No One Nose

I can’t say I’m very interested in the Dr. Jacylnn Moskow/Nolan Dalla debacle itself. No one can know exactly what happened in the late night mists of personal ambition and industry politics, never mind under the pressures of the all-encompassing, 24/7 sexual marketplace; leaping to conclusions is a sign of bad faith and partisanship. All the various Special Victims Units of identity groups, down to the Outraged by the Outrage over Outrage Folks (OOOF!), find cause for their resentments in this and every such situation: their transparent motivations almost shame a shameless age. So let the chips fall where they may, and let everyone tittle and twaddle on in their circular homer speculation. I wonder, when everyone is so curiously eager to smear the microscope slide with their thumb or break it with the lens, if they really ever did want to see what was there? I can only doubt.

king of motorboatsFortunately, what is more interesting than a few nights of near-comical indiscretions is the war of the sexes itself, because it’s always the greater story. The French have always understood this field of battle better than anyone; it convulses their literature and informs their politics – the exact opposite of our way. After all, it was they who first wrote of romantic love and the often counterintuitive rules between men and woman. It is they who first understood the breakdown of this relationship, in private and in public. Though those desperate but beautiful times in a young world are long past, their descendants’ wisdom remains: they ultimately discerned that there is no perfect reconciling between men and women. That makes sense: There is no passion without tension, no brief unity without constant conflict. The world is full of ugly things but they are what make the alternatives worth striving for. Love is not valuable because it is rare, yet it is rare because it is so valuable.

This matters, both for the growth of our game of choice, the situation of women in poker, and for flare ups like Moskow/Dalla. Poker is not separate from the rest of the world and the ever-simmering sexuality that makes us who we are. There is not a single moment in life that goes on without some desire being created, met or denied. Those who wish to spay and neuter the poker table (never mind the related social scene) are laughably if forgivably, almost cutely, moronic; I envy their Pollyanna life and the human and financial buffers that keep their brains bouncy and full of air. If you are still secreting hormones and your shape is recognizably human, someone is going to come on to you in a pleasant or unpleasant way at some point, somewhere. If you want to wish for one, you must accept the remote possibility of the other or be done with public life. As far as making one uncomfortable, there are worse things than unwanted and vulgar sexual attention. I’ve been at a table where an angry and distraught man seriously threatened his antagonists’ life, including my own; and I’ve had a woman lean over and give me a messy unwanted kiss to celebrate a pot. Which do you think is more important and disturbing? Where exactly are your priorities and who are you lying to if you are more upset by the latter than the former?

Very little will ultimately stop, to put it another way, people from doing what they are going to do in matters of attraction because it is what they are at their deepest and most self-identifying: sexual beings. There are few social legalities that can be coherently enforced in a healthy sexual society in order to make poor behavior impossible, because that will obviate the first condition. All attempted variations and evasions distort us – look into the absurdities of the current university campus climate, where a leaderless laboratory of hysteria and a carefully cultivated fear of conflict is creating dullards now and raising statist, censorious creeps to come for us later. Poker players, who deal in logic and outcomes, should know better than to fall into the claptrap, sophomoric falsity of identity and victimization politics. Unfortunately we’re not actually as smart as a group as we like to think and constantly go on about.

What will help poker – and the world – is good behavior enforced by our own consciences. Seems so simple, right? But it isn’t, because no one actually starts anything without something to gain- especially true in and for the poker world. So what is it that can be gained from a little politesse? What Expected Value can we use to motivate gamblers? It’s called self-worth or self-respect. Love of the self which creates happiness in oneself and in others. This is what keeps men from descending into ugliness and women from joining them, women from descending into ugliness and men from joining them. The equation isn’t that hard but it is definitely unpopular because it asks us to be accountable before we ask someone else to be: very unpoker and not very GTO in the two dimensional way poker players often prefer to imagine the universe. However, in a game so full of party in the front and misery in the back, it’s worth considering for a second before your next hashtag rampage.

