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Subject: Poker frenzy influencing the board gaming community? rss

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Magnus Lundgren
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Hi!

With Poker and getting bigger and bigger on the Internet and here in Sweden also on TV - a few months back we had four different channels airing poker tournaments. Will this have any influence on the board gaming community?

Will players go over to play Poker instead of board games? Will new poker players be more open to other types of games and thus try out TGOO? Will the increase of poker related news in media spill over or will it just steal the coverage chess and bridge have?

Is it good for board gaming? What do you think?

My personal opinion is that if it has any influence at all then it will be positive. Perhaps gaming as a past time will increase when more people has been introduced through Poker. But most likely it will just increase the gambling industri and the number of clinics for the rehabilitation of gambling addicts.

PS
Isn't it annoying that Poker players tend to think that Poker is the ultimate game. And the reason for this is supposed to be that bluffing is a key element. Since when did bluffing become the ultimate game mechanic?

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shumyum
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The craze has been in the U.S. a little longer and I don't see much of a difference in the "non-gamer" crowd, but who knows?

What I HAVE seen is how poker is affecting the people who are already were gamers. Many gamer friends I have do a lot of online poker playing now (and they are generally doing pretty well, so they say) and face-to-face playing. Many organized weekend boardgame "gatherings" now usually hold a poker tournament at some point during the weekend. Sometimes I think that those poker tournaments are going to eat too much into my boardgaming time, but I enter them anyway knowing that I'll be eliminated early (I love poker, but I suck at it).
 
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Ralph H. Anderson
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Just a few thoughts. Just my opinion here of course - and I didn't go into any deep thought, these are just off the top of my head - just like most comments

1) The frenzy will not last forever. However, the taste for gaming entertainment will bring more people to the table so to speak. So I think we will have the opportunity for more gamers (see next point).

2) If we gamers play some poker and meet some people and invite them to play boardgames, I think we will find a lot of new converts. Being able to have all the fun while not losing money is the big advantage we have as gamers.

3) I don't agree the key element in poker is bluffing. If you think so, I'd love to get in a high stakes game with you cool Being able to play your cards well (which includes reading bluffs as well as bluffing) is the key element and it is very situational. For example, if you don't know what pot odds are then you are in the wrong game. To quote a poker maxim: If you can't figure out who the fish is at the table YOU are the fish. cry

4) What excites people and has them hooked is the chance to win money. The lure of easy money and fame. But of course only a very few achieve either. Although I have been able to win consistently online, it takes a lot of time and concentration and becomes more work than play. I have happily cut down on the amount of poker I play and have returned to my regular gaming with friends as it is much more enjoyable. I do still play poker occassionally as it is a wonderful and exciting game.

5) I did buy some poker chips and use them in all my games instead of paper money. Soooooo much easier.

6) I think this post sets a record for how many smilies I have ever used! meeple
 
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Magnus Lundgren
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Quote:
I don't agree the key element in poker is bluffing. If you think so, I'd love to get in a high stakes game with you


Just wanted to point out that this wasn't my opinion - it is what the Poker experts keep saying.

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Joe Huber

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Magnus asks:

Quote:
With Poker and getting bigger and bigger on the Internet and here in Sweden also on TV - a few months back we had four different channels airing poker tournaments. Will this have any influence on the board gaming community?


It already is; I don't remember the last convention of any size I attended that didn't have at least _some_ poker played. Fortunately, there are enough other people who dislike poker that I've not had difficulty in rounding up a non-Poker game.

Quote:
Will players go over to play Poker instead of board games?


Some will - but not many, and it should be possible to pull them back.

Quote:
Will new poker players be more open to other types of games and thus try out TGOO?


A few will - but not many, I'd bet, given the luck (or lack thereof) I've had in converting Bridge players...

Quote:
Will the increase of poker related news in media spill over or will it just steal the coverage chess and bridge have?


It will spill over somewhat; someone will think to do an additional column on other games, and discover much to their shock that they're still being played...

Quote:
Is it good for board gaming? What do you think?


I find it personally annoying, but don't anticipate any negative long-term effects - and maybe even a few positive ones. The only potential negative long-term effect would be an increased expectation of gambling being a critical element of gaming, and I haven't seen any evidence thereof.
 
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Darren M
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I didn't know Poker was at a "frenzy" level around the world but if it is it certainly will rise and fall like many other gaming and hobby fads over the years. Poker has always been popular in certain circles and always will be even after the current infatuation with it dies down.

I like poker but the appeal of poker itself really isn't the gameplay and mechanisms themselves...it's the fact that money is on the line...and it really doesn't have to be high stakes to make it interesting. The inherent gambling element makes the game much better than the underlying gameplay...deal...2 pair...draw...3 of a kind...flush..straight. Whooptee doo. If there was no risk of loss or potential for gain...the gameplay gets very repetitive and dull in a hurry.

I don't think the current obsession with poker will convert many to other boardgames because that gambling element isn't in place there in most other boardgames unless of course they start playing those for money as well.

