All The Aces Daily Poker Column

Stephen Hendry plays poker at the Bellagio

What happened to the world's best snooker player when he played poker at the Bellagio in Las Vegas...

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Regular readers of this column will recall our contention some weeks back that good snooker players also seem to make excellent poker players. We quoted Steve Davis and Jimmy White as fine examples of our theory. Well, further confirmation has arrived in the forminable shape of seven times world snooker champion Stephen Hendry. Turning professional aged sixteen, Hendry swept to the heights of World Snooker Champ  by the time he was twenty one and, almost comically, is talking about possible retirement whilst still a youthful thirty five. Hendry considers it highly likely he will have given up the seven hours a day of gruelling snooker practice required to stay at championship level well before he hits forty. So what’s next? No surprises. Stephen’s already moulding his poker career and was recently flown first class to Vegas courtesy of BetFred with a (paid for) ten thousand pound entry fee in a WSOP main event. Stephen  considers the same self- belief that snooker players need to power themselves to success applies to poker and his early skirmishes with the game reveal an instinctive aptitude for card play. “You have to learn in both games to keep your emotions in check and not to go on tilt.”

Stephen Hendry, the poker player, doing his day job

Shuffle up and deal at:

So what happened when Stephen Hendry hit the Bellagio? Amazingly, he nabbed pocket rockets on the first day and went all-in against a pair of nines. All the right kind of luck and all the right moves, wouldn’t you say? Welcome to poker. A third nine came at the river and clubbed Stephen down to earth like a snooker cue up the side of the head in a dark alley.

With his characteristic cool, Hendry put it down to a learning curve, confident he’ll climb to the big tables some time between now and aged forty. Who’d bet against him? Not us!

The Bellagio in Las Vegas

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Q: What’s the most important decision in Texas Hold’em?
A: That’s easy! Do I play these two cards? In other words, are my hole cards good enough to take into battle? That decision should not just be based on the obvious face value of the cards. Clearly pocket rockets are no brainers but whatever two cards you’re holding you need to be taking into account how many players are at the table and what your position  is in relation to the small and large blinds? Fundamentally though: Do I play these two cards?

Q: Has anyone other than Doyle Brunson won ten WSOP bracelets?
A: Only one other human being. Johnny “Orient Express” Chan. Given Johnny’s age advantage, it’s odds on he’ll end up with more than the Texas Dolly by career end.

ALL THE ACES poker column:
October 22, 2005: 
Stephen Hendry plays poker at the Bellagio