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Olivier Busquet Sparks Age-Old Debate; Others Weigh In

Olivier “Livb112” Busquet recently made some comments on Twitter that caught the ire, but also the agreement, of many players. Livb112 said “online poker is chess, live poker is checkers….” While this comment sparked a debate that has been going on for years, it breathes new life into it, because of how well-respected Busquet is and the medium in which he made the proclamation. The other interesting thing about this is the comments that were directed from very good and noted players either agreeing or disagreeing with this assumption.

The most noted disagreement probably came from Daniel Negreanu, who made his comments while playing the Super High Roller at the World Series of Poker Europe in Paris. Negreanu said that Busquet’s analogy was wrong and that it was probably rooted in the fact that Busquet isn’t very good at live poker. This has a few problems in its nature, as it makes it very personal for no reason and it also isn’t exactly true. Busquet has a WPT win under his belt as well as a 2nd at the EPT Campione, 2nd at an EPT Main Event High Roller, and nearly $4 million in live tournament earnings; far from an unsuccessful player live by almost any measure.

After the Negreanu attack, Busquet did clarify things a bit more to make sure he was being properly understood. He said that the complexity of online play is significantly more than that of live. He also put forth that it is easier to win live than online, which many people seemed to agree with. Many live players agreed with these two sentiments, even if they didn’t like the initial analogy, which Busquet agreed might have been a bit weak. Another interesting note form this is that some well-known players don’t actually argue points but result to name calling and disparaging others. Reading over Busquet’s Twitter account is pretty fun and interesting and really provides insight into how some respected players approach situations, and it’s not always good.

There is a complimentary thread progressing on 2+2 as well about this subject and it seems to really be gaining a lot of steam among well-known players. The issues here are a bit more flushed out, as one might expect with being able to use more characters to express one’s opinion than is permitted on Twitter. Many top players have weighed in such as Dani “Ansky” Stern, Taylor “GreenPlastic” Caby, and Vanessa “flsexcduck” Selbst. Their opinions kind of straddle the fence between agreeing with Busquet and agreeing with Negreanu, even though they are seen as online players predominantly. The thread has some bad stuff to wade through, but it also well worth the read if you ignore certain people’s childish comments.

This debate has also brought up the issue about if heads-up displays such as PokerTracker or HoldemManager are good or bad for the game. While this might appear unrelated at first, many people are bringing up that it makes the games easier, thus making online easier than live. Interestingly, the opinions seem pretty split with some players thinking that it does make online easier, while other both live and online pros think that it doesn’t actually make it easier. Some argue that even though you have all those stats, knowing what you should do with them and how they work together makes it a skill within itself. Yet others argue that it gives too much information and makes the game just about clicking buttons with little skill.

While many of these arguments have surrounded the consternation between live and online pros for a long time, they are getting new life once again with such high profile players opening that wound once more. No matter who you agree with, it’s important for this discussion to happen in a civil manner that doesn’t get personal, as it is an interesting conversation. As more develops with this story, will keep you informed.

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Andrew Schupick