You gotta know when to hold em'

WITH all the rubbish that's floating around at the moment about drugs and corruption in sport, I went looking elsewhere this week and found a man who has no need at all for any of that stuff to succeed in his chosen field.

Now there's a lot of debate about whether or not Texas hold 'em poker is a sport as such.

But the amount of coverage it's gets on worldwide television and the sheer numbers that play locally and Australia wide suggest the answer is clear as day.

Queanbeyan local Miko Martinovic has been a veteran of the local scene for over 10 years and is now starting to reap the benefits of the fine skills he has honed on the tables over the years.

The most insightful thing I learnt from Martinovic is that once you reach a certain level of mental prowess, it all comes down to the luck of the cards.

"The beauty of poker is that once you have your opponents figured out, there's only one way to lose" said Martinovic.

"I've watched thousands of hours of poker and probably played double that amount, and after so long, it's only a bad hand that will get the better of you IF you have played your own cards right."

Recently, the man known as "The Scorpion" wiped the tables clean, winning the regional Full Throttle tournament final comprising the best players from Canberra, Queanbeyan and surrounds.

Winning this tournament has given Martinovic the opportunity to compete in a $1 million game in November later this year at Star City in Sydney.

But for Martinovic, even the excitement of being dealt a million dollar hand can't compete with news that the World Series of Poker is set to make its Australian debut in April.

And Martinovic said he'd be doing everything in his power to secure his own seat at the world's highest profile table.

"[The World Series] is definitely the grand daddy of world poker, the Superbowl, the World Cup, whatever you want to call it," grinned Martinovic.

"Aussie Joe Hachem has won a bracelet before and I would love to follow in his footsteps and really put my name up in lights.Though it's going to be a huge challenge to concentrate for days on end to get to the final table".

The tournament will be held for 11 days and will feature the best poker players in the world including a massive contingent of online schemers who specialise in playing over their internet connection.

It must be a strange feeling to enter the live realm and start staring into people's eyes as opposed to bluffing people's profile pictures.

The way Martinovic has been playing we could very well see him on ESPN later this year taking home the biggest prize on poker's grandest stage. 

Stephen Peios is a weekly contributor to Qbn FM's The Sports Drive program broadcast every Friday evening on QBN FM 96.7 from 5-7pm.

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