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2011 WSOP Commentary - Has Aggression Killed the Game?

19 June 2011, By: compncards
Aggressive Poker 430x287
Aggressive Poker 430x287

Susie Isaacs made an interesting comment in an interview she gave yesterday to PokerNews.

She said that she enjoys playing in the Seniors Event at the World Series of Poker because it feels like "old timey poker."

She said that it isn't a bunch of kids going "all-in, all-in, all-in" all the time.

That statement got me to thinking about my own poker playing and my playing preferences. I tend to play a lot more Limit poker than most people around my age and have always enjoyed the game.

No-Limit games do have their share of players that overuse the "all-in" weapon, and the constant aggression in the game does make me wonder if the overuse of aggression in No-Limit Hold'em has killed the game of poker.

When I ask this, I am not talking about poker at the highest levels or among the best players in the game. I am talking your standard games that you find in your casino and at online poker sites.

It does seem that most No-Limit games have become virtual shovefests. The player that is the most aggressive and avoids getting unlucky or running into traps the longest tends to be the player that wins.

No, that is not always the case. Solid players can still do decent with the old time style, but when the solid players are not running well, this can lead to some lean times.

The constant aggression of players has in many games made the actual cards next to irrelevant.
 Granted, that is the goal of poker players at higher levels, but at lower levels, players want to play cards. They want to play a game of poker.

Most are not interested in the psychology, metagame, or any type of "game theory" that goes into No-Limit Hold'em. Those things are great for the higher limits, but for the everyday Joe that plays the game, he wants to play cards.

So to a degree, the evolution of Hold'em players has somewhat killed the actual card game for many. However, many people just getting into the game in recent years don't know the difference and, eventually, nobody will care.

That's sad in a way, but then again, that's poker.

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  • Conan776 19/06/2011 9:33pm (10 years ago)

    I suppose if solid players (assuming you means TAGs) wanted to play in less aggressive games <i>en masse</i>, there just would end up being more Pot Limit games spread (either tournaments or cash).

    But they've got to balance that choice out with the generally accepted wisdom that the fish want to play No Limit, putting these solid players in a bind. If they are comfortable enough to adjust and call down maniacs (like me) light in marginal situations post-flop and otherwise adjust to trappier post-flop lines, No Limit isn't going to die for them because the cash games stay +EV and/or there's enough of an overlay in the tournaments.

    Someday they'll be a sea change (pardon the pun) and all the fish will decide a different game is the next big thing, but I don't think any thing will change until then.