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The Minor Fall, the Major Lift - an essay on gambling
November 21, 2010 9:50 AM   Subscribe

The High Is Always the Pain and the Pain Is Always the High // Gambling addiction is a simple disease. Living the addiction is a bit more complicated. A chronicle of dependency in seven parts, by Jay Caspian Kang, about poker, Lolita, and how to lose $18,000 in 36 hours.

"Unlike drug narratives, which fixate on withdrawal and destruction, gambling narratives tend to glamorize the upswing—the writer/gambler will always tell you about his biggest score, how quickly he blew the money, and how fast he was back at the tables, but he will rarely tell about the scraped-out bottom. Indeed, the only truthful gambling narratives are told by the family members and friends who witnessed the fallout: the bank account receipts, the early morning arrivals, the hanging stench of re-circulated cigarette smoke. Whereas drug literature comes from those who have bottomed out, there exists no bottom in gambling because every new hand brings fresh hope and possibility. Is it any wonder why most narratives written by gamblers read like boyhood fantasies—every casino a palace, every bellhop a best friend, every dealer an alchemist? Gambling narratives are projections of casinos’ fantasies—the tracers of lights that flash inside a gambler’s head as he watches the ball spin around the roulette wheel."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (61 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good read, thank you. I feel very lucky that I don't have the gambler gene. I went through a period of playing blackjack and was dismayed to realize that I hated winning money as much as I hated losing money. Now I realize that's a blessing.
posted by Nelson at 10:07 AM on November 21, 2010


I feel the same. The dude's a terrific writer, more's the pity.
posted by blucevalo at 10:08 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was about 13 I was at the Royal Show (county fair for you yanks) and there was one of those machines where you drop a coin down a chute in an attempt to push more coints over the edge. I put $10 into that machine. That was my lunch money.

It's amazing how fast you learn that gambling is bad on an empty stomach.
posted by Talez at 10:09 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


And on the other side of the Pacific

High-rollers, triads and a Las Vegas giant

Loanshark graffiti

posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:22 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"goddamit, i can't live on soup the rest of my life!" james has a gambling problem and alfred has his false teeth locked in a desk drawer. "just let me use em for lunch?" alfred says "no way dude, but here's a sure bet for you; pay me my money and i'll give you your fucking teeth"
posted by kitchenrat at 10:25 AM on November 21, 2010


Unlike drug narratives, which fixate on withdrawal and destruction, gambling narratives tend to glamorize the upswing—the writer/gambler will always tell you about his biggest score, how quickly he blew the money, and how fast he was back at the tables, but he will rarely tell about the scraped-out bottom. Indeed, the only truthful gambling narratives are told by the family members and friends who witnessed the fallout: the bank account receipts, the early morning arrivals, the hanging stench of re-circulated cigarette smoke. Whereas drug literature comes from those who have bottomed out, there exists no bottom in gambling because every new hand brings fresh hope and possibility. Is it any wonder why most narratives written by gamblers read like boyhood fantasies—every casino a palace, every bellhop a best friend, every dealer an alchemist? Gambling narratives are projections of casinos’ fantasies—the tracers of lights that flash inside a gambler’s head as he watches the ball spin around the roulette whee

I thought this piece was interesting and well-written, but this guy doesn't really understand drugs. There are plenty of glamorous drug narratives and most of them emphasize the highs and the excitement of drug taking. If you look at the ratio of addiction story to recovery in most addiction narratives, recovery is typically rather short because it's typically rather boring in contrast to the drug stories. Just because those bits don't sound glamorous—and may even sound like lows—to people who aren't addicted, doesn't mean they don't often sound exceptionally fun to people who like drugs. Why does he think drug addicts relapse if drugs don't bring the same fresh hope of joy and escape that gambling does to him?

The whole concept of "bottom" is ludicrous anyway— it's defined retrospectively by nature. That's why addicts talk about bottoms with trap doors and all manner of other ludicrous things. If you recover after something happens—whether its jail or breaking a nail— that's suddenly bottom. But if you relapse after that, now you have a new bottom as soon as you recover again. The bottom is very often not the lowest point at all, which makes the idea completely conceptually useless.

