Many have wondered when we’d find out about a prominent, openly gay male poker player.
On the female side–Vanessa Selbst has been out and open with no problem for awhile (in one of our favorite red carpet appearances, she even showed up with a couple of dates to the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship a few years back).
However, we’ve been in the industry for about 8 years now, and never really heard any (legitimate) whispers about a male player until last year.
A couple of days ago–on Valentine’s Day–that person–Jason Somerville–came out as openly gay with this blog post.
Our thoughts on this are mixed. On one hand–it’s 2012 and really, it shouldn’t matter. At all. And society for the most part seems to have moved past “being gay” as a big deal.
On the other, poker is a very Alpha-male. Like other locker-room driven industries (i.e. sports), it’s why “active” players simply don’t come out. In that regard, what Jason did is really unprecedented. While poker isn’t a sport on par with the football, soccer, basketball, or hockey (fuck baseball), it still gets plenty of burn on ESPN and more TV hours–pre-Black Friday at least–than many of the aforementioned sports in the U.S.
In that sense, Jason coming out is actually huge. It’s never easy to be “the first” in anything, so lots of respect to Jason for having the cajones to do so.
Player reaction to Jason’s admission was–as to be expected– really strong across the board (shit, even Perez Hilton got a word in on it). Here’s a sampling of what other players said about Jason coming out.
Good for you kiddo! Well done.
@JasonSomerville There’s nothing more liberating than being true to yourself. Thank you for sharing with us and much respect.
@JasonSomerville Hadn’t read your blog and I saw on your FB that Perez Hilton was praising you. I was very confused. Happy for you, bro!
@jasonsomerville announcement. I’m GLAD to finally see a male poker player come out. Best of luck this year Jason
@JasonSomerville I can see your finger hovering over your mouse, debating clicking the “post” button. U must feel amazing today, congrats!!!
I’m glad you are getting support for your blog. I hope you enjoy acceptance and good times in the future.
Read Jason’s full blog here.