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Math Brats’ Psychology

Fearless and hyperaggressive

by Alan Schoonmaker |  Published: Sep 03, 2010

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TIME magazine rarely discusses poker, but the June 28, 2010, issue contained “Attack of the Math Brats.” It praised Phil Hellmuth’s past accomplishments, but said, “Last year it all began to fall apart. Hellmuth, 45, lost money and failed to make the final table of even one tournament for the first time in more than a decade … “He blames the new breed of math nerd. … ‘The reason I won 11 bracelets is my ability to read opponents. … These new guys are focused on the math. And they are changing everything.’” The article continued: “In the past few years, hold’em has evolved … into a hyperaggressive contest for betting bullies who risk all their chips at bizarre moments.” When David Sklansky and I discussed this article, he said that it missed an important psychological point. Mathematical players tend to be nerds, but the math brats don’t play that ...


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