2012 WSOP Takeaways: The poker boom is dead

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 29, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

There was a lot going on at the 2012 World Series of Poker. From the controversies and complaints, to David “ODB” Baker’s Ben Lambish performance, to the Big One for One Drop tournament, to Phil Hellmuth’s 12th bracelet, to Phil Ivey’s five final tables in two weeks: It was a pretty wild ride at the 2012 WSOP.

Among all of the highs and lows there several things that stood out for me during the 2012 WSOP, and in this five-part series I’ll take a look at the five things I have taken away from the 2012 World Series of Poker.

* The prevalence of backing is destroying the public’s image if the professional poker player

* There are too many events at the WSOP

* The Big One for One Drop tournament saved the 2012 WSOP

* Women are still a small percentage of poker players, but that small percentage is pretty good

* The poker world as it stood in 2003 is now officially dead

The poker world as it stood in 2003 is now officially dead

Anyone coming into poker post-2010 and expecting to have the same kind of success that players in the early and middle years of the poker boom were able to achieve are in for a rude awakening. The poker world as it stood in 2003 is officially dead; the poker world as it stood in 2006 is officially dead; and even the relatively recent poker world of 2010 is also dead. In their place we have the 2012 poker world, where the majority of players are no longer donks, but are in fact reasonably polished practitioners of the game. There was no better example of this than the 2012 WSOP, which saw virtually every winner listed as a poker pro –in fact virtually every final table participant was a poker pro!

Anyone expecting to read a few strategy books, play a few thousands hands of low-stakes Holdem and be ready to make a living playing poker is not only going to fall flat on their face, they are going to crash and burn. Even the really good players, who make very few mistakes strategically and have even fewer leaks, are now moving down to the middle and low limit tables to find profitable games; stakes where they can barely grind out a living wage. It has gotten so bad t number of players have simply decided there is no longer any profit for poker players in the current climate and have quit the game or dramatically lessened the amount they play.

Like most “booms”, there is only a small window where you have to get in early to make the real money, and anyone who was rearing to go from 2003-2006 cashed-in big-time during the poker boom. Players coming in after this period (about 2008 and beyond) fared far worse as they chased the early millions their predecessors had made just a couple years before. Unfortunately for thee early players, if these players didn’t adjust their lifestyle they have also crashed and burned as the games and the sponsorship dollars have dried up over time.

I used to say I could turn anyone into a $20/hour winner online in less than three months; now I tell these same people that you would have to be insane to try to make a career out of poker in today’s world. The 2012 WSOP was the perfect example of this: Every final table featured talented players, some known, and others fairly anonymous, but all talented. There are no longer lucky amateurs making the final table because there are no longer enough amateurs to tip the odds in their favor. In today’s poker world the players called “donks” would have been consistent winners in 2006! Say la vie Poker Boom, it was fun while it lasted…


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