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Showing results for tags 'poker'.

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  1. Systems and strategies. Some gamblers use these two words interchangeably, making punters feel that there is a way to beat the house. In reality, gambling remains a risk, and the house edge is not a myth. Some strategies have advantages and may put gamblers in a better position for a win or minimise losses at best. Casino games have rules, betting structures, and that dreaded house edge. Successful punters know these by heart. We unveil gambling strategies that claim to work and delve into game-specific approaches. It's a Gamble: Wing It or Strategise? Whether you enjoy an occasional flutter or gamble on a more regular basis, the goal should remain the same - having fun! The chances are that you, like most gamblers, want to win some money while having fun. The first step would be to choose your game. Some strategies are better suited to specific casino games, while others could work across the board. The second step for successful gambling is having a budget and sticking to it. Don't stake what you can't lose, and don't fall into the trap of trying to make up for losses. With your game of choice ready and a level-headed bankroll budget, the following strategies add to your gameplay, and some claim to work. Take note: The following strategies and systems may CLAIM to work, but winning is always up to the luck of the draw. Use the following strategies at your own risk. General Gambling Systems ✓ Bankroll Strength Apart from setting a session, daily, and monthly budget, your aim must be to strengthen your bankroll, even if it is at a steady and slow pace. A part of achieving this goal is to set a loss limit for yourself and decide what percentage of your winnings to wager before walking away. Wise bankroll management allows for stress-free gambling and keeps you focused even when you are down during a session. Walk away while you are winning. While this may sound counter-intuitive, the chances of losing all your gains in the long run are big, so walking away as a winner is the best call. ✓ Fixed Wagers vs Fractional Wagers The most straightforward strategy is to pick a fixed stake amount and stick to it. This strategy is a safe choice with certain games, but it could hold you back with games like blackjack and poker. With slot games and any non-advantage gamble, it is a wise strategy to follow and makes it easy to keep track of your spending. Fractional wagers are the best way to minimise your risks. The system suggests stakes of no less than 1% and no more than 3% of your current bankroll. Naturally, the lower you choose to go, the better. This way, punters bet less while losing and increase stakes as they win. ✓ Positive and Negative Progression Strategies Most mathematical betting systems relate to either a positive bet progression or a negative progression. Simply put, this means players either increase their bets after losing or increase their bets after winning. An example of a negative progression system is the original Martingale system. This system is an excellent way to break the bank, and we advise against this type of gambling. If managed according to your budget and only if you have a big bankroll, positive progression systems work well for balanced odds. When only playing a few hands and staking on red/black at the roulette table (or the banker in baccarat), this strategy claims to help players win. ✓ Take Note of House Edge The danger of using a strategy is falling into the trap of thinking you can beat the house. As mentioned, the house always wins. Putting yourself ahead by understanding the game rules has its advantages. You lose less if you choose games and bets with a lower house edge. With online casino games, this relates directly to RTP. The higher the Return to Player percentage, the lower the house edge. Games with the lowest house edge are traditionally table games, with blackjack at the top of the list and baccarat in second place. It's a good idea to always stake your money on the bets with the lowest house edge. Game-Specific Strategies These are brief versions of strategies suited to specific games. Take a look at our guides section for more in-depth tips to improve your gameplay. ✓ Top Slot Strategies Playing slots is a lot of fun, and it is by far the most popular casino game. Oddly enough, it is the game with the highest house edge, but punters enjoy the instant wins, simple rules, and entertaining themes of the spinning reels. So how do you win in slots? Is there a winning strategy? The short answer here is no. However, there are ways to make your slot experience more fun and increase the chances of better prizes. With slots, punters should consider more than just the RTP. Bonus features, volatility, and betting limits come into the equation when finding the best slot to play. The best slot offers a combination of these along with an acceptable RTP. Wise players match the volatility with their budget. Slots remain a game of luck, and punters can maximise their gameplay with solid bankroll management. Lower your bets when you are not winning and set limits to track your session spend because slots are games of chance; one of the smartest moves is knowing when to walk away. ✓ Video Poker Strategies Playing varieties of 5-card poker online is extremely popular, and video poker is second only to slot games in the igaming industry. Most video poker players use hunches or play streaks, but some strategies claim to increase winning odds. Depending on which 5-card draw you choose, following tips from strategy charts, universal strategies, and game-specific card choices could increase your chances of winning. A fact to keep in mind is that only mathematically derived strategies bring the best returns. A top tip for winning in video poker is choosing the game with the highest return. In other words, full-pay games. You can recognise these games by a 9/6 description. If possible, place the max bet and have strategy charts within reach, as these help players decide to hold or fold. ✓ Best Blackjack Strategies Undoubtedly, the top strategy to win at blackjack is card counting. This practice dates back decades and has a stigma attached to it, but this strategy doesn't work with online blackjack, as Random Number Generators drive online games. Essentially, each hand comes from a reshuffled deck. Fear not, as the game of 21 has many other strategies, and most are not as involved as counting cards. The most basic of these is to know when to make which betting call. By making a strategic decision on when to hit, stand, split, and double down, it is possible to reduce the house edge. When the dealer has face-up cards showing 2 to 6, and you have 12 to 16, rather stand as the dealer may go bust. In the same instance, if the dealer's cards are 7 to Ace, take a hit. Experts advise splitting Aces and 8s for the best chance of winning and to double down on 11 when the dealer has 2 to 10. ✓ Roulette Strategies Although roulette outcomes are random and betting on the exact number the ball will land on is pure luck, there are mathematical strategies that offer punters better chances of winning. Between American and European roulette, the latter is the strategic choice because the house edge is much lower. Outside bets offer players a higher probability of winning. These include column bets, dozen bets, colour bets, odd or even bets, and low or high bets. Most of these options are even bets, meaning you will only double your bet if you win. However, you can enjoy prolonged play with general wagering strategies in place. ✓ Strategies for Online Craps If you are keen to shoot some dice, the exciting and much-loved game of craps is a must. In line with games like roulette, craps outcomes are luck-based, so punters must play the odds instead. With a game of craps, you must choose the bet that makes the house edge as low as possible, and sometimes, it can drop below 1. Bets to avoid while shooting dice are single-roll bets, considering the house edge with these can exceed 10%. Using pass and come bets in a craps game is the best strategy as the house edge is 1.41% when doing so. An infrequent occurrence is the opportunity to take and lay odds. Experts advise that when craps players get the chance to do this, they should. House edge drops to a negligible 0.02% if you do. With a come or pass bet in place, this bet becomes an option if the shooter rolls his come-out roll. ✓ Baccarat Systems This sophisticated game is one of the most popular casino games, and contrary to popular belief, it is one of the simplest. Although it is an option, avoid the tie bet at all costs. House edge on a tie bet is 14.36%, and it will flatten your bankroll in no time as it has the worst odds of winning. One of the most straightforward strategies to follow in a game of baccarat is to only bet on the banker. The simple reason for this is, once again, house edge. The positive progression systems may be a good call for players who want to add a system on top of the banker-bet strategy. ✓ Poker Strategies Poker is a game of skill, and during the 20th century, the card game, and specific variations of it, became extremely popular. Thanks to this, there are more than enough strategies for poker players, but they must first grasp the game's rules. A simple rule in all poker variations is to know whether or not your starting hand is good. The next obvious strategy is to fold if your cards present a low to no chance of winning. You could attempt a bluff, but consider your opponent's skill level before choosing that route. Because of the many options with poker, we are not detailing strategies for each game today. You can find brilliant poker betting systems for popular variations in our guides. Hone Your Skills Punters should hone their game skills for the best experience and chances of walking away as a winner. Play free versions and read up on the rules and odds to increase your knowledge. This is the safest bet at the end of the day.
