Saturday, October 24, 2009

What Poker Can Teach Us

I want to share this article with you, even though I may be late to the game on this one. I have already been emailed this link once and three of the poker enthusiasts I follow on Twitter have also brought it to my attention.

What Poker Can Teach Us -- By James McManus

The article follows a brief history of poker from it’s French origins to it’s current popularity. I especially like how it highlights the game as a metaphor for the American mindset, crossing the Puritan values of our beginnings with the risk-loving cowboy. To top it all off, we get poker anecdotes from two of the most successful Americans alive today: President Obama and Bill Gates. Definitely a great read.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

iPhone App Review: PokerGauge

PokerGaugeToday I’m crossing my love for poker with my love for tech by reviewing the iPhone application PokerGauge. You may remember my past iPhone review for one of the first games available for the device, Apple’s own Texas Hold’em game. Today I have a deeper cut from the app store which is marginally less fun, but a hundred times for useful.

PokerGauge is a mobile odds calculator that I deem the mobile odds calculator. While the marketplace for odds calculators on the App Store in no way rivals the plethora of tip calculators (seriously, who buys those?) PokerGauge isn’t the only one on the scene, just the best.

The screen displays a series of gauges, each representing your hand’s chance of winning against 1, 2, 3...up to 9 opponents. The needle of the gauge represents hand strength, to the left (empty if it were a gas gauge) means poor, to the right (full) means strong. To make things even clearer, the gauge changes color, green for play, red for fold. When you touch a gauge, it opens a detailed view outlining the odds of completing all the various poker hands and, if made, the odds of said hand winning. The app even shows pot equity and can be adjusted for a tight or loose table.

I’m not going to recommend whipping out your iPhone at your local cash game. This would fall somewhere in the range of annoying to outright cheating in the eyes of the host. No doubt it would be a shootable offence in the Old West...mostly for witchcraft as this kind of technology didn’t exist back then. As far as live action goes, I would only drop the touch screeny knowledge when proving that you did indeed make the correct play when calling your friend after the hand is won.

I only warn against the perception of cheating, using PokerGauge is in no way cheating in my book. There is no information within that couldn’t be drawn from a book and a calculator. This app’s value is how easily it places the odds at your fingertips. For live play the best practice is to run some common scenarios before the game and commit the odds to memory. This will only make you a better play in the end.

For online play, go sick. Green means play, red means fold is the mantra for the bots that still swarm the less secure online tables. I would imagine running on that same premise alone could make you profitable, but even better is adding your human experience and intuition to the mix. We all know poker is part math/part psychology...allow PokerGauge to help with the math.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My favorite hand can beat your favorite hand.

What's your favorite pocket pair? I hear this question a lot. More accurately, I here people proclaim their favorite hold'em hole cards without my asking. Why would I ask? What else would it be?

Amazingly they never share my favorite pocket pair, which is an ace followed by another ace. I've heard all the reasons why suited connectors are so great and why people cling to a hand they've had success with in the past. Really though, would you rather have the hand that holds a special place in your heart over pocket rockets? Does anyone believe any other two cards hold up as well?

It has gotten to the point that when I go out to play cards and am dealt AA, I'll hesitate slightly and announce that I have my favorite hand when deciding what to raise. With this simple comment almost everyone rules out pocket rockets!

Would Doyle pass up A-A for 10-2? I think not.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

PokerPlasm's "aggresive negotiations" end with the Retrival of hacked Twitter Accounts

Last week the Twitter accounts of myself and HCD frienemy, Pokerplasm, were attacked and seemingly deleted by Estonia-based site "getrealfollowers.com." Due to the unorthodox negotiation techniques of Pokerplasm, the accounts were returned relatively unscathed. For the official comments of the site in question, see an account of the talks here. The following is an artistic interpretation of last week's events.