Former IDF Officer Plays Holocaust Card to Win $1 Million in Texas Hold’Em Poker Tournament
By Robin Hoyer Ajib
Reno (NV)—A former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Major used his Holocaust card and beat out more than 1000 participants to win $1 million at the 2014 Bicycle Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino.
Avi Sharon, 49, of Rehovot, Israel was allowed to replace the 3 of Hearts with his own personal Holocaust card that can become any card and suit of his choice after the flop, which is the disclosure of the first three face-up community cards shared by all players. The switch allowed Sharon to hold a pair of pocket Aces, or better known in poker lingo as a pair of “AA Batteries ” or “Admiral Ackbars”, a reference to the amphibious Star Wars military commander for the Rebel Alliance. Sharon won the tournament on a Full House, a hand which matched his pocket high-cards with another Ace on the board as well as two 7s that came on the ‘turn’ and ‘river’, or respectively the fourth and fifth face-up community cards.
“I knew I had to go in strong and take command at some point of the game because I wasn’t doing great,” said Sharon, a 25 year veteran of the IDF who proudly was involved in such infamous assaults on the Palestinian Territories as Operations Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense and Determined Path. “But when I realized I perhaps was not going to win, I had to use my H-card to gain sympathy and to give me the freedom to do whatever the hell I want.”
After Sharon was crowned champion the sounds of mostly groans and whimpers could be heard from the audience of four hundred with no more than a dozen clapping jubilantly. Sharon screamed with excitement once the dealer announced him as the winner and shed tears as he received the jumbo check from Bicycle sponsors. This was Sharon’s third title in 12 years. In the two other times he played, the H-card, which is literally a blue card with a bold letter H was used four times to offset any low chips he may have had against some of the fiercest poker players in the world. Not surprisingly, many were not happy with the outcome.
“Every time this guy shows up, we all have to be ready to play against the Holocaust card,” said a peeved Sebastian Kroenecker from Rotterdam and the Netherlands poker champion who came in third at the tournament. “Why does he get to play that hand while all of us watch in despair?” In recent years, a petition had been signed by the International Cards Community (ICC) to prevent Zionists from playing the H-card describing it as “illegal.” In several instances reportedly in Europe, players from Israel who insisted they play with the card were immediately disqualified and sent home. However the United States Gambling Association, the biggest supporter of competitive poker, has supported the use of the tool in its effort to demonstrate solidarity with Israel. However, controversy did arise when Arab and in particular, Palestinian players tried to use their own H-card at tournaments but were unsuccessful as the U.S had not recognized Palestinians as a demographic in the process of being ethnically cleansed.
“I don’t understand why this favoritism is one-sided,” said Sameer “Sammy” Abraham, a Palestinian Christian from the West Bank who finished seventh. “Have you seen where I live? If that isn’t annihilation of my people I have no idea what is.” Stereotypical assumptions of those who would play the H-card were also dismissed.
“That is an insult to me and I wouldn’t use that card to win anything,” said Jerry Leibowitz who finished as the runner-up despite controlling the game for most of the leg at the final table. Leibowitz, who is Jewish and grew up in Boston, found the entire H-card play absurd. He stated most Jews in America don’t want some free ride based off an extremely unfortunate incident that happened almost 75 years ago. “It’s something which should always be remembered and commemorated. But to use that today as some vindication defies logic which is beyond me.”
A few celebrities also congratulated Sharon on an excellent performance including Jon Voight. Voight who has been in Oscar-worthy movies such as Varsity Blues as well as Anaconda and recently made himself look like an idiot by calling fellow actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz “ignorant” for speaking out against the recent Israeli military invasion into Gaza, tweeted “First you guys take out the Tunnels—now you take out the Tournament. Good job Avi!” Comedian Jackie Mason, who co-founded One Jerusalem, an organization which prevents Palestinians from gaining any sovereignty to the holy city, also showed his heart-felt support for Sharon by sharing his happiness to a robin that was perched outside his kitchen window drinking water. Apparently the 83-year old Mason thought ‘tweeting’ meant communication with a bird that would then relay the message to the intended recipient.
Sharon, who also uses the H-card for free pizza deliveries and priority boarding, was later asked if he won the tournament fairly considering no other player had a special card like him. “Yes it was fair. If I have the upper hand whether it’s in the military or in poker I’m going to do whatever I can to take advantage regardless if the world thinks wrongly of it. It’s my reasoning and it doesn’t have to make sense. My question to you is what are you going to do about it?”