Always well-dressed and exuding an aura of professionalism, World Poker Tour commentator and poker pro Mike Sexton recently blogged about his disgust and disappointment with some of today’s pros who fail to act and dress in a professional manner.
Poker pros come from a variety of backgrounds. And most are no longer from the era of the smoky backroom-of-the-bar variety typically found in Doyle Brunson’s heyday. Today’s pros are often products of the internet generation, learning the strategies and nuances of the game online, where a day at work consists of rolling out of bed and stumbling to a desktop or laptop computer without worrying about appearances or professionalism.
But attempting to transfer that style of player to the live arena is problematic, as Sexton so succinctly points out. Let’s face it, poker has evolved into a much different form than just a dozen or so years ago, prior to the online age. The Internet has created a whole new breed of player. Is that new player good for the game? Well, for the most part, yes. Yes, because poker’s popularity has absolutely skyrocketed due to the Internet. I’d like to say that the popularity is at an all-time high, but the ramifications of Black Friday have put a little hurt on the game. However, with online poker legalization in the U.S. just around the corner, a popularity resurgence should continue in due course.
But the bad element of the new breed of player is the fact that many are living “in their own little worlds,” as Sexton said. Perhaps taking for granted that a game of cards is allowing them to earn a good living. Sexton has urged the poker pros to take it upon themselves to act and dress professionally to be a better reflection on the industry. I sincerely hope that the pros will pay attention and conduct themselves in such a manner as to be an asset to the game. Its certainly not asking too much to wear a shirt with a collar and nice slacks and shoes for televised events. Or to be punctual to media requests and to spend a little time with fans.
The World Poker Tour could easily force players to do just that by making them sign a contract while paying their entry fee to the tournaments in which they would agree to act responsibly and to dress professionally. Let’s hope that the players can do it on their own without having to take it to that level. The good of the game of poker depends on it.