The World Series of Poker and the New Jim Crow

Every year the best poker players in the world gather in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, the largest and most prestigious tournament series there is.  I look forward to playing at least one WSOP event each June, and have three cash finishes to my credit.  This year the series was moved back from June until October, so I was planning to head out to Vegas for a few tournaments, and had already won a $1,500 seat into the “Monster Stack” event.  Then the discrimination began. 

On August 27 the WSOP announced that they would be requiring all entrants into this year’s tournaments to show proof of vaccinationReactions from the poker world were divided.  2003 WSOP main event champion Chris Moneymaker, who gave hope to millions and started the poker boom by winning without being a very good player, previously had planned to sit out the series because he doesn’t understand odds and was afraid to play, but now is thanking the WSOP for their intrusive decision.  On the other side of the coin, 2009 WSOP main event champ and four-time bracelet winner Joe Cada says he will now be staying home this year because of the rule.  Can you guess which one the media portrays more positively?

Remember that the left uses a playbook to make it seem like their position is the norm and any people who disagree with them are on the fringe.  They want you to feel like you are crazy if you don’t think the way they tell you to.  Because of this, I am going to predict the narrative that the media will push about the WSOP this year.  There will undoubtedly be smaller fields in the tournaments than normal and the media is going to lie to us about the reason.  My prediction is that we will soon see stories about how there are fewer entrants this year because people are worried about playing poker due to coronavirus fears and restrictions on international travel.  While there will surely be some players who do not play because they overestimate the odds of dying from Covid (the odds are nearly 100 times less likely than randomly drawing the 4 of clubs from a deck of cards), this will not be the main reason for the lower participation.  The real reason is actually the exact opposite.  People will not play because they are not living in fear like the left wants them to be.  A large number of would-be participants will not attend because they think that people should have the freedom to assess their own risks and make decisions without being bullied.

If it was just the World Series of Poker doing this, it would be a major problem, but this vaccine mandate situation is a lot bigger than that.  Somebody who I respect told me that she does not see vaccine mandates as a hill to die on.  She has been vaccinated so the mandates do not really affect her.  Here is the problem with that thinking.  This is not about the vaccine.  It is about government power and overreach.  Do you think that a tax on tea would be a hill to die on?  I’ll go out on a limb and guess that at least one of those people who threw tea into Boston Harbor didn’t even like tea.  This has as much to do with our opinions on the vaccine as the Boston Tea Party had to do with their opinions on tea.

There are only two directions this can possibly go.  We can choose liberty and allow people to decide for themselves whether or not to get vaccinated, or we can relegate anybody who will not do exactly as they are told by the bullies on the left into a permanent, Jim Crow style underclass.  These tyrants do not want unvaccinated people to be allowed to work, shop, enjoy entertainment, eat, or socialize.  They claim to care about people but are perfectly fine with firing millions of Americans who are willing and able to work.  These good, hardworking citizens will be pushed into poverty or into a growing black-market economy.  Is it strange that the left says they are doing all of this to save lives but seem to have no problem if you die of starvation because they forced your job to fire you?

You may be wondering what I plan to do about the WSOP.  Honestly, I considered pretty much every possible option, but ultimately decided that I do not want the WSOP to profit from me until they stand up for freedom and change this policy.  Not only is it invasive, but it is illogical.  If the vaccine works, then nobody in the building should be worried.  The people who would be scared are vaccinated, and the people who are not vaccinated would not be there if they were scared.  Neither the unvaccinated nor the vaccinated should play if they believe in liberty. 

Instead, I plan to take my $1,500 over to a tournament series at The Wynn and play an $1,100 buy-in event on the same day that the WSOP Monster Stack event is taking place, then go over to The Golden Nugget the next two days for $200 events.  I encourage any other poker players to join me.  Organizations or businesses that discriminate based on vaccine status should be treated the same way as you would treat places discriminating based on race.  In other words, they should not receive a penny from any of us.

