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Poker Goals & Challenges Post your threads logging your travels up the poker ladder as you achieve your poker goals and dreams. "Challenges" does NOT mean prop bets, wagers, etc.

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Old 02-04-2017, 12:52 AM   #901
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Originally Posted by bob_124 View Post
and observing Hemingway's Key West study
Looks very tidy.
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:07 PM   #902
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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You heard about this prop bet bob, writing a poker novel in 11 days :

https://www.highstakesdb.com/7582-jo...-prop-bet.aspx

haha...just read the summary. 40,000 words in 11 days is impressive. who cares if there happens to be a typo in the title!

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Did you meet any of the local regs at PBKC? My "I want uncapped" buddy from Houston lives around there these days and I'm pretty sure he plays PBKC at least some.

He's an OMC like me, about 6'4 or 6'5 and looks like an old hippy with longish hear and usually a scraggly beard.
Nope, was only there 4-5 hours and at one table. Would be pretty sweet to be a reg in that room, I'm guessing.

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Looks very tidy.
In your next world tour, Dr., I suggest that you check out Hemingway's estate @ Key West. It's a touristy stop but a fun one: lots of cats and an impressive pool. and that office.

Florida (Poker) Road Trip, Part 2

After some relaxation in Miami/Key West, I was back on the grind. I hit four more casinos:

Gulfstream Park

Beautiful grounds where you can gambol and stroll outside for some horse racing. Played in a very good $2/5 where old men spazzed hard.

Spoiler:


Mardi Gras Casino

Another Miami/Ft. Lauderdale room that a few friends had trumpeted as Good Action. The 2/5, on a Wed night, was pretty meh.

Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Racing & Poker

Big room on the second floor that had 5/10 PLO running on a Thursday afternoon, along with 4-5 2/5s.

Hard Rock Tampa

Based on the layout/promotions/action, this was my favorite Florida room. The Hard Rock switched its poker room to a new location that's separated from the rest of the casino, filled with TVs, and even has its own food station with good burgers and other stuff. All in all, very nice.

Wasn't sure about this spot.

V1 (MP, $450ish): Middle-aged bose-wearing flop-happy Asian dude. Bill Chen's brother, more or less, but way worse at poker. Doubled up hero after shoving over a flop bet on Kx43 (he mucked without showing), so capable of pushing draws or overvaluing hands. In 70% of pots.

V2: (BB, $1300): Old man with bet-sizing tells. made it 60 pre with TT.

Hero ($1500) 20 UTG with KQ, V1 call, straightforward TAG call otb, sb call, BB call.

Flop 763, sb check, BB donk 25.

Decision pt 1: raise or flat?

Hero flat, V1 raise to 100, folds around to hero.

villain has 300 behind. fold, call, or jam?

**

also went to an NXT amateur wrestling event. It was fun. Ten bucks for great seats and decent talent.

Spoiler:

Heading back tomorrow. Overall very smooth trip, we dusted ourself off after early poker punishment to book a win and got in some sightseeing as well. I highly recommend taking route 41 west from Miami and hopping on the Big Cypress loop road. Tons of...GATORS!
Spoiler:
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:58 PM   #903
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Awesome, don't get eaten though!
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:59 PM   #904
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

What about Bob?
Atlantic City

2004

These two guys have no idea what they’re about to walk into. Down here to have a good time, they figure: why not give poker a try? —Mike McDermott, Rounders

I crouched in the shadows with a bag of flour. Campus, at 2 a.m., was quiet. But not for long.

“There.” Jared pointed across the Quad to Campus Pizza, a popular bar that belched out dozens of drunks on a Friday night. Laughing and flirting, a tipsy couple wobbled onto the grass.

I slinked into the dim lamplight, looped behind them, and hesitated. I wouldn’t prevent a casual hook-up, would I?

THWAP

The first blow landed thick and firm, like hitting a fastball with your bat’s sweet spot, and exploded in a satisfying puff of white.

