Friday, April 1, 2011

The People I Want At My Poker Table

So tomorrow night is the every 3-week game in my Man Cave. And while it's never a good idea to take an RSVP as an actual intention of attendance, we are still looking at the biggest crowd in the 3-year history of running a game, with a better than reasonable chance at a 3-table tournament.

The trouble, of course, is that my home game is filled with very good players, many of whom have been playing against me for years. There really are no fish in the game, and as the host, I feel like my play gets special scrutiny. And yes, this is all just an excuse for weak results. But at least the game is filled with decent people. Which, of course, don't pay the bills. Not like these people, all of whom you should be looking for at a casino...

> Depressed Woman. Every profitable casino table has this lady; body language of a condemned person, folds to 19 out of 20 raises, then comes over the top on the 20th to take down minor pots. Eventually, she'll get bluffed off a pot, then shove with middle pair and get drawn out, before going off to refill her methadone script. We never said poker was pretty, folks.

> Drunk Black Guy. Honest, I'm trying not to be racist here, but guys who don't seem to get that the free drinks at the casino come with a price seem more inclined to be of this demographic class. And while it's never good to take drunk as your only read, since it's an easy thing to fake, there's just the sense that he's going to be giving all of his chips to somedy. Might as well be you.

> Shoving Old Man. Just so long as you've only got one of these, and you can see enough of their hands to make sure they just aren't card racks, these guys can pay off big. You also know that, with retirement income and a firm sense that they aren't going to spend their remaining time on the planet folding, that they are calling with middle pair, bottom pair, or just a sense that you are a lying no-good whippersnapper. Take those chips before they go give them to Ron Paul.

> Internet Twitchy. Nothing like a casino for the young guy who plays as if he's online and throwing around fake money, with out of position raises, easy tells involving his iPod and his hoodie, and the sense that if you take his money, he's going home to Mom's basement with an even greater sense of failure than usual. Look for the telltale food stains and forced lingo. Your re-raise is sick I tell you, sick!

> Newby +1. The friend who comes with the much more experienced player, who barely seems to know when to bet, and basically spends their time being coached by the dealer. The Poker Gods do tend to favor these folks with cards, but they also don't give them the ability to recognize straights or flushes, so very big pots are possible. Bet accordingly.

> Non-adjusting player. Hey, this tournament plays the same as a cash game... and your level game translates just the same, too. Price all of your hands the same, and bet what you know, especially when the tournament jumps blind levels. Oh, and while we're at it, how about a round of Omaha?

Feel free to add your own to the comments...

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