Here is a list of games I'd personally rather watch on television if money between the players were on the line...I think these all would make good viewing as many of the games have tense decisions through bluffing/bidding/auction/negotiation/backstabbing mechanisms.

Power Grid
Euphrat & Tigris
El Grande
Modern Art
Ra
Wallenstein
Amun-Re
Maharaja: Palace Building in India
Lord of the Rings - The Confrontation
Taj Mahal
Santiago
Atlantic Star
Struggle of Empires
San Marco
Traders of Genoa, The
Löwenherz
Princes of the Renaissance
Edel, Stein & Reich
Game of Thrones, A
Fearsome Floors


I personally think all these games would make much better viewing on television if the same level of analysis and exposure were given to them on a "GameGeek" channel. There's no reason these games couldn't be just as evocative and entertaining...as they have excellent underlying mechanisms that lend themselves to very cutthroat and interesting gameplay especially if some sort of jackpot is on the line.

We'll never see this of course as it takes forever for the public to change their views on what constitutes a "good game".

Here's a thought (a dream really)...

I'd like to see the boardgaming companies all chip in and put together a show like "Big Brother" but instead of the inane challenges they use to set up the eliminations now...have boardgames played like Struggle of Empires, Diplomacy, A Game of Thrones, Löwenherz etc. and have the losers voted out of the house. You could have several games of each and several varieties of games so the heat and metagaming would carry on from session to session exposing all the different gaming personalities in the household. You would have your alpha males, your quiet but deadly types, your whiners and complainers...your rules lawyers..etc

I personally think this would be bloody brilliant viewing as what better way to get 16 people in a household fuming, scheming and conniving and what better way to bring out all the various personality traits deeply ingrained in a group that seem to so easily bubble to the surface while playing some intense boardgames.

I think this type of show would be invaluable in showcasing just what exists out there in the world of the boardgaming hobby. There is so much variety and this type of a showcase would be brilliant in my opinion.

I know I'd be watching this type of concept anyway. This would be better than 95% of the crap programs they have on TV now...well for a geek viewer anyway.
 
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DragonCat wrote:

1) The frenzy will not last forever. However, the taste for gaming entertainment will bring more people to the table so to speak. So I think we will have the opportunity for more gamers (see next point).


The poker frenzy is already dead around here. I remember last summer when it took off, we were playing tourney's at least once a week. All the pubs had poker once a week, and it was packed everytime. Now I am lucky to scrounge a small game once a month.
Now we are back to where we started with the same 7-8 friends playing poker in our regular monthly trist.

meeple
 
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Nelson Lamoureux
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nexttothemoon wrote:
Here's a thought (a dream really)...

I'd like to see the boardgaming companies all chip in and put together a show like "Big Brother" but instead of the inane challenges they use to set up the eliminations now...have boardgames played like Struggle of Empires, Diplomacy, A Game of Thrones, Löwenherz etc. and have the losers voted out of the house. You could have several games of each and several varieties of games so the heat and metagaming would carry on from session to session exposing all the different gaming personalities in the household. You would have your alpha males, your quiet but deadly types, your whiners and complainers...your rules lawyers..etc

I personally think this would be bloody brilliant viewing as what better way to get 16 people in a household fuming, scheming and conniving and what better way to bring out all the various personality traits deeply ingrained in a group that seem to so easily bubble to the surface while playing some intense boardgames.

I think this type of show would be invaluable in showcasing just what exists out there in the world of the boardgaming hobby. There is so much variety and this type of a showcase would be brilliant in my opinion.

I know I'd be watching this type of concept anyway. This would be better than 95% of the crap programs they have on TV now...well for a geek viewer anyway.


This is a fantastic idea. I would be the first in line to watch (participate?) such a TV show. But I would like to see some more cutthroat games added like Diplomacy, Intrige, The Republic of Rome and other similar games where nasty becomes a way of life and where the REAL personnality of the players surface!
 
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Mark Lockett
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There is a mini poker frenzy around I agree with that as I have seen more and more people I know start to play it over the last 6 months.

I think Poker attracts a different kind of gamer. It is seen as gambling and so there can be a monetary pay off which you don't really get when playing a board game although you could bet if you really wanted to.

The people I know that play Poker will not sit down to play a round of Carcassonne that's for sure as they see it as a geeky hobby as embraced by the very name of this site.

So yes Poker is growing still but it attracts a different breed.
 
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shumyum
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I just realized that I was introduced to Euro games (Settlers of Catan) at what was supposed to be a poker game (but not enough people showed up). This was about nine years ago (arguably before the poker craze OR the Eurogame craze, for what it's worth). Yes, we were all geeks in the first place (we were grad students in the same biochemistry department), but I'm just pointing out that geeks like poker too.
 
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John Carlton
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As you can tell by my avatar, I've been bitten by the poker bug. I'm now playing about twice a week at the local bars (free tournaments) and we often end our Thursday night boardgaming sessions with a mini-tournament.

