Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Blogging the void

Poker again last night. The drearier writers on the subject start from the assumption that the only point is to win money; I happened to do so this time, but that's not the major aim. Financially it's a zero-sum game, but emotionally it's decidedly negative-sum, since the pain of losing a certain sum of money (it doesn't matter how much, provided it's enough to hurt) is not nearly balanced by the pleasure of winning the same amount. The real gain, the real high comes at the point where you push all your chips into the pot and then wait for your opponent to call or fold. For this period of time, which might be a minute or so, there is a tremendous feeling of release. You have no more decisions to take, and all the pressure is on him, as he comes to terms with such things as:  how good he thinks his hand is, what your hand might be, what he thinks you think he has, how much he fears you, how much he thinks you fear him, what has happened in the past between the two of you, and so on. Really the relationship between you is more important than anything, including the actual cards.
I can't achieve the same effect with roulette or racing. In either, you can bet all your money and then there is nothing to be done until the ball falls in its slot or the winner passes the post, but there is no antagonist, so no agon, so no release, just boredom.

29 comments:

Dr Maroon said...

sex food mathematics.
what about card counting, or is that just Pontoon?
Are you throwing yourself into the hands of penury, playing e poker through the night?

inkspot said...

E-poker doesn't do it for me: e-fear is not enough.

Card counting is highly relevant in stud, esp. 7-card high-low, which is the greatest game. However, people prefer holdem these days, largely (imho) because there is nothing to count. Not sure about pontoon.

scarlet-blue said...

Goodness me Inky . . . I'd distract him by flashing me tits . . . then I'd nick his wallet and run off down the street with my skirt tucked in my knickers yelling 'chase me, chase me'. More fun? What do y'reckon babes?

scarlet-blue said...

http://tartania.blogspot.com/ I found this blogspot ages ago, if she's still doing what she used to be doing then you may like it. I'm not checking . . . she probably is!
Sx

inkspot said...

Blimey, Scarlet, I don't think I'd play very well against you. Poker, that is. Other games... mmm.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I thought Blackjack was the game for the card counters. Some students from MIT allegedly make a killing before getting banned.

inkspot said...

Maroon and GB are right; I'd forgotten that pontoon is blackjack. My impression (I don't play it) is that there skill is overwhelmingly a matter of counting, to the extent that you are allowed to do it, but your only opponent is the bank, which plays in an automatic fashion. So it lacks the personal element of poker.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Scarls, I always thought Tartania was a man. In fact, I thought it was Inkspot. No, seriously, I did.
Is it you, Inky?

PS Scarlet, congratulations on being feted as the Angelica Baumer de nos jours. I long to hear of your positions on the Fauvistes.

scarlet-blue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scarlet-blue said...

You know I flipping love you to bits, so get over it woman.

And yes I thought Tartania was a man . . . and Inky reminded me of him or her . . . how should I know . . . I think I read a short story there and got 'gender confused' [Tee-Hee]
Sx

P.S Sorry, for deletion - spelling mistake. Had to delete to avoid gratuitous pot-shot.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Gratuitous potshots are the mainstay of the Alpha Female's arsenal, Scarlet. I am just reinforcing my position. It's nature. CLdeMP xxxxx

scarlet-blue said...

I am more of your back room, chamber maid type . . . ma'am. I know my place.
Sxxxxx

inkspot said...

I'll give you alpha female, you minxes. When I see the names Pouncer and Scarlet I reach for my hairbrush.

I am indeed in touch with my feminine side, but not so brilliantly as Tartania. I only wish.

Mrs Pouncer said...

You love it, Inky, so don't pretend you don't. And we can always crank it up a bit for you if it's a slow day at the chalkface.

inkspot said...

Right, that's it.

Meet me after class. And wear that dress you're always banging on about.

Dr Maroon said...

Do excuse me a second Inkspot.

Clarissa,
"crank it up"? What on earth can you mean? I wish you would desist from mechanical idiom, it sounds so practical. At any rate, I am an engineer so if there is any "cranking up" required where you are concerned, I shall supply it. Believe me.

I am indebted Inkspot.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Oh good heavens, Achilles, can't I have just 5 minutes peace with an ablebodied man? Sorry, Inky, got to go; Maroon needs his webbing adjusted. (I suppose you heard about the acccident?)

inkspot said...

Wizened by osmosis, I heard. Poor chap. Poor little, little chap. Without doubt, the attention of a good woman will speed his recovery.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Well, you heard wrong. He slipped on a pool of Golden Syrup, went flying; arse over apex. Couldn't move. Of course, I know the Best Back Man in Harley Street. Many a time he's had me face down, probing for the source of stiffness, but oh no. Maroon, the miser, insisted on consulting some cut-price chiropractor he met at Ayr Races, and as a result he is now in a truss and a foul temper. I have to do literally everything. It is filthy work. As you know, I ministered to Jeff Bernard in his final months, but this really takes the biscuit.

problemchildbride said...

This is as good an account of poker as it's played as I've read. Never played myself, mostly because of the hot air surrounding it. Somebody once steepled their fingers at me and said "Ah yes, what is poker?" It made my pores prickle.

Like nobody ever identifying as being of average or below average intelligence, despite the statistical imperative that some of us are, in poker, everybody is always smarter then the next suckah.

I'd kinda like to learn it actually. But the only people I know who play it are people here are real-estate-esque types whose livers I would happily feed to my cat.

problemchildbride said...

Who play it here, I mean.

I'm not suggesting all poker players are puffed-up bloviators, not at all, but Ojai ones certainly are.

inkspot said...

PCB, thank heaven, I'd forgotten what an on-topic comment looks like.

Actually, I'm slightly with the steeple-fingerer (though I'd look over my spectacles and raise my eyebrows instead), if only because poker isn't necessarily what it might appear to be at first sight. And, as remarked in my post, the thrill it generates is not what you might at first expect either.

Mrs P, well, the races do indeed provide a point of attachment to the post. So you escape censure. But the case of Ms S is more finely balanced.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Offended. I will ram my off-topic comments into my reticule and shan't trouble you again.

Goodbye.

Slam.

scarlet-blue said...

Erm . . . you remember how I can be a bit slow off the mark and all that? But surely you've just told Mrs P that she avoids censure . . . meaning she doesn't get told off . . . so she's just slamming doors for the fun of it?!! Well, I can slam doors too! Seeing as you called me fine lined. I have no flipping lines I'll 'ave you know . . . where's the knob . . . I'm gonna get some slamming done too . . .
Sx

scarlet-blue said...

Okay . . . so no lines were mentioned . . . but you called me finely balanced . . . so y'saying I'm fat?!!! More slamming!!!
Sx

inkspot said...

Ms S, no, your bum looks great in that, really boyish.

Mrs P, I repeat, you escape censure. Plus, you looked fabulous, really expensive, in your slutty dress. OMG, and the heels.

scarlet-blue said...

I'll have you know that my bum is peachy round and in no way boyish!

Look, you'll just have to teach me how to play poker so I know how to comment.
Sx

inkspot said...

Sorry, I had my reading glasses on.

Good heavens, my own comments were as off-topic as anyone's, whence my remark to PCB.

BEAST said...

It sounds like the sort of kinky suburban goings on you read about in the Sunday Dreadfulls