Jennifer Tilly is cooler than you.
Last night, I watched 6 ½ hours of poker on the Travel and ESPN 2 channels, including 2005 World Poker Tour Ladies Night III, and 2005 World Series of Poker Ladies No-Limit Hold'em. Oscar nominated actress (Bullets Over Broadway) Jennifer Tilly won them both. Yeah, not only is she in one of the hottest movies ever (Bound), but she can also kick your ass at poker. Hell, her boyfriend is even a professional poker player, Phil “The Unabomber” Laak.
Yeah, she kicks ass.
I recently started playing Texas Hold ‘em sober (and more seriously), and I have acquired quite a taste for the game. I have been pleasantly surprised at how many public games there are in DC, and I am even planning on attending a couple of games this week. While I am sure that I will get my ass kicked, I have been getting a lot better. I even took second the other day in a friendly game, when usually I just lose.
To get better, I am learning both more about the math and about how other people play. While I am no longer confused about what beats a straight, there are still some challenges in figuring probability of winning hand.
But I do like the psychological aspect of poker. Trying to read people and reason their moves and bets feels very natural to me while I play. I like to overanalyze each player’s move and consider when/what they are betting, what/when they have bet previously and how they are acting.
I am glad I have become better at poker as there is something disrespectful about people who just "want to have fun." I used to be this way and lost a lot. I'd play almost every hand because that's more fun then being smart and playing at the right times. And, looking back, it would suck to play with me as I used to play.
My "fishiest” (suckers with more money than skill) moment was when I was home and WASTED at a casino and threw $100 away playing No Limit Hold ‘em. It was 3 a.m., which meant all the really good players who also work at area casinos were off work and ready win. There are two applicable sayings for this experience: “If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker" AND “It's morally wrong to let a sucker keep their money.” And this sucker did not keep her money for long.
Some other poker quotes I like:
The good news is that in every deck of fifty-two cards there are 2,598,960 possible hands. The bad news is that you are only going to be dealt one of them.
-- Anthony Holden, author of Big Deal (1990)
There is more to poker than life.
-- Tom McEvoy
Hold'em is to to stud and draw what chess is to checkers.
-- Johnny Moss, 3x World Champion
Omaha is a game that was invented by a Sadist and is played by Masochists.
-- Shane Smith
Poker... I hardly even know her!
-- Jack Styles
There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows very little about poker. Now and then you find ambassadors who have sort of a general knowledge of poker, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal, sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a "flush". It is enough to make one ashamed of the species.
-- Mark Twain
Learning to play two pairs is worth about as much as a college education, and about as costly.
-- Mark Twain?
It's hard work. Gambling. Playing poker. Don't let anyone tell you different. Think about what it's like sitting at a poker table with people whose only goal is to cut your throat, take your money, and leave you out back talking to yourself about what went wrong inside.
-- Stu Unger, Three-time WSOP Champion