Keith 'The Camel' Hawkins
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Enough is Enough
By Keith 'The Camel' Hawkins / June 2005
Now my blood is really boiling. I have just finished Matt Matros's book "The Making of a Poker Player" which I spoke about last month. (I know, I know! I am a very slow reader. But Matros hasn't got any pictures in his book to make it easy reading).
The postscript details the authors run to the final table of the $25,000 WPT championship at the Bellagio in 2004. It is well worth the read. But, one paragraph really stood out:
"After sixty-eight hands of high pressure final table poker, the producers of the WPT came out to the table and told the three remaining players that we needed to be more talkative. It made for better TV. There was a $2 million difference between third place and first place, and now I had to worry about how much I was talking? It was one distraction too many. I am not making excuses-but I was annoyed. I should have been more focused. But this directive from the producers made something in my brain snap."
I can tell you I would be far more than simply annoyed. These three guys are playing for millions of dollars and the TV people are telling them to laugh and joke like they are playing £5 beginners comp at Luton. If I was playing against Martin de Knijff I would probably put on a mask and not murmur a word in the hopes of not revealing a tell to such a brilliant player. As for talking more, well, I would like to think I'd tell them where to stick their table chatter.
This is only the latest of a growing number of examples of how TV is interfering with poker.
Three instances immediately spring to mind:
I am not denying TV has been good for poker. It has. But, poker must have been better for television. Why else would TV companies be rushing to show more and more poker tournaments?
Poker players provide the prize money, the action and the entertainment. If TV is adding nothing to the prize pool they should not be allowed to interfere with the integrity (or flow) of the game.
Indeed, I am beginning to believe that poker players should start boycott TV events which don't add money or allow sponsors logos. Until the TV moguls realise they have to give something back they will continue to abuse us in the way they are doing now.
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