April 1, 2015
It is hard to find anyone who plays poker, whether professionally or as an amateur, who hasn’t heard the name Daniel Cates. Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates, is one of the rare poker players who came up through the online poker ranks and was able to conquer the live tournament circuit as well.
With over $3 million in live tournament winnings and over $10 million online, Cates is truly one of poker’s elite. One might think his nickname came from the online world, but actually it came while playing live games. He had long hair and admitted to being pretty hairy with a resemblance to Tarzan. The other players started to call him Jungleman, and it sort of stuck.
February 13, 2015
Martin Jacobson went into the final table of the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event with the second shortest stack of the final nine players. He also went into that final table as the only player to have more than $1 million in WSOP tournament winnings. While coming close to a title a few times, he was never able to put that gold bracelet on his wrist until last year when he claimed the most coveted prize in poker.
January 29, 2015
Abba’s hit “The Winner Takes it All” was sung by Meryl Streep in a 2008 film called Mamma Mia!. The title: seemingly about gambling. The song: truthfully about divorce.
“Poker Face” was done by Lady Gaga and hit #10 on Billboard’s top 100. The title: seemingly about poker. Song: truthfully about bisexuality.
“The Jack’ was written by ACDC’s lead singer Bon Scott about a “houseful of ladies” the band lived with on tour once in 1976. Title: seemingly about gambling. Song: truthfully about venereal disease.
These aren’t songs about getting nothing for something. Yes, you can play the odds with a lot of things but real gambling means hitting the casinos and poker and Texas Hold ‘em.
Here, in no particular order, are some relatively unknown facts about gambling songs that are really about gambling. No metaphors.
One of the most significant changes that poker has experienced in the past 15 years is the growth of the celebrity culture that surrounds its most successful players. Poker used to be a solitary activity and, like most forms of gambling, it was sometimes frowned upon as it was misunderstood as a practice that always lead to vice (of course it can be risky to play too much or for the wrong reasons, but safe gambling fun is great!). However, the past two decades have lead to the cultural normalization of poker as an acceptable and fun form of entertainment.
Poker is reported in sports channels like ESPN and, like any sport, it has its own catalog of celebrities, rags-to-riches stories, come-from-behind victories, paraphernalia and legendary rivalries. Social media platforms have recently been used by both gamblers and companies as promotional tools. Through sites like Facebook and Twitter we get to know celebrity poker players more intimately.
When in comes to poker, one of the most interesting social media sites is Instagram. This website (which was bought by Facebook for $1 billion a couple of years ago) allows users to construct a visual diary of their everyday. Elite poker players are constantly on the road participating in high-stakes tournaments, in promotional tours or just enjoying la dolce vita that their occupation can bring them. These moments are captured through their smartphones and uploaded to Instagram so poker enthusiasts can maybe aspire to be like them.
Here’s some cool Instagram accounts that you might want to follow as a poker fan:
January 27, 2015
Whether you like placing bets for fun or do so professionally, everyone’s got a little gamble in them. Gambling itself is rich with a full lexicon of words that it pays to understand before you start making your wagers. Here, then, is a rundown of 21 of the more common terms used in all forms of gambling. Why 21? No particular reason other than that being the minimum age to gamble in Las Vegas—and we all know there’s nothing like gambling in Vegas!
January 8, 2015
The ideal poker hand means different things to different people. Beginners think the ideal poker hand is one of the best starting hands such as a pair of aces while intermediate players extend their range of ideal poker hands to include suited connectors and other speculative hands. Professional poker players, however, consider many factors before determining what would be an ideal hand: his opponents, the table dynamics and how much money is on the table.
So what is it? An ideal poker hand is any hand that has the potential to maximize winnings while minimizing losses. An ideal hand does not necessarily mean a premium hand.
For instance, it is safe to say being dealt 10-2 is usually an automatic fold. But, for Doyle Brunson, 10-2 is an ideal hand; in 1976 (and again in 1977), Brunson won the World Series of Poker Championship with this hand. Although it’s not the first choice of starting hands, it goes to show that any hand can be an ideal hand if you know how to play it and your opponent.
January 6, 2015
Great poker players are not born with winning poker skills and probably don’t have a burning desire to play ‘No Limit Hold ’em’ by the age of five. In fact, many of the top poker players in the world had chosen very different paths for their lives when they developed an interest in poker.
Here are three of those players.
December 10, 2014
Many top poker professionals can hardly believe the poker skill or luck debate continues to be a topic of discussion. The reason? Poker isn’t entirely a game of skill OR luck – it is a combination of both.
It should come as no surprise that poker pros believe skill wins out in the end. They study the game, observe playing tendencies, make decisions based on statistics and are extremely disciplined. They work hard and develop skills that help them minimize the luck factor for their opponent.
On the other hand, a recreational poker player may like taking risks, will make many decisions based on feelings and chases the action. They are in the game for now, not necessarily the long-term and as a result rely heavily on luck to deliver the card they need to win the pot.
December 2, 2014
Many poker terms have infiltrated the English lexicon over the years. It’s not uncommon, for instance, to hear people talking about having to “go all in” on an idea or “raise the stakes” in real-life situations. More mathematically-minded professional poker players even talk about whether non-poker decisions they’ve made were “+EV” (expected value) or not. When you think about it, a lot of poker skills can be applied to your life away from the felt. Here are a couple of examples.
November 18, 2014
To become a master chess player (think Garry Kasparov or Bobby Fischer) you must have a certain set of skills that includes cautious recklessness, the ability to react in the face of adversity and strategic thinking and planning. Sure, there are some skills chess players possess that can be applied to poker strategies, but the two games are quite different in that chess is defined by skill while poker is just as much chance as it is skill (that’s what makes it exciting, after all). Chess involves playing on what you can see and poker is mostly about what you can’t see. However, there are some similarities between the two crafts and also a few lessons poker players can learn from chess masters.