Poker And The 'Magic: The Gathering' Elite

Looking back on various people who have helped shape the modern game of poker, Jon Finkel’s name and that of Brock Parker (pictured right) are often overlooked.
However, whereas the 33 year-old Finkel has now diversified away from poker and is currently a partner at Landscape Capital, Brock “t_soprano” Parker, 29, continues to make waves on the professional poker circuit. Parker currently has earned $1,559,941 from live tournaments including 2 WSOP bracelets, as well as $2,299,313 playing tournaments online.
One thing that both men have in common, though,is that they are both adept at playing the game ‘Magic: The Gathering,’ and been credited with influencing a whole generation of M:TG players to turn their attentions to the more lucrative pursuit of poker.
For those not familiar, “Magic: The Gathering” is a card game invented by a mathematics professor, which mixes luck and skill in a way similar to poker. Explaining why so many of his fellow “M:TG” pros were able to make a successful transition to playing poker, another accomplished M:TG player David Williams, commented:
“I think the biggest correlation is that it teaches the brain how to work. It’s problem-solving, logical deduction. Most people aren’t sharpening their brains constantly. We’ve been honing our skills for years; high-level thinking is pretty much all we do. That’s great training for playing poker under pressure.”
Jon Finkel is perhaps the best player to have played the game and in 2005 was inducted into  the MTG Hall of Fame. As Finkel explained, the skills he acquired and homed playing the game also allowed him to take his skills to the poker arena where he could “sit at my computer at home and make over a hundred bucks an hour.” That was before he started his own hedge fund in 2006.
Finkel’s M:TG fame and influence, as well as that of Parker, who was a big winner in the $20/$40 cash poker games even as far back as 1999, have been influential in introducing many former “M:TG” players to poker.
The list of poker players with a background in M:TG that have subsequently helped shape the way in which the game of poker is played forever now includes such well-known pros as Alex Borteh, Eric Froehlich, Eric Kesselman, Justin Bonomo, Noah Boeken, Isaac Haxton, Scott Seiver, Jeff Garza and Adam Levy.

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