Tuesday, November 11, 2003

"Patience, and shuffle the cards"
Don Quixote

From this week's Business Week in the UpFront Section:
Poker is back in the chips.

Since poker players can't bet against the house, the card game has long been a low-margin biz for casinos. But this year, poker revenues at Connecticut's Foxwoods Casino and Las Vegas' Bellagio are up about 25%. The Bellagio expects to take in about $12 million this year, charging players up to $100 per half-hour. Why the popularity? Online gaming, for one. Also, World Poker Tour, on the Travel Channel, and ESPN's World Series of Poker have drawn record audiences with a reality-show feel. Poker is "not a big profit factor," says Jefferies analyst Lawrence Klatzkin. Still, more poker rooms may still be in the cards.

Poker journal ramblings:

I've known a few degenerate gamblers in my day. Hell, I remember (barely) living in Las Vegas and watching co-workers spend entire paychecks on video poker machines. It was stunning to watch, like a car wreck. I couldn't even conceive of the mindset, the compulsion.

I heard or read of a story of a casino in Las Vegas receiving a bomb threat one night. Over the loudspeaker, management advised everyone to leave the casino floor ASAP. So who were the stubborn gamblers? The blackjack players were the first to leave, then the crapshooters, then the baccarat players; finally the roulette players left. But the damn slot machine and video poker addicts refused to leave. I don't know if this a true anecdote or not, but I sure as hell believe it.

I'm not sure how to tie this into poker except to say where are all these fish on Party Poker coming from? I mean, I'm sitting here playing 2.4 as I type this out and am stunned - my table is five, six, seven handed to the flop every hand. Amazing stuff.

I guess I wanted to rant about losing versus winning poker players, maybe bash the online poker conspiracy theorists again (head to the archives if you want a sample). Seems like some losing players have a propensity to blame losing on outside forces like bad luck, bad cards or rampant cheating. Winning poker players (to me) believe that winning is a direct result of their own studying, ability and preparation while losers, because the idea of incompetency is so damaging to their ego, tend to point to reasons outside of themselves.

I'm not disavowing bad luck or a terrible run of cards, believe me. It's accepted that even good players will experience long losing streaks - it's unavoidable. I'm just referring to the gambloors who whine and complain and post about "fixed" internet poker instead of taking a hard, cold look at their game.

Good God, I'm sounding like a shill here and that wasn't my intention. I just firmly believe that you can only get better at poker by learning from losing, plugging leaks, studying to gain a deeper understanding of concepts and certain game types - not by complaining about "rigged sites" or "action flops."

I wonder how many of these whiners are older types?

Contrasting a younger scientific player with an older, presumably unscientific one, a pro poker player stated, "The player who knows his mathematics, psychology, and can read and intimidate others is what I mean by a scientific poker player. That player is just overkill against some of the older players. It's not even close even though the older players have 70,000 hours at the poker table."

Link of the day: Buy yourself an Imaginary Online Girlfriend for under 50 bucks on EBay.

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