  2. Most dream about striking it lucky and walking away with the jackpot. Others argue that a successful gambler understands how luck has very little to do with becoming a wealthy punter. So what do the wealthy and famous gamblers have in common, and how did they get to the top? As it is only a handful of people that make it to a level of astonishing wealth through gambling, there has to be a secret. With seven being the industry’s lucky number, we take a look at the top 7 richest gamblers of all time and what they did to get the title and wealth. A hint we can give is that being skilled at numbers has a lot to do with it. ✓ Tony Bloom Anthony (Tony) Bloom hails from the United Kingdom and he carries the nickname ‘The Lizard’. Worth approximately $1.7 billion, he owns a Premier League team and is a professional sports bettor, poker player, and owner of Starlizard, the UK’s largest betting consultancy. Add to his resume that he is the chair for Brighton & Hove Albion football club, and it becomes hard to imagine what this gambling superstar does not do. Bloom’s love for going against odds started as a teen, where he crossed some lines with an illegal ID, but he studied mathematics at the University of Manchester. He worked as an accountant and then as a trader before he became a professional poker player. Since then, he took part in 11 WSOP tournaments, made it to the finals and they report he collected $1.5 million in winnings by 2008. Known as a ‘cold-blooded killer at the poker table’, peers gave him his nickname. Bloom moved into sports betting and owns a few horses as well, which have given him very successful runs. Although Tony Bloom’s wealth comes from various sources, his gambling career gave him a head start and he once stated himself that he believes poker gives a person a good grounding for many things in life. Like how to observe a situation well and read people. ✓ Bill Benter This professional gambler is one of the most famous punters because of how he gambles and how much he has made thanks to his system. Reports say that William “Bill” Benter is worth $1 billion, and he started his gambling career at blackjack tables in Sin City. Benter always believed there must be a way to crack the code concerning the casino’s advantage and with his brilliant maths aptitude, he attempted Edward O. Thorp’s card counting strategy. After 7 years of winning some money, getting banned from Vegas casinos, and realising it is not as lucrative as he had hoped, Benter moved on to greener pastures. Horse racing became his new focus area, and he was hell-bent on making educated investments rather than gambling against odds. The mathematical genius teamed up with Alan Woods and they created a formula for predicting the outcome of horse races. Estimates are that Bill Benter can make around $5M to $10M on a single race day, thanks to his gambling software. Bill has a physics degree and, apart from being known for his brilliant gambling strategy, he is also a generous man known for philanthropy and supporting political groups. ✓ Edward O. Thorp It is little wonder that Edward Oakley Thorp is one of the most famous gamblers in history, as he got a PhD in mathematics and applied his genius to betting odds. The ‘Father of Card-Counting’ invented a formula most people have heard of while he was a university professor. They estimated his current worth at $800 million and naturally, his favourite game is blackjack, but Thorp also enjoys roulette, baccarat, and backgammon. Edward O. Thorp wrote the first book on card counting, called ‘Beat the Dealer’. Here he explained how to tilt the house edge in your favour by tracking the ratio of high and low cards. Together with Claude Shannon, he invented the first wearable computer to take into casinos with his formulas for beating roulette and blackjack. They have since banned these, but the formula remains one of the favourite blackjack strategies. Thorp moved into financial markets and became a hedge fund manager, which is his principal source of income today, but he still loves his game of 21. Edward is one of the original 7 gamblers to be honoured in the Blackjack Hall of Fame. ✓ Andrew Black The co-founder of the first bet exchange, Betfair, Andrew Black, has many streams of income but is one of the wealthiest gamblers of all time. As a sports bettor by heart, he owns a few horses, but it is his gambling business that is his mainstream income. He has an estimated net worth of $500 million and the software he developed for making money on bets changed the gambling industry. He originally worked in derivatives, but as his success in gambling increased, he set his sights on bigger things. Black is also an avid bridge player and his love of this game opened the door for Betfair. One of his favourite opponents in this game was Edward Wray, and this is where he presented his software design for a money-making betting business. Wray was all in and the two launched Betfair at the beginning of the Millenium. Since 2000, the sportsbook gained tremendous momentum, made it to the London Stock Exchange in 2010, and became one of the largest in the world. ✓ Alan Woods He became a legendary Australian horse bettor and his estimated net worth is AUD670 million ($470 million) but the late Alan Woods wasn’t always on the up. In his family home, he grew up playing bridge and despite his mathematical brilliance, the University of New England expelled him for poor performance and lack of attendance. He started gambling during his university attendance, but it wasn’t until later that he discovered his blackjack skill and knack for picking the right nag. Woods carried the nickname of ‘The Playboy Punter’ and after a failed marriage, he became a full-time gambler. This decision led him to Hong Kong and there he and Bill Benter discovered their formula for horse betting. Alan Woods went on to become a sports betting tycoon and created his betting network. The punter never left his apartment to place bets, as he had a team of bettors all over the world who bet on his behalf using his formula. He continued to live a life of luxury and did so from his home in Manila with all ‘The Girls’, a Philippine version of the Playboy Mansion. ✓ Zeljko Ranogajec Zeljko Ranogajec is one of the most elusive gamblers and keeps a low profile, but in the gambling world, he bears the nickname of ‘The Joker’. He holds a record for winning the biggest keno prize worth $7,5 million, but we know him as a blackjack and sports betting enthusiast. Experts believe that Ranogajec’s net worth is around AUD610 million ($430 million) but they also speculate that his gambling turnover can be well over $1 billion annually. The Joker studied at the University of Tasmania and was born in Australia, although his parents are of Croatian origin. He dropped out of university to become a professional gambler. However, he still holds a day job despite his wealth and successful gambling. Ranogajec had the same fate as Bill Benter as casinos banned him due to card counting and so he moved his focus to the sports betting scene. A strategy that Ranogajec admits to using is favourable discounts and rebates, a tactic that allowed him to buy an apartment in the most expensive development in the world. One of his betting partners and university friends, David Walsh, had an enormous influence on his betting strategies. ✓ David Walsh From humble beginnings at the Australian University in Hobart and a well-known friend and gambling partner of Zeljko Ranogajec, David Walsh is a fascinating punter with a different take on betting. With an estimated net worth of $200 million, he utilises the wisdom of crowds and says talent has very little to do with his success. Walsh is also a mathematician, and he believes that when considering