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Saturday, March 13, 2004

I Think I Know When to Hold 'Em and When to Fold 'Em

I currently have about $6 to my name. Therefore, I am looking forward to poker tonight. What can I do with $6? Not alot. But change that into $15, as a decent win will do, and I'm decent shape til I can get more funds.

Perhaps you are thinking that I got myself into this situation by poker in the first place. You, sir or madam, would be incorrect. I do fairly well at poker. I'd imagine that I'm roughly even in the overall pokerness of things. Maybe a bit ahead. Maybe a bit behind. But, poker fills an entertainment void that used to be filled primarily by video games. I have not purchased a video game since November. I would like to repeat that: I have not purchased a video game since November. So even if I've lost $10 in poker, that's $40 than I'd have from games. No, I lost much of my money from ordering Chinese food (curse you, Dragon City!) and paying the stupid State Department for a passport.

So it's time to play some poker. We play Texas Hold'em. As said in a not-very-good movie, Texas Hold'em is "the cadillac of card games. I've seen pros who refuse to play Hold'em. Can't handle the swings." Each player is dealt two cards. Then they bet. Then three community cards are turned over. Betting takes place again. Then another card, bet. One last card, and one last bet. The person who puts together the best 5-card combination of the 2 cards they have and the 5 community cards, wins the pot.

It's an intense game, because people are playing on the same cards means that it's entirely trying to predict what other people are doing and thinking about what they have. This person is betting 5 chips? They're fronting that they have the ace. Betting 20? Trying to buy the pot - unless they do have that ace.

I'm generally the most conservative player. I'll rarely bet more than 5 (we usually play with 55 chips), even if I have a full house. I use bets as feints, and fold fairly regularly. I've come up with a rule: If I have to think about staying in a hand, I fold. I bluff extremely rarely. If I drop 10 or more into a pot, it confuses the opponents. Rowan doesn't bluff, they say!

The game is also largely playing the opponents. There's the erratic bettor, who has also decided to be my rival. Where I'll slowly try to squeeze my opponents try, he likes to occasionally make huge bets just to screw with people. It's often a bluff, of course, but he's changed his game just enough that we can't tell sometimes. Then there's the girl who checks and calls. Occasionally she'll drop a huge bet, but most of the time, if she actually has something, she'll just let everyone else bet for her. She rarely folds. The poker host, whose room we go to, is perhaps the most complete player. He'll play conservative, drop a huge bet that's occasionally a bluff and occasionally backed up. Despite this, I tend to have his number when it's just the two of us.

Poker is totally the new Soul Calibur. Though I'm better at poker. And we still play Soul Calibur.
- Rowan Kaiser, 10:10 PM
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