Making Poker Great Again: Fixing the Game’s Biggest Problems


I began playing poker casually in 2003. Yep, I was one of the millions who got hooked after watching amateur Chris Moneymaker take down the World Series of Poker on ESPN. While I still love playing this great game, I can honestly say it’s not as enjoyable as it was 10 years ago. But I’m ready to help make it great again.

Being More Respectful Towards Recreational Players

Poker is a much more difficult game now compared to the poker boom era. The reason for that is the average player in 2019 is more skilled than in 2006. There simply aren’t as many recreational players these days, and much of that has to do with the casual poker fans being turned off by the game.

Those of us who play it for a living or play regularly have got to do a better job making the recreational players feel welcome. Introduce yourself. Chat with them. Smile, Offer to buy them a drink. And, most of all, please don’t berate their play. You want them to make mistakes. When they do that, sure, they’ll get lucky once in a while. But you’ll get their chips in the end, so what’s the big deal?

Many poker pros forget that recreational players are there to have fun. They aren’t trying to become the next Phil Ivey. They play poker for the social aspect of it. So, if you’re sitting there with your headphones on refusing to chat it up with others at the table, you aren’t helping to create an entertaining environment for the casual players. We have to stop scaring these players away because not only do they make the games more enjoyable, they are the ones who drop the most money into poker’s ecosystem.

Quit Being So Arrogant and Judgmental

Poker Twitter can be a great read sometimes, but other days not so much. One thing that is really getting old about Poker Twitter is the arrogance of many within the poker community.

Everyone attempts to come off as the best poker player ever and a flawless individual. When a player makes a questionable play on television or livestream, the Peanut Gallery on Twitter is quick to pile on, as if we don’t all make stupid plays from time to time. The difference is the cameras aren’t rolling when we make those poor moves.

More Poker Sites Stepping Up

Every since Full Tilt Poker collapsed, PokerStars has essentially held a monopoly in the online poker industry without technically holding a monopoly. Sure, there are many other poker sites – hundreds of them – but Stars is basically the only true global place to play poker on the internet.

Partypoker is trying to catch up, but still has a ways to go. Mike Sexton leaving the WPT to work for Partypoker helps. It gives the brand some name recognition.

But from what I’m told from those who play on the site, the software just doesn’t stack up to PokerStars. I don’t play online anymore now that Americans can’t play on the real poker sites. From what I’m told, Partypoker has its software issues and not enough games at times.

PokerStars has been a great poker site for many years. Despite the backlash in recent years from pros who are mad about rake increases and the depleted popular loyalty programs, there simply isn’t a better place to play if you’re a pro. Still, it would be nice if some other poker sites would step up and create a competitive platform.

Maybe Partypoker will put it together or Phil Galfond’s Run it Once site. Let’s hope.