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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

2008 World Poker Open – Observations From Around the Tournament Floor

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I walk through the main hallway leading into the tournament area and see a pair of broken sunglasses strewn across the floor. Smashed into piece... a lens here... half of the frame 10 feet away... the piece holding that holds the glasses onto the ear down the hall another 10 feet. It got me to thinking about emotion in poker. Why do people become so emotionally invested? There is the obvious reason of money being involved and I think that is the root of the problem. For many people, the money they win or lose playing poker matters. They play above or beyond what they can afford and when they lose fear overcomes them. Fear of how am I going to live? This fear turns into anger.

Many people blame it on luck... to some horrific bad beat they suffered. That element of luck... is why it is important to be smart about how you go about playing poker. Know what you can afford to lose. I see too many people take their entire paycheck of $1000 and play two $500 tournaments hoping they can hit that big score. When they don't, anger overcomes them. They become desperate. Ask friends, family, anyone really if they can borrow money. This is the dark side of the poker world and it's everywhere you go.

The moral of this little sidebar? Be smart. Don't spend all of your money on one or two opportunities. Spread it out, give yourself the chance to overcome the luck factor. If you're a good player, over the long run you will come out on top but in order to do so you need to have that long run in the first place.

Since I have been here covering the WPO, I have noticed a mentally handicapped man named Luke who sits in the bleachers and watches. He is there, without fail, every day and is adored by poker players, tournament staff, and hotel staff. His Dad is a big player in the PLO cash games and brings Luke to watch the tournaments while he plays.

This is one of the good sides of poker. Seeing someone who loves the game. Luke is always smiling, shaking peoples’ hands, and receiving hugs. He's received more action from the cocktail waitresses and masseuses than any man in here. I don't know much about him... but I know that I'm glad to see him there each day because he brings a smile to my face.

The big name players are slowly but surely creeping into Tunica. Over the past few days, I've seen Men Nguyen, Robert Williamson III, Surindar Sunar playing in events and making it deep. I'm sure with the $5,000 PLO event coming up and the WPT event starting on Sunday that the Goldstrike will soon be the happening place to be in poker. I'm looking forward to it (and really hope this flu leaves me by then) and hope to share with you some of the things I see.

I read an article from a well known, professional poker player in one of the major poker magazines. The article wasn't an article... it was an advertisement for his favorite card room. The player goes on and on about this card room and how great it is. Is this what poker writing has turned to? I understand having your favorite card room and mentioning that but why not leave it at just that... say something like “XXX is my favorite cardroom because it treats its players great” and move on.

That same magazine had a listing of the most influential organizations and people in poker. I thought it was ironic that they listed two media publications but purposely did not list their main competitor (who is easily one of the more influential organizations in poker). From having seen it first hand at the World Series of Poker, I know these publications have a bitter rivalry. This merely confirms it. Truth in journalism indeed.

I've been thinking about my own list... the top 10 moments in poker history. The moments that helped define poker as it is now... that made it the huge success it has become. That'll be my next article coming up over the next few days.

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