I Got A Feeling…

Dear blog, it’s been nine months since my last post. 

It’s kind of cute that my Lousy Smarch blog entry hinted at good things to come in the following months as long as we waited patiently.  Unfortunately, I didn’t factor in the inability of most people to follow direction and sacrifice aspects of their livelihood to help the greater good.

Freedumb, it never fails.

Of course, my positive outlook on April 1st (oddly titled “Lousy Smarch”) did happen to be correct in one regard.  While 2020 was a shitshow for the majority of the world, I ended up having an amazing year. 

I moved into a beautiful house. I got married. I got a puppy. I was lucky to suffer the absolute minimum during this pandemic.  While staying inside for the past nine months has sucked, so many have had it much worse and I refuse to complain.

Furthermore, I was able to achieve one of my poker goals: the return of the Tuesday game. 

Very early on in the pandemic, an old friend discovered the play money games on PokerStars and suggested we have a game with a Zoom call.  That one night of fun turned into a weekly reunion of friends who had grown apart as we moved from dumbass loser 20 year olds to somehow competent 40 year old family men.  Wild. 

The Tuesday game has always been the best reminder of the joy that poker allows.  In our game, you can spend a Tuesday evening with a dude who has never played anything other than No Limit Holdem in a 8 Game Tournament and he’s just destroying a table that has three bracelet winners at it.  It is a collection of dorks and goofballs who make the bullshit world disappear with a deluge of insults and offensive jokes.  Most importantly, it is a perfect opportunity to lose $40 in a three-hour tournament and go to bed furious about the loss.  I love it and I am elated that we have been able to resurrect it. 

The return of the Tuesday game was also significant in resurrecting my love of mixed games.  Playing in an eight game tournament with some very tough competition is a great way to spark critical thought and excitement.  When I think about the lack of online poker, my sadness only relates to the inability of new players to learn additional games at an affordable price.  That includes me!  Very glad to have the opportunity to work on my game and hopefully get more people interested in playing the various mix games. The next step will be in 2021 when we move from the virtual setting!

That brings us to 2021. 

I have it on good authority (Pete Townshend) that 21 is gonna be a good year.

The goals will always spill over from the past:  volume, dedication to study, continuing to manage tilt.  

The only question is when and how.

When will I be able to play in a casino again?  What games are going to be running?  What is the future of the card room?  How badly will the economic damage of the pandemic influence the player pool?  Who will sit with us at the hooker bar at the WSOP? 

Important questions and hopefully all will have great answers.

Only one way to find out.

Onward!

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2020 Online WSOP Unmasked

The World Series of Poker has announced an online poker series in July with 85 gold bracelets up for grabs. But instead of considering how the WSOP can attract the most players during a global pandemic, complaints quickly surfaced about the perceived devaluation of the bracelet. 
 
There are some valid criticisms about the online series, but handing out bracelets shouldn’t be one of them.

Not WSOP's Job to Restrict Bracelet Supply

Bracelets are not like bitcoins, where there are only going to be so many. It is not the job of the WSOP to capriciously restrict the supply of bracelets. It is their job to create a special environment for players and fans, and to drive traffic to the tournaments and cash games.

The WSOP is the greatest poker festival that exists, precisely because it attracts an incredible variety of people from all over the world for a chance to win the most prestigious prize in poker. Professionals can ante up $10,000 or more for a single tournament to compete with a couple hundred of their peers. Amateurs with several hundred dollars can dream about navigating through 10,000 players – or turning $86 into $2.5 million.

Winning a bracelet is an entry into a prestigious club, not an exclusive club. People talk about certain events devaluing a bracelet, but, what is the value of a bracelet? Would they rather come in first for $250,000, or second for $260,000? What’s the line?
 
I know which one makes for a better story! But there are some things money can buy.

What the WSOP Does Need to Improve

Eighty-five online bracelets do not detract from the almost 2,000 live bracelets awarded to date, but terrible software certainly detracts from players’ experience. At the time of this writing, WSOP.com says, “Currently we only support playing one table at a time on mobile. PLO games and tournaments are not compatible on mobile.”
 
Really? They can’t fit four cards on your phone’s screen?

This isn’t even a new problem. There have been PLO online bracelet tournaments in 2018 and 2019, and if you’re at the WSOP, you have to drag a laptop around to play them. Just hope you don’t get moved to an interior table without a power outlet nearby.

And don’t even get me started about mixed games. Just like James Harden, WSOP.com has a strict flop-only policy, and there are no mixed game tourneys available. Somehow, the WSOP chose a partner for the international tournaments, GGPoker, that doesn’t offer any mixed games either. Perhaps Chris Ferguson can perform some community service and help bring the software up to date — or at least up to 2010.
 
There are other suggestions to improve the quality of the online product, including using real names for the bracelet events. Partypoker did a great job by displaying real names for the recent online Poker Masters and Super High Roller Bowl events. You don’t want any confusion about who’s playing online, or who’s the WSOP Player of the Year.

Bottom Line: It's More People Playing Poker

As states in America continue to legalize sports betting, we can only hope more states will continue to legalize poker too. What better way to show lawmakers there is a desire and a market for legal online poker in the U.S. than a successful WSOP online series? It will enhance —not detract from — the live WSOP experience. It will bring poker to more people.
 
How could more people playing online poker be a bad thing?

It may be the best we can get this summer, but perhaps we will hold cards together again in the fall. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some excitement built up in the meantime? I know a few people who can’t wait to finally wear a mask at the tables!

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Lousy Smarch

Well this is awful.

As March started, I was excited to take stock in my year to date.  Using my last entry as a guide, I was going to go over my stats to date and compare them to my goals for the year.  

I was going to point out that I haven’t played enough this year. When I have, the results have been mediocre. If I was going to achieve my goals, I was going to have to pick up the pace.

But then…

This.

Thinking or writing about poker seems silly.  Thinking about potential poker t-shirts is absurd.  Bragging about results or whining about losing lacks any perspective.

March sucked.  April is going to be a drag.  However, starting in May I’ll have a new place, with a new big basement perfect for a poker table and hosting old friends.  I will focus on that.  We just have to get there.  Until then, lets enjoy some music and wait patiently…

 

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