Deaf Poker Australia Champion Causes Controversy

  • Chris Smitton wins the Deaf Poker Australia Championship
  • Criticized by other players, as he is profoundly deaf in just one ear
  • DPA will be investigating the issue

Deaf Poker Australia will be launching an investigation into whether Chris Smitton, the winner of the DPA Championship was truly eligible to compete.

DPA Community Dubious Of Champion’s Eligibility

The Deaf Poker Australia (DPA) Championship attracted 100 runners from across the country. Chris Smitton beat out the competition and earned $3300 in prize money for his win, but other competitors are dubious of his win. It isn’t a suspicion of cheating at poker; instead, he has been accused of not being deaf enough to be the Deaf Poker Australian Champion.

After Smitton’s win was announced, Deaf Poker Australia members took to social media to criticise him. On the DPA’s Facebook post congratulating the winner, an individual named Damo Barret wrote:

“Congratulations to all the players except Chris Smitton. Thought the main event was for deaf and HOH (hard of hearing) only?”.

DPA rules that the players must “demonstrate a minimum of moderate hearing loss via an audiogram or medical certificate”. Smitton is profoundly deaf in his right ear while being slightly deaf in his left ear.

Players became somewhat suspicious when the runners introduced themselves using sign language, while Smitton refrained. Instead, he pointed at his ear near which he has a tattoo of a mute symbol. However, it was only after his win that other DPA members called him out over the severity of his condition.

The DPA has stated that it will launch an investigation into the issue. This is quite a complicated situation, and the organization will likely have to consult with doctors as well as other members of the deaf poker community.

The issue is also likely to cause the DPA to revaluate its standards. While players have to have moderate hearing loss to take part in the organization’s events, there are still varying degrees of deafness. So, the DPA’s rules may have to go into a lot more detail when it comes to defining the eligibility of players.

About Deaf Poker Australia

Deaf Poker Australia was established in 2008, and is a non-profit organization that aims to promote poker among players who are deaf and hard of hearing. The DPA has helped to develop deaf poker programs in New Zealand, and has worked with some of the biggest casinos on the continent, including Adelaide Casino, The Star, Crown Melbourne and SkyCity Australia.

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