Sunday, January 02, 2005

One of a Kind beats Kings

Brad hosted a poker tournament this week. I've never played poker before, and I was a little intimdated showing up. There were 15 people there, and although it was just a "friendly game", most if not all of the other people played on a fairly regular basis. One guy played in a tournament in Tahoe shortly before. So I felt pretty outclassed and didn't want to embarrass myself too much by not understanding all the rules and etiquette of the game. All things considered, I think I did pretty well. Out of 15 players, I came in first place.

I'm as shocked as you are. I think there were 3 factors that contributed to my victory:

1) I got good cards when I needed them.
Hey, I admit it, a got lucky a few times.

2) Watching World Poker Tour paid off.
Although I had never played Texas Hold Em before, I had watched it on Travel Channel with friends. And some of the discussions stuck with me.

3) I'm a spaz.
Part of being a good poker player is being able to read your opponents. I don't think some of the better players knew what to make of me. I get flustered if a waitress tells me they're out of Coke and I need to choose something else, so you can imagine how I must feel when I get "raised 1000". In this case however, I think it worked to my advantage. Suppose we're playing poker, and you bet 200 and I immediately call. (these are terms I pretty much didn't learn properly until the tournament.) You might think "hmmm... Mister P. called that pretty quickly. He must have a decent hand. But he didn't raise, so he probably doesn't have a great hand." What I'm ACTUALLY thinking is this: "Would you look at how messy my pile of chips is?! I don't have time to both figure out what to bet AND stack the chips into equal-sized piles, so let me just avoid making a decision and pass the action on to the next guy, so I can make my stacks nice and neat." Hey, it worked.

I did feel a bit bad for Tournament Dude. I'm sure he enjoys playing poker very much and must have been frustrated sitting at a table with someone who had to sneak off to ask the other Mister P. if an Ace could be a low card in a straight. But I certainly didn't feel bad enough to give back my money.

Fluke? I dunno. We'll have to wait until next time and see.

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