March 26, 2011
I have read many peoples blogs over the past 12 months voicing their opinion's about the state of online poker, and where online poker is headed. I have to say that I disagree with about 95% of their theories and opinion's. Almost every single post places the blame on Bum Hunting for the bad state of poker. Most of them are claiming that recreational players are afraid to sit, or get intimidated by all of the "sharks' who are unwilling to play each other. I think that theory is untrue, and I don't for one second believe that this is having a major adverse impact on the games in a way that they portray, or at the very least not on the scale that they are claiming. I also see today's games being compared to the games of 5-6 years ago, and these people truly believing that if Bum Hunting were to some how disappear the games would magically convert back to the days of '04, and that is CRAZY TALK. It just isn't that simple. Do I believe that Bum Hunting is good for poker?. No, of course not. Is it the end all be all?. Absolutely not. There are a lot of factors as to why the games are harder and action is not as rampant as it once was, many of which we can't control.
in 2004 poker was unexplored compared to 2011, and there were not 15 training sites, and UIGEA restrictions, nor was there an economic meltdown. Sites like the one where I am posting this blog have certainly not helped the overall state of poker in any way. They have turned tons of losing players into break even or marginal winners. Full Tilt Poker will grant anyone free access to poker training from upper echelon players for merely playing at their site. The average online poker player is much better than the player of years past, and exposure to these training aids has made this happen. The UIGEA has given many recreational players the false impression that online poker is illegal, and the ones who know its still legal to play get such a hassle when trying to deposit that they don't even bother. People are not spending money on recreational activities at a rate they once were. Vegas is a prime example of this. The economy is in the shit, and recreational players don't have the disposable income they once did. The recreational players who have stayed a float during the economic crisis have likely had a change in priority as well. I am sure majority of people are working longer and harder for their money, some will be moving around the country trying to find better jobs, thus having less time for recreational activities (poker). All of these points are obvious and many of them have been discussed in other peoples blogs, but the emphasis is always placed upon bum hunting.
Heads up poker is where the majority of the"bum hunting" takes place, and it will forever be this way because the model the best players want to follow will not work. The model they want in place requires "everyone to play everyone" or 'King of the hill" and that just does not work. If you start a HU cash table and you get action from someone who you know is going to crush you into oblivion, but you are forced to play him EVERY TIME he sits with you, are you really going to continue playing hu when you are added to his friend list, and he stalks you day in and day out?. The only way it can work is if you are always able to play someone who you are equal to, better than, or a slight dog to until you are good enough to play this stalker who is able to exploit the system just because he is much better than you. The everyone play everyone logic isn't very logical, and is comparable to someone being forced to open their new self started fast food restaurant next to a McDonald's with out having a choice, just because McDonald's has rank. This obviously favors McDonald's in the long run because the self starter will be out of business in no time unless they are able to overtake the KING, and it's the same in HU poker. This is depriving a lot of middle of the road players from making a living just because they are not, and maybe even don't want to become the best. The best players will counter this and say " but now everyone has access to more fish" and that is: a) not true, and b) if it were it does not matter because the lower level player will now be trying to get even from the fish or be making an even smaller profit because he was forced to lose money to the best players. It's complicated, and a lot of people are willing to jump on a band wagon just because some famous players agree it is in the best interest of poker, AKA THEIR BEST INTEREST, and don't think about it for themselves. I don't have the answer, but I am pretty sure the answer isn't to simply end "bum hunting". The flood gates are open! PEACE