How to Play Poker Basics
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Texas Holdem Rules
Texas Hold'em Games
Omaha Poker Scooping
World Poker Tour
Official Poker Rankings
One of the reasons for poker's explosive
growth has been the diversity of players that play the game. No longer is poker just a domain of older white western gentlemen. Online poker has
brought younger players to the game. Ladies tournaments are bringing more women to the game. Paul Darden’s goal is to bring poker to the African
American community. “There is going to be salt and pepper all over the casinos when they see me win a big event,” Paul was quoted as saying in an
interview. However, Paul’s fans are not limited to the African American community.
He’s got a cool demeanor and one mean poker game. He exudes confidence at the poker table. The fact that he has also been a music and club promoter
adds to his cache. Despite this marketability, Darden is not concerned about playing to the camera or positioning himself as a poker celebrity.
He is the real deal – he plays cards for a living, which has just happened to make him a celebrity.
Paul grew up in the ghettos of New Haven, Connecticut. He got mixed up with the wrong crowd, hanging out with robbers and drug dealers. At 15, he
was accused of murder. He was acquitted, a case of mistaken identity. The experience motivated him to turn his life around. He credits poker with
being one of the moderating forces in his life. As a high school drop out, there were not a lot of options for him to earn a legitimate income, but
Foxwoods Casino had opened nearby. He was soon able to make a living beating the local games. He also traveled to Atlantic City to play in the
$75-$150 Stud games. This is where he met his friend and mentor, Phil Ivey.
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Seven Card Stud was the game of choice of poker players in the Northeast in the 1990’s and Darden was no different. While he is still considered a
Stud specialist (He holds a World Series of Poker bracelet in the game), he credits Phil Ivey with encouraging him to play other games, more
specifically No Limit Hold’em. Phil told Paul that his aggressive style would be suited to the game and gave him some pointers that allowed him to
be more successful. Paul was soon cashing in at major no limit tournaments.
There are some tournament players who have had success at tournaments by adopting a super aggressive, “No Foldem Holdem” style of poker. Most of
these types of players are not successful over the long term. Paul, while aggressive, believes that patience is one of the most important
characteristics that a poker player can have. He pays close attention to his opponents, waiting for opportunities to strike. Paul also seeks out
role models, trying to learn from the very best in the game. It is these characteristics that make it likely we will be seeing Paul on the
tournament circuit for years to come.
On one of Paul's trips to the Bicycle Casino's Legends of Poker Series, he spent one evening playing on
Live at the Bike. I was the commentator on this particular night
so I caught a glimpse of his playing style. He was unbelievably patient and made a couple of incredible reads. Although he was playing in our
biggest unrestricted No Limit Game, the money on the table didn't compare to the money the players spent on their jewelry. The thing about Paul
is that the look suited him. He didn't give the impression he was trying to look cool… He just is cool.
Paul has one World Series of Poker bracelet. He won the $2500 Seven Card Stud event in 2001. Other accomplishments include a first place finish at the
Lucky Chances No Limit World Poker Tour Event (2002), a first
place at the $1,500 No Limit Championship Event at Foxwoods, a fifth place finish at the WPT Party Poker Million season three Limit Hold’em Event
(2005), a first place finish at the $2500 Mirage Poker Showdown No-Limit Event, and a first place finish at the $1500 Mirage Poker Showdown Omaha
Hi/Lo event. Paul has also been featured on the World Poker Tour's "Bad Boys of Poker" episode.