Poker Is A Writer’s Game

Poker is a writer’s game. Beyond all the hype, it’s a serious and fascinating game with a novelistic scope. It’s hard to explain what I mean by “novelistic”, but I think this will be understood by anyone who has ever caught poker fever (and if you haven’t caught the fever already, play about five hands and I think you will).

The way you play poker expresses who you are. You might be careless, spineless, suspicious, impulsive, malicious — whatever you are, your poker game will magnify and expose these flaws.

It will magnify your good points too (assuming you have any). Whether you lose or win a big hand, either way, it always feels like karma. The hands are revealed (or not), and we are left with nothing but the results of our actions. By the time it reaches the final table, a good poker tournament will take on the epic moral dimensions of a Sophocles play or a Tolstoy novel.

Only in amateur poker games does luck play a major role. When serious players bet, every risk is calculated and understood, and the focus of the game shifts to the human elements — intimidation, emotion, fear, greed. A good player must have an excellent understanding of these factors. Poker is a writer’s game.

The game also depends, more than almost any other form of organized competition, on the ability to create fiction. If you and I are playing heads up, there are two hands dealt between us, but there are four hands in the game: the hand I’m holding, the hand you’re holding, the hand you think I’m holding and the hand I think you’re holding. The imaginary hands are actually more important than the actual hands, and more often than not the imaginary hands are the only ones ever revealed.

Consider this: you’re at a Texas Hold ‘Em table, and the player to your right places a small bet. You’re holding a pair of sevens — a good hand only if you can scare the other players off the table, because it’s not likely to hold up. Your strongest move is to steal the blinds, so what do you do? You have to invent for yourself a monster hand — paired kings or aces — and you do this by going all-in.

You’ve just built an alternate reality, a hand that doesn’t exist. You can’t go all in on a pair of sevens, or at least that’s what you’re hoping everybody will think (and you have to constantly change up your style, or else they’ll start figuring you out). The best poker players must have the ability to see through other players’ constructed fantasies, and they also must have exceptional abilities to convince other players to believe in their own.

Poker is the triumph of the imagination. Say you’re actually holding pocket kings, and then a third king and a small pair fall on the flop. Now you have to quickly construct for yourself a sad, losing hand — maybe a bustable low flush draw or a weak attempt at bluffing with nothing — to entice the others to stay in against your killer full house. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, and that’s why it’s such a thrill when it works. If you can take two or three players down to the bitter end, and maybe even get in a gleeful check-raise on the river … well, this is the same glorious feeling you get when you’ve written a great short story that they actually believe. Poker is a writer’s game.

With this in mind, I would like to hear your opinions on an important question. If William Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet, Miguel De Cervantes’ Don Quixote, William Makepeace Thackeray’s Becky Sharp, Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab, Henry James’ Isabel Archer, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby, Jack Kerouac’s Dean Moriarty, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Florentino Ariza and Mario Puzo’s Michael Corleone were at the final table in the World Series of Poker, who would win the million dollars?

I would like to hear your answers, and I will reveal what I believe to be the most likely outcome of this tournament on Monday evening.

(UPDATE: see this post or the comment by Levi Asher below for the exciting tournament results).

44 Responses

  1. A writer’s gameI can’t
    A writer’s game

    I can’t provide any thoughts that might answer your question, Levi, as my poker playing times (I once loved poker!) have so long passed that I can hardly recall the rules (though I very well remember the concept), and I don’t know all of the literary characters you placed on the card table well enough to speculate about their possible ways to play — but I think your post is a great one (yes, four hands are dealt between two players) which I enjoyed to read, and I am eagerly awaiting any replies …

  2. Man, LeviYou describe poker
    Man, Levi

    You describe poker with the same magic analytical gusto as baseball. I have a new appreciation for the game. As for your question, I don’t know if I’m familiar enough with all the authors you listed — perhaps a quick study and/or review of these writers can get me in the game.

  3. HmmmI’m not familiar w/ all

    I’m not familiar w/ all these characters either, so I’ll have to say Michael Corleone simply for the reason that if he were losing, he’d have the other players murdered and walk away with the cash! Heh! So much for analysis …

  4. the epic moral dimensionsof a
    the epic moral dimensions

    of a Sophocles play or a Tolstoy novel …

    Easy there, killer.

