Why the upcoming poker bust will be a good thing

The news already informed you that the sky is falling, people are losing their jobs, and the economy sucks.  Vegas is on the verge of bankruptcy due to over leveraged billion dollar fantasy lands and the collapse of available consumer credit worldwide. 

Poker has gone through its uptick in the U.S. and it has since flattened – it is still growing elsewhere in the world but for how long?  Many people have been wondering when the poker industry would slow down…2009 could be that year.

In my opinion, the pending downfall of poker has the potential to make poker a stronger and more entertaining industry/’sport’

Here’s why:

-Less people playing the big buyins = More familiar faces making final tables

– More familiar faces making final tables = More interesting stories

– More interesting stories = more interested fans

– More interested fans = …well you get the idea.

Expensive buyin events like the 50k horse yield a tremendous amount of fanfare because the poker fans want to know what the poker ‘stars’ can accomplish, and generally these are the only people degenerate enough to play in these events.  8,000+ tournament fields do not allow enough big names to get there often enough, so it’s harder for fans to root for their favorite players.  

The November 9 experiment was conducted on exactly this premise.  Give the poker community, and the tv production companies, time to produce background stories on the players.  Build interest in a small number of players.

If poker can shrink in size, a lot of the fringe players will go busto, and the ones who survive will be the best and strongest players.  I’d rather follow a tournament with 300 world class players, than watch a lottery of 8,000 players with a wide range of skill levels.  

I started thinking about this as I was watching the recent WSOPE Main Event – this broadcase has way more ‘names’ on TV than the WSOP ME in Vegas had – albeit a smaller prize pool, but more interesting poker to watch imho.  It’s more interesting to watch Negreanu and Juanda play a pot than a few random satellite monkeys who happened to make it to day 4 (which is not to take away anything from that accomplishment – it’s just I don’t want to watch it on TV).

Certainly other variables can impact the entertainment value of poker for true poker fans – like deeper stake final table tournament structures, big buyin high stakes cash game formats, etc…but it’s interesting to think that the less people playing televised poker events could perhaps create a situation where it becomes more interesting to watch.

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One Response to Why the upcoming poker bust will be a good thing

  1. Thanks for a great blog! Checkout mine if you want.

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