The Art of Losing by Robert Turner

What can I do today that differs from yesterday? I recently watched a clip of the late Kobe Bryant where he talked about what we can learn from losing. In it, he talked about Beyonce watching a tape of her just-finished show, just to see what she could improve next time.

The great always strive toward perfection.

I once was at a live concert given by Barbra Streisand that was also being taped for later airing. We had paid hundreds of dollars for tickets to see her. Her opening was amazing, her voice incredible as usual.

Then, suddenly, she stopped. She appeared furious about something with her orchestra. It wasn’t perfect, and she wasn’t settling for less. 

It took four re-starts. We were shocked at first, but finally, she got this opening song to the level she wanted the world to see. The earlier starts sounded great, but Barbra knew they weren’t perfect. 

This need for perfection many people couldn’t understand, but the greats do. What Kobe was expressing was the same: You can learn from your failures, no matter how talented you’ve become. And when you have a natural talent and you’ve spent it on something that failed, see if more work would have made the difference.

The Long Ride Home

I’ve gambled for over fifty years and, honestly, I’ve often failed to correct my mistakes. It’s a lifetime work, always in progress. I see where I’ve erred and vowed never to do that again, and yet I do.

I know from experience that in college basketball you cannot bet against a home team for  reasons beyond stated odds. For example, some teams can shoot over 60 percent at home. The crowd can take the visitors out of their game, or the referees can get caught up in the emotions. On any given night, the home team is more likely to play way over its ability. No other sport has as large a home advantage.

Now, look at why you lost a bet. It likely wasn’t a “bad” call or a team letting you down. By not fully valuing the intangibles, you didn’t do the hard work to win. So, learn from it. Losing makes you a winner when you can reevaluate your poor choices.

Once after going broke in a poker game, I had an hour-long drive home, which was plenty of time to reflect on my play. I realized that most of the time I lost I never held a proper starting hand. I began behind and stayed there. There was no reason for me to blame the dealer or the cards. I’d put myself in a position to get beat.

When You Are Your Worst Opponent

When playing poker, have you targeted a player but instead trapped yourself? I remember a WPT event where I’d decided that if I could flop a set, I could break a solid player who was dominating the table. I’ll never forget this hand. We both had lots of chips; neither one of us had lost a pot in hours. I did want to beat her. And yes, my ego can be a horrible thing.  

She raised preflop and I called with pocket fours. The flop came ace-four-deuce. I knew she had ace-king and I had flopped my set. Her chips were mine. We were soon all in… and she showed me a set of aces. 

Looking back, I asked myself, “Who was to blame for me losing?” It wasn’t my opponent, the dealer, or even plain bad luck. It was my stupid play. There was little reason to play against her at all, given her solid style. I busted because of my stupid ego: I got what I’d wished for but so did she. Talk about a walk of shame! 

Many of my beats in life or gambling occurred because I didn’t do the hard work needed to be the best. Kobe knew this. You can learn so much from losing that it can make you a winner. What made Kobe one of best basketball players ever was his unending search for perfection.

Barbra Streisand knew she’d made mistakes in her timing, so she kept doing the song over to get it right. That’s what greatness is: the will to get things perfect, not just better.

In gambling we can’t do it over, but we can learn to do it right. I can learn that the next time I want to bet a college basketball road favorite, while there are so many other games to choose from, I deserve to lose. Do your work and factor in the intangibles.

There are plenty of games where you can give yourself the best edge. Just do the work.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player most well-known for introducing the game of Omaha poker to Nevada in 1982.

He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995 and Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002. He is currently working as a casino consultant.

Robert can be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting and coaching. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner.

LAPC Underway at Commerce Casino

2017-lapc 

The Los Angeles Poker Classic (LAPC) got underway at the Commerce Casino on Friday with Event #1: $175 No-Limit Hold’em. This tournament featured a $100,000 guarantee and drew 1,079 players.

Event #1 Winner Jeffrey “Lee” Peterson took home $16,995 and the Remington trophy. In his winner’s interview, Peterson stated that he is a business owner who plays for entertainment. He took a five-year break from poker and last played in the LAPC’s Main Event last year.

