Tag Archives: poker economy

“The Poker Economy” and Why Your Bottom Line Isn’t a Moral Barometer

(It seems fitting that I make my debut in the blogosphere with a tl;dr rant that’ll probably piss some people off. I’ll probably be writing some less tl;dr rants that’ll piss fewer people off here fairly regularly, so if that’s the sorta thing that appeals to you, stay tuned or whatever. I’ll try to post on twitter when I make a new blog post.)

People in the online poker world are becoming increasingly obsessed with talking about “the poker economy”.  Lots of things are accused of being “bad for the poker economy”–Bumhunting, being a douche to casual players, cheating, and talking strategy at the poker table are pretty much universally considered problems for this noble cause, and some people also mention HUDs, training sites, various forms of legislation, running it twice, short stacking, PTR, public discussions of problems in the poker world like cheating and shady sites, various types of tournament structures, and a ridiculously long list of other things. But WTF is the poker economy?

I don’t really think most people who use the term know what it is–I think they’re more concerned with how they can protect it from the ridiculously long list of threats to its life than they are with knowing WTF it is in the first place.  That’s because it doesn’t really have a definition.  The poker economy is an undefined abstract concept that people use to justify their own opinions. Not coincidentally, people typically mention it when they’re trying to argue for something that would help their bottom line or to justify their own actions. It’s actually quite similar to a strategy that homophobic assholes use when they say weird nonsensical crap like “The strength of America is in its families and homosexuality threatens that”, or when racist assholes say that they’re “preserving their heritage” or something similarly stupid. Basically, it’s a cheap way to make it sound like there’s some moral imperative behind a position. I hope people will start pointing out these empty arguments more often.

But, just because people make terrible arguments doesn’t mean that their positions are wrong.  So, I wanted to discuss some of the specific things that people think “hurt the poker economy” and see which ones people are justified in complaining about. Obviously being a douche to casual players obviously isn’t ok–Not because it “hurts the poker economy” or “is bad for the game” but because being a douche is never ok. Similarly, cheating isn’t ok. It’s not that cheating isn’t ok because it scares fish away or disrupts the beautiful flow of money from fish to pro or anything like that; cheating is simply unethical all on its own. I’ll devote more time to some of the others:

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