Poker is Like a Nightclub; People Need a Reason to Go

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Most cash games have a catalyst to get the game going and keep it going.

That catalyst is the fish that the game is built around.

If you're really lucky you will have more than one. But even just one really bad player will naturally bring other fish to the table because he makes them feel like sharks.

Poker skill is infinite you see, and hence always relative.

If you're the house all you have to focus on is bringing fish to the table and you will prosper. And of course protect them from bad behavior of the sharks.

But that goes without saying. In good games the sharks take care of that bit themselves.

Give People a Reason to Play

Royal Flush Girls

It’s just like a nightclub. Sure the guys buy the drinks, but with no women the club would be empty pretty soon.

You need the girls to attract the guys who pay for the drinks.

Bring the girls and the rest will take care of it self. It’s really that simple.

Yes, you need to create ambiance with the décor and a great DJ.

And yes you need to have good personnel and bouncers and all the other stuff that is mandatory when it comes to running a successful business.

But without the girls, forget about it.

Who Wants to Go to a Nightclub That's All Dudes?

Who wants to go to a nightclub where thousands of young boys from Eastern Europe are occupying the whole dance floor?

I'll try to find the poker star in me somewhere else, thank you very much. So will everybody else who wants a good time.

Sure, you can bring in John Travolta or Viktor Blom to do a solo show on the dance floor to make the club cooler.

But sooner or later the crowd wants to dance themselves. With girls.

I remember playing at private clubs in the 90s. When a real fish found its way there the game really got going and could go on for months -- or as long as the money lasted for the fish.

All the great fish have one thing in common – a lot of cash.

Sure, there are fishes that inherit money or have successful businesses. But they always have a problem getting cash at the rate they are losing it.

The Best Fish Have Money, Don't Mind Losing It

Guy Laliberte

The greatest fish all made a lot of cash outside of poker.

They didn’t mind losing it all because they were having fun and there was more cash coming in at the same rate.

The good fishes had a pizza or kebab place where everybody made small purchases in cash, or they were selling fruit or candy from a vendor.

Even better fishes are the ones doing something illegal. A bank robber or a fraudster can really get a game going with all the cash he can’t put into the big system.

Who do you think orders bottle service and Nebuchadnezzar-size champagne bottles?

People who made cash easy, that’s who. People who think that more money is coming. Like criminals, or tax evaders, or poker players.

Don’t you ever fool yourself that your poker winnings are not tainted with blood.

All Fish Love PLO

Jason Mercier2013 WSOP EuropeEV041500 PLODay 2Giron8JG0314
OK, it's not just the fish that love PLO.

One of the best fishes ever at the club Kortoxen was an entrepreneur who had a successful nightclub.

There was a lot of cash in his pockets every night, and usually a lot less every morning.

Like all other fishes he loved PLO. We called him Bjorn Backdoor because he always bluffed when he had a double backdoor flush draw on the flop.

That was also the reason why he always 3-bet preflop when he was double suited.

We liked that behavior and tried to encourage him even more by giving him the nickname to remind him how to play.

The best fish ever at Kortoxen was a heroin smuggler. He always had an abundance of cash, and since he got high on his own supply the game lasted for days.

It was paradise … until he went away for eight years.

About Ken Lennaárd:

Sweden's most controversial poker blogger Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the views of

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