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Pro Poker

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JackyJackBN, May 14, 2007.

  1. JackyJackBN

    JackyJackBN Guest

    I'm going to meet with a youngster who has had some success playing poker internationally. I see professional poker at this point as part of the entertainment biz; kind of like golf and tennis, without the physical activity.

    What is pro poker, anyway? A lot of the players make money from suckers on the net during their formative period. How much of a scam is it?

    I have been trying to watch some on TV. The tells and the personalities interest me a lot more than the hands, but I'm the opposite of a math whiz. I'll probably ask him about that.

    Yes, I'm looking for an angle. I'm thinking personality profile, probe the kid a bit, and let the chips fall where they may. (Sorry.)
  2. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    It seems interesting to me -- and it may work for your story -- how a player goes from being just another face at the table to becoming a personality. Obviously, being good helps. But a lot of players have success without becoming assholes or "personalities". How much do you have to play up a persona, and how annoying is it for the guys who have success without doing that stuff? And how much of it is an act to get into guys' heads?
    Another topic might be how they deal with bad luck. These guys convince themselves that poker is a game of skill, but how do they deal with it internally when that one card the other guy needs falls on the river?
  3. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    the good ones rationalize it based on odds.
    good players don't hope for cards, they make calculated bets based on how much money can be won vs what their chances are of hitting the cards they need
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    That makes sense, but also ties into my other topic -- when these guys do fly off the handle, how much of it is an act for the camera? Do they do the same thing when they're playing a money game or get knocked out in a no-name satellite tournament?
  5. JackyJackBN

    JackyJackBN Guest

    This kid had a hot, hot streak and has since cooled off. So, the latter topic may work well. We had a brief chat about personalities in the warmup and he mentioned Stu Unger. We might talk a bit about destructive behavior and the poker world too. Thanks for a good idea.

    Judging by the lack of responses, I wonder how much interest is out there. I'm not sure how narrow the niche is. Dammit, looks like I'm in for some research.
  6. RedSmithClone

    RedSmithClone Active Member

    As someone who is big on the poker scene and loves playing, I can tell you most of the characters are not just acting for the cameras. A lot of them may be acting out to get under people's skin, but for the most part it is exactly who they are. I personally look at a bunch of these guys as cry babies. They can play odds all they want, but there is luck involved as well. And I know a lot of people who win on luck alone.
  7. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    See Moneymaker, Chris or Varkoyni, Robert for Exhibits A and B.

    There is more luck than a lot of these folks would admit. Sure, there's skill involved and calculating the odds of catching one of your outs to validate calling a bet plays a role.

    But there's nothing even Einstein or Stephen Hawking could do when some schlump who called your monster, I've-got-something raise with A-7 catches runner-runner to fill a flush, or when he calls two raises and backdoors a straight with 4-6 offsuit.
  8. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Deciding to make poker a profession, especially at a young age, has to be both exciting and scary as hell. It's one thing if you win the WSOP (like Moneymaker or Raymer) and then have the cash to make it a career. But I would love to know what goes through someone's head when they're making such a volatile career choice. Just my 2 cents, which is about my career earnings at poker.
  9. JackyJackBN

    JackyJackBN Guest

    Pallister, your point was going to be the nut of my interview before I started this tiny thread...and it still will be. That said, he's holding a pretty good stash now, and he told me that he's going to be sponsored for a while to protect himself. This guy is young, but he's no wide-eyed monkey. He worked hard before he fell into the poker gig.
  10. If you have the time/resources, why don't you follow up the profile piece with a look at some of the darker aspects of this fad--like how many young people, many below the age of majority, are getting hooked on gambling. Talk to some high school counselors to try and find out how popular poker is with teens in the area. See if it's becoming a problem. Challenge the pro-poker people a bit. Don't make it a fluff piece.

    I gamble. I'm not a prude when it comes to this sort of thing. However, I've always had a big problem with the way that poker is being played as a sport. It, quite literally, by definition, isn't. But because cable sports stations pimp it out because they need cheap programming to fill their schedule, and the programs are produced in such a way as to resemble the WWE, it's become cool. The poker people, understandably, are thrilled by this movement. Suckers--soon-to-be broke suckers--make them millionaires.

    If we are going to start covering this game as a legitimate sport (and I don't think we should, no mater how popular it gets) then we at least have an obligation as journalists to really cover it--warts and all.

    So, please, if your article doesn't touch on the pitfalls of being a professional poker player then at least sidebar it.
  11. JackyJackBN

    JackyJackBN Guest

    Your point is what I was getting at in the second paragraph of my original post. Someone--many someone's--are getting an expensive lesson at the hands of the pros. This is a thoughtful kid who gave a considerable amount to charity last year, so I feel this point can be covered right in the interview. I don't intend to glamorize him or the poker scene.
  12. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    A guy I went to college with is taking a hiatus from law school to play poker full-time. He made a killing online, then consistently started beating the games at Chicago-area riverboats, and now he's living in NY and making regular stops in AC and Vegas.

    My bullshit meter goes way up when I hear of anyone trying to play poker for a living, but this guy would strike me as the rare type to be able to do it. Never gets mad about anything, analytical personality, quiet, etc. He's not a close enough friend for me to ask him about his bankroll and other dirty details, but I'd love to know.
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