The idea of bottom is an attempt to organize drug addiction as a narrative of an acute disorder with a discrete end. The reality of drug addiction is more often cyclical with highs and lows and periods of recovery and periods of relapse and periods of moderate use, even. Gambling is just the same— but of course every addict wants their drug to be the best and most unique.
posted by Maias at 10:27 AM on November 21, 2010 [24 favorites]


If you play poker for 5 years you'll either learn a lot about the the mathematics of the game and the ebb and flow of variance and standard deviations, OR you lose and lose and lose and win big and then lose it all and you think it's all gambling and purely tragic and emotional. I have some sympathy with his plight, but lol at 5 years being any kind of perspective on the true depth and breadth of a life on the edge of expected value.

In summary, Thanks For the Sunglasses Fish!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:27 AM on November 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I mean it's one thing to write a narrative about your life as a terrible bad player with no self-control or knowledge of the game, it's another to write as if your experience was similar to that of any semi-experienced professional poker player.

Exhibit A: "On the advice of a better gambler, I decided to keep track of my wins and losses in a notebook. After two straight losing sessions, I ripped out the first few pages and used the remaining pages as an attendance log for my world history class. "

Every poker player, even mediocre ones, keep meticulous track of their bankroll, and don't mix poker and life money indiscriminately.

I mean I truly truly do feel bad for him, I really do. Some people treat poker like it is the lottery. They should not play. I have made many real and honest friends playing poker, mostly by bonding with them over discussions of strategy and war stories about crazy hands, but also by just being cool normal clever guys and gals with interests beyond the cardroom.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:46 AM on November 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Gambling allows us to narrate our own downfall." Very true, and it has that in common with drink and drug addiction as well. If you're constructed in a particular kind of way, that narrative control is destructively compelling.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:49 AM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Every poker player, even mediocre ones, keep meticulous track of their bankroll, and don't mix poker and life money indiscriminately.

That's a weird thing to say. There's a huge gulf between what poker players should do and what they do do. Plenty of poker players have poor bankroll management, take shots, blow their winnings when they're on upswings, chase losses, and don't keep records of their live poker ups and downs.
posted by Khalad at 10:56 AM on November 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Every poker player, even mediocre ones, keep meticulous track of their bankroll, and don't mix poker and life money indiscriminately.

What fucking planet are you on? I hesitate to say "most" or "many" (despite how comfortable you are saying "every"), but I would say most people keep general track of their bankroll, and many people mix gambling and life money indiscriminately.
posted by doublehappy at 11:08 AM on November 21, 2010


Oooh that's badly written. Sorry.

From the opening sentence, you can hear him going "look, I'm a big novelist, aren't I?" I got to the bit about the hotdogs and I just laughed. It's as if he thinks he's "earned it" and now that he's got a "life experience," that makes him a writer.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:08 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'm 1000% sure he changed some details along the way and if he didn't, he sure should have. Don't go for the big glamour opening with Manhattan skylines and Mercedes and then be eating hotdogs in the back seat!

It's as if the the movie "Wall Street" opened with Gecko going into his $10m penthouse and microwaving a Cup O' Noodles.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:10 AM on November 21, 2010


This isn't a story about a semi-pro poker player, it's a story about a degenerate gambler who plays poker. This is an important but seemingly easily missed point.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 11:11 AM on November 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


Every poker player, even mediocre ones, keep meticulous track of their bankroll, and don't mix poker and life money indiscriminately.

It's pretty clear Potomac Avenue meant to say "professional poker player". No need to jump down his throat for a slip of the keyboard.

I still don't know if this charitable reading makes it true (I don't know any professional poker players personally), but the claim is not as broad as it reads.
posted by cnanderson at 11:14 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aw, man. All that money wasted, when he could have been spending it on delicious drugs.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:15 AM on November 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


I have a little William Hill account that I got so I could have something to talk about while visiting my father - he's a big horse-racing fan, and seems to do ok gambling-safety wise. I've only put about £30 into it in the last 2 years. I just made £22 from a joint bet of 'Booker Prize winner' and 'Formula One winner', which was quite amusing (and I made £6 from the other year's 'American Idol')

Interestingly, both of us have tried smoking and gave up successfully without any effort, whereas my brother smokes and is worried about having an online betting account. I wonder if there is a clear genetic component to 'immunity from addiction' in general?
posted by grapefruitzzz at 11:29 AM on November 21, 2010


It's pretty clear Potomac Avenue meant to say "professional poker player". No need to jump down his throat for a slip of the keyboard.

Is there another type of poker player? What he meant to say was "successful", and gambling success is rare and short-lived.

grapefruitzzz - Like everything, it's a bit of nature a bit of nurture. There are a whole bunch of different ways to develop a gambling problem.

