AirTalk for May 27, 2013

How online gambling forever changed the game…and the players

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Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback’s new book, “Ship It Holla Ballas!” looks at how online gambling changed the poker industry.

Professional poker players Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback could not believe their eyes at the 2006 World Series of Poker – Players barely legal to play the game were holding their own against veteran poker players. How did they play (and win) millions of hands before they were of legal gambling age?

The internet. Grotenstein and Reback’s new book, “Ship It Holla Ballas!” looks at the legacy of the Holla Ballas, a crew of young college dropouts that collectively won $40 million in poker before they were 30 years old.

Andrew Robl, or known online as Good2cu, was an avid video gamer and working as a janitor for some cash when he was in high school. When he got introduced and addicted to the world of online gambling, he formed the Holla Ballas. Members of group would play as many as 12 online games at a time, travel the world in hotel rooms, and drop tens of thousands on drinks and strippers. They spent big and lived fast. As Robl documented their life online, they became internet and poker celebrities. In “Ship It Holla Ballas,” Grotenstein and Reback write about how they trashed hotel rooms, crashed a BMW, and made $5,000 by jumping into shark-infested waters.

How did the internet change poker? What happens to young players? Do they have the maturity to handle the fast gains and losses of the game? Or do they have an advantage because they have nothing to lose? What happened to the Holla Ballas crew?

Guest:
Jonathan Grotenstein, author of “Ship It Holla Ballas”


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