Andy Beal. Even if you do know the story of the billionaire banker from Texas
and his challenges with a group of the best poker players in the world,
you've probably never seen his face. And now, chances are that you never
will. Beal, the billionaire banker from Texas, has apparently backed out of
a scheduled appearance in the 2006 National Heads Up Poker Championship and
is "done with poker for good." It appears that the man who became famous
taking on the world's best in matches of heads-up limit hold'em never wanted
his fame and is stepping aside before the spotlight arrives.
Those who don't already know the story of Beal taking on "the Corporation"
should do themselves a favor and pick up
The Professor, The Banker, and the Suicide King by Michael Craig.
It's a spectacular history of Beal's challenges against the best in the
world. Craig describes how, through sheer effort, Beal made himself into a
formidable opponent for the top players in the world today. He studied up on
limit hold'em and dedicated himself to being completely unreadable to his
opponents. Beal also wielded a psychological weapon against his opponents:
he forced them to play at higher stakes than they'd ever played.
In the beginning, the effect of playing larger stakes than those to which they
were accustomed was the same for the professionals as it is for players much
lower on the food chain who play above their heads - they were intimidated.
Beal was able to put many of the pros off their games simply by being
aggressive with them. As time went by, though, the pros were able to get a
definite advantage over Beal. A big part of this was due to the pros
combining their bankrolls to withstand the swings of the levels Beal wanted
to play, but the play of individuals like Ted Forrest and Todd Brunson
against Beal helped the Corporation to come out ahead in all the previous
This time around, Beal met with the Corporation at the Wynn in Las Vegas for
another $50,000-100,000 heads-up limit hold'em match. Beal didn't choose his
opponents, so the lineup that faced him switched several times. He lost to
Jennifer Harman but won back that and more from Ted Forrest. He won about
$600,000 from David Grey in a very short span and was ahead in the
neighborhood of $1.3 million after the first three days of play. Then,
things changed. Ted Forrest took down a $4 million win against Beal and put
the Corporation up approximately $2.2 million. After a day of playing Todd
Brunson, Beal finally called it quits and left Las Vegas to go back home to
When Beal ended his last match against the Corporation he said he was finished
with poker, but he came back again early this year. That makes it hard to
say whether his pledge this time around that he's done with the game will
hold true. On one hand, Beal has truly done it all - he's played the biggest
game in the world and gave the biggest names in the poker world a run for
their money. On the other hand, he didn't win - and he's got a history of
coming back when he says he's finished. As time goes by, Beal's notoriety
will likely grow to legendary status in the poker world even if his hands
never touch the felt again. His fame will rest on the strong shoulders of
his determination and courage in taking on the best poker players in the
world - those are qualities that aren't easily forgotten.