Thursday, August 27, 2009

Make a Point to Double-Check, Double-Check to Make a Point

Chinese Poker Lite for the iPhoneThis summer at the WSOP I finally got around to learning how to play Chinese Poker. A few of us on a break dealt out some hands and I received a quick tutorial. Didn’t take long to see why the game can be so addictive. One of the field reporters had the Chinese Poker application on his iPhone, too, which I thought about adding to mine. But since it wasn’t a free app -- and because I’m cheap -- I passed.

There’s now a free version of the app, which I grabbed before my recent trip to Kyiv, Ukraine and enjoyed playing during random moments along the way. Took me about a hundred hands to realize I wasn’t playing very smartly, and so started looking further into strategy.

Tom Schneider made a couple of Card Player videos a while back in which he talks about Chinese Poker. The first covers basics, like how to deal and some of the default strategies for building hands and avoiding getting scooped. That first one also talks about scoring and points work, which is simple but not obvious to a newcomer:

In the second video, Tom gets into explaining royalties and how they might affect one’s strategy. He also talks about some of the variations like deuce-to-seven in the middle.

These vids were recorded right near the end of the WSOP Main Event. You might recall that Schneider made it all of the way to Day 7, ultimately busting in 52nd place. In fact, I’m remembering that after he busted I ran over during the dinner break and joined Tom and crew while they ate dinner, and sure enough Chinese Poker was being played at the table.

This is also making me recall a very funny story involving Tom from right there at the end of the WSOP that I don’t think I shared here. Story also has to do with my iPhone, as it happens, which I had only just picked up in May right before going out to Vegas.

Long time readers of the blog know about how I met Tom a couple years ago (via his old podcast, Beyond the Table). He and I have been in contact ever since, and this summer had talked a few times and exchanged text messages now and then. So when he was making his deep run in the ME, it wasn't unusual for me to send him a text message wishing him well. Sent during the morning before Day 7, actually.

We got to the first break that day and as I often did took a moment during the break to fire off a text to Vera Valmore: “hey mama... first break about to end... day goin’ well xxx.”

That is to say, I thought I’d sent a message to Vera. It was later that afternoon Tom finally busted, then sometime after that he sent what I assume was a text to all of his contacts passing along the news that he was out.

That’s when I realized -- my earlier message... I’d sent it to Tom, not Vera! I had a feeling as soon as I started texting with the iPhone that at some point I would probably make that mistake. The message app opens to the last person you texted, so if yr not paying attention, it isn’t that hard to send a message to the wrong person. Finally I had done it.

Sent Tom another text, explaining the mix-up. “Disregard the ‘mama’ and ‘xxx’ and replace with ‘dude’ and a high-five” I said.

Funny stuff. Tom got a big laugh out of it, and referred to me as “mama” from that point forward. That was the night I met ’em all for dinner, and then later in the evening had the chance to play for an hour or so with Tom, Julie, and others in the Rio poker room. Got to play both Badugi and deuce-to-seven triple draw for the first time ever live. A highlight of the summer, for sure.

So the moral of the story here is always double-check, whether when setting your hand in Chinese or sending a text to your buddy. In the former case, you might accidentally kiss yr money goodbye. In the latter, you might accidentally kiss yr buddy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mama,

Love your blog.


8/27/2009 10:58 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Haha thx Tom.

8/27/2009 11:58 AM  
Blogger Sean G said...

Thanks for the video, I've been meaning to pick up some basic strategy. I'll have to look into the phone game as well.

Hope the texting goes better for you next time. :)

8/28/2009 2:54 AM  

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