Anyone who follows poker knows that the World Series of Poker has grown far beyond its humble beginnings of decades ago. No longer is it the old, strictly American event that got little coverage outside of a page 2 news article. Now it is played in the lavish Rio amongst thousands of great players that fly from all over the world just to compete in the Mecca of poker.
But recently, there have been people bashing the WSOP because it doesn’t screen out certain people who choose to buy-in into its events – the most notable being the popular sports blog that goes by the name of Deadspin.com and Gambling911.com.
First the Deadspin, Will Leitch (who also owns the blog), went on a rant about how he didn’t even know the WSOP was going on and that its demise came at the same time Burt Reynolds movies are made about it. Then he talked about how Ernie Scherer III, who is possibly a suspect in the murders of his parents, is attending the event citing Gambling911.com as the source.
Tracing the story over to Gambling911.com I found that they not only reported on Scherer III but they also talked about Shahram Sheikhan who was convicted on charges of sexual battery and annoyance or molestation of a child. There is a move to get him deported back to Iran for his crimes.
Now Sheikhan obviously committed a terrible crime and may be forced to close up his six tattoo parlors en route back to Iran for it (in addition to the jail time he served). And if Scherer truly murdered his parents, this is a huge travesty that should be punishable by death so there is no problem in reporting on these two’s whereabouts.
But then Gambling911.com tries to make some sort of connection between the morals of the Olympics and the NFL vs. those of the WSOP by using comments from a reporter named Tom Somach. Somach’s comments are as follows, “Seriously, do you think a guy convicted of child molestation and serving nine months in jail would be allowed to compete in the Olympics or the Super Bowl for that matter? Or anything of substance? But he can be in the World Series of Poker and nobody cares.”
One thing that is missing in this whole equation though is that the Olympics and Super Bowl don’t charge buy-ins for the players to participate. The WSOP does making it totally different from the other two. Tons of other differences can be made but the bottom line is that the WSOP should not be made into some kind of criminal circus because a 2 of the 50,000+ players have, or may have, committed awful crimes.