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30/10/2006 No. 1
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday Oct 30th, 2006

Playing poker is a fun way to make money, if you're any good at it. It can also (within reason) be a fun way to lose money if you're not. But playing the game is not the only way to profit from it.

The new world is full of poker-related businesses (websites, card rooms, TV channels) whose owners are also taking a gamble - on the game's continuing success. And there are still plenty of niches for anyone who fancies the risky thrills of big business. You could invent a magnetic dealer button which moves around on its own. Or a combined poker and food-shopping website which rings the doorbell with a bottle of champagne if you win a big pot, and a comforting pizza if you lose.
If that sounds too much like hard work, why not bet on major tournaments? Several bookmakers were taking money on the Irish Masters, which has just finished in Dublin. If you have opinions on well-known players, you can put your cash behind them whenever a big competition looms.

Or you can bet on your own games. With friends, you can juice up the action by having "last longer" bets against individuals, winning extra if they go out before you. Last week, at the William Hill Grand Prix, Harry Demetriou and Phil Laak amused themselves by having a "last shorter" bet: whoever got knocked out first won £100 from the other.

Still hungry? You can bet on whether each flop will be predominantly black or red. An excellent "sucker proposition" is to bet that the flop will have, say, an ace, a jack or a deuce in it. It is more likely that one of them will appear than not. But most people don't realise this, so it's a good way to screw your friends.

Or you could just play poker. Using solid strategy, you can lock up year-on-year gains, relying on the long-term triumph of skill over luck. Not only is this safer, it buys you the right to reassure your family that you're not actually "a gambler" at all.


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