Seems like the only time most of us think about poker dealers is when one makes a mistake.
Think about it.
In my twenty-plus years in this business, I can’t remember too many players coming up and saying, “you know, the dealers in this tournament were wonderful.” But if there’s a mistake or a misdeal, the controversy can generate a 50-page thread on 2+2.
Millions of hands are dealt out at the World Series of Poker every year. When you add up not just what happens in the gold bracelet events, but all the satellites, sit-n-go’s, and cash games running 24-hours-a-day across 400 poker tables, that’s almost an incalculable number of cards pitched and pots pushed.
I just learned Eskimo Clark died.
He passed away a few months ago here in Las Vegas. His death went unnoticed within the poker community, until Chad Holloway from PokerNews.com uncovered the details of his passing and posted an announcement along with a feature story late last night. One presumes no one recognized Eskimo at the end of his life, nor made the connection to his many exploits and achievements in poker.
He’d become forgotten already, even before he passed away.
Like old soldiers, some poker players don’t die. They just fade away. Eskimo faded from relevance to the poker scene years ago. It’s easy now to forget his deserving place among the legendary gamblers we so often revere, those with the great poker faces masking not just the cards, but perpetual lives of isolation, and even loneliness.
A few months ago, I attended the iGaming North America conference in Las Vegas (thanks, Sue Schneider), where I was interviewed by Rebecca Liggero, from CalvinAyre.com.
Ms. Liggero asked me about the present state of online poker in the United States and called upon on me to speculate on the chances that we’ll see major changes one way or the other, whether that be restriction or expansion.
The short clip can be viewed below.
Thanks to Rebecca Liggero and CalvinAyre.com for the opportunity to share my perspectives.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
Note: The views expressed are my own and do not reflect those of my employers — including Caesars Interactive Entertainment, the World Series of Poker, Rush Street Gaming, or “Poker Night in America.”
MEET ROBBIE STRAZYNSKI
I can’t explain it, but for some reason, poker has attracted some extraordinarily talented writers in recent years.
Arguably, foremost among this generation currently pushing boundaries and giving us all in-depth news and fresh perspectives almost daily is Robbie Stazynski. Somehow, living in a faraway land works to his advantage. He sees what many of us don’t see. He hears things we don’t hear. He contemplates thoughts we don’t ponder. And, he says and writes what many of us can’t (or won’t) say and write. Indeed, Strazynski’s body of work is consistently bold and brave, much like the 33-year-old himself, who has lived a full life that’s the subject of admiration and intrigue — this from my perspective.
Strange thing is — I have almost nothing in common with Strazynski. We hold vastly different religious views. We are at odds politically. We have opposite views on the Middle East, and U.S.-Israeli relations. Still, I do enjoy and often learn from what he writes and says when he speaks his mind, which has become a perpetual dialogue. I have come to respect his passion. I do appreciate Strazynski when he speaks his mind in whatever forum he so choses, whether it’s about poker or politics. And after hearing his viewpoint, I feel as though I’ve gained something. Unfortunately, this respectful discourse between activists is rare nowadays. Sides that don’t always see eye to eye have become entrenched in echo chambers of isolation. I suppose that’s the biggest reason that I cherish this unusual friendship that we’ve developed just over the past year.
One normally doesn’t think of poker as a game with memorabilia.
After all, poker isn’t like football or baseball — where balls, bats, uniform jerseys and other rare artifacts can sometimes fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars. No matter how rare or unusual the item, it’s hard to imagine any poker artifact being worth much to a collector or viewed in the public eye as a cherished national treasure.
Some notable exceptions could be old decks of cards used in the old World Series of Poker championships dating back to the 1970s, and other keepsakes like table felts, chips, and various items which are exceptionally rare and have a unique story behind them. Too bad most of them are long gone now. For instance, if someone could dig up Doyle Brunson’s famous 10-2 off-suit, and by that I mean the actual cards that won world poker championships back-to-back in 1976 and 1977, one presumes they would attract significant interest at Christie’s Auction. However, most items which may have ultimately become collectible were either tossed away or destroyed — except for poker chips, which is now a cottage industry all its own (see some of Andy Hughes postings on Facebook about chip collecting, which are history lessons in themselves).