I played with “The Flying Dutchman” Marcel Luske for the first time in the States at Bellagio recently. Marcel is a bona fide star in the United States. His impressive performance at the World Series of Poker TV table on ESPN has made him a huge name. On that show, he sang at the table, gave almost clairvoyant assessments of other players’ holecards, dressed like a Hollywood superstar, and even mentored young David Williams while he was still playing in the tournament himself.
The railbirds crowded around and watched Marcel’s every move. Even other players seemed in awe of him.
Marcel’s reaction to the ballyhoo was impressive beyond belief. He had a kind word and a wink for everyone. He shook the hands of seemingly hundreds of railbirds. He signed more autographs than David Beckham could ever hope to get through. He had his photo taken with countless fans. He even made the heart of a middle-aged female fan go fluttering by giving her a quick peck on the lips. And Marcel didn’t disappoint his legions by bursting into song a couple of times.
If Marcel ever produces a DVD like Hellmuth or Lederer, I guarantee it will be a best seller.
Marcel might not be the best European poker player. I would far rather be at his table than that of Gary Jones, Rob Hollink, Shar Koumi, or some other European players whom the Yanks have never heard of.
But Marcel is a star. He does something I have never seen any other poker player do consistently; he puts smiles on people’s faces, and for that he must be cherished.
My Vegas Diary (condensed version)
Free upgrades to first class on journey to Las Vegas: 1
Lifts cadged in The Devilfish’s stretch limo to the hotel: 1
Bets on American football matches, which I managed to lose after being ahead by 10 points with one minute to go: 1
Winning craps sessions: 0
Losing craps sessions: 0 (Impressive, huh?)
Long explanations by Harry Demetriou that he didn’t christen himself “The Wise Owl”: 3 (and counting … )
Tournaments played at Bellagio: 1
Tournaments played at Bellagio in which I spunked my chips away despite having five times the chip average: 1
Healthy meals eaten: 3 (No, McDonald’s does not count in this category!)
Pai gow lessons from Kevin O’Connell and Ram Vaswani: 1 (And it was very short, due to appallingly bad luck. I am somewhat dubious of Kevin’s claim to have won 14 straight times earlier in the year.)
Expensive lessons learned: 2 (Don’t go to Vegas when skint and don’t put in the third reraise with Q-Q against the chip leader.)
So, You Really Wanna Be a situs poker online 2021 Pro?
Recently, while in Las Vegas, I picked up a copy of the big brother of this publication, the American version of Card Player magazine.
One of the articles was an excellent piece by Lou Krieger, giving advice to would-be poker pros about the pitfalls and problems of taking up poker professionally. He detailed bankroll requirements, the importance of game selection, and the emotional qualities needed to be successful. All in all, it was a very interesting read.
A few days later I had a very enjoyable meal with a couple of friends. We talked mainly about poker players (surprise, surprise), and we came to the unfortunate conclusion that despite the increasing popularity of poker on an international scale, there exist some professional players who are self-publicists at best and obnoxious individuals at the worst.
With that conversation in mind, I would like to present my tongue-in-cheek guide to becoming a professional poker player. These are the things to avoid at all costs, because if poker is to be received as a genuine sport, we must clean up our acts and eradicate the unacceptable face of poker professionalism:
- Boost your reputation above and beyond your actual talent level by appearances on television. This has a two-fold benefit. First, it makes you very marketable to potential sponsors, which could net you a fortune. And second, it puts you in a position to get backed in tournaments when you are “potless.”
- Learn advanced nipping skills. The art of getting some poor sap to lend you a couple of hundred “until next Thursday” is an important skill to learn. Equally, learning how best to avoid the nippers when you score a big result is a vital weapon in the pro poker player’s armory.
- Soft-play your friends and players you’ve swapped a percentage with. Use speech play when you think you can unbalance an opponent but call foul if someone tries it on with you. Weed on and off in cash games as necessary. Keep mum when a player has misread his hand to your advantage despite tabling it. Bend the rules without breaking them.
- Learn the ins and outs of the social security system. (I must confess this to be a particular sore point for me.) Claim various benefits from the state despite having absolutely no intention of finding work. Learn which of the following you can possibly claim: unemployment benefits, housing benefits, income supports, or incapacity benefits.
- Learn how to abuse the casino staff. Unfortunately, pro players are often the worst offenders when it comes to acting disgracefully toward dealers.
Now, I am exaggerating wildly here. I can think of many professional poker players who are among the most honest, generous, and charming people I have ever met. Yet, unfortunately, there are cases where a professional poker player’s behavior leaves an awful lot to be desired. Poker is in the spotlight these days, and behavior that in days gone by might have been grudgingly tolerated can no longer be accepted. One player’s indiscretions might cost the rest of the poker community a huge amount. Bad behavior must be stamped out — as soon as possible.