    My answer? Dave Eggers. Because pound for pound, Dave Eggers is an ass-kicking machine.

  5. pretty intensegreat piece of
    pretty intense

    great piece of writing, levi. and as a poker player (straight 5-card), you’ve crystallized the essence of the game and many of the reasons why we lose when we lose.

    okay, i’m familiar with everyone except sharp/ariza, so i’m going with ahab. pure intimidation/confidence. i would believe his imaginary hand every time. gatsby would breakdown. moriarty/hamlet would wear their “cards on their sleeves.” quixote/archer would be terrible bluffs/try too hard. corleone would be too stubborn and over-bluff.

    now, if you included conrad’s kurtz, i’d have to go with him hands down.

  6. PokerEasy answer. Michael

    Easy answer. Michael would win! Not because he could kill all the others if he did not win, but if you watched the movies, or read the book, he is a master at concealing his emotions. I have read the novels of all but two of the characters. Michael is clearly the most crafty, diabolical, with the killer instinct that is needed to compete at this level.

  7. CorleoneThe dealer

    The dealer bottom-deals Michael winning cards at the family casino but Michael contributes his winnings to Vegas hospitals to buy favorable publicity and influence from local politicians who give construction contracts to unions who kick back a percentage to the Corleones.

  8. I don’t know…I can’t really
    I don’t know…

    I can’t really answer your question, because a) I suck at poker (which I think you know), and b) I’ve read less than one-third of the books that feature the characters you mention. As such, I would prefer to think about the World Series of Euchre. I don’t know if such a thing actually exists, but if it does, it probably takes place in someone’s barn and features a lot of people wearing plaid flannel and drinking Old Milwaukee. Ah, the midwest.

    Now, euchre is also a writer’s game for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it takes a genius just to be able to spell it. To the uninitiated (meaning people who ain’t from around these here parts), it may seem like the simple game of bored farmer-types, but to the initiated, it becomes ruthless and cutthroat. I have no doubt that at least once, someone has been murdered out in a soybean field for trumping their partner’s ace. No doubt.

    Anyway, I don’t really feel like explaining why euchre takes so much skill and beer drinking to be played properly, because I choose instead to, um, not do that. I will say, however, that it does take the ability to read other people. Subtlety and the ability to lie like a dirty lying bastard are also good skills to have handy. Most important though is the ability to drink your opponents under the table if you can’t take ’em fairly. So yes, euchre is definitely a writer’s game.


    But yeah, I guess poker is alright, too.

  9. Hold’enCan I assume that your

    Can I assume that your post was prompted by memories of the family No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament that took place two Saturdays ago?

    If I recall it correctly, you were the second player knocked out (after your older brother), and the remaining players included your teenage son and daughter.

    Your daughter then went on to top three. The three players battled each other for a long time, and it was finally decided to end the tournament and distribute the prize money based on the amount of chips each player had. Your daughter came in second, missing out on first place by just a few chips.

    None of the literary figures you named are teenagers. My vote has to go to Holden Caulfield.

  10. Praise euchre! The game of
    Praise euchre! The game of kings! Yes, back home in Indiana, many a family fight has broken out over a game of euchre.

    Euchre also requires the ability to deliver biting, sarcastic comments in a rapid fire manner. Which quite often leads to said violence.

  11. Ah, yes, the sarcasm. This
    Ah, yes, the sarcasm. This is why euchre is the game for me.

  12. A Mild SpeculationDean
    A Mild Speculation

    Dean Moriarty would win the poker game and Michael Corleone would break his legs and steal his money back immediately afterwards.

    There is no way that Hamlet would even BE at a poker game.

    Don Quixote would lose because he keeps bluffing on his pair of sixes, insisting it would win.

    Ahab would tilt out early. Gatsby would get pretty far only to lose on a bad beat.

    The others would just lose.

  13. Eggers is the Cameron Diaz of
    Eggers is the Cameron Diaz of Liturature. His writing has a homely quality that makes it seem achievable.

  14. Being from the Midwest, it
    Being from the Midwest, it always appalls my fellow Midwesterners when I admit to the sad fact that I can’t play Euchre.

