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Reaper16
06-15-2009, 08:01 PM
Working their poker magic



[/URL] <script type="text/javascript">var stobj = SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title:"Working%20their%20poker%20magic", url:"http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/poker/columns/story?columnist=wise_gary%26id=4259905", published: "2009-06-15" }); stobj.attachButton(document.getElementById("espnstlin</script> By Gary Wise

<cite class="source">ESPN.com
</cite>
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With hundreds of millions of poker players worldwide, each one an island and each looking for the answers to a game that only provides more questions, we all want to know what it is that makes a champion. Some say it comes down to heart, or gamble, or math, but those are generalizations that practically exist without borders. For finite answers, we must look at the mutual pasts of poker's success stories in the hope of gaining some understanding.
There are patterns in the chaos.


Many of poker's greatest success stories seem to find their roots in juxtaposition to success in other games. It's not the techniques themselves as much as the will and skills to succeed. Competitive fire and constitution are developed through repeated exposure no matter the venue. Poker looms as an option when those games and players dispose of one another, leaving the competitors needing a competitive outlet.

With Brock Parker's [URL="http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/poker/news/story?id=4250541"]twin (javascript:void(0);) victories (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/poker/news/story?id=4241567) this week at the 2009 World Series of Poker, the spotlight has fallen on the players of one such game. "Magic: The Gathering" (M:TG), a strategy game that uses collectible trading cards as game pieces, mixed luck and skill in a way many find reminiscent of poker. While "Magic's" wizardly fantasy surface theme might strike some as a little too fantastical, lying underneath is a multi-layered game of tactics, strategy and incomplete information. That game, it turns out, has served as a launching pad for many of poker's brightest young stars.


Parker, the 27-year-old Maryland native known in the online world as "t_soprano," was but an afterthought in what looked to be Daniel Negreanu's march to a bracelet in Event 14, the $2,500 six-handed limit hold 'em event. Entering the heads-up portion against Negreanu as a 2-1 underdog, Parker rode a strong run of cards to the comeback victory.


"A lot of the time, limit is about who catches what," admitted Parker, for who short-handed limit hold 'em is a specialty. "The pressure was on Daniel because he had a big chip lead and bracelet bets and god knows what. If I lost it was 'Whatever.' I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do heads-up and changed my game a little, but then the cards went my way and he paid off every hand. I got pretty lucky. It's pretty hard in limit to do much about that."


With the win in tow, Parker came ready to play in Event 19, the $2,500 six-handed no-limit hold 'em event.


"Luckily they did the whole bracelet ceremony the next day, so I had to wake up for that," said the low key champion. "I didn't go party because I didn't want to show up hungover, so I figured I'd play. Before the first break I'd tripled up."


The rest is history. Parker rode that chip stack to his second bracelet win in four days.


"It's insane," said a bewildered Justin Bonomo. "I mean, he's been playing WSOP for years and years and hasn't had that one huge performance. He finished third once, but no bracelets. To see him finally get a bracelet was amazing. He really deserves it."


The sentiment, Bonomo would go on to explain, was in part due to it being Parker who turned so many of the former "M:TG" kids on to poker.

"He was the one who brought poker into 'Magic,'" said another bracelet owner, Alex Borteh. "He was playing $20-$40, which was a really big game back then and he was a big winner in that game. I remember asking him about it. 'Can you actually win money? Is it a skill game?' We didn't realize it was viable. Brock taught us all that."


Those Parker-taught lessons have had a major impact on the face of the tournament poker scene. Parker, Borteh, Eric Froehlich and Eric Kesselman have all graduated from professional "M:TG" tournaments to bracelet victories. Bonomo, Noah Boeken, Isaac Haxton, Scott Seiver, Jeff Garza and Adam Levy are also among former "M:TG" professionals, and many of them still play the game on a daily basis.


While the two games have similarities, the consensus is that the collective poker success results more from the experience competition provides than the tactics and skill set utilized in "Magic."


