Big Six #2

When & what started you playing poker?

When I was approximately 10 years old, I found my grandfather's ceramic poker chips somewhere in our house. My siblings and I used to play five card draw, although we really had no idea what we were doing. As I got into high school, I became part of a home game with some real degenerates -- the kind who would wind up spending all their money for the rest of their lives betting the ponies -- where we mainly played Guts, which is a three-card stud variant, and MoFo, a lowball game where you are dealt four cards, decide if you're in or out, then get three more to make your worst five-card hand. I guess that's probably where I developed my love of lowball games.

Back then, we would all congregate in the basement of someone's house and play quarter-ante poker games. A big night was a win or loss in the $20 to $40 range. This went on almost every Friday night until I graduated because I was a geek and a nerd and had nothing better to do on Friday nights when I was in high school.

My gambling stayed under wraps through most of college, only to come back out in full force when I got to law school. It seems like a wacky thing to me, to get a whole bunch of risk-averse lawyer-wannabes together in a room to gamble, but that's what happened. Again, the game was quarter-ante and occurred pretty regularly, although thankfully by this point my friends and I all had enough of a life that it didn't occur on Fridays.

It wasn't until I got out of law school, and online poker started to really take off, that I started playing hold'em with a bunch of improvisers I knew through the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City. Several of the other players there were just as passionate about poker as I am, and, better yet, just as geeky. We started playing not so much with an eye to play, but with an eye to learn the game and become better players. We analyzed hands together. We discussed certain playing styles together, both in person and on an online forum. Most importantly, we played together every Monday night.

First poker blog you read?

I wish I could remember. I started reading poker blogs four and a half years ago. It was one of: the now-defunct "The Cards Speak" by HDouble; Iggy; Pauly; or the now-defunct Ugarte's Poker Grovel.

Will online poker become legal, illegal, or no change?

It will become legal within a year after the new presidential administration takes office (even despite the damage from the Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker cheating scandals).

One thing you could change about Poker what would it be?

I'm kinda tired of "all no-limit hold'em all the time". I started as a limit player in 2003 -- back then you couldn't find a NLHE cash game anywhere on the Las Vegas Strip or in Los Angeles -- and over time I've gravitated back towards limit hold'em and other limit games like Omaha Hi/Lo and mixed games. I know that no-limit hold'em is here to stay, but I'd love to see limit games come back into balance a bit.

Dead or Alive: One person you would like to play poker with? Why?

Richard Nixon. Charming, cunning, full of interesting stories and supposedly wasn't the worst poker player out there.

Vanilla or chocolate?



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