    My grandmother was a master of non-sequitors and she was the one who tried to teach me to play. The exprerience caused me to develop a permanent Euchre block.

    People get very intense about Euchre. I’d say at least as tense about it as poker players get.

  15. TrucoA game that is similar

    A game that is similar to poker is our native truco. Truco is usually played in groups with a partner (you have to synchronize at the same time the whole play and also to try to comunicate your strategies with your partner without talking). Too complex for me, I never learned it.

    Characters playing poker… I don’t know… if poker can be played by two maybe Don Corleone and padre Gaetano (Sciascia, Todo modo) would be a great couple. I have to think about other players.

  16. Ha ha … yes, Dad, this is
    Ha ha … yes, Dad, this is correct.

    However, the reason for the loss is clear — I was geared up for a high-powered game and got too aggressive too fast. I also think the stakes may have been too low (being that they involved pizza) to have really brought out my best.

    Also, I am glad that I taught my kids excellent poker skills, as you have also taught me over the years.

    Holden Caulfield is an interesting entrant. I was also thinking of adding Yossarian to the final table, but we ran out of seats.

  17. You once loved poker — what
    You once loved poker — what changed? I don’t know if this is true in Germany, but here in USA Texas Hold ‘Em is a pretty big fad, probably spurred on by the World Poker Tour shows on TV.

    About the characters in the Literary Tournament, I know a few of them are obscure, so just for reference (for you or anybody else): Becky Sharp is from Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair”, Isabel Archer is from James’ “Portrait of a Lady” (Nicole Kidman played her in a movie version a few years ago, so I thought this character might be well known) and Florentino Ariza is from Marquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera”. I knew the last was an especially obscure choice, but if I can plug Latin-American literature and poker in the same post, why not, right?

  18. Hi Bill — well, even if you
    Hi Bill — well, even if you don’t know all the characters, you can try to answer. I read a few of the answers below and found them all quite interesting … that is all I will say for now …

    I think the key is to examine each character’s relationship with truth, and/or each characters emotional and mental states.

  19. That’s some good speculation.
    That’s some good speculation. The best yet so far, in my opinion.

  20. Truco, is that kind of like
    Truco, is that kind of like Euchre?

    I’m upset that we don’t have any “regional” card games here in NY. Well, there’s a game called Running Spit that my family made up. It’s basically “Spit” except you have to run back and forth between the deck and the spit piles. Good exercise, noisy, accident-prone. But it’s not really a regional game because only about ten people in the world have ever played it.

  21. Yes, Kurtz would be a good
    Yes, Kurtz would be a good poker player.

    Unless he wigged out…

    As in this Brando imitation…

    “Sundunly I coulnd see it so clear … all diamonds … red diamonds boring into the center of my brain …”

  22. good answers so far!I’ve
    good answers so far!

    I’ve enjoyed reading the answers so far. Some of the observations are highly compatible with mine, while others completely contradict them. I would love to respond in detail now, but I am going to exercise self-control and wait till late tonight.

  23. Euchre?Wha – ?I remember with

    Wha – ?

    I remember with strange combination of comfortable fondness and disturbed alienation, my parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, all sitting around the table playing Rook and Spades. The things that stand out in my mind are the crow picture on the Rook cards, my grandmother’s long-ash cigarette, dangling, stuck to her bottom lip as she talked trash, and my grandfather slapping the cards down with a triumphant flourish. I do believe mixed drinks were involved.

  24. what happened?well, i think
    what happened?
    well, i think just life – i don’t spend as much nights in bars and in friends’ smoky living rooms, which was mainly where our poker rounds took place, as i did 15 or 20 years ago anymore (i have no idea what a texas hold ’em is, btw), and these days, with friends, we only rarely play cards or games (might be because, in general, i am not much of a player, only cards is something that i occasionally can get into).

    poker was fun because it was a psychological challenge, whereas the more complexe card games like skat or doppelkopf (don’t know if you know these in america) are a mainly intellectual task (which i do love as well but we all often didn’t want to cope with anymore after many hours, beers and smokes).

