The name ‘Gabe Patgorski’ will not resonate with many casual poker fans, but the die-hards will know that he’s been around for many years, making his living playing high stakes poker in Macau after Black Friday took away his grind as an online professional. During the 2018 Poker Masters, Patgorski made the trip down to the PokerGO Studio where he took part in the $10,000 Short Deck event, a poker variant he’s all too familiar with.
Patgorski calls it like he sees it, and on the rare occasion we got a chance to talk to him at a big tournament series, he didn’t hesitate to call out the predatory nature of live No Limit Hold’em cash games and tournaments, and bringing to everyone’s attention that Short Deck Poker might be part of the solution with regards to showing recreational players a good time in a fun environment.
“I think a lot of recreational players aren’t sitting down in Vegas to play Texas Hold’em for fun like they used to be. It’s not as fun when you’re playing against a bunch of wannabe pros who aren’t focused on showing you a good time,” Patgorski said, just like Just as Andrew Robl pointed out that Short Deck Poker makes No Limit Hold’em look boring.
Patgorski emphasizes that showing recreational players a good time is crucial to the overall poker economy and that No Limit Hold’em at higher stakes is drying up partly because enthusiastic fans with big bankrolls are few and far between due to the intimidating nature of live poker games.
“I think the Short Deck environment is so much different as far as, you sit down and the money flying, everyone’s having fun, and I could easily see a new wave of recreational players propping up the poker economy because of how fun Short Deck is.”
Patgorski’s time as a pro goes back about 14 years. After reevaluating his lifestyle and career after Black Friday, Patgorski settled on making it work in the big live games in Asia. Short Deck, the reason he showed up for the Poker Masters, was something Patgorski first dabbled in about four years ago after his good friend Tom Dwan told him about it.
“We started playing Short Deck in our home game but didn’t come back to it until a few years later when Triton put on the Montenegro event. To get ready for that event we started playing again, and it was a lot of fun. Before playing the Triton events I played in Macau a lot, just normal Texas Hold’em, but then Short Deck started taking over.”
Jovial, easy-going and dressed colorfully, Patgorski was entertaining the players at his table, cracking jokes and keeping the table talk going all day during the $10,000 Short Deck event at the Poker Masters, and he elaborates on why the concept of having a fun time is so important to the health of the game.
“I like to do things that make the poker ecosystem good. I like for people with money to have a good time when they’re playing, I like to play poker with those type people and encourage that, instead of just everyone trying to squeeze out their edge against everyone. That is just not cool to me.”
In closing, Patgorski calls out regular live cash game and tournament players creating an unfriendly environment for recreational players to play in, deterring them from returning or having a good time, to begin with.
“It seems to me like all the tournament pros are in this big race to the bottom. To me, it’s just like crabs in a bucket, as they’re all just fighting for their own edge and that’s bad for the economy overall.”
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