Friday, August 01, 2014

Writing and Playing

A thread was started over on Two Plus Two last week by a poster complaining about commentary regarding a particular player on a poker broadcast. The poster was specifically talking about Dan Shak and referring to some commentary on EPTLive.

The poster had some things to say about how some players might be discussed more favorably as players when compared to others, although might have been a little unfair in this particular instance as the subsequent discussion helped point out.

In fact EPTLive co-host James Hartigan posted a few times to help clarify some of the commentary highlighted by the original poster, with his response being both interesting to read and constructive. From there the short thread moved on to talk more broadly about poker commentary before winding down a few days later.

One of the more interesting points made in the thread came from Jimmy “Gobboboy” Fricke who contributes to the EPTLive shows and for that reason was encouraged to join in the discussion. He spoke humbly about the challenge to produce good, insightful strategic commentary on poker, noting how easy it is to be wrong with one’s read of a situation or player.

“Writing about poker correctly is a lot like playing poker,” Fricke then added.

Fricke mainly refers to writing (or discussing) strategy, and what he says makes a lot of sense. Commenting on hands well presents a challenge very similar to playing them well.

I was tempted, anyway, to apply the point more broadly to other kinds of poker-related writing which likewise can require technical knowledge, analytical ability, and creative thinking. You could even take the analogy further and talk about how writing about poker well also involves being able to read others, understanding how stories are put together and affect others, and even sometimes enjoying luck in the form of good timing or other external factors that lie outside one’s “skill.”

In what other ways is writing about poker like playing poker?

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