In the beginning, I used a detailed database to chart my opposition’s tendencies. A spreadsheet, with a name, a quick summary, and then street by street tendencies. I remember reading that Phil Ivey once kept a notebook of all this thoughts on poker, which he later lost and never bothered to repeat. My database was not exactly that valuable, of course, but if you could have somehow gotten your hands on this list and used it properly, The Village would have been your personal ATM for 2011-13, as it was mine.
Alas, times change. I’ve changed, too. I have arrogantly not kept up the details. I don’t really like playing at The Village as much, with its high variance short stackers, and I trust myself on the fly more than ever. Player pools change, too. Many of the great whales have migrated. Further, small games can’t keep you from going broke, despite the hypocritical, dubious aims of their organizers: some of the great distributors and action junkies just plain ran out of dough. (One scumbag went to jail, ha.)
However, The Database, as it came to be known to the Coven, is more than just an obsolete cookbook for success at an obscure casino in a lost part of the country: it’s an historical document, a profile of dozens of players, how they played, and perhaps most memorably, the nickname I gave them.
Why do I bring all this up? Because the Goddess is breaking me. I need to offer her a sacrifice, a sign that I have repented and respect her. I thought I could do it all, that I could beat anyone and anything in my player pool. In my hubris, she has struck me down with the one thing no one can beat: Herself. Variance.
Therefore, I am going to create propitiations: new cocktails based on players from the database. I will humbly scrape, searching far and wide, for exactly the right ingredients, and offer to her, supreme libations, honoring those I have abused for so long. I have been humbled. I will offer up a sacrifice.
Today and tomorrow I will gather the requisite materials. I will clean off the home bar, which had fallen into disuse. I will pull out my base for bitters begin to tincture and steep. I will scour my notes for ideas unpursued and unperfected. I will clean and polish the instruments of drunkenness. I will cut citrus and burn my fingers sacrificially with their acid.
All for Her.
I will design seven cocktails, one for each day of the week, including one for Sunday, because there is in fact no rest for the wicked. Five will be based on the player profiles, one a day for the regulars’ poker week. One I will leave undecided for weekend, wild game inspiration. The final one, to put an end to this nightmare, will be the culmination of my years of mixology and the end of my runbad: The Smurf’s Revenge.
* * *
Okay, on a more sane note, last night I only lost a little, which is an amazing step forward. In fact, if I had skipped one thin value bet, I would have broken even.
It was an interesting hand, especially from the point of view of getting value out of a nitty player. Villain was a charming but dim bulb of a blonde, one of the most popular players in the pool. Like many women in poker, she relishes the courtly attitude of the men and their endless attentions (no one has it better in poker than women, the recent dust up over them and their imaginary woes makes me LAUGH LAUGH CHOKE), and tonight we are subject to an endless parade of smiling dudes arriving at the table to pay homage. (Ever seen Chris Rock’s “Would you like some dick?” routine. Yeah.) She plays so straightforwardly it’s hard to even accept it. I end up with QQ on the turn and put in a value bet on 76107, which she calls. On the river 9 she checks it over to me, and snaps off my merge with 88 for the straight. I expected to lose to AA or KK; her call on the turn opens up my eyes to a whole new side of her optimism.
Now with a win, as few here bet as thinly as I do and would not give her those last stacks, she’s even more happy and dully unbearable the rest of the evening. Nice life. Later I snap fold AK on Kxx to her bet, as she only has AA in a three bet pot in that spot. I get to see it at showdown to confirm my insane laydown, as a helpless shortstacker smurf was caught in the crossfire. White cap down. Meanwhile, some doofus applauds her for making more money than he would have! HELLO? I don’t tell them, of course, but she just got OWNED! Just as happened in all my other great folds this week. Folding the nut flush to a single raise, laying down the second straight when no action occurred on the turn; c’mon where’s the applause, you nitty silly nincompoops? (Oh right, I forgot, thought we were focused on poker here. What he meant was: Excuse me, can I get you some dick?)
So I don’t cooler myself, but they get the money, once again, my enemies on the felt. Can’t win if you fold, as they say. (You can lose a lot less, though. Less catchy.)
Unfortunately, she leaves, moved to a table of her choosing. It’s the right play, although she likely does not know why. When you play utterly exploitably and after enough time that the table should have caught on, the optimal maneuver is to start over elsewhere. Game illusion. However, this as surely passes over her head as the intentions of her gaggle of admirers does not.
Meanwhile, Gargamel puts in a solid score and proves the whole inelasticity thingamajig referenced by Splitsuit recently, getting max value in a spot where getting a call should be almost impossible. There’s a reason they call it “The Idiot End.”
Which, by the way, is a good but not great name for a cocktail.