Raise or Fold:  Learning (From) Poker

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

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 8: There's a Problem

It's easy to over-emphasize the sleazy side of poker (and gambling in general). But it would be a mistake to overcompensate in the other direction by sweeping what sleaze there actually is under the rug.

Earlier this evening I dropped off a couple of poker pals in a dubious quarter of the city. They had an "introduction" to a raked $1/$2 game, and were chomping at the bit to play. Me, I could care less how juicy the game was. I am not walking into a room filled with guys I've never met and know nothing about, playing an illegal game with a ton of cash on the table, in an extremely iffy part of town.

Not to mention the very strong likelihood of being the only woman in the room.

Hell to the nizzo. Not even with two buddies at my side.

Eventually, I'm going to write a long screed about game selection. But item number one in the list of game selection criteria has got to be: DO NOT PLAY IN A GAME WHERE THE DODGINESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES IS LIKELY TO BE A DISTRACTION FROM THE GET-GO.

  • If you are worrying about how you are going to get your winnings out of the room, there's a problem.

  • If you are wondering whether anyone around the table has a gun or a knife, there's a problem.

  • If you are desperately hoping that one of the players will turn out to be an off-duty cop, there's a problem.

  • If you are going to have to call a cab when you want to leave and then pray that you don't get mugged on the sidewalk before it shows up, there's a problem.