The nice thing about poker is that many different people can play together with widely varying levels of skill/concentration and still create an interesting game. And, despite the large amount of luck involved from hand to hand, there's really no end to how much you can learn. I've played in weekly tournaments for a year now, read a few books, watched several tournaments, discussed strategies with other players endlessly. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, I still don't know jack!

As an aside for those people reading this topic who do like poker, you might be interested in my free fantasy poker tournament for the WSOP. Check it out: www.acekickertees.com/fantasy
 
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David Boeren
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I don't really understand the poker craze, but I recognize that it exists. I tried watching one of the TV poker shows to see if I could figure out why it was so popular, but it just bored me to tears. It had all the tension of watching someone roll dice, but slower.

I played one night of Texas Hold'em once when we were out of town at a wedding with some of the other guests. Just 3 of us, two of which were new players (including me). I won, but still didn't see what the point was. At no time did I feel nearly as much decision tension as I do when I play eurogames. It just wasn't interesting at all. Given, we were playing with chips and not money, and gambling is apparently the main draw. But without money on the line, it becomes a very dull game.

I doubt many (if any) poker craze players will bridge to boardgames. It doesn't have the gambling aspect that attracts people, and it's just too different. Normal people hate games where they must use good play to create a winning situation. They like games with luck where sometimes you are given a good deal and you can win without having to do anything.
 
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Eddy Bee
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Poker is simply another form of social entertainment that we humans can engage in - no different from video games, movies, board games, chess, sporting events, etc.

I love poker and I love board games - the two are not mutually exclusive for me.

Poker is great because whenever I get the urge to play, I can go to my local card club and play in a game, day or night. Too bad there aren't board game clubs that are always full of people 24/7...

The "poker craze" (e.g., media saturation) will definitely die down. Aside from its mundane attributes as a spectator sport, poker suffers from the same problem that has plagued mens tennis for the past few years: the absence of one or two unquestionably great players with distinctive personalities. There is no Michael Jordan or Bjorn Borg of poker. There are a bunch of great players, any of whom can win any given tournament at any time. This is not what the vast majority of spectators like to see. They want to see greatness. They want to see a competitor who exhibits excellence in everything he does and demolishes the opposition. This just doesn't exist in tournament poker, and the nature of the game pretty much guarantees it never will. The only player who even came close to that was Stu Ungar - but he died young and that's the end of that.

The worst part of televised poker are the painfully obvious attempts by the commentators to make something out of nothing. They overblow the simplest decisions and try to dramatically interpret what the players are thinking and feeling. It's just plain embarrassing.

The best part of televised poker is that it has introduced the world to the notion that you can watch people sitting at a table playing a game. Perhaps in the future this will spawn ideas like celebrity Carcassonne or televised Puerto Rico tournaments. After all, they televise Go tournaments in Japan and Chess tournaments worldwide, why not other table games?
 
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Karl Schmit
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Like another poster said, the main appeal of poker is gambling, not gaming. A lot of people playing poker will go back to the slot machines or blackjack tables when the poker craze dies down.

On the other hand, the poker craze allows some of us to make a bit of money that we can use for... more boardgames!
 
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David Kuznick
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ratpfink wrote:
Like another poster said, the main appeal of poker is gambling, not gaming. A lot of people playing poker will go back to the slot machines or blackjack tables when the poker craze dies down.


Therefore the main appeal of poker is likely something besides "gambling", else they would have stuck with slots or blackjack. I agree there will be a bubble bursting like anything else. The good news is the games were great even before the current boom, and even if it went back to that level (I think it will go back to a level above above the pre-boom), that's fine by me. In the US at least, poker is simply a long-standing tradition that is unlikely to ever die out, and there will always be good games if you do your homework.

 
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Bob O`Bob
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iorlas wrote:
Quote:
I don't agree the key element in poker is bluffing. If you think so, I'd love to get in a high stakes game with you


Just wanted to point out that this wasn't my opinion - it is what the Poker experts keep saying.


Indeed, they do.

And they keep saying it - because the more fish who show up believing it, the better off these 'experts' are. But have you considered that perhaps that statment itself is a bluff?

Poker can be a bigger game than most people realize. Wheels within wheels within wheels... Once you reach a sustainable skill level, if you don't want to, you don't ever have to stop playing. If you're willing to see everyone as an opponent, you can live your life as a poker game.

Mostly what has changed in the current "craze" is the level where 'sustainable' can be reached. As long as there are huge numbers of people becoming interested and willing to lose some money to learn (i.e., "pay for lessons") the sustainability line will be easier to reach than it has been in maybe a century and a half.
 
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Kendahl Johnson
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Quote:
Therefore the main appeal of poker is likely something besides "gambling", else they would have stuck with slots or blackjack.


I disagree with this wholeheartedly. Poker is a much better gambling game than slots or blackjack. Take away the gambling aspect of poker and very few would play. I find poker boring and tedious playing for "fun", whereas playing for money can be exciting. Try going on and playing on the internet in one of the free games and you will know what I mean. Everyone plays to the end on every hand because there is nothing at risk and inferior starting hands when often. It comes down entirely to luck...what is fun about that?
 
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