Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

Subscribe with Bloglines

My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

Poker Sites

Cardschat Poker Forum
Barstool Sports
Card Player
Internet Texas Hold-Em
Poker Pages


  • 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
  • 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
  • 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
  • 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
  • 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
  • 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
  • 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
  • 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
  • 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
  • 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
  • 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
  • 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
  • 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
  • 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
  • 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
  • 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
  • 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
  • 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
  • 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
  • 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
  • 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
  • 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
  • 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
  • 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
  • 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
  • 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
  • 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
  • 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
  • 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
  • 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
  • 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
  • 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
  • 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
  • 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
  • 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
  • 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
  • 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
  • 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
  • 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
  • 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
  • 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
  • 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
  • 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
  • 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007

  • Powered by Blogger

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    More Post-Gazette Buffonery

    I haven't seen Casino Royale yet (it doesn't open here for ten more hours) but after returning home after an evening of volleyball and beer I hit the PG website to see their review. I've read a dozen reviews so far, all of them full of praise. Plus Ryan commented in my previous post that it's perhaps the best Bond ever and the poker action is pretty good too. I'm gonna see it tomorrow.

    Anyway, I read the PG review. Now, there's an old saying that goes like this--"Ignorance is bliss". This is in fact total nonsense--ignorance sucks. Oh, maybe ignorance about the fact that your girlfriend is banging Kevin Federline would be pretty blissful (especially if you've just eaten dinner), but 99% of the time you're better off knowing stuff than not knowing stuff. Knowledge is power, that's another old saying.

    Anyway, just because you don't know squat about a subject doesn't mean that you should trumpet that fact. Which is what Barry Paris does in his review of Casino Royale. Writing about the poker game that Bond and the villain play, Paris writes the following:

    The million-dollar card game in the original novel was chemin de fer, but that has been updated for the new millennium to Texas hold 'em poker, a complex and not intrinsically or visually suspenseful game. Compared to baccarat, it's a bit declasse. The serious poker players I know are apt to scoff at it.

    But it'll do.

    "A complex and not intrinsically or visually suspenseful game". Has there ever been a sentence written about Hold-Em more wrong than this one? Hold-Em, while a devilishly difficult game to get really good at, is not "complex". As the saying goes, "It takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master". I could teach my cat to play Hold-Em. The rules are that easy. But although tests have shown my IQ is in the 99th percentile and I have an MBA and I've been writing about Hold-Em for three goddam years, I still suck at it. The complexities aren't in the rules. The complexities are in the play. Which goes a long way to explaining why it's so popular.

    Hold-Em is not an "intrinsically or visually suspensful game"? Tell that to the folks at the Travel Channel and ESPN who have been televising poker for the last four years. Paris is a film critic--is it possible he doesn't own a television? Perhaps. While Hold-Em isn't as exciting as, say, nude female roller derby (what is!), it can certainly be presented as an exciting game full of drama.

    Especially when compared to chemin de fer. To argue that chemin de fer (or baccarat, which CDF is a variant of) is MORE dramatic than Hold-Em is ludicrous. Read the description of chemin de fer from Wikipedia and decide if that game is intrinsically more dramatic than Hold-Em. I say, no way. If you need further evidence, examine the scene in Thunderball when Bond is playing baccarat against Largo. The dialogue goes something like this:

    Largo: Carte

    Dealer: Banco suive


    Largo: Eight

    Bond: Nine

    Crowd: (oohs, ahhs)

    Dealer slides cards across the baize

    Largo: Six

    Bond: Seven

    Crowd: (oohs, ahhs)
    This is dramatic? Perhaps, but that's because of the tension between Bond and Largo (and Domino). But is the game itself dramatic? I think not.

    Is poker "declasse"? Eh, OK, if you consider a pastime enjoyed by the unwashed masses "declasse". Me, I'm not an elitist. I like the fact that 50 million Americans play poker. I like America.

    Paris saves his most ludicrous statement for last, and it's a humdinger:
    The serious poker players I know are apt to scoff at it.
    "The serious poker players I know are apt to scoff at it"! I would like to say something to Barry Paris and the "serious poker players" he knows. Please, PLEASE, invite me to your next poker game. Let me quote a few "serious poker players" who have said some interesting things about Hold-Em:

    "Hold-Em is to stud what chess is to checkers."--Johnny Moss

    "No-limit Hold-Em is the Cadillac of poker games"--Doyle Brunson
    I don't mean to scoff at games like Stud and Omaha. Every poker game presents its own unique challenge. But scoffing at No-Limit Hold-Em? First of all, read the two quotes above. Secondly, it's the most popular poker game out there right now. Meaning that, for the good players, it's the most profitable poker game out there right now. The vast majority of fish out there school at Hold-Em tables. Unless you really hate Hold-Em, or you're a Stud savant or an Omaha overlord, scoffing at Hold-Em is going to cost you money. Wow, felt like I was channeling David Sklansky for a second there.

    So the analysis of the poker action sucked, and sucked large. Like I said, I'll probably go see the movie tomorrow (or, maybe not, as I have a busy day planned and a party that starts early in the evening. And, oh crap, it's already like 2:30AM). But I'm looking forward to the flick. I'll let you know what I think when I see it. get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

    Play Poker Online
    Play Poker Online at Full Tilt Poker
    Learn, Chat, and Play with the Pros at the fastest growing Online Poker Room.


    Play Poker Online at Blind Bet Poker. Bonuses and promotions by online poker rooms like Doyles Room, Titan Poker, Full Tilt Poker and Noble Poker. Poker strategy for beginners, advanced, and professional poker players. A poker terminology section, news & online poker tournaments.

    Poker Forums
    Definitive online poker portal, featuring a poker odds calculator, poker forums, an excellent poker bonus code section with deposit bonuses.

    Full Tilt Poker Freerolls
    Party Poker Strategy Guide

    The 2006 WSOP
    Total Coverage
    From the Urinals to the Hooker Bar



    Poker Savvy