Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Dinosaur is Dying

"The once proud game of 7-Card Stud is dying a slow death in poker, trampled by No Limit Hold'em in particular. Every year there are fewer Stud tournaments. And every year there are fewer Stud players as the post-war baby boom busts up. As an example, I started playing 7-Card Stud when I was eight in 1954. Dwight Eisenhower was President. I'm now nearing 60 years old. Almost no one younger than me prefers to play this game anymore. Too bad, poker could use the diversification, but the end is near for this once great game. Like Omaha, Stud isn't photogenic for television. And television is now life itself in poker." --Mike Paulle

My poker career is probably coming to an end. I know this, it's no big surprise, no late breaking news. I just don't care enough for Hold'em. I wish I could build up some passion for it, but I know it's not on the horizon.

Most likely I'm going to keep traveling around to the few Stud tourneys still offered, which will probably dwindle until there are just one or two per year, and then I'll ride off into the sunset. I'm just a Stud-wannabe, who never got her chance to hit the big time. I'm not good enough yet to have won anything big, and with the dying nature of Stud, I probably never will. I was never on the fast track to success, as it was, and since there are less Stud tourneys being offered, I likely will never get there at all.

For whatever reason, this doesn't disappoint me much. I am one of those people who feels that if I'm going to do something, I should do it right. I don't want to be a twenty-one year old who suddenly takes up poker, decides I'm going to win a bracelet at the WSOP, goes to Vegas, takes a few billion lucky shots in a tourney, and walks out with a bracelet, while all of the top players are shaking their heads and dissecting my play, citing how many times I was a huge underdog and had to "get lucky" to stay in the tournament.

Sure, everyone knows to win a tourney you have to get lucky at times, but there is Raymer lucky, and then there is Varkonyi lucky. I don't want the overwhelming "she can't play a lick to save her life" type of lucky. No, I'm not saying Robert can't play, he can, but no one disputes how lucky he got in 2002, not even him.

I noticed that Foxwoods has posted the New England Poker Classic schedule. It looks really good, but who knows if I'll be able to go to Connecticut in March. I'm not going to hold my breath, with the problems I've been having in the past couple of weeks.

Greg told me that Glenn and I should buy a summer home in the northeast, and just stay at Foxwoods for as long as my health would allow me to be there. He is a lovely person, who always has held my best interests at heart, and I would LIVE in Foxwoods if I could, but I just don't think I can handle the northeast at all anymore.

Some people are complaining about the juice at Foxwoods. I know that I never got around to writing up my experiences there, but I will make sure to post some tidbits here and there. For what it's worth, FW runs an amazing ship. They do a great job, and although some people might be shocked to read this, coming from me, I would play there with the increased juice, even though they are charging far in excess of many of the big tournaments I play in.

When it comes down to it, for me, the thing that bugs me the most is not paying juice, it is what I get in return for that juice. In some cardrooms, I get a bunch of incompetent dealers, horrible floor people, rude players, no food, no coffee, a lot of hassle all around and sometimes even money stolen from the prize pool.

Foxwoods is different. The dealers are decent and respectful, for the most part, and dealing to someone like me (and many others) isn't an easy job, believe me. They really are put on the spot, because I notice a lot, and expect a lot. I never abuse dealers, they don't deserve that no matter what, but I am extremely picky about dealers who move the button twice, or shove the pot to the wrong player, or forget to make change for an oversized chip. We've all seen these things. Most of the time it's just an oversight, so it's no big deal, but if a player points it out, getting a rude, snippy response from the dealer isn't going to make things any better.

Okay, so FW has good tourney dealers (this is comparison to the dealers I have had since the poker boom, btw, not compared to dealers before 2002, who were fantastic, and we all took for granted).

Second, FW treats their players like real human beings. None of this "poker players are scumbags and we just want your money, we'll treat you any way we want to" crap that is going on today. No, FW isn't perfect, yes, you are gonna get some lip anywhere you go these days, because for every player who threatens to walk away, there are ten there to take his place, but I rate FW very high on the friendliness scale.

Compared to some structures, FW has pretty good playability. It isn't number one on the list, but it isn't some crazy crapshoot where they just want you in and out, to keep from stinking up the place.

Starting at 10am is a real bummer. I understand why they want to start early, but it would just make it so much better if they would make each event a two day event, if it was still being played long after midnight.

The food is good at FW. Whether you are eating in one of their twenty restaurants, or just eating the free tourney food, they totally go out of their way to make you happy. Coffee, ditto.

Foxwoods always adds money to the prize pools. While this may not be a boost to players like me, up and coming, who don't cash often, this does cut the juice for the winning players.

So you can see, with me, the people make all of the difference in the world. For whatever reason, I feel much more comfortable paying 10-15% to people who actually treat me like a decent human being, than paying 5% to people who sneer at me, and think I'm a scumbag.

While I am not fond of everyone and his brother suddenly charging a billion dollars in juice to unwary, unknowing players, I would rather pay it to Foxwoods that a lot of other casinos.

Looking back at the old days, the days when the prize pools exceeded the buy-in's (there was no juice, but there was lots of added money), makes me nostalgic and sad, but then again, that is what I am, a dinosaur. I keep telling people that I'm like this old horse who broke it's leg, and I'm just waiting for the vet to come put a bullet in my brain, put me out of my misery.

The death of Stud is turning out to be a slow one, so the death of my poker career will likewise probably be slower than I'd imagined. Until then, see you at the tables.