Poker A headline and article about World Series of Poker Texas Hold'em winner

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Poker: A headline and article about World Series of Poker Texas Hold'em winner Jerry Yang in Thursday's California section identified Yang as a psychologist. Yang has a master's degree in health psychology and is employed as a social worker but is not a licensed psychologist

Bluff By James McManus, James McManus is the author of "Positively Fifth Street," about how he parlayed $4,000 in advance money into $247,760 while covering the World Series of Poker for Harper's. He is also the former poker columnist for the New York Times.

The World Series of Poker is played nowadays in the Rio's Amazon Room. This hangar of a convention hall seats 2,431 players and dealers at 211 oval tables, each one lighted by a white Noguchi-esque lantern, and far above that by scores of spotlights hung from black scaffolding along with surveillance cameras, ad banners and air ducts. As chips clack and clatter, thousands of cards are shuffled and pitched, peeked under, fingered and mucked, always clockwise. It's a Thursday afternoon in the summer of Hezbollah versus Israel, the foiled Al Qaeda plot to blow up jetliners with liquid explosives, the U.N. Security Council's ultimatum to Iran to stop enriching uranium. Here in Las Vegas, the air above the asphalt is a breezy 130, like a hair dryer held an inch and a half from your nostrils. Yet it's brisk enough today in the Amazon Room to shiver in heavyweight fleece.At seat three of table 129, I'm playing in event 30, $5,000 six-handed no-limit hold 'em. Six-handed poker lets you mix it up with some less-than-premium cards, because you have to outflop (which is to say outplay) only five opponents instead of the usual eight or nine. The prize pool today is $2,382,900, with 27% reserved for first place. Altogether there's $159 million at stake in 46 events spread out over seven weeks. Cops, dot-com billionaires, producers and actors and agents, cocktail waitresses and artists and poker pros with PhDs in game theory compete in this arena, eyed by long flocks of railbirds perched against velvet ropes. Tens of millions more are following the action online, in print, on radio and television on every inhabited continent.

I've just picked up the ace of clubs and king of hearts and thrown $100 into the pot. Everyone else folds to the kid in the "big blind." That's the player two seats to the left of the dealer who is required to bet before a "flop"--that is, before the first three "community cards" (those shared among all of the players) are dealt face-up in the middle of the table. Collectively, the community cards are called "the board." After the first three are dealt, there comes a fourth and then a fifth. That's the final community card, which is known as the "river" or, sometimes, "Fifth Street."






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