Monday, September 20, 2004

What are the odds?

A habit I picked up from my mother is that I constantly play fashion police as I go about my day. It’s particularly hard to avoid doing as I ride the “L” train back and forth from my Williamsburg home and Manhattan, as hipster wear so often = fashion victim. I have regular offenders which I give names to, such as Mr. Fancy Pants, who constantly wears pants which are often shiny and always altogether too tight. Sometimes he matches them to a rail-thin tie. On Saturday, I could not stop staring at a woman wearing a vintage blue dress over another blue slip dress, white tights, and gold painted cowboy boots. To complete her look, she donned a fur jacket which was at least – by the shortness of the sleeves – two sizes too small and found a similar colored fur “hat” to put with it.

Then, more than 24 hours later, I saw her again on the “L” coming home at around 10 PM. Still wearing the same outfit:

Now, clearly we live in the same general area, but so do many of my friends and I hardly ever run into them on the train. Though I did also run into someone I knew on the train on Saturday afternoon.

What does this have to do with poker? Nothing really. But I've been thinking about odds a lot lately. I'm pretty good at math and odds and probability, but I haven't figured out what the odds are (or seen anywhere that's figured it out) that you'll hit a straight by playing connected hole cards, such as 7-8, 10-J, etc, suited or unsuited. I know that I always see a flop with 10-J, suited or unsuited, but I also had a hunch that I play connected hole cards too often. On Thursday, as an experiment, I decided I would see a flop with suited or unsuited connectors all night and see how it went. I let myself fold 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5 in early positions just because I couldn't bear to play them.

One of the gang decided that we would play Omaha 8 on his deal every round, but besides that I kept to my plan and after 4 hours, lost my whole buy-in. My cards were pretty solidly average and I didn't suffer any real bad beats, so this was a good $100 lesson: not a good way to play. For example, 8-9 unsuited (which I got maybe 4 times) hardly ever works out. If you don't hit the straight (which I never did) but hit say, two pair, you're still pretty much screwed because it's a crappy two pair. But yet I would fall into the "but I have two pair!" trap and play even when the board showed K-Q-9-8-4. Yes, that's right, I did. Did someone have a K-Q? No, but they had cowboys. Yeeeee-haw.

On the other hand, though I kept complaining that Omaha made my brain hurt, I kind of dig it. And after talking to the world-champ Annie Duke on Friday, I think I'm going to set about really learning it. While I'm on that, I have to say, talking with Annie Duke was fantastic. She is incredibly nice, articulate, and smart and I admire her more than ever.


Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I really like Omaha also. It is a great game. If you figure out a good book to start with let me know. Omaha requires alot more concetration then Hold Em and seems to be much more involving. I hear it also can be more profitable. I have yet to prove that out, but I am going to try it.

12:49 PM  

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