So in a bar in Pittsburgh a bunch of ambitious, talented poker players mix together j. moskow1with industry mavens and the silly scions of the pokosphere. They’re deep on drink X and someone, it seems, does something ugly and unwanted; imagine that! The alleged incident (very likely to have happened in some form and if so, deserving of some reprimand and stigma) is not an act of misogyny (the people who love this word usually don’t even know what it means, yet they are the ones who use it the most often: ever and always). The “assault” of this type is an act derived from the confusion of need and contempt for oneself. Social norms disappear like a shot through the nose into the ether of deliberate disinhibition; we drink, at heart, so that the truth outs. To do the things and say the things and be the things we don’t approve of: a self-induced home remedy for hypocrisy.

It’s not always a bad thing in a world of lies and repressions, one where you can often best understand the sober by translating whatever they say into its opposite.

The whoppers, though, never stop, everywhere and here, sober or drunken: Dalla (on 2+2): “There’s nothing I find the least bit attractive about her”; Moskow (on Pokersesh): “Why would I be flirting with him? That’s revolting.”

It’s incredible: we are never, ever ceased being asked to be utterly credulous.

For a more than mature man to become inebriated to the point of not knowing what is socially acceptable, for everyone around to abet him, possibly, unwittingly or not, including even the owner of those gravity creating orbs herself, and then for her and her boyfriend not to confront or even level the offender (I bet that round, still boyish face, unlike Bogart’s, probably is embarrassable and slaps pretty well, both times), but instead flee, followed by all sides squabbling over what amount of money is equal to everyone’s “reputation,” is a sad panel in the triptych portrait of the sort of people who have less respect for themselves than they should and probably don’t even know it.

Edmond Burke wrote of an age where behavior, too, was at a low point in that same France which had once celebrated and coherently adjudicated relations between the sexes. How confused he was at the disrespect toward the future queen, “how I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone.”

Today, there are not only no swords to leap – being in an age where we are concerned with emasculating ourselves of our constitutional right to self-protection, along with every other tyrannical feel-good fad, there are no standards to inspire. Does anyone even know what a Standard is, and the connection between their literal and figurative form? Or why they are important?

Instead, we want ever-changing rules (meaning they are not rules) and the “community” (always a word which precedes a pillaging) and its peculiar litigation to save us, because we have no interior guide, no profound self-respect, only the noise of what the loudest voices tell us is important and what their fellow Twits confirm with slogans and memes and GIFS and polls. We’re the dumbest generation yet because we want others to enforce our individuality, our deep, sexual selves, for us. (To be fair, and in a far more profound way than the current mania for being wronged, we are all victims of our times because our social norms themselves often compromise and hurt us.)

When we put ourselves in ugly situations, ugliness ensues because there is ugliness within all of us. When we burn down all the Standards of behavior, plunging our flags and our faces into the fire of what’s hot, in order to allow ourselves everything and still not be judged, anything is possible.  The moral outcome of our social behaviors, in fact, more trivially mirrors a far greater dispute, one which was actually settled long ago: “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.” Yes, that is the story of a far deeper issue that has been exasperatingly resuscitated of late, but it is also the story of social mores and the postscript to every poker scandal, from Howard and Chris back to Russ and Absolute up to the One Blind folder and now Surprise Motorboat Guy and so on unto the combinatorical poker scandal void.

Has it occurred to you to ask why you’re secretly uncomfortable with the idea of finding Mr. Ferguson in the Rio and punching him, why some “brave” clip of a nasally voice swearing at him doesn’t really seem that great or brave, after all? Much wisdom in finding the answer to this tickle of the true conscience.

Dr. Moskow’s charge of anti-Semitism on the PNIA set is conversely both less important and more serious. One measure of a healthy society is the amount of free expression it allows; morons must be allowed their opinions lest stupidity become the law when dissent is quashed. It’s easy to become a casual anti-Semite, after all: jealousy of one of the most, if not the most, talented group of people with an outlandish per capita contribution to the human story, is a natural act of frustration and self-hatred. (The potential benefit of being the heterogeneous element when embraced properly is a lesson for women in poker and all minorities everywhere and in everything.)

This cuts both ways, though: excessively identifying yourself with a group is foolish; when you face God or your conscience (a redundancy), you will not be asked to which team you belonged and what their record was. However, as Hitchens pointed out, the level of anti-Semitism in a society is also a measurement of a society’s health and a sign of potentially bad things to come. These paradoxical gauges must therefore be watched carefully for moments of terrible correlative readings.

