Magic the Gathering and Poker & “Why You Should be Playing Both”

Poker and MTG have their own list of players that are easily recognizable even to initiates. But, as fate would have it, these two great card games eventually crossed paths and produced champions in both worlds. Names like Gabriel Nassif, David Williams, Adam Levy and Scott Seiver are just some of the names you’ll see in both the poker circuit and the Pro Tour. If you think that investing in poker is a waste of time, here are some of the things it can help you with:

As Hard as it may be to believe, poker can be more profitable than any MTG tournament. Even if you don’t finish in the higher rankings, the skirmishes you win at poker can be enough to keep you going. A lot of the serious MTG players who are professionals have regular day jobs too, and it only seems natural that if you’re a great player at Magic, you’d do well in poker too. In an interview with Poker Listings, Gabriel Nassif admitted that a lot of MTG players like poker, (as opposed to other regular jobs), because it means they don’t have to get a job or have a boss.

Surviving with multiple Opponents
MTG is best played one on one, but the really good players don’t mind playing against multiple opponents in free-for-all formats. In poker, this is a common scene and the more players there are, the more complicated the statistics become. A useful strategy for this scenario was recently posted on Partypoker’s Twitter account, advising players never to get caught up on one player until you’re heads-up. Testing the stress limits of your deck through a multiplayer formats can help you formulate strategies you would never get to use playing one on one.

Capitalizing on your Hand and your Turn
When you get dealt with a bad hand in poker, you can’t just keep folding. Learning to play every hand that’s dealt to you is a discipline you can use in MTG skirmishes. In fact, it’s a great way to determine if your deck needs tweaking; whether you need to add, remove or just develop the skill of waiting for the right card to be drawn.

If there is one glaring similarity between professional poker players and Magic fans, it would be the fact that they hate to lose. Both sports can gain a lot by letting some of their key players cross over and the fact that there are already players who have done so means that we should see some interesting plays on both WPT/WSOP and the Grand Prix/Pro Tour circuits.