The Shapiro Files

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Positively Puzzling Poker

Once a month, my friend Michael hosts a poker night at his home. He's a very gracious host and I always enjoy the good company (usually fellow theater guys) and great music (Michael always puts together excellent iTunes playlists for the events).

Interestingly, I've been attending these poker nights for — what is it? — two or three years now and yet, my game really hasn't gotten any better. Or to put it another way: I'm a downright lousy poker player. In fact, I'm pretty lousy at most games involving strategy. I've never been good at chess and despite having a B.A., M.A. (graduating as only one of two people in my class with a 4.0 G.P.A.), and a teaching credential in English, I'm even horrible at Scrabble. For the life of me, I can't figure out why this is. I don't have a reputation as being a particularly unintelligent person among friends and coworkers; but every time I play one of these games, I make Ashton Kutcher look like a genius in comparison.

At least the poker night guys don't complain. Then again, why should they? My frequent mistakes (throwing out cards when I don't need to, forgetting that I can only use two cards in my hand when it's that third card that would give me something worth betting on, etc.) ultimately benefits them.

Not that I really mind. I go for the good company and good music.

But still, why am I so bad at games? Do I have some sort of focus/concentration issue? Is there some weird gap in my brain that doesn't affect my academic/professional abilities, but which seriously inhibits my being able to win at strategy-based pursuits? Could it be my inclination to over-think everything? Could it be that I ask too many questions?


  • Hey Cous -

    You should really talk to Jody..she is an astoundingly good poker player and is getting better all the time...and she loves the game tremendously..maybe she can give you some pointers :)


    By Blogger Bradley Egel, at 1/13/2006 5:01 AM  

  • It's too bad we live so far apart. I can definitely use help--lots of it!

    By Blogger Steve Shapiro, at 1/13/2006 1:32 PM  

  • If you want to improve your Scrabble game, I recommend the book "Everything Scrabble". I got beat bad at Scrabble by an arrogant English major once. We had a rematch after I read the book and I beat him so badly he refused to play with me again!

    By Anonymous David Scott, at 1/30/2006 4:23 PM  

  • Methinks you are waaay too hard on yourself, my boy! We all have our off nights with those nasty, unpredictable cards.

    Still, just in case, I'm putting this Jody on the payroll. Her contract forbids her from discussing poker strategies with you. So sorry. Mwoo-hah-hahhhh!

    On a different "note," thanks for the music comment. 'Tis much appreciated!


    p.s. Oh, and Ashton "Genius" Kutcher just called -- he wants to challenge you to some cards. I think you can take 'im!

    By Anonymous Michael, at 1/30/2006 4:33 PM  

  • Bring him on! And if he proves too formidable an opponent, there's always Demi! :)

    By Blogger Steve Shapiro, at 2/01/2006 12:36 PM  

  • David, thanks for the tip! I was an English major (albeit perhaps not so arrogant) and that still doesn't help!

    By Blogger Steve Shapiro, at 2/01/2006 12:42 PM  

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