I find it difficult to relate to this account because of the sheer amount of money involved.
posted by doublehappy at 11:46 AM on November 21, 2010


Donald Barthelme's brothers Frederick and Steven co-authored a nicely written memoir of their compulsive gambling titled Double Down.

The best cinematic depiction I've seen is the mighty James Caan in The Gambler - though Robert Altman's California Split comes close.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:47 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting. Thank you.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 11:52 AM on November 21, 2010


I did mean pro player up there, doh! Sorry. Most casual players probably don't keep track of wins and losses, though it's sort of the first thing one learns about Bankroll Management.

However this: "gambling success is rare and short-lived" is not necessarily true when it comes to poker. The long run is long, and many great players can have (especially live) long runs of breaking even or losing slightly while many terrible players can have years of success before the averages catch up to them.

Moreover, there is a entire poker economy created around the fact that there are winners at every level who want to win more and pay for coaching and books and such in order to get better. It's sort of an interesting model where the biggest losers in terms of % are at the top and the bottom, with the middle mostly feeding off itself.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:58 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


the sheer amount of money involved.

Oh and this guy was purely a small, or at best a medium, stakes player. 18k is one normal hand at the nosebleed stakes and he brags about it being his biggest loss.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:00 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


“In order to be one of the best poker players in the world, it’s very important to be able to put it all on the line and be able to take chances. You can’t be tight with money because you’re always gambling for big amounts and you have to have a certain disregard for money.”
—Phil Ivey, the consensus best poker player in the world today


via Dirk Knemeyer's Upping the Ante: understanding business & design through casino poker (part 3)

and if like me, you care more about the *cough* overlap between business and design, here's parts one, two and four
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:03 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Sounds as if it is being transmitted through a tin of victory cabbage" doesn't quite have the same zing as "sounded to me like the New Jersey state anthem played on an electric shaver", but I appreciate the attempt to reach his inner Jay McInerney.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:28 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some really smart people have gone broke thinking they were professional-grade poker players.

As much as we hobbyists and semi-pros like to say "I don't gamble - I play poker," it simply isn't true. We're gambling - beating the odds is absolutely part of the thrill of the game.

It's more than addictive enough for gambling addicts - especially intelligent ones, who thrive on the mental stimulation of working out the odds, looking for tells, and reading the flow of a hand.

I budget for gambling - I'll set aside a hundred bucks or so for a tournament once in a blue moon with the expectation that I won't see any of it back. It's exciting because it's gambling, I could win! But I can walk away and not leave the smoldering ruins of my life behind me. Almost everyone who turns pro can't - even the successful ones.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:29 PM on November 21, 2010


In order to be one of the best poker players in the world, it’s very important to be able to put it all on the line and be able to take chances

That is true... in order to be one of the BEST poker players in the world. To be merely a successful, winning player, even at high stakes, you can be a total tightwad and never have anywhere near your total roll at risk.

It's also true that while the very best players seem to have a lot of gamble, they know that if they lose all their money, they can turn to another top player and borrow or be staked for a couple hundred thousand.

Ivey is not a mathematical, cautious poker pro, he's a gambling addict who happens to be a poker genius. When he's not playing poker, he plays craps for huge stakes, knowing that it's a losing proposition. He just loves the gamble. He said once, "I like losing so much until I can barely breathe."

There are plenty of tightwads who succeed at poker by playing in such a way that it's not really gambling. See Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, and ten thousand internet players.
posted by callmejay at 12:32 PM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's pretty clear Potomac Avenue meant to say "professional poker player". No need to jump down his throat for a slip of the keyboard.

Is there another type of poker player?


Yes. Or do you think everyone who plays poker supports themselves by playing poker?

In fact, most poker players are not professional poker players. That's why there can be professional poker players.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:35 PM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


No money in poker any more. Everybody's solid.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:41 PM on November 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you think everybody playing poker these days is solid, you need to find some better games.

Scene: Three weeks ago in Las Vegas, a 1/3 No Limit Hold 'em game. I'm in the big blind with 74 off-suit. Three people and the small blind call, I check, and five of us see the flop: 6h 5h 2c. I flopped the straight draw, but check since I'm not in the mood to get raised. It checks all the way around and we see the turn for free: 3s, giving me the nut straight. I bet $10 hoping for callers, two people call, and a guy raises to $20. I feel like he's happy to raise and want to charge any of these calling stations for the flush draw, so I push all-in for another $130. The callers fold, but the raiser quickly calls.

