Prahlad Friedman: Does Poker Have A Race Problem?

2 years ago
Prahlad Friedman: Does Poker Have A Race Problem?
24 Jul

Here we go again… Last week Prahlad Friedman upset a bunch of people by tweeting about race.

The opening line is pretty charged. 

If you’re Caucasian or Asian you might disagree that, in general, life is harder for other groups of people. There’s a good chance of a knee jerk reaction to anyone saying they are tired of seeing Asians in poker. 

Or might just be one of the many idiots think that the specific example of Phil Ivey is enough to prove Friedman wrong.

However, if you are literate enough to handle the full 280 characters of the Tweet you can see it is a clumsy attempt to do a nice thing: free coaching to women and minorities.

Nuance is hard within a 280 character limit and calling out poker’s “systemic racism” will always make some players feel like they are being called racist. However, the idea that America’s institutional racism might affect how much time and money people of different groups can spend on poker doesn’t seem a complicated idea; but also seems to have thoroughly baffled a lot of Friedman’s critics. 

There was a time back in the 80s when the field was so ethnically homogenous that the joke was what kind of hat would win the World Series, a yarmulke or a stetson.

It appears that not much has changed since then but the hats.

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Jon is a freelance writer and novelist who learned to play poker after watching Rounders in year 9. He has been giving away his beer money at cards ever since. Currently he is based in Bristol where he makes sporadic donations to the occasional live tournament or drunken late night Zoom session. He ...Read more


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