Our challenge in poker, as anyone acquainted with the subject knows, is historically really not anti-Semitism, but it is very often a significant problem that we have so few knights and queens, that is to say, far fewer exemplars of behavior, than most social groupings. For better and worse this state of affairs seems built into our game. Usually, it works out for us rather well! We love the down low of competitive gambling, the simple, real, intestinal life it allows us to luxuriate in, as pigs do in mud- communal mud. Amusingly, poker attracts all sorts of smart, otherwise clean living people who actually need a little mud on their hands, people who push and pull the game from dark to light and back again, wanting it all and telling us how we should be. (This is one reason tournament poker, so manageable and arcane and litigious and artificial, in a gelded age is so popular: Poker’s Safe Space.) But this confusion about what we are doing and why we play poker also makes it hard for many of us to agree on any sort of compass when the shit hits the fan and the mud doesn’t feel good and cooling any more. Then we scream about getting dirty and it all makes no sense to anyone sane.

motorboating heraldry detailIf we in the poker world want better things for the game (this isn’t actually certain), it will come from our individual selves, because we are a loose gathering of individuals far more than other “communities.” Greater comfort and room for women, and even more important, protecting the health and growth of what is already working, will come from reaching down and finding accountability and the limitations of our desires and the true meaning of freedom both for me and for thee. What betterment will never come from, even if briefly satisfying, is from wailing and hypocrisy and the shitstorm justice of the internet jury, who never, ever reach a satisfactory verdict.

In the end there is only example, the raising and maintenance of a personal banner, one very different from some giant portrait of the latest douchebag in sunglasses who just won the equity lottery. One which stands beside us, invisibly, whenever we sit down at the table (the easiest part, in fact), but also one which we carry into every other field of battle: love, family, politics, war- or even just to the corner joint for a wrap and those nose shots you’ve been desperately craving.

Up the hatch, Ladies and Gents! What could go wrong?


Joe McKeehen Hits Snooze


  1. A stirring insight into the human physce which has made me think a lot. Thanks for this and your other thought provoking strategy writing.

  2. Pretty remarkable thoughts and writing. Very deep. Not about poker, but about our times. We don’t see a lot of references to Edmund Burke in the poker literature.

Leave a Reply

The OOP Lexicon is a user-developed poker glossary.

Absolute Position
Being last to act (e.g. closest to the button) postflop.

Advancing Leverage
Aggressive actions intended to shift the leverage point closer to the current street.

A bluff or value hand which is a natural candidate for balancing another hand because of their shared qualities, such as AA and AK; usually helps planning range splitting and line construction.

Auto profit threshold (APT)
A bluff made with positive expectation resulting from the opponent under defending vis-a-vis bet sizing. The inverse of MDF.

Choosing to support either value bets or bluffs with their converse.

A bet is a proposition.  It’s the first offer on the pot with regard to the outcome of the game. Each player, in turn, has the opportunity to lay or change the price on the pot to the rest of the players. “The language of poker.” The bet, as opposed to the raise, is most often and most easily allied to the merged pricing construction.

To remove combinations of hands from a range based on cards in your hand or on the board.

Cards which influence our combinatorial assumptions. Ex: We face resistance on T76ss while we hold As7d. Both our cards act as blockers. Our ace of spades blocks (limits) a number of flush draws our opponent could hold, while our seven blocks a number of two pair and sets our opponent could hold. *See also Block and Unblock

Blocker Bet
A small bet made by an out-of-position player.

Board Texture
The available community cards and the set of conditions which inform its relationship to a logical range.

The worst hands in a betting range.  Depending on context this could be the worst hand in a value bet range or the bluffing section of polarized range.

A range descriptor indicating a range shape with a specific high or low boundary.  A range bounded high won't contain some number of the best linear hands ranked from the top down.  This is equivalent to a "capped" range.  A range bounded low won't contain some number of the worst linear hands ranked from the bottom up.  This is often useful to describe a range that doesn't include any air or very weak hands.

