My plea to the poker player
The Long Term success of poker depends on one thing; that players continue to enjoy and play the game.
Seems rather obvious, doesn’t it? So why am I taking the time to write this seemingly obvious post? The truth is professional poker players continuously surprise me on how horribly they treat people who are crucial to the continued growth of poker, a game they make a living off of.
There are players in the game who study it inside and out. Who understand the complex mathematics involved, and can see every possible way of playing a hand. They are successful and based on math long term, they shall continue to be successful. They spend hours studying the game, and strive to be the best. For the purpose of this argument, lets call this group of players ‘the pros’.
Then there are players who have no intention of being the best in the world. They enjoy the experience poker gives them. The ability to sit down, relax, gamble a bit, and BS with the other players at table. Poker creates a brief escape from their real life. It is a hobby to be enjoyed on free time. I will label this group as ‘the amateurs’.
Poker works when the two form a mutualistic relationship, where both parties benefit.
The Pro benefits by having a game to play in, by making a valuable contact who he wouldn’t otherwise have a connection to, and finally by making money off the amateur. The amateur benefits from the enjoyment they obtain from playing the game, and the opportunity of learning from the expertise of the pro.
The game dies, when the amateur is no longer having fun and quits poker. When the amateur feels like nothing more than a form of income to the pro, the enjoyment he originally had ceased to exist.
There is an amateur player, who would have happily given Millions to the game of poker. He enjoyed playing the big game, and all he wanted was to be treated like ‘one of the guys.’
He no longer regulars the game.
He ultimately realized that he wasn’t going to be accepted in the group of pros, and would always be ‘the fish’ to them.
On multiple occasions, he left the game, went upstairs to his suite, and later called the poker floor to ask if the game was still running. Imagine his hurt when he learnt, that this group of players who he considered friends, had all left. They hadn’t informed him or invited him anywhere. He realized he had been targeted as the weak spot, played, and then as soon as he left, they stopped playing.
Poker players can give off this air of being so smart. Yet the amateurs are often times self-made millionaires and billionaires. They are not dumb people! They know they aren’t as good at poker as the pro is, but that doesn’t stop them from sitting down and buying in for bricks of cash to try their luck at the table.
What will stop them from playing, is when poker is no longer fun for them.
I am proposing that as poker players we are entertainers. It is our responsibility to make the poker table a fun place to be. A place where players of all skill levels, and abilities continue to play poker and enjoy it, together.
No player should ever feel the poker table as a hostile environment. No one should ever be unwillingly criticized for the way they play a hand and no player should ever feel like a bank machine.
I am pleading to all the players, to not make the same mistakes we have made in the past. I am asking you to treat your fellow table mates with respect and genuine friendship. As pros and amateurs we have something in common, the love of the game of poker.
Poker professionals, it is your responsibility that you assure your profession has a future. For poker to grow and to flourish we need to make the table a great experience for all players.
Now that you understand, the theory aspect of poker. It’s time to study the social aspect game. It is as important as any GTO application you have already mastered.
Poker is after all a game, and games should be fun!