Playin’ with the Queen of Hearts

Last night I entered a $1 buy-in Texas No-Limit Hold ‘Em poker tournament online and placed 3rd in a field of roughly 1100 players.  I won $121 for my efforts.  A dollar well spent. 

I’m wondering if any of you out there reading this post have caught the poker fever like I’ve caught it.  I must say I love to play – to the point that I even bought a book on how to master the game.  Perhaps that’s unhealthy, I dunno, but so’s ice cream and I’m not about to give that up.

You can’t miss it on TV since it’s on ESPN, the Travel Channel, the Game Show Network, Fox Sports and PBS (well, maybe not on PBS).  Tobey Maguire plays.  So does Ben Affleck and a host of other stars.  I hope that it doesn’t wear out it’s welcome ‘cuz I just can’t get enough.

There’s just something so thrilling about taking some poor fool down on that last card to win a huge pot.  There’s something I like about watching it too.  I guess it’s knowing something that they players don’t – what the other players’ cards are – that appeals to me.  You feel empowered.  Like some sort of deity.

If you don’t play, I highly recommend you find a regular game.  Don’t tell my mom I play either.

19 thoughts on “Playin’ with the Queen of Hearts

  1. No Limit Hold ‘Em is the best game ever made.

    I think it’s because it’s the perfect blend of skill and chance. If it were any more skill it would be boring because the better players would always win and if it were any more luck than it would be boring because it would always be anyone’s game.

  2. I don’t know but now I’ve got Juice Newton stuck in my head. Uh oh, I hear Kenny Rogers coming on.

  3. I’ve heard somewhere that poker is a good game for politicians and the like to play. It potentially can create skills in reading another person’s facial movements and gestures for potential meanings. I think Truman was famous as a president who played poker.

    I don’t really remember how to play even basic poker, never mind No Limit Hold ‘Em but occasionally I’ll watch people play on tv just because the players usually put off this aura of coolness and invincibility that is kind of fun to gather in.

    Don’t even tell my Mom that I’m talking about poker … never mind playing the game. In our household, facecards were considered a SIN. I don’t even have a deck.

  4. I love watching Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo. A good friend, her husband and I got some cards and played with skittles, but she and I were so risk averse that we never bet enough to end the game. Kind of a funny way to learn a lesson about your personality.

  5. Me and the guys I play with have a contest to see how long we can last without breaking out the Kenny Rogers.

  6. I’ve wondered about the difference between real and online play. Online there’s no reading faces, so the dynamics would be fairly different for those who depend on reading others. I wonder how well those guys would do online. Which is all part of the question, how much of the success of poker is reading physical movements compared to reading their playing style?

  7. Rusty,

    Don’t worry, you’ll be sick of it long before the fad fades. I bet you were sick of the Rubik’s cude long before it was no longer the cool toy.

    As long as we are discussing a Mormon gray area, what I want to know is why there isn’t a long-winded post up on the Kulturblog about the arrival of Passover Coke? I am in Canada right now and I mentioned that Coke in Canada “tastes like I am 5 years old.” People I am working with now think I am crazy, but getting Coke with real sugar is a true treat. When I get home to Boston I’ll stock up on Passover Coke.

  8. I love poker. I love to play, I love to watch. Unfortunately I don’t have cable. The guys and I played about two times a week during the summer we lived together and about once every two weeks during the year.

    As for reading faces: from what I’ve read and my own personal experience, a lot of people don’t rely on physical tells. Personally, I base my opinion more on the playing style (i.e. what would they have, given the board, if they bet X on the flop and Y before…) And, when you play with the same people enough, you tend to get more money (though my roommate makes me buy him dinner when I take all his money).

    Dallin, out of curiosity, which poker book did you get?

  9. Love the game. I haven’t won any real money in online tournaments, but I’ve won a bit in friendly games.

  10. Bryce:
    She doesn’t know I play online a little. She does know I play with friends. I’ve already successfully defended my position on playing with friends (what’s the difference between spending 5 bucks to hang out and play poker, especially with honest fellows, and going to a movie? None if you ask me.)

    I find it interesting that the past two World Series of Poker champs came from the online environment. IMO that suggests that successful play has a lot to do with successful betting and quick-decision making, which is what internet poker is all about.

  11. Dallin —

    What’s to stop an online poker player from feeding their hands into a computer player and making the move that the computer does? Or do people do this? Or are computer players really bad?

  12. Not sure I follow, Bryce. Do you mean feeding your hand into some kind of simulator and using the results?

  13. There’s plenty of fools out there, that’s for sure. Probabilities in No limit hold-em are constantly shifting so I think it would be difficult to do what you suggest. While a simulator might tell me that I have a 75% chance of winning before what is called the “flop” or three community cards common to everyone’s hand, with the next community card dealt, this percentage may drop – and again on the last community card.

  14. Dallin, I don’t want to sound all parental, but be careful. I love poker–all card games really–and other assorted games of chance. I went through a bit of a gambling phase about five years back and ended up realizing that I was on the brink of becoming a gambling addict and made a conscious choice to cut way back. Among the warning signs I saw in myself are 1) feeling like I was smarter than the game and 2) focusing on the money I had won and nothing else. I’m sure you don’t want my unsolicited advice, but it might be wise to limit your stakes (admitedly, they sound pretty low already) and stick to games with friends where the social aspect is a big part of the fun.

  15. Brian–

    Thanks for the concern. I’ve set some pretty strict limits though and I mostly do it for the fun aspect. Once a week or so I’ll throw in a dollar to play a tournament. I’ve got a friend who also plays online about once a week so sometimes we hook up online too. I’ve got a regular game with friends too that is mostly for the social aspect.

    I hope I haven’t made it sound like I think I’m Mr. Smarty Pants when it comes to poker. Far from it. I know just enough to get me in trouble – maybe that’s your point.

  16. Dallin, I too want to caution you. I almost became a gambling addict while playing the game Speed for pizzas while living in Deseret Towers years ago. What else can a poor freshman do when he’s got the munchies at 9:30pm? :)

    I think there’s a guy out there who still owes me eight pizzas too. He’s lucky I felt so guilty after collecting for the first one.

    And yes, I felt I was smarter than the game. :)

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