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Can They Bluff as Well as They Act?

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Hollywood actors will be put to the test in a new series “Celebrity Poker Showdown” on Bravo.

 

Twenty five Hollywood stars will take place in a six part, one hour series hosted by Kevin Pollack (“A Few Good Men,” “The Usual Suspects”) to be aired Tuesdays this winter. Stars will include Jack Black, Emily Procter, Coolio, Martin Sheen, Sarah Silverman and Hank Azaria among others.

 

“Celebrity Poker Showdown” is scheduled to tape before a live audience next month at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, and each episode will feature five celebrities competing against each other in a winner takes all game of No Limit Texas Hold’em poker for the charity of their choice. Amongst the new crop of stars to appear each week will be Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, John Spencer, Richard Schiff and Nicole Sullivan making up a total of twenty five players.

 

Commentating during the event will be poker’s own Phil Gordon. Gordon is a world class poker player who has won nearly $1,000,000 in poker tournaments in the last two years including a 4th place finish in the 2001 World Series of Poker and a first plae finish in the World Poker Tour: Aruba (professional division) in 2002.

 

My job? I play poker online

 

I play poker onlineWhen I meet someone new and they ask what I do, I just say ‘I play poker’.

 

I used to have more of a problem with it, not least because I’d end up explaining it at length, as people are often more interested in online poker than in talking about what they do.

 

I make about $40 an hour on average and play poker 30 hours a week – it’s not quite a full-time job, and it leaves me time to do a bit of web consultancy, read a lot of books, and go off on holiday without having to arrange leave.

 

I just got back from several weeks in Puerto Rico, and I’m happy to say that I didn’t miss playing poker at all – that was quite reassuring.

 

If you’re familiar with gambling in casinos, playing poker online is essentially the same thing.

 

Unlike at a bricks and mortar casino, online you can play at more than one table at a time. So sometimes I log into more than one poker site at a time, which means that I don’t have to be as good a player to make the same amount of money.

 

‘My poker face’

But in some ways, online poker is a very different Unique Casino game. It’s a lot faster, as there’s no banter around the table. For casino players, this interplay is a central element of the game, whereas for me it’s more mathematical.

 

In fact, at a casino I’d be at a disadvantage because these people know all about body language. I don’t even know if I’ve got a poker face.

 

One of the few times I went to a casino, I got a royal flush – it does happen occasionally – and my hands were shaking so much that everyone realised something was up. [The odds of being dealt this winning hand are about 650,000 to one]

 

But online, I could be shaking like a leaf in front of the computer, yet it would just look like I was making a normal raise.

 

I’m trying to write a computer program to help me play better. While I could try to program it to play while I’m not there, I’m not sure this is my aim. I don’t think I’m a good enough player to write a winning program, and other players probably wouldn’t like playing against a robot.

 

There’s nothing secret about the way I play. The most common mistake that beginners make is not folding [stopping betting on a weak hand] early enough. I had to get over that and learn to sit a hand out.

 

‘I lost $5,000’

My biggest wins have been about the same as my biggest losses – just hopefully they occur a bit more frequently. In one day I’ve lost close to $5,000, but I’ve also won about the same amount. One day I’m buying the beer, the next I’m getting my friends to buy it.

 

My first big loss came when I had first started to get cocky. I thought I was doing very well, when in fact I wasn’t.

 

Over about three months, a friend and I had built up about $4,000 from an initial pool of $300, and I lost $1,500 in one day.

 

I had a huge loss of confidence. I read a bunch of books and joined a couple of online forums on poker strategies. Armed with that new knowledge I went back to playing about a year ago.

 

Even now, I’m constantly evaluating if I really know what I’m doing. But there’s always days when I can do no wrong, when every bluff I make goes my way. I just have to treat each and every hand exactly like the one before.

 

I consider gambling as something to tide me over while I figure out what it is that I want to do next. So far it hasn’t worked out quite as I’d hoped – having no direction isn’t a great way to get direction – but it’s been a wonderful vacation.

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