re: Poker & The Future of Live Poker
"Does anyone here think poker will get more and more unpopular to the point where there are going to be rarely much fish at the table? Now we see there definitely aren't as bad players anymore like it use to be but does anyone think there is a chance the live games can get so bad where even the worst players aren't that that horrible?"
Let's review. Back in 1956, the Baldwin Group used the first computers to run simulations that resulted in the first comprehensive Basic Strategy for Beat the Dealer
which sold at least 700,000 copies. These 700,000 new card counters hit Vegas, Reno, and other places so severely that Blackjack was retired by 1963...
Oh wait! That didn't happen.
Blackjack is a helluvalot easier to beat than Poker. Memorize 21 simple rules, practice card counting, and you're good to go. Even the cumbersome Thorpe Ten Count could be mastered in a few months. Even if you didn't apply the strategy deviations (these occur only at extremes of card counts) you'd do pretty well. Even if you just learned Basic, you'd be doing yourself a big favor (and cutting into the casinos' bottom lines as this makes old fashioned Blackjack essentially a break-even game).
How much did Doyle Brunson's Super System
I'll call him Chet Tower, so as not to embarrass him. On this day, Chet wasn't quite ready for the poker big leagues and he had come to Las Vegas to challenge the best. I was about to take a seat in a game, as was Bobby Baldwin, another world champion.
It was shortly after I had published my original "Super/System A Course in Power Poker". Bobby was one of my expert collaborators for that book. So, Chet walks up and introduces himself, my "Super/System" clutched in one hand. He told us how much the book had improved his game since he'd purchased it yesterday. Yesterday? You can't possibly absorb the advice in a 600-page textbook in one day.
But Chet said he was eager to get started. So, we played. Now, it was obvious right away that Chet wasn't ready for big-league poker. If you counted the mistakes he made on your fingers, you needed to start using your toes inside half an hour.
And then Chet barged into the pot for a small $800 raise -- making any call fairly cheap. In fact, it was cheap enough that Bobby decided it was time to make a rare call, hoping to capitalize if he got lucky. Bobby called with 5-3 of different suits.
The flop was K-9-2. Chet checked, and Bobby decided not to be fancy. He had practically given up on the hand. So, he checked, too. The next exposed card dealt was a six. So now the board read K-9-2-6. When Chet checked, Bobby just checked right along, figuring that maybe he could catch a four and have that unbeatable straight, and if not he'd just surrender. The final card was a four. Now Bobby couldn't lose.
Chet made a small bet and Bobby sensed he could get him to call a lot more. So he made a large $36,000 raise. Chet thought long. Finally he said, dismally, "Bobby, I know you must have me beat, but I don't see how I can throw this hand away". Then he called, showed 5-3, the same unbeatable hand as Bobby's.
Not only had Chet not mastered what I'd written in "Super/System", he hadn't even mastered the knack of knowing the best possible hand. He hadn't even bothered to raise his last $12,000. He'd even considered folding before he finally called. Reluctantly.
of "Super System" was $100 at that time. "Super System" cost
Chet Tower tens of thousands.
another story related to his book. This one involved a 23 y/o plumber who'd come to his home to unstop a drain. He said: "I agree with what you wrote in the book: never play a Hold 'Em hand with a queen in it". Doyle insisted he'd written no such thing. He was wrong about that. It was wayyyyyy
in the back, in an appendix: "Colorful Names for Hold 'Em Hands". The oddest thing was calling (A,Q) "Doyle Brunson", and not the expected "Little Slick". There was a footnote that said the name was because Doyle never played this hand, and "never" was bolded. Out of a book with well over 500 pages, that's what the 23 y/o plumber got out of it.
Fact is: those 700,000 copies of Beat the Dealer
didn't make 700,000 card counters. I'd be surprised if they made 700. "Super System" didn't fill the card rooms with expert players. People are dreamers, not doers. They'll read Beat the Dealer
decide it's "too hard", "I can't memorize all that stuff", they'll try card counting for a few minutes and decide they can't possibly do it. They give up before they ever try. Yeah, it's pathetic, but that's the reality. Even worse, they'll go at it in a half fast manner, full of false confidence. If anything, Beat the Dealer
probably pumped up the win rate at the Blackjack tables.
They'll buy the poker books
, come to sites like this one -- maybe spend months or even years there -- and not learn a damned thing. They'll believe they did, just like Chet Tower, and these books and web sites will be a constant source of fresh fish. I've seen it myself: some of the most godawful players I've seen regurgitate forums like 2+2, throw around all the latest buzz words -- "range", "equity", yada, yada, yada as fast as they throw off chips.
"...Anyone think there is a chance the live games can get so bad where even the worst players aren't that that horrible?"
Not. Gonna. Happen.