More Poker Advertising Fail

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Following our last episode of poker advertising fail, the inscrutable plsntvll sent over a copy of the late Amarillo Slim's Play Poker To Win. As a poker book, it's outdated. But as an object lesson in misguided poker marketing, the back cover is solid gold.

Blurb from Play Poker To Win, by Amarillo Slim

Observation: if your ad copy could reasonably have been voiced by Biff of Back to the Future fame, ad copy is the least of your problems.

My gambling philosophy is simplethe losers walk, the winners talk...in this world, there are winners and losers, and all my life I've been a winner.

Our philosophy is simple, too. It starts with never self-proclaim your Winner For Life status. Amarillo Slim may well have popped into the world a fully-formed Winner BabyTM sporting WinnerTMdiapers , wearing a WinnerTM cowboy hat, and suckling a WinnerTM-brand pacifier, but you'd never know it because you'd be too busy reeling from the stench of the faux-Western bragadoccio hanging in the air like a latent invading maelstrom of old-guard poker flatulence.

Why is this a big deal? Why are we being so hard on Slim?

Because when normal people (senators, spouses, bus drivers) catch a whiff of this stuff, it only confirms for them what they've been trained by the media to believe anyway: that poker is a game of slack-jawed belt-busting chance played by grifters. Phrases like "my gambling philosophy" don't help because "gambling" is a loaded word that implicitly paints poker as a game of chance. Stop it. Stop doing that.

Stop using the word "gambling" in poker.

Slim, we can only assume those pesky marketing people put you up to this. For the rest of you poker authors out there, a better way to market to your audience is through stuff like: fun, eagerness, learning, scholarship, competition, merit, mathematics. Profit. These are the long-term viables for poker. Everything else is bullshit.

Tags: books, games, poker

8 comment(s)

WTF does that even mean? The loser walk? The winners talk? Cannot. decipher. west texas. speak.

Not defending Slim or this distasteful ad. As much as I like poker. Many people, even important people, tried proving that poker is a game of skill. However that is just not true in technical sense. Chance (gambling) plays a huge role in poker. Simply put a turn of cards can defeat the best poker player. That said good players afford themselves a statistical advantage.

As the post states, "gambling" is a loaded word. Sure it's most basic definition simply means to "play a game of chance" and poker has an element of chance, but the perception being associated with "gambling" is generally negative. Every game based in the "real" world has an element of chance. Basketball, Football, etc...

Most professions also involve chance, my own (engineering) is BASED on chance. Risk management is an actual skill that is required for the world to work properly. Poker is a simplified and modeled version of what many people do every day to make a living. Calling it "gambling" is like calling what doctors, engineers, plumbers, auto technicians and others do every day "gambling"

The hypocritical part is, according to State Governments, - "gambling" is bad but lottery, which is silliest form of gambling, is good. Whenever revenues are dropping gambling becomes tolerable because they can squeeze cash out of it. Once things are back to normal "gambling" now "destroys" families.

Is playing cricket, or any sport for that matter, a form of gambling? There are lots of small chaotoic events that can significantly change the outcome.

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