Television has brought Poker out of the cardrooms and into the living rooms of millions of people who have become fascinated with the reality game shows. The Travel channel gambled that the World Poker Tour would attract some viewers. It hit the jackpot when it turned into the Networks top rated show. This was the start of more Poker on Television. In past years ESPN would reduce the annual World Series of Poker into a two hour program. This year they turned it into a multi-program series. There was a six hour broadcast of the Showdown at the Sands Poker Tournament on Thanksgiving Day. The Bravo Network is broadcasting a Celebrity Poker Tournament and more poker tournaments are set to be televised in the future. Recently, it seems that every broadcasting network is trying to get a poker show on the air. This year should see the poker continue to grow.
Online Poker rooms have been springing up on the Internet and they have been growing as more and more people log on to play poker with players from around the world. When Chris Moneymaker won the 2.5 million dollar first prize at the World Series of Poker in 2004 and Greg Raymer won 5 million in 2005 after winning their entries on an Internet Poker site, millions of would be players dreamed of becoming the next World Champion. Millions of new players flocked to the online poker rooms to try their hand at playing Poker. Many of them have been playing in the freerolls or low limit games in which the players are not very knowledgeable or serious about the game.
The combination of Internet players and television viewers has led to an increased number of new players making their way to the casino card rooms. The Poker Rooms in Tunica have seen the influx of these new players who want to try their hand in a live game. Most of these new players have little or no knowledge of the game other than the basic rules. Many of them have gotten all of their education from watching the tournaments on TV. Texas Holdem is the game of choice because it is easy to learn the basic rules and this is what they have been watching on TV.
On television they see the pros making huge raises with trash hands and figure that this is the way the game is supposed to be played. Few of them are savvy enough to note that the players are either initiating a raise or re-raising with the trash hands. You will not see the pros merely calling with garbage hands. In addition, what they are seeing on TV is the final table that has been edited down to two hours. The hands shown on TV have been picked for their dramatic outcomes. They dont see the boring hands where the majority of players have been folding time and time again. They also dont realize that they are watching a short handed game that starts with six players.
Two Types of Players
Some of these players with their TV education make their way to the cardrooms in the casino or log on to an internet poker site confident that they know how to play the game. They sit down in a Low Limit game and play the way the have seen players play the final table of a televised No Limit tournament. They think that they can win a low limit game by bluffing and raising and they play like maniacs. This is one of the types of new players you will see in the Poker room these days. They are really easy to spot. Other players who have had their interest piqued by TV or have played a little on the internet are a meeker type. They are weak passive players who will sit down in a game and play a lot of hands but rarely raise of fold.
Both the maniac and the passive players have something in common. They dont know how to play the game properly. They rarely have any concept of starting hand requirements, pot odds or even how to read the board. Some of them will use the any two will do strategy while others will be more selective and wait for two suited cards. Many of the new players think that a single ace is the Holy Grail and constitutes a raise every time they have one. They will cold call raises with hopeless hands and chase all the way to the river looking for a miracle card.
The number of new players has actually been a double edge sword for the knowledgeable player. Bad players are profitable for good players. In low limit games you will make more money from your opponents mistakes than you will from your own fancy play. This is because most of the new players are only interested in their own cards. Few of them even notice what type of hands the other players are playing.