As poker has grown in popularity, many successful poker players have gained almost celebrity status. As part of this fame, some have become well-known for the poker tricks they perform – whether that is with the chips or with mind-games.
Poker Tricks – With Chips
‘The Johnny Chan’
This is probably one of the most famous chip tricks of all and was brought into the mainstream spotlight in the Matt Damon movie ‘Rounders’ – where Johnny Chan makes an appearance. It is difficult to explain this trick in text, and it is best if you go watch a video for it. In simple terms, all you do is cup a loose stack of chips in your fingers and with your thumb you roll the first three chips up onto your index finger and then let them roll back down into the stack in reverse order.
Other famous poker tricks with chips to go take a look at are the ‘Dutch Boyd Finger Flip Trick’ and the ‘Evelyn Ng Domino Chip Sweep’.
These poker tricks with chips look great and, indeed, a person who is nervous handling chips is seen as an easy target by veterans at the table – so you should definitely learn how to handle chips confidently. However, the real poker tricks are in the mind.
Poker Tricks – Mind-Games
One of the most famous examples of a poker mind-game came in the 2003 WSOP Main Event when Chris Moneymaker was heads-up in the final against the veteran player Sam Farha. The old pro had little respect for Moneymaker and thought the final would be an easy win. Moneymaker sold Farha on a stone-cold bluff to take a huge pot and showed Farha the cards after the hand. The TV cameras showed Farha looking physically shocked by the bluff and even though his chip stack was still healthy, his mind wasn’t. He never recovered and eventually lost the game.
Big personalities in the game of poker like Phil Hellmuth use something called ‘trash talking’ as a way to get inside their opponents mind. They constantly trash talk at the table, trying to open their opponents up in conversation so that they can gain valuable information when the time comes. Hellmuth is known for belittling his opponents with negative comments in the hope that it puts them off their game, and they make rash/poor decisions.
The former WSOP winner Jamie Gold is another player famous for his trash talking. He has taken things too far, arguably, on some occasions and bent the rules of the game. There are certain pieces of information that a player is not allowed to state or admit in the course of a hand. Gold has pushed these rules to the limit on many occasions in order to gain the upper hand mentally on an opponent and win the mind-game battle.