For 2010, I order you to honor the following resolution: have fun playing poker. I know, I know, it sounds odd. There is no quantifiable goal here. It’s like saying, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds”, and then rewarding yourself with a fudge brownie when you see the scale’s needle fall to 170 after it was 190 on January 1st. Plus, we all play poker because it is fun, don’t we? It is a game. Games are fun.
But you see, that’s the thing. I have been getting the feeling more and more that we – the poker community as a whole – have not been enjoying the simple pleasure of playing the game of poker enough. To some, it is an endless, day-after-day grind, a way to make a living. To others, it is a game full of stress. Others just find anything and everything to complain about. We need to change in 2010.
How about the people who complained about the changes to the PokerStars VIP system? Over the last few years, online poker rooms have made it harder to earn bonuses and have developed loyalty systems that even a holder of multiple advanced degrees would need to review a few times to figure out. Now, PokerStars has changed its system in order to reward more players more quickly, making it easier to understand, and people are complaining by saying that six-handed grinders need to be rewarded more. Just play poker and have fun.
The people wanting to burn iPoker to the ground are hilarious, too. For those who haven’t heard, VC Poker has informed some winning players that they are no longer welcome at their cash game tables because the network is cracking down on its member rooms that are bringing in too many tight “sharks” who take money off the site and not enough loose “fish” who must frequently re-deposit.
iPoker’s banning and restricting of certain winning cash game players is unfortunate and those who have had nice rakeback deals there and now need to find somewhere else to play do have a legitimate gripe. However, there are those who are talking about suing the poker rooms and hoping they go out of business without even stepping back to think about why this unfortunate situation might be happening. Rather than make empty threats on internet message boards, how about taking a deep breath and moving your bankroll to another poker room?
A year ago, I said that you should all resolve to stop caring so much about your opponents. To quote myself, “Stop acting as if everything that you don’t agree with in a poker game is a personal affront.” Don’t hate life so much that you feel the need to call people “donks” and “idiots” whenever they suck out on you. That person you are berating could be sitting on his couch just goofing around, playing crap cards because he feels like doing something a little silly. He could legitimately be a bad player who likes to play poker and doesn’t know or doesn’t care that he’s bad. When it comes down to it, he’s having fun and you’re not. Remember, you’re supposed to be the good player. Something doesn’t quite jive there. How about this: take a deep breath and realize that that guy’s poor play will eventually allow you to take his money. Let him have fun doing what he’s doing while you have fun doing what you’re doing.
Finally, if poker is becoming less like a game and more like a chore, mix it up! Play a game that you don’t normally play. Are you sick of No-Limit Hold’em? You should try some Fixed Limit Stud High-Low. Are cash games wearing you down? You should play in a tournament. There is even some decent Badugi action going on at PokerStars right now. Play short-handed, heads-up, full ring, or whatever – just do something different. Better yet, take a break from serious poker and get a home game going with your friends. Make it dealer’s choice and be sure you play lots of games with wild cards.
The bottom line is this. It’s time to make poker fun again. Stop worrying about rakeback, VIP points, your HUD, or whether or not someone is busto. Play poker because you love it. It’s a game.