Rant: WSOP Leave Our Rails Alone!

UK Rail
Lee Davy argues we need more excitement in poker.

Yorane Kerignard needed an ace or a trey to become the WPT Malta champion.

There was one more card to come and the charismatic Jackson Genovesi had a look on his face like a woman giving birth to a 10-pound baby.

The river was the A.

Genovesi’s arms flew into the air before he fell to the ground in a heap. He was crying. He was inconsolable.

“But I played so perfectly,” he babbled in between tears.

Back at the table Kerignard was also in tears. The sudden realization that he was a WPT champ hit him like a football in the bollocks. The Frenchman walked over to Genovesi, picked him up and gave him a hug.

“What a bunch of prats,” said one of the reports stood next to me.

This is the epitome of sport. In the UK, soccer is a religion the same way basketball, ice hockey and American football are in the land of the stars and stripes.

To some people, these things matter more than anything else. To some people it’s life or death.

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Poker is not, and should not, be any different. But it all too often is. There shouldn’t be a friendly handshake at the end of a WPT Championship; I don’t care if it’s WPT Faroe Islands. It should end in tears of joy and tears of pain.

But the industry itself makes the game sterile and boring. It sucks out the emotion and spits it down the hole where the rake goes.

Players are told to remain in their seats while on the bubble. Arguments surface over whether people can celebrate at the table and foreigners are lambasted for talking in between hands.

Strict Rules Stifling Poker's Excitement

Yesterday, Jake Cody reached the final table of the $1,000 Turbo event at the World Series of Poker. Even my Mum knows that when a British player makes the final table there's going to be a little noise and a lot of drinking.

It’s what us Brits do. It’s our classic football mentality.

I was in the midst of that rail, pen and paper in hand, to convey the emotion to the readers of pages like this. It was exciting. It was buzzing. It was raw emotion and everyone loved it; everyone except the WSOP it seemed.

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Jake Cody’s barmy army had their emotion sucked dry by the security team at the Rio. They were told it was for their own safety.

Apparently, they were worried that people the size of Lil Dave Nicholson were going to sink the stage.

Who cares!? We want the stage to sink! It would have been hilarious … another tale to tell the next generation of poker kids.

The WSOP security team didn’t give a toss about the safety of those watching and they didn’t think the stage was about to collapse.

In truth, they just didn’t like the emotion.

They assumed that it would lead to trouble, but the only swear word I heard came out of the mouth of a British poker player who was being herded away while trying to watch a friend win a WSOP bracelet.

We need excitement. We need drama. We need tears and laughter, chanting, screaming, shouting and I don’t even mind the fact that the Americans always bring their pet dogs with them.

So listen up WSOP. Don’t do this again. Next time we have an exuberant rail, embrace it, encourage it and watch it flourish.

It will take the game to another level and the WSOP will rise with it.

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