He shows pocket aces, having let me see 4 of the 5 cards for free and letting me catch my straight without putting a dime in the pot. The river is the 8s, extending it to a seven-card straight. "Awww!" he says, "You got me on the river!". I stack up my chips and say "Yep, I sure did. Sorry about that! Those aces always get cracked, right?" "They sure do!"
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:09 PM on November 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


i have a gambling gene, but its a mutant, and different, this gene has a good degree of pain, and normal actions are different. the gambling gene is strongest, when one wins and is ahead money-wise for a given day. the loser day results in a very bad taste and swearing off of gambling for a least 3 weeks as a direct result of that mutant gambling gene. maybe i'm called a poor loser in laymans terms. of course, the very day after a wining day, i'm back at full steam gambling. chasing that good pain of winning. kinda of a high, as to speak.
posted by tustinrick at 1:49 PM on November 21, 2010


No money in poker any more. Everybody's solid.
two plus two to the rescue! Very nice!
posted by HappyHippo at 2:34 PM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I was about 13 I was at the Royal Show (county fair for you yanks) and there was one of those machines where you drop a coin down a chute in an attempt to push more coints over the edge. I put $10 into that machine. That was my lunch money.

To be fair, there's a difference between gambling and getting conned.

Poker certainly has a significant element of luck. In few other top skill-based competitions do winners come out of nowhere.

In reality, as others have noted, the good players are up over the log-term, but there can be some serious grinding in between. And bad or not-so-good players can hit long streaks. Managing the bankroll is the ultimate skill.

Horse racing is more of a suckers bet. You're already 20% in the hole, and you have to figure there's some inside money going on.

One shocking thing about gambling addiction is the lack of visible symptoms ... until you go to her house and there's no tv. Or chairs.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:55 PM on November 21, 2010


I read this story earlier linked from the Browser. It's a good read, although a little dumb at parts. I definitely identify with some of the degenerate aspects of this, and I imagine many players can as well. Most players aren't nits; part of the thrill comes from the uncertainty, from sometimes playing the bluff and riding it for all it's worth.

More importantly, I realized we need to start up the occasional MeFi Full Tilt tourney.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 3:01 PM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


The three or four times I've gambled at a table I just got more and more angry over the 30 minutes or so I spent doing it... so I stopped. I don't get gambling.
posted by Huck500 at 3:18 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The three or four times I've __________ I just got more and more angry over the 30 minutes or so I spent doing it... so I stopped. I don't get __________.

Fill in the blanks with something you're not addicted to.

Most people can do most things in modest & controlled amounts. Some people can't control themselves over some things.

It's fascinating, and these narratives are especially fascinating when they are about something I can't ever imagine spending more than a minute or two on; because that's when I realize there's a whole hell of a lot more to it than just "quitting."
posted by chavenet at 4:13 PM on November 21, 2010


My apologies - we have different conceptions of the word "professional".

I budget for gambling, too. About 150% of my salary.
posted by doublehappy at 4:16 PM on November 21, 2010


At the risk of turning this into a poker forum let me try to explain the difference between a poker player and a gambler, by using a hand I was involved in last night during a live tournament session at a local card room.
First some background:
The game is no limit Texas Hold'em (Yeah Yeah The Cadillac of poker and all that. )
The buy in is $97.00 and there are about 90 players total.
We are about 30 minutes into the tourney when I have my kings full of tens "full house" beat by the ONLY hand that can: A SPADE ROYAL FLUSH the probability of which is 1 in 2,598,960.
Yes that's million with a capital M.
This is what is know in most casinos as a "jackpot hand" because it is so rare. This particular hand awarded the player who bested me $2200.00 or so. When I show my hand and the other guy shows his our table goes absolutely crazy! The entire tournament has to stop because they have to check the video and check the deck to make sure all is on the up and up. While all this checking and rechecking takes place, other players from around the room swarm our table and are congratulating him and telling me what a "Bad Beat" it was and that they are so sorry for me since I had such a monster hand as well. But me, after about a 15 second WTF just happened here!?! Decide to take a long look at the board and see where it all went wrong. Here is how it went down.
I had started with the King of hearts & 10 of diamonds, he started with Ace & Queen of spades. The flop ( the first three community cards that we share to make our hand ) comes Jack of Spades, Ten of Spades Queen of clubs. Giving me a pair of tens and my rival a pair of Q's. So I'm behind. He checks, I bet he calls. The fourth card we share known as the "turn" is a K of diamonds giving me 2 pair, Kings and tens, but gives him the straight to the Ace. He checks, I bet, he calls. I'm still behind. The fifth and final card we share know as the "river" is the K of spades. Giving me the best possible full house and him the spade royal flush. I'm STILL BEHIND. He bets, I re-raise all in (knowing in my mind I have him crushed) he calls, we turn over our cards and the crowd goes wild.
So what does all that tell us? Me as a poker player realize that although I got a tad unlucky on the river, ( I could have won with the K of clubs ) In reality I was beat the whole time and I played the hand poorly. I will learn from that self analysis and become a better player. The gambler (which our author most certainly is) will simply walk away believing he got unlucky because someone else hit a 1 in 2.5 million long shot AGAINST HIM and try to console himself with a half bottle of cough syrup.
posted by HappyHippo at 4:48 PM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


