Friday, August 16, 2013

The Indefensiblity of Defending Your Blinds

It's just your big blind - it's not that serious
While I normally tie in the tenets of poker and game theory into daily life, this is going to be a minor strategy post (cue clicking over to different browser tabs now) about something that's been bothering me lately: blind defenders. Yeah, I'm talking about you, you lifetime live tournament leatherass, who's played more days of poker than I've been alive. Yeah, I'm talking about you, you scared life nit who never passes up a discount sale at Macy's and watches "Extreme Couponing" while snacking on your two-for-two-dollars bags of Ruffles. This post... is for YOU.

For awhile, defending your blinds has been pretty cut-and-dried explained to me as a leak: When you call out of position from the small or big blinds with a weak hand, you are out of position for the rest of the hand – end of story. Or is it?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Game of Thrones: Why The Red Wedding Was Just Good Poker

Yep: looks like poker to me
I'm sure by now you have heard of, if not firsthand experienced, the hysteria surrounding Sunday's episode of "Game of Thrones," titled "The Rains of Castamere," featuring a scene known by aficionados of the book series as "The Red Wedding." With the way we (yes, I am a bit of a Throner) broke Twitter and could not stop obsessing about the episode, you would think we had witnessed something akin to television history. Actually, we had (more on that later). And the reason why? Because the story followed the tenets of good, old-fashioned game theory, i.e. poker.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Myth Of The Poker Bubble

Are you trying to seduce me, J9-Suited?
How were you first seduced by poker? 

For me, after many a late night with ESPN reruns of World Series of Poker (WSOP) hole cam-hyped, Lon McEachern silver-tongued and Norman Chad ex-wife-cracking tales of derring-do lightly washing over me, I, somehow, stumbled my way to a 233rd finish for $200 bucks (or was it a 200th place finish for $233? Can't remember - it was back in 2006) past 20K+ runners in what is now called the Sunday Storm on PokerStars. It was an $11 tournament, of which I had satellited in using Frequent Player points or something; I didn't even pay my own buy-in. I had no idea what I was doing: If I ever saw my hand history from that terribly long California Sunday, it could serve as a stand-up routine, I'm sure. Although I'd luckboxed my way past 20,000 players, the trap had been set; four years later, poker swallowed me whole.

Welcome to the article that has hijacked my Wednesday. "Origins of the Poker Bubble," written by Austrian economist Peter C. Earle and featured today on the Mises Institute website (hat tip "Business Insider" executive editor Joseph Weisenthal's relentless Twitter timeline) is fascinating, well-sourced, serious, academic and, also, wrong.  It promotes a tantalizing hypothesis: What if the poker boom-bust period of 2003-2007 were due to the naturally occurring market forces of economic Austrian Business Cycle Theory?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

So You Say We're Going Over A Fiscal Cliff? I CALL.

O RLY: No new taxes?
I know you’re all “Fiscal Cliff”-ed out (it’s more of a slope, but whatever). Lord knows I am, too, if it weren’t for one thing that I hold very dear: game theory. These ongoing negotiations over next year’s budget – which involves ending the Bush 43 era tax cuts for everyone and the automatic triggering of drastic, across-the-board cuts of government entities (in case you’ve been walking the Appalachian Trail or something all year) – is the most tangible example we have seen in a while of game theory at work in everyday life; you know I couldn’t resist.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Live-Tweeting the WSOP Main Event Final Table

Diamonds, like champions, are forever
In case you haven't heard, the World Series of Poker crowned a champion last night, er, this morning. Here are selected tweets from my attempt to watch and socially engage during this twelve-hour marathon of prowess for poker's most prestigious prize.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How A Game Made Me Grow Up: Politics & Poker

One of my earliest blog posts was a scathing rebuke of President Barack Obama and how he had lost my vote. Fresh off my ATC training, I was brimming with game theory and swag, astonished that our nation's leader could fold so easily during 2010 budget negotiations to what was, at best, a semi-bluff from the opposition party. Twenty-one months later, I am happy to report that my experiences in poker have made me grow the hell up.

Friday, June 29, 2012

My First Week Without Poker

 A little over a year ago, I made the move to Las Vegas to play poker and train with the best. This past week is the first week in some thirteen months that I haven't played poker - not a single hand. Occasionally, I get the shakes or dream about 3bet jamming ranges, but I did it (or, rather, didn't it). And it took coming back to my second home, the city of Atlanta, GA, to keep me off the virtual felt.

Is this gonna be one of those "work-life balance" blog posts? Kinda. We already know I have no balance, and it's been a bit by design as I appropriately manage my bankroll and work on improving my game. But being thrown back into the social deep end of Southern Hospitality took some poker player-like adjustments.