10/27/2005

10-27-05 - 1

10-27-05

Last Sunday the NYT had a ridiculous sophomoric article about how "darts could be the next poker". This partly included quotes from ESPN people who'd worked on poker and were clearly morons (as you can tell from the ESPN coverage). This is one of those cases where they got lucky and don't even understand why poker TV is so popular. It reminded me that I wrote this article a while ago, but decided it was so rotten I didn't want to publish it, anyhoo I'll link it here - The Texas Hold'em Craze .

Anyhoo, the real key factor to poker being so popular is that anyone can play poker and feel like they're close to the level of the pros. Of course they're not anywhere near that, and they probably never will be (just like they will never golf against Tiger Woods), but unlike any other major game, they can really believe it, even if it's just for a minute. It's a unique aspect of poker that in any given hand, an amateur can make a pro look really really bad, and that makes them feel great. Because of this, amateurs can win major tournaments, as they have in the last few years, and win big money, which makes everyone at home feel like they could do it, which is very exciting. There are plenty of other factors, probably the biggest being that it's a game where people just sit and chat, so there's lots of great made for TV dialog.

Now, I actually quite enjoy watching darts, because it has plenty of entertainment, but it's lacking several key aspects of poker. For one thing, the guys don't chit-chat very much. For another, not many people play darts recreationally. But crucially - an amateur can never ever beat a pro. Darts is much more a traditional game of skill, and guys like "The Power" are just unbelievable skilled "athletes". The great things about darts are the crazy Brittish announcers (Brit announcers are the best!!) and the drunk audience.

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