formulas designed to predict bets, one should incorporate psychology concepts too. Nicknamed the Tasmanian Devil, Walsh partnered with Zeljko Ranogajec and set up a gambling company called Bank Roll. Through this, they both turned a fortune and had others doing their betting work for them, utilising their formulas and strategies. Some things this eccentric gambler did with his millions included opening the Mona museum, which he refers to as ‘adult Disneyland’ and transferring visitors to this venue in camouflaged ferries. In contrast to his betting partner, Walsh is very open about his gambling and life and makes a habit of sharing his wisdom. ✓ Honourable Mention: Don Johnson Although Don Johnson did not reach the levels of the aforementioned seven punters, he did make waves in the betting community for his approach. We think he deserves a spot on this list because would-be professional punters can learn from the man who broke Atlantic City. Johnson made a small fortune in a very short period in blackjack and he did this without counting cards! During 2011 and 2012, the clever businessman used his negotiating skills and persuaded the pit boss to apply the blackjack rule of lower house advantage and a loss rebate. In his winning streak, Johnson banked $15 million thanks to what we now know as a ‘positive expectation bet’.
  3. Gambling is a global pastime and as such comes with its own vast library of myths, legends, facts and loads of fiction. We’ve delved into these stories to bring you twelve gambling and casino facts that sound stranger than fiction. ✓Blackjack Saved FedEx from Going Under The 70s were a tough time for a struggling freight and delivery company named Federal Express. Failing to secure the $24,000 he needed to pay the company’s outstanding fuel bill Fred Smith, FedEx founder, gambled the last $5000 in the company account and won. After a successful run of luck playing blackjack Smith turned his $5000 bankroll into $27,000 saving the company. Today FedEx has an annual turnover of more than $60 billion, making it one of the biggest paydays in gambling history. ✓Card Counting is Actually Legal Despite Hollywood’s portrayal of card counting as a dubious practise the reality is that it is nothing more than an intelligence-based method for keeping track of cards. Where the confusion comes into play is that casinos will do whatever they can to maintain the house edge, especially where low margin games like blackjack are concerned, and as such remove card counters from the casino. They do so by invoking their “right of admission reserved” clause, not by citing any law or legal precedent. ✓The Playing Card Roots of Slot Machines It is not only FedEx which has a deck of cards to thank for its existence, so does the slot machine, video slot and fruit machine industry. Prior to 1890 gambling consisted primarily of dice and card-based games. Looking to spice things up a mechanic built a drum wheel and populated it with paying cards. Winning lines on this first slot machine was based on winning poker hands. The stronger the hand the higher the prize the bar would offer which included sweets, free drinks and even cigars. ✓Early Las Vegas Supported Feminism The 1920s was a powerful time for women in America, not only would they receive the right to vote but a woman would lead the charge in legalised casino ownership. The Northern Club was opened on September 5, 1920, by Mayme Stocker. Her venue offered patrons refreshments and access to the only casino games that were legal at the time, these being stud, draw and lowball poker. When Las Vegas officially began offering gambling licenses in 1931 her standing in the community saw Stocker receive the first one. ✓Las Vegas Does Not Rule the Gambling World While Las Vegas dominates popular culture and media as the epicentre of gambling the real king of the hill lies more than seven thousand miles to the East. Macau is the worlds largest gambling centre and generates more than three times the amount of revenue annually that Las Vegas does. Vegas generates annual Gross Gaming Revenues (GGR) in excess of $6 billion while Macau’s GGR can exceed $28 billion. ✓Pachinko Rolls Around Japanese Gambling Laws Japanese residents are avid gamblers however access to local land-based casinos is strictly regulated. Gambling fans are only allowed to visit a licensed casino once a week and must pay a hefty entrance fee for the privilege. However, Pachinko machines are legal as patrons purchase trays of silver balls to play with but cannot win cash from the machines, only more silver balls which can be traded in for a variety of items or prizes. On an interesting but totally unrelated note, there are always curio shops not far from the Pachinko parlours willing to buy these trinkets from lucky players for cash. What a fortunate coincidence. ✓The Great Wall of Keno While modern gambling companies are seen to donate large sums of money to local charities, programs to support the prevention of problem gambling and other honourable causes, however, this is far from being something new. Keno was invented in China during the 2nd century BC and soon became a favoured game with nobles and peasants alike. So much so that when the Great Wall of China was being built the Emperor used taxes on Keno as a way to supplement the project. ✓The Rise and Fall of Archie Karas While it is true that what goes up must come down the story of Greek gambler Archie Karas is one of the dangers of chasing wins and losses while gambling. The 1950s saw Karas go on what has become known simply as The Run, a gambling streak that saw him turn $50 into more than $40 million in less than three years. Unfortunately, his streak of luck turned sour and Karas lost it all in less than three weeks. The moral of the story is to know when to cash in your chips and enjoy your success. ✓Playing the Long Game We have all heard the tales of how skilled poker players can face off against one another over extended periods of time, however, the truth, in this case, will sound stranger than fiction. The longest recorded poker game in history was played in Arizona and began in 1881 when all was said and done more than $10 million had changed hands over a period of nearly eight and a half years! ✓A Million Dollar Lotto Lesson NN ran the story of Glenda Blackwell, who protested her husband's ongoing fascination with the lottery by buying a ticket of her own. Intended to be a lesson in the pointlessness of playing the lottery Glenda had to eat her words when her $10 Carolina Millions Scratchcard paid out a staggering $1 million! If ever there was a lesson worth learning this was one of them. ✓Craps Hall of Fame When it comes to gamblers who have defied the odds and carved out a niche for themselves in the gambling hall of fame nothing compares to tales told at the Las Vegas Desert Inn of an anonymous sailor from the 50s. As the legend goes this lone sailor made 27 consecutive winning passes while playing Craps, the odds of this astounding feat are 12,467,890 to 1. In honour of his amazing streak, the dice are on display in a glass case at the Desert Inn till today. ✓Gambling on the Go The term ‘gambling on the go’ is most often associated with mobile gambling today given the burgeoning mobile casino market, however, it is a label that perfectly fits the world’s smallest casino. Birmingham’s Grosvenor Casino unveiled their smallest gambling location in 2016, a converted local taxicab. The casino-cab features a gambling table, its own dealer, a bar, television screens for sporting events and access to online casino games. What is your favourite tall tale or unbelievable gambling fact? Create a free GamblersPick account today and share your stranger than fiction factoids in the comments section below.
