True Irish Baller: We Aren’t All Social Introverts

True Irish Baller: We Aren’t All Social Introverts

Thursday, 3 April 2014

It's high time that people stopped blaming the ‘new generation’ for poker's problems.

I’m probably very late to the party with this article, and I might even just be rehashing some opinions that some way smarter and better writers than me have already offered – but I simply couldn’t let this topic pass me by.

The now infamous Joe Hachem interview, in which he claimed that poker is dying because the ‘new generation’ are unsociable and don’t make it fun, was something that really bugged me. Personally, I have probably had quite a different poker background to the majority of new school players out there at the moment.

I started playing live and the entire first couple of years of my poker learning curve were spent grinding live. I have sat with more ‘old-school’ players than probably 99% of other ‘new-school’ guys. Sitting with the majority of these guys isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Simply put, most ‘old-school’ players are disgusting degens, with serious problems both financially and socially. So why, then, should I go out of my way to make conversation with these people?

The majority of the times I have befriended these guys in the past, it’s turned out to be a lot of unnecessary hassle for me. Most assume it will be a license for them to try and ‘borrow’ money off me (and by ‘borrow’, I mean sponge off me with zero intention of ever paying me back). I have literally nothing in common with these people and quite frankly they are boring, moaning arseholes.

I can safely say I have been berated several times more by ‘old-school’ players than I ever have from ‘new-school’ guys. When I started playing, I was never made to feel that welcome, and this didn’t stem from any old casino regular. We’re talking about well-known pros within Ireland who have actually gone out of their way to berate a guy learning the game. In fact, baseless and unnecessary berating is something I have seen more than anything with the ‘old-school’ guys, which just adds to the list of reasons why I want nothing to do with them. If a ‘new-school’ guy berates me, at least there is substance to his comments a high percentage of the time!

Now, there are some genuinely nice ‘old-school’ guys. People who are just out to enjoy themselves and maybe just pass a lonely evening socialising down at the casino. You can spot these guys quickly, and I will always attempt conversation and some table banter with them. They generally act like proper gents or ladies from start to finish. However, this is not always the case.

The whole argument that ‘new-school’ guys are boring drones who are incapable of showing any form of positive personality traits makes me laugh. Recently, Bluff Europe presented the British Poker Awards, and the accolade for Poker Personality of the Year was awarded to Sam Grafton. Having sat with Sam at the poker table and having watched his training videos online, it’s very easy to see why he won the award. The guy, quite simply, is utterly hilarious and one of the most entertaining and colourful characters on the poker scene right now. He is as ‘new-school’ as they come, and a prime example of exactly what the new generation of poker players can offer.

You only have to watch last month’s UKIPT Dublin final table to see what the ‘new-school’ guys can offer the poker world. Kevin Killeen’s (congrats by the way) friends created a fantastic rail and buzz around the final table with their chanting, celebrating and generally creating a positive atmosphere around the final table.

Things like this are just the way the game is headed. It’s forever changing and five years down the line it will be very different. The ‘new school’ guys have lot of personalities that could offer a lot to the future of poker. They just need to be allowed to express themselves by the ‘old-school’ so that we can all create an enjoyable experience for all concerned.

Tags: True Irish Baller, Joe Hachem, British Poker Awards, Sam Grafton, UKIPT Dublin, Kevin Killeen