CaliforniaSACRAMENTO — Key stakeholders in California’s online poker debate – including tribes, card rooms and tracks – have finally found an issue they can agree upon.

That issue: Banning lame puns from legislative press releases concerning online poker.

“For too many years, California lawmakers have made a mockery of the process by cramming all manner of mindless poker punnery into their statements announcing new bills,” read a statement from the National Organization for Preventing Unnecessarily Nonsensical Statements (NOPUNS).

“That ends today.”

So-called “Bad Puns” clause

The group has proposed a so-called “bad puns” clause that would sanction lawmakers who engaged in poker-related puns after February 20, 2015.

“It would be one thing if these puns were even a little clever,” said Bay Area card room owner and NOPUNS Director Kyle Ketterman. “But they’re not. It’s just “no more bluffing” this and “we’re all-in for poker” that.”

“Please, how old are you guys?” a visibly exasperated Ketterman added.  “Twelve?”

Bluffing puns among most abused

According to research conducted by NOPUNS, references to bluffing and going all-in are among the most hackneyed of cliche puns in terms of average use:

  • “Bluffing” or “not bluffing” or “calling a bluff” – 82%.
  • “Putting the cards on the table” – 71.6%.
  • “Going all in” or “betting the house” or “betting it all” – 68.7%.
  • “Dealt a losing hand” or a “folding hand” – 53.1%.
  • “Showing your hand” or “not showing your cards” – 23%.

“It’s nice to have something we can all finally come together on,” said Mark Lacchara, President of the California Online Tribal Alliance.

“I mean, some of us don’t like PokerStars. And a lot of us can’t stand the tracks.  But all of us are, to a one, abso-fucking-lutely sick of these god-awful puns.”

Lawmakers respond

California lawmakers immediately pushed back against the proposal.

“The ability to make puns is the ace up our sleeve,” said Assemblyman Roger Hall-Smith.

“When the chips are down, a well-placed poker pun is the stone-cold nuts that can leave your opposition drawing dead with public opinion,” Hall-Smith continued.

The Assemblyman then announced plans to introduce a counter-measure that would preserve his right to deploy, as he described it, “the royal flush of linguistic devices.”

When asked for a copy of the bill, Hall-Smith told BCP that “you have to pay to see.”