Rob Yong Takes a Peek at the U.S Online Poker Market And Tries to Grab a Capuccino With Sheldon Adelson

The author Pierce Brown once told a tale of a man who chased an impala through the savannah, hunting knife in hand. The impala outran the man, but the man didn’t stop running. The following morning, the man returned to camp with the impala over his shoulders.

“How did you catch that?” Asked his hunting partners.

“All beasts have to stop for water. I carry mine.”

That man is Rob Yong.

Remember those ‘Most Influential People in Poker’ polls that some magazine or other would run when human beings used to buy such things at the newsagents along with their 20 Malboro Lights and a copy of ‘The Pink’? If they were still in circulation, Yong would be looking down at everyone else. 

Twitter can stink like Shrek’s swamp, but some good comes out of it. Never before in the history of our species have we been so close to the thoughts and opinions of the leaders of industry, art, and whatever else I should use in that triumvirate if I were a smarter man. 

Take Yong as an example.

The man has always had poker in his veins. He’s always been a prominent member of the community, but rather than sitting on the barrel of the tank; you would more likely find him minding his business inside the thing. 

Not these days.

Barely a few months ago, Yong opened a Twitter account, and that barrel started blasting. It’s still steaming hot today. In no time, Yong has amassed more than 21,000 followers, all interested in his open and candid views on life and poker. 

Yong is one of the perfect foils for poker, because not only does he play in the highest stakes cash games in the world, his heart remains in the grassroots of the game – a place he spends most of his gardening time, planting seeds, and showering them with water. 

New York! New York!

In the past few days, Yong appeared on Joey Ingram’s ‘The Poker Life Podcast’, where the pair spoke for two-hours. Thanks to David Huber at PartTimePoker, we know that one of the discussion topics was partypoker’s future in the U.S.

Yong told Ingram that he had received numerous private messages on Twitter from U.S based citizens eager to know what he was doing to help create a change in online poker legislation.

The short answer is ‘nothing.’

From the interview:

“They {Twitter followers} don’t realise I’ve nothing to do with the U.S,” said Yong. “I’m just focusing on helping our dot-com. Well, they’re like, ‘Why aren’t you working on the U.S? Why is partypoker not doing anything?’ So it just kind of stimulated me to take a peek.”

After running the following poll, Yong jumped on a jet plane and headed to the East Coast.

It didn’t take long for him to see the silliness for himself.


On Meeting Adelson

One of the main impediments to online poker legislation in more U.S states is Sheldon Adelson. The founder of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. once called online poker a ‘cancer.’ If you’re going to win the hearts and minds, then one mind that needs changing is Adelson’s.

Through his contacts, Yong has managed to request fifteen minutes of Adelson’s time, in which he will try and convince him that online poker is not cancer and that if wielding effectively it could be a weapon used for good.

“I want to explain the difference in poker compared to other gaming like casino and sports. And there are 23 million people in America that play poker.” Said Yong.

Yong also plans to empathise with Adelson by playing the age card. 

“He’ll probably never meet me, but I’ve actually managed to network through to try at least request just to meet the guy for a cappuccino and try and explain to him how much of a community activity poker is,” said Yong. “I always say about my dad… he’s eighty-two years old. He’d probably be like, not even coherent now if he wasn’t playing poker every night in my casino. It’s just such a good community and social activity. I think poker — as long as you play within your limits — is like really good for people. It’s one of the things you can play at any age; any sex. Anybody can sit down at a table together and get to know new people. So I’m like really pro poker as an activity for human beings.”

What if partypoker does return to the U.S in a big way?

Yong believes great things will happen. 

At the time, partypoker decided to leave the U.S; they were the market share leader. PokerStars stayed, and took that crown in a market devoid of the most significant player. 

Yong believes karma is around the corner.

Once again, speaking to Ingram:

“partypoker pulled out of the U.S. market. Did the right thing. Listened to the government. Yeah? PokerStars and some other companies stayed in. Ten years later, partypoker is being looked upon a lot more favorably in the U.S. market when it goes back in, in terms of regulation, in terms of the players. Players know that partypoker does the right thing. So karma might come back. And I am absolutely sure that if the U.S. does open up in the future that partypoker would be the number-one online site because of what they did ten years ago by holding their hands up and saying, ‘Okay, we’ll do what you say, Mr. U.S. Government.’”

You can catch the entire two-hours right here.

If you’re still hungry for more Rob Yong action, then check out our latest interview with him in our series ‘I am High Stakes Poker.’