Monday, February 18, 2008

Poker, a new understanding

While in Las Vegas earlier this month partying with some high roller friends, I had questions about their behavior. I took my video camera with me hoping to answer some of these questions. I quickly learned that not one of them wanted to discuss this on camera. . . . or off, for that matter. It must be a very personal thing. Is it an obsession, a compulsion, an addiction or just plain fun. It’s hard to tell.

Wednesday night I went to Aye Jaye’s house and played poker for my first time. A bunch of magicians hanging out, a fellow named Alex with a huge mustache, Dave Cox, Craig, Andrew Goldenhersch, Bruce Gold and of course Aye Jaye. We all bought in for $20 chips that were passed out in quarter, fifty cent and dollar, white, red and black chips. I awkwardly confessed that I had never played poker before which immediately made me seem like I was trying to hustle the group. Crazy games, crazy names, crazy rules. . . shit sometimes it sounded like they were making it up as they went. Rat Fuck, Double Rat Fuck, Omaha, 7 Card Stud with the lowest hole card wild, and a rotating wild card based on the last card which you could pay to keep up or down as to not disrupt your first wild card. What the hell. 727, 5.5 and 27, HELP!! Craig was very helpful slowing down the explanation of the rules to the point that an 8 year could get it, unfortunately, there’s never an 8 year old when you need one. The hands were quick, the rules complicated, and the chatter entertaining.

The following evening Polly and I watched a Poker movie that came out last year starring among others, Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. An interesting look at high stakes poker and the people who play at that level. A lot of my initial questions were answered. Is money the most important thing about gambling? In the movie, a character explains, “that money just keeps the score, but the game, the battle. . . that’s what drives it”. It also answered a question from the game at Aye Jayes’, I wondered why they changed the game with each pass for the deal. It levels the playing field, so that if someone specializes in one specific game, you can force them out of their comfort zone. All very interesting to me. Convincingly bluffed my way out of a jam tonight during a performance and a hundred dollar wager.

Click poster to enlarge

1 comment:

Mark said...

Tom, almost never played (and NEVER enjoyed playing)all of the crazy poker games you listed. I always liked straight poker, for there are at least odds to figure. I hate making poker into a game of 'luck,' for it surely is not that. Poker is a small war, and wild cards and crazy games have no place on the battlefield - but that's just me. Yer old gray pal, Mark