    (an aside: i remember when i came to america for the first (and only) time at the age of 17 via an exchange project, the first thing i was exposed to was a card game in the back of a car during the night ride deep into michigan from chicago airport where i had arrived – i don’t recall, which game it was (not a difficult one, i think), but remember the difficulties i had to memorize the rules and english names of the cards and suits after more than 30 hours of being awake and a long trip on bus, train, three different planes plus a detour to iceland. still, i was fun way to begin my time there and a good way to begin contact with people i hadn’t known.)

    thanks for the de-obscurizing (ugh… i don’t have my dictionary handy right now, as you may probably be noticing) of some of the literary characters – thing is, i do know who they are, but don’t know them well enough to imagine them being sly or clumsy or anything between in a poker round.
    anyway, i thing that dean would do pretty well (he has the ability to use cc&d (camouflage, concealment and deception) and to adapt when necessary), while don qixote would totally exaggerate the bluffing thing and be causing confusion until he tilted out with an puzzled look on his face.
    ahab? not sure. he probably wouldn’t make it very far, but then, who knows?

    …not much useful insights or speculations here from me. but thanks for letting me ramble!

  25. Interesting…Another

    Another important question is, “Who would you be cheering for as long as you weren’t sitting against them?” Personally I would be cheering for Don Quixote, a man capable of bluffing to the highest degree, and with little care for the material things in life (for what is a gold bracelet compared to the favor of Sweet Dulcinea). I have to like Hamlet to win as he pulled the greatest set up job of all time. Yeah he had the cards to start with, but how easy would it have been for his uncle not to call him! He pulled him in with stupendous acting, got him on tilt, then took him down; just like a pro. Though I find it hard to believe Corleone wouldn’t have worked something out beforehand. Lots of crafty devils in there…

  26. Eureka! Had I known there
    Eureka! Had I known there were so many euchre enthusiasts I would have said something. Clearly the greatest card game hands down. If there is no televised euchre championship, I think we have the next fad on our hands. And if we start it we can make up great euchre backgrounds…

    I learned to play while driving a truck in the late 70s. I am talking the golden age of truck driving before uppers were prescribed by doctors and well before new age country music. Men were men and truck drivers were respected, earning their keep on euchre tournaments in back alley bars outside of Wichita, Kansas in between arm wrestling and eating competitions. Some might ask questions about the fact that I was in utero during the late 70s, but I’m the one making up the history. And a smokey Pabst filled history it shall be.

  27. Pelerine — Well, euchre is
    Pelerine — Well, euchre is the greatest of all card games, so it is definitely a shame that you don’t know how to play (doubly a shame that you don’t know how to play and you’re a midwesterner. Fie!) The rules are actually pretty simple, and if you ever get past your euchre block, I bet I could explain them to you in about five minutes. Learning to be any good at the game takes a really long time, and requires angry people yelling at you a lot, though.

    Bill — I don’t know about this Rook & Spades business. But if mixed drinks are involved, it sounds okay to me.

    Rubiao — I think this sounds like a brilliant plan and I applaud you for it. Very nice euchre background… I have to say that mine is better, however, because, well, I invented euchre.

  28. easy…beth sharp would be

    beth sharp would be the winner. no man, none of them at the table, could resist the wiles and flirtations of a woman holding a full spread–especially with cleavage and booze.

    she’d definitely win…she’s fascinating and immoral. really–what other kind of woman is there to play cards with?

    i say none…none at all.

  29. Literature’s Final
    Literature’s Final Table

    Thanks to all of of you who described how you believe Literature’s Final Table would play out. After careful study, I have prepared the following summary which I believe represents the most likely outcome. I was glad to see that many of you came to the same conclusions I did about these “characters”, and I was also interested when some of you came to different conclusions. I stand by this account:

    Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab is not cut out for the game of poker. He’s permanently on tilt, which makes him a fish (if you’ll pardon the pun). Personal vendettas and revenge fantasies don’t mesh well with no-limit poker games, and Ahab’s poker defeat will be simple and quick. He’ll probably ride his first two pair all the way up against anything, even against an obvious straight or flush or full house, just to prove how tough he is. He won’t feel very tough as he’s knocked off the table, the first player removed.

