The Economist: "Professional Poker, a big deal"

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by makloda, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. Poker
    A big deal

    Dec 19th 2007
    Poker is getting younger, cleverer, duller and much, much richer

    DOYLE BRUNSON (above, left) is a poker legend. Twice winner of the game's most prestigious annual tournament, the World Series of Poker (WSOP), held in Las Vegas, the cowboy-hat-clad southerner affectionately known as Texas Dolly also wrote what many consider to be the bible of poker theory, “Super System: A Course in Power Poker”. His reputation among card-shufflers borders on the superhuman. Indeed, after fighting off supposedly terminal cancer in the 1960s, he celebrated his return to the cardrooms with 53 straight wins. Adding to the mystique, both of his World Series titles were won with exactly the same cards: a full house of tens over twos.

    Now in his mid-70s, Mr Brunson is still going strong. But not strong enough for Annette Obrestad (above, right), who beat the old master and 361 other entrants in September to win the first ever WSOP event held outside America. Miss Obrestad's victory, which netted her £1m ($2m), shows how much poker has changed since the days when Texas Dolly, Amarillo Slim Preston and Jack “Treetops” Straus held sway. She is only 19 (making her the youngest ever winner of a World Series bracelet) and she is, of course, a woman. She hails from Norway, not Nevada. And though she had previously won over $800,000 in internet tournaments, the event at London's Empire Casino was the first time she had encountered serious opposition in the flesh. The poker press refers to her by her online moniker, annette_15.

    Miss Obrestad's route to the grand prize—dumped on the final table in bundles of $50 notes, as is the World Series tradition—required her to see off such modern-day poker luminaries as Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, a hirsute scholar of game theory, Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott, a somewhat less cerebral but wily British professional who wears diamond-encrusted knuckledusters, and Phil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth, arguably the most celebrated (not least by himself) modern player. Jim McManus, a poker player and historian, describes the young Scandinavian's win as a “startling milestone”.

  2. gaj


    annette's got a lot of stuff on pocket fives, for those interested...

    beal's not a good representation against the pros; he played straight, they rotated, and according to one of the books (craig's?) the pros were losing a chunk until either fatigue, or todd brunson / phil ivey (forget who) came in and turned huge loss into huge gain.