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Dan Podheiser

Poker Player Tweets of the Week: It's time to debate

25 October 2013

By Dan Podheiser

Poker players will debate pretty much anything. They're analytical by nature and they spend hours on end sitting around chatting with their friends at the tables.

So it's no surprise that a couple of tweets really stirred up the poker community this week. Online and live players debated about the difficulties of their respective games, while high-stakes cash players pined for stricter adherence to criteria by voters for the Poker Hall of Fame.

Let's dive right into the madness.

Tuesday, Oct. 22: Olivier "@olivierbusquet" Busquet

Oh boy did Olivier Busquet catch heat for this one. Top poker players like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Galfond, Justin Schwartz, Allen Bari, Darryll Fish, Daniel Alaei and many others chimed in with their thoughts, with perhaps Negreanu and Schwartz being the most vocal responders (no surprise there). Negreanu immediately took a jab at Busquet, initially responding with "WOW! You must suck at checkers then! :-)"

Other players tended to agree with Busquet, but pointed out that his analogy was pretty terrible. Schwartz and Galfond pointed out that the comparison of chess to checkers deals with the complexity in the two games, whereas the difference in difficulty between live and online poker is based on player fields. Busquet eventually agreed with this and conceded his analogy was weak, but stood firm on his argument.

I'm in the Busquet camp here, though it doesn't help when -- as Negreanu pointed out -- the author of this tweet is a successful online player who hasn't been able to transition that success to the live arena just yet. I think that it's easier for a great online player to beat the same stakes live than it is for a great live player to beat the same stakes online.

A standard $1/$2 no-limit Hold'em game in a brick-and-mortar casino, for instance, is perhaps the most beatable form of poker around for a solid player. But a $1/$2 game online is very tough and filled with regulars and even some professional grinders.

To me, that was the point of Busquet's tweet, and I think it holds true at most stakes.

Monday, Oct. 21: Doyle "@TexDolly" Brunson

When Doyle Brunson speaks, you listen.

The 80-year-old legend was not pleased with the recent announcement that Tom McEvoy and Scotty Nguyen were elected to the Poker Hall of Fame. He cast all of his votes for Jennifer Harman, a longtime player in the high-stakes cash games in Bobby's Room and one of Brunson's good buddies.

While I wouldn't necessarily argue that McEvoy and Nguyen are not worthy Hall of Famers, I agree with Brunson (and said so during this week's Casino City Gang podcast) that something needs to change regarding the voting.

It's impossible to weigh cash game success vs. tournament success when evaluating poker players. And it's even harder for the media, which does most of the voting, to do so, because they don't have access to all the information.

I think a select committee of respected players and esteemed figures in the industry should do the voting. Unlike sports, where the media can evaluate the game just as well () as players, poker players are in the best position to know who is the best. This way, instead of having separate Halls of Fame for tournament players, cash players, ambassadors, etc., we can just have the best candidates inducted every year.

Friday, Oct. 25: Randal "@RandALLin" Flowers

ICM, or "independent chip modeling," is a statistical method of assigning a real cash value to a poker player's chip stack at any given point during a tournament. Using ICM, players can make better informed decisions based on the real-money implications of potential results.

ICM applies to tournaments because, sometimes, a decision that is "correct" in a cash game is not necessarily the right one in a tournament, depending on the pay structure. But when money is no object, as Randal Flowers notes, ICM is meaningless. People who don't care about money only care about the glory of winning the tournament.

There are really only a handful of poker pros out there who "don't care" about the money in tournaments. So by Flowers' logic, most players are "poor." In a way, he's absolutely right.

Thursday, Oct. 24: Sorel "@sorelmizzi" Mizzi

Tough spot here. While I don't condone the "dine and dash" move, at a certain point, it starts to look more and more acceptable when a restaurant's wait staff completely disregards you.

I understand restaurants can be busy and mistakes happen. But restaurants are in the service industry. When mistakes happen, who should suffer the consequences -- the restaurant or the restaurant-goer? Perhaps that's an unanswerable question.

I'm sure Sorel Mizzi paid the check. But I wouldn't have blamed him if he didn't.

Editor's note: Please play your check before you leave. Thank you.

Wednesday, Oct. 23: Matthew "@Matthew_Waxman" Waxman

Wow, apparently I'm not the only one to have done this.

When I was a freshman in high school, my friend and I played heads-up during geometry class. He sat right in front of me and would sit sideways in his chair. We played with one of those mini decks of cards, where the cards are no more than an inch long, and he would deal the community cards on his thigh. We'd record wins and losses exactly like Waxman said, by keeping track of betting on a piece of notepaper. Those were the glory days.

On a completely unrelated note, I didn't get a lot of dates in high school. To this day I can't figure out why.
Dan Podheiser
Podheiser is a graduate of Emerson College and has worked as the sports editor of The (Torrington, CT) Register Citizen and as an intern for Immediately prior to joining Casino City, Podheiser served one year as an Americorps*VISTA, writing grant proposals for a local non-profit.