“mother****ER!”

I sprinted behind Pardee Hall, my chest convulsing with laughter and the fear of being run down. Eventually the guy abandoned pursuit and attended to his giggling girl on the ground, her miniskirt covered in white. Apparently Jared also had good aim.

Suddenly another raucous group staggered from Campus Pizza. These guys weren’t drunk; they were wasted. One of them, failing to look down, tripped over the half-empty bag of flour and fell on his face. His buddies did what any rowdy seniors would do:

THWAP
THWAP
THWAP

As the poor guy suffered from a floury flurry, Jared and I joined the fray with two fresh bags. Now we were the liberators! All of us cackled and screamed and pelted each other until the Quad shimmered white.

Mission accomplished.

Back in the dorms we peeled off our sweaty, flour-caked hoodies. Jared emptied his pockets and casually tossed a thick wad of cash onto the couch.

“You robbing people now?” I asked. He rolled his eyes.

“Seriously,” I said.

He shrugged and said, “Poker.”

***



***

“So three-of-a kind beats two pair,” I said.

“And loses to a straight,” Jared said from the driver’s seat. I waited for him to continue, but that was all the instruction I’d get. Hopefully the poker players in Atlantic City were forgiving.

Among our senior class of overachievers and budding entrepreneurs, Jared was a voluntary outcast—a brooding maverick who suffered no fool. Depending on his mood, this meant smacking drunkards with flour (or eggs, or water balloons). It meant verbally jousting with his philosophy professors, and winning. It meant routinely driving three hours to AC and relieving donkeys of cash.

Whether the plan involved flour or cards, I enjoyed tagging along.

Jared pulled his blue Volvo onto Atlantic Avenue and I scanned the street. Roving thugs and beach bums, laundromats and pawn shops, tireless jitneys that scuttled to and from casinos like beetles—to me, Atlantic City was gaudy and frayed and vaguely depressing. Exhibit A was the glitzy monstrosity that flaunted in front of us: Trump’s Taj Mahal.

In the coming years, it would be a familiar routine: park in the Taj garage, stroll past sandwich stores and high-end shops, and descend the escalator until, glancing down to the right, through a huge glass partition, I spotted the cardroom. Every kind of person occupied that strange seductive space: a brilliant, backward, and beleaguered crowd aflame with a passion for poker.

I bought in for a hundred and sat next to Jared, who wore a raggedy flannel and a headband that tamed his mane of wild brown hair. One of our tablemates looked like Jared’s downtrodden twin: they were both tall and shaggy, but this guy was older and weathered, as though he’d been through some ****. He looked like a junkie or some hippyish slacker.

The guy saw me staring and correctly guessed that I didn’t belong here on a Monday afternoon. “Shouldn’t you be in class, bro?” he asked.

“Are you happy?” Jared asked him aggressively. Slacker-hippie stared back, confused.

“Because you don’t look happy,” Jared said.

“Whatever, bro,” he said, and flicked two whites into the pot.

The toughest player was probably a beefy bald guy sporting a hairy chest and a gold necklace. He seemed to be betting on pure bravado. If some foolish soul called preflop, then he bet twice as big on the flop, and twice that amount on the turn, all while flashing a death stare. So far none of us had survived to the river.

Maybe that was how to play poker: when in doubt, bet. And bet big.

On the other hand (I looked at two jacks in the small blind) maybe it was prudent to see flops before betting big. I called for another dollar.

“Cap your cards,” Jared told me quietly.

The dealer spread a ten and two sixes. I had a pair. A high pair. I bet four reds and only Slacker-hippie called.

The turn was a queen. Now what? Eventually we both checked.

The river was an ace. Was my pair of jacks good? It was hard to say. I bet two reds.

“Raise to twenty,” the dealer said. Slacker-hippie smirked at me.

I pushed two reds into the pot and exposed my pair of jacks.

