Has Poker Reached Its Intellectual Summit?February 14, 2014 1:03 pm
This week, an interesting article appeared in pokernews.com posing the question whether the game of poker has now become unbeatable. The piece’s author, Nolan Dalla, is a well-known journalist/player, and has been the Media Director of the World Series of Poker since 2002. It was therefore fascinating to hear the picture Dalla paints of the current state of poker as far as professional players are concerned, and its not a pretty picture, either.
Nolan Dalla proceeded to explain that these days there are more sharks at the top of the poker pyramid than ever before, resulting in dramatically tougher games and shrinking profit margins for the pros. Furthermore, with less and less players having a discernible edge over their competitors, Nola says that poker ultimately then becomes “an exercise in pure chance.”
Even if poker hasn’t quite reached its intellectual summit just yet, advanced strategic concepts familiar to pros such as hand-ranging, bet-sizing, and so on means “we’re inching ever closer to poker’s intellectual summit.” Eventually, this could spell doom for the popular forms of poker people enjoy today, such as no limit hold’em, casing point being that when people figured out how to win at such one-time popular games as five-card draw and five-card stud, these formats soon were consigned to history and basically became extinct. This also helps to explain why mixed-game concept have become so popular over the last few years.
Harking back to earlier times, Nolan Dalla had this to say about the evolution of the game and how things have changed since the days of the colourful road gamblers, now considered to be the giants of poker history.
“The days of Doyle Brunson and “Amarillo Slim” Preston and Brian “Sailor” Roberts and Puggy Pearson running the poker universe aren’t just dead, they’re a black hole. Now, there are hundreds of players light years better than those legends ever were on their best day.. We can romanticize the good old days all we want, but we’re living in an era when, purely from a technical standpoint, the game of poker has reached a high-water mark.”
However, whereas high-stakes poker games are likely to continue being profitable as the very best players devise new variants of games to take advantage of weaker players slower to learn the new games, Dalla argues that low and mid-stakes players will also be able to continuing beating the vast majority of opponents who continually make mistakes and “don’t have the time or incentive to take their game to the next level.”
Finally, Nolan Dalla concludes his article by highlighting the huge boost to the game brought on by the Chris Moneymaker boom, who qualified for the 2003 WSOP Main Event via a US$39 satellite tournament, eventually winning the competition for $2.5 million.
“That said, everyone’s long-term prospects will be improved considerably by working towards new ways to create another poker boom, which in turn will trigger another influx of new and inexperienced players into the game, providing substantial opportunities for those who survive long enough to be the beneficiaries,” explained Dalla.