Three years ago, my poker classes started at the Claude Pepper Sr. Citizen Center in Los Angeles with just six students. Now we have over 40 people enrolled. Whenever a new poker class or poker lab starts, I call for all students to take a vow. "As a requirement for being in this class," I say, "you must promise me that you will never play for the rent money."
That's always greeted with a smile from those who have taken my previous classes. I hold up my right hand and wait for all to join me:
"I will never play with the rent money."
Then they listen patiently as I explain:
Recently I wrote about Mark Twain's fascinating essay in which he described how, back in 1870, a Kentucky court decided that a competition like poker really is a game of science-; not a game of chance or luck. Then it occurred to me: My hold'em algorithm is strong proof of the wisdom of that court's decision: Poker is a game of science! First, understand the meaning of "science."
You may recall I once told you about that eminent senior citizen, Arizona Stu, who is a super poker player-as well as a winner in the game of life. It seems there is a new variety of hold'em at an Indian casino near his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. It's $5-$150 hold'em. The small blind is $3 and big blind is $5. "You can bet up to $150 at any time," he explained. That's a spread limit game. The buy-in is $350.
Rarely do we speak of poker and world politics in the same breath. They seem so far removed from one another. But there is a strong connection. I'll explain. . .
With all the terrible things going on in our world, it's wonderful when a person can make a positive impact on the life of fellow human beings. Here's a story that will make you smile. . .
Those of you who have read my first book, The Greatest Book of Poker for WINNERS!, know that it is unique in several ways. For one thing, a full chapter is devoted to why poker is an ideal recreational activity for senior citizens. Basically the chapter explains how and why playing poker can help us (I recently turned 80) to live longer, healthier, and concomitantly happier lives.
Playing hold'em, do you have a favorite hand - two hole cards that give you that warm feeling as you peek at the corners? Personally, I have several favorites. Best of all are pocket aces; after all, that's the best hand possible preflop.
I also like ace-queen suited. I've named that combination a "Caitlin" in honor of my beautiful, bright and charismatic 19-year-old grandniece from Boston.
There's More Than One Way to Skin a Cat
Have you ever heard that expression? I don't know why anyone would ever want to skin a cat, but it is true that there often is more than one way to accomplish an objective. On Friday, October 13 (are you superstitious?), President Bush signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement (UIGE) Act, effectively banning online poker in the U.S.A.
This column is different than my usual ones; but the recent Congressional legislation against online poker got me thinking. . .
You called the blind from an early position with A-Q unsuited. The flop came down:
Your aces look great. Top pair and a big kicker! You bet out and are called by three opponents.
You have a tough decision to make; you stop and think. Contemplate the situation; then decide your course of action. That takes time. In the game of poker, it is no different.