Should Drug Tests be Introduced for Poker Tournaments?June 17, 2016 12:23 pm
Poker writer James Guill wrote an interesting article for pokerupdate recently in which he argued that poker tournaments should consider introducing random drug test for its players if the Global Poker League (GPL) is ever to realize its dream of “sportifying” the game.
In his post, Guill expressed his view that recreational drugs have long been a feature of cash and tournament games, with some players smoking pot “to help keep them from going on tilt while others may choose to take amphetamines in order to stay alert for the long shifts at the poker table.”
Taking drugs to improve performance, however, nullifies some of the “mostly skill” arguments made about the game, and at the same time has the potential to draw criticism from many of their ‘cleaner’ competitors at the table. The same applies doubly for GPL CEO Alex Dreyfus, who is currently attempting to change the dynamic of poker with his innovative new format, but whose GPL may suffer bad exposure if it is ever discovered that a winning team has drug-taking members.
Continuing his discussion, James Guill stated that while poker has come a long way since the game was viewed simply as just another gambling game, poker players are, nonetheless, still seen by many as living a “degen lifestyle”, and as he then explains:
“Sadly, some players love to live up to that lifestyle and recreational drugs are just one part of that lifestyle. Knowing this, tournament poker is only going to progress so far in the public eye as long as we continue to let drugs remain a regular part of the game.”
James Guill also points out that unless poker clean’s up its image, then major sponsors are less likely to invest in the game, including the likes of Ford, Nike, Reebok. Guill subsequently ends his piece by calling for clear guidelines and punishments to be established for players, stating:
“We all love to play against drunks that donk off their money to us and they’re usually tolerated. At the same time, how many of us would continue playing in a game where we knew that players were using drugs or other substances to keep an edge over us? If we want to keep tournament poker on an even playing field, drug testing should be enacted.”