Slacker-hippie stared at my hand for a moment and showed a nine—and then an ace.

“You lose!” he said.

“Ace-nine off? Really?” Jared said.

“Nice hand,” I said in a shaky voice. Oh well. Maybe some other time—in ten years? twenty years?—I would learn how to play this game.

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Awesome, don't get eaten though!
Spoiler:

Last edited by bob_124; 02-14-2017 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:08 PM   #905
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Yea Gulfstream does have some pretty grounds. Always feel safe there, wish their room was bigger.

Never done Naples and have no idea why, seems like a place I'd want to visit for sure.

Haven't been to the new tampa room, is the food station complimentary? How full was the room? Far away from smoke?

Funny that you've done more of Florida than me, and I've lived here nearly 30 years
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:26 PM   #906
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Yea Gulfstream does have some pretty grounds. Always feel safe there, wish their room was bigger.

Never done Naples and have no idea why, seems like a place I'd want to visit for sure.

Haven't been to the new tampa room, is the food station complimentary? How full was the room? Far away from smoke?

Funny that you've done more of Florida than me, and I've lived here nearly 30 years
Naples is super nice. One of the wealthiest parts of the state apparently. Only about a 2-3 hour drive on 41 if you're coming from Miami.

Nope, not complimentary, but a very good food selection (this is according to a few of the regs at my tables) and exclusive to the poker room, which is partitioned off from the rest of the casino and the food station is in the back.

The room (and the casino) were PACKED on a friday night, and decently full on Sat afternoon/Monday afternoon. I'm guessing the high-hand promotions do a good job of filling that space. I think squidface plays a decent amt at the Hard Rock, and he'd be able to tell you more.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:13 PM   #907
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Parting Words from California Cash Game Crusher "DGAF"

Interview with DGAF

If you've made it all the way into this 2+2 PGC poast and haven't visited DGAF's thread, then LOL at your life!
Spoiler:

Seriously, though, check out his thread if you haven't. Lots of good stuff inside. Plenty of advanced strategery, sure, but even more important insights on the poker world, what it's like to be a pro, and how all of us—pros, semipros, recs—should act at the tables.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:36 PM   #908
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Poker Piece in the NYT

"I enjoy a poker room. The stakes for which I play are so low, often as not everyone at the table cashes out within $10 of his buy-in. The players tend to be older men, retired, on fixed incomes, widowers or divorced and nowhere near getting on that horse again. The dealers call them by name; the waiters deliver their drinks without the bother of an order."

"Playing Poker with WWII and Vietnam," by Bruce Holbert
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:46 PM   #909
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Poker Piece in the NYT

"I enjoy a poker room. The stakes for which I play are so low, often as not everyone at the table cashes out within $10 of his buy-in. The players tend to be older men, retired, on fixed incomes, widowers or divorced and nowhere near getting on that horse again. The dealers call them by name; the waiters deliver their drinks without the bother of an order."

"Playing Poker with WWII and Vietnam," by Bruce Holbert
The Sunday Times is worth it just for the book reviews and the magazine. No better way to spend Sunday morning IMO.
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:09 PM   #910
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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The Sunday Times is worth it just for the book reviews and the magazine. No better way to spend Sunday morning IMO.
I love physical texts--esp books and magazines. I imagine digitized versions will replace everything someday, but hopefully not soon.

February Results, March Goals, Poker Faces in the Crowd: Doug Whittaker

[49] Play 50 hours
Nola tried to obstruct me from the office, but I wouldn't be denied!
Spoiler:


[30] Write 30-40 hours

This month's Poker Faces in the Crowd interview, with Doug Whittaker, just went up. We discussed road gambling, playing with Paul “Eskimo” Clark, mud engineering, and how the game has changed in the last thirty years.

[X] Survive Mardi Gras
another epic MG. Weather and vibe were fantastic throughout. I had the pleasure of meeting up with PGC hero Duke0424, who was in town sampling the festivities and taking a break from crushing live poker in (of all places) Guatemala. Or was it Ecuador?...

