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I must be very old since I’ve known Jeff Gore since he was a baby, yet here he is, a brilliant young mechanical engineering student who happens to be a poker expert. He’s also a terrific guy, a great contributor to Food for Thought forums and the son of my good friends, Jim and Darcie Gore (Food for Thought co-founders.) This is Jeff’s first of what I hope will be many columns, especially for Food for Thought readers who enjoy poker. Join me in welcoming Jeff and his talents to our ever-interesting e-village. – Doni
Often, when people discover my passion for poker, they will recall a big poker hand they had and ask for my perspective. Most of them, I’m afraid, only ask once as their reaction is usually a bewildered stare followed by, “Uuuh huh.”
The fact is that poker is a complicated game, despite its simple rules, so any worthwhile analysis will be fairly involved. The game relies heavily on probability and psychology. While most people seem comfortable enough with the psychology, eyes begin to gloss at the first mention of numbers.
Perhaps this is why many poker blogs and magazine articles give lip service to the true underlying strategies, though the cynic in me suspects most authors have ulterior motives. After all, one of the major poker taboos is giving lessons while at the table – considered part of “tapping on the aquarium.” If a player’s livelihood revolves around poker, why make the game any tougher? But by keeping recreational players interested in poker with fluff pieces (and the occasional carrot), poker pros can expect fish to come to the tables more often and stay longer.
This principle is probably the reason there are so few worthwhile poker books.
With this in mind, I have decided to do the opposite and perform a truly thorough analysis of a single hand. By reading this, a losing player won’t suddenly turn into a winner, nor will an average player become superb.
Instead, my goal is to instill a little Socratic wisdom to overconfident players, while simultaneously using this piece as a springboard to discuss specific strategies more thoroughly in later articles (assuming there is any interest).
I do realize my first analysis piece is quite dense and may come off as pretentious. So in hopes of making it a little less overwhelming (and wean myself from parenthetical asides), I have employed liberal use of hyperlinks. Still, I suspect my articles will ultimately have an audience limited to serious students of the game.
One final note: For my own convenience, I have used the singular masculine terms “he” and “his” exclusively. This is not meant to suggest that poker is a man’s game (in fact, female players are becoming quite common). Instead, it is merely a reflection of our English language’s lack of singular gender-neutral pronouns and my adherence to the high, though archaic, grammatical standards the fine teachers at St. Joseph instilled upon me.
Without further ado, return here Tuesday and we’ll get to the analysis.
Jeff was born and raised in Redding. He is a graduate of Shasta High and Shasta College and currently attends Chico State University where he majors in mechanical engineering. He enjoys playing poker and has written book reviews for poker Web sites. His friends in Redding know his passion for cars and racing.