The Legends of Poker tournament is barely a week old and already the
“young guns” have made their mark. The first young gun to win was
Allen Cunningham. The next day Daniel Negreneau won, followed by back
to back wins by Layne Flack.
Now no one should be surprised at these wins, since for the last couple
of years the aforementioned players have been winning. I could go on
to mention other young lions, such as Kirk Morrison and John Juanda, but
my purpose is not to get personal about any of these young lads from a
poker standpoint. Rather my purpose is to reflect on how we in society
seem to be preoccupied with youth.
It seems that young people, that show promise in any endeavor, seem
to generate great interest. The public just seems to be fascinated by
them. It seems the poker world is no exception. I see these young guns
mentioned in the Card Player magazine as the next World Champions.
On the rare occasion that I go to the Internet, I see thread after thread
about Layne, Daniel, Kirk, John, and most recently Allen.
It comes to my mind how in the golf world last year, Mark O’Meara won
two major’s--the Masters and the United States Open. Yet Tiger Woods,
the best example anyone could make of a young gun, still received the
majority of the attention. I recently heard that Tiger made over 100
million dollars in endorsements last year. I wonder how much Mark O’
I hope no one thinks that any of what I say is due to jealousy, because
honestly it’s not. Okay, maybe I am a little envious of their trim
waistlines and sure, sometimes I wonder how it would have been if
there would had been poker tournaments around when I was a young
guy. But father time will take care of their waistlines and I probably
would have burnt myself out after a few years, and ended up with the
same amount of time that I have spent in tournaments.
I think it’s just interesting to notice, and maybe examine, how our society
in general, and specifically the poker society, treat people differently with
respect to their age.
I’ve tried to observe these young guys and formulate my opinion on
what makes them so interesting to the poker playing public. The first
thing I have observed is the incredible energy that most of them seem to
have. They seem to be bouncing around like ping pong balls, on one
side of the room making a last longer bet and then a few minutes later
on the other side of the room talking to someone.
They all seem to get a lot of telephone calls. It seems every few minutes
I hear, “Telephone call for Kirk Morrison or for Layne Flack or for Daniel.”
Who the heck keeps calling these guys? I get one call a year, usually my
wife telling me to bring home a quart of milk, or some equally exciting
Another common trait most of them seem to have is that they seem
happy, even in the game. They seem to laugh and interact much more
than us old guys.
I also notice another common thread in their behavior. They all seem to
come late to the tournaments. Don’t look for them to be standing
around doing nothing before a tournament. They’re all way too busy.
Next time you play in a tournament with them, see if I’m not right.
About ten minutes after the tournament starts, they’ll come flying in--
smiling, happy, full of life.
One of the traits that just seemed to overwhelm me when I realized it,
was that all the people that I’ve mentioned are as polite and well
mannered as you could imagine. If this is an example of the younger
generation, the world is not in as much trouble as we all think. Everyone
of these kids is a class act.
The other day I was having dinner with Bill Fain and Jack Fox. I asked
them what they thought of my idea of writing a column about the young
guys on the circuit. Both agreed it was interesting thought. All of a
sudden the thought came to me. Jack Fox, who has been on a tear in the
tournament poker world for the last couple of years, was a perfect
example of a person who had come into the tournament world and made
a quick impact. But because Jack is not “that” young, he just doesn’t get
the same attention.
I told Jack my thought, but then added maybe it still wasn’t too late. I
advised Jack to get rid of the glasses, lose 20 pounds, and get the gray
out of his hair. Who knows, maybe he could still pass for a young gun.
For what it's worth ...
By Vince Burgio