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

I don’t think I have to give up my Krispy Kremes until I pack on a few more pounds and that's a choice I should be able to make on my own. Okay, it's a choice I've already made, but just because I don't eat Krispy Kremes anymore doesn't mean you can't. Right now the hurdles addicted gamblers have to clear to lose their house, wealth, and life aren’t very high. In truth, a (regulated) poker site like will at least try to monitor problem gamblers whereas a bookie who is a phone call or click away will try to soak them dry.

There are no compelling arguments against legalizing online poker. None. Gambling is evil and should be outlawed everywhere? Come on, if you are reading this blog you know for some poker isn’t gambling.

What happens if they do legalize it? Here’s where I may surprise you. A poker boom, probably not as grand as the Moneymaker effect, but definitely a boom, will hit but just as quickly as the last one faded, if not faster, the boom will disappear.
Here’s why. Think of poker as a series of sieves and grinders.

What’s wrong with the game is money pours into the sport like pebbles into the sieves and grinders. Players on the first level capture some of the bigger fishes and hold on to that money, eventually though, the folks they are better than disappear and the new influx of money is gone. Players that lose to everybody quit because they discover they suck or believe they got cheated but the stop putting money into a game they rarely pull money away from.

Talk to live players and see how many of them will tell you a story about why they stopped playing on the Internet. Invariably, it ends in them getting cheated or the game being rigged. In truth, for those that are any good they may simply not having the patience to outlast the variance or they may have terrible bankroll management skills. The ones that are bad are simply bad.

Back, to the grinders and sieves, the influx of poker money is gone, and the top level of grinders (dual meaning there intended) push the money back and forth grinding it down. Some of it is released in a dust with it falling through all the sieves in the form of rake to the empty pit that is the House, but some of that money is grounded to the next sieve. This is simply players in search of new games take that money up a level or players in search of easier games go down a level, beat the game and bring that money to the next level of grinders and sieves. The rising popularity for Omaha right now is a symptom of players looking for new places where they have bigger edges.

You can follow the image I’m sure. Obviously, money comes in at every level of play, but new money has a limit at any level. Eventually, if you play it out all money goes to the house when there is a rake. The best players feel it last, but without an influx of money the poker economy fails and fails pretty quickly. (Rakefree poker site has even more value when you think about it as it’s the only way to save the game in the LONG, LONG, run). Basically, poker works like a ponzi scheme when you sit back and look at it in a big picture.

People that rely on the game for their living, are subject to the whims, and economic circumstances of their opponents or “victims.” Live pros have long understood that players that play recreationally fund the game. Guess what, as the level of prowess has risen (and the general knowledge of an average poker player is light years ahead of what it was 10 years ago) so, too has the chances of the casual player diminished.

To be continued (yes, I'm not done yet, but almost :))...


James Atkin said…
Another poker boom would be nice!

Have linked you up and followed you. Would be cool if you'd consider doing the same :)


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