Sunday, January 20, 2013

Problems with Live Poker

In light of the fact that my current teaching contract will be ending next semester--actually, it'll be ending a semester early due to my desire to get the hell out of the United Arab Emirates--I've started thinking about what I'd like to do when I return to the good ole U S of A in the beginning of July 2013.  And the thing that always pops into my head is that I'd like to play some poker.  But, of course, internet poker in any truly reliable form disappeared after Black Friday.

So that means that I'll have to play live poker.  Holy Christ, what a difference.

To understate it, there are problems with live poker.  Have you played live poker?  You probably know what I mean.  But here goes anyway.

Live poker players have a smell.  They smell like--how else can I describe it?--sweat, shit, and old people.  Even if they're young people.  In fact, the younger they are, the more they tend to smell.  The young people smell like old people, and the old people smell like sweat and shit.  And as the hours pass, their smell . . . matures.

Villain might start off mildly sweaty.  Then he'll have a few beers.  Then he's sweaty and farty.  And scratching his balls before handling his cards.  Then something goes wrong downstairs and he suddenly smells shitty.  A fart misfired, perhaps.  But does he leave?  No, he's got a hand to play.  Soon he forgets about his situation.  It's up to you to point out that he smells like a greasy sweaty shitball, but you don't really have time because he's hungry and wants to order wings.

The smell in itself would be tolerable, but there's a complicating issue: They're holding, rubbing, and occasionally fondling cards, many of which will end up, over a session, in my hands.  I will, in essence, be holding the physical representation of their smell between my fingers.

And as I pointed out, some of them will be snacking.  If you've ever been a live poker player, an image may pop into your head now: another player snacking on buffalo wings, licking his fingers, and picking up his cards.  If  you have never enjoyed this experience, then you are one lucky soul, because my old casino served wings, and they must've been good, due to all the smack-smack-smacking I heard from players sucking on their fingers and leaving sauce on the cards that would soon end up in my hands.

Once you get past the smell and the lack of hygiene, however, there's poker to be played!  At 30 hands an hour.  When I used to 24-table 1,200 hands an hour.  You can only collect so many tells during the down time.  And most of the tells aren't tells anyway; they're just the result of your brain going batshit crazy from sensory deprivation.

Bringing an ipod helps a bunch. An ipod, playing tight, and paying attention to the weak-is-strong and strong-is-weak tell are really all that's necessary to winning.  But at what cost?

I guess what I'm saying is . . . PokerStars, come back.  Please.


  1. the cost is your sanity and health. and food at the table should definitely be banned!!!!11!!one!!!

  2. What can I do? Maybe I'll find a new game to play--online?