Sunday, August 10, 2008
The Thrill Of A Good Call
First things, first. Poker is not gambling. It's a game of skill, and while there is some element of chance (isn't there in any game? weather in baseball, for example) people who play well will win more consistently than people who play poorly. Practice makes you play better. And intelligence and people skills help. So, no, it's not gambling. It's an intellectual sport.
Now that we've got that cleared up......
It's about time the "Poker Chick" blog had some Poker around here. For you skeptics, we swear this happened much more often before the mini came around. But fortunately, we saw some action this weekend. And anyone who plays poker knows that playing well can be even more thrilling than winning. So allow us a little anectode. We'll call it "you know you're good when..." And apologies to newbies in advance. There's some technical terms here.
The hand started with lousy hole cards. So Poker Chick folded but of course she was using the opportunity to take in information about her fellow players. The flop was boring as hell. Jack, three, seven; a rainbow. No one raised pre-flop so we can only assume no one had a pocket pair of Queens, Kings, or Aces. So with this flop the highest likely hand was a pair of Jacks. Someone probably had a Jack. But still, not great. Not one to stake your stack on. So Poker Chick expected a quick series of checks and limp calls so we could move on to more interesting cards.
But then the old lady who doesn't bet often bet when she could have checked. A guy quickly called her - but no raise. He was clearly hoping for a free ride but had something or he would have folded. He was probably as puzzled as I was. Turn comes and she checks. But now this guy comes out swinging. And she raises him. And he calls her before her chips fall into the pot.
What do these people have? That's what Poker Chick was thinking. Before we tell you, you should know the turn and river cards were blanks. So no straight draw, no flush, no pairs on the board, nothing higher than the Jack. It was all about the hole cards. So Poker Chick thought on it a while and figured it out before the showdown. This was her thought process....
The guy must have had two pair. Jack, seven probably. It made sense. Otherwise he would have folded after the flop. But he didn't so he must have hoped it was the best hand. And when the lady checked after the turn he probably assumed he did so bet it. But he wasn't bullying, because Jacks and sevens, even a two pair isn't anything to write home about. Especially this one. OK. So let's assume this crazy theory is right. What does the lady have?
Poker Chick put her on pocket threes. She bet after the flop (where there was a three) and she wouldn't have bet like that if she just had a pair. And if she had pocket Jacks or pocket sevens, she would have been raising earlier. But she didn't. But after a lousy turn her threes were looking better. So she bet more aggressively.
Anyway this is what Poker Chick is thinking but there were many possibilities that were just as likely.
Showdown comes. Guy flips over Jack seven. And the lady has pocket threes.
Imagine, if you will, the smugness she was feeling when she heard the reactions all around the table "What a hand! I would never have put her on pocket threes! wow! Nice one!"
Damn, we're good.