Sunday, November 13, 2005

Why poker is like an RPG

An RPG (or role playing game) in the vein of Dark age of Camelot, or Star Wars Battlefield, or the mammoth Everquest are very similar to poker. As you start your character, you have a new world and no experience. You take on lame beginner missions and build experience. After a long while, you make some friends, learn to navigate the world, and finally take on some real challenges. And if you stick with it, you drive your character up to the high levels which allow you move intense adventures. Sound familiar?

Mrs Columbo started her adventure over the Christmas holiday last year. She played at the play money tables for 8 months, building experience, making friends, and becoming emotionally attached to the world she spent so much time in. Recently, she has moved up to the real money micro tables. A small step? hardly. She earned it and she is doing well. She is even placing in some tournaments.

Poker is sort of an RPG for non-gamers. The biggest difference being that you decide when you are ready to move up instead of some artificial time scale called "exp". And its risk-reward based. Move up before you ready and your bankroll suffers. I bet the RPG crowd could learn alot from this.

Point? well, let me digress a bit and make another one. Party Poker is going to ruin everything. When they took their poker site public, they added the pressure of growth revenues. That cuased the company to look for more ways to generate growth (income). They introduced blackjack and side bets. And that's gambling. Its not game play based on skill, its plain gambling. And it marks the beginning of the end. Soon we will see the negative backlash that comes with gambling, then regulation based on the lost tax revenues, and then decline of ease of online play, then when the boom ends, the brick casinos start to offer less card room space.

These things swing like pendulums and if you dont believe it, then you're simple too young to have seen it all before.

(and now to tie these two together) Just like each RPG explodes with popularity, it is always replaced by the "newest and shinyest" version. Its just a matter of time. And poker will lose ground to other activities, namely everything else in the world. Its explosive moment in the sun may change the landscape forever, but certainly will not remain the dominant force it is now. That's why we remember things like "the 80s" as the 80s.

And one more thing.... LIONS WIN!!! LIONS WIN!!!

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