What is going to happened to poker? GSN announces, or doesn't announce that they will not be renewing High Stakes Poker, and that leads into the assumption, with some articles written about it, that they won't be renewing the WPT either. This after the WPT just got picked up by GSN.
The question is, how does this effect poker? At all? Huge? Negatively? Certainly not positively, but how far will this reach?
Does the influx of new players then subside? If it does, at what rate? Has it already? As a business owner in this industry, especially one that specializes in introducing the new players, I can tell you that there has been a slow down of sorts. We still see new growth, and we still see the good attendance, without much of a drop, but players are certainly starting to cycle out.
This year has been somewhat different. The Winner of the WSOP ME basically went underground after his win. There have been a few stories about his philanthropy, but absolutely no real stories about him at all. He was not the spokesman that I think a winner of that size of an event needs to be. Maybe its because he wasn't really that much of a player. Maybe it was because he didn't want to , or didnt care.
Hachem was great, Moneymaker was great, Raymer was great, and Gold, was well notable. 3 of the 4 mentioned above all became ambassadors of the game. They were inlvolved in poker. They played, they got involved in business ventures within the industry, they helped out things like the PPA, and most of all , they were visible. People could identify with why they were famous. And more importantly, they understood what made them famous. Yang did nothing of the sort. The guy up and dissappeared like a fart in the wind.
Without that story, that person to tell his story over and over again, and show people how he won one the richest prizes in all of sports/ entertainment, there really is no bait for the public to follow. And this comes at a bad time as well. General folk know that there is a law banning online poker, but have no idea what it really entails. They just know it exists, and therefore, poker must be dead. Then the guy who wins the biggest prize just vanishes. And no talk about the WSOP after that. What gives? Maybe poker is dead. Of course not. Not in the least. But there is something to be said about the average guy or gal who aren't informed to hear snippets and just assume. When I tell people I'm going ot play poker in a real casino, I still get, "isn't that illegal?" In the very least things like that will take their interest away from even pursuing a foray into the poker world.
I will follow this up tomorrow with another post delving deeper into this whole thing. Obviously I'm not blaming Jerry Yang for the destruction of the whole poker world, but I think his non-involvement has something to do with the lack of interest from the non-poker playing public. Even if you didnt play, you still watched. Now thats not happening anymore.
I've had some good conversations with some industry folk over this and will follow up with an online piece and a live piece tomorrow, and what some of their thoughts are and what some others plan on doing about it.