    Miguel De Cervantes’ Don Quixote is another terrible player. I admire his idealistic fervor, but delusions of grandeur do not bode well for a poker career. A guy who can’t tell a windmill from a giant has no chance at being able to tell a busted flush from an ace-high straight, for instance, and therefore he has no chance. Quixote is also, for all his generosity and idealism, a selfish and self-obsessed person, oblivious to those around him (just look at the way he interacts with Sancho). Poker is brutal to players who underestimate their neighbors, and this is one of the great knight’s flaws. Don Quixote is a disaster; deal him five full houses in a row and he’ll find a way to lose money on it. He quickly joins Ahab in the loser’s lounge, the eighth player out.

    It would be nice if Jack Kerouac’s Dean Moriarty had a chance, because he’s a lot of fun at the table. Unfortunately, he has none of the focus and patience required to win a game of poker that does not involve clothing. Dean is also too friendly and generous to bully anybody around, and he rarely raises unless he doesn’t have the hand. Deal him a high pocket pair, and he’ll probably flash it to a neighbor to share the good news. Everybody will be sorry to see Dean Moriarty go down in seventh place.

    Henry James’ Isabel Archer is in a better category of player than the above three, and she becomes a crowd favorite for her dignified demeanor and intelligent decision-making. However, she is a classic example of a type of player known as “tight weak”. In Portrait of a Lady, this promising and charming young woman rejects one desirable suitor after another, only to finally and grandly make the choice that turns out to be completely wrong. A “tight weak” player is overly careful, folding too many hands and giving up too many chances to capitalize on the luck that comes their way, until they are finally forced to make an undesired choice. Isabel Archer will lose it all on the river in a particularly tragic showdown. She exits the game in sixth place.

    We all know F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby can bluff, and he would be a strong player if he only had the ability to read others. He doesn’t. Just as he fell like a fool for every one of Daisy Buchanan’s silly bluffs in The Great Gatsby, he will be a pushover here. Also, Gatsby’s overwhelming sense of boredom and anomie will harm his stamina. He will slink sadly away from the table in fifth place.

    Now we’re down to the final four, and the game takes on a new intensity.

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera presents us with Florentino Ariza, a man who has one great superhero-like attribute: patience. In Marquez’s novel, Ariza loves Fermina Daza so much that he devotes his life to waiting for her, convinced that her husband will eventually die of old age, and when this finally happens countless decades later Ariza makes his belated move and attains his lifelong dream. In poker terms, Ariza is a “rock”, a player with infinite ability to wait … and wait … and wait for that killer hand (or that killer chance to bluff). Of all the qualities a person needs to be a great poker player, patience is one of the hardest to hold on to, and this quality gives Ariza a great advantage. However, it is not enough to secure him the victory, and he exits the table in fourth place, a satisfied smile on his face.

    William Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet is the crazy-style player, like Paul “Quack Quack” Malgriel or Phil “Unabomber” Laak. These types of crowd favorites like to distract their opponents with bizarre behavior while leading them into bidding traps or sneaking their own way out of bad hands. Does this technique work? It sure as hell does, and if you hang around a poker room long enough you’ll find yourself up against an opponent who seems to be clearly either insane or … just very very clever (as he rakes in your chips). The crazy act gives Hamlet a big advantage at the final table, but in fact the melancholy prince also has another rare quality that makes him great at poker, which is his empathy and sensitivity towards those around him. Notice how, in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet’s personality changes depending on whether he is speaking to Horatio, or Ophelia, or Polonius. This ability to sense, absorb and rapidly adapt to the mental energies of those around you is exactly the empathetic skill that Don Quixote lacks. Hamlet’s only problem is that he’s slightly distracted due to that little incident with his mother and his father’s murderer, and who can blame him for being on tilt? Still, Hamlet fights it out to the grueling end, finally exiting the tournament in third place, a crowd favorite but not a victor.

    Now we’re playing heads-up with the two potential champions. Becky Sharp is simply a great poker player. She’s all force, always raising, always controlling the game, in the super-aggressive style associated with star players like Gus Hansen and Doyle Brunson. In Thackeray’s novel Vanity Fair, we see Becky go all-in time and again, as she schemes and cajoles and sweet-talks her way from an impoverished childhood to the finer realms of high society. Becky Sharp plays like her life depends on it, and poker statistics show that this type of play is most likely to prevail in a high-stakes tournament.

