Thursday, October 28, 2010

Welcome to the Future

For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. – John F. Kennedy

The common perception of poker used to be a table full of old guys, smoking, cussing, and looking surly. Now, it is a table full of 20-somethings that can probably barely muster a decent beard wearing hoodies, baseball caps, and shades. The torch is being passed. That seems clear - just look at all the young guys winning (in general) and the fact that this is the youngest Main Event final table in history. Does anyone honestly think we are ever going to see Doyle or any of his ilk at a ME final table again? Sadly, I doubt if we will see Action Dan at the ME final table again, either. Unfortunatley, the ME field has gotten too big and the tourney become too long for them to be competitive. At least, the huge fields and television have helped usher in the anti-buffoonery rules of the last few years.

The Grinder is the only “name brand” pro still standing and even he is one of the new young guns to emerge since the boom (but at least we won’t have to hear the suits bemoaning the lack of a big name pro at the table). I am not really familiar with the Grinder’s game but even if he were on Ivey’s level – which I am not prepared to say, he has a tough road ahead.  In any case, I am still not convinced that having a “name brand” pro win the ME would help poker in general. Maybe it would help ESPN and Harrah’s, but the actual poker community? Nothing brings in more prospective players (and dead money) to the ME than the knowledge that the field is full of amateurs (probably a higher amateur to pro ratio than any other big buy in tournament) and the fact that the biggest payday around can be won (and has been won) by amateur players.

I don’t know who will win but I don’t think it will be the Grinder or the 37 year old amateur. I think it will be one of the internet whiz kids that take it all. Hopefully, it will be one with a lot of class and savvy. A guy that could help bring legitimacy and positive attention to young poker players. Joseph Cheong has looked pretty good from what I have seen on ESPN and handled himself with class on a brutal televised suckout. I also like the way Jason Senti has handled himself. If I had to pick someone to win, it would be one of those two. Racener would be OK and has played well, too, but his disheveled look and ostentatious gum chewing isn’t endearing him to the tv audience. Candio or Duhamel would probably be the two I least want to win.

We might as well get used to seeing all these youngsters. They represent what the near future of poker will look like and are a fantastic source of new enthusiasm and thinking for our beloved game.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Poker Blogger Foucault on TV

Tardiness often robs us opportunity. – Niccolo Machiavelli

Sorry for the late report but I just watched my DVR recording of the Tuesday night ESPN WSOP broadcast last night.

Check out Foucault (AKA - Andrew Brokos) on TV at the World Series of Poker!

Too bad they didn’t mention his blog or that he is a blogger.

Congrats, Foucault!

RIP - George Blanda

Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts. – Dan Gable

I only knew him as a Raider, but guts he had and plenty of ‘em. I was too young to watch his exploits with the Oilers or Bears. However, even as an old guy, Blanda was anything but bland. He was a player, a winner, an original AFL’er, a Raider, a Hall of Famer, and more. He had true grit and he wanted to win – which is a hell of a lot more than I can say about many players today.

I’ll never forget watching the Raiders on Monday night with my Grandfather in the early 70s. He reveled in the notion that a tough old guy like Blanda still had what it took to take the field with the pros. He would delight my brother and I with tales of the earlier days and how great Blanda was with the Oilers.

George Blanda was the epitome of the old guard pro football players I recall from my youth. Before there was body armor like players wear today or any serious thought was given to rules that protected quarterbacks, Blanda played quarterback for 26 years.

They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.