He came back with a vengeance and plans on playing more events this year.

Tournament Director Matt Savage has put together a great schedule this year that should appeal to pros and recreational players alike. This week will feature a mix of events for mixed-game players starting with the $350 Omaha 8 or Better tournament on Monday.

$350 Stud 8 or Better will be held on Wednesday at 1 p.m. Thursday will feature the $350 Omaha 8 or Better/Stud 8 or Better.

This weekend will feature several No-Limit events, including a $1,100 WPT Main Event Mega Satellite that guarantees two $10,000 seats on Saturday, January 21 at 7 p.m.

On Sunday, January 22 at 12 p.m. a $240 No-Limit Hold’em Knockout Big Bounty event will feature a $50,000 guarantee. Also, on Sunday at 5 p.m. a $175 No-Limit Hold’em All in or Fold Bounty carries a $10,000 guarantee.

Beginning the week of Monday, January 23, the schedule will feature several other mixed games, including a $350 H.O.R.S.E. event on Thursday, January 26 at 1 p.m.

On Wednesday, January 25 at 5 p.m. the first flight of the $350 No-Limit Hold’em begins and features a $300,000 guarantee. Additional flights will take place Thursday at 5 p.m. and Friday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 5 p.m.

The rest of the schedule in January and February will feature bigger buy-in events, such as a $570 Big O tournament on Thursday, February 2 at 5 p.m. and a $570 H.O.R.S.E. event on Friday, February 3 at 1 p.m.

An event you don’t see on very many schedules is the $1,100 2-7 Triple Draw. This event will take place on Wednesday, February 8 at 5 p.m.

The $10,000 WPT Championship will begin on Saturday, February 25 at 12 p.m. The series will end with the Championship final table taping on Thursday, March 2 at 4 p.m.

Follow all the action on Twitter @LAPC or at lapcnews.com

Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer specializing in poker. She writes the “Poker Scene” column for Gaming Today. Follow her on Twitter @pinkchippoker.

 

Women in Poker: Sweeping Summer Tournaments by Patricia Chavira

Gina Hecht

Gina Hecht, Winner of WPT Legends of Poker Omaha 8 or Better

Women have been dominating some of the biggest tournaments of the summer. The winning streak started at the 2015 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas when Carol Fuchs became the only female winner of an open event this summer by winning the $1,500 Dealers Choice event on June 27. Fuchs, a screenwriter and film producer, topped a field of the best mixed game players in the world to win her first bracelet and the $127,735 first-place prize. The Dealers Choice is one of the toughest events in the entire series as it includes 18 different forms of poker.

Another notable achievement came on July 31 when Loni Hardwood won the 2015 WSOP National Championship at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina. She took home the $341,599 first prize and her second gold bracelet. The final table included such notables as Daniel Negreanu, fresh off his 11th place finish in the WSOP Main Event, and Alexandru Masek, the most successful player on the WSOP Circuit with eight rings to his name. The final table was filmed by ESPN and will be broadcast on August 18.

Harwood now has over $1.6 million in live tournament earnings. She won her first gold bracelet at the 2013 WSOP in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event. She had a spectacular run that summer as the then 23-year-old player from Staten Island, New York, cashed six times and made three final tables, tying Cyndy Violette’s 2005 record for most final table appearances by a female in a single series. Harwood won $874,698 at the 2013 WSOP, setting the record for the most money ever earned by a woman in a single WSOP in Las Vegas.

Women have also made an impressive showing at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Legends of Poker, running through Sept. 4 at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens, California. Three women have won events so far. Gina Hecht, an actress and producer, took first place in Event No. 6: a $235 buy-in Omaha 8 or Better on Sunday, August 2. The next day, Monday, August 3, Diana Yang topped a field of 242 players to win Event No. 9: the $150 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack. Then on Tuesday, August 4, Wendy Weissman emerged victorious in Event No. 10: a $150 buy-in P.L.E.O.-Stud/Omaha 8 or Better.

While a debate rages about women in poker on social media, these female champions have proven they have what it takes to challenge the best poker players on the felt.

