Team owner Jerry Buss is the world-class poker stud — he finished third in the 1991 World Series of Poker and has been a top player for decades. He even skipped the Lakers championship parade to play in a seedy poker room.
Apparently Jordan Farmar wants to kiss up to the big boss as his contract is up in a couple seasons — that or he wants a second career if he doesn’t get a contract he likes. Farmar entered this year’s World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas, ponying up $10,000 to sit down with a stack of chips.
And by the end of day one, he had more than $100,000 in chips. And at one point was in ninth place. At the end of day two he had $160,000 and appeared safely headed to day three of the tournament. ESPN camera crews are focused more on him now than they were in the NBA Finals.
Jordan, playing poker with your boss is pretty unusual, but it probably follows the same rules as playing golf with your boss — don’t beat him. With the NBA salary cap falling faster than a blue chip stock, Buss is already looking for places to trim the Lakers payroll. You go out and beat him at his favorite past time and you might as well be Shaq running down the court in preseason looking over at Buss and yelling, “Pay me” the year before he got dumped.
Farmar entered this tournament with one whole day of poker practice under his belt. Which is more than a bit unusual — one little thing the NBA doesn’t like to talk about is the number of its players who go online poker sites. NBA players travel a lot, spend a lot of time in hotel rooms between a morning shoot around and a night game, they have a lot of time to kill. And they own laptops. And they are competitive. And… you get the idea. There are still poker games on team planes, but most of the guys hone their skills online now.
Farmar said however he never played online or anywhere, but a little but of early luck has allowed him to figure it out as he goes. As a basketball player, Farmar has a good work ethic and picks things up quickly — apply those traits to poker and you may have a guy who thinks he can win the entire $8.6 million at the World Series of Poker.
But Jordan — watch out for the guy who signs your checks. He can get you now, or later.