A strategic mode in which a player is attempting to deny their opponent(s) equity share of the pot through aggression. Often referred to as “denying equity” or “buying up equity”.

A range is capped when it represents little to no nutted combinations as confirmed by prior action.

A continuation bet. A bet made by the player with initiative as a continuation of their initiative on a prior street.

The ability to accurately range an opponent based on all available information at a decision point.  An understanding of your hands exact equity.

Closing Action
Acting last where no subsequent action is possible behind you.  For example calling a UTG raise in the BB or calling in position postflop with no players behind.

Cold Call/Cold Bet
An action is considered “cold” when it comes from a player entering into the pot has not previously put chips voluntarily in the pot. Ex: the UTG opens, the BTN 3bets. If the SB were to call or raise, it would be a cold-call or a cold-4bet.

The branch of mathematics the deals with finite number sets. Used in poker in determining the amount of combinations of certain hands in a range.

When a blind that is not the biggest blind calls the amount of the biggest blind. Ex: At $2/$5, action folds around to the SB and the SB completes. Meaning they just call. The BB can complete when there is a straddle.

A capped range that contains only middling value hands. A range without the polarized portion.

Logical advancement of combinations across streets.

Dark Side of the Deck
The large swath of hands, often off-suit, that fall outside of conventional playable recommendations. Counter-equity hands.

Dead Money
Money in the pot that is not being fought for.  A passive player creates dead money when they call a bet preflop and looking to play fit-or-fold postflop. Dead Money is often confused with the money in the pot.

Delayed Cbet
A cbet made on the turn by the preflop raiser when the flop checked through.

Delaying Leverage
Passive actions intended to maintain a likely late street leverage point, or possibly to avoid a leverage point entirely.

A strategic break from one’s standard construction as an exploit of a particular player’s profile or construction.

Diminishing Medium Value Category
A Seidman concept in which when one’s middling value hand range is too small and transparent to our opponent and thus either that range should be shifted into the top of a polarized range or the nutted portion should be shifted into the medium value range. Ex: AQo or TT being 3bet preflop.

A cbet that is less than the preflop raise. Ex: BTN opens to $25, we 3bet to $90 from the SB, BTN calls. On the flop we cbet $70.

Dry Board
A board texture that yields relatively few logical hands value. Often containing one medium or high card and disconnected low cards. Ex: Q53r, T622r.

Dual Mentalities
A Seidman concept in which when we decide to go postflop with a weak hand against a nutted range, we should either be looking to out flop it or steal the pot away. We base our decision against the player type we are up against and never go post with both mentalities at once.

Dynamic Board
A flop texture in which the runout is very likely to change the order of top ranking hands. Ex: 954tt, 742r.

Effective Stack
The smallest stack to VPIP in a given hand. Their stack decides the amount of money that can be played for or threatened before an all-in.

Effective nuts
A value hand that can be played for stacks as if it were the actual nuts.  This is a relative hand ranking based on range assumptions and opponent type.

A measure of how well the equity of a hand is deployed. Efficiency can also be used as a measure of what is risked vs what is gained for a given bet size.

Either/Or Philosophy
A Seidman concept in which a particular street can be a very good spot for value, meaning our opponent is never folding, or a very good spot to bluff, meaning our opponent is never calling, but that those spots cannot be concurrent.

Borrowed from economics, a measure of the sensitivity of a range or hand relative to the price offered.  Ranges (or hands) described as elastic will narrow, sometimes quickly, in response to increases in price.  Those described as inelastic will not.

The percent pot share of a holding or range on any given street if the hand were to go to showdown with no further betting action.

Equity Pusher
A analytic approach to the game in which a player views the correct actions only through the lens of their hands equity vs. their opponent’s range. Often this player type has a lack of understanding of overall strategy and plays their range face up with few bluffs.

Expected Value
The mathematical formula for how much a player’s action is expected to make with their hand vs. their opponent’s range. EV = ($towin * %ofwin) - ($tolose * %ofloss)

Face Up
A player is playing their range “face up” when their actions directly correspond with their desired outcome. Ex: A player bets half-pot three streets with a range that has no bluffs. A player 3bets to 7x with JJ.

