Alex O’Brien Brings Poker Into Mainstream

By Ben Hamill - May 21 2021
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Alex O’Brien Brings Poker Into Mainstream

Imagine popular science writer and rookie Poker player Alex O’Brien’s surprise when after having won a freeroll tournament with $10,000 in prize money back in December, she would later learn of there also being a bonus prize up for grabs. And that it would be a chance to play against controversial playboy-turned-Poker ambassador Dan Bilzerian in a heads-up contest.

Obviously, given her opponent, the Poker community drew a village of support around O’Brien. For the next six months, her life would consist of preparation – learning about everything Poker, from analytics to probabilities, right through statistics, variances, and ranges, Poker became her morning, noon, and night.

And best of all – she’s now working on a book titled, “The Truth Detective”, which is essentially a personal account and thesis about how learning to play Poker changes the way we think and reason. She also explained this change in thinking from a personal point of view in a feature article written for BBC Future.

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Poker A Rich Combination

O’Brien writes how Poker is a combination and mixture of many things – with maths, endurance, determination, psychology, and even philosophy all forming part of the experience.

She also writes about the logic of Poker, and how learning the ins and outs of the game forms the student’s idea of the progression of logic and outcomes. She explains that she had to learn the value of asking questions – from herself, from the nuances of the game, and also from others.

O’Brien writes that Poker players ask themselves an entire series of questions for every hand of cards played as they try and determine and gauge things like range and the potential of possibilities ahead.

About O’Brien’s Article

O’Brien’s article covers a broad scope of information – from her heads-up with Bilzerian right through the negative gender stereotyping and discrimination she faces as a writer of mainstream science books.

She touches in her article on the challenges she’s personally had to face in creating the piece, explaining that since she’s an exceptionally private person, and that as such, laying herself bare to strangers while going through a harrowing and steep learning curve was an all-new and unusual experience for her.

According to O’Brien, part of those challenges were the many misconceptions held by the non-playing community about Poker. She expresses her gratitude to the Poker community in her article, describing how the community had welcomed her into their midst with open arms.

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