Zulu
Spoiler:

Frenchmen Street
Spoiler:

March goals
[ ] play 50 hours
[ ] Write 30 hours
[ ] Survive March Madness opening weekend in Vegas
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:20 PM   #911
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Poker Piece in the NYT

"I enjoy a poker room. The stakes for which I play are so low, often as not everyone at the table cashes out within $10 of his buy-in. The players tend to be older men, retired, on fixed incomes, widowers or divorced and nowhere near getting on that horse again. The dealers call them by name; the waiters deliver their drinks without the bother of an order."

"Playing Poker with WWII and Vietnam," by Bruce Holbert
The wonders of friendly conflict. Wouldn't mind making 2bbs/hour in this game!
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Old 03-03-2017, 11:53 AM   #912
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

What about Bob?
Boston

2005

"Anyone who lives in Boston knows that it’s March that’s the cruelest, holding out a few days of false hope and then gleefully hitting you with the ****.”
—Stephen King

The worst part wasn’t the cold, but the wind—piercing gusts from the Charles River that whipped your face with wide wet slaps. For me, suffering the weather was part of the job. I stood outside the Westin Copley Place in gloves, a scarf, and a long black peacoat, and settled into my graveyard shift.

Thanks to a family hookup, I had landed my first post-college gig as the Westin’s Parking Services Supervisor, a jack-of-all-trades position that required me to flit into meetings and then scoot onto the bustling front drive, where I’d flag cabs, cart bags, punch tickets, give directions, and park cars.

Lots of cars. Thankfully I could drive stick.

Handling Jaguars and Benzes and Escalades was cool, but what I liked even more were the people. The whole Democratic National Committee had stayed here on Election Night. Perched near the entrance, I saw John Kerry, Larry David, and forgettable B-listers from MTV’s The Real World. Duty had even required me to chase down Sharon Stone, who’d forgotten her bag as she floated through the Westin’s sleek revolving doors and up the escalator.

What I appreciated most, though, was my diverse and ridiculous group of coworkers. There was my boss Victor, a lovable bruiser from Puerto Rico; Cheong, a slender cashier from Vietnam; Mikhail, a part-time realtor who’d served in the Communist Russian military; Oral, a veteran Bostonian whose piercing whistle could attract cabbies from across Copley Square; and Ibrahim, a jokester from Ethiopia who, the rumor went, had once ****ed a goat (never confirming or denying the story, he’d simply burst into staccato laughter). There were the Haitian valets: Guy, Louis, Michel (who parked cars in a dark nook so that he could enjoy quick naps) and Vladdy, who always greeted me with a belly laugh and a bear hug. And there was Marc, a floundering journalist from California who, like me, wondered how a college education had led to this.

The Kings of the front drive, the doormen, were all sober men in their forties who donned smart black hats and and practiced politeness. Every inch of the front drive was theirs—real estate for rent. And the price to park? “Whatever you think is fair,” they’d say to customers with a sly smile.

One night when our senior doorman, John, was enjoying his customarily long dinner break, I was installed as temporary King. A man drove up in a gleaming black Escalade. “You guys work hard,” he said. “If I give you this”—he slid a hundred onto the counter— “can you keep my car close?”

“I can do that,” I said.

When John returned I handed him the hundred. He whipped out his hefty wad and handed me a fifty.

Car Money was only the beginning. The Kings earned untold sums—easily thousands a week—from helping guests, loading luggage, flagging cabs. Ben, a bespectacled black doorman in his fifties, had once managed the parking department. Realizing his mistake, he requested a demotion and never looked back.

