Poker pro Jason Somerville makes startling admission

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Feb 15, 2012 Posted in Poker Player News | 2 Comments »

On Valentine’s Day, one of the top young poker players in the game, Jason Somerville, detailed one of his most difficult decisions in a blog post, and it had nothing to do with an all-in bet or picking off a bluff. Somerville instead came out of the closet, becoming the first openly gay male professional poker player.

As Somerville details in his blog post titled ‘Not a Problem’, only one other professional poker player has come out as openly gay, Vanessa Selbst. It’s something I’ve never really considered before but as Somerville states in his post: “Of all the diversity and variety that the poker world contains, though, there is a noticeable lack of openly gay poker professionals. Vanessa Selbst is a top tier player, a brilliant woman and an amazing person, but other than her, I’ve never met a single gay professional poker player, nevermind a high profile one.”

So far the reaction from the poker community has been entirely positive, with many applauding Somerville’s strength in coming out to what is at times an overly male world filled with a little too much machismo. Hopefully the treatment Somerville receives, as well as the way Vanessa Selbst’s sexuality has done little to hinder her potential sponsorships and popularity, will encourage other gay poker players to come out as well. As Somerville so perfectly puts it, when it comes to poker: “It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, Christian, Jewish, a woman, physically disabled, a foreigner, a felon, or smell terrible, we’ll make room for you at the not-necessarily-proverbial table and let you play. Everyone comes in on an equal playing field, getting the same cards, the same chips, and left alone to make their own decisions.”

As I stated above, the outpouring of support for Somerville has been immense, and has come in from all corners of the poker world and beyond –it appears that Somerville has picked-up in the neighborhood of 500 new Twitter followers overnight! Here are a couple of the Tweets he has received on his post:

* From Scott Seiver: @JasonSomerville Congratulations on taking this step and being able to get it all written down.

* From Vanessa Selbst: @jasonsomerville Great blog and thanks a lot for sharing! Being “that gay poker player” ain’t such a bad fate anyways 🙂

* From Grayson Physioc: Well written @JasonSomerville, fwiw you are prob the best gay poker player in the world 🙂

And a couple of his responses from his Twitter account @JasonSomerville:

* @wphsu the most amazing part of this is that there have been almost 0 people saying anything negative at all. its overwhelmingly positive

* so very moved by the outpouring of support, it’s incredible. don’t rly know what to say besides the most sincere thank you i can. amazing.

The 24 year-old Somerville has five Top 5 finishes in World Series of Poker tournaments, including a bracelet win in one of the $1k NLHE Events in 2011, and has amassed over $1.7 million in career tournament earnings. Somerville is also an accomplished online poker player, where he plays under the screen-name “JCarver” and is an instructor at the online poker training site PokerVT.

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2 Responses to “Poker pro Jason Somerville makes startling admission”

  1. RK says:

    Why does the tiles state “startling?” What is that a big deal? Your title sound homophobic. The poker world is going to have to catch and realize that sexual orienation has nothing to do with his ability to play poker as you can see by his success.

  2. Steve Ruddock says:

    I think “startling” is a perfectly appropriate word to convey the first person to have the courage to come out to the poker world (first male anyway). It’s also a good way to “tease” the article without giving the story away in the headline… Nothing Homophobic about it at all; which should be obvious given the article’s content.

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