Home Poker Diary of a Professional Poker Player: Epilogue of WPT Montreal

Diary of a Professional Poker Player: Epilogue of WPT Montreal

by Paul Hewson
0 comment
WPT Montreal Champions Cup

Here I am, some 34,000 feet above the Great Lakes on my way back to the Pacific Northwest. I’ve had plenty of time to think about what happened during my two weeks at WPT Montreal, the latest major stop on the World Poker Tour. I may have even learned a thing or two. Let’s find out.

The Game Is Harder Now

You’ve probably heard this one before, but playing poker used to be a lot easier. We’re more than 20 years past the dawn of the Moneymaker Era; all those thousands (and thousands!) of would-be champions who jumped into the game back then, have either quit or gotten better at the game.

I’m sure I ran into a few of the latter in Montreal. For the most part, the demographic at the tables was older than what you and I may have grown accustomed to watching, say, the European Poker Tour during the early 2010s. Ike Haxton doesn’t look like young Harry Potter anymore, and neither did any of the players I was battling the past two weeks.

Here’s the thing: People said the same thing about poker 20 years ago. And 20 years before that. Since the first hands of As-Nas were dealt, players have used their collective noodle – and whatever technology they had at the time – to master the game.

That technology has only gotten better, of course. Solvers have become especially potent over the past decade; I started using PokerSnowie in 2014 to help craft my game, then PIOSolver, and for a while, I was ahead of the curve. For a while.

So now that we have AI at our fingertips, and unscrupulous ne’er-do-wells are using bots and real-time assistants to suck money out of the online poker economy, it must be time to pack up our bags and find a new hobby. How about macrame? Or maybe trainspotting?

The Game Is Easier Now

You’ll have to pry those cards out of my cold, dead hands. There is still money to be made at poker; there may be fewer beginners to exploit these days, but there are also fewer online wizards trying to make a living at the live tables.

If you’ve done your homework and learned all the ins and outs of poker, that puts you well ahead of the vast pool of intermediate players I encountered in Montreal. When I was at the Playground Poker Club for the 2019 partypoker MILLIONS Tour, I really had to be on my toes. This time around, most of my decisions were fairly automatic.

That doesn’t mean you should expect to make a higher Return On Investment (ROI) in 2024 than you might have in pre-pandemic times. But you’ll probably find it easier to make that smaller pile of cash – and by having fewer “tough spots” to deal with, you’ll be making fewer mistakes, and you’ll smooth out some of the variance that comes with swimming in shark-troubled waters.

There’s Always A New Game To Play

All the tournaments I played at WPT Montreal were No-Limit Hold’em, but even then, I found some interesting wrinkles – like those Milestone satellites, and the Mystery Bounty. Poker is always evolving because the smart people at the top are always coming up with new ways to create edges over the rest of the player pool.

If you’re a poker player of a certain age, you might remember when 7-Card Stud was the game of choice – or maybe even 5-Card Draw before that. No-Limit Hold’em didn’t really catch on until the early Aughts, and that was in the wake of Limit Hold’em, which is considerably easier to play thanks to the fixed bet sizes.

What’s Next?

Pot-Limit Omaha is the next great leap in poker’s evolution. It may seem like PLO isn’t catching on as quickly as NLHE did, but don’t forget, Doyle Brunson and those guys were playing Hold’em back in the 1960s, well before Chris Moneymaker came around. Omaha didn’t debut until the early ‘80s.

There’s still ample time for you to learn the Game of the Future and carve that valuable edge before everyone figures it out. There was only the one Omaha tournament on the WPT Montreal schedule – and I didn’t get to play it – but from what I saw, the chips were chirping at the PLO cash tables. They even had 5-Card PLO on the go.

Meanwhile, now that I’m about to touch down here in the beautiful Cascadia Subduction Zone, it’ll soon be time for me to return to the online poker tables – which I use for entertainment, and to train for live games. The days of “free money” on the internet may be gone, but we still have some top-quality online poker rooms to play at, so keep fighting the good fight, and I’ll see you on the felt.

author avatar
Paul Hewson
Paul Hewson (not that one) is a poker player/writer from the Pacific Northwest, appearing on the World Poker Tour, MILLIONS Tour and the WSOP Circuit series. Hewson is the senior writer for the Bodog Poker family; Texas Hold’em is his specialty, with side hustles in 8-Game and Badugi. He’s an Abe Limon Guy.

You may also like

JoeWager is your leading source for trending topics relevant to offshore gamblers, including betting resources, sports & casino guides, entertainment topics, politics and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest Articles

Copyright 2023 – All Right Reserved.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More