False Polarization
Otherwise known as Faux-Po; a polarizing action taken with a merged range.

The result of losing your entire table stakes. All the way down to the felt.

A call of a cbet with a weak holding with the likely intention of taking the pot away when the opponent shuts down. Often done by an in position preflop caller.

The convergence of positions, stack depths, and preceding actions at a given decision point.

A mathematical formula developed by Phil Galfond for calculating the expected value of one’s range construction vs. an opponent’s holding.

A computer programming term that means "garbage in, garbage out" which also applies to poker forums when a poster seeks an in-depth conversation about a hand, but fail to provide pertinent information such as stack sizes, bets sizes, table dynamics and player tendencies.

Game Theory
The applied science of combining mathematical models with logic to craft winning poker strategies.

Game Theory Optimal
A set of strategies is GTO if no player can unilaterally deviate and increase his average profit. ~ Will Tipton.  GTO does not mean best possible response, highest EV, or maximally exploitative play.

Implied Odds
Additional value likely to be accrued if you make your hand on a later street.

Sometimes referred to as the betting lead, a common situation in which the passive player yields to the aggressive player postflop, or the last aggressor continues betting on subsequent streets.

A bet or raise intended to force out the rest of the field in order to play heads up against a weaker opponent who has entered the pot through limping, raising, or posting the blinds.

Loose aggressive player type. Generally overused and inaccurate.

A bet made from out of position after a passive action. Often referred to as a donk bet on the flop.

He knows that I know that he knows I know.

A bet or raise that signals the hand will be played for stacks.  Within reason, it is accomplished by betting with a sizing that will create RSP equal to 1 on the following street.

Limp First In

A consecutive range of hands decreasing in strength from top to bottom; generally meaning value hands. Equivalent to "merged."

Lockdown Board
A board on which the nuts have often already been made.  More prevalent in PLO but sometimes useful in no-limit, for example on monotone flops and boards with available common straights e.g. JT9, T98, 987, etc.

1) A range of hands that includes both strong and medium value; 2) in reference to medium value; 3) the merged construction describes the natural representation of a wide range through a bet.

Mini Stop-N-Go
A Seidman concept, a line taken by a OOP PFR where flop is check/called and turn is lead.

Minimum Defense Frequency (MDF)
The necessary defending (calling/raising) frequency to prevent an opponent from auto-profiting.  The inverse of APT.

Natural Action
A check, bet, or raise which is exactly suited to a player's range and situation (e.g. a pfr's continuation bet on AK2r).

A player who will not put chips into the pot without a very strong and sometimes only nutted hand.

The best possible hand.

Nuts-To-Air Ratio (NAR)
In a polarized betting line, the ratio of value to bluff.  As used by Seidman, not limited to polarization but sometimes used to label general opponent tendency of value to bluff.

Old Man Coffee. Typically an older, retired player that likes to play bingo with ATC, but will only continue with the nuts.

The first voluntary action. The first action or bet to voluntarily enter the pot.

A bet that is more than the size of the pot.

Perceived Range
Refers to the range of hands that your opponent thinks you could have in a certain playing situation. This can be interpreted and thus misinterpreted from your playing style and position at the table.

A range consisting of very strong and very weak hands.

Post Oak Bluff
A small bluff on a late street that has little chance of winning the pot.  Generally interpreted as “gutless” in the past but now fulfilling certain functions as betting efficiencies are understood.

Positional Protection
When the strength of a range is perceived to be capped or uncapped based on which position an action is taken from.

When an action or player is perceived to have strong hands in its range.

Protection Bet
A wager which denies equity to hands which will only give action if they significantly improve; "a value bet which does not want a call."

The rejection of the offered price and the laying of a new higher price.  Raises represent a more narrow range of hands and trend towards polarization.

Range Advantage
Implementation or study tool that refers to 1) most basically, equity measurement of one range against another; 2) or also including a combination of further factors including availability of nutted hands, the nuances of the runout, and positional protection.

Range Manipulation
Deliberate line work/bet sizing made to narrow a range or keep a range wide.

Range Switch
A deliberate change in range composition made to thwart a player who is reading our range too accurately in any spot.  Reduces transparency, fights assumptions, and wins the leveling war if implemented correctly.

