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Your lifestyle, your quirk
In 2003, when Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker main event and the millions of dollars that go along with it, the game of poker found itself on a meteoric rise to popularity. Through the 2000s, it became cool and “in” to play poker. Big stars like Ben Affleck, Toby Maguire, Lou Diamond Phillips, Morris Chestnut, Jennifer Tilly, and many more were often seen at the games in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Many poker players received almost celebrity status; the media paid attention and made the poker table the cool place to be. And why not? On the surface, poker seemed cool and fascinating, full of celebrities and of course “easy money.” It made it seem that with a little know-how, millions were waiting to be gobbled up. At least, that was the picture painted.
Online poker, which got its start in the ’90s, started to flourish in the 2000s. Large amounts of people started flocking to poker websites to play and get their shot at winning millions. The United States and the justice department, along with many states, had come out against online poker, but that did not stop the masses from flocking to poker sites that were run offshore. Despite the fact there was no regulation, no recourse for players who had complaints, no way to know if the software these sites were using was designed to be fair, it was “cool” to play online poker.
Poker was all over TV. ESPN, among other stations, showed poker all the time, and they accepted advertising from a multitude of sites. All the site had to do was say .net instead of .com and they could advertise all they wanted. Weird, huh? But all this was what made poker very cool and the place to be in the 2000s
So…is poker still cool?
Well, in April of 2011, in what the poker industry refers to as Black Friday, the Justice Department came down on all the major offshore poker sites. One of the biggest sites, which was started and run by famous American poker players, turned out to have stolen money from players (among other questionable business practices). This led to a rapid decline in the poker’s status. Poker quickly became uncool as the big mess sorted itself out.
Flash forward to 2012. There are now plenty of measures to make online poker legal and regulated in the United States; these efforts are led by the state of Nevada and New Jersey. However, the consensus here at Style Quirk is that poker has lost its luster (despite Lady Gaga’s best efforts) and is seeping back into the dark, seedy underbelly from which it came. It’s still cool if you happen to be in Las Vegas and want to stop by and play some no limit hold-em, and it’s still cool to have a friendly game with your friends. But overall, poker reared its ugly head, and until it gets chopped off, poker is not cool anymore.