Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Horse Play and Other Best Bets

Full-blown farm life around here these days now that our two horses, Sammy and Maggie, have arrived. Vera has had Sammy forever -- pretty much since we’ve been together -- and Maggie for a good while, too, making it especially nice to have both of them with us... right in the back yard!

I tweeted that pic to the left a few days ago, and Dr. Pauly -- a.k.a. “Ocelot Sports” -- immediately inquired if they were race horses. No, I explained, but “you can bet on who finishes feeding first.” At that he eyed the competitors and quickly calculated money lines.

“Sammy -130, Maggie +125,” he estimated.

“Sounds about right,” said Vera after I explained to her that Pauly had made Sammy the favorite. Sammy is part-thoroughbred and has quite the appetite, even if their diets technically are such that Maggie gets fed a little more each day and night.

Between the farm duties, starting a new semester of “Poker in American Film and Culture,” and Learn.PokerNews-related activities, I’ll admit I’ve been distracted more than a little from much else here lately.

Speaking of the latter, let me say I’m excited about the start of a new series of articles on “Casino Poker for Beginners” by Bob Woolley, a.k.a. the Poker Grump. Bob is the perfect person in my opinion to deliver this kind of advice to new players, and I’m psyched about being able to add him to the line-up of writers at Learn. See his first piece on “Getting Into the Game.” And here he gives a short intro to the series on the Poker Grump blog.

Meanwhile starting the class again is always fun, and I’m beginning to think I might try to share some of the content of the course over on Learn as well as we move through our narrative of poker’s prominent place in American history and culture. Need to ponder a little more on the best strategy for doing that, but I think it could be fun to share some of readings and clips in that way. I’ve had people ask me frequently if they could audit the class, and this could be a way to share some of what we’re doing with a wider audience.

Finally, while we’re on the subject of Learn stuff, I had the chance to read and review Tricia Cardner’s new book Positive Poker (with contributions from Jonathan Little) which I quite liked. She’s got a couple of doctorates including one in psychology, is a license psychotherapist, and a good poker player, too, which positions her well to deliver the mental game advice she does in the book. Read the review here, and if you’re further interested you can read an interview with Cardner as well here.

Like me, Cardner has taught a college course focusing on poker, in her case one on the psychology of poker. It was that class as well as her dissertation that provided the impetus for her book, as you can read about in both the review and interview.

That’s all for now as I have to go take care of my nightly duties to clean the stalls, feed and water, and take care of the barn cats, too. I keep joking with people about my stall-cleaning duties, and it’s funny how many seem to respond by saying how great it all sounds.

They’re right. It’s pretty awesome. And you don’t even have to place bets on Sammy and Maggie to enjoy watching them.

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