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Alex Rodriguez plays high-stakes poker, but is he any good?

Aug 5, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT


OK, so at this point we know that Alex Rodriguez regularly played poker, usually for a lot of money and with some shady people, but one thing I haven’t heard addressed is whether he’s actually any good. Until yesterday, that is.

I was watching a recent episode of NBC’s late-night show “Poker After Dark” on my DVR when the players at the $100,000 buy-in table began sharing their experiences playing in cash games with Rodriguez.

Their talking about him was purely a coincidence, since the episode was taped months before the various allegations surfaced this week, but I thought the discussion was interesting. You can watch the episode online, but here’s a transcript of the Rodriguez-related banter that occurred as part of some more general chatter about high-stakes mixed games:

Mike Matusow: I heard A-Rod was playing $50-$100 no-limit.

Jean-Robert Bellande: Yeah, we’ll add no-limit [to the mix] for the right guy.

Michael Mizrachi: Does he play mixed [games] or just no-limit?

Mike Matusow: No-limit.

Jean-Robert Bellande: We just play no-limit with him. And then we just switch right back to the mix as soon as he gets up [from the table].

Chris Ferguson: How does he play?

Jean-Robert Bellande: I thought he played fine. I wouldn’t say he plays great, I wouldn’t say he plays awful.

Michael Mizrachi: If he plays fine, that’s really good.

Roughly translated: Rodriguez plays strictly no-limit hold ’em, but the professional poker players are willing to abandon the other games in their usual “mix” to accommodate his action. So while Jean-Robert Bellande says “he played fine” the fact that high-stakes pros are willing to completely alter the games being played in order to keep him at the table tells you plenty about whether Rodriguez can hold his own or not. He’s the fish.

And there’s no shame in that. I’m pretty much obsessed with poker and would probably get my clock cleaned if I sat down at the table in question, with the main difference being that Rodriguez can actually afford to sit at a $50-$100 no-limit table and probably doesn’t mind dusting off $50,000 in the name of having a good time playing with the big boys. After all, he makes about $200,000 per day at his real job.

  1. FC - Aug 5, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Besides he’s a professional baseball player not a professional poker plate, of course these guys will rake in the dough when he sits down.

    • FC - Aug 5, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      *poker player, not poker plate!!! stupid auto-complete… EDIT FUNCTION!

      • Panda Claus - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:24 PM

        So you’re saying he’s a true professional that happens to have a lot on his plate?


  2. dbick - Aug 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    I’m not an A-Rod fan, but he could be a fine poker player but when you’re in a cash game with those guys you are always going to be the fish. Those dudes don’t play around.

  3. spudchukar - Aug 5, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Gleeman, the most intriguing part of this tale is you, recording TV Poker, and then playing it back late at night. As if blogging all day from your basement wasn’t wasteful enough. Dude, there are other things in life, like Girls.

    • Alex K - Aug 5, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      And the sun, and wearing pants.

      • Charles Gates - Aug 5, 2011 at 11:59 AM

        I like the sun, girls and no pants.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:07 PM

        Can we have the girls with no pants come out in the sun? That would be something…

      • Alex K - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:29 PM

        I like the turn this has taken.

    • yankeesgameday - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      Most important mini discussion of the day.

  4. seanmk - Aug 5, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Jean-Robert Bellande is fun to watch. very entertaining

    • phukyouk - Aug 5, 2011 at 1:07 PM

      hes a huge douche. in my 5 WSOP experiances i have sat with him 3 times. hes just as big a douche away from the cameras as he is in front.

      • seanmk - Aug 5, 2011 at 2:12 PM

        no doubt, but he’s still hilarious.

  5. virusgvr - Aug 6, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Ehhhhh… Screw it, he makes 200,000 a day at his normal job it’s all good! What a joke!

  6. macjacmccoy - Aug 6, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    “So while Jean-Robert Bellande says “he played fine” the fact that high-stakes pros are willing to completely alter the games being played in order to keep him at the table tells you plenty about whether Rodriguez can hold his own or not. He’s the fish.”

    What? No it doesnt. It means he is a celebrity that they want to hang out with. I mean sure to them he is lesser competition and an easier get but I doubt thats why they change the rules for him. Celebs and athletes get rules changed for them all the time bc people want to be around them. I bet(get it) if he was playing for minimal cash those guys would still accommodate him because hes Alex Rodriguez.

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