Tournament Poker – Fortune or Fortune?

Tournament Poker - Fortune or Fortune

As the first birthday of my first book, I decided that this first author’s preoccupation with poker would be well served with a second series of articles on the game. Less than two months after the Ariarat Big Game held its inception, I had more or lessuously decided that the time was well spent devoting more time to the sport that had fascinated me for close to half my life.

That time has now come.

In the last World Series of Poker Drawing Event, the 94 years of the event had come to an end. On the final day of the event, the championship would be held, with the winner being awarded the Learn to Win Poker package, one that would include both a blackjack chart and a poker strategy chart. How ironic that such things would be a part of such a addictive game of chance. One could safely predict that if the winner was to be chosen at random from the pack of cards, the novice players might be relatively easy tokill. Hitting below the knee and bleeding in the streets.

The same could be said for the other competitors. Stu Ungar had quit gambling many years earlier and had become a successful sports bettor. The other men and women before him had similar stories of woe. Many sport bettors knew what they were doing and, more often than not, they had agencies who would do very well for themselves in the upcoming weeks and the agencies probably paid very well too.

In the end, the championship was won by an improbable champion: Mr. Harry Howland. Although official resultsOLD, the popular vote by magazine circulation was far more for the golferDustin Donald. Other popular bets included those involving the popular players: Gus Hansen and Jamie Gold.

The very popular betting figure of the time was a young man by the name of Phil Helmuth. Although he had been playing professionally since he was 16 years old and had finished in the money in tournaments, his success had been mostly stages 2 to 3. But when the domination of Tiger Woods was accompanied by a 99% toned down performance both on the cards and often on the scoring slows, Phil Heads took to the course at Doral to show his considerable talent again. Some said that it was Helmuth’s unbridled confidence that forced the young generation of golf to accept Helmuth as the best. As Helmuth went on to dominate the next several years, it was clear that P.J. Harrington, the future of golfing fame, would one day out do him.

In the early years of video poker and online gambling, I used to keep close tabs on the machines at the same time I was playing them. Sometimes, like other gamblers, I had no problems with the machines, but other times I was almost overcome with emotion (both pride and frustration) when I realized that I was not going to get the Next Game piece I so richly deserve.

Perhaps it was the unbridled confidence of a gambling pro on knowing odds that allowed him to stay in the game so long, but inevitably, my pride had to be my common emotion. I had to be able to hold my head up high and not see the hole I was digging as it swallowed up my pride. Success at any task requires hard work and establishment of a disciplined attitude.

So, what did I all do? Well, I kept my head down and worked on becoming a better poker player, learning from other less successful gamblers at the same time. It seemed to take a lot of effort and discipline to stay out of the game and not attract negative attention to myself. But, it was all too easy at that time to try to escape the rat race and so I sometimes fell for it. How often would I justify to myself why I wasn’t going to quit, and why at that moment was I not able to make a decision to leave the game. If I had a dollar for every time I honestly thought I would be better off just returning my membership to the casino, my bankroll, and all the money in it, then I would be an extremely rich and successful casino player! But, I don’t think that will ever happen, at least not anytime soon.

There is much naivety among players about the nature of these machines, and whether they are programmed to be profitable or not. The fact is that the majority of video poker machines are not set up to specifically benefit the player. Rather, the set up of these machines is intended to have the characteristics of a coin-operated slot machine; that is, the parts that are to be discarded are essentially the same as the parts that are to be filled with bait for the big sharks. Players are essentially picking a spot to put their attention in the most advantageous position.