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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why chess players good at poker?

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everyone,

Chess Champ Tsinis Wins WSOP $1,500 NL Event

Ukrainian poker pro Arkadiy Tsinis has just won WSOP Event 38: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, after overcoming a field of 2,192 players over three days to capture his first gold bracelet, as well as collecting the $540,000 first place prize. Here is the full article.

Meanwhile, PokerListings have just carried a very interesting article By: Matthew Showell titled 'Why Are Chess Players Winning at the WSOP?'

Indeed. It is an interesting trend. Do read the article.

Niner Ylon Schwartz

Competitive chess player Arkadiy Tsinis’s victory at the WSOP on June 25 only reiterated a trend we’ve seen develop over the last few years: Chess players make good poker players.

With the list of successful chess-to-poker transitions growing so is our understanding of not only why chess players have a leg up at the poker table, but why more and more of them are making the switch.

Ylon Schwartz spent thousands of hours studying chess long before he took poker seriously, but it was poker that awarded him $3.89 million at the 2008 WSOP Main Event.

Best friends with Arkady Tsinis, who won his first bracelet this afternoon, Schwartz proved the perfect person to shed light on the kind of opportunity poker presents to the skilled chess player.

A few main differences are key, the biggest of which being the amount of money up for grabs.

“There’s not a great living in chess unless you’re in like the top 20 in the world,” Schwartz told beside the final table as his friend Tsinis conducted his winner interview with ESPN.

“In poker you can get lucky in one tournament and you’re a millionaire,” he added.

With online poker still available to most of the world, and live tournaments of all stakes becoming increasingly accessible, poker absolutely dwarfs chess in terms of the money changing hands on a daily basis.

The second and perhaps equally important factor is the head-start that a background in chess affords players at the poker table.

“The transition from chess to poker is pretty simple since chess is infinitely more difficult,” Schwartz said.
“You’re trained to sit and you’re trained to study and you’re trained to memorize things which are all applicable to poker,” he said.

While chess is certainly a noble pursuit, for many it simply doesn’t put food on the table.

“It’s cute to be a chess player and be broke when you’re in your 20s but when you hit 30 you’ve got to switch,” said Schwartz.

“As more chess players get sad and depressed they’ll have no choice but to switch over to poker like me.”

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