Sunday, February 20, 2005

Poker and The Geezer

Poker and The Geezer

Since I first played poker against my grandmother 35+ years ago there have been long periods of time when I rarely if ever played a single hand for months or years at a time. Since I re-entered military service in ‘91 there have been a few more opportunities to play due to the situations that I found myself in, a little extra money, pals who played and boredom made sure that there would be the occasional game full of wild cards, wild betting, and excessive alcohol consumption. This and the fact that I like to gamble brings me to tell you about why I play the game.

Since I love to play casino games like craps, blackjack and even an occasional (very) turn on the roulette wheel, I had to realize that these games may be fun, but due to the edge the house holds in all of them, that I was unlikely to find enrichment in the financial sense by playing. So what’s a guy top do? Play poker! You are there against other players while the house is getting paid for their table while not changing the actual odds for or against you. This sounds like the ticket until the first time you sit in a B and M and go on tilt and see your racks of checks move rapidly across the table to someone else. So again I had to ask myself, why?

I looked at a couple of my friends who are very successful at poker and tried to figure out the things that made the difference in their play and why they were fairly consistent winners at the tables. The major things that I saw in them were the fact that they always treated the game in a more workmanlike fashion than the average player or I did. My one friend “Tex” would consistently destroy the players at our casino nights, and would say that “it’s just like work. 6 hours for $400.00.” He never spoke about odds, either pot or implied, but he always seemed to know if it was worth a bet. Since he was a extremely smart guy, he probably knew them but could not put specifics to his “hunches”, that and a willingness to make a bet that his opponent was afraid to call.

All in all, Tex was a fairly fearless guy at the poker tables. My other pal “Skippy” was more of the mathematician. He could calculate pot odds in his head in a flash due to his über-Math Geekness. That and his complete desire to prove that he was a better player than anyone he was up against. This showed up at home when playing $1~2 NLHE heads up, and when he played Omaha 8B on-line. I took a good deal from these two characters but figured that for me to be successful I would have to go the extra mile and do some research, then came a long and boring 24 hours of duty with internet available.

I found, (Drum roll please) Poker Blogs! A new world of strategy and strategery opened up for me, I found the 2 + 2 forums, but found that the most enjoyment was to be found in the very fine writings of folks like Chris Halverson, Dr Pauly, F Train, Iggy and many others. The writing and tips contained in their poker adventures lured me ever closer to making the jump into the pool of on-line fish. Their advice while good would probably not bring me to the level I needed to ensure my bankroll’s health, so…

I hunted for books that could teach me a thing or two about the game and so far I have had fair luck with my selections. Phil Hellmuth’s book would probably not be on my list of recommendations since reading Harrington on Hold Em, and Super System2.

As a matter of fact I would recommend a 7.00 paperback I picked up with a title similar to How to Win at Casino Poker over most of what you can find at mass market stores (Of which my buzzing metropolis has ONE!). Sorry I can’t find the book at this moment but I found it more informative than Phil’s book. These help but it is my own personal tendencies that have hurt me. For more specifics, I am going to have to start a new entry to make reading this a bit easier. Thanks for stopping in.

“If you can’t identify the sucker at the table, You’d better grab a mirror.”

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