As a newbie who “supervised” men old enough to be his father, I had slowly grown hip to this world’s weird codes—especially the elaborate tipping arrangements that existed between valets and doormen, between valets and cashiers, between doormen and bellhops, between employees and supervisors. Closed off to outsiders, it was a world full of rivalries and gossip, tedium and excitement. I dreaded and anticipated those moments when, after a convention finished, dozens of guests bombarded the cashier's office and waited impatiently for their vehicles. Shedding my suit jacket, I’d jog three flights of stairs from the packed front drive to the underground garage, over and over, jamming singles into my bulging pockets, parking and retrieving cars until my shirt was soaked with sweat.

There were also nights like tonight: a frigid winter evening, quiet and calm.


**

Peeling off my thick gloves, I collapsed into a frayed chair in the cashier’s office. The cramped office had a tackboard with blue and white tickets (for overnight guests and transient shoppers), two computers, and an antiquated cash register for punching and sorting tickets. I loaded a Word document and got to work.

According to Greenblatt, the New Historical method is less a definable theory than a diverse array of reading practices meant to illuminate and critique the reciprocal discourse between art and culture, a relationship that Louis Montrose expresses chiastically as “the historicity of texts and the textuality of history.”

Bleh.

Step one—move to Boston for a gap year, take the GREs—was going fine. Step two—apply to grad schools in English, get accepted with funding—was very much in doubt. Given my mediocre grades, my fate would probably come down to a strong writing sample. My professors had advised against submitting part of my senior thesis, which was more or less about hobbits (the subject, they told me, was too lowbrow; Tolkien, a devout Catholic, was too conservative). So I’d decided to revise an essay from my Literary Theory class that applied New Historicism—whatever that was—to William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.

If life and art are mutually constitutive, then art inevitably contains matters of sociological and political import. Faulkner, however, publicly asserted that his works were neither sociological nor political in nature. “The sociological qualities in [his] fiction,” Faulkner declared, were “coincidental to the story” (Fant 50). Furthermore

Glinting headlights rescued me from revision. I jogged gloveless outside, pried open the door of a sleet-caked cab, and greeted a pudgy middle-aged man who sported a proud expression on his ruddy face. Was that?...

Yep. Chris Berman.

The veteran ESPN anchor winked at me, reached into the cab, wrapped his arm around a sturdy brunette in whitewashed denim, and disappeared through the revolving doors.

Just another night at the Westin.

With the front drive quiet again, there were no more distractions. I tinkered with my ****ty writing sample, gave up, and took a crack at my personal statement. This task also seemed hopeless—especially at 2 a.m. Who was I? What could I tell an academic committee? How was I distinctive in any way?

At some point I realized, thanks to luck or desperation, that the answers were all around me. There was only one way to start my personal statement:

I park cars at a hotel.

Last edited by bob_124; 03-03-2017 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:35 PM   #913
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How have I missed this?

Interesting. Might start at the beginning. Mind telling me what the structures is? Is some of this stuff you wrote a long time ago? I see flashbacks.
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Old 03-03-2017, 04:04 PM   #914
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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The wonders of friendly conflict. Wouldn't mind making 2bbs/hour in this game!
I'm sure a few Nola games fit this description exactly. Cmon back!

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How have I missed this?

Interesting. Might start at the beginning. Mind telling me what the structures is? Is some of this stuff you wrote a long time ago? I see flashbacks.
Welcome aboard! The first part starts in 2002 and the series (or whatever you wanna call it) moves forward chronologically from there. There will be a bunch of parts, I'm guessing, and I'm just writing them as I go.
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Old 03-13-2017, 07:44 PM   #915
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The New Yorker Writer Maria Konnikova to Publish Poker Book


Just found this on Twitter. Who, you might ask, is the identity of "one of the game's greatest and most reclusive champions?"

Spoiler:

Aside from Dwan or Ivey or maybe Isildur, he'd be the guy I'd want to build a book around. And Konnikova is an accomplished writer with a strong following, so I'd say this book has a ton of potential. We'll see!
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:49 PM   #916
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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The New Yorker Writer Maria Konnikova to Publish Poker Book


Just found this on Twitter. Who, you might ask, is the identity of "one of the game's greatest and most reclusive champions?"

