The Poker Whisperer is a well known UK poker player. He will be writing anonymously for UK Poker News to protect his identity and the identity of his sources. The Poker Whisperer always has an ear to the ground, so be careful what you say and where you say it.
It's an issue that crops up every couple of months on the poker TV shows, on the poker forums and in the poker press. Yes, I'm talking about that old chestnut, a poker governing body. Every Joe who has ever touched a playing card or clicked a mouse seems to have an opinion on this subject. The Whisperer is no different, of course, only my opinion appears to be the complete opposite to almost everyone else. No surprises there!
When I hear "experts" claim that poker needs a governing body in our country, I cringe. When I hear the same experts claim that it would bring about sponsorship from mainstream companies, I want to curl up in a corner and cry. Poker, whether we like it or not, is not considered a healthy, clean living sport or hobby. Try telling somebody who doesn't play poker what the game is all about, tell them how many hours you play, your wins and honest losses. That person will almost certainly see you as a sick gambler at best. Poker is moving forward, thanks to the Internet and media exposure, but it's still not "clean" enough to attract mainstream sponsorship, that the likes of The Premiership and other televised sports enjoy.
There is the issue of what a governing body will actually do. "It will enforce a standard set of rules" I hear you scream. A standard set of rules for who? Every single £5 rebuy comp' up and down the country? Just the European ranking festivals? Surely, the European rankings already insist on standard "rules" for any one festival to qualify as a ranking event and, for me, this is enough. Part of the joy of playing poker is adapting to the different structures card rooms give to players. If a governing body insisted every £1,000 tournament be structured the same way then the game would quickly become uniform and lose its excitement. Our game in the UK is still growing rapidly. With this growth, errors of judgement should be pin-pointed by card room management for the continual improvement of poker in this country. We do not need an over-seeing governing body, slapping wrists and handing out fines & bans. Nor do we need "The Barclay Card Poker Premier League".
I don't know about you, but I'm loving the William Hill Poker Grand Prix. The production is very slick, Jesse is still the John Motson of poker commentary and I adore Lucy's razor sharp tongue. This TV show proves poker can work on television. A 2 - 3 hour slot with all the juicy action makes for great viewing, especially with such talent on offer. Please bring us more of this and drop all the other rubbish please. TV companies, I'm begging you, some of that dross makes my eyeballs bleed.
It's great to see some of the young players coming through on the WH GP. Just how cool and calm did Greg Hill look as he ran over Barny Boatman? Players like Greg and Stuart Rutter, both of whom I enjoy reading here on UK Poker News, are clearly a cut above the old guard. They are ultra tough poker players with bundles of talent and energy. Quite frankly, they scare the pants off me. The older, more experienced players will soon be totally out-gunned in the main events across Europe by youngsters like these. Many are already desperately struggling to compete.
Until next time. Remember, I'm listening.
Ed note: We've got FREE WSOP seats to give away at Titan Poker