A few days ago, the European Poker Tour polled their Twitter fans about the idea of introducing four color decks for the upcoming EPT Barcelona events. Although these decks are pretty much standard in online poker, most players didn’t seem impressed by the possibility of seeing them in the live setting.
Interestingly enough, it seems that hard-core pros who spend many hours playing online are the ones who dislike the idea the most. They took it to Twitter to share their thoughts and PokerNews also caught up with a couple of them to pick their brains.
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Four color decks & live poker: why not?
At a first glance, four color decks in live games seem like a pretty good idea. They would make it easier for players to read their hands and community cards. This would lead to fewer misreads and should, in theory, improve the overall playing experience. Regardless, the suggestion was met with a lot of negativity.
Here’s the thing: people don’t like changes, especially when it comes to well-established stuff.
Change is hard
Poker decks have been red and black for as long as anyone can remember. Added benefits of four color decks are more than clear, but the question is if these benefits are big enough to justify parting ways with the tradition? David Yan, who is second on the New Zealand’s All Time Money List, doesn’t seem to think so.
Yan explained for PokerNews that although he personally would love to see four color decks introduced, he expects a lot of players would not be happy with the change. The only benefit of currently used decks, he elaborated, is that they are basically the norm, but for most people that’s probably more than enough.
@PokerStarsEPT you’re not going to get close to a majority favourite, ppl have to get used to favour them (obv some ppl wont ever prefer)
— David Yan (@missoraclepoker) August 8, 2016
This is certainly one aspect that cannot be overlooked given the fact players have to pay their buyins for all the events. In the situation where players are also customers, it is hard to enforce things that the majority doesn’t agree with.
Apart from the general acceptance problem, a few players, including well known high-stakes pros Steve O’Dwyer and Ike Haxton, expressed their concerns about cheating. While we all want to believe that poker is a “gentleman’s game,” cheating has been and always will be present at the tables.
O’Dwyer emphasized that four color decks would make things easier on cheaters who try to catch glimpses of their opponents’ cards. Sometimes, dealers deal cards a bit too high or players do not protect their hands well enough and with four colors in play, it becomes even easier for a trained eye to read the cards
Steve is right. Knowing exact suit vs red/black when a card is slightly exposed is a big deal. https://t.co/t2EOm802hM
— Isaac Haxton (@ikepoker) August 13, 2016
Quite a few others echoed O’Dwyer’s thoughts, appealing to EPT not to make things easier for those looking to gain an unfair advantage.
Four color decks: why yes?
Although a majority of players don’t seem to like the idea, there are also some voices of support. These mostly come from the fans who make an argument that four color decks would make following live events on TV easier and more enjoyable.
Although fans don’t have too much say on what happens in the poker world, their voice is still important. Poker has become a what it is today exactly because of televised events and there always has to be a balance of some sort. The viewership must be kept happy as well.
Conclusion: why all the fuss?
You might be wondering: what’s all the fuss about? Can’t they just decide on what they want to do and do it?
If you followed last year’s World Series of Poker, you are probably aware of the “playing cards scandal.” For those who aren’t, players were basically enraged because decks were of lower quality than in the earlier years. The whole thing escalated rather quickly and WSOP had to bring new, better quality decks.
It only goes to show you that poker players are very sensitive when it comes to things that matter to them, like playing cards, chips, chairs, etc. Once again, since they are paying for the privilege, they have every right to put forth certain demands and expect them to be met.
That’s why EPT organizers approached the matter carefully and first took it to Twitter to ask for the feedback. Making a change of this kind abruptly and without feeling the pulse of the community first could backfire quite easily.
So, to sum it up: four color decks certainly have their merits in the live setting but if initial reactions are anything to go by, we won’t be seeing too many of them around just yet.