If you’ve been keeping up with what’s happening in the world of high-stakes poker recently, you know there’s been plenty of controversy.
For some time now, attention has been focused on Garrett Adelstein, a former focus of the Hustler Casino Live broadcast and a high-stakes professional poker player.
After the iconic J-4 hand, Garrett chose to take a break from poker and concentrate on other aspects of his life.
Fans have been wondering if and when Garrett would return, and speculation about the decision’s motivations has persisted ever since.
Nicholas Vertucci, co-owner of the HCL stream, just came out and said that Adelstein is not welcome on the broadcast at this moment, reigniting the debate.
Nick didn’t go so far as to claim Garrett was banned, but it was evident that he and Ryan Feldman didn’t want to include G-man in their lineups despite Adelstein’s huge following of dedicated streamers.
This wasn’t the last point of contention, though. During that week, Doug Polk had on his show another high-stakes regular at HCL, Nik Airball. Adelstein’s unflattering Twitter statement regarding Nik’s character and poker skills inspired this invitation.
Nik retaliated by saying that Adelstein was a different guy when the cameras weren’t rolling, accusing him of caring solely about his own EV and even publicly berating amateur players.
No More Tongue Biting for Garrett!
Adelstein has only made a few brief remarks on social media before the Nik Airball show (including the one mentioned above). Nevertheless, after hearing Nik discuss him and his personality, he took to Twitter to set the record straight.
The whole (quite extensive) answer is included in the attached tweet; I will just summarize it for you here. In order to fully grasp Garrett’s position, you may and should read the whole piece.
The “zero-sum” aspect of high-stakes games is the first thing he emphasizes, because there is a fixed quantity of money that everyone is competing for.
He “confessed” (in response to one of Nik Airball’s charges) that he helped pick up lineups for certain streamed games and added that he had “zero apologies for his game choosing abilities.”
Keeping a sizable number of casual players in the game is essential to keeping these programs going, particularly at the higher stakes. The only losers in these soft games are the professionals who are denied entry.
Although Adelstein did agree he had some input in who was invited, he strongly refuted claims that he had “control of the lineups,” saying the lineups would look quite different if that were the case.
Is it a “nice guy” thing to sign the checks of other professionals?
In the second part of his explanation, Garrett added that he empathized with the professionals who thought they were left out because of him, reiterating his stance that his participation in selecting the players has been greatly exaggerated.
Twitter call to action: garrett adelstein weigh in
But he also made an intriguing point: rather than blaming him, those players should figure out why they haven’t been invited yet and how they might contribute more to a live poker broadcast.
At last, he got to the heart of an essential issue concerning the audience by going beyond the surface. From a fan’s perspective, Garrett said, it was exciting to see him go up against great players in challenging lineups, but that wasn’t the objective of professional sports.
Ethically winning as often as possible is my duty. I’m not the CEO of a firm debating whether to raise my own salary or the salaries of my workers, and poker is not a team sport. These other professionals pose a threat to my position in the industry. Should I be the good person who signs their checks?
Ultimately, Garrett Adelstein stated that the “politics” of poker have made him question whether or not he was cut out for it, but as a real enthusiast of the game, he knows he’ll return to the felt.
To What Does It Come Down?
The recent events concerning Garret Adelstein, the politics of live streaming, and the debate over “what’s good for the game” have caused quite a ruckus among the community. And although there are certainly two sides, most of what Garrett said was really the truth.
Real experts are continuously looking to improve their setup. There is a limit to how much “goodwill” they are ready to show in exchange for entry into high-quality games. A true professional would ever play under hopeless conditions just to be a good sport.
At least, not for a sum of money that would matter.
For me, as a poker enthusiast, it’s all about the big pots and exciting games. I like needles, table banter, and everything that comes with being a poker player. Nonetheless, I’m aware that the men in question aren’t professional performers.
They participate with their own funds, sometimes risking six or seven figures. It’s to be expected that if poker is their main source of money, they’ll prioritize their needs before those of the group. It’s crucial to their survival.
Although the cameras are rolling, it may appear like a good time, losing seven figures in one night may be devastating. Poker players, after all, are human and not a mathematical super-race that can always shrug off defeat.
To sum up, I understand the points made by both sides. I can see why some players (and maybe even some supporters) are upset about what has been revealed.
Furthermore, that’s not surprising to me since I can totally grasp it. Although Garrett’s rationale may not convince everyone, I believe that it accurately captures the consensus amongst experienced poker players.
Adelstein expressed it well when he said that high-stakes poker is a “bloodsport played for astounding sums of money,” albeit some players are better at disguising it than others.
You could accept the other guy’s money with a straight face and some well-rehearsed words to make them feel better, but that’s generally just to keep being asked to their parties. No matter how you spin it, it comes down to the EV.