I’m on an old fashioned drinking day (is that a thing?), walking around this indifferent city (it’s not cruel, like Boston, very different concept), scavenging for cocktail ideas, getting some exercise.  I’m also having some amazing toast.  I don’t eat that much bread any more, and I had either forgotten or am now rediscovering that a good sourdough with butter has a very nutty, light taste, absolutely delicious.  I never understood the mania and devotion for the stuff before.

I’m also thinking about the time of day.  I’ve been enjoying tequila especially these last few weeks, and I realize now that part of it is a p.m. response.  Here at noon, I can’t start with it.  All that lime and salt and blood and lust sounds horrible.  What do you have with poached eggs, anyway?

Well, I think I want something low in acid, which is nearly impossible in a cocktail, but choosing vodka, champagne and unsweetened pear is about as close as I will come.  Most cocktails require citrus for the acidic component, and sugar aggravates this.  Champagne is already harsh, and doesn’t need the extra acid, unless you are going for a 75, French or English, and there you can see the ph helps give it, in addition to the brandy or gin, its howitzer, eponymous power.

The woman across from me, engrossed in her own conversational prowess, tells her silent interlocutor that she can get away with it because she’s “very good looking.”

Hmm.  Anyway, I’m also trying to get my mind around a very elusive tripod of ideas, one that separates the men from the boys in poker: Exploitative play, balanced actions, and optimal lines.  Notice that I make all three concepts distinct, nor do I say GTO, which yet another, related but specific, summary concept encompassing the spread of the tripod which makes your strategy indifferent to your opponents’- a very strange idea, in fact, in a relational game.  Get your mind around all this, and I guarantee you, not everybody will be terrible at poker.

The triad nature of the question is part of the problem.  They say the opposite, but you can be balanced but also playing exploitative poker because you are not playing in a vacuum: there are cracks where the light gets in.  NLHE is not a toy game where you have pure bluffs and pure value.  On the other hand, if you play optimally are you truly outside of playing exploitatively?

This last one is important, as, among other things, it has the practical effect of keeping you from spewing.  Yet spewing is often the road to profiting from disoptimal opposition; this was in fact the most profound and troubling lesson from the “Double Barrel Challenge.”  Last night when I double barreled 33 into K10xx and got the fold, I was balanced but it was probably not optimal, unless I should always have a bet, b/f range.

Actually, when I put it that way, I think it has to be the right play, in the imaginary scenario where I arranged all my holdings to allow for it.

Maybe.  But why would I do that with an unimprovable hand?  I am playing my perceived range extremely well but not my actual range.

Now the woman is talking about sleeping your way to the top and how exciting it is.  Her interlocutor turns out to be her mother, whom she’s taken out for lunch between business meetings.  Let’s assume she’s not talking about herself: is that still the best case scenario?  How balanced is her approach with entertaining her mother?  I just don’t think she’s doing anything but overplaying her hand here, even if all her possible approaches add up well.  It’s not optimal, in other words.

belliniYet, really, I’m unmoved.  I have cocktail and poker problems to solve.  To each his and her own: get out of here, take mom home, and go figure out how to screw over investors better, sweetheart.  Then it hits me: her enthusiasm shows her mother she’s alright.  Mom doesn’t care about the line itself.

This is an even deeper application of one of life’s most profound principles, that it is not what you do, but how you do it.  The bettor is doing it wrong, but it still can be interpreted in whatever way the caller wants.  This is image at work, casting a spell over the triad, creating new pairings of problems.
See, vodka, champagne, and pear are best for morning!  Low acid, clear thinking.  If I walk long enough, will it be time for Tequila?

Anyway, I do want another drink but my waitress is avoiding me.  I see her move from table to table, look over at me, then head to the kitchen.  Indifference?  Maybe something worse.  I can’t even order.

Moving along!

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