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I first learned how to play Texas hold 'em poker through the poker puzzle of Puzzle Pirates. Though I very rarely played any of the other carousing puzzles (I didn't really like any of them), poker was definitely the exception, and I would often head to the inn whenever I wanted to take a break from other activities and relax and play a game. As I was rather poor in Puzzle Pirates, and also quite careful and frugal with my money, most times I would only risk joining the lowest (i.e. the 20–200) tables; although any money won would be little, I did not really mind, as I had much fun simply playing the game, especially when there were many other players at the table and things got lively. I do remember a few times, though, when I joined a 200–2,000 table, one or two occasions when I joined a 2,000–20,000 table, and even the one time (though only at the lower limit) when I joined one of the 20,000–200,000 tables, though, in the last case, I played only a few rounds before leaving, having not made any money.
The 20,000–200,000 tables were truly something else. Back in the 2000s, there was almost always at least one such table in play whenever I checked, and they were often populated by the ocean's most wealthy, established, and famous players—generally captains and senior officers of large crews, royalty of powerful flags, and even governors of islands. Although I enjoyed playing poker myself, I also equally enjoyed just watching games at the 20,000–200,000 tables, witnessing in awe as the players at it casually bet tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of PoE each round. Another thing which I liked to do while watching these tables was to wait and see just how high the pot could get each round; I recall a few instances in which I witnessed it exceed a mind-blowing (for me, at least) 1 million PoE, and consequently seeing the jade monkey appear in the picture representing the pot.
After a while I realized, after spending some time watching the 20,000–200,000 tables and seeing other players win hundreds of thousands of PoE or more within mere minutes, that poker could be a very risky but also absurdly quick way to make money within the game—in fact, I guessed that it might be the fastest way to make money in the game (which, even today, is probably still true). Other players have noticed this, too, with some being sufficiently bothered by it that they took to the forums to decry its effects on the game, call for changes to poker, and even advocate for its removal from the game entirely. I have heard the phrase
Poker Pirates used mockingly by some to point out poker's unusually large influence on the game.
I still like poker, though—the game has always been a fun way for me to relax, and its implementation in Puzzle Pirates, which was done very well, set for me the standard which all other online poker experiences must match. It is a great shame that, due to the decline in activity in the game over the years, the average number of active poker tables has dwindled, until finally I was consistently unable to find even a single active table at all.
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This page last modified on 29 January 2020.