about poker, Lolita, and how to lose $18,000 in 36 hours.

I totally had a question about that on askme a few days ago. How do I mark this post as "best answer"?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:59 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I will learn from that self analysis and become a better player.

If you don't get all your money in whenever you've got a full house, out of fear that your opponent might have a royal flush, you'll end up looking like this.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:23 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Poor Jen Tilly! As you know I didn't lay it down .....and my analysis shows that I was a dog on every street, and the only way to win would have been the other King or another Ten, so a three outer at best. But I agree that very few people on the Planet besides this guy can lay down a full house.
posted by HappyHippo at 5:37 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Besides poker, this author has also ranked and evaluated divas.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:57 PM on November 21, 2010


HappyHippo - better work on the board-reading, too. KQ is the best possible full house on that board. I'd also fold KTo that early in a tourney, but I'm a big f'ing loser, so what do I know?
posted by bashos_frog at 6:21 PM on November 21, 2010


Also, whenever you're full, you can lose to quads.
posted by milestogo at 7:24 PM on November 21, 2010


ahh scratch that. I'm stupid.
posted by milestogo at 7:24 PM on November 21, 2010


"At this point, there were only two possible hands that could beat mine—an ace and a ten, or two sixes."

Or, ya know, the pair of kings that she beat you with fuckwit.

This guy's problem isn't gambling. It's that he sucks at it.
posted by bardic at 8:12 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'm 1000% sure he changed some details along the way and if he didn't, he sure should have. Don't go for the big glamour opening with Manhattan skylines and Mercedes and then be eating hotdogs in the back seat!

Whoa there, Grey's papaya is the filet mignon of hot dogs. Even through the boom times there is always the recession special.

That place on 72nd was so well known even I knew about it and I have no interest in poker.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:01 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also of interest Victoria Coren a poker player who has a regular column in the Guardian.
posted by adamvasco at 3:33 AM on November 22, 2010


The trouble with this is it's written by a loser.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 4:54 AM on November 22, 2010


"At this point, there were only two possible hands that could beat mine—an ace and a ten, or two sixes."

Or, ya know, the pair of kings that she beat you with fuckwit.


I read it as 'at this point in the hand, the only two possible hands that beat me are AT and 66'. Which is true. Sure, someone can outdraw him, but at that point in the game, he's way ahead. (She was only about 1/20 to make that full house; and if she'd been drawing to a flush, he made her pay way over the odds for that, as well).
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:06 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


my analysis shows that I was a dog on every street

Sure, but the days when nut peddlers could win money at poker are long gone. Today's game is more about strongly value betting thin edges rather than just sitting around, waiting for the nuts.

So while you might have been beat in this instance, how many times would you normally be beat in that situation? And what proportion of those hands do you need to win, to make going all-in the correct play? I'm not particularly strong on poker math myself, but my guess is that in cash games at least, you'll be ahead of your opponent on the vast majority of occasions, so over the long run (and absent a good read on the villain), it makes most sense economically to push.

If you just fold to aggression whenever you don't have the nuts, you become too easy to exploit and the other players will walk all over you.

my analysis shows that I was a dog on every street

Sure, hindsight is always 20/20. More important, I think, is what range did you put the villain on when you set out in the hand? How did that estimated range change narrow as he calls your successive bets, and when he re-raises you? What thought processes would you have to go through to successfully get away from that hand?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:05 AM on November 22, 2010


Duh. I can't even edit a post, so you can take my thoughts on poker with a pinch of salt, obviously.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:09 AM on November 22, 2010


Great read, thanks for posting.
posted by vito90 at 9:22 AM on November 22, 2010


Or, ya know, the pair of kings that she beat you with fuckwit.

