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Geeks Playing Poker? 431

Ben Collins writes "I recently won a satellite tournament at Full Tilt Poker for entry into the World Poker Tour Final at Foxwoods Casino. I picked up poker as a hobby about 4 months ago, and consider myself a decent player, maybe due to programming experience (analytical thinking). Any other programmers/computer people find that they can play poker better than the average person because of their computer experience?"
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Geeks Playing Poker?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 24, 2004 @06:12PM (#10616104)
    Many of the top pros had previous careers in computers:

    Chris "Jesus" Ferguson - PhD in Computer Science from UCLA

    Andy Bloch - Two degrees from MIT, once designed computer chips

    Phil Gordon - degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech
  • rounders quote (Score:4, Informative)

    by greystreets ( 581356 ) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @06:34PM (#10616236)
    Listen, here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker at your table in half an hour, you are the sucker.
  • Re:IMO (Score:3, Informative)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @07:30PM (#10616558) Homepage Journal
    though.. if you yourself show zero changes.. which geeks are pretty good at after all(being not so emotional about such things as a stack of cards, playing cards that is)... and give ZERO effort into reading the body language might be faked for all you now anyways.

    if you TRY to read and _fail_ then you _will_ lose. if you don't even try reading body language you can play as if you were online(hell, for the heck of it, develope a system of coming up with a random order of different 'signs', blinking eyes or twitching or whatever).

    oh and one thing.. gamblers, really serious addicted gamblers, like to think they got some edge because of whatever reason, otherwise it would be harder for them to reason why they should keep playing even if doesn't make sense monetarywise(beause they are in fact losing). one of these legend edges is the reading of body language.
  • Three words... (Score:2, Informative)

    by PFritz21 ( 766949 ) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @07:32PM (#10616565) Homepage Journal
    Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. One of the best in the world. Has a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Uses his mathematical abilities quite often in the WSOP (World Series of Poker).
  • by devphil ( 51341 ) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @08:00PM (#10616739) Homepage

    Given that the man taught himself Linux for the purposes of running his own website [], most of us would qualify him as intelligent.

    I skim over his blogs about every other month, and recently he's taken up poker as a hobby. He's studied, practiced, etc, and blogs the stores of his experiences playing (LA, Vegas, and so on).

    What have I learned by reading them? No, being smarter than the average person does not automatically make you a better poker player. Other things do.

  • by cloudkj ( 685320 ) on Sunday October 24, 2004 @09:10PM (#10617151)
    Another classic that you should all consider is Caro's Book of Poker Tells. Here's a mini-review I wrote on it a while back:

    Caro's Book of Poker Tells [] by Mike Caro

    If you saw the movie Rounders, you might remember that in one of the opening scenes, Michael McDermott (played by Matt Damon) is collecting all his cash together to go sit-in at Teddy KGB's place. One shot shows Michael opening a drawer with Caro's Book of Poker Tells, and taking out a stack of cash from the cover of the book.

    This book is still considered by many to be the authoritative book on poker tells. Although it was written a couple decades ago (and the pictures show it), it provides some very fundamental, yet thought-provoking examples of common poker tells. The book starts off a little slow as Caro lays some of the groundwork for the book and some concepts, terminologies, and diagrams. But the heart of the material exists in the many different tells that are listed. Each section on a tell provides the reader with a detailed analysis of the tell. Caro highlights the characteristics exhibited by players showing the tell, analyzes the correct type of actions to take in the situation, and shows a (albeit outdated) picture as an example of a player exhibiting the tell. He even goes as far as claiming the average amount of profit the reader can make in a standard limit game, given the strength of the opposing player.

    Although I have not yet finished the book, I am quite satisifed with the material I have seen so far. The tells that I have read about are not some complex, absurd tells that you'd expect. Don't expect Caro to discuss how a player is likely to fold if s/he is playing with the fingernails on his or her left ring finger. Rather, the tells are very intuitive and common, yet so common that many players don't often pick up on them.

    Of course, I can't say too much without giving it away. I wouldn't want some damn kid that thinks he's a hot-shot to get educated for free. And neither should you. Let them pay their dues, grind it out. So buy it today here [] and see what I'm talking about!

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