The Tournament Directors Association has provoked anger and incredulity by announcing its forthcoming bi-annual summit will be held at the Venetian, the flagship property of Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp.
The TDA have apparently been blinded to the fact that LVS wants to wipe online poker off the face of the earth by the promise of a free conference room, plus coffee and donuts.
Matt Savage dropped the bombshell towards the end of last week and Twitter has been aflame ever since.
“This is the most EPIC and elaborate April Fools’ joke[s] of all-time! You got everyone riled up with this one. Am I right?” tweeted Daniel Negreanu.
Ryan Reiss, meanwhile, suggested that perhaps the TDA would like to hold the summit at his house instead.
“Las Vegas is home to many wonderful casinos and resort properties. It is a shame that the TDA selected to host their event at the epicenter of opposing players’ rights,” said John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance. “Ultimately, it is their decision, but it has not proven popular with the player community.”
The timing was particularly acute because it coincided with the congressional hearing on Restoration of America’s Wire Act, a bill financed by Adelson that seeks to prohibit all online gaming on a federal level.
While there is sympathy that the TDA is a voluntary organization with zero budget, comprised of people who give their time freely for the love of the game, many have been quick to point out that, if Adelson gets his way, there may be no need for a TDA in the future.
Online poker across the world has been instrumental in growing land-based poker in the US, marketing the game and feeding the big tournaments with players during the boom years.
The TDA was founded by David Lamb, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, and Savage in 2001 and since then has grown to over 400 members. Its stated mission is to “adopt basic standards, rules, and procedures that will positively affect the poker industry by inviting tournament directors, players, and media representatives to discuss, evaluate, and review proposed rules.” It has used the Venetian as its meeting place since 2007.
There’s a suggestion, however, that the TDA is listening. Global Poker Index CEOÂ Alex Dreyfus has offered to pay full the full cost of a new conference room, as well as A/V and accommodation for attendees.
“I don’t understand why TDA board host[s] this event at Venetian now that Kathy [Raymond] is away. Makes no sense,” he said. Poker Hall-of-Famer Raymond is no longer the director of poker operations at the Venetian and the Palazzo and therefore that tie between the TDA and LVS has been severed.
Dreyfus later indicated that the TDA is receptive to his offer.