Known fondly as The Professor in the Poker circles, Howard Lederer initially had a penchant for chess. He did not take time to get hooked to poker played at the same club he played chess. Understandably, both being mind games! Working relentlessly for almost 70-80 hrs a week initially, Poker was the only thing on Howard’s mind when he discovered the game. “Haste makes waste” was the lesson he learned and took off slowly but steadily from thereon. The Professor’s game really progressed at the Mayfair Club which was considered to be the most prestigious bridge and backgammon club in those days. He played his way up and was one of the initial members of the No-Limit Holdem format when it was first adopted in New York. Everyone being new to the game only helped. Since there was no then restrain on trying out new things.
Quoting Richard Bach, “You teach best what you most need to learn”; Howard’s lessons to his sister Annie Duke proved invaluable for himself. As she progressed in the game, her questions became more challenging, which ultimately raised the bar for both of them. They were the first brother-sister duo to make it to the Final WSOP poker table where the student outsmarted the teacher!
To completely focus on his game, Howard moved to Las Vegas with his family. From there on there was no looking back. He maintained consistency in his play routine and played a variety of cash games and then WPT’s. He played a variety of games including No-Limit Deuce to Seven Draw, Limit Omaha Hi/Lo and won Hall of Fame poker titles or the gold bracelets at WSOP.
Howard won his first WPT Championship in 2003, Howard won his second WPT Championship title in the $5,000 Limit Hold ’em event on The Poker Million cruise. Just one month later, Howard won the first of his three Bellagio titles in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold ’em event at the 2003 Bellagio Five-Star World Poker Classic. His second Bellagio win was in the $2,500 No-Limit Hold ’em event in April 2004. His third Bellagio title came just 13 days later in the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event.
Further soldering his nickname of “The Professor”, Howard runs a sort of an academy for his passion known as Poker Fantasy Camp where people can play with and learn from the best in the game. While not at the game, Howard enjoys family life in Las Vegas with his wife and son and enjoys movies and golf.
In summation, Howard Lederer’s philosophy relating Zen and the Art of Archery to Poker is worthy of mention. My interpretation of the same is as follows:
Preserve the beginners’ passion and keep an open mind.
Be a student and humbly accept that there is someone better at the game from whom loads can be learnt.
There is no final destination in the journey of perfection.
It takes dedication and commitment to evolve intuition in the game. Let the effort of involved in the game become effortless.
Well, this Professor certainly practices what he preaches!