These days poker is everywhere. Poker players are revered nearly as highly as sports stars. You can watch poker on television 24/7 and follow your favourite players. Ivey, Negreanu, Hansen, Brunson, Hellmuth. These guys are loved and respected by poker players all over the world. But is watching them play actually damaging to your own game the next time that you log on and play poker on sites like 888?
Players’ hole cards being shown to the viewing audience has revolutionised televised poker. This simple technology allows everyone an insight into the heads of the world’s best players. Viewers who have a solid game already and who understand the complexities of poker understand that the pros play in a different way to the regular Joe Bloggs for the simple reason that they are pros. They don’t follow the regimented patterns that we mortals try to follow when we are grinding away at $.25/.50. They play hands like Q6 and A3. There should be a Jackass-style warning that accompanies these shows saying; Do Not Attempt Anything You See.
These pros have honed their skills over decades of play. They often play in a style which is the complete opposite of the style all the poker books tell you follow. They are masters of the game, wizards of their trade. They employ misdirection, guile and cunning to lure their prey into a false sense of security. They are above the normal poker laws we abide by.
In short, watching television poker is hugely entertaining. Just don’t base your learning on it, and for the love of god, don’t try to copy the plays! Also there are other issues as well in which the average viewer isn’t cognisant of. Like for example when a player is advertising a company that have maybe paid them a serious six figure sum.
Now there is no way that a company would pay a player that amount of money without wanting some serious exposure in return. So the pro then makes sub-optimal plays simply to get noticed. They may take a long time to think when in actual fact they are folding all along and they just want the cameras on them for as long as possible.
Some of these poker programs have very high viewing figures and especially on the final tables of big events or the high stakes poker cash games. So do not be so quick to try and emulate these people or to attempt to learn from them.