  4. Did you know that the probability of being dealt a royal flush in a poker game is about 0.00015%? Probabilities are calculated based on the number of favorable cases divided by the number of possible cases. There are 4 types of royal flushes in a deck of playing cards and nearly 2.6 million different card combinations. If you divide 4 to 2.6 million, you get the probability mentioned above. While you're waiting to get a lucky hand at poker, check out more interesting facts about playing cards! 1. Playing Cards Contain Glue Although playing cards do not stick to the hands, they contain a glue core. This glue holds two pieces of paper together representing each side of the card. On top of that, the glue is designed to make the playing cards opaque, so you cannot see the value of the card if you keep them in direct light. The edges of the cards also contain a special layer to prevent moisture from deteriorating them over the years. 2. Casinos Routinely Replace Their Playing Cards It can be very tempting for casino players to mark their cards or pull some valuable cards from their sleeves. That's why casinos over the world go the extra mile to minimize cheating, especially during high-stakes games or when a lot of players are gathered around a table. One way cheating is avoided is by changing all the playing cards in a casino at an interval of eight hours. Another way is to frequently change the playing cards during important events, sometimes once every few hours. Cards that have been used are marked by the casino staff, usually by puncturing a hole through the middle. As you can probably guess, hundreds of decks of playing cards are used in large casinos every week. 3. Playing Cards Were Invented by the Chinese in the 9th Century Most experts have reached the conclusion that the first playing cards were used by the Chinese in the 9th century. However, they used a 32-card deck that resembled domino pieces. These cards were also used as a form of currency among gamblers. The first playing cards were printed on bone, wood, or paper and they have quickly spread to Persia and Egypt back in the days. 4. Canceled Casino Cards Can Be Bought Online As mentioned earlier, a deck of cards doesn't last for very long, especially in a busy casino in Las Vegas. These cards are "retired" after just a few hours of play to prevent players from making personal marks on them. Some of the canceled cards are punctured, others are just marked with special signs and put away. However, many of these canceled playing cards are also sold online. That's because many people would get excited at the idea of playing with cards that have been used at a famous casino in Las Vegas. Retired playing cards are also sold cheaply and shipped internationally. 5. The Oldest Deck of Card Has Been Sold for Nearly $3,000 Old playing cards still have a lot of value. Collectors routinely buy old decks of cards at prices up to $1,000. However, there are also centuries-old playing cards that are sold for nearly $3,000. This is the case for a 52-card tarot deck used in the 15th century in the Netherlands. This old playing card deck is currently on display in New York at the Museum of Art. 6. Face Cards Actually Represent Real People Did you know that the kings represented on face cards depict real historical figures? For example, the king of diamonds represents Julius Caesar, the famous Roman military general. The king of hearts represents Charlemagne, the king of clubs represents Alexander the Great, and the king of spades represents David from the bible. Now you know what you're looking at each time you draw a king card. 7. Bicycle Is One of the Most Famous Playing Card Brand in the United States Playing cards under the brand name of Bicycle have been produced since the 1800s. This is one of the most popular card brands in the United States and it still produces playing cards for regular clients or casinos. Bicycle playing cards are used by famous gamblers, magicians, tricksters, and more. 8. Current Playing Cards Are Strictly Linked to the Modern-Day Calendar There is a reason why there are 52 playing cards in a deck. This number represents the 52 weeks in a year. At the same time, the 13 values in a deck of cards represent the 13 weeks in a quarter or the 13 lunar cycles in a year. There are 4 different suits because there are also 4 different seasons in a year. Lastly, you have 2 colors for your playing cards (red and black) because they represent the day and night. On top of that, if you add up all the values depicted on each playing card, assigning 11 for the Jack, 12 for the Queen, and 13 for the King, you reach 364. Add one for the Joker and you have 365, the number of days in a year. Add the second Joker and you have 366, the number of days in a leap year. 9. The Card Depicting Number 8 Holds a Secret Take a closer look at your 8 card in a standard playing card deck. If you look at the negative space between the pips, you'll see that it resembles the 8 digit. This is obviously done intentionally and it is valid for all the 8s in a playing deck. Unfortunately, this rule doesn't apply to the other playing cards, so don't try to match their negative spaces with the corresponding digit. Now You Know a Lot of Interesting Facts About Playing Cards! Nothing can be more exciting than playing cards, especially when the weather outside is bad. Next time you and your friends gather for a night of games, don't hesitate to share these facts with them. They will definitely find them entertaining! In the meantime, make sure that you check the other interesting articles on our website to learn more about card games and how to become a better gambler.