Spoiler:

Aside from Dwan or Ivey or maybe Isildur, he'd be the guy I'd want to build a book around. And Konnikova is an accomplished writer with a strong following, so I'd say this book has a ton of potential. We'll see!
Nice find! Lots of potential.
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Old 03-16-2017, 04:59 AM   #917
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Bob-124 -- in "The Poker World According to Cinch" what were you getting at about the book? Was it on page 220?
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Old 03-16-2017, 05:38 PM   #918
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Nice find! Lots of potential.
Indeed!

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Bob-124 -- in "The Poker World According to Cinch" what were you getting at about the book? Was it on page 220?
Not sure what you're referring to. I've never read Cinch, tho I think Russell or someone else mentioned the book itt. Have you read it?
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:56 PM   #919
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Indeed!



Not sure what you're referring to. I've never read Cinch, tho I think Russell or someone else mentioned the book itt. Have you read it?
My bad now I can't find what I thought I saw.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:10 PM   #920
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

What About Bob?
Houston

2006

Save the world on your own time.” —Stanley Fish


My Methodologies professor reclined in his chair, fingers interlocked behind his head, and fondled the tufts of his curly chestnut hair. Everything about him was casual—his sandals, his khaki shorts, that slight southern accent. He was quite possibly the most arrogant man on the planet. And for good reason: the guy was ****ing brilliant.

“I would argue—in fact, I have argued—that any intellectual who attempts to engage the dominant rhetoric of the social and cultural moment and play ‘inside the system,’ as it were, is automatically a stooge for the powers that be.” He reclined farther, satisfied with himself, and let those words hang in the humid Houston air.

Mute and dumbstruck, eight of us clustered around a seminar table inside Herring Hall. Finally a girl with a raggedy dress and hairy armpits ventured a question: “So does the work that we do, like, matter?”

The hint of a smile flickered on our professor’s face. “Tell me, Hannah,” he said. “What is it that you think we ‘do’”?

Here was graduate school in English.

The afternoon’s discussion, as far as I could tell, offered two competing answers to the question of what we did inside the ivory towers of academia. One side assumed that literature is political. Reading, teaching, and selecting the best literature, consequently, could incite social change or—you may say I’m a dreamer, but am I the only one?—revolution.

Stanley Fish, a flamboyant Duke English professor who liked pissing people off, voiced the other extreme. “If you want to send a message that will be heard beyond the academy, get out of it,” he wrote. “Professing” English amounted to a kind of irrelevant aesthetics: it was socially worthless but enjoyable, like sunbathing. And what was wrong, Fish asked, with feeling good?

So there you had it. Doctors treated patients. Chefs cooked food. Valets parked cars. Humanities professors, depending on whom you asked, either saved the world or wasted office space.

Bored with our feeble intellects, our professor expounded upon his talents as a distance runner and an erstwhile slide guitarist. Finally, mercifully, class was over. I asked Andy, a modernist from Michigan, if he wanted to grab a beer.

“Hell yes,” he said.



**

It turned out that, as usual, everyone in my cohort needed a drink. We strolled across campus to Valhalla, the grad student bar where you can buy Lonestars for a quarter and stretch out on the grass. It was a lovely spot to vent.

It only took two drinks for Hannah, our hairy-armed ringleader who studied Romanticism and post-structuralism, to get going. Life, she confessed, totally sucked. Her Methodologies seminar paper—“Vattimo, Rorty, and Emerson: Antifoundationalist Ethics and the Rebirth of Religion after the Death of God”—was going nowhere.“I don’t know if I can do this!” she groaned, and guzzled wine from a plastic cup.

“Have you considered employing Deleuze?” Amelia, a Victorianist from Sydney, asked in a thick Aussie accent.

