PCA 2014: The Brain Trust discusses staking, selling and Southern accents

Who would have thought it? David Williams does a pretty good impression of Billy Baxter.

If you'd come along to the Team PokerStars Pro Q&A this morning that would have been one of the many things you would have found out, along with the fact that Vanessa Selbst considers herself a "huge secret nit". Yeah, that would have to be a pretty big secret for someone who plays $100,000 Super High Rollers.

Selbst and Williams were joined by Team PokerStars Online's Ike Haxton in front of a packed house, at least most of whom were there for more than the free pastries and coffee. It was an impressive line up, a brain trust of poker. The topic up for discussion was staking, swapping and selling.


Williams, Selbst and Haxton (l-r), better than Crosby, Stills and Nash

It quickly became apparent that the one rule is that there are no rules, but here are some key thoughts that you may want to take on board.

  • Selbst swaps 2-5% with up to eight friends, all of whom are fellow poker wizards.

  • Williams no longer swaps after realising that in his career he has swapped out $600,000-$700,000 and swapped in $0.

  • If you're backing someone then you should make sure that they have a minimum 20-25% of themselves to make sure they're mentally invested in the tournament.

  • Don't invest in people who you suspect aren't serious. If it's someone you've seen suffer from emotional swings and tilt then you're probably best steering well clear.

  • Haxton says you should consider staking as a bet. Is it a good bet or a bad bet given the mark up? If the mark up is 1.1 and you expect an average 15% return on investment then that's a good bet.

  • Mark up is the additional cost a pro believes their skill deserves. 1.1 mark up would mean that to buy $100 of someone's action would cost you $110.

  • Most staking and swapping is done by verbal agreement so make sure that you're doing it with someone who you really trust to keep up their end of the bargain.

  • Haxton has only ever got one person to sign a contract, and that was the one person who ran out on him!


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    is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.