American football and poker

The NFL is a long standing institution, which does its very best to keep scandal out of the papers. On the odd occasion it does happen, audience members may wonder why certain issues which arise are even considered issues though. For example, what is wrong with those who actively participate in NFL matches: players, referees and officials, having a past in playing poker?

I’m speaking in regards to the story which broke in August of this year. Shannon Eastin became the first female to serve as an official for an NFL game, but instead of gaining press for making history as the first female to achieve this status, she was targeted for her former participation in a World Series of Poker tournament. While the NFL Referees Association said that the NFL did a thorough background check, and did not see her playing poker in the past as an issue, it still made the news. Why though?

Poker is a highly skilled game which is played by the French, Spanish, Germans – everyone! Players take part at home, in tournaments and play on the website if they are from France. And while yes, opinions regarding its status as a form of gambling do vary across the United States, and indeed other countries, it is recognized as a game of skill in states like California. The objection many people have against poker, is that when played competitively people place bets on the outcome. So if there are any players who take part in poker games during their spare time, it’s not mentioned to the media, if not for the sake of the NFL’s reputation, then for the self preservation of the player.

And yet betting is not an unusual occurrence in the NFL. Fans will often place bets on which teams will win the next game, their placement on the League Table, or even which side takes the season. There’s always a chance of losing, even if they only do it from the comfort of their own home. So why would one form of betting be considered fine for fans to do in regards to the NFL, and not a game which requires skill, intelligence and dedication like poker?

As mentioned earlier, the United States is not the only nation to be unsure about the status of playing poker. Online poker laws are being reviewed and changed all over the world. For example, in France there is a very high rate of taxation threatening online poker. Recently a French Député (member of parliament) was caught on camera playing online poker during political debates though, so it’s clear that people of all status’s, whether they’re in the NFL or not like to play.

Have you ever heard of NFL Hold’em events? Every season the cardrooms in Northern California as an example, are sure to be busy on Sundays, because the venues offer the opportunity to watch in-and-out-of-market NFL games, while they play poker. Male and female fans of the NFL and poker, get to enjoy an environment that lets them experience both within the same setting.

For example, Lucky Chances in Colma offers a $225 Sunday tournament, with opportunity to win up to $10,000. From early morning to afternoon, players are in prime position to watch football on the screen and the action around the table. Or if a visitor wanted to try out a lower stakes game, they can visit California Grand Casino in Pacheco. Yes, there is an element of risk to proceedings, but so does the NFL betting pool.

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