Confessions of a Poker Writer: Freedom of Expression

TAGs: ben wilinofsky, Dan Colman, freedom, Lee Davy, Nollan Dalla, Olivier Busquet, Poker Writer Confessions, Writer Confessions

In this weeks confessions series, Lee Davy takes stock of the Olivier Busquet/Dan Colman ’t-shirt’ scandal, at the recent European Poker Tour Super High Roller Final Table, in Barcelona, and asserts his belief on the importance of freedom of expression.

Confessions of a Poker Writer: Freedom of ExpressionDo you like it when somebody tells you what to do?

Don’t do that.

Don’t say that.

Do it this way.

Don’t do it that way.

It makes me shake my head, tighten up my lips and screw up those eyes. I hate it. I always have, and I always will. It’s the reason that I never did very well in school, the reason that I left my job on the railroads and it’s the reason I got divorced.

Try and tell me what to do and I will fight back.

As a writer, I can’t think of anything more horrifying than being censored. Everybody is different. We all have different views and we reserve the right to express those views.

You don’t have to believe them.

You don’t have to be angered by them.

My passion is to help people quit alcohol. I believe that this poison causes tremendous harm in our world. I have very strong opinions on this and I share these opinions with the world.

I am not trying to force you to quit. I am merely offering a service for those who want help. You do not have to read my work, listen to my podcast or watch my pretty face on video.

You have a choice.

The poker player Ben Wilinofsky sent me an article written by one of the foremost experts on addiction therapy, in the United States, Stanton Peele. It was called, ‘Truth We Won’t Admit: Drinking is Healthy.’

In the article Peele suggests that scientific evidence is overwhelming in its view that moderate alcohol consumption is healthier than total abstention. I vehemently oppose this view for so many reasons. When I read it I felt anger towards Stanton Peele. I believe his views can be damaging.

Then I calmed down.

I reflected.

Stanton Peele’s words cannot hurt me. They do not cause the anger to well up from the depths of my gut. It’s my attachment to the thoughts, created by his article, that cause my pain.

I drop the thoughts.

I don’t feel any more anger.

Stanton Peele is entitled to his opinion no matter what that opinion may be. To argue that he is not means that I am also calling for a zipper to placed on my own mouth.

Sing Stanton sing.

I don’t need to let it affect me.

I won’t let it affect me.

I can debate the issue if I want. I choose not to because I find these sorts of debates – when people are at complete polar opposites – don’t often generate any value.

This is why I am annoyed that PokerStars have decided to ban any clothing that contains political messages on future episodes of PokerStars TV, in the wake of the Olivier Busquet/Daniel Colman t-shirt scandal in Barcelona.

Although I am not surprised.

It’s all about protection of the brand.

The precious brand.

With PokerStars fighting tooth and nail to get into the US iGaming community, you would think they would have chilled out a little bit when it comes to any form of censorship.

They cannot get a foot in the door because they are deemed to be bad actors. It’s clear that the players want them in. PokerStars want in. But the lawmakers won’t budge. We all want to play with their toys and somebody is stopping us.

That makes me angry.

It should make PokerStars angry too.

This is why I am surprised at their decision.

If Daniel Colman and Olivier Busquet are guilty of anything, it’s the phrasing on their t-shirts.

Instead of the “Free Gaza” and “Free Palestine” phrases, wouldn’t it have been more sensible to have some form of wording around peace in the troubled region?

We all recognize peace.

Can’t we all rally behind that?

That’s my view.

One that I am entitled to.

Just like Daniel Colman, Olivier Busquet and anybody else in this world that is brave enough to have an opinion.

We cannot criticize our players for being mealy mouthed, tight lipped and boring, and then castigate them for having a controversial opinion. I don’t like people with filters. It makes them boring. Bring forth the people who tell it as it is. They are more interesting, they provoke healthy debate and as Nolan Dalla points out on his blog.

“It helps show you who the idiots are.”


views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of