Learning Poker

There’s been some talk of poker.  Yes, I play poker.  For me, it’s just like meditation, except you’re thinking a lot and you make money.  My Poker Master took me in when I was six years old.  For three years, all he would let me do is shuffle cards.  Day after day, shuffling cards.  I would say to him, “When will I learn poker?”  And he would smile and say, “Your riffle is imperfect.”  Then he would hit me in the head with Super/System.

Later he would make me practice pushing chips into the pot.  For years, all I did was move chips, until my motion flowed, and the chips were part of me, and it was myself I was pushing into the middle of the table, saying, “Throw it away, you don’t have the balls to call.”

Finally he let me begin to learn.  He taught me the hand rankings, the odds of making a flush with two cards to come, as well as poker etiquette, like what to do if someone has a heart attack at the table (if he wasn’t in the hand, call the card room manager to announce an open seat).

Then the hard lessons began–discipline.  Discipline, discipline, discipline.  He would put duct tape over my mouth, bind my hands to my side, and deal me aces.

It was hard, but gratifying.  I became one with the felt.  My consciousness would expand until process was everything, results nothing, unless I took a really bad beat, in which case I had a Smith & Wesson.

Fill, or fill not.  There is no draw.

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0 thoughts on “Learning Poker”

  1. Steve, I’m pretty sure that Super/System wasn’t around when we were nine years old. Not unless you are a lot younger than your Evil Twin.

    It sounds like you play cash games. I learned early on that A) I didn’t like looking at the rest of the table as Prey and B) exercising the self-control required to avoid yelling at idiot players (one in particular blew through a $150 worth of chips in 45 minutes. On a 3-6 table. And bought in again. And didn’t look like she had money to blow at that rate) without major neurosis … if not psychosis.

    So I stick to tournaments, saving the rare cash for ‘fun’ play to kill time or simply get a bit of a feel for a new casino.

    Good luck out there. Remember, there are no bad beats, just variance coming due in random events that simply delay the idiot giving you his chips.

  2. Well, in point of fact, I’m pretty much only playing tournaments these days (mostly 5-table Sit & Gos) and exclusively online since almost all card rooms have gone non-smoking.

    And when you have achieved True Poker Mastery, as Doyle the Magnificent has, you can send your book through time.

  3. In the aproximate words of the immortal R.A.H.: “You’re either there to cut the other guy’s heart out and eat it, or you are a sucker.”

  4. Heh. I would be playing pretty much exclusively on-line, except that all the poker rooms went non-smoking. In Atlantic City, most of the casino floor is non-smoking as well, which I like.

    Bally’s was the last smoking poker room in AC, but they went non-smoking shortly before state law starting making almost every business area non-smoking. I used to play there occasionally in spite of the smoke, simply because the play was good. Now I hardly play there at all, mostly because they have things set up in a way that treats tournament players like second-class citizens.

    My best results are single table s-n-gos; I think the most I have played (live) in one week was 45 or so.

    Yes, I failed to consider time travel. My bad.

    MarkW: I don’t have a problem with that. It is a memorable day when I solve the puzzle of another player and crack his confidence. But the cash game feeling was one of “don’t spook the cattle”, and I don’t want to learn to view other people that way. It would quickly spread to other parts of life, and that would not be good (for me, or the people around me.)

    Still, if I ever get around to writing a vampire story, I now know the mindset…

    (Hmmm, professional poker player might not be a bad job for a vampire, come to think of it.)

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