Posts Tagged ‘bumhunting’

Joe Hachem thinks “Poker is Dying” – Is He Right?

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Earlier this week, 2005 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Hachem discussed the current state of poker during the Aussie Millions. And what he had to say about poker wasn’t exactly glowing.

After reflecting on past WSOP Main Event winners, which included ripping on Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang for ruining the champions’ legacy, he expressed his opinion that “poker is dying.” The reason why he believes this? Because Hachem thinks that the game is no longer fun for amateurs, with “young geniuses” bumhunting all of the fish and not offering up any interesting conversation.

The Aussie also mentioned how there are less Antonio Esfandiari’s out there, or rather guys whom the fish love to play with, even when they’re losing money. He added that watching poker on television is “like watching paint dry” because of the lack of personalities today. Furthermore, poker TV shows no longer focus on a pro’s style, personality or what they’re like away from the table. He closed by saying that some of the young ME champs like Ryan Riess and Greg Merson need to think about all of this since they’re ambassadors to the game.

So is Hachem right about everything that he said? You can’t argue with the point that poker is full of bumhunters these days, who play seek and destroy with the fish. The game also features less dynamic grinders who make poker more enjoyable to watch on TV.

But on the other hand, nothing Hachem said is an original idea. He’s just another person to jump on the fact that poker has transitioned into a more strategy-focused, mathematical game, where you either pour hours into becoming great, or you lose your bankroll and dignity.

As for if poker is dying, well, global online numbers suggest that plenty of people are still interested in playing. And this should continue as new markets open up across the world. But the live realm is still a big part of poker, and if famous pros don’t start developing some personality and social skills at the table, it will eventually hamper online poker too.

Is PokerStars moving to Zoom-Only?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

It’s been a few weeks since PokerStars made the controversial decision to switch all of their regular high stakes games (50/100 NLHE, PLO and up) to Zoom Poker format. And Stars recently struck again by changing their $25/$50 PLO games to Zoom on February 1st.

Given these huge changes, a poster on TwoPlusTwo raised a good question about if PokerStars is set on transitioning all of their cash game formats to Zoom. Here’s a look at the OP:

First it was 50/100 NLHE/PLO, now 25/50 PLO, eventually they will do this at 10/20 and maybe 5/10. I think lower limits won’t be changed, but who knows..

As Stars Head of Poker Communications Lee Jones said back in December, the idea behind switching games to Zoom format is to eliminate what’s become a predatory environment. Rather than top-ranked players consistently clashing in high stakes games, online poker has become a place where pros are far more worried about seeking out fish. As another TwoPlusTwo poster put it:

yea they do this to prevent the current predator system which leads to auto-sitting when a fish sits and auto-leaving when the fish leaves. it’s bumhunting to the extreme and it has to be dealt with

Going back to the OP, will Stars eventually become a place where the only cash action is Zoom? This is an experiment right now, so the answer to this question depends on if players are largely happy with the changes, and if Stars is happy with their profits. The world’s largest online poker site can more than live with a few disgruntled regs as long as they’re continually attracting fresh recreational players and making money.

Until PokerStars can move into the United States and other unfriendly, but lucrative markets, it seems that they’ve hit a ceiling. So look for them to keep testing Zoom in other stakes to try and get something going in the profits department. And even if they lose regs over this move, a good portion of these players will go to the Rational Group’s (PokerStars) other site, Full Tilt.