Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Table talk

When I sit down to play poker, all I ask for is a quiet, peaceful session. I'm not interested in where you're from, or what you do for a living. If you mistakenly happen to ask me, I will ignore your question. If you persist, I will deliberately misinform and disinform.

So when the conversation last night turned to why I hadn't said a word in 4 hours, I finally broke my silence.

"I have a major worry."

"What?" they asked.

"I've accidentally swallowed some Scrabble tiles. My next crap could spell disaster."

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ecological breakthrough?

An Australian company, Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS), has released new shark deterrent design technology that is applied to wetsuits to reduce the chance of shark attack.

Although sharks use a number of senses to locate prey, it is known that vision is the crucial sense in the final stage of an attack. By disrupting a shark's visual perception, an attack can either be diverted altogether or at least delayed to allow time to exit the water.

I can still recall the raised eyebrows as I traipsed into the Bellagio poker room last night dressed in one of these wetsuits. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of this new technology as I had my first winning session in 8½ months.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Know Thy Enemy

The venue : Aria 1/3NL

Pre-flop action : 5 players in an unraised pot

Flop : 9s 5s 3s

Post-flop action : I am the big blind holding As9d and lead out with a $10 bet. It is folded to the button, a young, aggressive "internet type" who raises it to $30. I call.

Turn : 9h

I make it $60, internet punk angrily mucks his 5d3d face-up and says "Nice catch, I had you on the flop."

Now I don't normally engage in any post-hand discussion, not even the customary "nice hand". I will occasionally rap the table when appropriate to acknowledge a well-played hand, and conversely have been known to mutter a subdued, barely audible "motherf*cker" when some drooling imbecile hits his gutshot on the river. This is in line with the philosophy of "mum poker" as espoused by Tommy Angelo, though some may legitimately argue that "barely audible" does not fall into this category.

From the punk's perspective, he sees me as a middle-aged, unsophisticated, unkempt loser, who probably hasn't read a poker book in his life. While this unfortunately is not entirely inaccurate, it's what I want him to think. Unbeknownst to him, I have spent years studying and profiling his internet-playing ass over at CardsChat, an online worldwide poker forum and community. I know what he thinks of me and how he plans to run over me at the table. I respect his knowledge of the game while he has already stereotyped me as an unimaginative nit, thereby affording me a huge advantage.

It is no secret that the transition from online to live play is a difficult one. Firstly, there is the issue of boredom, as witnessed by CardsChat thread titles such as "Live Grind: How to Not Fall Asleep at the Table" and "Tips for keeping concentration during live games?".

Then there is the absence of crutches such as the HUD display and tracking software. In a recent interesting thread  (March 2013) entitled "Playing Live Without Stats? How do you do it?", the opening poster asks  :

       "I am constantly amazed by the number of people who are
        entirely caught up with playing online using the various
        stats programs and such. I was really wondering how the
        heck you guys manage to play live at all.

        Anyone want to take a stab at how you would collect such
        stats playing live?"

Is it any wonder then that these hapless souls spend most of their time hunched over their smartphones, and then have to be prodded by the dealer when it's their turn to act?

Getting back to our hand, I'm sure most readers will have agreed that he did indeed have me on the flop. Well, think again. I was 51.8% to his 48.2% on the flop. Yes, I was ahead the whole time - surprising I know. So while it definitely rankled me to hear his totally unwarranted "nice catch", I refrained from responding. After all, I have a reputation to maintain.