Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Tweak

I have had numerous requests from readers to reveal the nature and particulars of The Tweak. As this is the new age of interactive and social media, I feel obliged to respond. So here ya go:

Not. Gonna. Happen.

I'm just not good enough to tell everyone exactly how I'm playing and then figure out who's adjusting and then readjust myself etc. etc. Since it's likely that my readers constitute a better-than-average group of poker players, letting them have specifics that make me more exploitable than I already am seems absolutely idiotic.

Don't be paranoid, you say?

But already, and more than once, my public face has foiled my game strategy. In the most recent case, I was playing for the first time at Treasure Island. Not only was The Tweak in full deployment, but I was also working my Live Poker/Vegas N00b persona. I happened to find myself sitting next to David Stucke ~ a highly-skilled poker-player (he also downplayed his accomplishments, which apparently include a WSOP bracelet) ~ with whom I struck up an extended conversation. I learned he is a physicist, and a very pleasant, nice person in addition to being blindingly bright. He kindly pointed out to me who the regulars were in the room, and was forthcoming on life in Vegas in general.

A new player joined the table and said hello to David. I asked David what the new player's name was, so that I could greet him and continue my program of table socializing. "His name is Brick," said David. "Hi Brick!" I called out.

"Well, hi!" said Brick from the one seat. There was a pause. Then he said to David, "You know who that is, don't you?"

David indicated no.

"You're sitting next to someone famous. That's Cardgrrl! I follow her on Twitter." He came round the table and showed David my latest tweets from TI on his cell phone. (I subsequently put the pieces together and realized that Brick=@apolloavp. Hi, Brick! Needless to say, all my concerns apply to you, too!)

Aaaaagh, busted! After a brief round of protestations and demurrals, I tapped out a note on my phone to show to David, asking him to not out me to the whole table. I left shortly after. On my way out, I apologized to David for my display of faux ignorance. I sincerely hope that my misdirection hasn't permanently appalled him, because he seems like exactly the sort of person I'd like to get to know better and be friendly with in Las Vegas.

He is also, however, exactly the sort of person with whom I would never, ever want to be openly explicit about my strategy unless I were asking ~ and probably paying ~ him to coach me. Alas, since no approach I'm likely to take constitutes rocket science (or material physics for that matter), it's quite likely he could figure me out down to the ground eventually anyway. But why give anyone a head start?

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Blogger Rakewell said...

Four posts in 24 hours. OK--who are you, and what have you done with Cardgrrl?


9/13/09 5:01 PM  
Blogger Mad William Flint said...

Absitively. Never give up hard won knowledge, especially knowledge that gives you an edge in a limited marketplace.

It'll be a cold day in hell before I give up my bagel secrets or oatmeal cookie recipe. :p

Less pragmatic an analogy perhaps. But still.

To quote Jules from Pulp Fiction: "Besides, I've already been through too much shit this morning over this case to hand it over to your dumb ass."

9/13/09 5:45 PM  
Anonymous KenP said...

We've heard you've a roulette system too. OK, give!!!


9/13/09 6:17 PM  
Anonymous joxum said...

Sounds like you should consider putting your tweak on a bottle and sell it ;)


9/13/09 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems only reasonable if you're gonna call me by name I should call you by name, eh what?

I didn't know you were trying to play the wide-eyed tourist newb. I wasn't intending to out you, and was actually looking forward to reading realtime tweets from you while playing with you without you knowing I was doing it, but when you called me by name it just seemed "right" to reply in the familiar. I realized I'd probably goofed once I mouthed off and saw the look of horror come over you (you need to work on holding your poker face). Next time we rub elbows I'll be more discrete.

After you left I asked Dr.Dave if I caused your departure. He believed it likely, and I see now I did. Sorry.


9/13/09 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've noticed a dearth of hand analysis. You don't post hands to discuss. WHich is your prerogative.

I suspect that your coyness is the result of indeed the concern that you are not good enough to play for a living.
Playing for a living is overrated. It's okay to play just for fun.

But if you are more explicit about your hands and game strategies you might find your game improvefaster.

It's your call, but "Play Poker Like a Pigeon" is full of misconceptions which I would not emulate.

