Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Get ready for a butt kicking"

That right there is what Josie said upon accepting my suggestion of a little heads-up poker this afternoon.

We didn't make any side bets on the outcome, but decided on a best-of-seven series of $10 heads-up SNGs on Black Chip Poker.

But I quickly took down the first two matches--including an epic comeback from a short stack in game #2--prompting Josie to tell me, "I dislike you very very much." (This is on top of her calling me a whore practically every time I won a hand.)

She won game #3 by hitting a backdoor flush draw after all the chips were in. I guess for some people that's the only way they can win. I'm just sayin'.

I took #4, then she won #5 when my computer suddenly crashed and I lost a bunch of chips while offline trying to revive the stupid beast. Again, for some people that's what it takes for them to win at poker.

But with the computer recovered, I won game #6, our longest of the bunch. Which, for those keeping track, means that I won the series by the extremely appropriate score of 4-2. Cuz that's just how I roll. Or I should say, that's just how I roll over Josie.

If that's a "butt kicking," I guess I'm a masochist, because I liked it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Poker gems, #456

Ed Miller, in Card Player magazine column, May 16, 2012 (vol. 25, #10), page 38.

Whenever you beat players in a hand and they complain about how you played it, you're officially in their head.

Poker gems, #455

Andrew Brokos, in Card Player magazine column, May 16, 2012 (vol. 25, #10), page 37.

There is one reason to check and call on the river, and that's to induce bluffs. If you don't expect your opponent to bluff the river, then your options are either to value bet the hand yourself or to check and fold. Checking and calling makes no sense in this situation because virtually any player's calling range will be wider than his value betting range.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Poker gems, #454

Roy Cooke, in Card Player magazine column, May 16, 2012 (vol. 25, #10), page 32.

Deceptive plays have value when being deceptive prevents your opponent(s) from defining your hand and therefore playing correctly against it. There is no point in being deceptive if your opponent can't read the situation anyway or would play incorrectly even if he knew your holding. That might be due to a lack of your opponent's hand reading ability or deficiencies of his play knowledge; but it is also becomes [sic] the case when your hand range widens and even quality hand readers wouldn't be able to narrowly define your hand.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Praises be, we have another convert to the Gospel of the Mighty Deuce-Four!

Language mystery

Last month my friends Martin and Jennifer wrote a pair of essays for the Woman Poker Player web site about poker players' use of the word rape to describe bad beats, coolers, or just generally running bad. I didn't say anything at the time, because I thought they covered the matter so well that there wasn't much left unsaid. Martin in particular expressed exactly what has long been my sense of squeamishness when such terminology gets tossed around so casually. My only disagreement with Jennifer is that I'm uneasy about expanding the use of penalties for linguistic offenses. I think that over the long run social opprobrium is a better tool than the rulebook, at least in this case.

I did have one lingering question about the subject, though, and almost wrote a post about it at the time. In the end, I didn't have any good answer to my own question, so I let it drop. But it came up again Sunday evening, so once again it's on my mind.

Rob's friend "Prudence" was indisputably having a bad night, with a never-ending stream of second-best hands. At one point she exclaimed in frustration, "I'm getting murdered here!"

This was precisely the counterpoint that occurred to me when reading the essays about the offensiveness of rape language: What about similar use of various forms of the word murder? It is almost universally agreed that murder is a worse crime than rape, as evidenced by harsher criminal penalties for the former than the latter in every jurisdiction that I know of. So why is poker players' figurative use of murder less likely to provoke outrage (whether expressed or not) than the identical use of rape?

If this is hypocrisy, I confess to sharing in the guilt. I certainly noticed Prudence's language, because I spent a few minutes pondering this very conundrum just a few weeks ago, but still it didn't strike me with the same reflexive wincing and squirming that would have occurred if she had said, "I'm getting raped here!"

Why is that?

I'm still stuck with the same dilemma I had when I thought about writing this up last month: I don't have a good answer. But this time I'm going through with sending it out into the ether, hoping that somebody else does.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I didn't prepare any special eclipse-viewing glasses or apparatus. Vegas is 20 or 30 miles south of where one would have to be to see the true annular eclipse, anyway. But it's still a sufficient rare event that I wanted to see what little effects could be seen. This was made more difficult than I anticipated by the fact that it occurred so late in the day, so both sunlight and its resulting shadows were nearly horizontal. But I wandered around my neighborhood looking for spots where light was diffracting around edges or through holes. None of them are exactly worthy of National Geographic, but you can certainly tell that something strange was happening with the light.

When it was over, I drove to the MGM Grand, where I knew that fellow bloggers Grrouchie and Rob were already playing. I had met Grrouchie once before, but not Rob. I got there, found them, and moved to their table. I was there with them for about three hours, during which time we absolutely did not EVER talk about either Josie or Tony. Not even once. Isn't that amazing?

Grrouchie epitomized the danger of playing with fellow poker bloggers when he said to Rob, ""I can't wait to get home and make fun of you."

Of course I had to impress upon them the awesome power of the Mighty Deuce-Four, so that they will join me in spreading the gospel. The only time I was dealt it, I called a small pre-flop raise in position, and flopped 2-2-Q. My opponent was the woman Rob refers to in his blog as "Prudence." She bet $10, I called. Turn was a jack. This time she bet $15, I raised to $45. She called, but with apparent consternation. At about this time, Grrouchie was shooting me a look from his end of the table that said, "Do you really have what I think you have?" I gave him a little nod of affirmation. (Prudence was not looking anywhere in my direction, so I didn't risk giving anything away. Besides, she doesn't know who I am, so even if she noticed an exchange of glances, she wouldn't know what it was about.) River was an ace. She checked, I moved all in, she folded. I showed the hand, obviously. So now I have two more bloggers who have personally witnessed the power at work.