Pokers Social Media Explosion and Bloody Students

Not blogged for a while as shock horror I’ve gone and got myself something close to a real job. This means I’m getting out of bed to go to work about an hour or so after I used to get into bed. Consequently I’m unlikely to play midweek poker any more  and because I’m pretty knackered when I get home I don’t want to sit on my computer writing blog stuff either.
Just wanted to say something about two aspects of poker that are bringing out the grumpy old man in me lately. The abuse of Social Media and Student Poker players.
Social Media
I’m in danger of being the pot calling the kettle when I moan about the over use of Twitter when I’ve posted in excess of 2,500 tweets of which 95% are poker related. But here goes.
The way the poker industry is using social media these days has both pluses and minuses but they need to be careful not to alienate their “Facebook Fans” and Twitter “Followers” by over doing it.
Like most poker players I “follow” and “like” various poker businesses and players and on the positive side if there is something extra special going on then I’d like to know about it. However I do think that some companies are doing themselves a disservice.
Dusk Till Dawn (DTD) were probably the first casino to use social media as an out and out marketing tool and they did it (like most things they do) pretty well. However after a while I just got fed up with a constant barrage of emails, tweets, FB updates etc.
It got so bad that after a while I just deleted all their emails without even reading them as I just didn’t need to read them as they were plastering the same messages all over the poker forums I frequented and my twitter feed etc.
Back when DTD first started doing this they were pretty much the only ones but just lately my Twitter and Facebook timelines were awash with tweets and updates from card rooms I used to “follow”.
I say used to because I’ve deleted two for various reasons.
I’d follow more card rooms if they all used it sparingly, but when I get 6 or 7 tweets a night telling me there are 2 seats available in a cash game I’m not the slightest bit interested in, it gets a bit much.
One of my follows used to be the Broadway casino which was always my poker room of choice. Around 2003/04/05 I used to go there at least once a week. Back then it had the best tournaments/cash games around. The old £20 re-buy on a Friday used to make a prize pool of anything up to £15k which was immense. I used to run really well there and won or chopped it many times.
Even now the tournaments get good numbers and it always has thriving cash tables but I just don’t enjoy going there as much as I used to. Back then I used to really look forward to going there as I had a lot of good poker friends there and it was quite a social as well as profitable place for me.
Even though I still know and like a lot of the staff there I have “un-followed” them on Twitter as I only go there about once a year these days and they were constantly bombarding me with tweets about stuff that is of no interest to me.
Regarding tweets and updates a monthly special tournament is something that interests me but bog standard stuff on schedules that haven’t changed in years is of lesser interest.  
To be honest if I want to go and play a tournament I usually just check out the Midlands Poker forum for the listings and decide from there. 
Just lately my twitter and FB feeds were going into SPAM overload as I’d get (used to get) 30 – 40 Tweets/Facebook updates a day from card rooms.
What card rooms don’t seem to realise is that if someone is following them it’s probably because they go there and like the place anyway. So they have to remember they are often preaching to the converted. 
I’m far more selective about who I follow these days.

You cannot control the Interweb
Some companies need to be aware that once they let the genie out of the bottle with social media it isn’t possible to put it back in. Recently Starbucks caught a lot of flak over their UK Tax affairs or rather the fact that they weren’t actually paying any UK tax.
They used the hash tag #spreadthecheer for their own marketing but obviously protesters started hijacking it to spread support for local coffee shops and small business rather than endorsing the tax dodgers.
Too Little Too Latte
Also when Starbucks sponsored the outdoor Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum in London prior to Xmas they had a huge screen in the café that people could tweet messages on if they used a special hash tag.
Of course it didn’t take long for tweets along the lines of “tax avoiding MoFo’s” and “Pay your F****ing taxes” to appear on the big screen.
Earlier in 2012 McDonald’s Twitter campaign in the US was dubbed a “McFail” after the hash tag was ambushed by campaign groups and angry customers who used the hash tag to rubbish McD’s.
The G Casino Coventry has had its own small issue regarding social media when they ended up banning someone from the casino for comments made about a member of staff via twitter. Read about it in the Coventry Telegraph here
As a result of that episode the casino has started to strictly enforce its previously ignored social media rules on members of staff. I and a lot of other regulars have been un-friended from FB by members of staff as the management have told them they have to do it.
I think that’s total bollocks really. As if being FB friends with a customer is going encourage a member of staff to collude with them to cheat in the casino. Besides they can stay friends on FB with people that they knew before they started working at the casino.  Which I’d guess they’d be far more likely to collude with in any case!
Anyway in my own mini protest I no longer “like” G Covs FB page or “follow” them on twitter, as I think it’s too much for a company to try and tell their staff who they can and can’t be friends with.

