In December StarCraft legend BoxeR announced he would become a poker pro so we spoke to Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier to find out who has a shot at following in their footsteps.
Grospellier transitioned from StarCraft to poker in the mid-2000s and has since earned more than $11 million playing live and online. He's the highest-earning poker player from France and was the fourth player to ever win poker's triple crown.
According to ElkY StarCraft players already have what it takes to become good poker players and should look at poker as a way to make money with their gaming skills.
ElkY says willpower, performing under pressure and creative thinking are just some of the abilities StarCraft players have already developed that would serve them well at the poker table.
Starcraft Skills Equal Poker Success
And SC skills lend themselves especially well to online poker where quick clicking and decision-making allow you to make more money by playing more tables at the same time.
ElkY used the skills he learned in the pro-gaming world to set the Guiness World Record for most single-table sit & goes in one hour.
We reached the French poker pro via email to find out who else in the pro-StarCraft world should consider making the switch to poker.
PokerListings: Recently the Starcraft player Lim Yo Hwan (BoxeR) signed an endorsement deal with a poker room and said he's going to become a poker pro. Is BoxeR really the best SC player of all time?
ElkY: He is in the eyes of many, myself included. He had the longest period of dominance over the whole scene and stayed on top forever.
"I really have utmost respect for BoxeR and all he's achieved."
I really have utmost respect for him and all he's achieved. He truly is the biggest legend of the game.
Of the other top SC players who do you think would make the best poker players and why?
Grrr is my good friend and a very good poker player. Although he stays most of the time under the radar he did final-table APPT Macau with me in 2007.
Nada is such a creative genius, I don't see how he could fail at anything he tries. He's probably the second-biggest legend behind boxer!
Most of the other top players now started to excel either towards the end of my career or when I quit so it’s hard for me to make a good judgement, but in general they all would be really good if they give themselves the opportunity.
What skills do you develop in SC that lend themselves to online or live poker?
There are so many skills that SC Pros can use in poker. First, as with every every world-class competitive discipline, the willpower and ability to perform well under pressure as well as resilience and mental strength are a huge pre-requisite.
It’s critical in poker as well to be able to keep your calm and focus under pressure, as you need to when you play huge finals in a stadium of 30,000 people or more!
Also the fact that both games are of incomplete information due to the fog of war in Starcraft, it makes meta-game very important and a psychological war as well as technical and strategic.
Add to that the fact that Starcraft requires insane APM (Action Per Minute) of up to 400 for the best players to perform at top level, as well as crazy hand-eye coordination, and no wonder they can multi-table effortlessly.
"For the top players I think they can easily make the switch."
SC requires a lot of creativity also to be able to come up with new strategies all the time, and the same is true for poker in order to surprise your opponents.
Is poker something that all good SC players should consider as a way to make money with their gaming skills?
For the top players I think they can easily make the switch. As they both require willpower and discipline at the top level.
Poker needs more of it because the variance can be tough to handle, but I suggest SC players give poker a try for sure!
Are there other SC players we don't know about that have successfully taken up poker?
Ryan Daut used to be an SC player (winner of PCA 2007), as well as my friend Daniel Schreiber (rekrul, WSOP HU bracelet winner in 2007) and a bunch of others.