The Malta Poker Seminar got underway on Saturday, April 18th as eager, aspiring poker players spent the afternoon under the tutelage of world famous poker pro Ron Rose. Nestled in a spacious conference room in the palatial Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, Rose eloquently delivered three separate lectures of how to become a winning no-limit poker tournament player of the course of five and a half hours.
The mathematician, successful businessman and former seat holder at the American Stock Exchange, who holds a WSP (World Series of Poker) gold bracelet and two WPT (World Poker Tour) championships, began at the beginning, breaking down the basics of what it takes to stay at the table, compete and be a winner.
Divulged Rose, “I’m going to give these folks what they need…advice for tournament poker which is played at 180 degrees from cash poker. I’m going to speak about the basics and give advice on what’s needed to be a winning tournament hold-em poker player, and more, including a poker IQ quiz.”
Aside from a few technical difficulties inducing early breaks, which were filled in admirably by Jason and Lee from XFM Radio, who are surely the modern-day Laurel and Hardy, the afternoon was brilliantly informative. The aforementioned poker IQ quiz was a series of ten scenarios (actually played by Rose throughout his career) administered at the commencement of the session and again at the day’s end. The test was to measure the knowledge absorbed by seminar participants in order for them to self-quantify their learning and, quite fittingly, every single individual improved their scores at the end of the day.
Ranging widely, the days’ lessons varied across the spectrum of what ambitious poker players need to succeed. He preached patience and not giving away free cards to your opponents first and foremost but delved specifically into improving and maintaining focus on every action at the table, yours and the other players. Of a more specific nature, Rose educated the attentive students about smart betting (which he refers to as proper betting), reading your opponents and short stack betting.
When asked about the scope of poker playing in Malta, Rose said, “When I came here a year ago there were no poker tournaments…I think the poker in Malta is in its infancy stage and players are in ‘learning mode.’ A learning mode that is certain to be accelerated by the knowledge imparted by Ron Rose, who has also written a book called Poker Aces – The Stars of Tournament Poker.
The second day of the seminar proved to be equally valuable with the day kicking off bright and early with a session by professional poker player and Poker Spokesman Ari Pietarinen, who delivered a stirring rendition of his decade long struggle to accomplish his dreams – to play poker as a career. For more than a decade he strived and learned from life, holding jobs ranging from truck driver, programmer, medical assistant, fishmonger, IT entrepreneur and ultimately, poker pro. His life story is a compelling one, with highs and lows interspersed by playing and not playing.
Regaling the audience held in rapt attention of how he balanced his life ever since being a 26 year old, immature Finnish man from Helsinki who became enamored with poker ever since a two day visit to Las Vegas, to a family man, married with a child and living his dream of earning his wage from online poker play. Ari told them that without direction and honesty in his life, he would never have succeeded the way that he has. Asked what he would impart additionally to any aspiring poker players Ari said, “Patience is the key and can lead you to your goals.”
Ari Pietarinen is also affiliated with www.mypokeracademy.com which allows poker players from around the world participate and discuss strategy about playing and weigh the value of certain nuances of the game. Jean Paul, who runs My Poker Academy, participated in the seminar and added that “Poker is a community sport and it’s great to see players come together and discuss their passion with pros and others from the industry. Poker is a social game, and this was an example of strong community and great techniques…bringing poker players together in one place…it’s been a great thing for Malta.”
The day’s speakers also included a look at poker from an “outside the box” perspective by Norman Darmanin Demajo, founder of the Time2Think Organisation and member Creative Trainers International. His discussion focused on understanding your own habits and thought processes in order to curtail any poor practices that players may have developed and how to break out of them.
Gamcare representative and psychotherapist Linda Aklundh also took the stage to raise awareness regarding the ills of problem gaming, how to recognise the signs and introducing steps to help yourself and others should there be any signs of gambling addiction. At www.gamcare.org.uk there is information available for anyone who thinks this might be beneficial and Linda also does training seminars in Malta, in cooperation with MRGC (Malta Remote Gaming Council), for companies that would like to educate their staff in how to recognise the warning signs problems gaming and how to help.
The afternoon was rounded out by freelance psychotherapist and Life Coach Malcolm Tortell, who, through his work, aides people in performing at their best in all areas of life. He spoke to the crowd about how to work with your emotions to maximise effectiveness and minimise interference in order to focus solely on playing the game of poker and be free of outside distractions.
All in all, this was a tremendous lead-in to the Malta Chilipoker Open being held at Portomaso Casino from April 24th thru the 26th. Perhaps with the skills learned and lessons absorbed direct from the pros, one of the exuberant players will go on to take the prize.
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