Poker pro Jason Somerville, better known to some by his online screen names JCarver and taknapotin, came out to the poker community via his blog today.
Somerville explains the genesis of his decision:
By the time WSOP 2011 came around, I had already begun to want real change, and once WSOP passed I had a few important heart-to-hearts with some very close friends and my mindset finally started to actually change. I decided I wasn’t going to focus on making decisions that were in my best financial interest, I was going to focus on making decisions based on how they’d impact my happiness – without making excuses. The obstacles that I had always created for myself – what if this, what if that – I put aside, and began making changes instead.
It’s a shame he ever felt / was made to feel that being gay would be an impediment to sponsorship. Somerville agrees:
They’re not gay, though, and no man who is a well-known pro in poker is open about it. I’m not quite sure why exactly that is, and of course everyone is entitled to be as open as they want to be about their personal lives, but for there to be zero high-profile openly not-straight men in poker seems…bad.
It seems obvious to observe that the poker community – or at least a vocal aspect of it – is way behind the curve on this issue. What it will take to make poker a more welcoming place for gay players is a much tougher puzzle to solve.