One of my favorite authors, psychologist Maria Konnikova (who I've interviewed many times for Boing Boing and Institute for the Future) is writing a book about the world of professional poker. As part of her research, Maria decided to play in some tournaments. It turns out she's a really good poker player, and is making a lot of money. So much, in fact, that she's delaying the release of her book until 2019 so she can pursue her new career.
In January, Konnikova won $86,400 by beating a 240-person field at the PCA National; in her first tournament after deciding to drop blogs for cards, she won $57,000, according to PokerNews.
"I’m a total poker outsider. I came to this as someone who’d never had any experience with the game” — but she’s nearly peerless in the outcome. ... Obviously Konnikova had some advantages — she’s being coached by a legendary player, she has a PhD. in psychology, and poker is a purely mental game. But this is just about the best case scenario for a post-media pivot, and she didn’t even have to get laid off from her job to pull it off.
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In a first, an artificial intelligence named Libratus has bested top-tier players at no-limit Texas Hold 'em. This is especially notable because imperfect information games are notoriously challenging to program. Read the rest
With nearly $28 million in the pot, the eight minutes of "speech play" between Will Kassouf and Griffin Benger came to a very satisfying end. Everyone is debating which of the two players crossed the line. Read the rest
Henry Rosario Martinez died at the age of 31. He loved poker, so his friends played one last game with him by propping up his corpse and giving him a large pile of chips. Despite Martinez's remarkable poker face, he didn't win.
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Wakes featuring the remains of deceased arranged in lifelike poses are becoming increasingly common in Puerto Rico, with recent examples including a paramedic posed in the back of an ambulance and a man posed at a table playing dominoes.
Odlanor is Windows malware that targets users of Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker, and exfiltrates information about their cards to their competitors. Read the rest
Christian Lusardi, 43, of Fayetteville, North Carolina was pleased to win $6,814 in an Atlantic City poker tournament. But he was sad when his attempt to get rid of $3.6 million of counterfeit casino chips he'd used in the tournament was unsuccessful. Mr. Lusardi pleaded guilty to trademark counterfeiting and criminal mischief and will spend five years in prison. According to Carbon Poker, Lusardi is "already in prison for 5 years right now stemming from a bootleg DVD case where he made over $1 million."
Authorities said Lusardi, after suspecting the fake chips had been noticed, flushed them down the toilet in his room at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, where he had been staying. But the chips clogged the pipes, and guests on the floor below complained that water was dripping into their rooms.
Mr. Lusardi was also ordered to pay the Borgata hotel $463,540 for having to cancel the rest of the tournament and Harrah's Casino Hotel $9,455 for clogging the plumbing. Read the rest
Verbal Poker Tells reveals how players use words to bluff, intimidate, and probe the minds of their opponents. Read the rest