Two Controversies Capturing Poker Community’s Attention

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Never let it be said that there is a calm moment in the poker world. Over the past couple of days, discussion has emerged among those in the poker community on two issues, one that is fairly blatant (and has been around for some time) and one that is still veiled in mystery. Whether either will continue to capture the attention of poker’s fandom – which can be best described as “fleeting” – beyond next week will be interesting to see.

On one account is poker professional Cate Hall, who has been one of the breakout stars of 2016 from her play on the World Poker Tour circuit. Hall, who is in the battle for Player of the Year on the WPT, responded to a Tweet from another player who put a picture on the social media network from the Commerce Casino’s St. Patrick Day’s celebration. While the caption of the photo was fairly innocent, it was the content of the picture that seemed to spike Hall’s ire.

“Player appreciation party going on @CommerceCasino right now. Sushi anyone?” Hall’s acquaintance Tweeted to his followers along with the photo of a naked woman being used as a sushi platter. Hall then re-Tweeted sarcastically that “Commerce Poker deplores the objectification of women. What? Oh, that? Just a naked woman being used as a plate.” The resulting discussion showed that there is still quite some distance that poker has to go in bridging the gender equality gap.

Hall’s fellow pros in Matthew Salsberg, Chris Wallace, Shaun Deeb and Liv Boeree fired their jokes off on the subject (including Boeree’s best line of “Sometime us players crave body warmed raw fish. Salmonella appreciation parties are underrated, in my opinion.”), but most did agree that the usage of the model by Commerce was out of line. Vanessa Selbst demonstrated on a couple of occasions that it wasn’t the first time that the Commerce had ventured into this area, showing pictures of their previous promotions with buxom models promoting their product.

The discussion between the pros is simply the latest example of how poker caters to a clientele that is predominantly male, but tends to forget that there is a large segment of society (women) that may not exactly be drawn by that type of advertisement. There have been complaints since their inception about the Royal Flush Girls and, if you really want to be serious, since the inception of gaming establishments. It promises to be a debate that will be ongoing.

The other incident is one that is currently shrouded in mystery.

In what has been a sparsely watched post on the Two Plus Two forums, Dr. Jaclynn Moskow – who has written an article for CardPlayer about what scientists have learned about poker players in 2014 and appears to have worked as a researcher in the field of allergies with her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh – went on Twitter with a cryptic Tweet that stated, “Three things cannot be long hidden:  the Sun, the Moon and the truth.” She goes on to state that she will be “whistleblowing” a scandal on the poker industry. The tough part to figure out is just what she’s talking about because she certainly isn’t at this point.

A quick review of Moskow’s resume in poker shows that she has no documentable history on the tournament poker circuit, not surprising as she claims to be a high stakes cash game player. Her lone “claim to fame,” if you will, is that she has appeared on the “Ladies’ Night” editions of broadcasts of Poker Night in America, the syndicated program that has been carrying the water for poker broadcasts for over two years now. If that is where her problems seem to be stemming from, then it wasn’t apparent when Moskow promoted her appearance on the program in 2015.

Moskow apparently filmed in December 2014, taking part in a $25/$50 No Limit cash game with players such as Selbst, Jamie Kerstetter, Natasha Barbour and Danielle Anderson. Before the episodes of those “Ladies’ Night” filmings that aired in January 2015, Moskow was interviewed by Anne Albrecht of Poker Women News, where she gave a glowing review of the proceedings, talking about playing with such talented players and how “whenever I pause and think about all of the great people poker has brought into my life, I am tremendously grateful.”

Albrecht noted that Moskow’s time on the show seemed shorter than other players, but Moskow explained that as her having had plenty of time on that broadcast and other Poker Night in America broadcasts previously. “Todd Anderson, the show’s creator, told me that I had to give my seat up,” Moskow explained. “There were other players who wanted to get into the game and since I was the only one there who also played two days prior on a different episode filmed at Hard Rock, as well as two weeks prior on the Pittsburgh episodes, it made sense to give someone else some playing time.”

If there is something in which Moskow is now saying there are “issues,” then she didn’t seem to be too bothered by it in 2015 when she spoke glowingly about her opponents and the show overall.

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