Kriesel is running for the Minnesota House of Representatives seat in District 57A which covers Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park, South St. Paul and Grey Cloud Island Township. Personally, I think it’s cool that he’s running for this seat, because if elected it will be nice to know that poker players have somebody who understands the current issues.
“I have always had an interest in politics,” Kriesel says, “but rather than sit back and watch from afar I thought it was time to get involved. I believe that people should be put before politics, the partisan antics need to come to an end, and that is what I plan to do if elected.”
Kriesel served as an intern at the US Senate in Washington DC, and he has served as a volunteer on other local campaigns, providing him with some valuable experience.
I had a chance to ask John about his thoughts on poker in Minnesota. After all, many poker players wonder why we can’t play no-limit hold’em, and they also wonder why online poker hasn’t been fully regulated nation-wide yet.
PMac: A lot of poker players feel that poker is mistreated by government, mostly out of ignorance. Poker still is NOT considered a game of skill, legally, and is lumped in with blackjack, pai gow, etc… Yet in Minnesota alone, more than 400,000 people play poker on at least a semi-regular basis. What are your thoughts on poker as a skill game? And if legislators were fully educated, would they feel differently about the “moral issues” regarding poker?
Kriesel: “The game of poker is predominantly about making correct decisions not just benefiting from mere chance; this fact alone separates the game from any other game played under the roof of a casino. For this reason, I will support a bill that labels poker as a game of skill within our state.
“Where I believe I differ from other elected officials is that I am not ashamed to admit that I enjoy playing poker and other casino games. I know firsthand that a skilled poker player, over time, will win more than that of an inexperienced or bad player. Although that statement can be said about any casino game, the difference with poker is that it is played against other players and not the house.
“In a study conducted last year by Cigital, over the course of 103 million hands, 75.7% of hands did not go to showdown, meaning that three-quarters of all hands played were won based on the skill of the bettor and not the strength of their hand. According to the study, in the remaining 24.3% of hands that did make it to showdown, the player who held the best hand only won 50.3% of the time. In the other 49.7% of pots, the player with the best hand folded prior to showdown. Overall, the best hand actually won the pot just 12% of the time. Therefore, according to the study, Texas Hold’em can be seen as 88% skill and not predominated by chance.
“It is my belief (or call it my hope) that if legislators learned these facts, their stance on the “moral issues” of poker would change. With that being said, I am sure that some will still consider poker gambling, regardless of the language of the law.”
It’s refreshing to chat with an aspiring politician who “gets it” when it comes to poker. John certainly has my endorsement.
If you have questions for Kriesel or want to help with his campaign in any way (you do not have to live in his district) visit www.johnkriesel.org or email John at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@johnkriesel), and on Facebook.Phil Mackey is a sports radio personality at 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. He's also the editor and publisher of Minnesota Poker Magazine, and the co-founder of the Minnesota State Poker Tour. Contact Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org