At least in theory, live poker games are supposed to be just as enjoyable as they are profitable for those who made Texas Hold’em a way of living. What actually happens is that most of those who sit down at the tables at both tournaments and cash games are overly concerned about the outcome of the game and couldn’t care less about socialising. Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang recently made some powerful observations about the benefit of interacting with your peers when playing poker in land-based casinos in his blog on PokerStarsblog.com.
Internet poker players are tempted to wear hoodies and listen to music in their earphones while playing poker, to make it more difficult for their opponents to get an accurate read on them. While the upside of hiding emotions and concealing your cards are self-evident, Bryan thinks that players shouldn’t erect impenetrable barriers between them and their peers. The Team PokerStars pro had his fair share of upswings and bad beats, so it is only fair to assume that he has strong arguments when he invites people to be more social when playing poker.
Huang recalls a time when he learned interesting facts about how the oil-rig industry works from an offshore driver or why Caspian Sea Beluga caviar is currently banned in the United States. Now that increasingly more people are willing to compete in live poker tournaments, brick-and-mortar casinos are great hubs for socialising. Not all of those who compete at medium and high stakes are poker professionals, which means that conversational topics are as diverse as they get.
Those who are willing to interact with other players are not only going to learn interesting facts, but could also push their career into overdrive or find true love. Bryan gives one of his friends as an example after he got a well-paid job soon after finishing college or another acquaintance who was lavishly rewarded for stacking the director of a prominent company. They were just being friendly and didn’t count on any sort of recompense, and their approachable demeanour brought some long-term benefits.
Obviously, the best example is always a personal one and Huang is using his personal experience as an argument in favour of socialisation at the poker tables. He met his wife in Macau while competing in a major tournament and they are now happily married, something that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. While he hesitates to give his opinion on the highly controversial first card of the deck rule, it is only fair to assume that Bryan doesn’t like the concept, as it drastically limits the players’ ability to interact.