Lilith, an Americanist from Asheville, nodded vigorously and added, “Or maybe Spivak?”

Andy flung his arms up in mock exasperation. “Don’t you dare bow at the altar of Theory! Wine is your savior.” He grinned and trotted inside for more drinks.

“Merlot, please!” Hannah called after him.

Booze and banter were useful distractions from questions that we, as first-years, couldn’t ignore for long. Who would separate themselves from the intellectual pack? Who would survive the program? Who would get a job? “A job,” in the parlance of academia, meant a tenure-track position at a research institution. The woeful reality of the academic market suggested otherwise, but many grad programs, even middling ones like ours, clung to the fantasy that only tenured gigs were acceptable. Anything less was failure.

I had come to grad school for the most naive, foolish reason possible: because I liked to read. Even worse, I enjoyed teaching. Did I really want to produce lit crit and chase nonexistent jobs? Didn’t it make sense to teach high school? Maybe the better path—the smarter, more economic path—was to earn a Master’s degree after two years and leave the program early.

I sipped Lonestar and scanned our leafy campus. “Leaving” was one way of putting it. “Quitting” was another. I remembered the last time I had quit something—the basketball team, a decision that was both the clearest and hardest choice of my life. I had no regrets. But that decision had changed everything: my identity, my interests, my friends. It had taken me to Australia, to Atlantic City, to Boston, and now to Houston, where I speculated with my gifted and anguished peers about the future. On those Thursday afternoons outside Valhalla, the same question always harassed me: How often can you quit before you’re a quitter?
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Old 03-23-2017, 12:45 PM   #921
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds, by Michael Lewis



"Life isn't just a stage. It's a casino, and our lives are games of chance." —Michael Lewis

If you've heard of Thinking Fast and Slow, then you might know Danny Kahneman, that book's author and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics. For years, Kahneman collaborated with Amos Tversky, a fellow Israeli psychologist and by all accounts a brilliant dude. "The faster you realized Tversky was smarter than you," said one of their colleagues, "the smarter you were."

In The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis tells the stories of Kahneman, Tversky, and the academic discipline that they more or less pioneered—behavioral economics, which studies how psychology impacts judgment, prediction, and decision-making. In short, Danny and Amos contested the assumption that, when we make decisions, we act rationally.
Spoiler:

I had read bits and pieces of Lewis, but never one of his books. He has to be one of the best popular nonfiction writers today. Really, really good ability to translate complex stuff into a compelling, accessible, and oftentimes funny story. You can read an excerpt of the book here. (In a way, as Lewis explains in the excerpt, the book is a sequel to Moneyball.)

**

Kahneman on psychology: "My interest in psychology was as a way to do philosophy. To understand the world by understanding why people, especially me, see it as they do. By then the question of whether God exists left me cold. But the question of why people believe God exists I found really fascinating. I was not really interested in indignation. Now that's a psychologist!" (66)

"How does the brain create meaning? How does it turn the fragments collected by the senses into a coherent picture of reality? Why does that picture so often seem to be imposed by the mind upon the world around it, rather than by the world upon the mind? How does a person turn the shards of memory into a coherent life story? Why does a person's understanding of what he sees change with the context in which he sees it?...These questions, or ones like them, had led Danny into psychology" (72)

people as conservative Bayesians; or, how to tell if a habitual pre-flop raiser is really a LAG:

"In the case of two bags known to be 75 percent-25 percent majority red or white, the odds that you are holding the bag containing mostly red chips rise by three times every time you draw a red chip, and are divided by three every time you draw a white chip. If the first chip you draw is red, there's a 3:1 change that the bag you are holding is majority red. If the second chip you draw is also red, the odds rise to 9:1. If the third chip you draw is white, they fall back to 3:1. And so on.

