Poker and sports betting, the best actors in poker scenes & a Konnikova excerpt

June 17, 2020inPoker

It’s our weekly look at what is happening poker-wise in the mainstream news, with items from The Baltimore Sun, Cinevue, and FiveThirtyEight.

Collin Wilson on how poker and sports betting intersect
The Baltimore Sun

Collin Wilson is a senior writer for The Action Network, which means he mostly writes about sports, particularly college football, college basketball, and Major League Baseball.

Of course, most sports have been dormant these last three months or so thanks to the global pandemic shutting down leagues and postponing games all everywhere. That in itself has given sports writers plenty to to write about, especially as the leagues work on restarting with many looking to start playing again by late summer.

But Wilson has found other things to do — and to write about — in the meantime. This week he contributed a piece to The Baltimore Sun describing how he became a poker fanatic in the early 2000s, his interest in the game further fueled by the “Moneymaker boom” as happened with so many.

Then came marriage and a career, and less time for poker. That led Wilson into sports and sports betting, and he discovered a lot of parallels between the two. In both cases, he found himself using the same analytical skills when weighing decisions about risk and reward.

“Poker is about putting yourself in the best position to win mathematically, similar to shopping for the best number on a sports wager,” writes Wilson.

The absence of sports not only has Wilson writing about other things, he’s also doing other things — like playing poker again. Like many he is playing online, joining his friends via Zoom as they play PokerStars Home Games.

Check out what else Wilson says about the affinities between poker and sports betting. And if you are someone who enjoys both, you’ll likely find something familiar (or useful) in what he’s saying.

READ: “How I went from poker player to sports bettor (and back again)”

Speaking of PokerStars Home Games, you might have heard they have now been expanded with loads more options and features. You haven’t? Here’s the skinny:

READ: “New look Home Games now live on PokerStars”

Considering how actors can shine in movie poker scenes

As the name suggests, Cinevue is a publication that focuses largely on film analysis and reviews, as well as other movie-related news and interviews.

Just this morning the site has posted a feature highlighting a few of the better known examples of poker in the movies — Rounders, Casino Royale, Maverick, and Ocean’s 11.

You probably remember all the poker in the first three, but if you’ve forgotten the poker in Ocean’s 11, here’s a refresher:

The discussion focuses on the acting performances of Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Daniel Craig, and Mel Gibson, and how each managed to handle the task of trying to “convey the thrill and excitement of a winning hand.”

It’s familiar stuff for a lot of us, but you might find curious how this film-centric publication discusses the game and its potential dramatic impact in cinema.

READ: “The best actors to have appeared around a poker table”

Maria Konnikova on why you’re never really ‘due’ in poker

Finally, you might have heard our bestselling author friend Maria Konnikova has a book coming out next week. You know, the book… the poker one!

It’s called The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win and it chronicles her fascinating three-year journey studying and playing poker with some of the game’s greats.

Konnikova, shown here gathering chips… and material for her new book

Konnikova spent much of that journey with us here at PokerStars, and thus we had a chance to talk with her several times about the project along the way. Check out this chat she and I had at the 2017 World Series of Poker where we focused on her main idea for the book, namely, to consider the role luck plays in our lives.

READ: “Konnikova seeking answers in the cards about life, poker, and everything”

If you can’t wait until next week, Konnikova has shared an excerpt from The Biggest Bluff this week over on FiveThirtyEight, the site that focuses on politics, economics, and sports that is run by Nate Silver (also a poker player).

In the excerpt Konnikova highlights a “truth of poker” that most players eventually come to understand, even if it is sometimes a “hard” one to accept. The title explains:

READ: “The Hard Truth Of Poker — And Life: You’re Never ‘Due’ For Good Cards”

Images: “Las Vegas sportsbook” (adapted), Baishampayan Ghose, CC BY-SA 2.0; “Amici miei 32” (adapted), public domain; Maria Konnikova, Carlos Monti.


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