Saturday, May 06, 2006

Folding AA: A 12-Step Program

Folding AA: A 12-Step ProgramLast summer I found myself walking through the MGM Grand (a rare excursion for yours truly into brick-and-morter land) when a sharp-eyed gentleman in a white shirt and striped tie thrust a glossy pamphlet in my hand and quickly shuffled away.

The little rectangular tome was titled "Folding AA: A 12-Step Program." Can't say I thought about it much until the other week when I numbskulled my way to having my aces cracked by a backdoor straight. Took awhile but I finally found it under a pile of papers. I'll skip the preamble and get to the skinny. Here are the 12 steps:

1. Admitted that you have become powerless not to fold AA. Came to realize that all of your better instincts -- the fruits of countless hours of study and play -- are hopelessly undermined whenever you are dealt pocket rockets. In other words, your game becomes unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that the poker gods -- powers greater than yourself -- can restore you to sanity. The poker gods have determined the order of the poker universe, which includes, for example, the unalterable truth that if played to the river 65-suited will crack aces over 20% of the time, even when one of your aces is the same suit. Have accepted you cannot change that fact, nor should you question it, if you wish to keep your marbles (and chips).

3. Made the decision to turn your will over to the care of the poker gods (as far as you are able to understand them). Have recognized they have determined flops like J-10-9 suited generally are not friendly to AA and that folding to a reraise here may well be the right play most of the time. Subsequently appreciated with full awareness how the hold ’em universe has been thoughtfully arranged.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of your poker ego, ascertaining precisely when and where you came erroneously to believe folding aces was strictly for Nancy boys. Have comprehended that just because there are 220-to-1 odds against something occurring, when such an event does occur there exist no guarantees about what might happen next.

5. Admitted to the poker gods, to yourself, and to someone else you have a serious problem laying down bullets, even when up against a scary board and multiple opponents. Confessed that while in the past you have concsiously understood that aces are often generally a coin flip at best to win versus three or more, you have been utterly governed by a sense of entitlement when dealt AA, incapable of acting rationally in the face of certain danger.

6. Readied yourself to yield to the poker gods and remove this serious defect from your play. As you have experienced on multiple occasions, hours of intelligent poker can be undermined in a single hand, and while AA has often proven beneficial to you, you have come to understand that by misplaying the hand you have become less of a player than you are capable of being.

7. Humbly asked the poker gods to remove your shortcomings and make you understand that having made your set of aces still does not mean your hand beats a straight, flush, or boat.

8. Made a list of all the times you have misplayed pocket rockets. Not the times you played them correctly and suffered bad beats, but the times you consciously made mistakes calling or raising when you were certain you were beat.

9. Made direct amends to such people who have unfairly cracked your aces in the past and to whom you may have treated less than appropriately with remarks about their ancestry and the like, except when to do so would injure them (by hurting their pride) or others (whose livelihood depends on such donks).

10. Continued to monitor your play and take personal inventory, always noting when you misplay aces and promptly admitting having done so.

11. Sought through reflection and meditation to improve your conscious understanding of probabilities, other players’ tendencies, and your own table image, praying for the ability to act according to such knowledge in all that you do, most particularly in your handling of AA.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in your entire game.

Now that I think of it, the fella who handed it to me might have had a drink in his hand.

Image: Alcholics Anonymous logo (adapted). CC BY-SA 4.0.

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Blogger Simon said...

Nice post :)

Thanks for the link BTW, I've now returned the favour (better late than never!).

7/19/2006 2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Christopher J. and I'm a pocket rocketholic.

I am powerless over pocket Aces and my poker hand is unmanagable.

11/06/2006 11:20 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thx Simon.

And congrats, Christopher J. . . . you've completed step 1!

11/08/2006 6:52 PM  

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