Poker Myths Debunked
THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2009-06-21, by Ozone, TwoGunMyth: Online poker rooms are ran by intelligent and competent individuals.
Reality: It would scare most people to learn how stupid the personnel is at most online poker rooms, including the chief decision makers. If the world's largest banks, which have been around for decades, can be ran into the ground thanks to poor decision makers, it shouldn't be too hard to imagine that online poker rooms are ran by some shockingly incompetent people.
Myth: Top, well-known poker pros are very wealthy and successful.
Reality: Many of these guys are broke, deadbeat degenerates that were just in the right place at the right time. Sure, there are a few guys who are extremely wealthy, but they are the exception, not the rule. Moreover, people probably tend to overestimate how much money a lot of the truly successful guys have. Ask most people how much money they think Phil Ivey has, and you'll probably get responses in excess of $100 million. I would be very surprised to learn that he has more than ~$35 million in liquid assets. Of course, his net worth is much more than this through his sponsorship connections. Then again, this is all just speculation, but the point remains that a lot of "household" poker figures are broke and reliant on friends to keep them in the game.
Myth: The PPA is effective as a lobbying group for poker.
Reality: The PPA is next to powerless. A lot of people spend a lot of energy lobbying on behalf of poker, but it's all pretty ineffective. No politician gives a damn about the rights of poker players. There are hundreds, if not thousands of other issues that take precedence over this issue. Even Barney Frank, who occasionally introduces pro-poker bills that never get anywhere, probably doesn't genuinely give a crap about poker players. It's just politics. It's hard to go to bat for a group of people that most of your constituents view as shady, deadbeat hustlers.
We're not saying you shouldn't support the PPA. You should. It's a good idea. Unfortunately, poker players are too loose of a coalition and politicians tend to view gambler's rights in the same vein they view the rights of drunks and drug addicts.
Myth: Main Event winners are set for life.
Reality: This is probably not nearly as true as people think it is. Let's take Chris Moneymaker for example. He won $2.5 million in 2003, so everyone assumes he's rich and set for life. However, like many players, Moneymaker didn't have all of his action. In fact, he only had 50% of that score. After paying taxes on $1.25 million, he was probably left with about $750k. Suppose he bought a car and paid off some bills and then put $500k in the stock market. That $500k is now probably only worth about $250k. Viola. In a matter of just six years, Moneymaker might actually be no better off than your average working chump with a 401k. The only caveat to this is that he probably makes a handsome income from endorsements. Is Moneymaker set for life? Yea, pretty much. But that's not to say money isn't an object to him.
Another example of this is Jamie Gold. It is speculated that he only retained $6 million of his $12 million score (pre-tax). Factor in some spending and spewing in high stakes cash games and Gold might not have a ton of money himself. Unlike most other recent Main Event winners, he doesn't have the benefit of a sponsorship deal to provide steady cash flow.
Myth: Regulation is good for online poker.
Reality: If poker was heavily regulated by the government, the rake would be much higher due to the vast amount of taxes imposed. Do you think the US is just going to let PokerStars and Party Poker operate freely? C'mon. Not only would the government want its cut, each state would want its cut too. They wouldn't want a reasonable cut, either. They would want the "vice" cut. Additionally, they would likely have capped buy-ins and bet amounts like they are trying to have in Italy and used to have in Florida.
The bureaucracy and taxes involved would drive up costs for the online gambling firms. Guess who these costs get passed down to? You, my friends! The best that poker players can reasonably hope for is the status quo and that no government is truly competent enough to hurt online poker.
The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.
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