Important Poker Lessons We Learned In 2015

January 2nd, 2016 | by Brian Corlisse
Biggest poker lessons 2015

Check out the biggest poker lessons we learned in 2015, including why you should never count out Phil Ivey. (Image:

To become a better poker player you need to learn from your mistakes, so before we head into 2016 we thought we’d run through some of the biggest news stories that taught us some valuable lessons.

Don’t Forget to Call Chesnoff

Forget calling Saul, if you really want to get yourself out of a tight spot then hotshot attorney to poker’s elite, David Chesnoff, is your man.

Despite the odds being stacked against him after an FBI sting operation, Paul Phua managed to escape the federal justice system in 2015 thanks, in part, to Chesnoff.

Having represented a number of high profile poker players and gamblers in the past, such as Phil Ivey, Chesnoff was the “go to” man for Phua when he faced a lengthy prison sentence following his arrest for allegations of running an illegal sportsbook.

Despite many of his associates cutting plea bargains with the authorities, Chesnoff and Phua remained resolute in their defense and refused to bow to the FBI’s pressure. Eventually, after months of battling back and forth, Chesnoff put in a masterful performance that unraveled the case against Phua.

Stating that the FBI’s actions against Phua were illegal, Chesnoff managed to have the bulk of the evidence against his client thrown out.

That ruling left the FBI’s case in tatters and Phua able to head back to his mansion as a free man.

Dan Bilzerian Could Have Been President

As crazy as it sounds, there was a point in 2015 when it looked as though Dan Bilzerian would be running for president of the United States.

While some would argue that he could have been a better fit for the White House than Donald Trump will be, it seems that Bilzerian’s efforts were more of a PR stunt than a serious bid.

However, when the news first broke it certainly piqued the community’s interest. Would he be the man to finally exile Sheldon Adelson to a Caribbean island and legalize online poker in the US once and for all? There’s no doubt that the millionaire playboy could have done some interesting things as president, but it’s unlikely he’d have ever been a real contender.

Of course, that’s not the end of the story when it comes to Bilzerian and his political connections.

Anyone with a long memory will remember the famous image of Bilzerian and Rand Paul playing poker, so there’s still a chance he could find his way to the White House if for no other reason than to play poker.

Don’t Play Punto Banco with Phil Ivey

The long running Phil Ivey vs. Crockfords vs. the Borgata punto banco feud took a new turn in 2015 after the poker pro was given a second shot at glory.

Despite being told by the High Court in London that he wasn’t able to claim the £7.8 million ($11.7 million) he won playing punto banco at Crockfords, a fresh judge decided to grant him an appeal at the end of November.

Reviewing the case and agreeing with Ivey’s legal team that edge sorting doesn’t necessarily constitute cheating, the judge gave Ivey the chance to contest the original ruling and resume his fight for the cash.

Regardless of how his efforts against Crockfords and the Borgata go, the lesson we should all take away from the story is that you should never count out Phil Ivey. Even if it looks as though his on the ropes, the sneaky pro always manages to find a way to win.

Chips and Toilet’s Don’t Mix

It’s unlikely he ever thought that tipping poker chips down the toilet was a good idea, but just I case you did then it’s worth remembering the story of Christian Lusardi.

The infamous Borgata chip smuggler had already faced an initial trial for his crimes in 2014, but in 2015 he finally found out his fate.

Already behind bars for separate counterfeiting crimes relating to bootlegged DVDs, Lusardi eventually struck a plea deal that helped reduce his sentence.

Unfortunately, the deal wasn’t sweet enough to set Lusardi free. In fact, after admitting to creating counterfeit poker chips, introducing them into the Borgata Winter Poker Open and causing Harrah’s toilets to flood after trying to dispose of them, Lusardi was slapped with a fine worth $470,000+.

A total of $463,540 was owed to the Borgata for lost revenue brought about by having to cancel the Winter Poker Open and a further $9,455 was owed to Harrah’s for damaging the toilet. In addition to an eye-watering fine, Lusardi was also hit with a five-year prison sentence on top of the term he’s already serving.

Don’t Bring a Gun to a Poker Game

Students at the University of Oregon found out a valuable lesson in 2015: don’t offer guns as poker prizes.

Despite there being no rules against it, the Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Oregon received a ton of negative feedback from staff, fellow students and anti-gun lobbyists after the news went public.

The plan was to host a charity poker tournament on campus and giveaway a range of prizes, including a.40S&W Sig Sauer handgun and a Weatherby Vanguard 243 Rifle with a Simmons Scope 3.5-10/40.

Unfortunately, the event hit a roadblock when certain university faculties refused to host the event.

Eventually, however, the tournament went ahead, but not before the student group learned that giving away guns as prizes in a poker tournament probably isn’t the best idea in the world.


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