  5. Playing poker can be quite profitable if you know your way around cards and chips. There are many people who make a very good living duking it out on the green felt (real and virtual alike). In that large group, there are certain players who stand out, having made millions of dollars over the course of their careers. Figuring out exact net worth of professional poker players isn’t necessarily the easiest of tasks because we only get to see their winnings. However, we’ll give it a good try and provide you with a likely list of the 10 richest poker players based on all the information we’ve been able to gather. Doyle Brunson - $75 Million According to the Celebrity Net Worth site, Doyle Brunson is worth about $75 million. The man who is often dubbed the Godfather of Poker is a true legend of the game who has seen it all over the years. Brunson’s official poker results don’t really reflect his wealth, though, as a bulk of it came from private games all over the US as well as from the sale of his famous Super System and Super System 2 books. Daniel Negreanu - $50+ million Daniel Negreanu is easily one of the best-known names in the poker world. Having made his claim to fame not only through his results but by being the main ambassador for PokerStars for a number of years, the Canadian super star is one of the richest poker players alive. His live tournament winnings stand at more than $42 million but he likely made a lot more thanks to sponsorship deals, high stakes cash game sessions, etc. Justin Bonomo - $45+ million Having accumulated almost $50,000,000 in live tournament winnings, Justin Bonomo is likely to be in the group of the 10 richest poker players alive. However, Bonomo’s net worth is still a bit of a guess as we’re not privy to all the details of the deals going on behind the closed doors of the high stakes poker scene. Erik Seidel - $40+ million Erik Seidel is one of the most recognizable figures in the poker community. Often called the “silent assassin” for his calm and composed demeanor at the tables, the Wall Street trader turned poker player has amassed tournament winnings in excess of $37 million. In addition to his poker results, Seidel was immortalized in the famous poker movie Rounders, in the scene showing his final hand against Johnny Chan in the 1988 WSOP Main Event. Fedor Holz - $33+ million Young German phenom who took the poker world by surprise, Fedor Holz has made quite a bit of money before announcing his “retirement” at the ripe age of 23. At the time of writing this, Fedor has live tournament winnings in excess of $32,000,000 and has also launched a poker coaching site. Despite being retired, he’s regularly playing in tournaments around the world, constantly adding to his net worth and climbing poker’s All Time Money list. Patrik Antonius - $30 Million Hailing from Finland, Patrik Antonius is one of the more remarkable characters the poker world has seen. A professional tennis player who turned to poker after an injury, Antonius has dominated all areas of the game and was featured in numerous poker TV shows. It’s hard to estimate his true net worth due to a bulk of his profits coming from highest stakes cash games both live and online but the best guess seems to be around $30,000,000. Phil Hellmuth - $20+ million According to some sources, the popular ‘Poker Brat’ has net worth of around $20 million. The member of poker’s Hall of Fame and the record holder for most WSOP bracelets won (15 as of the 2019 WSOP), Hellmuth is likely to be worth more than this. His tournament earnings according to Hendon Mob stand at $23,000,000 and Phil also has several successful businesses and has published a number of poker books. Antonio Esfandiari - $20 Million Better known by his nickname “The Magician”, Antonio Esfandiari has managed to make his dreams come true playing poker. From performing tricks under the bright lights of Las Vegas stages to dazzling his opponents at a poker table, Esfandiari has managed to amass a grand total of $27,000,000 in live winnings. His total net worth is estimated to be around $20 million although this number could easily be higher. Phil Galfond - $15+ million Not much information is available on Phil Galfond and his net worth figure is somewhat of a guess, adding up his live and online winnings as well as the fact he’s recently launched a brand new poker site. Galfond has stayed out of the limelight for the most of his career, so it’s no surprise there isn’t much info about his finances but given his success over the years, he’s likely to be in the company of the some of the richest poker players. Doug Polk - $10 million Doug Polk has made most of his money playing online, especially in high stakes heads up skirmishes. Recently, he’s taken a step back from playing and has been focusing on building his elite coaching site called Upswing Poker, which features some of the best players around. Doug Polk’s net worth is estimated at around $10,000,000, albeit this figure seems to be on a conservative side.
  6. The World Series of Poker is among the top ten richest sporting events in the world. Having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, it's also one of the oldest events on that same list. With that kind of history and that kind of money, it's also a complex tournament for the beginner poker player to understand. If you're new to the world of high stakes poker, there's a lot you have to learn about the WSOP. If you want to hold any type of conversation with your fellow players, then you should know about the tournament's origins, how much money is on the line, and how you can get yourself into the World Series of Poker Main Event. For all of that and more, keep reading this guide to the WSOP. Origins of WSOP The first WSOP took place in 1970, where there were less than 50 poker tables across all of Las Vegas. It had only 30 players and it wasn't a poker tournament as we understand it today. Instead, the inaugural world champion of poker was voted "best all-around player" by his peers after the event had concluded. Outside of Las Vegas, nobody knew about the first WSOP. By the following year, a $5,000 entry fee was added and a winner-take-all prize was introduced. The same Johnny Moss won the tournament for the second year in a row and the poker event began to take off. By 1973, the World Series was broadcast on CBS Sports and by 1982, there were 11 preliminary events. The organizers added a Ladies World Championship as well as the World Series of Poker Main Event. That year, 13 events in total awarded over $2.5 million to the top players. Throughout the 1990s, organizers made improvements to the atmosphere and structure of the tournament. By then it spanned four weeks and involved more than 20 tournaments. In 1991, the Main Events broke the 200-player mark and the first million-dollar cash price was awarded. By 2003, a new tournament began taking a bit of the spotlight from the WSOP. The World Poker Tour was direct competition, and the number of attendees in the first weeks of the WSOP reflected that. But that same year, Chris Moneymaker won and changed the future of the tournament. Thousands of players flocked to the tournament in the years following. Who Plays The World Series of Poker Main Event? In 2019, more than 7,000 players were expected to participate in the Main Event alone. While anybody that can make the $10,000 buy-in can enter, it also draws poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hell Smith, Phil Ivey, and former champion John Cynn. Winning the Main Event puts your name in the poker hall of fame. That's because it comes with the unofficial title of the "World Champion" of poker. Some dispute this title because poker involves as much luck as it does skill. And that's how the WSOP has demonstrated time and time again that inexperienced players and even beginners can find themselves in a deep run at their first tournament. What Are the Tournaments Prize Amounts? How much is on the table at the WSOP varies. It depends on how big the entry of the tournament is, how large the field is, and of course, how far you make it into the tournament. At the very least, you can be guaranteed a pretty good payout if you win any of the tournaments. For example, the Main Event in 2018 awarded a prize of $8,800,000. Not to mention the much-coveted golden bracelet. But the biggest payout that the tournament ever saw was in 2006. That year, the WSOP had a record of 8,773 entries. That created a final prize amount of $12,000,000, which was awarded to Jamie Gold. Tournament Structure in Recent Years The 2019 WSOP event had 66 events in total. That same year, the record for attendance was shattered. There were more than 147,330 entrants in the entire tournament. But the WSOP has also expanded outside the walls of Las Vegas casinos. Tournaments take place in almost 12 casinos across the US. This is part of the World Series of Poker Circuit where players across the nation can participate. But the WSOP Main Event is still the main event. It's the most popular and coveted title in the world of poker, thanks to its structure and the ability for experienced players to show off their skill. And with a buy-in that has sat at $10,000 since the 1980s, anybody is eligible for entry. Are There Other Ways of Getting to the Main Event? Not everybody can afford to pay a $10,000 buy-in to test their skills. As such, there are other ways of getting into the Main Event that doesn't involve a $10,000 investment. You can try your hand at live and online satellites. Satellites are sit-n-go or mini-tournaments. The winner of these satellites is awarded a ticket to bigger competitions, which can be an event at the WSOP up to and including the Main Event. What Type of Poker Is Played At WSOP? The World Series of Poker involves all types of poker, played at all levels. Each year, you'll find at least one tournament for every type of poker. However, most of the competitions, including the Main Event, are No Limit Hold'Em style. Trying Your Hand At Poker The WSOP tournaments are open to anybody that can make the buy-in. And while the World Series of Poker Main Event is a steep $10,000, playing satellites can get you in on this coveted tournament. It's not limited to experienced players, either. Plenty of beginner or novice players have tried their hand in these tournaments, and some have even come out of it with a decent payout - or at least a lot more experience than they would have got elsewhere. But before you go spending that kind of money to get yourself some experience, why not try your hand at some online poker. Check out all of the games we have available online.
