Monday, August 25, 2014

Feeding and Reading

Another nice day on the farm here. I was just doing barn chores. Every weekday afternoon about this time I am usually found in the barn cleaning stalls and feeding the three horses we’re keeping. Two are ours -- Sammy and Maggie -- while we’re boarding another, Shakan. All are now munching their feed and hay happily once more, an indication of a job well performed. Or at least that’s how I’m reading it.

Soon they’ll be turned out for the night. That above is a picture of Sammy (brown) and Maggie (black), shortly after getting turned out the other day.

Like most who follow poker, I had the EPTLive stream on for much of the day to watch the coverage from Day 4 of the €5,300 Main Event in Barcelona. They just finished up a few minutes ago, with 25 players making it through to night’s end, survivors of that record 1,496-entry field.

I didn’t closely follow what has been happening in the €10,300 High Roller event which started today, although I did hear the reports of how that field, too, had ballooned to record proportions. That one is already up over the 370-entry mark, with late registration (and the ability to reenter) open until the start of tomorrow’s Day 2.

At one point during the afternoon Daniel Negreanu joined in for some commentary, as usual adding both insight and entertainment with his contributions. Interestingly he’s skipping that record-breaking High Roller to explore some sights in Barcelona tonight and tomorrow. It’s a good call, I’d say, to take a break once in a while and not play all the events, even if Negreanu is a player who certainly could do so if he wished. Fits with his overall message as well to poker players to keep their lives balanced with other non-poker activities.

One theme that emerged during Negreanu’s time in the booth was how slow players were to act, something that happens a lot more at the feature tables, I think, than is the case out from under the lights and cameras. During one hand Negreanu was pointing out how among the items the player might be considering, the search for his opponent’s tells was especially futile. The fellow was stone-faced and motionless, and as Negreanu noted there was just nothing there to observe.

I’ve been thinking about tells lately in part because I’m nearly finished with Zach Elwood’s latest, Verbal Poker Tells, which catalogues and examines lots of different kinds of table talk in an accessible and entertaining way. (I’ll be reviewing the book soon over on Learn.PokerNews.)

As I’ve been reading, I found myself inspired occasionally to share some of Zach’s observations with Vera along the way. After one instance of doing so the conversation moved on to how animals -- specifically the horses -- communicate with us by their actions, movements, and even their “verbal” snorts and whinnies.

I was thinking of that conversation again this afternoon while in Sammy’s stall and he gave me a playful nudge on the shoulder, rubbing his nose back and forth before turning back around and sticking his head back out of the stall window to enjoy an unusually crisp August afternoon.

It was an unmistakably friendly message. Or at least that’s how I’m reading it.

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