Has Andy Beal Given Up Poker?

by Lou on February 11, 2006

According to a number of articles online, Andy Beal will not be participating in the 2006 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship and is apparently finished with poker. This occurred after Beal dropped $3 million in a series of $50,000-$100,000 limit hold’em matches against the Corporation, a group of professional poker players with an aggregated bankroll who took turns playing heads-up Texas hold’em against the billionaire banker, real estate mogul, and mathematical theorist.

Reports had Beal ahead about $2 million until Ted Forrest sat down and turned it into a $3 million win for the Corporation. Beal’s loss of $3 million, while seemingly an impossible sum for most people to grasp, is really only 30 big-bets at the stakes they were playing, and is akin to losing $1,200 playing $20-$40, or $240 playing $4-$8.

While losing is never fun, a 30 big-bet loss is not the end of the world. Reversals of fortune happen every day at the poker table, though they’re seldom of this magnitude. Although Beal’s PR representative stated that “. . . he’s done with poker for good,” I don’t buy it. Not for a minute. Here’s why.

· A three-million dollar loss to Andy Beal is not catastrophic. It’s not even close. He can afford it.
· Beal is an extraordinarily competitive guy. While I do expect him to lick his wounds, I don’t expect him to give up the game.

My take on all of this is that Andy Beal will sit back and think long and hard about his poker game. Once convinced that he has as much ability as his opponents, he ‘ll analyze what went wrong. Then he’ll tinker with his game in order to improve it.

And while he’s doing that, he’ll probably take things one step further by thinking about how the Corporation will adjust to any changes he makes. By doing that, he’ll have a trick or two at his disposal, ready to be pulled out of his bag, once he’s back in the game and sees Corporation players beginning to change their style based on whatever stylistic adjustments Beal made during his hiatus.

While Andy Beal may tire of poker someday, I don’t expect him to give it up now — on the heels of a loss — particularly one where he was ahead for much of the match. If he gives up poker it will be after a win, when he feels vindicated and can walk away with his head held high.

It may be a year or so before we see another Beal vs. the Corporation big money poker showdown, but we will see it. At least that’s my prediction.

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