The Nature of Poker (Week #1)

Andy Black

This is the first in a 52-week series of articles (possibly some videos) for 2023.

What is the nature of Poker?

We all share a love (or sometimes hate ) of poker but what is it, how is it, and how does it work? If we were to take a step back and explain it to an alien from another planet or an inquisitive earthling with no knowledge of it what would we say?

If we were to ask ourselves in what way is poker a metaphor for our lives, reflective of our lives, or indeed the nature of life itself.

What would be our conclusion?

35 years ago I played my first hand of public poker in the Griffin Club at 81 Merrion Square, next door to the Irish Football Association Offices at 79.

Even today I remember the feel of the chips and the green baize, the little old ladies with the intensity of battle-hardened warriors. Characters of all shapes and sizes sweating every moment.

Safety, Rags, Doomsday Des, Big Jim, Daisy, The Dublin Mafia.

Numerous first names that never had second names attached to them, even in memory.

And so we played 5-pound tournaments like it was all of life because indeed it was.

Years later there was a period of a few hours at Binions Horseshoe in Las Vegas in 2005 where we were playing from 18 players to the final table of 9 players where it felt just like those 5-pound tournaments to me.

Finishing 10th got you $600,000 and 9th was guaranteed $1,000,000 and shooting at $7.500,000.

That was a period of time where it all seemed so ordinary and for me, Poker’s true nature was revealed one moment at a time.

What is your memory of first playing and maybe it can inspire you to remember something substantial for future performances?

It’s not just about the Maths.

Some people walk or swim, some people cook or like technology, and some watch TV or garden.

We play poker.

How wonderful.

What will these weekly pieces explore?

The Nature of Poker.

Buckle Up,

Are you ready,

Let’s enjoy the ride and savour each moment of the passion we all share.


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Born in Belfast and resident in Dublin, Andy Black is probably Ireland's most famous poker player on the world scene.

Currently sitting 2nd on the Hendon Mob for Irish players with €4.9 million in live earnings, his largest scoring coming from a 5th place in the 2005 WSOP Main Event.

A regular supporter of all IPT live events for many years, Andy will be attending all future Irish Poker Tour festivals providing support and in-person training to players.


  1. Avatar Jonh vickers on January 10, 2023 at 3:35 pm

    Hi andy how is life long time since i seen you hope your keeping well my friend

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