Adelson gets what Adelson wants

To be clear, PokerNews and BLUFF are competitors. It’s more or less a friendly competition though — it isn’t Yankees/Red Sox by any stretch. We share a lot of things, and a passion for poker is one of them. A bigger organization than BLUFF, PokerNews is, in some respects, the current standard by which other poker media outlets are judged. Here at BLUFF we work extremely hard at creating poker content for poker players and fans alike. Covering poker tournaments might seem like glamorous work but in many ways it’s not; we enjoy what we do, love poker and take a great deal of pride in being able to bring readers at home closer to the game we all love.

Lance BradleyUntil now the opposition to online gaming by Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson has been mostly high level stuff; providing campaign financing to candidates who find it in their heart to share his view on the expansion of online gaming, spending money on poorly designed websites to promote his message, sending Andy Abboud, Sands’ vice president of Government Affairs, to iGaming conferences to wave his mobile phone in the air and scream “What about the kids?”. That sort of thing. In early June, however, things took a rather ugly turn.

The Mid-States Poker Tour, which has a media partnership with PokerNews, held an event at the Venetian in Las Vegas as part of the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza, a $1,100 buy-in event with a $300,000 guarantee. PokerNews normally provides live updates of MSPT events and had done so at the first eight stops of Season 5.

That streak ended though when the Venetian decided to prevent PokerNews from covering this event. They specifically told a poker media outlet to not cover an event on their property. It took a few days for the reason to come to light but a few days after the event ended, Kathy Raymond, the head of poker operations for the Venetian, finally released a statement explaining why.

“Given our Chairman’s clear position on the matter of online gaming, the Venetian/Palazzo made a business decision to not allow an online blog during the Mid-States Poker Tour event,” said Raymond.

Raymond doesn’t say it explicitly, but clearly the fact that PokerNews has marketing agreements with a majority of the online poker sites in Nevada and New Jersey was at the heart of this decision. This move by Adelson — and don’t kid yourself, he was heavily involved in this decision — should be a personal affront to poker players everywhere.

By preventing PokerNews — and I have to assume they would have treated BLUFF the same way — from covering the event, they’ve now had a direct impact on people who are nothing more than innocent bystanders. The reporters who were supposed to cover that event ended up losing at least a couple of days of paid work. Hard-working people, who are passionate about poker and were looking to help promote the game, were left on the sidelines because Adelson doesn’t want online poker regulated.

The Venetian event, the first MSPT event held in Las Vegas, was clearly a success with 854 players. With little or no coverage of the event, any subsequent events held there probably won’t see any real growth. That hurts everybody; dealers, for whom there is never enough work, players, who make their living playing the smaller circuit events and media, who make their living covering these events.

Adelson has made it clear he doesn’t want his tournaments covered, so let’s grant him that wish. We’ll still keep the results of Venetian events in our database. The events will still count toward Player of the Year. But you’re not going to read about any Venetian tournaments in the pages of BLUFF or on any time soon.

It only seems fair.


Lance Bradley
Editor in Chief

July 2014