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Ryan McLane

Ryan  McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news.

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Poker Players Alliance Teams with Poker Stars

22 Sep 2006

By Ryan McLane

More than 1,200 players have joined the Poker Player's Alliance (PPA) this week thanks to a five-day PokerStars.com promotion that allows players on that site to become members of poker's largest lobbying group by participating in a poker tournament.

For a $1 entry fee, Poker Stars members can play in a $5,000 guaranteed tournament with the poker room throwing in a basic PPA membership for registering. The promotion began on Wednesday and will continue until Sunday with nightly tournaments at 9:30 p.m. So far, Poker Stars has given away $10,000.

The goal, according to PPA President Michael Bolcerek and Poker Stars Director of Communications Nolan Dalla is to swell the ranks of the PPA to a point where the organization can effectively lobby against federal legislation trying to ban American players from playing poker online.

"Poker Stars supports the notion that poker players should organize themselves to defend their basic freedoms," Dalla said. "Currently, the rights of poker players are being threatened at several levels. Poker Stars supports the objectives of the PPA, which is to give a voice to the 70 million poker players in the United States who enjoy playing the game and being a part of a great American tradition."

The PPA began actively recruiting members earlier this year when the group brought professional players Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, and Howard "The Professor" Lederer to Washington D.C to speak on their behalf. Since that time, the PPA has solicited thousands of professional and amateur players to their ranks, making the organization the country's largest poker lobby.

Bolcerek set his early 2006 membership goal at 100,000 players, but the passage of the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act in the House of Representatives this summer in addition to the PPA's presence at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has worked to raise membership figures higher than 110,000 this summer.

Because of the steady membership increases, Bolcerek announced at the beginning of the WSOP that the PPA was changing their goal to 250,000 members by the end of 2006, a number considerably higher than their original estimates, but not unrealistic considering the fervor caused by recent Congressional efforts.

Recently, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) attempted to attach the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act to a Department of Defense (DOD) Budget bill. By attaching the bill to an important piece of budgetary legislation, Frist is attempting to pass the bill through the Senate before the current term expires and the anti-gambling bill becomes void.

Because of that attempt and other congressional moves to pass legislation prohibiting online gaming, Bolcerek said his group is doing all they can to push membership numbers to a level where Congress is willing to accept that more than 70 millions Americans play poker online.

"I have been focused on the legislation, hoping that it is given a proper independent hearing rather than being attached to a DOD bill," Bolcerek said. "But increasing membership is still one of our biggest goals and we will continue to come up with ways to bring people to our cause."

One of the things Bolcerek said he wanted to avoid was having online poker rooms artificially inflate membership numbers by making large donations to the lobby group.

The memberships being offered by Poker Stars are a contributor's membership, meaning it doesn't cost the poker room anything to sign people up. Bolcerek said these are introductory memberships that allow a person to participate fully in PPA activities, but doesn't allow for free gifts like t-shirts, lapel pins, and other PPA marketing products.

In order for the PPA to reach its full potential, Bolcerek said his organization continues to encourage players who love the game to donate their own money. Bolcerek hopes that once the Poker Star members are introduced to the PPA, they will upgrade their membership level by donating to the PPA cause.

"If poker players have a voice in their local, state, and federal government, all poker players win," Dalla said. "The work being done by the PPA is not just about Poker Stars or the online poker industry. It is about creating a greater overall public awareness for the game of poker, its players, and the many positive things about the game."

To sign up for the PPA membership tournaments visit www.pokerstars.com and for more information on the PPA, visit www.pokerplayersalliance.org.


Mucking McLane
 
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