Indeed, some of the best self-taught players, variants of 1990s computer nerds, are finding success in the pro poker circuit. The reigning World Series champion is a chubby, eagle-eyed 28-year-old Tennessee accountant with the Dickensian name of Chris Moneymaker. Moneymaker had learned the game just three years earlier and perfected his tricks by playing Internet poker obsessively. The 2003 World Series was Situs Judi QQOnline Terpercayahis first professional event, and he beat hundreds of long-time professionals, walking away with $2.5 million, and the near-worshipful admiration of millions of delusional amateurs like myself.


Baseball for the Unathletic


The myth and aura of the game have perhaps never before been in such perfect accord with the aspirations of a generation. In the post-tech-boom years, the archetype of male success and cool mixes laddish cockiness and financial acumen. To my friends, blackjack seems like a game for those who trust their fate to chance or byzantine card-counting schemes. Slots are for the old, the overweight and certain right-wing Situs Judi QQOnline Terpercayamorality mavens. But poker, you see — for us poker has cachet. Most forms of gambling depend on chance, but poker requires skill and it’s easy to believe that the player with the strongest will is going to win, leaving weaker minds to wilt in his wake.


Many of us were introduced to the modern face of poker by the 1997 movie Rounders , starring Matt Damon as a debt-ridden poker prodigy, which developed something of a cult status on many college campuses. Rounders popularized the act of reading someone’s “tell” — the unique facial or bodily tics that unintentionally reveal his hand. At some games, table banter is nonexistent — the players just look at each other, trying in vain to “read” the table’s reactions. It’s this mental aspect of the game that attracts so many young players. “Before Rounders , I just thought of poker as something they played in saloons in Situs Judi QQOnline TerpercayaWesterns, and boring five-card draw,” says Arthur Wellington, a poker-obsessed student at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. “[The movie] made me realize there was a lot more to the game than just betting on cards turned over.”