Poker’s Future

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great benefit of living in the times of the poker explosion is that every month brings new developments for poker. Every time you think the future of poker is here, it’s actually lurking around the corner. And predicting the future of poker is the biggest prize of all. Predict the future and take the money.


Here’s a sampling of some new things on the horizon: The Ladbrokes Poker Million will begin in February. The tournament features the largest added prize pool in the history of European poker, and the $1 million first prize is the largest in Europe since the first Poker Million on the Isle of Man. March will see the launch of The Poker Channel, the first television channel in the UK dedicated to poker on a 24-hour basis. The first big tournament held on the channel will be live, aired three days a week for a six-week run with betting potential that will bring a whole new dimension to televised poker. The Poker Channel will also kick off with a load of poker shows that will offer something a little different. Television has gotten saturated with poker tournaments of such similar formats that it was beginning to feel like there was the Late Night Poker format and nothing else. But 2005 will be the year that mold is broken, and that bodes well for people who don’t order the same thing every time they go to a Chinese restaurant.


Card Player Europe magazine is rolling out new things, as well. This month we welcome a new columnist, Ashley Alterman. Ashley flies low on the horizon. Keith Hawkins says that’s because Alterman is “often loathe to pick his lazy arse out of his living room chair!” But those who have encountered Ashley at a tournament table know the Brit can play, and he’ll be lending his wit and wisdom to our pages from time to time. The cover story this month is about a man who could single-handedly be the future of poker. He’s a hard person to track down, but soon poker groupies may be following Erik Sagstrom like the second coming, and I was quite excited to finally talk with the man behind his legendary mouse.


I ran into Barry Hearn recently; he is my hero. While other people talk about judi poker mogeqq , Barry is a man of action. And the poker calendar that Matchroom has lined up for the future will make your head spin. Hearn is the man responsible for putting poker back on UK terrestrial television, and he’s not stopping there. His plans for the future include opening up his own poker club, where every Friday night somebody will walk away £50,000 richer. Fifty-Grand Fridays, it might be called. In addition, Barry will soon be taking live poker to America, a seven-week road show with live televised poker around the country. The future of poker may be tough to predict, but it’s becoming a fair certainty that Matchroom will have a hand in it.


My predictions for poker’s future involve a redefinition of poker skill. With all the strides forward that poker has taken over the last several years, it seems infantile to me that there exists right now essentially one way of identifying skill — most money won. For a game as complicated as poker, this seems the scientific equivalent of saying, we can’t see distant stars, so they must not be there. Would anybody be interested in knowing which player in European poker won the highest percentage of his coin-toss confrontations? I would. Or, how Greg Raymer fared in the World Series of Poker last year in hands in which an ace hit the board and none of the players had an ace? What about the ratio of Marcel Luske’s preflop calls of a raise to reraises? And how often was he right? Or, what percentage of pots did Phil Ivey win last year after calling on the river?

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