"I think the biggest correlation is that it teaches the brain how to work," explained 2004 WSOP runner-up and bracelet-holder David Williams. "It's problem-solving, logical deduction. Most people aren't sharpening their brains constantly. We've been honing our skills for years; high-level thinking is pretty much all we do. That's great training for playing poker under pressure."


"A lot of us were kids on stage playing for [relatively] huge money," Froehlich said. "We had the lights, TV it was a perfect stage-setter to go into poker. I know the first time I played poker on ESPN I expected to be nervous, but I wasn't. It was natural, because we'd been doing it since we were kids."


"Some guys have done it for eight years by the time they get to 21, and that makes us better," Haxton said. "If you get deep in a tournament and aren't used to the high-pressure situations in person, it's a problem. 'Magic' prepared us for that."


With new cards being brought into circulation every few months, the game has stayed fresh for most of the converts. "Poker is a job, 'Magic' a game," said Parker, who played "Magic" online to unwind after his long days of poker. "I never want to play poker in my free time. 'Magic' you can. You can't make a living at 'M:TG,' but it's just the more enjoyable game."


"'Magic' is a better-designed game, and I'd play it constantly if I didn't have to make a living," Williams said. "We play, relax and have a good time. It helps keep me sharp. I still play every day, either online or with the guys. If I get knocked out, I can always find a game of 'Magic.'"


There will always be open seats at poker tables. For Parker and these other players, success has been found in a different kind of cards. Judging by their track record, this could still only be the beginning.

[I]Gary Wise was himself once an "M:TG" pro. He's now covering the WSOP for ESPN.com.

Reaper16
06-15-2009, 08:04 PM
Magic is such a fantastic, deep, skill-testing game. Its one of the best designed games of all time; an worldwide, time-tested classic game. It was the first collectible card game, owns the patents for the basic mechanics of collectible card games, and is still the very best.

Despite the article's claims, you can make a living pretty much just playing Magic (if you're very, very, very good). Pro Tour payouts top off at $40,000 for 1st place, and many Magic pros write weekly articles for various strategy sites that pay them well, too.

big nasty kcnut
06-15-2009, 08:14 PM
I still for the main event have 3 group stars poker star and
Buy in.
Posted via Mobile Device

KCChiefsMan
06-15-2009, 08:34 PM
1 day I plan to play in the WSOP

whatsmynameagain
06-15-2009, 10:01 PM
MTG was my hustle when i was a young teen. i got to play in pro tour chicago for the 18 under juniors when i was 15. was able to go all over the country playing to different grand prix events, origins, pro tours.... the article is of no surprise, as some of the bigger name players would have card games late into the night at the convention center where the events were taking place. i learned how to play poker when i was playing magic. im a decent poker player but i dont have the patience for it anymore in live games after playing online.

Reaper16
06-15-2009, 10:11 PM
MTG was my hustle when i was a young teen. i got to play in pro tour chicago for the 18 under juniors when i was 15. was able to go all over the country playing to different grand prix events, origins, pro tours.... the article is of no surprise, as some of the bigger name players would have card games late into the night at the convention center where the events were taking place. i learned how to play poker when i was playing magic. im a decent poker player but i dont have the patience for it anymore in live games after playing online.
Awesome.

Reaper16
06-16-2009, 12:43 PM
Grits n Gravy. Kansas City, Missouri.

Pestilence
06-16-2009, 12:46 PM
I played Magic for the longest time but didn't have the patience to put into it as much as the best players did. I still have all of my cards stored away in my office though.

Reaper16
06-16-2009, 12:47 PM
I played Magic for the longest time but didn't have the patience to put into it as much as the best players did. I still have all of my cards stored away in my office though.
How much you want for them?

Pestilence
06-16-2009, 12:49 PM
How much you want for them?

