Poker | Hard way to make easy living part 3| Dominic Wells |Poker FictionCardspiel

A hard way to make an easy living (part 3)

> read part one here:

A hard way to make an easy living (part 3) By Dominic Wells

And poker has grown up with me. In the last decade the game has transformed from a cabbalistic ritual known only to a few initiates into a global phenomenon. The first World Series of Poker was contested in 1970 by just 38 players. Four decades later, it had outgrown Binion’s and relocated to the 50-storey Rio casino, where more than 30,000 hopefuls competed for a share of $50 million across 29 different events.

And with pride, so comes the fall. The poker world is still in shock from Black Friday, on April 15, 2011, when the US government clamped down on online gaming and closed the major sites. Even then, the WSOP’s winner took home $8,711,956.

No prize in any sport is as big.

I say sport, because poker is not really gambling. It’s not like roulette or blackjack or any other casino game, where the odds are stacked against you and the house always wins over time. Poker is gladiatorial: you’re playing the other players, not the house; and for you to win, someone else must lose. Sure, luck comes into it. The worst player in the world can beat the best in a single game by sucking out, catching a fluke card. But over time, skill will prevail. That’s how you can have professional players raking in millions a year, that’s how thousands of whizzkids can fund their college education playing ten tables at once online.

But if it is a sport, it’s the only one you can play sitting down. The sole physical requirement is buns of iron, for those marathon sessions, and then those less tangible attributes: nerves of steel; balls of brass. Perhaps you could best describe poker as a fever, with the internet as the carrier, spreading it pandemically across the world.

And I’m far from immune.

To me, the question is not, why would I risk everything on the turn of a card, the call of a bluff? But, why wouldn’t you?

It’s an adrenaline rush, the closest you can get to danger without even standing up. It’s a rite of passage, a roller-coaster ride of dizzying highs and stomach-churning lows.

It’s been some ride. I’d like to tell you all about it. And along the way, I’ll share what I’ve learned about playing normal poker, for stakes most of us can afford. Poker books tend to be written by the top pros, about playing against other pros for nose-bleed stakes. You won’t find out, for instance, how to tell the difference quickly between the serious player at your table and someone who’s wandered in off the roulette table, and how to adjust your play accordingly.

But bear with me just a minute. Before we get there, there’s the small matter of me maybe getting my face pounded to a pulp, on the top deck of a night bus to south London.

> Part 4 here

Photographer Website

Image ‘Rapid Riffle Shuffle in a Poker Game’ by Todd Klassy

License info