Patrick Nolan: The Poker of the Opera – PokerTube

05 Dec


The words “poker” and “opera” have about as much in common as Phil Hellmuth and proper table etiquette. Poker exists in the gambling space and even though it’s a game of skill, it’s still considered by many to be somewhat controversial due to its dubious history, full of cheaters and the occasional gunfights.

Opera, on the other hand, is one of the few remaining bastions of high art in the world dominated by highly commercialized pop culture. Turns out that a prominent figure in the world of the aforementioned high art, Patrick Nolan, artistic director and CEO of the Queensland Opera, likes to subvert the sacred-profane dichotomy by using the skills that he gained as an amateur poker player in his dignified day job. A heavily poker themed interview with Nolan was recently published in the Financial Review.

Poker as a Part of Balanced Life

Nolan’s introduction to poker mirrors the experience of many other players. Patrick played his first sessions at the kitchen table with his grandfather and other family members: 

“My grandfather was a professional gambler. I was playing poker as a very small child, since I was under the age of 10. My grandfather was Lebanese and came from a very big family. I have strong memories of sitting around the dining table with him and his brothers playing poker, pontoon and gin rummy. They always played for something, but they would manipulate it so that the grandchildren would win occasionally.”

Artistic director of the Queensland Opera mentions the fact that those games were “full of love”. The memory of that experience full of nostalgia and joy stands in opposition to the views of some members of the general public, who consider poker to be dysfunctional and certainly not something that

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