A full-scale investigation was carried out and Sir Trevor Brooking, the Director of Development at the Football Association, told the world "we need to start earlier. Anybody emerging from the 5-11 age group has to be comfortable on the ball."
The world realized that the English national football side had slipped into mediocrity because the structure of the nation's game was wrought with problems. The foundation that was built to create some of the best players in the world was devoid of technical ability.
It was back to the drawing board and it will take a very long time before the English national side reaps the benefits of changes. Changes made to the grassroots of football.
Our Foundation is Not Strong Enough
There are some parallels to be drawn with poker here.
Now I’m not advocating that we need to teach our 5-11 year olds how to play poker (although in all seriousness it would help kids in Math class pay more attention to their studies than down the chest of Beverley Lally), but we still have a fundamental problem with the grassroots level of our game.
Our foundation is not strong enough, especially in Britain. This is going to lead to fewer people taking up interest in the game, which in turn affects everyone in the industry.
Online poker sites have started to wake up and smell the coffee. Only this week Merge Gaming became the latest network to make changes to its operations aimed at appeasing recreational players when it made registration for all SNG games anonymous.
The Merge Network follow in the footsteps of Bodog, PartyPoker, Unibet, PokerStars, Dusk Till Dawn and many more organizations that have made changes to their online infrastructures to make the online game more accessible to the recreational player.
But What About Live Poker?
In this regard I want to throw some support the way of Dave Hulme. A stereotypical working class Northerner who is trying his level best to create a better foundation for what he calls ‘The Next Generation of Amateur Poker Players.’
Hulme has set up Grassroots Poker in a bid to create a home for the thousands of UK poker players who find it difficult to justify paying £50 to play a game of poker
His latest focus of attention is on the aging UK Pub Laws which state that:
Low-stakes poker is permitted in pubs as long as stakes are kept below £5 a head and £100 per premises per day.
His assertion is that these archaic laws are stopping the flow of recreational players right at the beginning of their life cycle. Kitchen table aside the UK pub is the breeding ground for many of the greatest players in the UK game, and he quite rightly takes up the fight where it is needed most.
If the pub laws can be relaxed to allow landlords to offer poker competitions, with reasonable cash action, then Hulme believes more people will find their way into the game than currently do via the rake-ridden casinos.
It's Time for a Change
One great point Hulme makes in his article ‘Challenging the UK Pub Laws’ is that people can visit a pub and plough as much money as they like into the slot machines but can’t sit down and play a game of skill for more than £5.01 per head.
It’s time for a change and Hulme asks all of poker to unite in his fight to get these laws overturned so the British can start to make changes at the right end of the game.
The grassroots of poker.
If you would like to support the growth of British poker then please visit Grassroots Poker and sign Dave’s petition to get the UK laws changed.