Students Poker Players
I have never worn headphones at the poker table as I think it takes away a lot of free information available at the table as well as some of the social aspect of live poker but I have to confess I have seriously considered buying some recently.
On a few recent visits to various card rooms I’ve had the misfortune to be on the same table as some student players. Usually being on the table with just one is OK as they think there is no one on their poker level who will understand what they are saying so they generally stay quieter. But heaven help you when you are unfortunate enough to get 2 or 3 on your table.
The verbal diarrhoea that pours out of them is often too much to stand.
One thing I would say is it is testimony to the way the game has changed over the years that they are able to totally disrespect other players at the table and still be able to walk away from the table without the need for medical assistance. The game is so much more main stream now.
Back in the late 1970’s when I first started playing poker as a fresh faced 17 year old the game was a lot more “underground”. I’ve played in some pool halls, snooker clubs, taxi ranks, hot dog stands and private games that were in some pretty dangerous places. If trouble broke out you were pretty much on your own.
In those days I kept very quiet at the table unless I knew my opponents really well. It (poker) was more like playing in a wild west cowboy film where fights would break out occasionally. It wasn’t a regular occurrence but it happened enough times to make me more than a little wary. Unlike a John Wayne western I’ve never seen anyone shot at the poker table but I have witnessed some pretty violent incidents.
I have seen someone stabbed with a flick knife, though luckily for him he managed to move fast enough that it only caught him in the shoulder.
I saw someone glassed (he needed a dozen stitches) in a pub game once over a £5 pot and worst of all I was playing poker in a Cheltenham hotel during festival week and two Irishmen started fighting. It turned very nasty very quickly. I thought it had calmed down as they’d been separated but the one went and got a screwdriver and stabbed the other one in the neck with it.
He was collapsed on the floor when the medics arrived with the screwdriver still in his neck right up to the handle.
I’m not normally squeamish when it comes to seeing some claret but I have to say I nearly passed out, I thought he was dead. Fortunately they were able to save him. That argument started out as banter and a few rub downs/slow rolls later it erupted into a near death experience.
If these students that are giving me earache these days were playing 30 years ago they’d be lucky to survive a week.
They obviously play a different game to the way nitty old timers like me do and that’s fine. I think they are generally good for the game as they create action and big pots. I personally think they bluff too often to make it a profitable strategy long term. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were smart enough not to show when they bluff.
Later on in the night they usually end up moaning saying things like “how could you call that bet” and accusing the guy who called of being a total donk. What they don’t realise is that he probably just spite called them desperate to KO him from the comp so he doesn’t have to listen to the BS any longer.
They seem determined to give advice when it hasn’t been requested and worse still talk about players openly in derogatory terms as if they are not even there. What they don’t seem to grasp is there is no point in giving advice as the smart don’t need it and the stupid won’t heed it.
Besides why do they want to educate players to be better players?
I’m very pot and kettle here also as I’ve been guilty of voicing my opinions on peoples play at the table, though I tend to do it only in times of utter frustration. Only a couple of weeks ago I told a guy I folded the winning hand to him as “I gave him too much credit for intelligence”.
I can’t understand why they (students) play live in a field of 95% old farts like me and then moan about the way we play. They could always go and play on-line and leave us old timers to our game. That way there would be less chance of them waking up in an ambulance with a screwdriver in their neck.
APAT WCOAP
Anyway one poker festival that I’m happy to promote via twitter or FB actually needs no publicity as it’s a total sell out.
The APAT event currently on at DTD is run like a mini WSOP with a stud event, PLO, HORSE etc. There are bracelets to be won for each event. The whole thing is run brilliantly and Des and Leigh etc. deserve so much credit for what they do.
I played the 6 Max on Good Friday and I am playing the Main Event day 1b today (Sunday 31st March). Fridays visit was my first to DTD for over a year I think. It still run as well as ever. The dealers and valets were all very good.
Not that this fact influenced my opinion of the valets but the girls wear the skimpiest tops and shortest shorts imaginable. The one in the picture (Rose) approached me and said “They are £5 each” which I thought was very fair, but it turned out she was talking about raffle tickets. She said she needed my phone number in case I win a prize but I think it may have just been a ruse to get my number.
APAT Main Event
Obviously there are many tournaments that you can win more money in, but being a keen amateur player I’d be chuffed to bits if I could even make the final table of the APAT main event, yet alone win it.
Anyway thought I’d do a quick blog update before playing the main, as if I do fluke it then that will require a whole blog write up to itself. 
I can dream. ME Champion or a phone call from Rose, not sure which is less likely?