The what is poker, the where is some seedy underground New York City venue and the when is December 2009. The who…we’ll get to that in a moment along with the why. First, the three-card flop hits the table and the mind starts racing with all of the mathematical possibilities. For all of poker’s entropy and chaotic randomness, it’s still a game ruled by probability. Bringing order to this order-less ordeal is a valuable skill in a game in which the field of play changes with each passing turn. Take into account all of the variables, analyze the given data and formulate an adaptable strategy. It almost sounds simple until someone catches a face card on the river.
But that’s how Collin Slattery, 28, survived. He didn’t beat you with his cards when he began playing in underground poker games at 15; he beat you with his mind. And it wasn’t about it his ego, it was about his empty stomach.
“I played to make money, though it was mostly a side hustle,” Slattery told me. That’s quite a part-time gig for a teenager. But when you come from an impoverished single-parent family, you get creative. “For all of poker’s luck, it’s still a game of statistics and skill. It’s data driven.”
Slattery isn’t a Rain Man counting cards or a grifter with an ace up his sleeve. He’s just an intelligent guy with an analytical problem-solving mind. It’s what enabled him to beat seasoned poker vets as a kid and it’s what he hopes will win him the title of Mayor of New York City come November.
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Source: Observer (via The Empire Report)