Select Page

Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, has the chance to become the new online poker hero. Known to most of America as the man hoping to become the first black President in United States history, the poker industry also recognizes that he could be the one to send online poker in the direction of being legalized.

Obama, a poker player, hasn’t vocalized support for legalization, but his camp has openly admitted to playing cards while serving as a member of the Illinois State Senate. He participated in weekly poker games at the home of Senator Terry Links, where he apparently “had the stone face” and “didn’t stay in hands if he didn’t think he had a chance of winning.” He regularly plays low-stakes games, enjoying cards as a way to break up the monotony of seemingly endless legislative sessions. In an email he has said that it is “a fun way for people to relax and share stories and give each other a hard time over friendly competition.” He is reportedly serious and competitive when at the table.

A huge step in the right direction was taken last Thursday when Obama won the caucus in Iowa. Almost two times more people turned out to vote than four years ago, and iGamingBusiness highlights that this victory is especially impressive considering that 95% of Iowa voters are white and not black. New Hampshire is the next stop for the Obama campaign, where Obama hopes that voters will also choose him as their candidate for president. Younger voters appear to have enthusiasm for his campaign, citing that they are “ready for change”, that he “seems the most genuine”, and that their “heart[s] says Obama over Hillary.” Early exit polls showed Obama with a 13% lead, but final results have been delayed because polling stations were kept open until late to allow everyone the chance to vote.

While the election of a single poker-playing individual would not mean instant legalization of online poker, its hard to imagine that changes could not be made with a documented poker-lover in power. Poker players can continue to wear a face of optimism as the Obama campaign continues and support for him grows.