Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Nigel Tufnel: The sustain, listen to it. Marty DiBergi: I don't hear anything. Nigel Tufnel: Well you would though, if it were playing.

There are many differences between cash games and tournaments.  One often-overlooked difference is the sustainability of the two forms of no limit poker.  A tournament entry buy-in represents to many people all that they’re willing to lose on a given night.  While it may be unfair to call that a safety net, it draws many more people to the game that wouldn’t normally be willing to play.  Couple that fact with the added variance of a tournament where even those less skillful can walk away with a significant cash and you have a sustainable player base.

In a cash game, that’s simply not the case.


Cash game skill differential amplifies and accelerates the redistribution of money from the bad players to the good.  When the good players find that their games dry up they look for others, often times at higher stakes.  And when the stakes increase, so does the pace of cash redistribution.  The aforementioned reason is primarily why no limit cash games generally have a capped buy-in.  It extends its viability.


I’m not fond of trying to judge my own skill level in relation to others.  I also don’t think that G-Vegas is a hotbed for future Brunson’s, Greenstein’s and Elezra’s.  However, the only data I have is that over the past few years, a few players have successfully navigated the trail from low limits, to medium limits, and if they haven’t already arrived there, the high limits.

Last night at TheRick’s, five of those players were there playing 6-handed no limit hold ‘em.  Last Thursday, four of those players (by the end of the night) were playing 7-handed no limit hold ‘em.

And I was left wondering at the end of each night, what was the point?


When I first went to what I would eventually call the G-Vegas big game, I wrote that it was populated with people who seemed to have a large amount of disposable income.  They drove Mercedes, BMW, Hummers, and Jaguars and I was certainly a bit tentative to join the game.  In fact, during the no limit Omaha games, I was by far the tightest player there.  I was watching, learning, and folding my way to an understanding of how each player played.  I soon realized that the gamble was strong with these players.


While the gamble was strong, it soon became evident that the lure of any four cards was all that was keeping some of them afloat.  The game changed to strictly no limit hold ‘em and unfortunately, many players never changed styles.  Any four cards became any two cards, and as is often the case, missing flops became expensive when you pay extra to see them.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen those players at TheRick’s.  I’m not sure why.


A few people are proclaiming poker blogs to be dead too.  Poker content is certainly diminished and while many of us have certainly grown as friends, it is becoming more difficult to write quality poker material that hasn’t been done before.

Is it just the natural ebb and flow of a cyclical phenomenon?  Or is it the sign that the peak has come and gone?

What was it that drove people to the game in the first place?  And is that impetus gone?  Did learning the game come too easily?  Did mastering the game become too difficult?  Is writing about something with which your interest has diminished become tedious?


To those of you who feel that you may have lost your way, I have a recommendation that may or may not help.  Give yourself a goal and write about attaining it.  Write about your feelings on the road towards success or even failure.  I remember way back when, that’s why I started blogging.  I was trying to recoup a $2100 loss that I incurred upon my initial foray into online poker.

Try to qualify for a major tournament.  Focus on beating a particular limit for 3 months.  Chronicle the home games you play in.  Something.

I truly believe that those of you who want to will find some inspiration and rejuvenate yourselves.  If you want to.

Is the G-Vegas home game sustainable?  Is poker blogging in general sustainable?  Who knows?  Not me.  The only thing I’m even remotely sure of is that I’ll keep playing.  And I’ll keep writing about it here too.  It’s not because I feel I have to, it’s because deep down, I still really enjoy the game.  Bad beats and all.

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