Friday, January 11, 2008

On the PokerRoad Again

Shamus behind the wheelAmericans spend a lot of time behind the wheel getting to and from their jobs. The U.S. Census Bureau puts the average commute time for us Yanks at a little under a half-hour. Depends on where you live, of course. This fancy interactive map over at Time Magazine gives an idea how times vary from city to city. Sadly for me, I’m one of those saps who lives a little farther from his workplace than most, meaning I have about a 40-45 minute drive into work every day. And back.

Spending 7-8 hours behind the wheel each week certainly cuts into my poker-playing time. But it also allows me to keep up with a lot of different poker podcasts. Wasn’t long ago I’d run out of poker shows to listen to before the week was up, but nowadays I’m discovering I haven’t the time to listen to every single one of the shows I have listed over there on the right-hand margin. Of those noted over there, the ones I’m most likely to dial up on the iPod-like device include Ante Up!, Beyond the Table, Big Poker Sundays, Keep Flopping Aces (now moved over to Rounders Radio), Poker Psychology (currently vanished along with the rest of Hold ’em Radio), PokerRoad Radio, and the Two Plus Two Pokercast.

Head over to the Beyond the Table website if you wanna see my summary-slash-preview of this week’s show. Also, let me particularly recommend the latter part of this week’s Two Plus Two Pokercast (the 1/5/08 episode, listed as “Episode 5”) in which the friggin’ hilarious Norm MacDonald (of Saturday Night Live fame) appears as a guest.

PokerRoad RadioProbably the most interesting show I heard all week, though, was PokerRoad Radio’s first episode from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, on which co-hosts Bart Hanson, Joe Sebok, and Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy (subbing for Gavin Smith) interviewed Isaac Haxton, runner-up in last year’s PCA.

Back in the summer, Sebok had complained a bit on the now-defunct PokerWire radio show about a couple of hands he’d played against Haxton in a WSOP event, so this week’s interview was hyped as a kind of “round two” between the combatants. Haxton and Sebok did butt heads, though I found their interaction much, much more civil (and constructive, even) than that massive, 500-plus post thread on Two Plus Two would suggest. Haxton, representing the young, “internet kid” archetype so prominently represented at the PCA, tended to oppose the approach of Sebok, who though only 30 was made here to represent the “old school” P.O.V. of the brick-and-mortar veteran.

Several topics arose during the interview, all of which could have made for a separate post, I think. Here are three of them:

(1) That online players may, in fact, be stronger (in a general sense) than live-only players. Haxton made the very provocative claim that in terms of skill “the average live 50/100 cash game plays like the average online 5/10 cash game.” Sebok found that a “staggering jump,” but Haxton maintained “almost everybody who plays a lot of [both]” would agree with him.

(2) That it is somehow possible to play “by math” (or be “a math player”) without taking other, less tangible factors into consideration, and vice-versa. Haxton, of course, appeared at times to take up the former position, and Sebok the latter, although I think neither really believes one can just “use math” or not when playing.

(3) That online poker, in its present form, may not be around forever, a factor that young (i.e., 18-20 yr. old) players who are having success and are contemplating whether to postpone or forgo college need to consider. Josephy suggested as much, as did Haxton who said dropping out “might be the right decision for some people,” especially since “there’s no guarantee that situation is going to be the way it is now for the rest of your life.”

By the way, PokerRoad’s interview with Lee Jones later in the week (the 1/9/08 episode) was also quite good. And also provocative. Incidentally, Jones takes the opposite view of Haxton regarding the future viability of online poker, advising young people to go to college and/or get some world experience. “You know what? When you come back, we’ll still be dealing cards. I promise,” Jones confirmed. “The games will be going on. It’s not like we’re going to shut down the sport anytime soon.”

Glad to hear that. Especially while I’m stuck in this damn car!



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