Deal Me In -- Poker Pro Howard Lederer
An Exclusive Excerpt from Phil Hellmuth's New Book
In its pages are never-before-revealed details of the lives of some of the biggest names in poker. Phil Hellmuth’s new book profiles 20 of the biggest poker players in the world, giving the reader an intimate look at the game’s biggest celebrities.
Deal Me In, a collection of autobiographical accounts from many of poker’s elite, is now available to order online exclusively at www.pokerbrat.com. The book highlights the struggles, obstacles, and tragedies that 20 of the greatest poker pros have overcome in their journeys to the top.
CardPlayer.com is providing exclusive excerpts from the book. This week’s passage focuses on Howard Lederer, one of the most recognizes faces in the game. Lederer talks about his introduction to the game in this excerpt:
“During my teen years, I attended a private school. As a senior, I was allowed to undertake one term of independent study. I decided to go to New York City for two months to study with an international chess master. I had just turned 18.
“My study plan included a lesson once a week with the master, and lots of homework studying chess literature. I played in weekend tournaments at the Chess Center of New York. When I visited the club, I discovered that chess wasn’t the only game being played: there was a small $0.25-$1 limit poker game in the back of the room.
“I was completely into chess at the time, so at first the poker game didn’t hold my interest. I remember sitting in a few times. I played mostly because I enjoyed the competition, and socializing with the players. They were interesting characters with lots of great stories to tell. But I didn’t understand what a great game poker is. I saw it more as a game of chance and not a test of skill.
“At the end of my senior year, I was accepted to Columbia University, but I decided to defer my education for a year and continue my independent study. I was going to rent a room at a hotel, get a temporary job, and become a chess professional—that was my goal.
“I moved to New York in mid-June with $2,000 in my pocket. When I returned to the Chess Center, however, I found myself more drawn to poker than to chess. I began playing in the backroom game on a regular basis, but within two weeks I was broke.
“I was disappointed, but I had a lot of pride and didn’t want to return home with my tail between my legs. I had an idea. The July 4th weekend was approaching and the Chess Center was closing. Everyone was heading to the World Chess Open in Pennsylvania. I approached the owner of the Center and made him an offer: if he’d let me stay in the club over the weekend while it was closed, I’d clean the entire place, making it spotless by the time he returned. He agreed, and when he came back, the Center was spotless.
“He was so pleased he said I could continue to live at the Center. In return, my job was to get the poker room cleaned and ready for play each night. In addition, I was to take food and drink orders from the players—which I would fill from the deli across the street. For this, I received good tips. The money was used to play in chess tournaments on weekends and in buy-ins for nightly poker games. I lived at that Chess Center for almost half a year.”
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