  7. Poker is renowned as one of the most entertaining and difficult card games that you can play. At its highest level, people even win eight figures during tournaments. One of the most interesting things about poker, though, is the 'Dead Man's Hand,' a two pair of black eights and black aces. But, not everyone knows the history surrounding it. Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we’ve got you covered. Let's take a look at everything you need to know. So, What Is The Dead Man's Hand? Although the name immediately suggests something related to zombies or skeletons (or even the afterlife), it refers to a gambler named "Wild Bill" Hickock. Legend has it that he was shot to death while holding a pair of black aces and black eights in his hand, and continued to clutch them as he passed away. As a result, having this hand (and especially winning the pot with it) is considered notably unlucky in the game of poker. Of course, it's all but impossible to prove this scenario occurred in the same way people like to tell the story. But, this doesn't mean that this particular hand of cards has no interesting backstory. Surprisingly, The Dead Man's Hand has been described in multiple ways over the years. In the late 1800s, it was referred to as a full house with a pair of tens and three jacks. Two decades later, its meaning was said to be made up of jacks and sevens (and also said to bring significant bad luck). Within a few years, it was once again referred to as a hand of jacks and eights. It wasn't until the 1920s that the modern definition finally came into play. A biography called Wild Bill Hickok: The Prince of Pistoleers detailed the origin story, and so the term became exceedingly popular afterward. So, What Happened? In 1876, gambler 'Wild Bill' was participating in a game of poker at a saloon. A man named Jack 'Crooked Nose' McCall, who was locally known as being boisterous and frequently inebriated, sat down to play with Wild Bill. Evidently, McCall didn't win a single hand while Bill was at the table. Desperate in his attempt to reclaim his lost money, he continued to play. Eventually, though, McCall ended up losing all of his money through his games with Wild Bill. Wild Bill then gave a small bit of cash to McCall, telling him to get something to eat and to leave the game until he could afford to pay the money that he owed from his losses. Whether or not Bill's actions were meant to patronizing is still left up to debate. Regardless of Wild Bill's intentions, McCall was deeply insulted and left the game in a state of anger. One day later, a disgraced McCall returned to the same saloon to find Wild Bill once again playing poker. Bill was more than aware of the effect his poker skills had on people— he likely dealt with many scenarios involved disgruntled players who were frustrated both at Bill's ability and their own losses. As a result, he always sat with his back to the wall so that he could see a confrontation brewing before it occurred. This day, however, Bill sat with his back exposed due to another player refusing to change seats with him. Shortly after entering the saloon, McCall approached Bill with a Colt .45 revolver and shot him, killing him instantly. Those who witnessed the crime say that Wild Bill was clutching two black aces and two black eights when he died. McCall was arrested, and less than a year later he was executed for the murder of Bill Hickock. Is It a Good Poker Hand? Despite all of the mystery and intrigue surrounding The Dead Man's Hand, it isn't particularly notable in terms of value. Although a two-pair of aces isn't a terrible hand to receive during a game, there are far better hands that greatly improve your chance of coming out on top. In general, The Dead Man's Hand is more or less a group of cards that won't significantly impact the probability that you win the round. In Popular Culture As you may expect, The Dead Man's Hand has been incorporated into many works of fiction,s including books, movies, and TV shows. This is especially true during films set in the American West, such as The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance. In this movie, one of the main characters draws The Dead Man's Hand shortly before being killed. For tattoo enthusiasts, it also serves as a popular subject matter. It was even used as a form of branding for the infamous 'Jump Out Boys' group that once existed within the LA Police Department. Music seems to be the most popular medium it's incorporated in, though, as there's a large handful of songs that make direct reference to the cards. These even include works by iconic artists Blue Oyster Cult, Bob Dylan, and Motörhead. Modern shows that are set in the American West (such as Westworld) are sure to incorporate The Dead Man's Hand in some form, even it's subtly during a panning camera shot of a bar or saloon. Poker's Nuances Can Seem Confusing But they don't have to be. With the above information about the Dead Man's Hand in mind, you'll be well on your way toward developing an increased appreciation of the game. Want to learn more gambling tips that can help you out in the future? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog.
