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A Day at the Poker Zoo

As you may be aware, I went to Atlantic City recently with Roose and Hole, where I played in a NLHE tournament. After losing, I joined Hole and Roose at their NLHE ring game. The table was full and I had lost more than enough money for the day, so I took a stroll around Taj Mahal's large poker room to see what was happening. While walking around, I noticed that certain types of players played certain types of games. I'm sure this is no surprise to some of the more experienced casino players. However, I had never noticed it so blatantly. Here is what I found:

Limit Hold'em: Limit Hold'em, especially at the lower limits, was really the mixing bowl in the room. There was a good variety of players, from pensioners to Indian kids, to redneck trash. However, I noticed that the middle-aged group was definitely more prevalent here than in some of the other tables. That said, limit still remained the grabbag of poker games. In the end, this makes sense. Its a game that is easy to understand, and the exposure is limited. Maybe that's why the middle-aged crowd, who are more responsible and risk-adverse, tended to play at the limit tables.

No Limit Hold'em: Its no surprise that the NLHE tables were stacked with young guys. I mean, at Roose and Hole's table, there were maybe 8 guys under 30, and maybe 6 of those were 25 and under. There were two older guys, but these weren't geezers either. Old at this table was 40. This must be because of the television poker explosion. The newer players, which is heavily tilted to young, vice-loving "kids", have learned about the game from NLHE tournaments on ESPN and the like. Its what they know. Its where the glamour is at. And for these younger players, losing money is not a concern. These are the thrill seekers.

Stud: If you want to play stud, first check three things, (1) you have your prescriptions handy, (2) your pacemaker batteries are fresh, and (3) your colostomy bag is prepped for a long night, because stud was the game of choice amongst the geriatrics. You should've seen this group. There was one 30 or younger guy, and one 50 or younger, but the rest of the players were 70 and up. Way up. One guy was reminiscing of the good ole days, before the "speakies" ruined the movies, and Wilson was still in the White House. I imagine it all comes down to when these players started playing. NLHE is on a surge. But it wasn't always to game to play. In fact, the game was few and far between when players like Doyle Brunson were starting out. Stud was the game of choice, and in my humble and logical estimation, players stick to the games they know best.

Omaha: At the Omaha tables, it wasn't as easy to spot the player type, unless you were close enough to hear them talk. The older white guy said, "Bet," in a Irish brogue. The young Indian kid called, with a short pashtung-accented voice. Ah, its the foreigners! Omaha is the game of choice in England (and possibly all of Europe). I would not be surprised if Hold'em is taking over in Europe. America's greatest export is out culture! But people still stick to the game they know best, and for Americans, it usually isn't Omaha. So, instead, the Omaha table is stacked with a virtual UN of poker players.

There you have it. Agree or disagree, this is what I saw with my own two eyes. Of course there are exceptions. I saw them too. But generally, the tables all fit the profiles mentioned. Go figure. Maybe on a future trip, I can compare Stud v. Stud hi/lo and Omaha v. Omaha hi/lo. Until that day, I'll keep on poking.

posted by Jordan @ 1:30 PM,


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