Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

Can We Stop The Games Getting Nastier?

Had a couple of sessions of poker over the weekend, and had it in mind to return to the subject of poker getting nastier / ev of berating fish line of thinking. Instead of bemoaning the horrible abuse dished out even in trivial money situations, I figured I’d look at things from another perspective.You see those players reading strategy sites, books and watching training videos are a minority in online poker. Can not recall the exact number now, but it was something like 80% of players will never visit a poker forum let alone pick up a book… if you are someone who takes poker seriously, an aspiring pro perhaps then you are already ahead of 95% of peers… if you are a profitable grinder then <1% of your peers are ahead of you. 

These numbers can help give a perspective on the ‘rest’ of the poker world, the part that provide the cash for you! People who enjoy a game of poker, like the opportunity to win a few bucks – yet are happy to deposit to fund their entertainment as and when required are not only the huge majority of the online poker economy – they are what makes it possible for the 5% to exist.  Yet every time I play the games get nastier and nastier… and this weekend was no exception, someone makes a bad call and gets there on the river, they end up with their (losing) stats all over the chat box and deeply personal insults for 10 minutes+ . It happens again and again, some lower level professor starts things off and *boom” personal insult warfare! Are these games fun? 

Personally, I no longer have time for the serious grind (as I’m sure you all know, running SNG Planet and many other sites is more than a full time job alone!). I often play late in the evening, tired, with a couple of beers to relax at the end of the day. In these situations I am as likely to ‘mess around’ as to take the games seriously, depends on my mood really. I’m swapping money (or at least the opportunity to make some more) for relaxation and entertainment… yet it is more common than not someone ends up talking trash anyway, if not to me then someone else who is a genuine novice… even in games where the money is trivial in real-terms ($10 or less for example). 

Since I first played online poker in 2004 it has gone from being a reasonably friendly game to something that is actively nasty… and in my opinion it is getting worse and worse. Here is my thought for the day… if poker site stood out from the crowd and could demonstrate that the games were friendly, fun and entertaining – would the recreational players be more or less likely to spend their money there? Would they be more likely to deposit a second and third time when they ran out of funds?  … and importantly, would these games be more – or less – profitable for those of us who take the game a little more seriously??

Think about it, hard. Sure, one blog post will not change the prevailing drive towards nastier and nastier games. If I can get a few readers to ask ‘what can I do?’ to make things friendlier and thus more profitable… then that is a good enough reason to write this post!!  

GL at those tables, Mark

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