Former US Senator Alphonse D'Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance appropriately chose the current 40th Anniversary World Series of Poker to announce National Poker Week, which will take place from July 19 to 25 this (2009) year.
 
The PPA executive, who represents the over one million members of the PPA, was in Las Vegas to outline the way forward for the organisation and the game in a press conference at the Rio hotel….and play a little poker in the fully subscribed Seniors event at the WSOP.
 
D'Amato was accompanied by U.S. Representative Shelley Berkley, a Democrat from Nevada who favours a more open-minded apparoach to online gambling, and PPA Executive Director John Pappas, both of whom addressed the conference, along with PPA board members Linda Johnson and Greg Raymer.
 
D'Amato described some of the plans the PPA will be initiating as it rallies the PPA’s membership nationwide to send the message to lawmakers that their constituents support poker and legalization to regulate and license the game played by more than 10 million Americans online.
 
“Our members – the poker players of America – are our best advocates to protect the future of poker,” D’Amato said. “National Poker Week, with events in Washington, D.C., and across the country, is the PPA’s way to make it clear to my former colleagues in the U.S. Congress that poker is important to voters and is here to stay.”
 
Over 30 of PPA’s State Directors and half a dozen professional poker players will travel to Washington, D.C., during National Poker Week to meet with their members of Congress and ask them to support legalization establishing licensing and regulation of online poker, such as H.R. 2267 introduced by House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (see previous InfoPowa reports).
 
They will also deliver a petition to US President Barak Obama asking his support to exempt poker from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and for the licensing and regulation of online poker. All poker players are invited to sign the online petition, which is available at www.pokerpetition.com.
 
Throughout the week, the PPA will be organising telephone and email campaigns to Congressional offices so that poker players across the country can make their voice heard. Poker players should visit www.nationalpokerweek.com to learn how they can be an advocate for the game during National Poker Week.
 
“Protecting Americans’ right to play poker – whether online or around the poker table – is something everyone should support even if you don’t play. Restricting what we can do online in the privacy of our own home is a slippery slope, which is why I am coming to Washington for National Poker Week – to tell my members of Congress to protect my rights,” said professional poker player Howard Lederer, who along with Andy Bloch, Annie Duke, Jan Fisher, Linda Johnson, Dennis Phillips and other professional players will participate in National Poker Week.
 
In addition to meetings with members of Congress, the PPA will host a charity poker tournament on Tuesday, July 21, benefitting the USO and the Malone House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Wounded servicemen and women will be playing alongside poker pros, PPA’s State Directors, members of Congress and their staff to win prizes. The PPA is covering all administrative costs so that all proceeds from the event go directly to the USO.
 
The PPA will also be working with leading technology providers to host a “tech demo” that will highlight the ability to regulate online poker through programs to verify age and ensure fairness of play, among other things.
 
The Alliance has additionally announced MyPokerStory.com, a program to collect and record stories from poker players across the nation on why poker is so important to them and why they believe the government should keep poker legal. People can record their own video and upload it directly to www.mypokerstory.com, or visit the PPA booth at the World Series of Poker and record and submit a video there. Everyone who submits a video will be entered into a drawing to win a special Grand Prize: a two-night Las Vegas vacation (with airfare) for two. Runners up will also be selected for other special PPA prizes.
 
Reaching out to the poker media, the Alliance has partnered with a variety of organisations to make National Poker Week possible, including PokerPages.com, PokerListings.com, ConJelCo, PokerTube, PocketFives.com, Poker News and Poker Road.
 
For more information on National Poker Week, please visit www.nationalpokerweek.com.