Poker Playing Powerhouse Jim Petzing Prepares To Launch Zing Poker School
You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em. At least, that’s what local restaurant owner Jim Petzing learned – when he was just 12.
Today he credits his dad for teaching him how to play Poker, which now tops his list of professional activities.
“My dad was a club manager in Atlanta. I learned how to mix a drink and how to play Black Jack and Craps when I was 12,” Petzing said. “He just thought it was important that I knew how to do that.”
Petzing started out playing 50-cent and dollar cash game Poker with friends years ago. It was more social than anything.
But, with practice grew his passion for the strategy of the game.
“I was one of the players who stayed in longer than he should,” he said.
But, those casual home games with friends and low stakes launched him on the road to playing professional Poker.
On vacation in St. Martin, he discovered the casinos on the Dutch side of the island and, on one trip, stumbled in on a professional tournament.
“All these people were running around and I saw people I recognized from TV,” he said. “I found out there were professional players there from Europe.”
It cost him just $300 to enter.
“I usually spend that much in an hour playing Black Jack. ‘I’m the worst Poker player ever,’ I thought. I didn’t want to embarrass myself, but for giggles I’d enter for $300.”
Petzing decided his strategy would be to play a tight game, without taking many risks.
“I came in 9th, so for my $300 – I won $1,100 and I caught the bug,” he said. “That started me on pursuing it professionally.”
For the remainder of his 12-day vacation, he played in five tournaments and cashed in on three of them. “I came home $3,000 ahead,” he said.
When he got home, he realized he had a knack for the game. He started reading books and wondering how he’d do if he took the game more seriously.
He went to three Poker schools, in Las Vegas, Bahamas and Indiana. He started going to Las Vegas several times each year, testing his abilities against some of the best players in the world.
“Pretty quickly I started placing in big tournaments,” he said. This year he placed in tournaments in Biloxi, Oklahoma and Indiana between January and March. “I’ve won almost $12,000 playing part-time just in the first quarter of this year.”
Today Petzing, 52, who owns Zing Eat/Drink, at 310 Blue Star Highway in Douglas, has been playing professionally for seven years. His game of choice is No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em.
“I love the game because it combines math and different elements that keep me charged up – such as strategic risk, group dynamics, figuring out permutations and combinations and the possibilities of your hand and possibilities of outcomes based on the betting that’s going on,” he said.
“It’s got a lot more strategy than people give it credit for.”
Petzing, who ranks among pro Poker players worldwide, has nearly $60,000 in live tournament poker winnings, including three cashes at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, held at the Rio each summer.
The Poker whiz is now offering Zing Poker School, with classes limited to 20 people.
Four classes will be instructional for those just starting out and a fifth class will feature a free tournament among students, with prizes.
“Because there is so much interest in the community, I thought it would be relevant to launch the Zing Poker School this summer,” he said.
For more information about the Zing Poker School, visit Www.ZingEatDrink.com or stop by the restaurant.