Cleaning poker chips, catching up with Pratyush Buddiga & boxer David Haye’s poker documentary

June 10, 2020inPoker

We share another look poker recently popping up in the mainstream news, including items in The South Florida Sun Sentinel, Duke University’s The Chronicle, The Portugal News, and The Evening Standard.

The gradual, cautious reopening of casinos across the world has been a central story over recent weeks. Poker rooms are being opened, too, although often with extra guidelines to help limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

Requirements or recommendations to wear masks, limits to how many can sit at a poker table at once, and other measures have been instituted. But what about those poker chips the players necessarily are passing back and forth as they play? Dealers and cashiers have to handle them, too.

Anyone who has ever played spent significant time playing live poker knows how dirty chips can pose a problem when it comes to germs and their spread.

Everyone wants to collect chips, but no one wants to collect germs

Chips are used in other games besides poker, too, of course. Keeping chips clean on a regular basis has become a new priority in casinos that are starting to open back up.

According to the American Gaming Association, there are 989 casinos operating in the United States. At one point all 989 of them were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but as of this morning 569 are open.

In Florida most casinos are still closed. However three of the Native American-owned ones are up and running. The South Florida Sun Sentinel did a quick survey of those locations to see how they are going about keeping the chips clean. The report includes what they are doing in Las Vegas casinos, too,

If you’re a live poker player, you might find interesting this report of how portable chip sanitizers, disinfectants, ultrasonic cleaners, and even a convection oven figure into the new protocols.

READ: “How are casinos planning on cleaning gambling chips? It depends on who you ask”

By the way, if you’re curious to learn more about the path those poker chips take to reach the tables, we covered that for you here at PokerStars Blog a few months back.

READ: “Chips with everything: A close look at how poker chips are made”

Also appearing a few days ago was an interview in the Duke University newspaper The Chronicle, a fun bit of catching-up with former poker pro Pratyush Buddiga.

You might recall Buddiga as a regular on the live tournament scene for several years during the mid-2010s when he was one of the top-ranked players in the world. We at PokerStars Blog remember Buddiga well, including from his appearance in multiple winner’s photos.

Pratyush Buddiga after winning the EPT Barcelona €25K High Roller in 2016

You might also recall how as a child Buddiga was the 2002 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion.

One January several years back I was flying home from a PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and Buddiga and I just happened to draw seats next to each other. I enjoyed our conversation very much as we traveled back to Charlotte, North Carolina, despite the fact that as I am a UNC-Chapel Hill alum he and I should rightly be mortal enemies.

Buddiga has now moved away from poker, having retired in 2017 to explore other interests and occupations. He is currently the Chief of Staff at Volley Inc., a company that makes entertainment for Alexa and Google Home. At the moment Volley has the top-ranked game on Alexa, and seven of the top 20.

In the interview Buddiga talks about his experience at Duke, the “collaborative” atmosphere of learning on campus, and his favorite class and professor. He also talks about how it was during those years he became serious about poker, too.

READ: “Interview with Duke alum and poker star Pratyush Buddiga”

Referring to Buddiga’s spelling bee and poker successes, not to mention his entrepreneurial achievements, the article speculates that “competition may be his drug of choice.”

Of course, there are many connections between various other forms of competition — including sports — and poker. Former golf pro Neil Connolly recently wrote a column for The Portugal Times in which he highlighted those connections in a story about coaching younger players.

In his article Connolly talks about how he always asks questions of new students to learn their backgrounds. It’s the sort of thing any coach or teacher should do, as knowing your students better helps a lot when it comes to figuring out how best to help them improve.

Recently he asked a new student “Is there anything that you’ve done in your past or are doing currently which you are good at?” His student answered that he was a professional poker player.

“I immediately knew this beginner golfer had a lot of the mental attributes to be successful at golf,” says Connolly.

Check out why Connolly believes the mental challenge of poker translates so well to the golf course.

READ: “Poker face”

Finally, you might have missed this from a short while back. There’s a new documentary out about David Haye, the U.K. professional boxer whose career spanned nearly two decades before he retired in 2018.

Nicknamed “The Hayemaker,” Haye won world championships as both a cruiserweight and a heavyweight during his illustrious career.

The documentary isn’t about his past career, though. It’s about his next one, in a way. Namely, the doc focuses on Haye’s post-boxing efforts to become a professional poker player.

After studying with poker pros Katie Swift, Joe Beevers, and Jeff Kimber, Haye took his shot at the Grosvenor Casinos Goliath 2019. It was a humbling experience for Haye, who soon realized poker didn’t come quite as naturally to him as did boxing. Rather, learning to play the game well requires serious, intense effort.

David Haye, boxing champ and aspiring poker player (Fitness Professional / CC BY-ND 2.0)

Before the Goliath at Grosvenor, Haye played in an Asia Poker Tour event in Manila where he cashed in 28th out of a 211-entry field. How did he do at the Grosvenor? You’ll have to watch the documentary to find out.

The film has a great title — David vs Goliath. For more about it, check out the preview in The Evening Standard below.

READ: “David vs Goliath: Haye swaps boxing ring for poker table in new Amazon Prime documentary”


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