Dad, Father, Pop, Old Man, Pa, Sir … however you lovingly refer to him, for many of us, he was our first hero. Our fathers teach us how to navigate life’s most complex situations through successes and challenges. For one father, poker became an important connector between him and his daughter.
Author, poker professional, and Poker Power instructor, Amanda Botfeld, learned poker from her father, David Botfeld, and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. A skilled poker player, real estate developer, and doting father, Mr. Botfeld shares why poker is much more than a card game.
When did you start playing poker and why?
I started playing in high school, which is now, over 40 years ago. My family all played cards; my father was a national bridge champion, and my grandmother was a real poker wizard too. Sometimes my grandmother would come by and steal chips from me in Vegas while I was playing and give them to her favorite charities. After work, I would play with my poker buddies in high school, and on occasion, we would just take off to Vegas on a Friday night to play. I started with 5 card draw in Gardena at the old Horseshoe club and did well enough to put myself through college and then some. I loved it all.
Did Amanda show interest in playing poker early? How did you encourage that learning?
We had family poker games from time to time, and she would come in while I was watching High Stakes Poker shows on TV during my at-home stairclimber workouts (which I still do to this day). Amanda always talks about a poker game machine I got her when she was younger that she played with incessantly. I don’t know if I really encouraged it as much as I personally enjoyed playing myself, which she picked up on.
As a father, what advice would you give to other parents curious about teaching their children poker?
I actually think playing the game is the best way to go. Amanda and I go out and play poker together these days, which I think we both really enjoy. She is a far more studied tournament player than am I. When she was getting serious about learning the game, she put together a series of flashcards which we would run through together sometimes in order to memorize the basic math and the odds. Today, she is the one mostly teaching me.
Why is poker important for young girls and women?
Poker is a framework for thinking, not just a game. You’re playing poker everywhere, even if you don’t know it: at work, in relationships, pretty much, all of it. I am a commercial real estate developer by trade now, and the real estate game requires you to think several moves ahead in order to succeed. I’m constantly looking at what actions I can take now to induce my opponents or clients to do what I want them to do. Women, in particular, need to know that risk can be your friend and that the real possibilities in life come from a willingness to put yourself in situations that may, at first, seem risky or uncomfortable. Those situations can be the most fun and thrilling, and result in the biggest payoffs – all concepts that you learn firsthand playing the game.
What advantages did Amanda have through learning poker?
Amanda is not afraid to take risks and also to fold her hand if necessary. For example, If jobs weren’t working, she would quickly move on and not dwell on the past for long. She isn’t afraid to try new business and career ideas and is able to “trust her reads;” learning to both trust her instincts and to learn from others along the way.
How has poker strengthened your bond?
Certainly nothing like placing 3rd in a WSOP event together to strengthen your bond, right? There’s something great about playing a tournament together and being able to debrief hands afterward, celebrating and commiserating the results. We speak the language of poker together, which is great for us both.
What has been the most exciting part about sharing poker with Amanda?
Watching her wins and her progression. Back in my day, poker wasn’t nearly as big a world as it is today. One of the most exciting moments was not only getting to the final table at the WSOP Tag Team together but having media people ask us: “Are you the Daddy- Daughter Team?” We had no idea that people were following us or that they even cared. It has been way too much fun.
If you’re looking for an excuse to hang out with Dad, poker is a great one. Let us provide you with tools like negotiation, strategy, confidence and so much more when you sign up for our free virtual lessons.