Before Poker Was Cool, Part 2: Lyle Berman

Lyle Berman

It’s hard to write in a single article about all the contributions Lyle Berman has made to the gaming industry. Lyle, like Jack Binion and Steve Wynn before him, had a great passion and respect for poker and its players. Lyle was not just a lover of poker but one of the most successful entrepreneurs the gaming world has ever seen. He has headed such diverse operations from the Rainforest Café restaurant chain to Grand Casinos, Inc., and he was instrumental in the development of the World Poker Tour. His name has become synonymous with gaming in the last two decades.

What is unique about Lyle is not only is he a successful businessman, but he is also an accomplished poker player. Lyle has three World Series of Poker bracelets to his name and based on these contributions to the game he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002.

After I had retired from poker in my 30’s, my friend Billy Thomas called me and said, “Robert, how can you not go to California? They have legalized hold’em, and there will be thousands of players who will switch from low ball and draw to hold’em.” I explained to Billy we needed at least $15,000 each for us to go and that I was retired and had promised my wife I wouldn’t use any of the money I had won to go back on the road to play.

He said Lyle Berman will give us a bankroll–all you have to do is call him. I did just that, and Lyle sent around $15,000 each right into the cage at the Bicycle Casino. Lyle helped many poker players in the 80’s and 90’s (more than anyone I know), which turned out to be great investments. But he didn’t do it for the money; he did it because they were his friends. Players from Stu Ungar, Jack Keller and T.J. Cloutier all benefitted from his generosity.

I remember when I called Mike Sexton to tell him I wanted to roast him at the Bicycle Casino. Mike said, “Robert, I am not the one who should be honored with a roast. No one has done more for poker than Lyle Berman.” So the Bicycle had a big party to honor Lyle.

Lyle wanted me to help him turn around the Stratosphere after it had failed. Lyle invited me to meet him for breakfast at the casino. There was a newspaper lying on the table with a headline shouting, “Stratosphere Fails.” Lyle said to me that he had replaced the president yesterday and was meeting with the new president in a few hours. I was wondering how Lyle could handle all the stress.

As we started to eat, Lyle noticed the cream cheese. He couldn’t believe that they were using the wrong brand. He asked to speak to his food and beverage director. Lyle proceeded to tell him that this particular brand of cream cheese was unacceptable. I knew that with this streak of perfectionism Lyle could handle the stress of the casino transition. I wish I could remember the brand of cream cheese that he hated to see if the company is still in business.

Another legendary story involved Doyle, Chip and Bobby Baldwin. We were all at Bob Stupak’s Vegas World during a poker tournament before Lyle bought it. There was a rumor going around that a big Omaha game was being planned, and Lyle was the main attraction. The sharks waited on Lyle to start the game, and after a few hours the buzz around the room was how big a game it turned out to be.

All of sudden it broke up, and everyone wondered what happened. Lyle had busted Doyle, Chip and Bobby out of $400,000 and had quit to go to a dinner or a meeting. The look on their faces was priceless. That was classic Lyle.

From then on Lyle was not the main attraction. He became one of the best Omaha players in the world. He continued to play some of the highest stakes cash games in the world, but no matter how successful Lyle became in business, he never gave up on his friends or the poker world.

Lyle would visit the Bicycle Casino to play in the Legends of Poker and became friends with George Hardie. George had an ambition to build the largest poker room in the world in Mississippi and purchased a piece of property called Buck Lake around Tunica. George had lobbied to have the nearest casino to Memphis, Tennessee. He would later sell that property to Lyle, who built the Grand Casino in Tunica, which helped established poker in Mississippi.

In my next article I will talk about how George Hardie changed the California gaming industry.

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player and casino marketing expert. Robert is most well- known for introducing the game of Omaha poker to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995. He also helped create Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

He has spent over 30 years in casino marketing and player development and has served as an executive host at the Bicycle Casino and MGM. He is currently working with his new companies Crown Digital Games developing mobile apps and Vision Poker, a poker marketing group.

Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner. He can also be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting and teaching.