Professional Poker Player Christian Harder on His Career, Sports Betting & More
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The new ironman of poker is known throughout the community simply as “Charder.”
Christian Harder’s World Series of Poker career cashes date back to just 2009, with an impressive run of being in the money 52 times since. He has tied the record for most consecutive WSOP Main Event cashes at four.
Ranked as the No. 1 poker player in the world during 2009, Harder is known for consummate play in live and online events. His impeccable ability to mathematically play the board while reading opponents has led to plenty of paydays.
A proud fan of everything sports from the state of Maryland, Christian took a time out for an interview to talk all things poker and gambling.
Collin Wilson: Christian, did the world of poker start online or through card shops in Baltimore-Annapolis area like Maryland Live? When did you realize this could become a profession?
Christian Harder: It all started in high school just playing with buddies.
I think like many my age (32), I am a product of the Moneymaker boom. Watching poker on ESPN in high school and talking to my friends about it started everything for me. I then switched to online and started becoming obsessed with poker when I went off to college.
I think I thought I could do it for a living when I final-tabled two EPT events back-to-back in the Bahamas and then the next month in Germany in 2008 … then dropped out of college.
Collin: Through a decade of play you have had over 60 cashes in the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour events. Is there a strategy to surviving the bubble in a tournament? Do you play a shorter number of hole cards or start shoving below a certain number of big blinds?
Christian: I’m going to cop-out and say the standard poker answer: It depends.
The beauty of poker is everything is dependent on who you are playing against. Of course just knowing the math is very important but live poker is way more than that.
Collin: With over a million in earnings from online poker, is there a difference in how you play? Playing in person can help read body language with action, online leaves little to gathering intel.
Christian: It’s very different, just not being able to look at someone and generalize a lot about how they are going to react to certain bets or plays, online poker becomes more about the math and less about the psychology of it. They are both amazing and super enjoyable for me, just different ball games.
Collin: One of the biggest views on Youtube is a hand with Andy Black at the World Series of Poker Europe. What was the thinking once Black went all in and strung his stacks in after a straight and flush made the board on the 9 of spades?
Christian: That was a crazy hand that I’ll never forget. Honestly, it is a call in 2020 that I probably do not make, because its very ridiculous. I had a read based on how Andy was acting and how quickly he went all-in on the river.
I trusted my gut and went with it.
Collin: Is there anything in the DFS or sports betting world that gets your attention on a daily basis? Considering we have all be drafting KBO DFS lineups of late, is there a particular sport you are best at in the gambling world?
Christian: NFL DFS is actually the only sport I seriously believe I am a long-term winner.
I enjoy the Sunday experience. The NFL television product is just amazing and I love consuming a lot of content, looking over a bunch of projections and making the best possible lineup. But I am so sport obsessed in general, I cannot help but bet, too.
College basketball might be the only sport I am a winner at lifetime, though!
Collin: Most consumers of the WSOP on television do not realize the length in hours and even days when it comes to competing for a bracelet. Are there any sleep or dietary tips a WSOP rookie could use for an event that may last longer than 12 hours a day?
Christian: Just try and not break focus and get as much sleep as possible. Live tournaments at the WSOP are such a grind, especially the Main Event. It takes a toll. I would just try and get in rhythm and stick to it. But consistent sleep is the number one by far for me.
Collin: Once the WSOP returns in 2021, what will be the first place you visit for a beverage or a meal in Las Vegas? Is there any place in the desert that can match Maryland’s oysters and crab cakes?
Christian: Man there are so many good options in Vegas. Every cuisine at all hours of the night, damn I miss Vegas in the summer. My favorite spots are all just off the strip such as Tacos la Carreta, Meraki Greek Grill, and Sen of Japan.
Also, the seafood is great in Vegas. Baha Mar seafood and tacos or the lunch at Milos inside Cosmo are my favorite. I haven’t found a Maryland style place in Vegas that I trust though!
Collin: Which happens first, the Baltimore Orioles win the AL East or the Maryland football Terrapins win the Big Ten East?
Christian: Ehhh. Ouch!! [Mike] Locksley has the Maryland football going in the right direction, but the division is so stacked. I think the Orioles will probably win the AL East first. Calling it right now, they win the division in 2026.
The haters forget that the Orioles had the most wins in the American league from 2012-2016.