This is going to be tomorrow’s newsletter but I think its an important one and I wanted you guys to see it first.
It was a great week for poker but I’m afraid the community is missing the big picture and getting fixated on the antics of one Phil Hellmuth.
Despite the title of this newsletter and despite what he thinks about himself, Phil Hellmuth is not what I’m referring to when I say God’s gift to poker. The poker community is so used to bad news, in fact we seem to revel in it, from Ali Imsirovic to Bryn Kenney, that our main takeaway of the week was did Phil angle an amateur (no he didn’t). All we can talk about is how poorly Phil behaved in a game with recreational players (poorly but completely typical for him). We are so distracted we didn’t even notice Tom Dwan falling asleep at the table and otherwise bringing virtually nothing of value himself. We are so distracted we didn’t notice God’s gift to poker… the stream itself.
Do you guys realize what happened here? These content creators (most of whom I’m too old to have heard of) collectively have millions upon millions of non poker playing followers. Ludwig (whoever that is) was allowed to stream the Hustler Casino Live stream on his channel. Guys, it’s getting almost 1.5 million views on his YouTube alone. That’s just for his channel and just for the 9hr stream. This doesn’t take into account all the smaller highlight clips etc. not just on his channel but the Botez sisters’ channel and posts by Ninja, Mr Beast, and xQc. The “tournament” (I keep seeing it refered to that way but surely it was a cash game, I don’t think these guys knew the difference) is literally reaching millions upon millions of people who are otherwise not exposed to poker. After weeks of negative publicity God threw us a freakin’ bone.
The poker community can’t get over Phil simply being Phil. Guys he can’t do anything else, this is just who he is. Can we stop for a second and notice that Alexandra Botez won half a million dollars in this game and is posting about it to her legions of fans. Could poker have been gifted anything better? She is a wicked smart chess phenom, young, attractive and has a large devoted following of non poker playing fans. She was the only woman in the game and she crushed it. You couldn’t script anything better for poker.
I asked someone to ask her 20 year old gamer sister if she knew Ludwig, Ninja etc and if she heard about this poker game. She said “oh you mean the tournament”? Maybe this isn’t quite a Moneymaker moment but it certainly registers on the scale. Let’s take a brief break from bashing Phil Hellmuth, he is not poker’s future. Instead let’s take a moment to appreciate the gift we have been given as poker is being introduced to a new generation of gaming enthusiasts.