I don’t know about you but I love urban legends, myths and other mysteries. It’s fun to wonder about what truths are out there, lurking just outside the reach of confirmation. It's also fun to read completely baseless garbage from time. Here are 5 poker urban legends that fall somewhere in between.
The Origins Of Dan Blizerian’s Fortune
Instagram celebrity Dan Blizerian claims to be a professional poker player. If you don’t really follow poker, this might seem like a reasonable claim. However, the interesting thing about Blizerian’s claims is that if they’re true, he’s the highest earning poker player of all time despite zero documentation or eye witness accounts to back this up. In every other case where a poker pro has reached the top of the mountain and made a fortune in the big games, there are always players who played with them on their way up and saw the progression first hand. That’s not the case with Blizerian, as he claims to have made millions playing in private home games against secretive billionaires. While I guess it’s plausible that an amateur like Blizerian would have access to juicy games where pros would be denied, it seems unlikely given the staggering amounts of money he claims to have won. Vice news presents an alternative (and honestly, more believable) story, claiming that Blizerian’s fortune came from his father, Paul Blizerian, who was a Wall Street ‘corporate raider’. While nothing can be proven, I lean towards going with the story that doesn’t involve $50 million cash game sessions. But that’s just me.
Aces And Eights: ‘Dead Man’s Hand’
If you’ve ever played live poker and won a pot with two-pair aces and eights, you’ve probably heard some random table mate spout the cliché ‘dead man’s hand!’ as if he’s the only one who knows this legend. The legend is that famous American outlaw cowboy Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back of the head while playing poker and holding two pair, aces and eights. Which is possibly what you’ll want to do to the idiot who feels the need to tell this legend every time someone makes this hand at your table.
High Stakes Hollywood Poker Games
Molly Bloom ran an underground Hollywood poker game and eventually wrote a book about it. That book has been turned into a film which will come out next year. The book shines the spotlight on the world of high stakes private Hollywood games and raises even more questions about what might go on when the insanely rich and famous bring hundreds of thousands to the felt.
Tom Dwan Kidnapped By Chinese Mafia
After quietly backing away from the spotlight in recent years, Tom Dwan has been the subject of countless rumors about his whereabouts and life situation. Some have said he’s broke, others that he simply got tired of the attention. My favorite rumor is that he is in huge debt to the Chinese mafia and is in Macau playing cash games to make up that debt. While that rumor seems to fall under the ‘fun and obviously untrue’ category, there are other interesting Dwan stories which might have a bit more truth behind them. Most significantly, both Daniel Cates and Doug Polk have confirmed that they witnessed Dway lose a $20 million-dollar pot. In fact, Polk even claims it was $30 million.
All Old School Poker Pros Were Cheaters
In recent years the game of poker has been studied from every angle and the overall level of skill has risen. There are many factors related to mathematics and game theory which separate pros from amateurs. However, in the days before the concept of game theory even existed, it is rumored that the separation between pros and amateurs was built around something else. Mainly, pros cheated and amateurs didn’t. One of the more interesting rumors involves poker legend Stu Ungar in the 1997 WSOP. The urban legend states that the weird blue glasses Ungar is wearing in this video are actually equipped with special lenses which can detect an otherwise invisible ink used to mark cards. While this practice is confirmed to have been used in poker and other card games, there is no actual proof that Ungar used this technology. Maybe he just likes weird blue glasses.
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