Should Howard Lederer be barred from playing poker
After rumors, and later confirmations, that Howard Lederer was playing in a $400/$800 Mixed-Game at the Aria, and also in Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio, the poker world lit-up the usual social media outlets to express their opinions on whether or not Howard Lederer should show his face in a poker room, and some even suggesting that he should be 86’ed from casinos altogether.
In this column I’ll explain why Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Annie Duke, and even Russ Hamilton have every right to walk into a casino and sit down at a poker table. I realize this isn’t going to be a popular opinion, but it’s the only logical way that the poker world can handle people like Howard Lederer without turning into hypocrites, or worse, some kind of police state run by vigilante justice.
There is a lot of precedent for allowing unsavory individuals into a poker room, and as I’ll outline in the last header, Howard has only been accused of willfully mismanaging Full Tilt Poker at this point. And considering he is freely walking around Las Vegas I don’t think the government has much intention of adding a criminal indictment to his civil case.
Howard was not a card cheat, or someone whose crimes can be repeated in a casino, so for the card-rooms to try to bar him based on his alleged “crimes” would make little sense, unless of course so many people boycotted their casino that they felt the needed to take action –which I’ll also discuss below.
Where do we draw the line?
Benny Binion killed people, as did Titanic Thompson. Johnny Moss was an admitted card cheat, and in more recent times we have seen plenty of deplorable human beings sit at a poker table. If Howard has to go doesn’t this same line of thought also apply to Justin Bonomo, Sorel Mizzi, Men Nguyen, and others? If not, where is the line drawn? Is it based on the amount of money, the crime itself, or on preponderance of guilt? And who decides what is punishable and what the punishment should be?
What exactly has Howard Lederer been convicted of?
As I alluded to above, Howard has only been charged in a civil complaint by the DOJ, and hasn’t been convicted of any wrongdoing –now the court of public opinion is a different matter entirely. Until there is a steadfast verdict, or such evidence that would make Russ Hamilton look innocent, I think we need to put the pitchforks back in the garage and dump out our tiki-torch oil.
So with those things in the mind how do we deal with a poker room that contains one Mr. Lederer? The answer is the same way you deal with any unwanted person; you make their time there as miserable as possible. Now, I’m not talking about becoming a belligerent asshole, or prosecuting his crimes against the poker world at the felt, but there is nothing wrong with a quick, “I can’t believe he has the nerve to be here,” or everyone simply giving him the cold-shoulder. If Howard, or anyone else, wants to play poker under these conditions then good for them, have fun boss!
Another line poker players could take is the above mentioned boycott. If Howard’s presence at Bellagio bothers you enough then go to the Aria or some other casino, and do so loudly and publicly. If enough likeminded people do this, and it starts to affect the bottom line, than Howard may in fact become a persona non grata at the Bellagio.
Tags: Amount Of Money, Annie Duke, bellagio, Benny Binion, Chris Ferguson, Civil Case, Criminal Indictment, Full tilt Poker, Howard Lederer, Hypocrites, Justin Bonomo, Media Outlets, Playing Poker, Poker Room, Poker Table, Poker World, Police State, Popular Opinion, Preponderance, Sorel Mizzi
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