There are numerous ways to look at poker players. One way is to divide them into two groups according to their motivation for the game: social or stakes. The monetary gambler looks for games where they can win big, where buy-ins and blinds are high enough to be worth their time, where players are serious enough to keep the game moving with lots of hands played. As long as the cards aren’t marked, any decent deck will do. Food and beverage service may or may not appeal to them. The die hard poker player is a minimalist…a table, chair, cards, poker chips, and a decent location are all that matter. A bottle cap can serve as a dealer button and any spare chip a card cover. Sure stiff paper cards are not preferred over coated or plastic, but how each hand is played is paramount.
Contrast the stakes gambler with the social gambler who romanticizes the game. For him or her when they think of poker they think of wood or slate tables, high quality felt, padded rails, 100% plastic cards with a nice design, comfortable chairs, clay or quality composite chips (never plastic). Drinking can be in the form of beer, but with a nicer venue the spirits upgrade from Jack and Coke grade, to premium aged scotches and on up to the finest cognacs money can buy. Some social gamblers picture the Sunday football crowd. Others picture a wild west saloon or a private room at the hottest Vegas casino. Oceans 11, the Rat Pack, Maverick or Cool Hand Luke. Many a man cave has been devoted to one of these fantasy themes. Social players don’t care how much they leave the table with as much as the overall social experience of the event. For them it is a themed party and every host wants the gathering to be memorable.
As someone who has played in, and enjoyed, both types of poker gatherings, I’m glad that the Texas Poker Store caters to the minimalist and the romantic alike.