I’m lucky to have won. Studying may have improved my odds a little, but I think the ultimate reason for my victory was luck.
Motoyoshi Okamura (42), with a literal poker face, talks plainly about the reason for his victory.
With a population of over 100 million players, poker is played in over 170 countries around the world and is called the pinnacle of mind sports. Okamura is the winner of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the world’s largest poker tournament, which was held in Las Vegas, U.S. for about two months from September this year. Okamura is a world champion who won the WSOP (World Series of Poker), the world’s largest poker tournament, which was held in Las Vegas for two months from September this year.
This was my first time to participate in the WSOP. This was my first time at the WSOP. There are many different types of poker, the most popular being No Limit Hold’em, where you combine the two cards dealt to you with the cards on the board. The game I won was a “mixed game,” in which I alternated between No Limit and the next most popular game, Pot Limit Omaha, eight times each. There were about 850 people from all over the world competing in this event.
So far, five Japanese have become WSOP champions, but Okamura has a unique background that sets him apart from all the other champions.
I started playing poker about a year and a half ago. I’m a general producer of idols for an entertainment agency, and due to the Covid-19 disaster, I couldn’t do any live performances at all. I had some time on my hands, and one of my juniors said to me, “There’s a boom in poker right now, so why don’t you play? That’s when I started.
He started playing poker just for fun, but he quickly became addicted to it.
I realized that poker is not only a game of luck, but also a game where you can win if you study hard, and I was hooked. I realized that poker is not only a game of luck, but also a game where you can win if you study hard. I got a coach this year, but until then, I studied on my own for about eight hours a day. I had unlimited time, so I would play poker from the time I woke up until I went to bed. Even now, no matter how busy I am, I still make time to study for a few hours every day.
Nowadays, with the development of AI and calculation software, poker players are getting answers to the patterns of how to act in this situation to get the expected value more easily, and my main study is to put them together in my own way. It’s not that you can win every time if you learn the patterns, but the fact that there is a large element of luck is one of the appealing aspects of poker.
The prize money for winning the WSOP is about 24 million Japanese yen. Okamura explains how he will use the prize money.
I will use all the prize money to fund my participation in the tournament. To be honest, I’m not interested in the prize money at all, since I run a solar power-related company and a forest development company in addition to my entertainment agency. I had calculated that it would take me about 70 years to win the WSOP, so I thought winning would be a lifelong goal. I was lucky enough to achieve that, and I’d like to pursue poker in the future. I also like working as an idol, so I’m going to take that seriously as well, and eventually I’d like to be based overseas and live while playing poker.
It looks like the challenge of the world’s fastest champion will continue.
From the December 17 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Hiroyuki Komatsu (1st photo)