California

Can Daniel Negreanu convince California to let PokerStars in?

PokerStars’ entry into the future California online poker market is still a point of contention as the legislation discussion continues. But can Daniel Negreanu finally help convince California lawmakers and tribal gaming interests that PokerStars definitely belongs in the Golden State?

The 6-time WSOP champion and Jason Somerville are headed to the state’s capital, Sacramento, to hold a “media briefing,” where they’ll discuss Stars, consumer protections and legalizing iPoker. Here’s a tweet from Negreanu on the matter:

“Will be in Sacramento Thursday to talk politics and online poker on behalf of @PokerStars. Feels like the right time to get CA on board!”

The timing of these two PokerStars Pros’ visit to Sacramento is strategic, given that the media briefing happens one day after the Joint Hearing Assembly Governmental Organization Committee holds a hearing on iGaming.

What is Negreanu and Somerville’s Agenda?

Make no mistake about it: this isn’t just about talking poker legalization and consumer protection for two hours – it’s also about helping to get Stars included when legalization does happen. And there’s nobody within the Amaya Gaming organization who’s more comfortable or popular in front of a press room than Negreanu. Somerville also has a pretty good speaking presence, considering that he’s been very successful with his “Run It Up” podcast and Twitch endeavors. So the idea here will not only be to talk legalizing online poker, but also to explain the benefits of allowing Stars into the market.

Will they have Success?

Assuming some politicians and tribal gaming interests show up to the media briefing, there’s a very good chance that Somerville and Negreanu can be convincing. The latter has used various social media outlets in the past to argue his points on how to make poker better and other issues. So there’s little doubt that they can get through to attendees on PokerStars’ behalf.

Will this change what’s going on in California?

Odds are that, no, Negreanu and Somerville will not sway the 6-7 tribes that are against Stars being involved with California iPoker. Several tribes are still battling to keep the world’s largest online poker site out, in an obvious play to limit competition and give themselves a better opportunity to succeed. So there will probably remain a division between multiple groups on who gets into the market.

But with regard to helping convince politicians to legalize online poker, this is something the poker pros should be very effective at. After all, California already sees the opportunity here, they just need to get the tribes, racetracks, state cardrooms and PokerStars to agree on something.