I finished down around $450 or so from my airport play last night, a fitting conclusion to a long six-hour wait at the Westchester Airport. As I peered over online tables, I caught a glimpse of what lies before us.
When you think of Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio, it’s hard to understand why the following players sit time and again around the same table fighting for each other’s chips: David Benyamine, Eli Elezra, Doyle Brunson, Jennifer Harman, Chip Reese, Phil Ivey. We’re talking about the best of the best of the best, players who are notonly masters but know each other intimately.
Most of us are constantly looking for some sort of edge on the field we’re playing with in poker. Some of us patrol the stats of tables, looking for >30% of players seeing flops. The more folks there are seeing flops, the looser the play. Normally, this is also an indication of fresh, green poker talent. Call them fish, call them newbies, call them ATM’s. They’ll most likely call you again and again working hard to catch their runner-runner straights.
This emerging period after IUGEA, PartyPoker, and NETeller will have some complexity of impact on the poker world. Sites will go away, magazines will disappear, websites will become ghost towns. The real impact of this changing poker world lies in the stats at the tables. Head to watch the $25/50 NLHE tables, and the % of players seeing pots is <15% most of the time. Yesterday, as I searched for some LHE or NLHE game on PokerStars and FullTilt, it became clear that the 18% and 22% readings everywhere meant one thing: the new poker world was becoming the land of a tribe that no one really likes. It is called the Tribe of the Poker Players.
I first saw this post-IUGEA at the Bellagio, when I snuggled up to my friend the $15/30 LHE game only to see that the game looked like some Seven-Card Stud game. I was the spring chicken of the group and was proud that I had the second shortest ear hair of anyone at the table. Yes, this great bastion of poker, the testing ground for those coming from their home games, was now filled with a bunch of Poker Players. Rounders, grinders, call them what you will, but by and large the tables were filled with people who knew what they were doing.
Online poker is heading to the same destination. NETeller’s decision throws a curve into the plans of newbies for the most part. Most Poker Players have bankrolls on sites and don’t go busto only to reload. It makes moving money between sites a longer task. But really what it does is prevent the bad player from going busto then reloading their account, often while tilting is still in effect. I know something about this as I used to be from that same breed of player.
I’ll leave it to others to speak of laws, of civil liberties, of government priorites. For me, it means that all of us need to bring our A games all the time, bring more focus to our play, and make significant improvements to our game. The easy money, well, it won’t be that easy anymore.