Baseball In A Pandemic

“There are three things in my life which I really love:  God, my family, and baseball.  The only problem – once baseball season starts I change the order around a bit.”  – Al Gallagher

I miss baseball.  I’ve always loved and defended my country as the greatest, freest nation on earth.  I realize that some of those liberties have been under attack for a quite a while now.  Since a large portion of our country is now hostile to God and capitalism, the rights I have always feared being taken away were those having to do with religious and economic liberty.  I never thought I’d have to worry about my right to play baseball being taken away.  Heck, even Cuba loves baseball.  But alas, here I am, a modern day “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, banned from playing ball. (More on “Shoeless Joe” later.)

In my depressed state I started thinking about a comparison that I keep hearing about, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.  The only year I can think of where there was no World Series was the strike year in 1994, so how did baseball handle the Spanish Flu and how does it compare to the coronavirus?  I learned a lot of interesting facts about both.  Here are six of them.

  1. The 1918 season actually was shortened, but not because of the pandemic.  The World Series was moved up to the beginning of September so that players could go off to fight in World War 1.
  2. During the first wave of the pandemic Babe Ruth caught the flu and almost died.  It’s crazy to think how different baseball history would have been had Ruth died and never become a Yankee.  Instead, he recovered and this was the first year that the Babe, still primarily a pitcher, got to play the field and hit on some of the days he wasn’t pitching.  In that part-time role, he led the league in home runs.
  3. Ruth’s Red Sox won the 1918 World Series.  The next year they would trade him to the Yankees and not win another title for 86 years. 
  4. The Spanish flu, for obvious hygienic reasons, was one of the major factors in baseball banning the spit ball.
  5. This brings us back to “Shoeless Joe.”  There are now rumors, that the 1919 “Black Sox” were not the first team to throw the World Series.  The 1918 Cubs had the best record in baseball and there is talk that they threw that year’s World Series. 
  6. The biggest lesson I learned with regards to comparing the Spanish Flu to coronavirus is that the comparison isn’t even fair.  The Spanish Flu was far worse.  It killed young, healthy people at a high rate.  Two big league players died from the Spanish Flu, Larry Chappell and Harry Glenn.  The NHL actually did have to end the Stanley Cup Finals in a 2-2 tie because so many of the Montreal Canadiens got sick they didn’t have enough players to play.  NHL Hall of Famer Joe Hall died.  675,000 Americans died when the population was only 103 million.  In fact, in the entire history of our country, 1918 is the only year where our population declined.  Right now we’re at around 328 million and steadily growing.  The coronavirus is barely a blip on the radar. 

This whole thing has only cemented my opinion that we are overreacting.  When the media started throwing out names of athletes with coronavirus to scare people, I said that athletes get sick all the time.  Hysterical people told me, “But this is different.”  I said, “Fine.  If Kevin Durant dies, I’ll take your side.”  I’m pleased to say the NBA star survived.

As I pointed out in my last post, the odds of dying from coronavirus are slim to none.  We should not be cowering in our homes over something that is likely about 1/25th as dangerous as the Spanish Flu.  We should be booing the Houston Astros right now.  In fact, those cheaters should be forced to play without masks, closer than six feet apart from each other, next to the dirty trashcans that they used to bang on.

One final thought.  Game 1 of the 1918 World Series was the first time the Star Spangled Banner was played before a game.  It made me consider, could Colin Kaepernick have been right?  After all, how can I keep a straight face when I hear “the land of the free and the home of the brave” when we are certainly neither anymore?  My conclusion?  Of course not.  Kaepernick is just as wrong as ever.  I still respect our history.  When I hear that line I’ll be frustrated that it’s a thing of the past, but I’ll still honor those values and the men who fought for them.  Our founding fathers risked everything to set up a government that recognizes that our rights aren’t given by them, but are endowed by our creator.  They chose to fight for liberty even though it meant almost certain death if the British won.  Now we voluntarily give up our liberty over something that has almost no chance of killing us.  It is disappointing, but there is still a small remnant of Americans who value liberty which, at least for me, has to include baseball.   Play ball!