I spent many years in the dealer's chair listening, watching, and dodging cards while trying to close my ears and grow a hard shell to be able to stand some of the verbal abuse that was spewed out of vile mouths over a missed draw or a beat on the river. Surprising as it may seem, it was very seldom in low limit and usually built into the chemistry of someone that plays for a living and tries to move up the levels with an ego and no time/bankroll management or someone that really shouldn't be playing.
The dealer's chair has changed over the years, thanks to players like Linda Johnson who work at promoting poker and stopping dealer abuse.
What hasn't changed over the years is the attitude of SOME high limit players - the pros - that think the poker world is a free-for-all and they are entitled to muck it up anyway they want. A world without rules! A world that was blown wide open with Mr. Cinderella Story himself Chris Moneymaker's run to the WSOP championship, the hole card cam, the World Poker Tour, The World Series of Poker, and all the glitz and excitement of possibly becoming a poker champion at the multitude of big poker tournaments that are held on every street corner around the world – and highly attended.
The public has stars in their eyes when they stand on the ropes surrounding a big poker tournament with top names in attendance. The world stage was created for poker, it's the most intimate glimpse you'll ever get of a person without crawling inside and sifting through the layers – and the world is waiting for the next curtain to go up.
And where are those poker pros? Are they shining a big, bright light on poker as a fair, wholesome, honest game of cards? Are they protecting their lifestyle by projecting that poker is a legitimate profession? Are they behaving honorably and protecting their poker community?
Honestly, do you think when someone in Ohio reads the news that the Full Tilt Poker pros owe over $16 Million to the company that the reader thinks 'gee, they must've been running bad...' or 'they probably lost on their sports' bets' or 'they're good for it' OR do you think the reader goes, 'Holy shit! What a bunch of degenerate bastards. I knew poker players were all flakes!'
A pro should have learned the proper values about the game of poker and how it pertains to and feeds their livelihood; how easy it is to make themselves look bad in one move on camera at the tables and how it's even easier to give the great game of poker a bad rap by their actions. The media and the poker forums feed on any gravitational pull toward the dysfunctional side of life.
Those on the inside realize that borrowing could be to satisfy any number of financial concerns and may not be related to poker at all – but the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way. It looks like one more BIG BLACK EYE on the poker community.
And yes, borrowing appears to be a huge part of the game – for the pros anyway, even if poker isn’t the reason. With all of the social media and quick internet access to forums and news stories, what might have been kept quiet a few years ago is now on every street corner and in everyone’s face when they turn on their monitor.
How do the rest of us that just want to play online poker get the pros to behave publicly? It’s hard to show elected officials in the United States – especially ones that are protecting us from our own morality – that we are all grownup and really can handle playing poker online from the privacy of our home when the pros that seem bent on darkening the reputation of poker make it very difficult at times.
If you have to borrow money to feed your habit, please do it in private and pay back so it’s kept private. Please!