Poker: Cruel, Deceptive, Aggressive and Antisocial says Victoria Coren

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Victoria Coren, the poker playing author and journalist, writing in the Guardian newspaper, described her favourite game as being cruel, deceptive, aggressive and antisocial. She also said that it could be expensive too, but not to worry, she love’s the game which has overall been very good to her despite the fact that bridge has more of a partnership spirit.

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She refers to the 1998 novel by Jesse May called Shut up and Deal. What she loves about the book is the way in which it is perfectly honest about poker’s ability to be brutal along with the ability of the game’s players to be ruthless.

If you want to avoid some of the heavy sides of poker, the suggest Coren you should think about playing in tournaments which have a better social side than other forms of the game. Although it is never good to be eliminated from a tournament all you stand to lose is the initial buy in which you have already paid. The danger of cash games is that you might be tempted to loose more than you can afford.

To illustrate this, Victoria described how, in a cash game, she took a very charming Chinese player to the cleaners.

Victoria had K-C and 8-C as pocket cards and the flop was 3; 8; 8. Unsurprisingly Victoria bet, and the Chinese player raised. Victoria raised again and this time the other player went all in with the remaining few hundred pounds in his bankroll. Victoria considered that the only ways in which he could be ahead such as if he had Ace; 8 or 3;3. She called and he showed 8,7. The rest of the board failed to improve his hand and he was out of cash so had to leave the table.

Victoria says she had net needed to win that game, she had already been well ahead, but pity and compassion are just weaknesses in poker; when the poker gets tough it is the tough who get going.

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