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Poker Community Reacts to Joe Hachem's "poker is dying" Comment

Joe Hachem’s latest remarks in which he expressed regret that the game of “poker is dying” fired up the whole poker community. From the 2+2 forums to the high stakes professionals playing in the 2014 Aussie Millions tournaments, everybody seems to have taken sides on the never-ending battle of the generations.

Daniel Negreanu, for example, agrees in many ways with what Hachem said four days ago. He called the younger generation “short-sided” because they think in terms of equity and expected value even when they are away from the poker table.

“In the long term, creating more interest in the game and keeping people interested keeps the numbers up, keeps more new people coming into the game, whereas if everyone approaches it at a cut-throat kind of business level like bum-hunting online, then eventually the money will dry up,” Negreanu said in a BLUFF interview.

The Canadian explained that somebody from the new online generation must step up, interact with the fans and encourage people to play poker.

On the other hand, 2007 WSOP Main Event winner Jerry Yang doesn’t believe poker is dying. He told that the passion for poker will never die out. He acknowledges the regression of the game but thinks that the world economic situation is in fact the real problem why there are less and less people playing poker.

Yang was accused by Hachem of destroying the legacy of poker and of not being a good ambassador for the game.

Meanwhile, on 2+2 forums, the opinions are divided. Players like Dani “Asnky” Stern agree with the Aussie, while other posters and experienced poker coaches blame legislation and high rake. Many see Black Friday and other poker scandals like UltimateBet as the tipping point that marked the regression of the game.

The rake is also a problem for both live and online play. “Rake is the biggest thing killing poker,” user “iPUTnutsONtheTABLE” posted, giving examples of cash rakes up to 10% and caps of $5 or $6 and 25% tournament rakes.

“LolZombies” stated in a post about the current state of online poker compared with what was happening four or five years ago when the prize pools were huge and the European networks were filled with recreational players. Now all those poker rooms have cut their guaranteed prizes to a quarter and are left with only bum-hunters. “I can’t see online poker lasting another decade the way it’s heading. Something drastic needs to be done to get a mass influx of new players,” he wrote.

Nevertheless, there are still many players who believe that poker is in fact still alive and well. “Poker is not dying, just changing, or maybe reverting to what it was pre TV Boom. The sky is not falling folks,” poster “Bene Gersserit” assured us.

Where do you stand?

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Florian Gheorghe