Throughout my life I have seen policies implemented, and projects undertaken that have the outward appearance and desire of enhancing some aspect of our life. Unfortunately, many of these things actually turn out to be hindrances and have a lasting negative impact. In this series I’ll take a look at three such examples from the poker world, detailing three things that seem to have the poker community’s best interest at heart, but for whatever reason they have failed in their execution.
First up on the list is the 2+2 poker forum.
I have several gripes with 2+2, perhaps the most notable being that the 2+2 poker forum is the 1984 of the poker world. In true Orwellian fashion, 2+2 has become a place where “Big Brother” is constantly watching and the rules have gotten so numerous and convoluted that the users of the largest poker forum on the Internet (in fact, 2+2 is one of the largest forums of any kind on the Internet) don’t even know if they are breaking them. I think the management style of the forum has bred the other issues I will now discuss.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of redeeming qualities at 2+2, considering the site’s massive user-base has broken more than its fair share of poker scandals and poker gossip, as well as turning into one of the biggest poker marketplaces. But these are secondary, or even tertiary, aspects of the forum, the main role of the 2+2 poker forum is and always will be to help educate players about the game, and this is where I feel 2+2 has let us down.
There is still much knowledge to be gained by visiting the 2+2 poker forums, the problem is that the community is wary of any outsiders who contribute in a meaningful way, always suspecting a hidden agenda –probably because most of the current user-base has their own agenda, be it selling themselves as a coach, getting people to stake them, or whatever other project they are working on –most pay 2+2 for the privilege of having their own dedicated forum. This definitely comes from the top down as the principle owner, Mason Malmuth, sees the forum, and every line of every post, as little more than advertising space, which has caused many contributors to be banned or simply leave the forum in disgust.
The number of blowups and fallouts on the forum is almost amazing to behold, from former 2+2 darling Ed Miller to Daniel Negreanu. The management and quite a few moderators tend to only see the potential angles people might be shooting, and this focus on the bad has really impacted the product.
Perhaps more frustrating than the agendas and the Stasi-like scrutiny new posters are put through, is the way the forums treat new players, who often find their simple, basic, questions answered with, “Is this a level?”, “Use the search feature!”, or some insult regarding their knowledge of the game like “Please come play in my game.”
THIS is terrible for poker. Poker forums need to be inviting; the game is currently experiencing its worst fish-to-shark ratio in its history, and here are players doing everything they can to discourage new players. Perhaps it is the mob mentality that causes this, or perhaps it’s the heavy footprint left by many of the moderators at the site that causes the users to pull their own power-grabs – I’ve always advocated that in any business you attract customers similar to the employees that represent you.
Unfortunately, the way the 2+2 poker forums are run is sort of a microcosm of the entire poker world in 2012: Uninviting, Exclusive, and Hierarchical. Instead of being inclusive and welcoming, a large percentage of the 2+2 user base (and the moderator team) would rather flex whatever e-muscles they have to somehow show their importance to the community.
Throughout poker we see this new strange exclusive hierarchy, where players’ skills and importance to the poker world are determined by the tournaments they play, $100,000 tournaments, then $10,000 events, then $1,500 events are the domain of the superstar, the name pros, and the grinders. Anything less than this and you are unworthy. With everything considered (slow structures included) you see how uninviting poker has become to a new player, and the 2+2 poker forum brings this mentality to the online arena. For the latest updates on the world of poker check out our Titan Poker news page for daily articles and news.
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