Online poker players saw the merger of the New Jersey and Michigan PokerStars player pools on Jan. 1. Players can now battle it out for larger prizes, but for Pennsylvania players may be feeling left out.
One of those is trying to do something about it. Keith Becker is planning on getting the Keystone State on board and is working to make that happen.
“I’m working on a grassroots advocacy campaign,” he tells USPoker. “I began by reaching out to a few folks that I’ve come to know as leaders and influencers within the Pennsylvania poker player base.
“We carefully determined that the best course of action is mounting an email campaign to people in positions of influence – chiefly the new Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, but also local government representatives, and members of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board/”
Who is Keith Becker?
The online poker twitch streamer from Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, goes by the handle “AccidentalGrenade” on his channel. A former PokerStars streamer, Becker is now taking matters into his own hands and attempting to make some moves in the political arena for his cause. His love for the game started out like many others.
“I learned hand rankings and the basic functions of the game by playing Five-Card Draw for pennies or candy with my dad,” he says.
“When I found No Limit Hold’em, I played in a regular poker game with friends throughout high school. It was the type of game where we played together so much that we would get to these intense layers of psychology trying to ‘level’ and out-think each other – and all the fun that comes with it.”
A few big wins have come Becker’s way over the years. That includes a victory in the PokerStars Winter Series Deepstack Supersonic for over $3,600.
“It was a hyper structure so the late game shoves were crazy as always when you’re dealing with that fast structure, but the cards finally went my way after so many series near-misses and every poker player knows how good that feels.”
Becker is a major advocate of bankroll management. He recently turned a $20 satellite ticket into over $1,600 in the BetMGM Winter Championships.
The plan for PA to join Michigan, New Jersey
Becker is about action and hopes to help Pennsylvania enter into the interstate compact with other legalized poker states. If this happens, US players can expect to see even larger prizes and player pools.
Currently Pennsylvania is the highest revenue producer among legal states. Becker is beginning his journey by raising awareness and sending out emails.
Seeing a site go live in a shared New Jersey/Michigan might have the right timing to see some movement on the issue. He’s hoping a personal approach from fellow players might help.
“The goal in these emails is to communicate each player’s personal poker story,” he says, “what poker means to them and why the community and the game are so important – as well as how valuable merging with other states could be to our great state of Pennsylvania. With that plan, we’re now looking at pulling in more players to get writing and make it happen!”
The next step is adding a lobbying effort moving forward.
“I’m seeking counsel from a political advocacy and lobbying group to help in our efforts to push poker forward in Pennsylvania,” he says. “We’ve got a lot of good ideas and a solid plan.”
Becker believes if he can get the ball rolling, the result may be a domino effect. Other states that don’t have online poker might just get on board, he says. A few other states recently began considering online poker legalization.
“Obviously, I come in here with a bit of bias, but I think if poker is regulated in a state to begin with – as it is in Pennsylvania – then joining multi-state should be the absolute definition of a slam dunk,” he says. “It’s simply a matter of moving poker from the political back burner to the front – getting the right eyeballs open and focused.”
Plans for 2023
Besides making a push for the merger, Becker will continue to grind online on a regular basis. He plays about four nights a week, consistently streaming on Twitch.
More live poker will also be part of his schedule, which started with a few events at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
Seeing the Keystone State in an interstate compact will also be a major bullet point for this poker pro. Those interested in joining the effort are asked to contact him on Twitter.
Becker has also created a Discord channel for players to share ideas and collaborate in the project. To join the effort, click here.