Win at Poker or Go to Jail

Have you ever tried to gamble with your life? No? Well, I don’t blame you. It’s totally insane to risk something so precious on a card game – the very idea of it seems absurd, and yet it’s what Samuel McMaster Jr., convicted felon, has to do. He has to win at poker, else face a jail sentence. It’s such a cruel, warped rendition of poker that it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of those who hear about it.


MacMaster’s Story

Samuel MacMaster Jr. is a professional gambler from the state of New Mexico. At first glance, he looks just like anybody else in the world. However, this guy is not one to be trifled with. He is guilty of 26 felony counts of fraud, mainly because he sold false securities. As such, he has swindled money out of people and, now that he has been caught, is ordered by the court to return the money he owes. Simply put, he has to come up with a load of cash in a matter of months, and because he is a professional gambler, then the only legitimate way for him to earn money is to actually play poker.

The state has allowed him to leave New Mexico to travel to various areas wherein poker tournaments are being held. He has to win at least $7,500 each month. Miss just two of these payments in the next six months and he’s going to jail for twelve whole years. If he does manage this gargantuan feat, though, and turn himself into a proper pro in the next months, he will be facing a much more lenient sentence.


A felon in the Streets

Before you rouse any complaints about how the state is allowing a convicted felon to practically run free, remember this: Samuel MacMaster Jr. is hardly a threat to society. Phylis H. Bowman, the prosecture, has said that “There’s nothing to indicate that he’s (Macmaster) a violent threat to society. So based upon those factors, that’s what determines conditions of release. It has nothing to do with profession.” Indeed, this might just be MacMaster’s last shot at freedom. Whether or not you will wish him luck is up to you, but you have to admit that poker used in this context is probably no longer fun.

There’s just too much at risk, especially for MacMaster. Then again, he made his bed, now he just has to lie in it.

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