While many were out enjoying their Friday night last week, one well-known pro was hosting an "Ask Me Anything" session on the popular social network Reddit.com.
Hey, dudes. I’m doing a reddit AMA tonight from 10pm-1am EST. Join me: http://t.co/DkbeA88SH2Follow @PhilGalfond
Galfond kept his promise and took time to answer each question with thoughtful responses. Some were funny, some were serious, but all were very informative. Here are some of the best ones:
Q: Do you think that my generation of players was so crippled by [Black Friday] that we will always be at a disadvantage as long as players like you keep crushing?
Galfond: Anyone who started later and was cut off from playing online (and learning at the speed which online poker allows) had their poker growth stunted. However, anyone from your generation who did make the move out of the country to continue playing isn't at a disadvantage due to age.
In fact, each generation seems to breed stronger players than the last, mostly due to how much tougher it is to survive in poker with each passing year. I came up at a time when games were pretty easy. A lot of players from my generation used to easily make $500+/hr and can no longer win in today's games. Now they're near 30 with no (or little) money and no education or job experience. This puts into perspective what we may consider an 'advantage.'
These guys were doing so well (and had plenty of reason to think they'd continue to, especially for 20yr olds who aren't going to think as conservatively and cautiously as older guys), that they abandoned school and careers. They were in for a rude awakening when the games got tough, and they realized they simply weren't capable of keeping up.
Keep in mind that I'm 28, almost 29. I would bet good money that I was a MUCH worse player than you when I was your age (probably almost everyone was). The game has continued to progress, and it won't stop anytime soon.
Are you at a disadvantage right now sitting against the best of my generation? Sure. But we have been learning for years and years, and the weaker of us have been weeded out. It's not unusual to be at a disadvantage due to experience.
Q: How would you recommend I close the gap? I feel that anything short of me relocating and playing professionally will leave too large of a disparity for me to break into high stakes.
Galfond: It's very hard for me to give you advice without knowing your mindset, skill level, and potential. I will say that poker is only getting harder from here on out, and there's no 100% guarantee that we'll be able to make a good living in 5-10 years at it. Black Friday showed us that the outside world can throw wrenches in our plans, not to mention the poker world itself.
If you're enjoying your life now, you likely should stick with it. If you could add some online play from a site that allows poker where you are, that could help supplement your income and education. If not, keep in mind that live poker has it's own skill sets. There's no good reason I should be better than you at reading people in live games after a couple more years of practice. You can get a leg up on online guys when they sit down at the tables in Vegas with you, that is, if you work hard enough.
Even if you made the move, you potentially could be one of the ones who ends up not being able to make it in the new tougher online climate (not saying that you are… of course I can't know). There might be a lot more money to be made for you live, both now and over the next handful of years, as the online games will get tougher at a quicker pace than the live games.
Q: How did your relationship with Tom Dwan start?
Galfond: Tom and I actually became friends before we'd played much together. We met through our mutual friend, Dave Benefield, around 7-8 years ago. Tom was playing 50/100nl already, and I was just a lowly 5/10 player :)
He was extremely generous, letting me watch him play NL (and later PLO) even after not knowing me very long. To say Tom had an impact on my early growth as a player would be an understatement.
Galfond: About me: Couldn't think of anything so I just asked my girlfriend - "great butt."
About Viktor: Can be spotted playing for massive stakes in his apartment eating a full can of Pringles and sipping on a box of apple juice. He owns a ton of movies, mostly comedies.
About Tom: Once tried to tip $100 to get us a bowling lane early, but was rejected because he accidentally was holding out a $1 bill. He usually has over 100 unchecked texts/voicemails on his phone.
About Ben: He is the only poker player I know who actually underestimates his skill and his intelligence. He and another friend of mine bet large lots of money on MLG Starcraft results.
Q: Will there ever be another poker boom?
Galfond: I think that poker can grow a bit, and good things can and will happen if the US gets international online poker again. That said, it’d never be easy like it was 5-10 years ago. There are too many skilled pros now, so the influx of recreational players and cash will only go so far.
More can be found at Galfond’s AMA thread at Reddit.