Cardrooms of the Future?
Having spent four days and nights in the mass of confusion called Commerce Casino, followed by seven days and nights in the pits of LLHE hell called the Princess Sapphire, I started thinking about what cardrooms of the future would resemble.
I used to think that the poker boom cleaned up poker. I was naive. Yes, to an extent the poker world has been sanitized. I hardly ever sit down in a cardroom and see players hitting dealers anymore. In fact, the last time I saw this was at the Four Queens during the Four Queens Classic in 2004. A player got upset at the dealer and stood up and decked him. The dealer, in turn, stood up, picked up his chair, and hit the player with the chair. I got to play against this lovely guys wife at Commerce last month. Nice lady, poor thing.
The last time I saw a player burn a dealer with his lit cigarette was at Boulder Station on NYE in 2003, I believe. Smoking has mostly been banned from cardrooms, so that form of abuse is null and void due to lack of availability rather than reformed players.
Dealer abuse to the extent of the horrors of 1950-2000 has mostly been abolished. The players, however, aren't any different. They didn't go to special clinics in order to learn how to behave like proper adult human beings. They were just cut off from their ability to abuse. I'm sure when they go home to their wives (most of them don't have wives, but I'll still use it for the sake of illustration), the wives will bear the brunt of their abuse. If their wives have gotten smart and left them, their dogs must bear their abuse.
So while poker ROOMS have cleaned up somewhat, the scum of the poker world still exists. Their abuse has just gone underground somewhat.
As 2002 turned into 2003, poker rooms started attracting younger and younger players. Since the explosion of poker, the chief demographic of a stereotypical poker player is the young, 18-26 year old guy. Cocky attitude, ballcap pulled down over his eyes or turned around if he is "running good," earbuds stuck in his ears (but player turned so loud that those around him can still hear the thundering rap music), folded Cardplayer magazine in his huge, sagging back pockets of the jeans he has to pull up every 15 seconds or they fall to his knees, dark sunglasses, athletic team shirt, untied shoes, and ghetto strut that looks like he has one short leg. The smirk on his face indicates clearly that he thinks he is above the rest of the serious poker playing community.
The Wynn is rife with these guys. They used to frequent Bellagio in droves, but now Wynn is the place to be.
Sitting next to them can be a challenge. If a seat opens, they typically spread their body over the space just vacated, so that the new player is forced to ask them "permission" to sit down. They like this kind of dominance over the table. If the dealer has to request the tool to square the table, he usually argues vehemently in order to protect his two spaces. A floorman inevitably comes over to require godboy to move and behave like an adult, or leave the cardroom. Acting put out, he will make an inch or two of space.
The act that these wannabes put on is a show in and of itself. They ponder every move. Not sure if they want to call the $2 limp, or raise to $4, lol. For thirty seconds they will look at their opponents, look back at their cards (no, they didn't magically change, idiot), sigh, look at their stack...
Inevitably, someone will say, "Look, hotstuff, the cameras recording you aren't going to be shown on ESPN!" The tool, instead of being embarrassed by his poor etiquette, usually picks a fight with someone or everyone at the table.
Okay, okay, I could go on with this all day. You know what I'm talking about. You've been there, you've seen it. In the past three years this has become the stereotypical "norm" at almost any game, any limit. The tools have worked their way up from 1/2 or 2/4 all the way to 400/800 (very few of them, but they are still there, and some play very well).
Poker has been taken over by these guys, god love 'em. The stereotype has changed from the grumpy, abusive old man to the 18-26 ghetto wannabe.
Along with the stereotype being changed, the form of abuse in the cardroom has been changed, too. I used to hear things like, "Oh, I don't believe in women in the poker room, but I can't do anything to get you kicked out, so I'll have to try to bust you instead. Hey guys, when she's in a hand, everyone stay in, so we can school her and take all of her chips and she will have to leave."
Now I hear things like, "Shi-, girls don't know how to play no poker, dayum! Dey be ugly dykes like you who can play poker. Shoulda been a guy, you so ugly and mannish! You must be hanging with Kathy Liebert."
To the older men, the abuse is more like, "Hey Grandpa, why don't you learn how to play? You old dinosaur, go to the rest home and leave poker to the real playas like me!"
To the dealers, these guys can be really brutal. They think that the dealer brought on every beat they take at the table, and they vocalize it. The dealers are usually too passive to say anything. For whatever reason, dealing seems to attract a passive, victimlike personality. They rarely stand up for themselves, and when asked why they tolerate abuse, they usually say something about wanting to protect their tokes, or that these tools are "good for the game" and their income. Complete BS, but that is what I typically hear.
All of this brings me to my point, the future of cardrooms. And that is a whopper which I've just recently formed a theory about.
But first, what is the theory that readers might have? When you think of poker rooms ten years down the line, what do you imagine? There is no wrong answer, btw. Unlike so many other blogs, I don't flame people for their opinions.
I'd like to hear what you have to say. I already know my answer, and it will be provided later today, with links that I've found recently and topics that have been discussed on Two Plus Two.