For years now, the NFL has frowned on players and events directly or remotely involving poker and any form of card games. Being a fan of both here in Slovenia, it’s difficult to fully understand why such a rule exists. The concept of poker and soccer is very well established here in Europe and it has both enjoyed remarkable success together on charitable events and in the field as well. Gambling is generally frowned upon anywhere in the world but I believe that online poker companies might help the NFL break new ground in conquering Europe.
There are a lot of reputable online gaming portals that are popular in Ljubljana. One of them is PartyPoker Slovenia. The partypoker franchise, along with affiliate company Bwin, has sponsored many charitable events and soccer teams to date. It promotes responsible gaming in a secured and well managed environment. True with all of its gaming portals, you can set limits as to how much you want to spend or none at all. You can use play money to access the partypoker games if you don’t believe in spending cash. Since poker is very popular here in Slovenia and the rest of Europe, traffic to online gaming sites such as these are a good way to showcase NFL teams and how the game is played. Even beginners in the game of poker frequent the partypoker site because it has ‘How to Play’ links and has several video tutorials that are helpful in learning the game. The culture of poker in Europe is very much different as the game evolved and spread during a time of strife and war. The game became a popular past time and only found its way in casinos because it was already popular as a card game.
As part of the fan base that fell in love with the NFL Europa during its short lived campaign from 1991 to 2007, I look forward to a revival in the coming years. The countries within its borders are now more open to Western sports and ideologies and a lot more countries emerging out of the old world (like Slovenia), is looking forward to new sports to make a hobby of. The NFL needs to understand that poker has a different heritage here than in the U.S. It would do well to team up with big names in the online gaming industry to gain popularity and a solid fan base worldwide. Real Madrid and Manchester United are two of the teams sponsored by Bwin. It would be nice to see some NFL Europa teams along with those names. It may be hard to imagine now given the circumstances, but you can’t stop a fan from dreaming or drafting our own team in our little heads. If anything, the unlikelihood gives fans something to look forward to.