In an effort to prove that poker is a game of skill, not chance, one poker training site has issued a unique challenge to President Barack Obama and any member of the United States Congress. Bluefire Poker is putting up one million to one odds that an amateur from Capitol Hill cannot defeat any of its pros in the long-run, proving that poker is predominated by skill.
The promotion is simple. President Obama or a member of Congress will put up $1. If they can defeat one of Bluefire Poker’s sponsored pros, they’ll win $1 million for a charity of their choice. Bluefire Poker’s Bill Murphy told Poker News Daily why the poker training site decided to post the promotion: “The regulations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) are in the works, so we wanted to make a move to pressure Congress to do something. As a Public Relations move, we wanted to drive home a point that poker is a game of skill. If it wasn’t a game of skill, anyone would accept this bet.”
The challenge is currently only open to President Obama or members of the House of Representatives and Senate. The format and length of a potential game have not yet been determined. Murphy explained, “It would need to be long enough to make sure there is skill and not just short-term luck. I’m not sure if we’d do a best of seven series or something like that. We’d also have to determine how quickly the blinds would escalate. We haven’t thought about the exact details.” Each contestant would start with the same number of chips to ensure a level playing field. Murphy admitted that he does not foresee any member of Capitol Hill taking Bluefire Poker up on the challenge.
The team of pros at Bluefire Poker is led by Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond. He won his first, and so far only, World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in 2008 after taking down a $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha with Rebuys tournament for $817,000. A total of 152 players created a massive $3.1 million prize pool, an average of over $20,000 per person. Among those joining Galfond at the final table were David Benyamine, 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Chan, 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event Champion John Juanda, Team PokerStars Pro member Daniel Negreanu, Ultimate Bet icon Phil Hellmuth, and online poker pro Brian “tsarrast” Rast.
Flanking Galfond are Niman “Samoleus” Kenkre, Jason “PBJaxx” Senti, Martin Fournier Giguère (also known as “Giggy”), Ryan Fees, and Don “SoCalQuest” Nguyen. The site presently boasts a total of 43 videos and Galfond alone will make four to six per month. Bluefire Poker is primarily focused on providing cash game instruction. Stakes that can currently be found in videos include $25 and $50 No Limit, $5/$10 No Limit, and $600 Heads-Up Pot Limit Omaha. Additional videos focus on bankroll management, continuation betting, beating micro-stakes games, and table selection.
The site produces four to five new videos per week. On Sundays, Senti, Kenkre, and Galfond release videos in rotation. On Tuesdays, Fees and Giguère produce video content, alternating each week. On Thursdays, new videos are published by Nguyen. On Fridays, Galfond debuts new content and on Saturdays, Bluefire Poker releases bonus material.
Bluefire Poker makes its home in a highly-competitive market that includes fellow poker training sites CardRunners and PokerXFactor. The former recently merged with StoxPoker and launched TrulyFreePokerTraining.com, which allows members of Full Tilt Poker to rack up points each month and then exchange them for memberships to the training sites. Other competitors of Bluefire Poker include Real Poker Training, Poker Pwnage, and Leggo Poker.
On Thursday, current Fox News commentator and former World Poker Tour Hostess Courtney Friel reported a story on Bluefire Poker’s $1 million challenge. The deadline for an elected official to take the site up on its offer is March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day.
Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) is scheduled to introduce legislation favorable to internet gambling sometime in March. No details have been released on the content of a proposed bill or when it will officially be announced.