Poker is Not Sex; Speed it up


The World Series of Poker Main Event has set poker back regarding its evolution as a live televised form of entertainment. It’s time to make some changes.

Poker is Not Sex; Speed it upFast or slow?

My wife teaches me so many things about the speed of my actions.

I eat too fast. I should eat slower. Apparently, it aids my digestion.

I make love too fast. I should make love slower. It feels seizure like and worries her.

But poker?

Poker should always be fast.

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event Final Table is having a pepper spray-like effect on the general public. The players are getting a Twitter bashing over their perplexing behaviour when it comes to making simple decisions like folding trash hands from early position.

Yesterday, I wrote an article called Poker Changes Required to Become eSport where I talked about the snail-like pace of the World Poker Tour (WPT) UK Main Event final table and why it’s vital that we change the rules of the game to make it more appealing to fans.

In that article, I engaged in some blue sky thinking. The aftermath of the WSOP Main Event has poker players talking more short term when it comes to making immediate changes that can improve the game.

All the noise is the same.

Shot clocks, chess clocks and cuckoo clocks seem to be the order of the day.

While I believe all of these potential ideas can improve the game (cuckoo clock aside), I am amazed that poker players eyes are so misted over the obvious solution to this problem. It’s something I have written about before, but I feel compelled to be trite and write about it again.

In 2008, the world was in the midst of an economic crisis. While you lot were busy playing poker, I was in charge of moving steel out of Port Talbot steelworks by rail. There was only one problem. Nobody was buying steel. We had to cut costs. We had to slash payroll.

Everyone was displaced. We created a sleek new team structure. It was my job to fill the positions with the most suitable applicants and fire the rest. My success or failure relied heavily on the appointment of several Production Managers (PM). After the interview process, I decided that the number one person on my list was going to be a guy named Glyn.

My boss thought I was nuts. Everyone thought I was nuts. Glyn was nothing but a Storeman. Furthermore, an essential part of the Roles & Responsibility statement was for PM’s was to assess train drivers. They needed to undergo training to drive a train, and Glyn couldn’t do this because he was colour blind.

Like I said, everyone thought I was nuts.

I ignored everyone.

I employed Glyn.

He became an excellent PM.

Why am I telling you this?

There is an easy answer to the problem that poker currently faces, and that’s to introduce an official at every table. The official would be responsible for ensuring fair play, consistency and maintaining flow. The best part is, we already have them in place. I am, of course, talking about the dealers.

Each time I mention this to people I get the same response.

“Dealers are not good enough.”

What a crock; a typical response to any proposed change that may seem a little out of the ordinary.

Instead of thinking about your current experiences with dealers, why not instead look at building the job up from the ground level? It’s renunciation and birth ladies and gentlemen.

Dealer’s should officiate their own table. His or her position will be responsible for managing the flow of the game as a referee does in football.

But everyone will manage their tables differently?

So what?

The same happens in every sport. None of them have a situation where a single referee officiates every game. There are going to be differences of opinion and subjective views on flow. But that should not be the catalyst to paint my idea in morbid imagery

Dealers won’t turn into asshole autocrats because they will be governed and managed by the Tournament Director and their teams. If we train people to a higher standard, we could have an army of officials responsible for pushing along the gameplay through a combination of interpersonal skills and yellow and red cards.

If players don’t listen to the dealer’s advice to move the game along then, they are within their rights to show that player a yellow card. Send them to the sin bin. If they keep breaking the same rules or ignoring the same instructions they face more time in the sin bin. Persistent offenders or those that are just bang out of order can be thrown out of the competition altogether.

Glyn became a great PM because he had the ability to lead. He was also highly intelligent both emotionally and regarding IQ.

So how did I get around the colour blindness?

I changed the rules.

Rules are not meant to last forever and neither is a simple hand of poker.


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