  8. There's something thrilling about gambling. The excitement, strategy, and prospect of winning bigkeep billions of gamblers coming back for more. Even if you've never won a huge windfall, you've likely heard stories of some of the world's biggest gamblers and their earnings. And it's stories like these that keep the hope alive. But not all high rollers are successful. They say you have to play big to win big and some of these whales did exactly that. Are you ready to learn more about the biggest wins, losses, and most impressive highrollers in gambling history? Put on your poker face and let's get started! 1. Kerry Packer An Australian media mogul, Kerry Packer had the funds to support his gambling habit and he wasn't afraid to show it. Packer was most well known for establishing the World Series Cricket which might explain his affliction to sports gambling. While Packer had his fair share of large winnings, he also incurred some major losses. One of his most notable and painful hits came after gambling nearly $25 million on four roulette tables and losing everything. It was also common for him to bet nearly half a million dollars on a single blackjack hand. Not only is Packer known as one of the biggest gamblers in history, but also one of the most generous with his winnings. It was reported that Packer left waitresses seven-figure tips after a good night at the casino. 2. Terrance Watanabe It's all in the name. Terrance Watanabe was exactly that -- a wannabe. A former millionaire, Wantanabe holds the record for the biggest losing streak in Vegas history! In 2007 alone the high roller lost almost $127 million at the casino tables of Caeser's Palace and the Rio. But Watanabe struggled to accept his shortcomings. He's currently in a legal battle with Harrah's for nearly $15 million. Watanabe claims the casino fed him too many drinks and even slipped him pain medication to trick him into playing and gambling all of his money away. 3. Edward Thorp Switching gears from some of the biggest losers to some of the biggest winners, introducing Edward Thorp. Some argue that Thorp is a genius. He is, after all, a successful math professor and author of a book on how to count cards. Thorp's book entitled Beat the Dealer explains how to use mathematics to beat the house and improve your odds at the blackjack tables. Before writing the book, Thorp tested his methods in Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe where he won $11,000. Card counting is illegal and casinos are constantly on the lookout for violators. It's reported that Thorp actually wore disguises to keep the casinos on their toes and avoid detection. But Thorp didn't use his knowledge just at the card tables. He was also quite successful when gambling on backgammon, roulette, and baccarat. 4. Billy Walters Some people chalk up years of winning to a lucky streak. The same can't be said about this successful gambler. Billy Walters is one of the most successful sports betters in history, consistently raking in big wins for over 30 years. Walters bet on major league sports including the NBA and NFL but also enjoyed trying his odds at college football. His talent even helped him score a $3.5 million win on Super Bowl XLIV. Another reason so many gamblers look to Billy Waters for inspiration is because of his not-so-successful beginnings. Growing up in Kentucky, Walters was raised by his grandmother after his father died and his mother abandoned him at the age of two. It was the classic rags-to-riches story. Sadly, even a 30-year long winning streak isn't a guarantee. At one point, Walters spent five years in prison for insider trading. 5. Archie Karas No biggest gamblers list would be complete without the mention of Archi Karas. Arguably the best gambler of all time, Karas has had plenty of ups and downs along the way. Archie's love of gambling and winning money began when the Greek-American was waiting tables in the States. He played coworkers and customers in a variety of money games and quickly learned he had a knack for gambling. This hobby turned into a love for poker, where Karas earned nearly $2 million. He quickly lost his millions and was left with just $50 to his name. Most well-known for his Vegas winning streak of the 1990s, Karas took that $50 and turned it into $40 million! This streak went down in the history books as the largest and longest winning streak of all time. Unfortunately, as most famous gamblers seem to do, Karas lost his earnings over the course of a few more years. He racked up countless losses in dice, poker, and baccarat. Karas' bad luck continued and in 2013 he was arrested for marking cards at a California casino. 6. Phil Ivey When it comes to being the poker king, only one man deserves the title -- and that's 10-time World Series of Poker winner Phil Ivey. But poker isn't Ivey's only claim to fame as one of the biggest gamblers of all time. Ivey also won $11 million playing baccarat in London. The problem was, his earnings may not have been legitimate. Ivey was accused of being involved with an edge-sorting scheme. Edge sorting involves studying the deck and looking for inconsistencies and identifiable markings on the backs of the cards. Players use this information to predict whether or not the faced-down cards are high or low. The casino where Ivey earned his biggest winnings refused to pay due to suspicion of cheating. But the London casino wasn't the only one that took issue with Ivey's techniques. The Borgata in Las Vegas also accused Ivey of edge-sorting and the courts later ruled in favor of the casinos. 7. Chris Moneymaker With a name like Moneymaker, it's no wonder this high roller goes down in history as one of the biggest gamblers of all time. Chris Moneymaker is most well known for winning the Main Event in the World Series of Poker in 2003. What makes his story unique is the fact that Moneymaker gained entry to the elusive competition on the internet. The poker phenom went on to turn his $40 entry fee into a $2.5 million haul. Moneymaker's entry into the Series and his impressive win transformed the game of online poker. He also went on to write a book about his experience entitled Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker. It's interesting to note that Moneymaker's buy-in fee was actually $86 not $40 as the book title suggests -- a detail that the author claims he forgot. In total, Moneymaker has raked in over $3.5 million and continues to earn money playing poker to this day. Are You Ready to Become the Next Biggest Gambler of All Time? These stories of some of the biggest gamblers and hardest falls from fame are both inspiring and humbling. Whether you're a novice gambler or a professional looking for a new game, we have something for everyone. From playing guides to online slot machines, we offer plenty of information, advice, and game selection. Check out some of our biggest jackpots right now and communicate with other online gamblers just like you who are trying their luck at a big win.
  9. As of 2019, the US gambling industry was at an all-time high. It appeared to be unstoppable, making $41.7 billion and engaging hundreds of millions of people around the nation. However, Covid-19 has changed the state of the American economy as well as everyone's lifestyle, meaning that the performance of the gambling industry is up in the air. If you're someone who wants to get your gaming fix but you have the common sense to quarantine, there are still options for you. Here, we're going to talk about the best casino games that you can play at home with the people you're stuck in the house with. Read on to talk about online casino games that you can play alone as well as fun DIY games that you can use to set up a family or roommate game night! Put On Your Poker Face Poker is a popular game for a lot of reasons. Not only is it a great way to strike it rich, but it's a game that requires strategy, skill, and interactive play. You can play poker online, yes, but it's also the perfect game to play at home with the roommates that you're quarantined with. If you don't feel like betting money, which is likely the case in this unstable economic climate, try betting a favorite candy or some fun party trinkets you order offline. This is a great way to play without worrying about the money you lack when you aren't getting a paycheck. There are a lot of different varieties of poker that you can play, so you'll never get bored of the game while you're in quarantine. If you get bored of Texas Holdem, you can just move on to play a nice game of five-card draw or stud poker. This is a nice way to add a little variety and excitement to your life while you're stuck at home. Image credit: SKM Channel on Youtube Image credit: SKM Channel on Youtube Image credit: SKM Channel on Youtube Cardboard Slots While card games are all well and good, creating DIY games that you and your roommates can play at home is a unique and interesting experience. For example, did you know that you can build a slot machine out of cardboard and other household objects? Not only is this possible, but it's a great way to get creative and have a good time with those around you! To make one of these slots machines, you'll want a cardboard box that you don't care about. You'll also want a wooden cylinder to it and place it inside the box later. Cut it into three parts and draw images on each of these parts. These will serve as the slots that you need to match up. You can get totally creative with the pictures! Think of inside jokes between your roommates or family and incorporate them. If you want a theme, animals or food work, but so do other, less appropriate themes that you can have fun with. After cutting a hole in the box, you can insert it so that the pictures are facing outward. Attach the cylinders to a simple wooden lever and you're ready to go! If you want to see a demo of someone creating a cardboard slots machine that's probably a lot easier to understand (and definitely more detailed) than these text-based instructions, follow instructions on this video and check it out. DIY Roulette Another fun item that you can DIY is a roulette wheel. Cut out a circle of cardboard and divide it into eight differently colored sections. You'll then want to rig the wheel on a yardstick based on the directions given here. Once that's done, you should have an easy-to-use functioning roulette wheel! When it comes to balls to throw inside, you can get creative. Use jelly beans or another type of candy if that's all you have. Superballs also will work if you have enough of them laying around! Safe "Russian Roulette" (Feat. Food) Not to be confused with the much more fun and lower-stakes game of roulette, Russian roulette is a game where you hold a gun to your head with one bullet in it and six empty chambers before pulling the trigger and accepting a 1/6 chance of death. Do not play Russian roulette. We repeat: do not play Russian roulette. However, people have made some really fun and awesome games based on this dangerous game that involve food. A couple of notable ones include a spinner with six pieces of chocolate on it where one of them is infused with hot chile peppers. Another has pretty much the same concept but uses pizza that has the 'hottest chili known to mankind' in one of the six slices. If you're brave, these games can be a ton of fun to play with your roommates or siblings on a boring night. The Best Casino Games to Play at Home Being stuck inside because of coronavirus is no fun, but these DIY gambling games can make the time fly by much faster. Now that you know the best casino games that you can set up and play at home, it's time to start playing! May the odds be ever in your favor!
