July 27, 2022 Featured Articles, Poker News Lars Liedtke

Doug Polk says supporting poker is not an abortion take

Doug Polk has found himself at the centre of controversy once again after his Twitter call to vote for whichever party supports legalised poker backfired in an anti-abortion backlash…

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The Upswing Poker boss had started out by tweeting: “Elections are still months away, but if you care about poker and your rights to play please vote and support candidates that will fight for your right to play the game.”

Texas, where Doug Polk now lives after buying a share of the Lodge poker club in Austin along with Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen, is a grey area when it comes to legalised poker – cardrooms allowed to run if they don’t take rake.

Similarly, online poker is available, although you won’t find any of the big-name sites offering their wares – it’s all offshore offerings hence unregulated.

However, what Texas is known for is its strong anti-abortion stance, having in place a “trigger ban” that is designed to take effect automatically or by quick state action if Wade vs Roe no longer applies. That happened recently, hence the recent huge political arguments.

That’s what prompted the backlash against Polk, and Ike Haxton was among those unhappy with Doug’s claims that he was simply supporting poker…

Polk, never known for admitting he is wrong, doubled down on his take: “Some of the most pro poker legislators in Texas are democrats. This is the classic ‘I’m an elitist liberal and am gonna tell you what people in your state support’.”

He added a scathing: “Maybe learn something about poker in this state before you spew off pure nonsense.”

Haxton refused to be cowed, though, replying: “That doesn’t matter. Verbatim what you said is “Democrat, republican, whatever… support the people who will protect your rights to play.” You’re telling people to put poker ahead of other issues and that’s ridiculous. If that’s what you think, fine, but own it.”

Polk was far from ready to “own” anything, lashing out again…

Many poker players have been concerned about abortion rights recently, poker pro and chess master Jennifer Shahade at the forefront of fundraising for abortion access…

However, a story she told from the recent WSOP shows that there are players who don’t know or don’t care about the issue: “Guy at the table asks about my abortion access pin.

“He has no idea about Roe v Wade, so I explain how our reproductive rights just went back 50 years. Other guy at the table huffs: ‘I don’t want to talk about this.’ I say ‘Great, I’d love for men not to have a say on this’.”

As for Doug Polk, he refused to budge on his stance: “The point of my tweet is if you want to see poker in the US continue to grow, support candidates who like poker.”

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