Typically poker players are shy about admitting to being staked. But Landon Tice is breaking from that tradition of embarrassment. He has tweeted frankly about how little of himself he owns in the upcoming battle with Bill Perkins.
In a long, multi-tweet thread, Tice laid out the situation. “Let me make something clear that I’m sure everyone cares about regarding my challenge with [Perkins] I’m selling a lot of action for it. A lot,” Tice begins. “I’m not rolled to battle at nosebleeds. However, I am putting a very large amount of my relative net worth on myself winning it.”
Much of the post is a somewhat self-deprecating C.V. He explains that he understands that “there are others my age who are better than me at HUNL/poker as a whole.” But he has committed to playing his best. And he seems to fully understand his enormous privilege. Not every player has friends willing to back and train him for a game like this.
Your fork, your knife, your A.1. sauce…
The issue of staking is a contentious one. Some of this is probably down to a belief that money is a private, vaguely shameful subject for discussion.
Despite its suspect nature, staking is still an enormous part of high stakes poker. For skilled players with small bankrolls, it is a way to break into the big leagues. For skilled players with big bankrolls, it is a way of lowering their exposure. And for unskilled players with big bankrolls, it is a way of hiring sharkier sharks to play their money for them.
However, in poker “money earned” is a key metric for judging a player’s skill. So many players view staking with a certain amount of contempt. When a player wins a few high roller tourneys and so jumps up the all-time money rankings on the Hendon Mob, how many think-tweets do the wagging tongues post, asking how much the player really made?
As a result, there is a feeling among many people that staking is somehow shameful. At the very least it constitutes buying a seat at a table they might not deserve. This somewhat explains some of the hate directed at Landon Tice since the challenge with Perkins was announced.
The mental game of poker
When a 21-year old without much high-stakes experience gets to take on a whale at $200/$400 NLH, the question of staking is unavoidable.
But beyond the rattling cries of poker-gossips, there is also a genuine strategic question. The question is: how much of his bankroll will Tice put in jeopardy when he sits down at the table?
Randy “Nanonoko” Lew put the case for full disclosure as follows: “If I was [Perkins] I would want to know how much action my opponent [Tice] was taking in the HU challenge. I imagine from the businessman’s perspective they’d love to know how much pressure they can apply to potentially get in the heads of their opponent. $200/$400 or $20/$40 NLHU?”
Now Landon has laid that out, at least in broad terms.
In the process, perhaps he has emboldened other stake-horses to be more open about the amount of themselves they’ve sold off over the years and in futurity.
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