WHich brings us to the topic of deception. A great topic. Your play ought to be deceptive and opaque not your persona.

The point is not to hide who we are but to be aware of what others think we are doing and in a controlled fashion dissapoint them.

But hey, good luck.

Again, it's okay to play just for fun. That can be your epiphany.


9/13/09 9:43 PM  
Blogger Sean G said...

I love the relative anonymity of the MTTs on FTP, as I can blather on about hand histories and tweaks and whatever without really worrying about running into anyone who is up-to-date on my goings-on.

Someone like you, playing live cash games in regular locations, I can see why you would want to keep your secret to yourself. I hope you're discussing more details with some of your close friends (BWOP and Grump seem close from reading their blogs) and getting feedback there that the rest of us don't see.

9/14/09 1:16 AM  
Blogger Dominick said...

LOL I would have loved to have been there to see that!! I play with David and Brick a lot and they are two of the brightest players I have met in Vegas. i have learned a lot from them. Next time your in town, you can play chinese auction props with David and I.

9/14/09 1:42 AM  
Blogger Rakewell said...


So in your view, a poker blog that doesn't prominently feature detailed hand analysis must be one written by a person lacking confidence in his or her ability to play for a living, right? That seems to be the unmistakable implication of your comment.

Isn't it possible that the writer simply doesn't think that hand analysis is very interesting? Or thinks that there are already a million poker blogs out there that do that, and wants to produce something different? Or is quite confident in his or her hand analysis, but doesn't feel like providing free lessons to others?

In other words, can you REALLY think of not a single plausible alternative explanation of the lack of hand analysis being featured in a poker blog other than the solitary one that you announced as your conclusion? Have you really never found even one poker blog written by somebody who does actually play for a living in which hand analysis is a rare feature? If not, might I suggest one for your perusal?

9/14/09 1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am always open to suggestions on reading material

I am not asking CG to change a thing in her blog. It's her blog, she can blog her own way. [ A blog of her own.] However, I am telling her what my reads are of her. It is possible that I am wrong in my reads -- even likely, if so, no harm done or intended.

Now, I am friendly towards CG since we both are alumni of the poker academy

that's the reason I keep up with her blog, just like I have kept up with other virtual classmates -- I'd keep up with Gump's blog more often, but he's got these disturbing yellow spades that give me headaches. Seriously.

But I digress, my comments are informed by my experiences at the virtual tables with CG. Is she a different player than she was 2 years ago? I hope so. However, we've been analyzing hands at the Poker Academy forums and I think she participated only a few times, so it is difficult to say exactly how subtle and sound her theory currently is.

Posting hands to analyze in forums, is IMO, an egocentric act. But a useful and necessary component in the development of a player.

So, I reach the conclusion based on a dearth of references to Mathematics of Poker, Theory of Poker and others. For a bookish person, those are indications of an approach more similar to "Big Deal" than to, say, a diary where a record of a player's development occurs.

Like the Prez says, "Let me be clear." It is not a suggestion to blog the way I'd blog or wouldn't blog, it's a conclusion based on a number of factors. Let's call it a soulread, so that it loses it's sting.

"can you REALLY think of not a single plausible alternative explanation of the lack of hand analysis being featured in a poker blog other than the solitary one that you announced as your conclusion?"

in general, yes; specifically, no.


9/14/09 4:49 AM  
Blogger Cardgrrl said...

@Brick: No harm done! It was fun meeting you both.

@Aki: I'm not being coy. I simply don't find it advantageous to discuss hands in an online context where I'm known. There are other venues for that sort of thing anonymously. It's entirely possible you've read something I've posted without knowing it. Which, of course, is the point.

I am also fortunate to have friends & fellow players with whom to discuss strategy. Sometimes we read poker books together and talk about them. Again, not something I'm particularly interested in discoursing upon in this forum.

As for your soulread: nah. But that's okay. If you post a few examples of your soulreading attempts in the 2+2 Forum, I'm sure you'll get some helpful responses and can improve in future.

Lastly, what a relief to know that it's okay to play for fun! That must be a great comfort to many people. Like, for example, the ones who are not profitable, despite a wealth of theoretical knowledge.

