The other day I wrote Rambling and in that post I mentioned that I play poker and it is one of the hobbies I miss being unemployed and broke. In the comments, a blogger “MyLowStakesPokerLife” said I should write about poker so I will. Now if you don’t like or understand poker, this is going to be my most boring blog ever for you – but I will try to at least keep it interesting even if you have never heard of the game.
Now I read some of Low Stakes blog and one of the blogs was a Poker Quiz that I had way too much fun taking (read it if you want to understand the rest of the post -I’m not going to quote the entire thing here). Now you must realize that I am a decent poker player – I know the rules, I understand the position and plays, I sort of get pot odds and all that nonsense, but I don’t usually play that way – at least all the time. So I took his quiz with two different attitudes I have when playing – the fun “I don’t care if I win” attitude, and the “I am a serious poker player attitude.” Only three of the answers I picked were different and those were the “B” choices – his take on answering “B” was:
Mostly B: Why are you picking B? I only put that in because I wanted three options. To be honest I’m kind of regretting that now. You should be ashamed of yourself.
The “B” answers represented how I play if I get drunk, or too tired to care anymore. Also, I choose “B” when the other two options were ones I can’t choose between because I don’t have a table of people in front of me to judge. I will play the worst hand imaginable if the fish at the table is the only action and hope to get lucky (as long as it doesn’t cost too much to make them sweat a little). The rest of the questions were an easy spread between “A” answers and “C” answers.
You see I think I am good at poker because I know when to ignore the ‘rules’ and play the people. I have been told by numerous players that I don’t have any obvious “tells” and that I do some of the stupidest stuff they have ever seen and they can’t for the life of them figure out how I won a hand on 10,2 off-suit. I won that hand because you are an idiot playing pot odds, and you went in deep, and I got lucky on the flop, but you are so concerned that you had a low pocket pair with a bunch of limpers that you just HAD to stay, even though someone is check raising you on the turn. I am not the idiot for playing 10,2 – you are the idiot for NOT playing me and using a math equation instead of a little people sense.
My favorite thing in the world is to go to A.C. and play the cheap buy-in tournaments. I play those games because 1) I am too broke to play cash tables and to lose a monster hand would end my fun for the night and 2) I can play for HOURS on $40. HOURS. You see I go to get away and have fun. I am not trying to win a seat at the World Series of Poker – nor am I playing to pay my rent. Winning or losing doesn’t matter to me as long as I can play for a while and have some fun. To me, poker is a game. Win or lose – you should have fun playing.
For me the real fun part isn’t the cards. It is the people. Especially in low limit tournaments. You get all the tourists who just want to ‘try it out’, then you get the guys who think they are Gods gift to poker and play these tournaments because they think they are easy wins (these guys NEVER win because inexperienced players don’t follow your silly rules and will beat you on the river every time because you were to spiteful to fold to a guy you know is holding Q,7 off-suit who got a Q on the flop and you should just KNOW that he is going to stay until that 7 falls on the river -and it will), or people like me who like to drink beer while playing and getting busted after 6 beers or so is no big deal, “I’m ready for bed anyway” people. I have gone all in on tournaments with crappy hands just because I was too tired or bored to keep playing (it is also amazing how many of those hands I have won).
My least favorite hand in poker is AA. I HATE having pocket aces. Every time I get them I just want to throw them at the dealer and tell them this hand needs a “do over.” Everyone gets excited with pocket aces – it just fills me with anxiety. It is actually the only hand that ever causes me to show my hand in my facial expression. I hate them. You know why? All the ‘rules’ are bullshit when it comes to an AA hand. AA hands are a curse. I NEVER play them correctly. If I have AA in my hand it means it’s poker opposite day and no matter what I do with them, I will lose. I even folded an AA hand once because I had gotten them like 5 times in the last 20 hands and lost every single one of them. F-it. Just fold and go get a smoke.
I have two favorite hands that I will play every time I have them. If I am short stacked I will go all in with them, if I am in the lead I will call pretty much everything JUST BECAUSE (This is NOT a good poker strategy and this does not constitute poker advice). The first hand is 4,6 suited clubs (if I am drunk 4,6 off suit will work just fine). I have a 4,6 clubs tattooed on my leg – the tat artist said, “usually people get AA.” There is a good story around the actual tattoo and it isn’t really about poker – maybe you guys will get that story one day.
Anyway, my other favorite is 10,2 suited or not. It’s my birthday and my greatest vindication ever was when the WSOP was WON with a 10,2 hand (I bring that up every time someone calls me a jerk for playing it). I win an improbable amount of hands with this. I will even announce, “Birthday cards!” and people, even people who have played with me for hours still don’t realize that means I am holding 10,2. It boggles my mind.
So yes. I am that person at the table that you love to hate, and hate to love. I bring some fun and variation to the game. I challenge the ‘rules’ and I make friends and influence people (even that jerk sitting there with earphones and sunglasses at a 2/4 limit cash table -He WANTS to be great, but always loses his stack faster than the drunk girl who doesn’t even know what a full house is). I get tables of people to chit chat. It’s like a police interrogation – you just keep talking until they trust you even though they know they shouldn’t. While they are listening to me – they are showing me every hand, every tick, every tell. I play the people more than I play the cards. ANY two cards can win – but you aren’t playing against the cards – you are playing against the people.
So anyway – those WSOP guys that win huge money ALL the time? They have a healthy balance of my way of playing, and of the ‘rules’ way of playing. When you can do both effectively in poker, you are unstoppable.
Are any of you poker players? Gamblers? Pictionary Champions? What’s your favorite game?