Saturday, July 22, 2006

Take them Dives for the Short-end Money

The WSOP is shit again. Now not shit in the Harrahs are running it like they are prime contenders in the half-wit Olympics sense. Although, if other reports are even partly true, then they are a shoo in for that particular Championship. Nor do I mean the death of any kind of impartial, non-tourney sycophantic reporting. That died probably a couple of years back. What has really struck me is how bad it has been for those folks who want Poker to be a sport.

Obviously, Harrahs and the Media Circus clearly view poker as just another reality TV show. Because they wouldn’t treat genuine sports stars in such a shoddy way. But unfortunately the results of some of the play seem to be confirming their suspicions. The big names are not dominating. This is bad for poker-as-a-sport. What brings the money into a sport, especially in the USA, is either dominance of, or conflict between, sporting characters. And by characters I mean Tiger Woods not Mike the Mouth. This was always going to be hard for Poker, but crap shoot structures are always going to hurt this. In the WPT, for example, the antes accelerate as you get closer to the big money.

If some of the play is to be believed of the Cardplayer hand by hand, some of the winners have chumped their way to victory. Some of the recent John Gale victory hands were especially dubious. And saddo I am, I tracked Jules Gardner’s 3rd place quite closely and the ultimate winner seems to have played quite poorly. Certainly his move of calling off all his chips with KQs before the flop was very suspect – yes I actually number crunched this one, thanks Andy W.

The ultimate problem is that this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The more like Big Brother or Date My Daughter it becomes, the more it will be treated like cheap, ratings eating TV. But the public may have an unlimited appetite for sport, but far from it for another reality TV show.


Anonymous said...

It took me a year of playing to realise that I don't want to play in the wsop; most fans of the reality tv style view the wsop as some manner of holy grail. Surely, having people playing the game who view the wsop and the current faces as some manner of aspiration, are positive EV for the rest of us?

The good players I know who are headed over are going for the quality of the cash games around this time of year. The idiots are headed to play in the wsop and would probably fold AA in the first hand if everyone went all-in; they'd probably fold QQ in the BB if it was folded to the SB who wasn't protecting their cards properly and shoved with AKo.

The current boom can't last forever but no boom ever does. Do you really think competition in a game which has it's roots in mathematics is going to keep the public's interest? Kasparov -v- the School Spanner made chess sexy in the UK for all of 3 months but the public didn't really give a toss. Put a show on where gibbons and assholes win large sums of money and people will be captivated.

I'm waiting for the backgammon boom. Money in the bank.


Wintermute said...

For what it's worth, I was much less impressed with the cash games at the WSOP than I was with the tournies. The structures are somewhat debatable, but for the most part I didn't have a big problem with Harrah's, perhaps because I'm not a whiny little bitch like Negreanu or Demetriou.

At any rate, you're screwing yourself out of a truly great time if you decide to boycott the WSOP for some high-falutin moral reasons. It's fun as hell, and there is money to be made. I'd suggest looking past whatever disappointments you have in the lack of star-nuturing forces at the WSOP and instead just try to enjoy a good time.

Big Dave D said...

Cmon Mute, you should know me better by now. I dont give a flying fuck about those tourney donks. Im not as gay as you look on those blog photos - nice work on those reports btw, you should post them on rgp for posterity. And use your humongous roll to invest in some manly scars or somethin.

My real concern is that this boom last long enough for me to keep on making money out of it over the next decade or so, and thankfully, I think the Net thing isnt quite as linked to the Toruney boom thing as the other way round.

But I do think this is the line in the ground when poker went Big Brother and not ESPN 3.



Wintermute said...

I dunno about investing in scars--I think people play back at me in live games because I'm better looking than they are.

Big Dave D said...

Only if they are gay, sweetie :)

chaos said...

Well, I'd certainly take issue with the claim poker has its roots in mathematics, that seems to be just about the last place it has its roots. After all one highly relevant branch of mathmatics, probability, has its roots in gambling - Pascal, a game of balle and all that.

Thankfully, poker has its roots spread in many places whether it be the saloons of the wildwest, the jailhouse, the Mississippi riverboats, the pool halls, and of course the kichen table.

The many faces of poker is what I believe will sustain its popularity. People see what they want to see: strategy for the chess player, action for the gambler, probability for the maths student, tells for the psychologist, fame for the wannabe, value for the professional gambler, opportunities for the hustler,
romance for the film-noir fan success for the underachiever, escapism for the tormented....

The game of poker is undoubtedly a survivor and I'm certain that whatever happens as a consequence of the internet/media craze the game will be stronger than it would have been without it, if perhaps tougher to beat.

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Anonymous said...

I love gambling and watching the WSOP.