First-Class Entertainer GACKT’s Gambling Sense Rated Against Pro-Gamblers

The weapon that has allowed professional gamblers to wander the world’s casinos and continuously win for 15 years. It is said that 「『Life』 is to be lived your way, while 『betting』 is the strategy of how you use one hour」. The way of life of a man who leads a life aimed at winning is the theory which frees one from appearances, the 「smile criterion」.


〈No. 32: First-Class Entertainer GACKT’s Gambling Sense Rated Against Pro-Gamblers〉

Now, poker is popular. It is said that the game with the highest tournament prize money in the word is now poker. In the 2014 World Series of Poker, the prize money was $10 million, around 1 billion yen. And, in this year’s 10th edition of All Japan Poker Championship, it was so luxurious that participation was free, with 1 million yen in cash up for grabs along with other prizes.

And, first-class entertainer GACKT graced the pre-event to this All Japan Poker Championship. Together with Japan’s poker players, the 8 of them will engage in an epic showdown. I received a request on the progress and commentary, and in the second half I sat right next to GACKT-san and we commented and explained poker together. And from my point of view as a professional poker player, as expected, I found GACKT-san to be an elite.


3 reasons why GACKT is an elite

★1st: His inescapable samurai spirit is top-notch
What was amazing was GACKT’s samurai spirit that took on the duel between him and the 8 hustlers of this trade. But you see, everyone was aiming for GACKT-san. That said, as long as GACKT-san can match them, it’ll be satisfying whether he wins or loses. Receiving that invite to come and compete, he boldly took up the challenge, even if it’ll be an unfavourable game that ends up being publically released. I feel that he probably took it with only his samurai spirit. If it was someone below top-class, I believe that person would run from an unfavourable challenge. In terms of strategy, running away is often a good plan. It made me feel that boldly standing up against all odds is superb.

★2nd: His timing of attack is top-notch
During the first hand right after the competition began, GACKT-san went into the offensive and upped the stakes. He did that not because he had a particularly good hand. This technique applies psychological pressure on everyone, which makes it a technique that the world’s top-class professionals favour. Similar to love and business, first impressions are important. Against those 8 top players of Japan, he set about blowing them away with an attack. Indeed, he is an elite. If one is an elite, even if one is in another field whatever they do will go well.

★3rd: His commentaries which go beyond a professional’s point of view is top-notch
In the later half, I sat right next to GACKT-san, and we explained the poker tournament together. For me, I was conscious that I was giving an explanation to viewers who were having a look at poker for the first time. In other words, I gave a simple gameplay explanation that a firsttimer can easily understand. Unexpectedly GACKT-san gave a re-commentary from a professional’s point of view! I have nothing except admiration that he was even aware of points that us professionals have overlooked.

This was what the situation was. GACKT Arrives! 「Poker Challenge」is on FRESH! by AbemaTV. The state of things around 4:08:00 and explanation:


At present, when poker is mentioned, one would naturally go to 「Texas Hold’em」 which has become popular all over the world. The rules are: from the total of 7 cards available to a player, 2 cards in a player’s hand and there will be 5 common cards in the centre of the table, the player will have to create best winning hand. If there happens to be 4 cards in the 5 common cards on the table that are of the same mark, the player only needs one more card of the same mark to complete a flush. In other words, it will become a competition of who holds a higher ranking card of that mark (A is the strongest, followed by K→Q→J, 2 is the weakest).

Among that, the real thrill of poker is the addition of bluffing tactics into the game. For example, if you’re actually not holding onto a card with the same mark, but instead continue betting and imply「I’m holding onto one with a high rank」, and your opponent is holding onto a low ranking card, you’ll be less susceptible to losing. If 4 cards among the 5 cards on the table are of the same mark, it can be easily foreseen that everyone will be trying for a flush. At this point, those who have low ranking cards or don’t have a card to make a flush will considered as a “donkey” by the players.

Going back to the actual play, 4 out of the 5 cards on the table are hearts. Mr. A has one card which is also a heart, but it is the 2nd lowest ranking card「4」, while Mr. B looks like he’s about to drop a bluff. Mr. B makes a small bet to play a bluff. For me, since I’m explaining this to a beginner, I said something along the lines of「If he plays a bluff, he can make his opponents think that he’s holding onto a high ranking card, and the theory is that if he bets big, it is less likely that he will lose」.

But surprisingly! GACKT-san came at it from a different point of view with a 「divine commentary」. What he said was「No, this would be betting small on purpose, where you’re betting in a way to draw the opponent in, Mr. A would be reading too much into it and fall」. This is exactly how a pro would look at it. In this case, if you bet big, your opponent might be able to see through your bluff. However, if you bet small, your opponent will think「I can respond to this challenge」, and become falsely convinced that they are the one holding onto a higher ranking card. No matter how good one is at poker, there are only a few players who can read this deeply with this point of view.

There’s a poker saying that says 「A pro will, at the very least, know a level 3 opponent’s perspective of themselves」. GACKT-san gave an explanation for an even higher, level 4 perspective instead. His explanation was such 「If Mr. A attacks using the opposite theory without reading too deep into Mr. B, Mr. A will, with certainty, read Mr. B’s play wrongly」. For me, as a pro standing next to him and giving explanations as well, it was a moment that gave me goosebumps.

GACKT-san is an elite in poker too!


I would defeinitely recommend trying poker out at least once. Try looking around and you’ll be able to find that there are quite a few places where you can play poker. Of course, you can’t bet with money but, if it’s just to get a feel of poker, it’s sufficient. 14 years ago I declared that I was aiming to become a pro but, I didn’t even know about the rules. Poker is a the type of game where 「practice makes perfect」.

It can be said that only 1% are poker professionals. I feel that this is easy. If it’s among 100 people you’ll have to be in first place and that’s difficult but, since it’s more like the top 10,000 people out of 1 million, it’s considered easy. If you’re serious about it, poker can even become a job! At the very least, if you participate in next year’s All Japan Poker Tournament, you’ll have a chance to win 1 million yen for free!


If you go to the extreme for one thing, all roads will lead to it. After having continued on 15 years of gamble and travels, I’ve found my way of life. I believe that we can see the perspective GACKT-san has chosen to go to the extreme in being an elite, and that has lead to him being at an elite level in all other paths too.


Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team

Translation © GACKT ITALIA