has stuck his neck out and tempted the ire of the NSA, US Government and Sheldon Adelson with a post titled: “Mobile online poker for the benefit of mankind.”

Those of us who have made a living as online poker players know that the game is tough, it demands discipline, hard study, and accurate risk assessment. It demands at the higher levels a thorough knowledge of game theory and probability together with the creativity to introduce something new.

Isildur1 didn’t just win by playing the same way everyone else did, he overbet the pot, played tight, then loose, passive then aggressive, and merged his ranges and sized his bets in a way that made his new style profitable.

Luck is for suckers. Mr Adelson doesn’t want his kids to become poker players - the rest of us should, they will learn more valuable life skills from mastering poker than in five years of high school. Kids who play poker aren’t the suckers and maybe that’s the point.

Players who understand $EV and probability aren’t likely to go to play slots in Adelson’s casinos. He wants players to lose their money as payment for entertainment time. Poker players want to pit their wits against other players, and are prepared to put their money where their mouth is.

The spirit of the US, the soul of the patriot will always align with poker. It was a Canadian company, founded by a Jewish Russian expat that refused to allow the American Way to die after the Unlawful internet Gaming Enforcement Act was implemented. It was PokerStars that rescued poker from the US government; that rescued the soul of America from the US government.

US players are still waiting to receive their money back from the DOJ after Full Tilt went bust. Players in the rest of the world were paid back six months ago.

Freedom is still available, from a company that has proved more trustworthy than most governing bodies and regulatory agencies - PokerStars.

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