GamingToday debuts a new poker column this week, The Poker Prodigy, written by professional player Joe Awada.
Awada’s column will focus on the techniques and strategy needed to win at poker, both for the beginning player and seasoned professional.
GT spent nearly six months searching for a new poker columnist, but "discovered" Awada just a few blocks away on Industrial Road. That’s where Awada conducts his successful business, Gaming Entertainment Inc., a creator and manufacturer of popular table games, such as 3-5-7 Poker.
Awada may not have the name recognition of a Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan or Doyle Brunson, but he is equally professional in his approach to poker.
In just a few seasons of tournament play, Awada has won two gold bracelets at the World Series of Poker and reached several final tables on the World Poker Tour. And in the Las Vegas poker rooms, Awada is respected as being one of the best in the game.
More important, Awada is dedicated in his approach to playing the game skillfully and equally adept at communicating his skills to other players.
A native of Beirut, Lebanon, Awada came to America in his early teens and once had a job as a juggler in a traveling circus.
His juggling talent was displayed on tour with the Harlem Globetrotters and eventually brought him to Las Vegas.
After a car accident, his juggling days were ended, but his gaming career had only just begun. A friend suggested he try dealing cards, which he excelled at.
The job, which included a stint at the Excalibur in Las Vegas, also exposed him to the nuances of casino poker and gaming in general.
Like many poker players, Awada began playing as a kid.
"I grew up playing five card stud, then later seven card stud," Awada says. "Stud is the original poker game and players can learn a lot from it."
One of his tasks at the Excalibur was to teach early morning poker classes in the casino.
"I would advise anyone to try one of these free casino classes," he says. "You can learn the basics, and you don’t have to lose half your bankroll in the process."
At age 46, Awada is the father of six and somewhat of a Renaissance Man. He calls No Limit Texas Hold’em, today’s most exciting poker game, "An hour of doing nothing followed by two minutes of terror."
We expect players, from novice to pro, will enjoy and benefit from his new forum in GamingToday.