Poker Opinions Are Like ********, Everybody’s Got One
Op-ed stories worth checking out, even if you don't agree.
With the World Series of Poker and the WPT500 both in full swing we figured that you might want some longform reading material to occupy your brain in between folding yet another crappy hand in mid-position.
While F5Poker doesn’t really “do” the longform article that often, we do check out as much as possible to try and bring you some of the most interesting content out there. This week there were a couple interesting (not necessarily good) editorials that we thought you might find to your liking…let’s check them out all in one super long post.
Subject: Daniel Colman – $15,000,000 Man
When Daniel Colman snubbed the poker media by not granting an interview, it spawned quite a number of articles and op-eds. Honestly not all of them are worth a damn, but you can, of course, read what we wrote: Daniel “mrgr33n13” Colman – Wizard Wins One Drop, Declines To Do Media, Sets off Media Firestorm
We also linked to a few worthwhile reads when Daniel Negreanu responded to Colman, which you can check out here: Daniel to Daniel – Make A Choice, Don’t Compromise Moral Code For Money
And while noted author James McManus declared Colman the new $15M anti-hero, and poker pundit (and reader of F5) Dan Katz wonders aloud if ambassardorship is an obligation or choice …
Put simply, no. Poker players put up their own money to participate in games, be they tournaments or cash games. For most of us, if we have a bad day at work, it’s just a bad day. We still get paid. If a poker player has a bad day, he not only doesn’t get paid, but actually loses money, as well. They owe nothing to anyone but themselves.
Perhaps the most compelling Op-ed to come out of all of these comes from prolific poker writer Steve Ruddock (who makes us all look bad with his output).
Read: Why We Should Promote Poker not Poker Pros
In our opinion, the article is a well thought out warning about the dangers of promoting the misleading promise of professional poker while omitting the dark side – the swings, the instability, the fact that you have to be great, not just good, to make it.
We keep calling it a game of skill, but trying to quantify the skill element is quite difficult and an impossible exercise for most players to undertake. Sure, you can quickly learn to play poker better than 90% of your opponents, but only about 5% of poker players win in the long run, and only about 1-2% win enough to survive on.
Is this article right? Who knows? It is compelling and definitely worth reading. It’s a reminder that no matter what ESPN, PokerNews, Twitter, Instagram…and especially we jerks here at F5Poker tell you, always play with your head, not the rent.
Subject: The Kevmath (Non) Controversy
The other day we shipped a post about Bluff Magazine's Kevin Mathers (aka Kevmath) getting staked by big name pros into the Main Event: World Series of Poker Main Event – Kevin “Kevmath” Mathers Gets Shown Main Event Love
We thought it was a fun little story and not long after we posted, Bluff themselves even posted a more in-depth article on the same subject which is also a solid read: Players Come Together to Help Put Kevmath in the 2014 WSOP Main Event
Then a little known site, Nevada Poker Reviews, which looks to be a future affiliate site, pushed out an interesting Op-ed entitled Want Unbiased Poker News Coverage? Buying a Player into WSOP Isn’t the Way
It’s an skeptical take on Mathers being backed by big time pros and it’s taking the hard stance of poker “journalists” (this word is in quotes as we don’t consider there to be many true journalists in poker media) being too close to their subjects and, to that end, how can Bluff continue to be unbiased.
Journalists from any field aren’t supposed to accept gifts such as this which they could profit from. They aren’t supposed to accept gifts that, in an unfortunate circumstance in the future, would bias their coverage in the future. They aren’t supposed to become PART of the story, they are supposed to report the story.
While it’s an interesting take, and a pretty harsh shot taken at Bluff. It is a little misguided on his specifics. While he may be on to something with anyone considering themselves a journalist getting too close to those they report on, Mathers is more of a stats guy. He’s not Bluff’s crack reporter, doing the feature articles or undercover work, he’s their minister of information. Op-ed author Earl Burton may or may not know this but while his article’s thesis is not without merit, in journalistic practices, his “gotcha” example in this case isn’t a very good one.
Putting this into perspective is poker writer John Mehaffey who took to the same website to voice his displeasure and produced a counter-point to Burton’s article with his piece: Kevin Mathers’ WSOP Buy-In Is Not A Controversy and then if you want a complete shut down, there’s Haley Hintze's no punches-pulled, dumbfounded reaction to Burton in her piece: How to Misunderstand the Concept of Poker Journalism Ethics
If you are the type of reader, and you may not be as you are on F5 right now, that is looking for your poker news to be of the hard hitting variety, check out this debate.
Subject: WSOP $10M Guarantee
Rob King (aka Hippy80) has mad beef with the World Series of Poker and in his latest editorial against the WSOP he puts them on blast for the top heavy nature of the payouts due to the marketing of the $10M guarantee for first place. With a nearly $5M discrepancy between first and the runner-up and the min-cash being less than previous years, King sees the money shift as being equity stolen from the players.
No one could reasonably have expected to see the Main Event to attract enough players to see a $10 Million first prize naturally created from the entries. If the WSOP wanted to see the big numbers on the final table, they should have been willing to put up the difference themselves rather than effectively steal equity from the players who have managed to almost herculean task of making the money in the Main Event.
Read: WSOP Main Event Prizes Announced, Guarantee Sparks Debate
You like any of these columns? Want more editorials to read? Hit us up on the Twitters and let us know.
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