Thursday, March 30, 2006

Paying attention to th.. look! Shiny!

A typical night of online poker has me tucking the kid and wife into bed at around 9:30ish, checking e-mail and stuff for half an hour, and then hopping online and playing for an hour or so.

Last night, though, I hopped on at about 8, cause the kid was done with homework and watching TV and the wife was reading, and I was mildly surprised that the 25¢/50¢ tables were full. I hopped on a waiting list, and was in within a few minutes. Normally, there's only one table with 8 or 9 people at it.

The players were weaker, I think, because I was up $9.95 at one point, and when I quit at 9:00 to do the nightly tucking, I was up $8.05, my best night in several months. With the kid in bed, the wife reading in bed, I decided to watch a little Twilight Zone and Good Eats.

At about 10:00, I hopped back online and, to my greater surprise, both tables were still full. I waitlisted, and got on to both of them in a few minutes. This was my first time playing simultaneous 25¢/50¢ tables, and it required a bunch of concentration.

Then, at about 10:30, very unusually, the wife came in and asked about the kid's school fundraiser and finances in general. My attention was split between the two tables and my conversation with her, and all three suffered. I hardly listened to what she was saying, she had to repeat things three times, and I finally quit once I dropped $5.00 across the two tables and another $1.50 waiting until the blinds came around. I distinctly recall having pocket fives and calling bets with two overcards on the board.

Why wait for the blinds in such a bad situation? Why not just get up and pay attention to the more important thing? Michael Craig explains it with a story out of The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King.

Generally, if a player leaves a game other than before being required to post the blinds, it is safe to assume that player is (a) new to the game, or (b) in serious physical distress. And the physical distress had to be pretty serious.

The following account is typical in Las Vegas poker rooms. A player moves from one game to another. Asked about why he moved from the other game, he explains, "This big gross guy sat next to me. You can see him over there. [Players turn to look.] Geez, don't draw attention to him. I feel bad enough already. When the guy sat down, he was so big that he he just overflowed onto my seat. He had the worst body odor ever. His sweat was just percolating onto me. Then he had these sores all over his arms that he was scratching and picking. [Players act nauseated.] So you see why I had to get out of that game. As soon as it was my turn to post the big blind, I got up as fast as I could and came over here."

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