Classic Dishes...

Poker Lessons

Been watching a lot of Bravo lately, mainly because they show repeats of The West Wing, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite dramas on television, right up there with Boston Public on Fox. So as a result, even though I do the best I can with my Tivo, sometimes you see ads for other Bravo programming, and start to watch those shows as well. (Yeah, I watch Queer Eye. You wanna fight now?)

Anyhow, one of the nice things about this effect is that I’ve been able to catch Celebrity Poker Showdown from the very first match. I love poker, I watch it often on ESPN, and I think Rounders is a truly underrated movie.

One of the fallacies about poker is that it is a game of luck. Huh-uh. Poker, especially Texas Hold-Em (the way the Big Boys play it), is as much pure skill and pure acting as it is luck. And I believe you can learn a lot from watching and playing poker. So with that, I present:

What I Have Learned From Watching Celebrity Poker Showdown:

1) Life isn’t fair: I knew this going in, of course, but watching Willie Garson win hand after hand on the turn and the river really drove it home. EVERY time he needed to fill an inside straight, he did it. EVERY time he needed that third Jack to beat someone elses two pairs, he did it. People were going all-in on completely reasonable hands, and he would out-draw them EVERY SINGLE TIME.

2) Allison Janney can sit at my poker table anytime, as she is intelligent, delightful to look at, and a wholly mediocre poker player: I knew most of this going in, too. Knowing that she’s a bad poker player and that I could prolly take her for a few bucks is just icing on the cake.

3) A broken watch is still right twice a day: How Nicole Sullivan went from the short stack to the overall winner of her round still baffles me, as her cards were never really that good and she didn’t bluff all that well. But it happened.

4) Coolio is a pussy: I’ve long believed that the decline of Western Civilization started with seven words: “I’ll take Coolio to block, please, Tom.” Coolio should hunt down his booking agent and beat him with a hammer. I mean, how can you lose street cred FASTER than sitting in a flashing square for a week? Answer: by proving that you can’t play poker either. Wow. With five players at the table, you do NOT represent like you have something when you’re holding 4-6 unsuited, because there is a good chance that someone else either a) DOES have something, or b) is willing to pay to see if YOU do. At the rate he’s going, he could come across Young MC in a dark alley, and HE’D be the one to turn and flee screaming.

I probably learn a lot from Queer Eye, too, but if I were to analyze it I’d need therapy, and that’s good for nobody, so we’ll leave that be for now.