Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Friday, August 29, 2003

Help needed at the top, or the bottom ?

On my return I had a good old trawl through the Hendon Mob Forum, which seems to attract about 10 times as many posts as the rest put together ! Right down near the bottom of page 2 was a rather vague post about “helping” British players to do better at next year’s WSOP. No doubt the poster has good intentions, but asking low-limit poker players to “help” the Devilfish & co is a bit like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas, IMO, and here’s why.

There is no doubt in my mind that every May a big chunk of money leaves the UK poker economy, never to be seen again. Most of it is simply lost by players who aren’t ready (and maybe never will be ready) to mix it at that level. A few people, whether by luck or ability, get a result or two in the tournaments, only to give it back in the cash games, the pit, or the remaining competitions. Even fewer record a good result and are sensible enough to keep hold of most of it. So most of the money stays in Vegas, and that which doesn’t is concentrated in a few (like two or three) pockets, and not much of this is going to make it back into the UK poker economy.

Now, if you want to go and play the WSOP for whatever reason (although I suspect that most of those who go West are being led there by their egos), fine, it’s your money. But to suggest that you need “help”, in whatever form, from the UK poker community at large, is little less than insulting. Bugger off and lose your own money :-). As you have noticed I have typed the word help as “help” throughout this because it was not at all clear what kind of help the proponent had in mind, although sponsorship and satellites were mentioned. Satellites I have covered elsewhere, though I will add that I believe the whole “festival” scene in Europe, and probably all over the world, is propped up by the dead money put in through satellites and over-optimistic local players. Corporate sponsorship (although unlikely to happen anyway IMO) would be much better for poker if injected at the bottom, not the top. Money added to smaller, local tournaments and cash games (high hand prizes maybe) would tempt more people into cardrooms more often and keep the game alive at the bottom of the pyramid.

What little corporate sponsorship there is at the moment is all directed into large buy-in tournaments. Most of it ends up in the casino vaults and what remains is in very few pockets. This doesn’t help poker at all IMO, in fact it might harm it by directing even more attention to these ego-fests. Quite frankly the reason that European players have struggled in the WSOP recently is down to one very simple fact. The “faces” aren’t as good as they think they are. And you’ll have to help yourselves on that one.


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