I love everything about poker. To be honest, I even love it when
I flop a full house and lose to some calling station who catches the fourth
deuce on the river. That's part of the game that I love - but don't think that I
grin when that sort of thing happens. Bad beats definitely don't make my list of
the ten very best things about poker. But these things do.
* Pocket Aces. The best starting hand in Hold'em - and so much fun to play. If
you play on the Internet, you have the luxury of grinning yourself silly when
you see this starting hand.
* Monster draws. When you have to use both hands and one foot to count your
outs, you can't help but grin to yourself. Especially when the turn card makes a
* Daniel Negreanu. I'm 99 percent certain that this guy does not have X-ray
vision. But I could be wrong. Either way, I love watching him call other
players' hole cards left and right.
* Shuffling your poker chips. Chip tricks don't make you a better player, but
being able to shuffle a dozen chips without looking makes the other players at
the table think that you're a poker genius. (It helps, of course, if you're a
good player to begin with.)
* Folding K-K and seeing that it was the right play. This laydown is the
toughest for me to make, but I'm usually right when I get rid of these cards.
Fortunately, I don't have to lay down a great hand very often. Otherwise, I'd
probably spend most of my poker winnings on tequila.
* Phil Ivey. I'm not nearly intelligent enough to understand more than about
half of what goes on in his head. All I know is that he has a brilliant mind for
poker - and he isn't afraid to use it.
* "I'm all in." When I'm sitting on a monster hand, there is no sweeter sound in
the world. And when I'm the one who shoves everything into the pot...well, that
can be sweet too.
* Freerolls. You don't always have to spend money to make money. Sometimes,
cashing is a simple matter of logging on to Poker Stars and outlasting thousands
and thousands of other players. And not just the weak players who shove all-in
on the first hand. You have to beat the other good players, too.
* Jennifer Harman. She's not nearly as vocal about her reads as Daniel Negreanu
is with his, but she knows what she's doing. The quieter ones are the more
* The game's equality. Men and women play together. Jennifer Harman could beat
Phil Hellmuth. And the same thing applies to pros and amateurs (of either
The more hands I play, the more I find to love about this game. I'm just
thankful that poker exploded a few years ago. I never lack a chance to get into
a game somewhere because, no matter where I am or what time it is, there are
always plenty of people ready to shuffle up and deal.
ARTICLE >> The Archaic Nature of
Two players sit down in their country club recreation room and
decide to play a penny-a-point gin rummy game. When the game is
over, the loser extracts his wallet and passes a few bills to the
other. At that moment, a couple of plainclothes police officers come
up and say to the players, "You’re under arrest for gambling."
There is a side benefit to playing poker the right way, but it's not
the thrill of the gamble. It's the development of your character.
Takes More than Luck to Win
Strategy, observation, cleverness, memory, tactics and acting are
all the unique demands of poker, and Americans seem to be in high
pursuit of these talents.