by Tom McEvoy
Have you ever noticed that near most poker rooms in Las Vegas there is a sports book? These sports books are located near the poker rooms for a very good reason; poker players like to bet on sports. They also like to play casino games and gamble on golf and prop bets and just about anything else you can think of. Casinos don’t get built and thrive on players beating the house. Poker is totally different. It is obvious that the casino makes money off the rake and does not care who wins; this enables the more skillful players to come out ahead. Poker is a game of skill, as we all know, even though there is a luck factor. Bad luck can be overcome by making good decisions in the long run. The same cannot be said of other forms of gambling, with few exceptions. There are a handful of skillful sports bettors and expert blackjack players that have an edge—not a big edge, but an edge. Most bettors, including the vast majority of poker players, do not put in the study necessary to win in these other games. They get a rush off the action—some can’t even watch a game or sporting event on television if they don’t have a bet on it.
Professional poker players are not normal people. If a reasonable person won say $500,000 they would consider investing it or maybe buying a house. Top poker players, with few exceptions, don’t think that way. A win of that size means just one thing to many of them—they can play more tournaments with a big buy-in or bigger cash games. Sometimes they hit the jackpot and continue winning, but more often, the inevitable downslide takes place and they go broke.
A lot of tournament winners, especially the young guys in their 20’s think they are bullet proof, and the “easy money” will continue to flow in their direction. By the time reality sets in they are broke, but hopefully wiser. Some poker players are what I call “one tournament wonders”. They have a huge score, sometimes $1,000,000 or more, and overrate themselves. They play in bigger games where they are not the favorite or start playing a lot of big buy-in tournaments and suddenly go thru most of their winnings before they know it.
Playing casino games like craps, roulette, and baccarat is even worse. There is a built in house advantage that skillful play cannot overcome. Of course there are other leaks like relationships that go bad, alcohol, drugs, and just plain old bad judgment. This is especially true of male poker players that get involved with the wrong kind of women. Of course winning female players can also run into the wrong kind of man. A good relationship is extremely important for a person’s well being and is especially hard to find in the poker world. If you are a winning player, be smart and put some of your money away for a rainy day. It does not rain often in Las Vegas, but when it does it comes down in buckets.
Tom McEvoy has won 4 WSOP bracelets including the main event. He has also authored over 14 books and is available for public seminars and private teaching. His website is www.tommcevoy.com