Monday, November 03, 2014

A lesson in re-writing poker rules

There was a time when playing poker was a huge part of my life, I would play for fun with friends, enter small competitions and occasionally play online. At first it was a bit of fun but then I realised that it wasn’t about the luck of the draw, the game involved a combination of skill, luck and the ability to keep a straight face when bluffing like there was no tomorrow.

I mastered how to work out the odds of winning based upon the hand I was dealt but always struggled to keep a straight face if I was dealt pocket Aces or Kings (that’s the poker lingo for a pair). When I was asked if I would take a look at a video of the Greatest Poker Hands from where a player, Benny Spindler was re-writing the gamebook when facing off against other players I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

When I get a good hand I get a twitch or I become very aware that my eyes are darting around the table - in the video Benny has an average hand and then uses his chips to bet his opponents out of the game. Players with fairly reasonable hands bet and then fold as he stays ice cool through the process before finally having the stones to go all in (that’s bet all your chips) and steal the entire pot.

As the video progresses it’s strange that you can actually feel the tension - even the commentators are at a loss as to how he is playing. 

For me, watching made me realise three things:
  • I’m not cut out to be a professional poker player
  • I should grow my hair longer to hide my darting eyes when I play face to face in a tournament
  • I get really nervous watching other people play!
After being asked to take a look at this video I’ve been watching more of the series on Youtube to try and get a better feeling for how to read players and I would strongly recommend watching the series to anyone who has an interest in poker as a recreational activity.

You can watch the video here - it is unbelievable:

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