Friday, February 23, 2018

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: February 2018

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: The Theory of Poker
Author: David Sklansky
via Amazon
I first learned to play poker on an airplane.  I was flying home from my grandmother's in Cleveland.  The kid next to me was also an unaccompanied minor so the airline sat us together.  He was quite friendly.  He was from Las Vegas so, naturally, he taught me how to play poker.

It wasn't until much later that I learned to play properly with the subtleties of betting, bluffing and so forth.  In recent years, I've been playing with relative frequency.  We have an annual game in our neighborhood.  My teacher friends - mostly the old broomball crowd (see here) - also used to play a lot, though less so as small children have entered many of their lives.  While I have enjoyed occasional success with both groups, I am eager to improve my game.

David Sklansky is a professional poker player and the author or co-author of 13 books on gambling.  The Theory of Poker was first published in 1987. It is now in its fourth edition, eleventh printing.  It is chock full of sound advice - in fact, way more than I could possibly absorb in a single reading.  Long term, though, I think it will serve as a strong reference.  In the meantime, the book has helped me to look at the game in a different light.  I have, quite deliberately, established a certain persona at the table and now I need to learn how best to take advantage of it.

No, I'm not going to share any specifics about how I might alter my strategy.  There is, after all, the remote possibility that one of my real world friends might actually read my blog!  I can't go carelessly divulging such sensitive material.

I do, in fact, have games coming up with both groups.  The neighborhood gathering comes first: $20 buy in, second place wins back his money, first place takes the rest.  I've never won but I've come in second three times.  It reminds me of that old joke: when they voted for Most Likely to Be Runner-Up, I came in second.

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post March's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is March 30th.


12 comments:

  1. I've never played poker, but my family is big into card games! Recently as we travelled in Canada we played a fair bit of cards - also played some in California ;) We love cards! I even collect playing cards.

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    1. One should never travel without a deck of cards, one of the most versatile items ever created.

      What’s your favorite game, Trisha?

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  2. I enjoy playing card games but never tried Poker.

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  3. This is going to be a good xmas present for a few folk I know! I have no poker face skills but do enjoy card games.

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  4. I am not a poker player. Give me a game like Magic which is based on the strength of your hand and your game, and I'm all over it. (Seriously, I was once the highest ranked player in north Louisiana.) But poker is more about the strength of your bluff, and I haven't figured out how to force myself to bluff a weak hand.

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    1. True, poker is not really about the cards, which are as likely to favor you as your opponent. It’s about the betting. The bluffing, though is only part of it. Learning to bluff is actually less important, and easier for a lot of players, than learning when to fold.

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  5. Lol! I almost missed post day, but I just made it.
    I learned the very basics of poker in college, but have usually played more social card games. Sounds like you're a pretty good card player in my book. At least you haven't lost or come in last everytime.

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    1. I am okay but I still have a lot to learn.

      What’s your favorite card game, Toi?

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  6. Totally missed it. I thought I had another week! That's makes twice I've completely forgotten. Double duh! My son used to play poker - online (Agh!) and actually won a couple thousand bucks.

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    1. I doubt I will ever have the nerve to play online.

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