Channing is Right - Younger Hold'em Players Do Suck the Fun Out the Game
I played semi-professionally for two years starting in 2006 and I can tell you that even from that point until now, things have changed dramatically in not just the game but also how people act.
I play very few live NL Hold'em events nowadays. In fact, I haven't played a live Hold'em event since 2011. I am what I personally consider above-average on a good day.
A lot of that is because I don't focus a lot on my NL play. At first, I used to say it was because I didn't enjoy the game. That's not entirely true. I honestly do not enjoy many of the people that play No-Limit Hold'em.
What Neil explained in his blog is the reality of many poker tables. If you claim that you do not see the same things as he does, then you may well be one of the people he talks about.
There are so many that play that claim that they are "professionals" yet cannot put together the buy-in for even a basic $200 event. Most are in make-up to their eyeballs or have burned bridges with just about every poker associate that they've ever had.
The two years I played semi-pro, I got to know a lot of the backers well in California and quickly found out who the real winner were in the region. Trust me, with a few exceptions, they were not the young NL kids.
The biggest thing I have noticed about the game is how it changes people. Much like Neil alluded to, many of these kids seem to have had the fun sucked out of the game or their idea of having fun is to make everyone else miserable.
And the bad thing is that it is not just the players. There are a number of people that work in the industry and the media that I have seen changed as a result of the game. Earlier this WSOP, I was somewhat shocked at the way that a certain media member acted towards people. A couple of years ago, this would have been completely out of their character.
When I played regularly, I focused a lot of play on limit games. People used to ask me how I could stand to play with "cranky old people." I would personally take a table full of cranky old people over a table of your average Hold'em players any day. Even with their crankiness, there are some amazing stories you can learn at the table.
For example, in my very first seven card stud cash game that I played in California, I was the youngest guy at the table by 30 years. I was around 32 at the time. When they weren't complaining about their hands, they told some amazing stories about Korea.
My favorite game to frequent in California was the Hawaiian Gardens $3-$6 Stud 8 or Better game and not because the game was soft but because of the people. There is nothing like playing Stud with people ranging from 40 to 98.
Yes, I said 98. "Paw-Paw" as we called him was a sharp players and I never saw him leave the table a loser. Of course, his wife would fuss at him if he lost. She needed her bingo money. (I am not making a sterotype here. She really did take his winnings and play bingo.)
Poker is supposed to be a people game, but unfortunately many Hold'em players with their attitudes have sucked the fun right out and made the game more of a chore to play. Whether you view poker as a game or as a profession, if it is something that you do not enjoy, it is likely not something you will stick with.