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The Mixed Game Virus

"If you only play NLHE, you are a loser and don't deserve to play poker." -DP*

I came to a realization last night as I lay in bed thinking about my Hoy win. That same night, SoxLover was at PokerStars playing 2-7 Triple Draw with none other than Greg Raymer himself. I also recalled hearing that once PokerStars added 5 Card Draw and the Lowball Draw games, their HORSE games started to slow down in traffic. Ah, the virus that is mixed games (a term I incorrectly use for anything non-hold'em) is spreading, and ironically, we have illegal online poker to blame for it.

Remember earlier this year when there was all that controversy about the WSOP eliminating most of the Non-Hold'em games from their roster. It made financial sense, really. The explosion of players came from watching NLHE on TV, and those players then learned the game for themselves online. To teach America a new game via a 60 second explanation at the beginning of a two hour broadcast would be a real gamble, so televising an Omaha tournament or a Stud Hi/Lo tournament was not the highest priority for television executives pining for ratings.

How would we, the people of more than Hold'em, overcome this television-enforced exile of our non-Hold'em games? It looked like we could not. We could hear professionals complain, but we couldn't find a way to get the masses to change their NLHE tastes. It seemed like NLHE was going to engulf the poker world, and leave nothing in its wake.

And then came the anti-online poker legislation, and suddenly online poker havens like Party Poker closed their doors. The players moved to Fulltilt, where suddenly the mixed games were more prominent. They also went to Stars, which was just finishing up their final touches on the addition of HORSE and HOSE cash games. Not long after, Stars added 5 Card Draw, and it's evil goatee-sporting twin Lowball Draw (including 2-7 and A-5).

What does this mean? Why, it means that online poker may actually save the non-hold'em games! Casinos won't do it. They have limited space and only spread the games that are in demand, which are all too often NLHE or LHE. TV won't do it. They have limited time and need to bring in an audience, so don't expect anything other than the formulaic NLHE tournaments that WSOP and the WPT made oh so popular.

But online, the possibilities are limitless. Stars doesn't lose by adding 2-7 Triple Draw. Full Tilt doesn't pay an extra dealer to add the Razz tables. Instead, they do just the opposite. If it costs x amount of dollars to program these non-hold'em games, that money is finite. But the amount that a site can bring in due to players who are attracted to the variety of games, well, that is limitless, hypothetically. Similarly, when Hold'em players who are just along for the fad get bored with hold'em (not all do, of course, but it happens), those players may get hooked on the other non-hold'em games. In the end, the amount it costs these poker rooms is likely minimal compared to the intangible benefits of attracting different players and retaining old ones.

So, great, FT is now teaching the masses about Razz. Now what? Well, FT does throw some televised tournaments, as does PokerStars, so the next step is for the non-hold'em games to build a player base online, enough to convince someone from these online poker rooms that the audience would find a television program that was non-hold'em poker. It's still a while in the making, but if these sites can garner enough attention for these non-hold'em games, it is hopefully only a matter of time. And instead of the WSOP hooking players on hold'em and, consequently, feeding these online poker rooms, the online poker rooms may just be building the audience that the WSOP needs to make televised PLO8 a real success.

In other news, you can tell that I'm absolutely giddy about winning the Hoy. It's been a great three days for me financially, and its giving me all the confidence I need going into the WSOP Circuit this weekend. I've hit my stride, and I plan on charging forward to victory. Until then, I'll be grinding away at the office and pining for the weekend.

Until next time, make mine poker!

* Statement not actually attributable to DP.

posted by Jordan @ 9:29 AM,


At 6:54 AM, Blogger Wolverine Fan said...

Good post,well thought out. I'm not sure I am ready to play other games as I am barely getting to know Holdem. I may have to expand my thinking some and try Omaha or Razz.

Congratulations on winning the Hoy.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am working on my Theorem of Variance (as I am calling it).


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