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Why Learn Poker?

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 Why learn to play poker you say?  Well, for starters it’s now the richest sport in the world.  And if that didn’t tickle your throat, the world of poker also encumbers some of the world’s most lucrative and expensive marketing brands.  Add to this an unparalleled menagerie of some of the greatest characters on earth – and some of the greatest TV and bathos moments in history – and you have poker!

From degenerate gamblers in Vegas throwing cash around like a trading floor, to a candid night in playing poker with your mates; poker is rapidly taking over the world.

In pure monetary terms, poker is scary.  In 2008 Rafael Nadal won £850,000 for winning Wimbledon in a clash of the titans final.  Respectable Huh?  But in the same year, Peter Eastgate made over $9 million for winning the WSOP Main Event.  That’s one single event in one particular tournament – over just a 2 week period!

In reality, while parents scorn and children fawn, the game of poker isn’t just the hapless luck-filled game it’s made out to be.  Poker is steeped in mathematical formulae, psychological reading, objective reasoning, calmness; and not least of all – a stern poker face.  As Matt Damon noted in the 1998 film Rounders – There’s a reason the same players keep appearing at the final table of the WSOP. 

Outside of casinos there are an unparalled lexicon of books and resources for  playing poker – written by estimable doctorates, pros of the game and Harvard grad professors.  Subject matters range extensively  from tips on bluffing, post-flop strategy and playing high pairs to bankroll preconditions, hand analysis and categorizing players.  (You can read just a sample of these strategy articles here:  however rest assure you’ll never know everything!)

High stakes poker tournaments with $10,000 buy-ins have been cropping up on the continents worldwide, from Rio to Asia, Vegas to Macau, Monte Carlo to Lebanon; poker is hitting the stage big, fast.  The EPT, the WSOP, the APT, the APPT, the Aussie Million, the English Poker Open etc etc etc.  There are loads of these gigantic tournaments and competitions spreading like cancer all over the world. 

Barry "Robin Hood" Greenstein

Barry "Robin Hood" Greenstein

Still not convinced?  Still think it’s a game solely based on luck and built around druggies and degenerates?  Well maybe it is.  Maybe it’s addictive and wrong, and maybe it’s not the most elegant and respectable trade.  But when Russia outlawed gambling this year they kept the doors open for poker. Why?  Because even after Order 514 was approved, poker was considered a game of skill.  And with chivalrous professional poker players like Barry ‘Robin Hood’ GreenStein giving half his winnings to charity (total live winnings alone creeping on $9 million), and tournaments like Ante Up for Africa  raising over $2 million for victims in Darfur, poker clearly has its priorities and morality intact.

So why not take a break from the hectic scene of internships, exams, work and the economy, to learn one of the greatest, most fascinating, and nascent sporting industry in the world!


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