June 02, 2012
Something I've seen a lot of lately is other regs complaining about how the games are dead. Those "everyone's solid" jokes are, for some, starting to feel a little less amusing. Many of these people are eagerly anticipating the "re-boom" of poker. I think these people are in for a long wait. Poker will certainly rebound again and again but there's no way we are going back to 2005. No matter what happens with the popularity and perhaps more importantly availability of poker, there will still be a saturation of trained regs and there are will be many more returning from exile when the water feels warmer. What we have to realise is that it's no longer possible to use the equation: videos+bit of coaching+sit down=profit as a viable long-term solution. All of those elements are and will remain very important, but it's going to get harder. The long list of professionals actually have to become professionals. That means more preparation, more study, more live play, learning more games, better mental attitude, better game selection, better quitting, better everything.
I feel as though many who rose during the boom period shouldn't even really use the term professional. It's more like we were all exploiting a hole in the software and that hole is being closed quickly. If we look at the rough time span of 2005-2011 you could say that you didn't have to be in any way smart or dedicated to make a lot of money playing poker and this is part of the problem we are seeing now. Poker players are inherently very lazy and being forced to adapt brings much screeching and wailing. This of course doesn't apply to everyone, the top 1% of players are definitely very smart, hard-working individuals. That's why they are where they are. I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about you and me.
What I feel many of the 99% fail to realise, however, is that despite the fact that we could all do with utilising more dedication and motivation life isn't over now that the boom is. You don't have to be incredibly smart and dedicated to succeed, just look at the current generation of actors, TV personalities and screenwriters as proof of that. I sports bet professionally for years as my only source of income before playing poker and without any kind of training site cheat sheet and I'm in no way super smart or naturally brilliant. Anyone else could do the same theoretically. Many won't, because tilt and BRM and confidence will get in the way and there's no support network to fall back on as there is with poker. But they could, if they really wanted to. They could also do almost anything else, if they really wanted to.
Poker isn't going anywhere but it isn't going to get any easier. That doesn't mean the dream has to end, but it does mean you should stop waiting for the rapture.