Now I know everyone has been talking about Scotty Nguyen's poor sportsmanship in the $50K HORSE event and I wholeheartedly agree. However, what really, really surprises me is that more people are not annoyed with the antics of Michael Dimechele. Within five minutes of watching this episode I had decided this guy was acting like a complete douchebag. The excessive celebration, the hollywooding in a stud game (SUCH poor form), I was not a fan of any of it and I was actively rooting for this kid to lose. As we established last time, I am no HORSE genius but I play enough to understand how the games work and I was less than impressed with his play--I mean, the kid couldn't even read what cards he had at one point.
I am sure he is a nice guy away from the table and I actually found his interview on Cash Plays on PokerRoad rather interesting, but I find this to be an aspect of tournament poker that I am growing increasingly annoyed with. I guess you don't notice it on TV as much, but being around the final tables this year I began to realize just how often the cheering sections of the various players were acting like total tools. Don't ham it up for your drunk and disorderly friends. You are adults, behave like adults. If your friend gets it in bad, don't chant crap like "suck out suck out", just wait politely and see how the hand plays out. Even if Scotty Nguyen did behave in an equally unbecoming manner, don't scream out "brick" when 7th street gets dealt. It is tacky, it is in poor form, and it makes it increasingly more difficult to present poker as a competitive game for intelligent people rather than a vice.
I have to be perfectly frank that, before I worked at the WSOP this summer, I was generally skeptical of internet players. I don't particularly enjoy internet poker nearly as much as I enjoy playing live so I am biased to begin with. Moreover, I watched enough poker on TV to see several young online pros who were presented in less than flattering light. However, within a week of working the WSOP, I realized I had judged too quickly and these were genuinely nice guys (and girls) who, for the most part, behave just as respectfully as everyone else.
However, every once in a while, when they get in big groups and, perhaps, too many substances are consumed, they cement the reputation that they are cocky, ungrateful, disrespectful players. I think the antics of Demichele and his cheering section, at least for me, fell into that category. I have gotten a chance to speak with and get to know some of the guys I spotted in his cheering section and I know categorically that they are really, really nice people and I don't doubt for a minute that they didn't mean anything by it. I just think it is odd that no one is bringing up in the forums that this doesn't reflect well on poker players under 25. Just because Scotty Nguyen's douchebaggery far outshined that of everyone else doesn't mean that everyone else doesn't need to take some time to think about how their behavior comes across to other people.
At the end of the day all I can say is I love Erick Lindgren and I think everyone else does too. Man, that guy is a class act all around and I continue to marvel at his stellar play throughout the WSOP this summer.