Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The first in a semi-series on poker players.

I have been known to take a hand or two poker. During the time I have been doing that, I have met some people that I describe for your consideration.

The “Chip Burner” aka CB.

We’ve all met him. He is as loose as a goose and plays as stupid as the Three Stooges.

And after observing his play we have all wanted into the game he’s in just knowing that our skill and tactics will make us rich, if not famous.

But then, about the third time his 5 to 1 gut shoot straight beats our three of a kind or two pair, we start to realize that something is wrong. CB is stacking our chips while explaining that 10 – 7 off suite is his favorite rag hand because…. (I’ll let you insert your favorite. We’ve all heard all the varieties.)

Of course he doesn’t keep them. He loses the next half dozen hands and that big pot is redistributed around the table. Maybe even some of it to us. Then he cracks someone else, or even us again, and cackles as he stacks another big pot on his way to losing them again. And, at some point he’ll be broke and leave.

The question is, when he will leave and how much money you will have lost in the meantime. Of course we have all heard the wise old men mutter how good CB is for the game and that all we have to be is patient and he will give the money back. And he will. They’re right.

Now, that may work for a pro who grinds out 8-10 hours every day. But if you are a casual recreational player who doesn’t seek to make a living but wouldn’t mind making a buck or two then that doesn’t work. Let’s examine our options.

Don’t get in the game, or if you didn’t notice the presence of a CB before you got in, get out. Go to another game. And never get in a game with two CB’s.

But let’s say that there’s only one game, a not too rare situation at the higher limits in small casinos. And you want to play. What should your strategy be?

Pairs have lost a lot of their value. Even if you make three of a kind the added action that CB has brought has attracted additional callers in every hand so straights and flushes are much more common.

Never raise before the flop. Never raise at all unless you are 100% certain you have the nuts. No one is likely to get out and the added pot value will attract additional callers.

Play suited cards, especially suited connectors of any size.

Never bluff. CB will certainly call and the added players because of pot size will also call.

And most importantly……

Don’t forget to get lucky. You’ll need it with Chip Burner in the game.

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper

“It’s the presumption that Obama knows how all these industries ought to be operating better than people who have spent their lives in those industries, and a general cockiness going back to before he was president, and the fact that he has no experience whatever in managing anything. Only someone who has never had the responsibility for managing anything could believe he could manage just about everything.” - Thomas Sowell in Reason Magazine

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