$500

Buck
06-16-2009, 01:04 PM
I used to play Magic too. Then I just got bored of it by the time I hit high-school, so I think I just gave away all my cards...

That was stupid because I think I had some pretty good ones.

Reaper16
06-16-2009, 01:29 PM
$500
Jesus H. Fuck! What have you got stored away?

Pestilence
06-16-2009, 01:31 PM
Jesus H. Fuck! What have you got stored away?

My friend and I used to buy boxes of the cards as soon as they came out. I'll have to go through and look to see what I've got.

I was just fucking around with the $500 though. :D

Reaper16
06-16-2009, 01:32 PM
I was just fucking around with the $500 though. :D
I'm not kidding with my inquiries of purchase price. :)

Portlantis
06-16-2009, 01:36 PM
New a guy who, when Wizards of the Coast purchased TSR, was so disgusted that he gave away all of his cards.

Mind you, he had been playing since Alpha, and his collection included a Black Lotus along with several Moxes and other power nine, meaning he had given away what today would amount to thousands of dollars worth of cards. These days he's not real happy about that decision.

Pestilence
06-16-2009, 01:37 PM
I'm not kidding with my inquiries of purchase price. :)

How much you looking to spend?

Reaper16
06-16-2009, 01:42 PM
How much you looking to spend?
It really depends on what you have. Quantity-wise and date-wise.

Valiant
06-16-2009, 01:43 PM
Magic is such a fantastic, deep, skill-testing game. Its one of the best designed games of all time; an worldwide, time-tested classic game. It was the first collectible card game, owns the patents for the basic mechanics of collectible card games, and is still the very best.

Despite the article's claims, you can make a living pretty much just playing Magic (if you're very, very, very good). Pro Tour payouts top off at $40,000 for 1st place, and many Magic pros write weekly articles for various strategy sites that pay them well, too.

I played one day about 15 years ago against my friend who was really big into it.. I beat him 3 times in a row very badly.. He made up special rules after each match so it didn't happen again.. He gave up after the 3rd time.. I thought it was easy..

Haven't played since..

Pestilence
06-16-2009, 01:43 PM
It really depends on what you have. Quantity-wise and date-wise.

Well I know a majority of my cards are going to be from the dates of 2003-2005. I might still have some older cards from 1998-1999 but I'm not sure what kind of shape they're in at this time.

Do you know a good site to get the values of Magic cards?

Reaper16
06-16-2009, 01:53 PM
I played one day about 15 years ago against my friend who was really big into it.. I beat him 3 times in a row very badly.. He made up special rules after each match so it didn't happen again.. He gave up after the 3rd time.. I thought it was easy..

Haven't played since..
Sounds like that friend was a terrible player (and sport). Magic is pretty easy to grasp, fundamentally. But it has so much depth; the difference in skill between a Pro Tour player and someone who has been playing for a few months is astronomical.

Reaper16
06-16-2009, 01:55 PM
Well I know a majority of my cards are going to be from the dates of 2003-2005. I might still have some older cards from 1998-1999 but I'm not sure what kind of shape they're in at this time.

Do you know a good site to get the values of Magic cards?
Ebay is a good indicator of current trends. I look up prices on sites such as blackborder.com (which provides an internet average price).

But after hearing that the majority of your cards come from 03-05, I'm not as interested anymore. I've got playsets of pretty much everything printed during that era.

Frazod
06-16-2009, 02:28 PM
I really enjoyed playing this game back in the day. I had a full shoebox full of cards. Unfortunately, some thieving fuck broke into my storage space and stole them before we moved out of Chicago. :banghead:

Saulbadguy
06-16-2009, 02:39 PM
I played from around Ice Age to uh..Tempest.

I've tried getting back in to it on several occasions, but the time and monetary investment is just too great to get any further than playing with the core set.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow when they release the online game on XBLA. No investment of money needed...you unlock cards by playing....

Demonpenz
06-16-2009, 02:48 PM
nerds