Is Poker a Fad?

Chops here.

Recently my old roommate Patnice posed an interesting question to me: what happens when the poker fad dies?

This got me thinking:

1) Is poker a fad?
2) If it is, what will I do with myself when it dies?
3) What are some new potential fads on the horizon that my friends and I can cling to?

Here’s what I think…

1) Is poker a fad? MY ANSWER: YES AND NO.

Ok, I know that poker is definitely the trendy thing right now. But here’s what I also know: tennis was once the trendy new thing. And so was golf. They are both still thriving.

I also know that collecting baseball cards and swing dancing were trendy for a while, too. I collected cards. And I looked up swing dancing lessons online that my friend Bones and I were going to attend as a means to attract girls. Terrible idea.  Thank God we never attended one. In fact, let‚Äôs forget all about this paragraph.

What paragraph?


So where does poker fit in the trendy continuum?

I have to put it closer to tennis and golf.

A few factors fuel this conclusion.

First, no matter how good you get, poker is still essentially gambling. And people love to gamble.

Second, tens of millions of people were ALREADY regularly playing poker.

Third, television. Just like when NASCAR, tennis, and golf exploded, television dollars soon followed. And as long as poker is on TV, interest will sustain and new players will be hooked. And these are most likely new YOUNG players.  Poker has created a big, raging, self-sustaining lifecycle now. 

Fourth and finally, poker is a built-in-hang-out-with-the-guys-excuse. It’s infinitely easier to tell your girlfriend/wife, “Baby, I’m going to hang out with the guys tonight and play poker” than it is, “Baby, I’m going to hang out with the guys tonight in a bar where there will be lots of single woman.” Your woman’s responses for the two preceding scenarios will almost 100% be: “Ok, have fun! Good luck! Win us some money!” and “No you are not.”

Let‚Äôs face it, poker has been a ‚Äútrendy fad‚Äù for about two years now.  Eventually, you move past fad territory.  I think we‚Äôre about there right now.

2) If it is a fad, what will I do with myself when it dies? MY ANSWER: STILL PLAY, BUT MOVE ON TO THE NEXT FAD.

People always talk about trendy things in a negative light. I don’t. Things are trendy because they’re fun at that time of your life. And if it’s fun and (mostly) harmless, then I’m all for it. Screw anybody else who thinks otherwise.

But since poker has been popular for a long time—it’s just gotten bigger because of TV coverage—like I said, I don’t think it’s that much of a fad. Maybe the hype won’t be there in a few years, but you’ll still have a massive amount of people playing. It’s a fun game. You get to outsmart people, make money, hang out with your friends, and show your alpha male dominance. What’s better than that?

Obviously, this site wouldn‚Äôt have been launched if we thought ‚Äúthis poker thing‚Äù was going away.  So I will promise you two things: 1) Even if poker inexplicably ends up in the cultural zeitgeist scrap-heap, this site will still exist and discuss all things poker, and 2) I will stop putting so many phrases in quotation marks.  I‚Äôm beginning to feel like some kind of ‚Äúmiddle-manager.‚Äù

3) What are some new potential fads on the horizon? MY ANSWER: This one is a little more difficult as I unfortunately do not have access to a crystal ball that can predict the future. So let’s go with Bass fishing, dodge ball, and space exploration.

Bass fishing. Have you seen that big competition that ESPN covers? The Bassmaster Classic. I think it‚Äôs in New Orleans.  And as testament to its emergence into pop culture, it‚Äôs also got a video game.  Plus you had that dude on the Bachelor (the actual Bachelor) last season that was a professional bass fisherman. So it‚Äôs getting some street cred (among 40 year old white men, at least, which probably technically isn‚Äôt really street cred, but we‚Äôll call it that for now). I really believe that with the right gimmick, (maybe an underwater ‚Äúfish cam‚Äù that gives you the fish‚Äôs perspective, or attaching dynamite to some fish so they blow up–which might be the only possible way I‚Äôd watch this crap), bass fishing could be a big thing. Why? Cause just like poker, seemingly everyone can do it. And the prize money now is actually substantial enough to warrant greater participation. THE CASE AGAINST IT: You can‚Äôt play it online. Fishing is stupid. The Bachelor sucks.

Dodge ball. This thing already has some legs and I can see it getting bigger. It does have some TV exposure on GSN had a popular movie last summer, and is a great excuse for any schlub to get some exercise. It‚Äôs a team game and there‚Äôs seriously nothing funnier than seeing a guy take that bouncy red ball in the nads. THE CASE AGAINST IT: You can‚Äôt play it online and win money.  You have to shower afterwards. 

Space exploration. String theory. Wormholes. Commercial space flights. I’m telling you, space is like the new frontier or something. There is nothing but room to grow in this industry. I mean, have you been to space? Do you know anyone that personally has? While this isn’t a sport, I can see space being like what an Oxygen Bar was a few years ago…a trendy over-priced getaway from the hassle of real life. I know I wouldn’t hesitate going to space (I would an Oxygen Bar). THE CASE AGAINST IT: You can’t go to space online. And it costs a lot more money than playing poker, unless you’re a gambling addict in which case it might actually cost less.

On last note, doesn‚Äôt have the same ring as 

So I hope I‚Äôm way off base on that prognostication. 


So poker might technically be a fad because of it‚Äôs total popularity and hype right now, but it isn‚Äôt going away.  Like tennis and golf before it, it‚Äôs a fad that‚Äôll stick. In fact, it will probably just keep getting more popular.  Unlike any other fad I can think of, you can play poker any time, anywhere.  That‚Äôs huge.  And as Doyle Brunson said on ESPN‚Äôs WSOP Tournament of Champions, ‚ÄúPeople are just discovering what I‚Äôve known for over 50 years, that poker is the greatest game on Earth.‚Äù

When all else fails, you always must defer to Doyle.

So keep playing. Enjoy it.  And throw a few chips my way while you‚Äôre at it.

What do you think?  Is poker a fad?  What other fads do you see coming on the horizon?  Fill out the comment boxes below and let Wicked Chops Poker know.


3 Responses

  1. Killer Reid

    April 1, 2005 7:21 am, Reply

    Who says wickedchopsbassfishing doesn’t have a ring to it? Anyone want to designate one night a week to dodgeball? I am sure we can figure out a way to re-buy in dodgeball. Am I missing the point here?

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