Friday, June 02, 2006


It’s not often that I fall foul to uncontrollable urges to put pen to paper, but this evening, I am cowering away from those compulsions and whimpering ‘take me’.

Today I shall shine the spotlight on the online winner, those players who play in the shadows, quietly grinding away a living, leaving others, and predominantly less successful players, to take the limelight.

In my opinion, the current pool of cash game sharks that feed off the online fishes are, without doubt, the most underrated players in poker.

I say this from experience as I had a short pre-blonde spell around the end of last year where I was jobless and forced to frequent the online cash tables. Hours upon hours of staying indoors, glaring at a dusty monitors, watching endless streams of cards go round and round and round – hardly the most fun way to spend your week. With a tedious and repetitive, but highly effective, system in place, I was like a robot, only rarely displaying the characteristics of a human being, which normally came in the form of tilt.

Back then, I thought that it would be one of the easiest ways to earn a crust, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, and for that, I bow my head to the Internet grinders. My online game is currently more financially rewarding now that I am playing part-time, but perhaps that is due to the welcome distractions that split my daily life into nice refreshing segments. The grinder, however, may not have these outlets, often forced to endure a whole day of pokering just to maintain a healthy living, pay the bills, and feed the kids – pressures that I never really faced.

So often I’m scouring through Poker Europa, running my finger down the results page for any recognisable names. Then, from over my shoulder, will come that familiar cry, ‘Look at Mr X, he’s cashed again, incredible. What a player he must be!’ Admittedly, Mr X could well be the best player in the world but, just because he’s won a few live comps, does that make him any better than the online grinder? In my opinion, not necessarily.

The written result fails to take into account all of the following:
  • Amount of rebuys Mr X had
  • What Mr X spent on hotels, etc.
  • The number of comps in which Mr X has played and failed to cash
  • The high potential for a deal being made
  • The luck factor involved in tournament play
  • The possibility that Mr X gambled the equivalent of his prize away on the house games or cash tables
All these factors pass us by when we read a result. We completely disregard the actual profit, merely glancing at the figure next to Mr X’s name and simply assuming that such a lump sum is now sitting pretty in his bank account. But how often will this be true? Playing the circuit is a costly affair and it is often stated that the guys at the top of the ranking tree aren’t big overall winners in terms of profit. Incredibly, many will in fact be down for the year.

So, who are the real winners, the competitors who most deserve our respect as fellow poker players? The limelight players who can win the odd comp now and then, but still be down for the year… or the highly disciplined poker machine who grinds away on a daily basis, rarely having a losing session and, come rain or shine, constantly and successfully keeping the Tilt Wolf from the door. Personally, I’d opt for the latter, perhaps because I have been there myself and know how hard it truly is, but more because they don’t pine for the stardom like others do, and can happily scoop their winnings without the need for it to be displayed to every man and their dog.

So, this is where I send out my respect to those shadow players. They don’t need to be named, they know who they are, but I tip my proverbial hat to you.


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