Four Ways Poker Can Improve Its Image
Photo: Allen Bari
Veteran poker pro Matt Glantz wrote a post for his blog last week called "Responsibility in Poker."
In it, he talked about how that the actions of the new generation of poker pros can reflect badly on the game of poker.
To take that piece a step further, Poker Junkie blogger Compncards outlines four more steps poker players and the poker industry can take to look more responsible.
1) Eliminate the "Douchebag" Personas
The advent of both televised poker and reality television has contributed to the growth of players that show up at the tables with adversarial personalities.
They give off the persona that they just don't care. About you. Or poker. Or anything really.
And in some cases they really don't.
All they want is your money and they will do everything they can to get it including acting like a jerk in the process.
You know the player.
He shows up looking like a cross between Jason Mercier and "The Situation" off Jersey Shore with the personality of Allen Bari.
That player then does everything he can to annoy players at the table and then talk about how it is "another tool" of the game.
In reality, he's the only tool at the table.
If these players cannot get along with others at the table, how are they going to get along with sponsors?
Also, what company (outside of MTV) would want to put its brand on that person?
2) Make Poker Celebrities Follow the Rules
Poker companies claim to be doing all they can to keep players in line and follow the rules but once those rules interfere with the celebrity poker players, they cause problems.
Let's use both Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth as examples.
A couple of years ago, Phil received a penalty during the WSOP Main Event at the end of the day.
By the next day, he had talked his way out of the penalty.
If that had been you or I trying to do the same, our penalty would have increased for arguing.
This year, when Daniel Negreanu was told players couldn't talk about hand heads-up to get a read, Daniel kept going and nothing was done about it.
Granted, the ruling was wrong, but instead of asking to see Jack Effel right away or doing something else to get the matter resolved, he kept trying to find ways to keep talking about his hand.
He kept doing things like "so you say I can't ask..." and that sort of thing.
Both Daniel and Phil, or any other pro, should be treated like the rest of us.
If they break the rules, punish them the same.
3) Quit Glorifying the Drug and Degen Lifestyle
Get this through your head people.
Most everyday Joe Schmos that watch poker on TV look at being a "degen" as a negative.
They just don't get the whole sports betting and prop bet lifestyle.
An occasional prop bet that is unique is a fun story, but the constant bets on the flops, games, etc at the level that many players do it, is something that few can identify with.
Also, being a "degenerate" doesn't have a positive connotation in the real world.
I can't think of a single, non-gambling-related company sitting in an office saying "let's put our logo on degenerate gamblers."
Next, despite what your fellow stoners might think, drugs are still considered "bad" in the eyes of most.
Yes, even pot.
Those of you that want to make pot legal and brag about your smoking habits are the same ones that major companies will point to and say "this is your typical degenerate gambler."
4) More Charity Work and Contributions
If you want to improve the image of poker, a great place to focus on is charity work.
By charity work, I'm not talking about your occasional "poker tournament for xyz charity group."
I'm talking about poker business and poker sites of the world making more of an effort to do long-term, sustainable charity work.
The same applies to poker players.
Just showing up to play a poker tournament that gives money to charity is a nice gesture, but in many cases it is a token gesture at best.
I like what the Epic Poker League does.
It has one charity tournament at each event it holds and gives the entire prizepool to the charity, not just a portion.
More of those types of charity events would be great.
More involvement by poker players in actual hands-on charity work, along with more contributions from companies, would also be a great step to improving the image of players and the game.
Poker players already do do a lot for charity, which is great, but even more can't hurt.