The Era Of ‘Durrrr’

The Era Of ‘Durrrr’

With Tom Dwan back in the news recently, I'm reminded of the glory days of online poker, when 'Durrrr' was king and the money was endless.

With his ultra-aggressive playing style, child-like face and obscenely huge results, ‘Durrrr’ is the ultimate representation of the ‘Full Tilt era’, a time when any 18 year-old with an internet connection, half a brain and a lack of fear could make money playing poker online.  Those days are gone now, as the steady rise in worldwide skill levels, lack of American money in the online ecosystem and increase in the quality of tracking software have really evened the playing field.  The skill gap between good players and bad players is not what it used to be.

Back in the ‘era of Durrrr’ (2007-early 2011), that gap was HUGE, and pure aggression without any theoretical understanding of the game, was enough to win online.  Trust me, I speak from experience.  While on a much smaller scale than Mr.Dwan, the formula was the same: bet, bet, bet.  People folded way too much, the overall population didn’t understand the first thing about how to play poker, but at the same time had seen it on television and were convinced to invest their money and give it a shot.  I can’t emphasize strongly enough how beautiful of a time this was.  You’d get deep in tournaments and everyone would just freeze up.  They’d be afraid to play anything, and so you could steal pots with impunity.  Again, beautiful time.

I wasn’t very good.  I can see that now.  But I had some massive wins in 2009.  Wins that inflated my confidence and made it hard for me to accept that there were still a lot of things I needed to study in order to truly become a pro.  This set me back for a couple of years after I left the USA and resumed playing online.  I took a while to adjust, thinking I’d simply be able to continue beating the games with the same playing style and skill level as before.  When you can look back on your tournament history and see those huge cashes, it’s pretty easy to fall into the trap of entitlement, thinking that you’ll reach those levels again if you just keep playing, no need to evaluate your game and improve.

I suspect this is what has happened to many of the other ‘pros’ from this era who are nowhere to be seen now.

Even the great ‘Durrrr’ himself admits in the documentary ‘Bet Raise Fold’ that he wasn’t a very good player when he won his millions, and it was simply a case of collecting some low hanging fruit. While he’s being a bit humble, the point remains– online poker used to be much easier.  Here’s the link to the full film if you havn’t seen it. (seriously, you havn’t seen ‘Bet Raise Fold?’)

So the hand in the video above is a great example of the excess and insanity of this time period.  Spoiler alert in case you didn’t watch it, Dwan calls $28,000 on the river with 9-high! Why did he do this? Well, in terms of actual poker logic he’s putting Negreanu on a busted straight draw with 45 or 46.  But mostly he’s doing it because he doesn’t care about the money, or the correct play, and is willing to light $28,000 on fire just on the off-chance that it will create the greatest poker youtube clip of all time if he’s right and wins a showdown with 9-high.  This speaks to the difference between then and now.  The bar has been lowered. Nobody is printing money like in the past.  The entire player pool has learned the basics (for the most part) and today’s winners are the ones who put in the work studying and constantly improving.  Wins and skill-edges are smaller, blind aggression will get you nowhere and trying to be a hero with 9-high is just plain stupid.

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