Tag Team Switch Tournament

Throwdown Thursday: Will We Survive a Poker Tag Team Switch?

A few months ago, Heather and I debated the merits of playing in the World Series of Poker Tag Team event. We ended up deciding that the costs and risks didn’t make sense.  But as we were planning our Las Vegas trip and the poker tournaments we would consider, we stumbled upon a much less expensive tag team tournament at Planet Hollywood.

The significantly lower cost and “switch” element had Heather intrigued once more and me returning to a foetal position pleading “don’t make me!”.  Instead of playing one stack of chips and alternating players at will, the “switch” aspect means we each get a stack. When the tournament director announces “switch,” we trade seats and play the other’s existing stack. Basically this now doubles the chance that Heather will view me as a moron by tournament end.

So, of course, we’re signing up for this, because why not; except for all the reasons I listed in January. So the following is our live throwdown of this event.

Pre-Game Jitters

Paul: I am very concerned that we will not be speaking to each other by this evening.

Heather: It’s simple.  Just don’t blow off my stack.

Paul: Even when playing my brilliant, sophisticated game, bad luck happens. AA gets cracked. Which by the way will be my story no matter how I bust out. I may pay off my table-mates to confirm this.

Heather: If anyone tells me that my husband lost my stack playing 7-10 suited, you’d better run for the hills.

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Play Poker at the WSOP

Throwdown Thursday: Tag Team Poker Trouble

This summer, Paul and I are going to be in Las Vegas to do some work for Advanced Poker Training at the same time that the WSOP tag team event is running. For $1,000, teams of 2 to 4 players can enter this event and each participant can play as much or as little as they like. I think that the tag team poker event would be a great way for us to enter a WSOP bracelet event. Last summer when we were in Vegas we played a couple of Daily Deepstack events, but the bracelet event buy-ins (mostly over $1,000 per person) are generally a bit too rich for our blood. Instead, we played a few of the wealth of other tournaments across the city that piggyback on the WSOP’s popularity.

I think the thrill of working together to play a WSOP bracelet event would be incredible. Paul doesn’t quite see it that way, and has taken to referring to the tag team poker event as “The Divorcemaker.”

Paul: You can’t even stand being at the same table as me when we play as individuals! Watching me play 4-7 suited hands causes you involuntary neck spasms. And apparently brings on some sort of Sudden Onset Tourette’s Syndrome.

Heather: I certainly don’t plan to watch you play. That’s for sure. I figure you can play the early hands where a wider range is appropriate and I can take over when the real poker starts.

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Leftovers

Throwdown Thursday: Leftovers Dilemma

I hate leftovers.

There, I said it. I don’t care how good the gelatinous mess in the refrigerator tasted when we had it for dinner two nights ago. In my opinion it now belongs in the trash. I know that’s a terrible, awful, financially suspect opinion. But it’s just how I feel.  Paul disagrees. Just today I had to force him to throw out a Tupperware containing steak from a meal last week. He was planning to eat it for lunch.

Paul: Man, I could just get old school with “There are starving children in Africa, Heather! And you are throwing out perfectly good food! Such financial folly! Go to your room, but eat these old beets first!” But that is too paternal and not the role-playing dynamic I want in our relationship. So I’ll just stick with: throwing out perfectly good food is sacrilege and flies against all that is just and right with the world. You will fry in eternal damnation if you toss that petite sirloin in the trash before it turns into a true bio-hazard.

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Headphones at the Poker Table

Throwdown Thursday: Headphones at the Poker Table

Headphones have become ubiquitous in our culture. Take a subway, and half the riders are plugged in. Walk down a city street, and cords are flapping in the breeze. Even attend a high school music performance, and you’ll see younger sibs with headphones firmly implanted in ears. (Although that final choice may reveal precocious wisdom). Headphone use at the poker table has become part of an archetype of a specific kind of player. We’ll label this breed “poker headphones”. Most, but not all poker headphones players are under 30 and wear them throughout their sessions along with sunglasses and a hoodie or ballcap.

Can these players not be alone with their thoughts? Must they desperately block out the comments of other players in order to think? Do poker headphones help or hurt focus? Debates have raged about the etiquette of headphones at the poker table and whether their use is beneficial. Norman Chad, the great poker commentator and wit, comes down firmly against poker headphones, throwing them into the same category as hoodies and sunglasses. However, many top pros like Phil Hellmuth and Phil Ivey, frequently wear headphones at the poker table.

In today’s Throwdown, we take on the poker headphones phenomenon. We have played tournaments both with and without headphones. Which is better?

Paul: I generally like poker players, but sometimes hate what comes out of people’s mouths. Short friendly interchanges allow me to think the best of everyone. Too much exposure to others’ insights makes me want to take up crocheting. Enjoying my poker session is as important to me as winning. Listening to Elvis Costello assures that I will enjoy my day, however the game plays out. Listening to a poker genius telling everyone else how they are misplaying hands assures I won’t.

Heather: Ah, the “I hate humanity” argument. Fair enough. However, I find that I get a lot of information from listening to others at the table. Not only through direct communications, but also from side banter with the dealer and with each other. I lose those insights about other players’ habits and their games if I am tuning out to the music of Hamilton.

 

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Throwdown Thursday: Long Flight to Australia

Throwdown Thursday: Can She Handle the Long Flight to Australia?

Paul and I both would really love to visit Australia some day. We would love to tour wineries in the Shiraz valley, snorkel the Great Barrier reef, get up close to a kangaroo or a koala, and visit the vast Australian Outback. And, of course, we would love to play poker in some of Australia’s best poker rooms. If we ever manage this trip, we would probably wrap in a visit to New Zealand along the way. Unfortunately, I do not handle a long flight well. I feel a panic attack coming on at the mere idea of being stuck in a coach class seat for the 23 hours it would take to fly from Boston to Sydney.

Paul: One word….medication. OK, two words…heavy medication. This is why Xanax was given to human kind by the lab gods. You’ll be fine and likely remember very little.

Heather: You know that’s not going to happen. It’s not like I can’t fly normal distances. I’m not flight phobic.  It’s just that the idea of being trapped in a metal box for a 23 hour long flight makes my skin crawl. I mean, can you imagine THE BOREDOM?

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