Friday, September 24, 2010
I just learned of a feature at the online Las Vegas Sun that I had never heard of before: The "Guest Gauge." It summarizes how busy the weekend is likely to be due to conventions and other factors.
I do periodically look at the Las Vegas Convention Authority's web site to see what big meetings might be occurring where, but it's kind of a hassle, because most of the conferences listed are tiny little nothings that won't affect where good poker games are likely to be found. This Sun feature looks, at first glance, as if it will be faster and better for that purpose. Now if only they had an RSS feed for when it is updated....
Hat tip: Vegas Chatter.
I played at the Venetian this afternoon. I played spectacularly badly. Two all-in calls, both of them in situations where I should have known that it was impossible for me to be good (in fact, where I did know that at some level below the threshold of deniability) stacked me. They were both the kinds of calls that when I see them made by others make me wonder, "What was he thinking?" They were the kind of calls that I usually rely on to make my money--when I'm on the other side of them. Just unforgivable. Haven't screwed up that badly in a long time (thankfully).
I came home (at least give me credit for realizing that my play reeked and I should not continue playing NLHE for hundreds of dollars) and as rehab I jumped into a little HORSE tournament. Only seven players, so smaller even than a single-table sit-and-go. But there was still enough money to care about, since it was a $33 buy-in, while the SNGs I usually play are just $5 or $10.
I winz it.
I feel a little better now.
In March of this year, Vanessa Selbst won the NAPT event at Mohegan Sun and Annie Duke won the NBC Heads Up Poker Championship. In April, Liv Boeree won the EPT San Remo event. On the basis of those three wins, the meme quickly spread in the poker media that 2010 would be "The Year of the Woman."
Here's a partial list of people/entities/blogs/outlets that affirmatively shared in this assertion (i.e., I'm excluding those that simply noted that others were using the phrase, or discussed it with evident skepticism):
Taylor Kent (for the Cake Poker blog)
Bernard Lee (for ESPN)
Ty Stewart (WSOP VP)
Kevin Mathers (Pokerati)
Jennifer Newell (WomanPokerPlayer.com)
Wicked Chops Poker
Ruff Poker (unsigned article)
Trishelle Cannatella (Absolute Poker blog)
Dr. Pauly (Tao of Poker blog)
Please note that (1) this is a woefully partial and completely arbitrary list, made mostly of the ones that popped up most obviously in a Google search, or links from those, and (2) I'm not implying any criticism for use of the phrase.
But now let's note what else has happened this year: David Williams won the WPT Championship in April. LeRon Washington won the WPT Invitational in February. Phil Ivey won his eighth bracelet at the WSOP in June. And last night, Dwyte Pilgrim won the WPT Borgata Open. What do these four men have in common? They're all black.
So if three women winning major poker tournaments in one year makes it "The Year of the Woman," surely four blacks winning major poker tournaments in one year makes it "The Year of the Black." Right?
Of course, when Ivey won his bracelet, that already made three for the year--the same as the number of women winners, and that didn't result in any chorus of "The Year of the Black." So I'm guessing that adding a fourth to the roster won't, either.
But why not? Being black has every bit as much to do with being a good poker player--or being unable to be a good poker player--as being a woman does: They're equally irrelevant factors.
So why do people like Duke and Jennifer Harman and Kathy Liebert have to wrestle with the qualified compliment of being said to be among the best female poker players, while nobody speaks of Ivey as being among the best black poker players?
Why do so many pay close attention and write news stories and give interviews to the "last woman standing" in the WSOP Main Event, while nobody (except me) calls attention to the "last black standing"?
Why do so many poker tournament series have a women-only event, but none have a blacks-only event?
And, again, why will so many readily blog/publish about "The Year of the Woman," while, if my prediction is correct, none of the same individuals or corporate entities will make a peep about "The Year of the Black," even though there is objectively a stronger case to be made for the latter than for the former?
There's only one reason I can think of, and it ties all of these things together: Because if you modify the phrase "among the best poker players" with the additional term "black," if you watch to see who is the "last black standing," if you sponsor a blacks-only tournament, or if you call attention to the "Year of the Black," you imply that there's something special, something remarkable about a black person playing poker well. And that, in turn, would imply that blacks are somehow inherently inferior at poker. It comes close to echoing that famous phrase about a performing poodle walking on its hind legs--what's remarkable is not that whether he can do it well, but that he can do it at all.
Everybody instinctively senses that that would be the implication of making any noise at all about race when a member of a minority wins a poker tournament. Furthermore, they know that saying or suggesting that blacks are intrinsically inferior at poker is neither politically nor factually correct. So nothing is said of it.
But obviously, many people have no similar qualms about the same implication as it pertains to women. That is, they see nothing amiss about commenting on how remarkable it is that a woman wins a poker tournament. In order to do that, I think, you have to buy into the premise--consciously or unconsciously--that women can't really be expected to win poker tournaments because they are inherently inferior at the game, and therefore it is newsworthy when it happens.
Here's my challenge to those listed above, as well as everybody else who echoed, adopted, and otherwise approved of "The Year of the Woman" thing: Put up a post or story or essay of equal prominence declaring this to be "The Year of the Black"--or, alternatively, explain why you won't, why you think the former is perfectly OK but the latter unacceptable.
I'll be watching.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Mike Caro, in Caro's Most Profitable Hold'em Advice, page 361.
When it comes to raising, position shouldn't just be a concept that you intellectually acknowledge. It should be a primary factor in deciding whether or not to raise. Think about your strategy. If you can't honestly tell me that position is a main consideration every time you think about raising, then I'm betting that you're making much less money at poker than you should.