The State of Online Poker and the Game in General Part III

Unfortunately for those of that play Hold'em online the people that make our laws don't understand the world as it is today. I think part of the attraction of young people to Barack Obama was that he at least sold that he related better to young people (I'm not going to get into whether he did or not) whereas most of the old guard don't even bother trying to relate and those that try fail badly.

Unfortunately, Congress is mostly unaware and out of touch, there are realities that they just don’t understand, can’t be made to understand, and will refuse to understand. Problem is are country is run by a group of people that time has passed by. This is an old lament every generation makes, but in today's age it's far more true than ever. Those that make the laws and decide where to advertise don't even know what the new digita world is about. I wasted my breath and energy trying to justify the game to gentleman of that ilk (entirely likeable except the way they snorted in derision at my “fantasies” about poker) at my friend's wedding.

I compared the very best in poker to Wall Street traders except instead of trying to beat the nebulous market they merely have to outthink the fools at the table. I use the familiar law school story about two first year law students in the woods with a bear stalking them. One guy puts on tennis shoes, the other laughs at the folly of trying to outrun a grizzly, that guy responds to the laugher, "I don’t have to outrun the bear I just have to outrun you." This is no more true than on a poker table where the Bear is the Casino’s rake and the other players are the shoeless law students you have to outwit.

They laughed off that analogy and responded with how it was purely a game of chance. I told them I’d play them for any amount they wished and I was pretty sure my friends would loan me the money to play at their stakes, and I’d prove it wasn’t a game of chance. They responded anybody that confident must be cheating, nor was it the time or place, and even it was they weren't the sort to stoop to petty gambling.

Unfortunately, despite these guys being smart, they are just over-the-hill and misinformed. It’s not that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you can, it’s that you have to convince the old dog it’s worth learning the new trick and dogs don't listen too well. Spend any time with your grandparents and you’ll see their views are inelastic, no matter the change that is immediate, overreaching, and in their very face. As poker players we are trying to sell a game that is vastly different than even five years ago and it’s not the fault of the older generation don’t recognize what it has become.

Poker prodigies are Internet wunderkinds that are math whizzes and students in search of optimal play. Jonathan Little, one of GCP’s poker bloggers, has gone on record as saying Sit and go poker tournamentsat the highest stakes have been solved. The only money to be made playing against other players that know the solution is breaking even and winning on the rakeback. Many of the online players are kids are attacking the game with innovative strategies that formerly successful live players wouldn’t even begin to contemplate.

Going back to our legislators, the guys on the hill that advertise their chasing of a flush as effectively as they try to hide their chasing of a secretary can’t comprehend this. Or maybe, they have dabbled in the game and are so arrogant they are sure they only way they could be beaten, since they are so smart, is for the other guy to be cheating.

They’ve probably been beaten a lot, because as I’ve learned there is no bigger mark in a poker game than a smug, successful surgeon, politician, or genius that believes with self-satisfied arrogance their raw intelligence will prove superior enough for them to beat a poker game with no study or experience. Oh, to play in country club games everyday.

I don't know the drawbacks to legalizing poker, yes, it will enable some people to lose a lot of money quickly to guys that are their betters in the understanding of the game, but they should have the freedom of choice to take that risk. Sure, for some it might make it easier for addicted gamblers to lose everything, but those people already have a thousand avenues to lose it all anyway—what’s one more. That argument is like outlawing Krispy Kremes... I can’t eat a donut anymore because the rest of America is obese?

To be continued...


Ross Leitz said…
I try to explain to those who have never played the game who cant get past the notion that poker is purely "gambling". It is so far from reality that it is not even close. I have used the poker player vs stock broker analogy many of times & in the same situation that if I would be willing to play anyone of them heads up for any amount of money that they so desired. If they cant get past the surface its not my job to make them have to expand their so called brilliant minds any further that may cause severe internal injuries to actually understand the logic behind the facts.

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