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.