Sunday, September 24, 2006

The "Next Poker" --- It's... Poker!?!?!?

Few things in the marketing world are worth as deep a belly-laugh as the highly crafted press release that has absolutely nothing to say. Sure enough, the rumblings began soon after I stumbled across a press release that started with the following:

"Pot Limit Omaha, which offers more action than No Limit Holdem, appears poised to become the poker experts’ next Cadillac of Poker, according to Las Vegas pros. Pot Limit Omaha offers players 6 times as many starting combinations as Holdem poker games and keeps the betting action alive more readily than No Limit Holdem. TruePoker offers free tournaments in Pot Limit Omaha every day, with real cash prizes."

Oh, okay, True Poker. (Lame name, too. Always has been.) Now, I understand the need for creating buzz, but I don't think the "next big thing" thing will work here, particularly when all the site offers is Hold'em and Omaha. Seems to me that the next big thing within poker's boundaries is the offering of more and better poker variants, not just finding an angle to pitch the same ol' basic crap down our throats. For crying out loud, a site called Superior Poker is serving up both Chinese Poker and Pan these days. And we're supposed to get excited about Omaha and Omaha-8?

Well, the release does borrow freely from other sources, and even includes an erstwhile "Mikey the Chimp" reference, quite literally out of left field. It's even better than you think:

"(Even Mikey the Chimp, turned away from play at the WSOP, has taken up No Limit Holdem.)"

Really? I thought this release was about Omaha, wasn't it?

The siren song of crap --- I just cannot resist it. Predictably, the release provides a non-working link back to the main True Poker site. (Watch 'em fix it, now, or pull the release in its entirety.) Open note to True Poker: When you're working on standard web content, like... say... a blog, then the occasional techie typo will occur. But in the form of a press release, to not even have one's own home-page link right is guffaw-inducing. Try testing it next time --- you certainly didn't have any newsworthy content to be preoccupied with, to distract you from the basics.

One thing I noticed after fixing the obvious link error and checking out the site --- True Poker does have its own unique avatars and software set-up. One software feature is indeed a throwback to the early days of online poker, when you actually clicked a button to view your own hole cards. It led to a blatant online tell that (I believe it was) John Vorhaus pointed out in one of his "Playing Killer Online Poker" books --- similar to brick-and-mortar novices, anyone checking their hole cards after a card that completes a possible draw is likely to have made that straight or flush. Still, I thought that tell went out with Pokemon cards, but now it's back.



Lame poker sites, they never die. They just keep on flopping.

And an update! This post received one of those Anonymous-signed comments that read something like this: "True Poker has been around a helluva lot longer than you."

Well-l-l, I knew perfectly well that True Poker's been around since 2001 or so, and that it very likely was the inspiration for the tell as explained in the Vorhaus book. (That or a similar site based on the same software.) But as for it being around longer than me, umm, no --- despite the fact that I've only taken up writing about the game in the last couple of years. Whether or not I've been out here communicating about the game has nothing to do with how long I've been playing or gathering knowledge, and I've been onto online poker since way back. I was a player on Paradise before Party ever came to be, and I've played live poker for something like 35 years now. Besides, I do not buy the argument that age alone is the deciding factor in deciding who has the right to offer an opinion. Never have, never will. A newbie can see something that an old-timer can miss, though it happens less often. Where do you think the saying about "a fresh pair of eyes" came from?

You know, I didn't even bother picking apart the blind reference in the quote referenced above, about the Vegas pros calling PLO the next Cadillac of Poker. I call bullshit. Name some. Or go back under your rock.

Just so ya's all know --- I'll let the comments stand from just about anyone, as long as whoever does the writing has the balls to sign his name. (Or if the comment has a constructive point to make.) I have no problem with dissecting garbage-y fluff pieces that have no reason to exist, like the True Poker release, because exposing pap as pap is a public service. That I choose to have some fun with it is just who I am, part of my own hard edge, but I stand behind everything I write.

So, to Mr. Anonymous --- who I really suspect was one of True Poker's marketing managers or an affiliate or something, tracking the success of failure of the release --- grow some. Or pass the word up the True Poker chain: Try using your revenue stream to add new things to your site, rather than using it to re-market the same old shit.

Got it? I knew you would.

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