The PPA, or Poker Players Alliance, is a Washington lobby group that is supposed to be looking out for the poker players of America. They have been around for quite some time and have a large voice in the poker community.
When I first started playing poker, I joined the group by making a donation; I mainly wanted the cool t-shirt to impress my friends. If only I could have warned a young Chris that poker apparel is really not that cool. I actually never got the shirt and this was just the beginning of my decade long angst towards the PPA.
Go on any major poker forum and you will see someone representing the PPA. Each state will also have a representative, though I’m not sure how they are picked. My guess is it’s just someone who steps up and says, “I’ll do it.” This is my belief because most of the time, the people who are state representatives are not all that friendly and have the tone of a know it all. This leads me to believe they wanted to be an authority figure so they could show everyone how smart they were.
This is just one of the many reasons the PPA fails at every aspect of protecting your rights to play poker. They make claims of representing “us” in Congress and speaking on behalf of “us”, but in reality they are only out for themselves.
In the time they have been an organization, they have had little to no impact on any changes in the poker world. This is especially true when it comes to online poker. Every day for the past 3 years I have received an e-mail from Sir John Pappas (head of the PPA) asking to contact my local officials and tell them I want to have online poker in my state. This is a mass email sent to all members of the PPA, but it’s the same B.S. in every single one.
The state of online poker for Americans actually gotten worse and the PPA will tell you the wonders they are doing down in D.C. They are typical politicians who only look to serve the interests of themselves and don’t care about the players.
What’s even more frustrating is that every time a poker bill is introduced to Congress, they somehow make it sound like they made this happen. They don’t actually come out and say it, but the wording they use will lead some to believe that they had a big part in it.
The funny part is, none of these bills have been effective and the PPA will tell you that they will try to talk to the bill makers and make changes that they were pushing for to begin with. The truth is; these guys have no real power over anyone. They simply ride the coattails of politicians like one of those little fish that follows a shark around and eats the scraps that float by.
To further solidify my opinions on the PPA, recent news has been leaked about a bribe to Sen. Reid, the main Senator trying to pass the online poker bill. You can read the full story here. My focus on the story went to the conversation between two of the men involved. There was a recording of a conversation during this meeting that discusses the bribe and who was at the meeting when the bribe took place. Guess who just happened to be there? Good ole John Pappas, head of the PPA.
Now these reports are fairly new and no one knows for sure what’s going on, and no charges have been filed, but it sure is damning evidence.
What’s even more amusing is that during this taped conversation, one of the men has to be reminded who John Pappas is. If the PPA is such a strong force in the poker community, his name should be known, but to anyone who has any kind of real power, he’s just another nobody.