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Alex Weldon recently wrote a piece about the rake hike over at PokerStars. During that piece he tried to make a point about how that when poker fanboys like PokerUpdate presenter Robbie Strazynski start to talk negative, it is time to take notice.

But the role of sincere fanboys like Strazynski is no less important; since his articles typically read as if they’ve been typed on a rose-tinted keyboard, when he strays into negativity, it’s a pretty clear sign that the situation has become dire.

While I can agree with the point, I don’t agree with the backhanded way that he went about making that point. First, he basically called Robbie poker’s equivalent of the “canary in the coal mine” when talking about the health of poker economy.

Next, he said that Robbie’s articles “typically read as if they’ve been typed on a rose-tinted keyboard.” That type of statement is usually a negative one regardless of what comes afterwards.

While it is true that his articles do lean much more positive than the average poker fan, what do you expect from a man who is an unapologetic fanboy of poker? He loves the game, what it stands for and everything connected to it.

However, Weldon’s statement got me to thinking. What is the problem with writing with a rose-tinted keyboard? When did it become a bad thing to be a fanboy of the game? In an area where we are looking to “sportify poker” and attract recreational players, don’t we WANT fanboys? Not if you read into Weldon’s statement.

We All Used to Be Fanboys

Robbie reminds me a lot of a guy I knew in college that we all called “Joe Brother.” A bit of background, I went to Liberty University for two years. Yes, as in the school founded by the late Dr. Jerry Falwell. As such, the school had an abundance of enthusiastic Christians.

However, none were more enthusiastic than Joe Brother. His antics were so over the top, I felt he would become a running joke at the school. Early on, he did. However, as people got to know him, they started to appreciate both him and his enthusiasm. In time, he became on of more popular personalities on campus. In a way, you could say that Joe Brother was the ultimate fanboy for Jesus.

What is a fanboy, or fangirl for that matter? At their core, they are a fan of something. In this case, a fan of the game of poker and everything connected to it. From the time they get up until the time they go to sleep, poker is part of their lives. Some will even dream about poker in their sleep. The #1 cause of poker fans oversleeping isn’t fatigue but it was because they were neck deep in a cash game dream that was too juicy to leave.

Back in 2003, a world of fanboys and fangirls were created when Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event. Others were created after watching broadcasts of the World Poker Tour, Late Night Poker and other televised poker program.

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Back then, the poker world embraced the fanboys and the fangirls because they were the main source of income for the poker world. Poker players who were only known in their tight knit circles were not international stars of the game. Poker players were making money hand over fist and anything connected to poker was a cash cow. How did this happen? The fanboys and fangirls.

poker fanboy

If you think about it, at one time or another we were all fanboys of poker. It may not have been connected to the Poker Boom but all of had an enthusiasm and passion for the game. Mine was fueled in college prior to the Poker Boom and the Boom helped to reignite it.

Think about your personal poker experience. When were you a fanboy? What did you enjoy about the game and what kept you coming back?

What Happened to Your Inner Fanboy?

There are many times that I have read something Robbie has written or listened to him talk about something poker related and afterwards rolled my eyes because of “utterly fanboy” he is. At the same time, I appreciate the unbridled enthusiasm he brings to the industry, an enthusiasm that I admittedly no longer have in that abundance.

However, that is a trend that I have noticed with a lot of people in poker. A lot of us have lost that “fanboy enthusiasm” that many of us had for the game. Where did that enthusiasm go? Have we all become asshats and cynical old men and women?

Not really. The truth is that poker has become an “old hat” for many. Some feel that they have seen or experienced too much in the game to ever have that “fanboy enthusiasm” again. Others have been “working in the industry” so long that it doesn’t give them that thrill.

Earlier this week, I was playing cards with a five year old. He didn’t understand the ranks beyond a 10, but he had amazing enthusiasm for a simple game called war. While that isn’t poker, the enthusiasm he exhibited was similar to what many of us used to have.

You could see the anticipation in his eyes every time we were getting ready to flip over our cards and then excitement when he won a hand. He also exhibited a bit of disappointment when he didn’t win. (However, he had a lot of big cards so he won a lot.)

While we probably weren’t as noticeably excited as a five year old, many of us had a similar excitement when we played poker. At some point, we told that inner fanboy that he wasn’t welcome or we replaced him with “serious player” or “professional media member.”

What is Wrong With a Rose Tinted Keyboard?

Robbie supposedly writes his articles with a rose tinted keyboard. That’s supposed to insinuate that he views the poker world through overly optimistic eyes and somehow or another that is a bad thing.

Everywhere you look you see people talking about the power of positivity, believing in yourself and your fellow man, and doing good. You aren’t supposed to be negative. You can’t have a negative opinion about people, religion, politics or really anything or you might offend someone.

So you would think that being positive about poker is a good thing right? Yet when someone like Robbie writes positively about poker, he is accused of writing with a rose-tinted keyboard.

How does change begin in the world? Does it begin with a bunch of people being overly negative or does it start by someone saying “hey, I think the world will be better if we do this.” People that instigate change are generally positive people. They tend to view the world through “rose-colored glasses” because they want to see the world as it can be, not as it really is.

Also, there is another way to look at a “rose-tinted keyboard.” The keyboard may not be “rose-tinted” but rather blood stained. A person may have poured their heart and soul out to try to make a difference in the world. They pour out their blood and sweat, forever staining that which they touch.

It is Time to Reconnect With Our Inner Fanboy

For some of us, it is time that we try and reconnect with our inner fanboy or fangirl as it relates to poker. We got involved in poker because we loved the game and while we still appreciate it, the thrill is gone. It is time to try and get that thrill back.

The question is, how do you get that thrill back? I believe reconnecting with your inner fanboy is about finding something in the game that you can identify with and become passionate about. For some, it may be that you need to get back to playing on a regular basis.

excitedSome of you may need to go back to playing in games that you really enjoy rather than trying to grind out a profit. If you’re playing professionally, I am not saying to abandon the games that make money altogether, but instead go back to playing the games you love on occasion. If you love to play Stud, go find a Stud game to splash around in a couple of times a week. Break up the monotony of Hold’em.

This has multiple applications. If you grind cash games but love to play tournaments, mix in a few more tournaments. You may even want to drop down in stakes for the games you love so to no hurt your bankroll. It is about having fun and falling back in love with the game rather than making money.

For those of you that work in the industry, you may want to find an area of the game that interests you and start putting more focus into that area. Maybe you don’t have an avenue to monetize that interest yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t study up or possibly work on your passion on the side. You never know where it will lead.

Being a fanboy is all about having passion for the game and the poker industry. It is more than just “being part of the poker world.” It is loving the game and what it stands for. It is having poker become a major part of your life. Ultimately, it is finding the enthusiasm that you had when poker was new and once again finding joy in a game that takes minutes to learn but a lifetime to truly master.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.