Amos presented research that showed that when people draw a red chip from the bag, they do indeed judge the bag to be more likely to contain mostly red chips. If the first three chips they withdrew were red, for instance, they put the odds at 3:1 that the bag contained a majority f red chips. The true, Bayesian odds were 27:1. People shifted the odds in the right direction, in other words; they just didn't shift them dramatically enough. They were, according to Ward Edwards, an old-school psychologist, "conservative Bayesians." (146)

[action folds to a player on the button who raises, and everyone folds. Action folds to the same player who raises from the cutoff, and everyone folds. Action folds to the same player who raises from the hijack, and everyone folds. How likely is it that this player is a LAG?]

"Conservative Bayesians. For Danny, the phrase was worse than meaningless. 'It suggests people have the correct answer and they adulterated it—not any realistic psychological process that produces the judgments that people make. 'What do people actually do in judging these probabilities?'" (149)

Their article "Belief in the Law of Small Numbers" teased out the implications of a single mental error that people commonly made—even when those people were trained statistician. People mistook every a very small part of a thing for the whole. Even statisticians tended to leap to conclusions from inconclusively small amounts of evidence. They did this, Amos and Danny argued, because they believed—even if they did not acknowledge the belief—that any given sample of a large population was more representative of that population than it actually was.

...When seeking to determine if the bag they held contained mostly red chips, psychologists were inclined to draw, from very few chips, broad conclusions. In their search for scientific truth, they were relying far more than they knew on chance. That's more, because they had so much faith in the power of small samples, they tended to rationalize whatever they found in them" (161).

Heuristics

"In many uncertain situations, the mind did not naturally calculate the correct odds. So what did it do?

The answer Danny and Amos now offered: It replaced the laws of chance with rules of thumb. These rules of thumb they called 'heuristics.'"

Anchoring and adjustment – the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the "anchor") when making decisions. For example, in a study done with children, the children were told to estimate the number of jellybeans in a jar. Groups of children were given either a high or low "base" number, or anchor. Children estimated the number of jellybeans to be closer to the anchor number that they were given.

Availability – A mental shortcut that occurs when people make judgments about the probability of events by the ease with which examples come to mind. Danny and Amos did an experiment in which participants reported that there were more words in the English language that start with the letter K than for which K was the third letter. There are actually twice as many words in the English Language that have K as the third letter as those that start with K, but words that start with K are much easier to recall and bring to mind.

Representativeness – A mental shortcut used when making judgments about the probability of an event under uncertainty. Or, judging a situation based on how similar the prospects are to the prototypes the person holds in his or her mind. Danny and Amos gave participants a description "Linda," a woman who, based on a written description, was likely a feminist. 80–90% of participants decided that it was more likely for Linda to be a feminist and a bank teller than just a bank teller. Which is impossible, because "Linda is a bank teller and active in the feminist movement" is just a special case of "Linda is a bank teller." One description is entirely contained within the other. (325)

"Danny had an idea that there might be a fourth heuristic, "the simulation heuristic,' he'd eventually call it, and it was all about the power of unrealized possibilities to contaminate people's minds. As they moved through the world, people ran simulations of the future. What if I say what I think instead of pretending to agree? What if they hit it to me and the ground goes through my legs. What happens if I say no to his proposal instead of yes? They based their judgments and decisions in part on these imagined scenarios. And yet not all scenarios were equally east to imagine; they were constrained, much in the way that people minds seemed constrained when they 'undid' some tragedy...Danny wanted to investigate how people created alternatives to reality by undoing reality. He wanted, in short, to discover the rules of the imagination" (301)
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:46 AM   #922
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

I remember Linda (the one who might also know something about postructuralism but probably wouldn't)! Always wondered what Stanley Fish looked like, too: the Bayesian take on him actually wearing sandals is perhaps similar to the likelihood of flopping a flush? Or maybe I'm being too optimistic (or just leaning on a heuristic)? Suspect that Kahneman would have been a zen master at the poker table (but it was, I'd now say, better for all that he chose to write books on psychology and stay inside the classroom).
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