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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Texas Hold'em, The Aftermath

The chips are down, the game is over, and the guests are gone. Cim and I have many, many more bags of Cheetos than we ever thought we would be able to consume, and the game table has been well and truly broken in.

For those of you that might have an interest, we had 10 players, including Cim and me. Cim went out third and I went out fifth. The game started promptly at 6:30, and the last hand was played just before midnight.

Our table works well enough for Poker, but it is very hard for people near the ends to deal. If one player is sitting in the middle, acting as dealer, it works very well. Our table works much better for boardgames, which is good, since that is what we designed it for in the first place!

Some things that I learned playing Hold'em:
  1. When you know that you have the best hand, try to keep the other players in until the end. Then, if they are still betting, let them bet, and raise, then go All in.
  2. Pay careful attention to possible Straights, Flushes and Full Houses
  3. If you are going to try and steal the pot, bet accordingly from the two hole cards
  4. Pay close attention to how the other players bet. It will tell you a lot about what cards they are holding
  5. World Series of Poker on the PSP is a good simulator, and will give you experience that you can take with you to the table. I had never played Hold'em before, and the 750 or so odd hands that I played on the PSP gave me a great appreciation for what hands I should play, what hands were likely, etc.
  6. In the end, you've got to bet to win, and you have to have the cards to bet. If you have a long run of unplayable hands, you will lose, no matter how good you are at bluffing. With 5 cards visible, your two cards in the hole just don't give you much bluffing leeway.

To put this in perspective, the hand that I went out, my chip supply was dwindling. I knew that I had to go in soon, or I would lose by attrition. I drew AJ of hearts, and I went in hoping to hit a flush, or maybe even a straight. From the bets around the table, I could tell that no one paired up on the flop, so I stayed. Then, no one paired on the turn, so I stayed, and then on the river, no one had any joy either. I went all in, and I lost to AQ.

I will definitely play in another game one of these days, but the game is not as stimulating to me as Euros like Settlers, Puerto Rico or Tikal. Cim and I commented that we would have had a lot more fun with our regular game session, which usually has a lot more laughing, joking and kibitzing. The Euros are more varied, with many more interesting decisions, mechanics and dynamics. While my dad was a big gambler, I can truly say that I am a Gamer, not a Gambler.

It's just like in Gilligan's Island, when the Skipper sang "To thine own self be true" to Gilligan. That Skipper, he was a wise, wise man.. 8-)


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