  10. The tension involved in gambling makes it a terrific vehicle for storytelling either in word or film. The opportunity for quick cut shots, closeups, and long shots make it a veritable "old-time shootout" at a green felt table, poker or pool. Hollywood has made some truly memorable movies about gambling. Some are tragic, and some are whimsical. Some are even both. Check out these few, in no particular order. The Sting (Image credit: theguardian.com) The Sting This offering, which is driven along nicely by Marvin Hamlisch's performance and arrangement of Scott Joplin's famous rags, including "Pineapple Rag," "The Entertainer," and "The Ragtime Dance," follows some 1930s grifters and con men as they set up a big score taking down Doyle Lonegan, played brilliantly by the late Robert Shaw. In The Sting Redford and Newman, a veritable "Butch and Sundance" of the Great Depression, reel him slowly in with the oldest con on the books: the wire. And, they do it at the poker table too. Lonegan cheats, and Newman's Henry Gondorff cheats better than he does! Lonegan expressing displeasure at not being able to call Gondorff out for cheating better than he does is almost worth the price of admission alone. The Hustler (Image credit: imdb.com) The Hustler The story of Edward "Fast Eddie" Felson is the quintessential tale of the antihero. He's "the hustler" of the film's title, a small-time pool shark who has more skill than either brains or character. His need to dominate at the pool table drives him to use people. The target of his obsession is Minnesota Fats, and the character was so indelible that Rudolf Wanderone, a legendary pool champion and trickster who ruled pool halls in the 1950s, took on the nickname. Fats was the rough-and-tumble "Mr. Hyde" to Willie Mosconi's "Dr. Jekyll" during that time. Jackie Gleason portrayed Fats, and he made all of his own shots. Paul Newman, as Fast Eddie, made most of his, too, but Mosconi did all of the super-tough shots, including the famous Masse. Gleason was a well-known pool expert, but Newman had to learn after scoring the role. The gambling in The Hustler is merely a symptom of Felson's need to win at all costs even when he loses. Perhaps the best exchange in the whole show is when Felson says, "So, I got talent. What beat me?" And George C. Scott, as Bert Gordon, says, "Character." The "moral of the story" is that Felson only wins big after a personal tragedy, meaning he had to sacrifice everything for it. A Game of Pool (Image credit: imdb.com) A Game of Pool A Game of Pool is so good that it's not even a movie. It's a TV episode from "The Twilight Zone." Jack Klugman is Jesse Cardiff, a wannabe from Chicago who is always complaining that he would be considered the greatest pool player in history if not for "Fats Brown," played by Jonathan Winters. One day, Fats decides from the afterlife that he's tired of Jesse's bellyaching, and he walks out of the shadows into Jesse's pool hall and lays it out for him. Basically, he says, "OK, pal, you've got your chance. There's just one catch. If I win, it means you lose your life." This is the ultimate gamble, a Mephistophelean bargain with a pool hustler 15 years dead who comes back to life to give a pool room Faust his chance. The two match each other shot for shot, talking all the time to each other. Fats warns Jesse about the match, but Jesse thinks he's just trying to distract him. Finally, they're tied, and there is a single ball left on the table. Fats misses his shot and leaves Jesse an absurdly easy tap-in. Jesse makes the shot and gets his fondest wish. Fats, however, says, "Thank you." Jesse is upset and calls Fats a sore loser, but he finally realizes the awful truth. He is the greatest ever, but the price is much more than he thought. You see, even years and years after his own death, he is still summoned from the afterlife to pool halls around the country to face an unending parade of challengers and other wannabes. At the same time, relieved of his duty as the "best ever," Fats just goes fishing. Grinders (Image credit: imdb.com) Grinders Not every film has to hit the local cinema or appear on Netflix to be either moving, applicable, or both. "Grinders" is a documentary about the the underground scene in Toronto. The title refers to the masters of these illegal games, from the daring hotshots who are addicted to the action to the hardened criminals who control that action. Some of these "grinders" play 150-200 separate games a day. Into this world steps Matt Gallagher, an out-of-work filmmaker who decides to try playing Texas Hold 'Em for a living and record what happens. Along the way, he meets several people and chronicles not only how the game affects their lives but also what they think of their collective lot in life. Matt also explains that he dreams of moving to Las Vegas, and two of his acquaintances in "Grinders" have similar aspirations. This is not a block buster and won't go viral on Netflix. It is, however, a deeply introspective and accurate portrayal of the subject matter. Critics who have seen it praise Matt's approach. Like the producer of any good documentary, Gallagher lets the material do the talking except for a curt, "Please gamble responsibly," warning. Not every TV show or cinema offering involving betting on cards, pool, or other things has to be considered great. "Maverick," for example, was a fun bit of fluff. "Rounders" is a solid take on Texas Hold 'Em, but its plot is decidedly like "The Hustler," which is an all-time classic. Critics may never like a Las Vegas block buster about an improbably good-looking protagonist who always wins when dealt 7-2 off-suit, but it's probably just a matter of time before some studio makes one.
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