Archive forDecember, 2009

Sam Farha poker pro

From video games to pinball to gambling, poker is why Sam Farha reflects on his early years in gambling and a misguided if successful youth.

Sammy Farha does not present himself as a particularly imposing fellow. Dressed to the nines in his favorite Italian leisure suit, he hardly inspires any deep visceral warnings. His casual demeanor, smooth charm, and broad smile are more likely to draw you in than send you running for the safety of higher ground.

Being five-feet, eight-inches tall (if that), probably does not strike much fear in the hearts of opponents, either. But get your chips in the pot against this World Series of Poker bracelet winner and you will quickly realize that this grinning, Marlboro-chomping Cheshire cat has got some claws and you are the rodent de jour.

With his aggressive, calculating style and trademark unlit cigarette (he replaces it whenever he starts feeling unlucky) pressed between his lips, this ultra-slick poker icon has become one of the most recognizable faces in the poker world. He has cashed in 11 major events, has won millions in international tournaments, and taken home two bracelets for Omaha in the World Series of Poker. But surprisingly, poker is not how the man who epitomizes the term “shark” thought he would be spending his life.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1959, Farha spent much of his early years confronted with the fear and uncertainty of a nation ravaged by civil war. Strangely enough, it was amidst this turmoil that Farha first began his love affair with poker, sort of. “Since I was young, I always liked games, especially card games. I was really good at all card games,” recalls Farha. “But I never played poker back then. I was interested in pinball and arcade games. I was raised in a civil war so I did not have a lot of choices, and instead of hiding in a shelter, I would go to amusement centers. That is how we used to spend our time: playing these games and shooting pool.”

A good training it seems as Sammy is nowadays one of the best and most feared poker player in the world, especially in pot-limit Omaha.

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