Trivial Opinions

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Archive for March, 2007

Poker-I wish there wasn’t so much luck involved

Posted by Jack Deus on March 31, 2007

I would consider myself a pretty good poker player. I have all the basics down. I know what hands beat what. I know how to calculate odds using the 4/2 rule (basically you take the number of outs you have after the flop and multiply by 4 and the number of outs you have after the turn and multiply by 2 to calculate the approximate odds you have of getting a card you need). If I play with a player long enough, especially someone I knew prior to the game, I can usually get a read on his betting habits and how risky/conservative he plays after a few hands.

Last night I played poker with 5 other people that I have played with at least 50 other games with (and that is probably a very conservative guess), so needless to say I know almost all of their tells, how they play certain cards at certain points in the game, what they hit based off of how much they bet/raise, etc. In fact, almost all of us know what everyone else has, or at least a good guess some of the time.

Since I know so much about the odds of poker and I know how to read the people I was playing with last night so well, you would think I would win more than my fair shair of the time when I play with them. Well, in that group, knowing the odds actually turns out to be handicap, not a benefit. You see, the wives in the group don’t calculate the odds when they are playing their hand. Nor do they usually play the other person/people in that hand. All they concentrate on most of the time is their cards in front of them. Don’t get me wrong, they do have poker skills, they just choose to play on what they would call instinct or intuition (what I call blind luck).

There are at least three examples from last night’s game where I can prove this.

1st-My wife got pocket Jacks (a really good starting hand) and raised the minimum bet preflop in the spot after the big blind (me) to get all of the posers out of the way. Everyone else folded, but I couldn’t let her buy my blind so I called with A-5 offsuit. The flop was Q-7-Q rainbow and after I checked she bet the minimum again. Thinking she still was trying to buy the pot or had paired up her 7, I called. The turn was a 3rd Queen and the last suit, so there was no chance at a flush. I checked again and she bet twice the minimum. Knowing she didn’t have the fourth Queen (she would have bet a lot bigger after the flop) I made a stab at the pot thinking now that she had a King high, so I raised her twice the minimum bet. My wife does not have a poker face in the least and I could tell I had her worried but she called anyway (and she should have with a Queens over Jacks full house). The final card didn’t help either of us so I bet twice the minimum again, keeping her thinking that I made my hand on the turn. The external monologue she had was going to make her fold (I learned later she thought I had pocket Kings, pocket Aces, or the fourth Queen) but instead of folding after convincing herself I had her beat she called and obviously beat me.

2nd-I finally got a good starting hand (pocket Rockets) and since those win about 80% of the time I decided to slow play it to keep as many people in as possible. One of the other wives raised preflop with suited consequitive number cards (I don’t remember the exact hand but I want to say 8-9 of spades) to get all the posers out. I obviously called the raise and got an Ace on the flop. She paired up one of her cards (I think the 8), had a possible running stright draw, or a possible running flush draw and went all in after I checked, trying to buy me out. She had me made for one Ace when I called and when I turned over both Aces the odds were in my favor by almost 4 to 1. The turn was another spade but killed her other chances of making a straight, 4 of a kind, or a boat, so her odds actually went down to 16% (one of my Aces was a spade so she had 8 outs x2=16%). I wouldn’t be teling you this story if she didn’t hit another spade on the river to take me out (she had me covered chip-wise).

3rd-The last two players were husband wife, which is never a good thing for the husband in this group because the wives always play differently against their husbands. The first hand they actually played he made top pair on the flop and went all in. He had her covered by about 20% so she would have been all in and the game over if she lost. She called with something like J-7 offsuit just because it was her husband and paired up both cards running ont he turn and the river to beat him. After that she was so hugely stacked against him it was only a matter of time until she took him out, which she did.

I suppose I can forget the running flush that beat my pocket rockets, even though it was a bad stab at the pot because she didn’t have many outs, but two time a wife called when they knew they shouldn’t because they were going up against their husband.

Skill doesn’t play as big of a part in winning when that group gets together to play poker. Call it what you want, blind luck, intuition, instinct, being irritating (as my cousin thinks is the only reason his wife called him), but those traits rule skill in our poker games.


Posted in It happened to me | 6 Comments »

Saving Mac

Posted by Jack Deus on March 30, 2007

The short version of this story is that Mac snuck into Laura’s purse and grabbed a Ziploc baggy with some Advil in it and ate 3 Advil. Laura called me at work and I told her to call the vet, neither one of us knowing it would be as dangerous as it turns out. He went to the vet and they gave him some charcoal to throw up the Advil. There were some complications with his stomach, liver, and kidneys due to the ibuprofen in the Advil. A few overnight stays at the emergency clinic and a few vet checkups later and Mac finally got to come back home. Laura and I are very relieved that he is OK, except for the 1/2 pound weight loss he had (which is a lot, since he only weighed 6.8 pounds before that). Laura and I are a little lighter too, but our weight loss came in the form of our pocketbooks. The whole ordeal cost us somewhere between $1100 and $1200.Some of the people I tell the story to say they wouldn’t pay that much to save a pet. Laura and I never thought twice about it. It is one of those expenses you don’t want to pay, but if the alternative is having to put Mac to sleep then we will gladly pay that much, if not more to save him.It does bring up an interesting question, though.

What is the most money you would spend to save your pet?

I honestly don’t know the exact answer to that question myself.  I think, right now, it would be somewhere between $5000 and $10,000 depending on Laura’s and my financial situation at that particular moment.

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