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Poker and You: Against All Odds

In general, no game is influenced more by personalities than is Poker.

Imagine that you are meeting each of these gentlemen for the first time:

As Josh enters the room, you hear somebody say, 'Everything that bird touches turns to gold. He knows how to invest his money.' What brand of Poker do you suppose Josh will play?

It has been many Poker experts' experience that men who know how to acquire money and hang on to it usually extend that aptitude to Poker. Expect Josh to be competent and on the cautious side.

Chuck reports, 'I hit the Crap tables at Las Vegas for a couple of grand again -- clipped the one-armed bandits, too.' Does this suggest anything about Chuck about Poker table?

Chuck is a blowhard. Nobody repeatedly beats the percentages in the Nevada joints. Chuck will try to bull the game.

'Isn't it about tie we raised the stakes?' somebody says. Mike refuses. 'With taxes so high, I don't feel like blowing a bundle here,' he says. 'Ah, you win enough from us.' 'Maybe so, ' mike says, 'but our present limit is all I can afford.' How do you size him up?

Mike is prudent AND he sounds intelligent, unlike those who mouth the platitude 'Always play for more than you can afford.' Look for Mike to play strong, sound Poker.

Walter Johnson was a right-hander, not a southpaw. Marty never saw him pitch. Rely on Marty for misinformation on any subject which comes up, and for Poker strategy which is contrary to established principles.

Now, say, the pregame conversation switches to baseball. Marty says, 'Walter Johnson was the greatest southpaw pitcher who ever lived. Many a time, I saw ol' Walter strike out the side.'

If you are a baseball fan, you may the nuisance here.

'Shake hands with Cal,' your host says. 'Watch out for this burglar. He's been taking us over for years. The cards always run for him. I don't know how he does it.' How do you suppose Cal does it?

Cal does it by playing the probabilities. A tough man.

'There's only right way to play Poker, ' Biff says. 'If you can't raise, drop out.' How do you propose to handle Biff?

Let Biff put that theory to the test, and trap him at every opportunity. He should be a pushover for you.

8'Nuts to the odds,' Larry says. 'I rely on common sense.'Do you think Larry's version of common sense makes him a winner?

If Larry had more sense, common or uncommon, he would learn the basic of odds of Poker. He has handicapped himself by evading that knowledge. Watch him squander his hips, and get your share of them.

'Poker is fun, and I enjoy being with this crowd, ' Ned says, 'but I wish we were playing Pinochle tonight. Pinochle is a real test of skill.' 'Ned is a killer at Pinochle,' your host says. Do you think it likely Ned is a killer at Poker, too?

Pinochle is, indeed, a game of skill which merits respect, but Ned's Poker technique undoubtedly does not. If he understood Poker, he would not, by implication, low-rate the unique skills it demands.

Finally, the game is about to get under way, and the dealer announces, 'Down the river?' Oscar fires a series of questions: 'You mean Seven-card Stud?' 'What's the ante?' and 'Anything wild?' and 'How much can a man bet on an open pair?' and so on.

You know that Oscar, a group regular, should be familiar with its practices. Do you know why he is asking all these questions?

Oscar may be nervous - or he may be asking those questions to distract the opposition: a tactic. Don't listen to him. Just keep an eye on him to determine whether he is tense or tricky.

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