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Poker Revolution: How the Hole Cam Changed Hold'em

It's not an exaggeration to say that the so-called "Hole Cam" has changed the game of Texas Hold'em poker forever and close to entirely. The Hole Cam, of course, refers to the camera angle that is now seen in televised poker where the audience can see each player's hole cards.

Indeed, a look at how the Hole Cam changed the game--and more importantly, how it continues to change the game--is a worthwhile exercise for any Hold'em poker player to undertake.

Better Guesses from the Masses

Poker players who have only ever watched poker live in the Hole Cam Era may not be able to appreciate what a difference a camera angle makes. But in reality, the addition of the Hole Cam has provided a tremendous amount of information to millions, maybe even billions of people.

And information, as any poker player knows, is power.

Before the Hole Cam, poker was not a spectator sport, and players could not go back over poker games to see where certain players bluffed, the strategies they used, and so forth. Your hole cards were buried and stayed buried and frankly many poker players liked that just fine.

After the Hole Cam, the average schlub sitting on his couch could quite literally read the minds of the greatest Hold'em players in the world. This average schlub could sit there on the couch and soak up more and more information learning directly from accomplished poker pros.

Even for players who don't watch a lot of poker TV, the Hole Cam changed the game in the sense that this camera angle makes it undeniably clear that every Hold'em player must make the effort to consider the exact cards that his or her opponent may have in the hole.

Just the act of attempting to envision those two cards has made millions of people into better poker players. Once you've played and watched enough poker, you can get pretty good at this guessing game, even if you are not an excellent player you can make solid guesses usually.

Without the Hole Cam, the guessing game wouldn't be such a part of the game of Hold'em.

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It's All About Accessibility

Above and beyond any particular strategic in-game dynamic that the Hole Cam has altered, the Hole Cam has helped to exponentially enlarge the pool of people playing poker.

According to the World Poker Tour, the official masters of the Hole Cam and no doubt its biggest beneficiary, there are now 60 million U.S. poker players and 100 million worldwide. There is no way poker would be bringing in such legions if there were no Hole Cam.

The Hole Cam makes poker accessible to anyone.

We have seen this accessibility lead to inspiring feats such as Chris Moneymaker coming from obscurity to become a multi-millionaire, and we have also seen this accessibility lead to some really, really, really poor poker players entering the game and getting all their funds taken.

The Hole Cam, in short, has caused there to be a large amount of fish in the sea. Fish, naturally, is the nickname for poker players who serve as tasty meals for more predator-like players.

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Assuming Makes an Ass Out of U and Me

This giant sucking-in of inexperienced, low skill poker players is the reason why the Hole Cam might be the most important cinematographic development of the past 100 years. New players, after all, are the lifeblood of the poker ecosystem, and help keep old poker players in business.

Before the Hole Cam, there were not thousand-person schools of fish asking to be invited to private home games, or walking into cardrooms with six beers in their stomach, or loading up their online accounts with daddy's credit card.

Before the Hole Cam, experienced players had to hustle up suckers, drive far to games, and so forth. Post-Hole Cam, suckers are a dime a dozen, strewn about the landscape like so many heads of cattle, just waiting to be slaughtered.

At the same time though, and also because of the Hole Cam, experienced players have much more reason to be fearful that this young kid that just walked in and threw his balls on the table may be a sucker, but then again he might just "see" that you have nothing in the hole.

In the Hole Cam Era, any player who watches enough poker on TV can acquire a certain measure of X-ray vision. As was with the case with Superman, X-ray vision is a super-powerful thing.

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