Friday, August 19, 2005

Weekly BlogScan: Poker Faces, Poker Talk

I don't gamble, but I find myself endlessly fascinated with those who do. I'm not a customer for online gaming, not even to watch the progress of a game—for me, the draw in draw poker is the interaction of the players, their idiosyncrasies and their various approaches to winning (and losing). The Internet hides these human dramas, reducing the game to its most cutthroat level.

Poker bloggers agree, to some extent. What they write supplies the intimate details of sweat and fear, or triumphant grins. For example, Pauly—the famous Dr. Pauly whose book is linked below!—writes on Tao of Poker about the non-poker aspects of a road trip, laptop in hand, to Vegas.
We headed over to Spearmint Rhino to see the lovely ladies take off their clothes and try to seduce us into foolishly blowing our poker bankrolls in the VIP room. Never go into the VIP. It's a black hole for your money. It's like taking "insurance" in Black Jack. It's a sucker's bet... I've been trying to win enough money at the poker tables to cover my strip club expenses.

Who are these poker bloggers? According to flipchipro of Las Vegas and Poker Blog, you may be one! There are nine dead giveaways. I have excerpted my favorites—to read the whole list, click the link.

9. You claim you have to play online poker twenty hours everyday to have something to blog about.
8. You often lapse into HTML during a normal conversation.
5. You think Dr. Pauly's birthday is a national holiday.
3. You not only know someone named "Mrs. Al Can't Hang," but have actually met her.

Readers of poker blogs never quite know what they're going to get—as G-Rob of Up for Poker Blog notes, "Attribution is everything, folks—without it, you know FAR less than you think you do." He illustrates with this.
I was whining to Otis about my blogwriting the other day. As always, he was totally unsympathetic but willing to feign interest, which is all I ask. More than anything, I said, I wanted to write some analysis of my local ring game play. I've been in quite a few interesting hands, found moves that work against certain local styles, and I've found some interesting tells... The problem, my whine continues, is many of those players READ this blog... I SUCK AT POKER AND YOU'LL LEARN ALMOST NOTHING FROM ME, but I find myelf pulling punches here which is a disservice to the great blog CJ and Otis have built.

Mrs. Otis works for the KGB. Don't tell anyone you read it here, but tell everyone you heard it.

For strange play online, there's Tom Bayes' Weird Poker Festival, with a portal on a LiveJournal Blog to games that will be organized in other venues. Bayes thinks there are enough online gamblers to warrant a walk on the wild side, with poker variants that are little-known. HORSE, anyone?

Chris aka PokerGeek writes his hopefully-titled Chicks Dig Poker Geeks as a personal blog-cum-poker commentary. He captures a chat "7 hours before the first hand is dealt."
[14:48] Geek: i haven't lost yet this week...
[14:48] Rini: Well, then you're due to get your ass handed to you...
[14:48] Geek: i refuse to bow to variance...
[14:50] Rini: Varience doesn't ask that you bow to it. It just walks right up and kicks you in the balls. Then i[t] pisses on [you] while you lay there hunched over in pain.
[14:51] Geek: The first variance swing that tries to sneak up on me is getting shanked...

Biggest Poker Table Ever!
   Giant poker table, courtesy Damn Funny Pictures.

For readers who want serious poker chat, I recommend Ante Up!, where Tampa Bay Times editor Christopher Cosenza and "Bet On It" columnist Scott Long "discuss the finer points of poker and give advice on how to better your game." These guys definitely have the lingo down hard:
[Costanza] ...UTG bets something small like $300. We both call. The river is a Q! I got a boat and will be either chip leader or close. I bet $1,000 and the guy UTG folds. The other guy pushes me all-in, and remember, he called a $400 bet cold earlier and then called my reraise to $1,000. At this point I have to wonder if he's got KK or AA but I'm totally pot committed. I call. He turns over 2-5!!! He called $1,000 in chips with 2-5, when all he had was like $4,000 to start the hand!!

[Long] Giving chips to a calling station
Never do that... But that's just what I did in a SNG a few nights ago... And this was the most solid as a rock calling station I've seen in years. (Not a lot of online players fit this profile now, since everyone seems to be getting the go-aggressive message). This dude would NEVER raise, even when he was on the button and no one else had called and even when he was the small blind and no one else had called. I didn't ask, "Boxers or briefs?" because I knew the answer was tighty whities.

On the other hand, if you do enjoy "watching play" via a poker blog, check out At the poker table, where you can "peek over reporter Germain Lussier’s shoulder as he plays Texas Hold ‘Em with his poker pals." Germain is away right now. (Full Metal Jacket tickets beat even a full house, I guess.)

Time to go deal some dinner, and contemplate the folks whose addictions are doubled. Poker plus blogging—when is there time for life?


Please join us at BlogCritics to comment on this review.


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