Yeah, as IJ says, that's not where he made his mistake. I'm no pro, but his $500 post-flop raise seems OK there. Her odds of winning at that point are pretty low, though there are certain a few hands that would do it (as he mentions, the A-10 is a big one at that point). Even with what she had, I think you'd want to bet the most you can that she would call.

Fourth street brought a king of clubs—the perfect card. If my instincts were correct, the flush she had just made was crushed by my full house. To confirm my suspicion, she checked the bet, the exact move someone would do if they hit their flush and wanted to disguise the fact.

Here's where he blows it. "If my instincts were correct"?!?! I can't imagine why he doesn't consider the pair of kings down (well, the fact that he has the other K is probably one big reason). He considered the pair of 6s post-flop, but not the pair of Ks after the turn? If it's me, I think she's either bluffing or she's got me beat; not the flush. Perhaps I'm too conservative.

She checks, he raises, she re-raises. With two 10s on the board, a flush don't mean too much. Sure, it's possible that's what she's raising on, but unless I'm prepetrating, almost the only way I re-raise if I'm her is with two kings down.

I think the only way she calls his post-flop raise is if she does have the hands he mentions (A-10, 6s) *or* if she has a pair of As or Ks. After the pair of 10s on the flop, she was willing to hang for $500 to take a (admittedly long) shot to match her pair (or see another 10) and hit the boat (which is exactly what happened, to her huge benefit, i.e the $500 gamble was more than worth it).

I'm not sure why he didn't figure that out. That's not a super hard situation to gauge, imo. I guess that's why he ended up quitting. ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:08 AM on November 22, 2010


I'm not a fan of the article, I'm surprised he doesn't mention the gambling narrative Deal by the Grateful Dead which for me totally captures his adrenaline addiction.

As for Happy Hippo, there are 8 hands that beat you, AsQs, Qs9s, last K with any of the 3 last Q or J. With 2 hands that split. K-10. I can't do implied odds without exact bet amounts, but since he calls twice with scary boards, then leads out in the River bet with a scary board, if he called your all-in, I would be fairly certain that he had one of those 8 hands. From that, I would call since the only hands he would call your all-in would be hands that beat you.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 10:11 AM on November 22, 2010


I wonder how hard the gambling industry is/will be fighting the development of gambling-addiction treatments.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:30 AM on November 22, 2010


I wonder how hard the gambling industry is/will be fighting the development of gambling-addiction treatments.

They don't because its a sucker's bet. The only people I have seen in gambling addiction treatments are the ones who have lost everything. If people have money...they consider themselves to NOT have a problem; they consider themselves to NOT need the help.

Once you lose everything...you have nothing to gamble. And the industry kinda even gives the push to go call that number at the bottom of their poker night advertisement.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:44 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


"KT Offsuit"

Fold preflop
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:43 PM on November 22, 2010


I wonder how hard the gambling industry is/will be fighting the development of gambling-addiction treatments.

About as hard as the alcohol and tobacco industry fight the development of alcoholism and nicotine addiction treatments: not very, if at all.

Now, perhaps this is because the vast majority of addiction treatments don't work hugely well and never have (though they are about as good as we've got for many chronic diseases)—but it would also be a PR disaster if they did so.
posted by Maias at 1:54 PM on November 22, 2010


it would also be a PR disaster if they did so

I haven't been to Vegas in a long time, but I'm pretty sure the last time I was there, all of the payboxes/ATMs had gambling addiction hotline numbers posted above them.

They do it for the positive PR and because they know it has virtually no effect on their revenue. The person who "needs help" is the person who's already lost everything she has.

the industry kinda even gives the push to go call that number at the bottom of their poker night advertisement

Yep.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:12 AM on November 23, 2010


"KT Offsuit"

Fold preflop


Fully. Almost all my 'bad beats' come about because I started with a stupid hand. The others? I'm late in a tourney and we're desperate and short-stacked, I get my chips in as a favourite but lose. No big deal: it shows I'm playing right. (My favourite poker quote "If all your beats are bad, that's a good thing").
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:40 AM on November 24, 2010


"KT Offsuit"


I record the hands that I play, so I decided to write a post by counting up how well I've done playing those sorts of hands.

Should I play those sorts of hands?
Short answer, depends.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 2:15 PM on November 24, 2010


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