Ratio of Stack To Pot
RSP. The stack to pot ratio at any point in a hand, generally used post-flop as opposed to Stack to Pot Ratio.

Taking a hand to showdown and realizing its full equity.  Generally used with regard to passive actions.

The mutual exchange of chips resulting from similar play and ideas.  Reciprocity is a common bi-product of group-think.  A true edge by definition cannot be reciprocal.

Relative Position
A player’s position measured against the aggressor's position.  Generally this is used going to the flop.  For example, if UTG raises and several players call behind, calling in the big blind would give you the best relative position.  You will act after seeing how the field responds to a likely continuation from the preflop aggressor.  In the same scenario calling immediately after the preflop aggressor results in the worst relative position.  You will have to act immediately after a continuation without seeing how the remaining players will respond.  Strong relative position confers an information edge.

The ability of hand to maintain equity across streets against a betting range or as part of a betting range.

Reverse Implied Odds (RIO)
Hands that often win small pots or lose large pots suffer from reverse implied odds.

Popularized by Mathew Janda, a descriptor for how well a hand retains equity over streets of play.  Hands described as robust have equity that does not suffer as an opponent's range becomes stronger.  Often these hands are currently both strong and invulnerable, or have the ability to become very strong by the river, relative to the opponent's range.

Fourth and Fifth Street cards following a given flop texture.

Scale of Protection
Poker theorem which states that the more protected or strong an opponent's range is, the higher the degree of denial or retention a counter will require.

Sklansky Bucks
Dollars won (or lost) in expected value regardless of actual hand result.

Any one of many possible poker archetypes found at low stakes games.

A reraise made after a player has raised and one or more players has called in-between.

Static Board
A flop texture in which the runout is unlikely to change the order of top ranking hands. Ex: AK7r, KK4r.

A passive action followed by an aggressive action, out of position.  For example, a call followed by a lead on the next street.

Streets of Value
A crude shorthand measurement for how much betting a hand can tolerate and still be best at showdown more often than not.

Tight aggressive opponent type. Generally overused and misapplied.

TAG's Dilemma
The paradox created by having a top-heavy range played so aggressively that it misuses equity vis-à-vis position and holding.

The Great Range Fantasy
The common idea that we know our opponent’s range and frequencies precisely; most commonly seen in post-hoc analysis to justify microedge decisions.

Thin Value
A bet that is only slightly more likely to be called by worse than by better. Associated with the merged pricing construction and bet-fold lines.

Three Fundamentals
The most fundamental variables for decision making: position, stack size, and community cards.

The best hands in a given range.

Two-Way Bet
A bet that expects calls from worse hands and incorrect folds at the same time, a simultaneous value bet and bluff line.

The psychological effect of feeling like you’re losing because your stack size isn’t as large as it once was during a session, even though it’s more than what you’re in the game for.

(e.g. You bought in for $100, ran it up $450, but now only have $175 in front of you.)

A hand that has no negative card removal effects on the target range.  Bottom set, for example, unblocks top pair top kicker.

A range that is perceived to contain the nuts in any given line.  Capped ranges may become uncapped during transitions for example from preflop to flop, or flop to turn.

A turned nut straight after raising flop with a gutter.

Value Owning
Making value bets with a hand that has less than 50% equity when called.

Voluntarily Put Money In Pot (VPIP)
The frequency at which a player limps, calls, or raises preflop.

Volatile Board
A flop texture where equities will often shift on the turn and river.  See “dynamic”.

An illusory cooler where one player makes a massive mistake equity mistake and loses his stack with a strong but second best hand; also known as a Jam Basket.

Wet Board
A board texture that allows for a lot of logical hands to continue. Often made up of medium rank connected cards. Ex: KT9tt, Tc8c6s-7c-Ac.

“Walk In, Fuck Shit Up, Walk Out” a hashtag used by instagram poker players.

Winning Player
A forum poster who offers reciprocal advice under the guise of questionable positive low stakes results. A weak player or fish, in general.

Young Man Coffee. Is very much an OMC, but younger.  They usually only continue with the nuts, often under the illusion of playing a GTO style.