9/14/09 6:16 AM  
Anonymous astrobel said...

To all :

CG's blog is great. I find it entertaining , interesting and sincere. As sincere of course as a poker player can be and there is not need to open your poker treasure chest for some of you lot to mishandle.
Unfortunately some readers seem to be ungrateful and mean, after profiting greatly from the fun of devouring blogs find guilty pleasure in criticizing them in such sour manner.

9/14/09 10:19 AM  
Blogger FkCoolers said...

"@Aki: I'm not being coy. I simply don't find it advantageous to discuss hands in an online context where I'm known."

It's not advantageous at all. Nor is it advantageous to be known in any capacity, but what can ya do at this point except entertain the masses?

9/14/09 10:56 AM  
Blogger Chef said...

Hey I'm all for your choices CG. I've played with you and a few of the posters in your comments, I've learned quite a bit over at PA, as you obviously have done.

In your writing, if you go back to your beginnings, you'll see that you've gotten a hell of a lot better. Perhaps not to what you want (YET!), but it's early in the game. Pick up a copy of 'The Talent Code'. I'm a firm believer in the 10k hour theory, it's true in my culinary industry and I'm sure pilots would agree. The more you play, the better you're going to get. Now maybe the question should be... Are you a better Vegas player, or do you make out better in AC? Maybe you can analyze that out and see where exactly your style fits to maximize profit, even if for fun. If we wanted mindless fun, we'd sit around playing 'Go Fish'.

I'll be blunt about myself, I'm terrible in Vegas, I'm not ready for it. But in AC, I play my little tables, make a small profit and that's enough, at Foxwoods, I play better in tournaments. So I think you're on the right track, but I know you've considered what else goes into playing poker for a living. I think you have to play where you play best. It's fine when your 'roll allows you to take the trips to Vegas, but maybe in reality you should look closer to home before losing what profits you have taken note of. I hope you don't take this personally, I'm not bashing anything you've written, but I've got a habit of just typing without thinking, so I apologize now. ;-)

I've been silent most of the times on PA, but I've secretly been rooting for you. I hope you don't give up, it would be a shame


9/15/09 4:09 PM  
Blogger Rakewell said...

OK, I know I'm not supposed to reveal this, having been sworn by Cardgrrl to secrecy, but given all the questions and speculation about The Tweak, and given her refusal to disclose it, I feel obligated. Here is it:

She plays topless.

This provides considerable distraction to her male opponents (which, after all, constitute about 90% of poker players). Some cardrooms have objected to the practice, and in those she is restricted to flashing opponents at moments of key decisions. Not quite as effective, but good enough. (You read her saying that she bought a new arctic fleece jacket, right? That's the cover-up. Those poker rooms *can* be a bit, um, nippy for prolonged toplessness.)

I'm sorry to betray you like this, Cardgrrl, but you couldn't seriously hope to keep such a thing secret for long. Already the forums at 2+2, and especially at Neverwin, are buzzing about the woman seen playing shirtless in Vegas casinos of late. A few blurry cell phone photos have been posted (I think they had trouble with shaky hands), and it's only a matter of time before people recognize that it's you.

I'm very glad it has been working so well, but I'm really not sure it's a viable long-term strategy. Smart opponents will start devising countermeasures (e.g., blinders, or playing online with porn in a corner of the screen for practice at not being distracted--oh wait, they're probably already doing that). Rumor has it that the TDA has already learned of this development and their next set of rules will explicitly outlaw the practice.

It was a nice run while it lasted, but I think you have to face the fact that it can't succeed much longer.

9/15/09 9:11 PM  
Blogger mad dog said...

What is a twiter?

Least of all a captcha?


9/15/09 10:27 PM  
Blogger mad dog said...

Doesn't anybody understand that if 3

billion people Tweet to the other 3

billion, only half, at best are


Probably fewer.

9/15/09 10:32 PM  
Blogger mad dog said...

You said:

"If you'd rather not leave comments on my blog, please email me at cardgrrl.com."

That appears to be difficult, if not improbable; let alone impossible.

Unless I am missing something about e-mail addresses.


9/15/09 10:38 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

"She plays topless."

9/16/09 6:06 PM  

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