Sunday, June 04, 2006

Poker Potpourri

Today I'm going to play the potpourri girl again. Little bit of everything.
One thing that I haven't really ever talked about here, but is a good idea for those of us who spend way too much time on the internet and often need food ideas in order to keep us fed, are the things Glenn and I eat.

I used to be an ultra-picky eater. I won't list all of my oddities, but using fruit as an example, I'll touch on how weird I was. I didn't like cooked fruit. I didn't want it to be heated in any way whatsoever (I still really don't, but I make some exceptions). I didn't like anything added to my fruit (like sugar) or mixed with it at all. I couldn't stand fruit IN something (like in Jello), nor could I stand it if it had edible seeds. No way I'd ever touch fruit with hair or bumps. So this meant I basically would eat apples, oranges, lemons/limes, some cherries and that is it, unless you count melons. In addition, the apples, oranges, lemons and cherries could not be altered in any way (cooked, soaked, mixed with something, etc).

Okay, so I have opened up quite a bit in the past ten years or so. But I would probably still be considered extremely picky.

I started eating meat maybe five years ago. I had been a vegetarian prior to that (virtually my entire life). If you think I had problems with fruit, my gawd, I could write a book on the problems I had with meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey; I never had a problem with fish or seafood).

When we moved out to Arizona, I was horrified at how dry, gray and tasteless the beef was. I stopped eating it. We eventually started ordering meat from Omaha Steaks. Something about being grass fed versus being grain fed. I'll just say that I thought the beef in the west sucked, and leave it at that.

The problem that I ran into with Omaha, is that I'm cheap. So we tend to wait every three months or so, until they are afraid they will lose us as customers, and then offer some great deal, which is more in line with what I'd expect to pay other places. Usually this outstanding deal comes with a myriad of things, and no alterations are allowed. It is a package deal.

So I have learned to like hotdogs again. I eat a couple of bites of steak (something I've never cared for in my life). I realized that while their meat products are great, their Sole pretty much bites.

If you don't have access to good meat, Omaha might be the place for you to order from. Wait for a good deal though, or you will be paying through the nose (their website "specials" are usually horrible, and you will overpay by quite a bit). Another word of caution is to make sure you tell them on the phone that you do NOT want to be on their calling list, or they will be bugging you night and day. Once you tell them to take you off, in very firm tones, they will not call again. You might still receive offers in the mail, but they won't bug you via telephone.
Something I realized just recently (I subconsciously knew this for years, but finally started consciously thinking about it), is the difference between today's beginning poker players and those of us who have been around the business for over five years and even decades past. I always thought that the difference was that young males (predominantly) had seen poker on TV, wanted to become the next superstar, and tried to emulate TV poker at the 2/4 game by wearing shades, low ball caps, an i-pod, and "staring down" an opponent for five minutes while he decided if he was going to call the $2 raise or not. While all of this is true, there is another aspect to newish players vs. jaded players.

A jaded player like me is someone who was just kind of thrown to the wolves. In gardening, there is a term called "hardening." We must harden off some seedlings before they can be transplanted into the garden. The process is like this: cover a seed with water overnight, put it in some soil or a peat pot, once it sprouts place it close to a window, after a few days take it out to a covered patio for a couple of hours per day, gradually increase until it is outside almost 24 hours per day, place it closer and closer to direct sunlight until it is strong. Then it is ready for the real soil and the garden.

While this is an oversimplification for hardening seedlings, I just wanted a quick illustration for the difference between today's new players and new players of yesteryear.

New players are given a hardening if they want it, a slow process of adjusting to the real world of poker before they must face it. Today they can read tomes of poker goodness on the web. They can order dozens of excellent poker books before they ever have to play a real hand of poker. They can discuss poker on any number of poker forums. They can log onto a poker site and play thousands of hours with play money or at micro-stakes. They are lulled gently before they have to face their first live poker room. Heck, some of them have become millionaires without ever having entered a B&M room in their lives!

In the pre-boom days, we were basically thrown to the wolves. We had to either sink or swim, so the hardiest among us became poker room regulars. The weaker players simply quit. They either did not have the mental fortitude for poker, or they went bust. Those without very high self-confidence slunk away after being verbally and sometimes even physically assaulted.

These days, not only is the whole hardening process a huge advantage to new players, but also, poker rooms have cleaned up their act quite a bit. Women are tolerated, young players are welcomed, abuse is further and farther between, and much less allowed than in the past.

I had the false belief that not many "real" poker players these days lacked self-esteem. I was obviously wrong. Not only is it a problem among bloggers, but even some very high stakes, extremely talented players are not strong personalities. The weakest eventually play online only, or quit altogether, whereas the ones who are relatively normal (yet lacking somewhat in confidence), harden up, and flourish. Some of these people are pure geniuses.

So a day of discovery for me. I love days like today.
Glenn said something funny yesterday. I was lamenting about how I keep getting misunderstood and completely misquoted by some people online. After looking at several of the posts I was talking about, he turned to me and said, "Can you really take anyone with the word 'hammer' in their nickname seriously??? Come ON, consider the source!"

While this cracked me up, it also reminded me of Grubby and his plan to make the beer hand into the "hammer." He wanted it to become the universal name for 72o, replacing the current nickname "the beer hand." In this he succeeded greatly. I have talked to people who have never even played online, never read a poker blog in their lives, refer to 72o as the "hammer."

There is nothing wrong with poker nicknames. But at times they can be telling in a game. Watch the reactions a nickname gets while you are playing live sometime. If someone shows down 92o and someone else says "Montana Banana!" I know something about him. He's been around a while, most likely. And then I learn something about my other opponents. The ones who ask, "Huh? What are you talking about???" might be new. While any hard assumption is usually a bad one to make, it is never bad to take in the clues and remember who said what.

Once again, however, don't rely heavily on them. Linda Geneen, who has been in the poker world for decades, uses "hammer" quite a bit, so it can be dangerous and misleading if you jump to too many conclusions.
Getting back to along the lines of being misquoted, misunderstood and people either reading one literally or reading between the lines, this has long been one of my favorite quotes, and I have used it here before:

"Was this a bad beat? NO. It was just the turn of three cards in a lifelong game." --Don Threetens

Felicia :)