    Still, Becky Sharp is up against no ordinary opponent, but rather Mario Puzo’s dreaded Michael Corleone (okay, let’s admit it, it’s actually Al Pacino’s dreaded Michael Corleone we all know and love, but this is a literary site and not a film site, so I’m going to talk about Mario Puzo’s dreaded Michael Corleone). Corleone is Sharp’s opposite, a master of the quiet slow play who loves to make his enemies underestimate him. Like Chris Moneymaker in the 2004 WSOP, Michael Corleone doesn’t want you to fear him. That would ruin his plan of attack. And, just as much as his opponent Becky Sharp, Michael Corleone is focused on nothing but winning. You cannot distract, exhaust or confuse either player, and Literature’s Final Table will spend an incredible twelve and a half hours in back-and-forth heads-up play before a bleary-eyed Michael Corleone finally takes it all with a straight to the six over Becky’s trip deuces.

    And that, my friends, is how Literature’s Final Table plays out.

  30. To paraphrase my favorite
    To paraphrase my favorite part of Levi’s well-written poker litany, in life we are dealt with one kind of reality but what we have to reckon with are two dual realities – what really happened and what we say happened. And, as in poker, unless there’s a showdown, what we say happened takes center stage and the true reality is lost. Since Levi was kind enough to give me the heads-up (pun intended) on his essay and I followed suit (intentional again of course) by finally remembering my login password and checking it out, I can now present the reality showdown of that famed poker match two weeks ago. Levi was actually the first player knocked out and I, his older sibling, was next in line. Secondly, while I agree with Levi’s reasoning for why he exited so soon, I take exception to his pizza comment (which, while humorous, uses literary license to create false realities). And considering our low-carb leanings, if we were to actually play for food or while eating, wouldn’t we choose something a little more diet-friendly (or coffee perhaps or Mexican). Anyway, Levi, thanks for alerting me to your topic. Sal Guod is glad to be back and I am looking forward to an upcoming bridge analysis (if others can reminisce fondly of euchre, you can at least speak up for a great game that doesn’t require money to make it interesting).

  31. So that’s what I think!
    So that’s what I think! Please let me know if you think this is on target or not.

  32. Bravo Levi! very well
    Bravo Levi! very well articulated and reasoned (btw – when do you find the time to think and write all this up – i’m intrigued)

  33. I love it. This is a classic
    I love it. This is a classic piece of writing, my man. This should be in Playboy, Esquire, or Writer’s Digest. A joy to read.

  34. But more importantly, who
    But more importantly, who would win if they were all Al Pacino movie characters?? Corleone, Tony Montana, Serpico, the Colonel in Scent of a Woman, Sonny in Dog Day Afternoon …

  35. Well, not the colonel,
    Well, not the colonel, because of all of the hoo-ah!, which would be, I think, a really obvious tell.

  36. Levi,This was an awesome fun

    This was an awesome fun exercise. Although I didn’t post, I had Corleone pegged for winner. I think that you have underestimated Dean M. He is usually friendly, but can be shrewed when necessary, like when he left Sal on sick bed in Mexico city, so he could straighten out girl troubles State side, or when he ditched Sal and Marilou in San Fran to go be with Camille. I also think Dean loves a good con, and loves being a good con. He would enjoy running a great bluff on his opponents, as much as he loved stealing all those cars, including a police cruiser, that night in Mid-West, when they had to sneak out through fields before dawn. Also, Dean enjoys counting things, numbers, like number of railroad ties between cities, and would enjoy the mathematics of the game, pot odds, chances of improvement. I think he would have the mental focus to be a good player, like the scene where Dean and Sal are watching baseball on Long Island, switching the channel between several simultaneous games, and keeping track of whose pitching and batting and the score, in each game simultaneously. It’s important in poker to be able to keep track of several different hands at once, it’s not always head to head. Finally, I think that Dean would be capable of the occasional brilliant play that is a matter of inspiration, and represents that element of poker that cannot be taught or even described. This is not so much a matter of calculation as inspiration.

    I had Dean slated as number two behind Corleone. It would be quite a match up. Corleone would be all calculation, but no enjoyment, no inspiration. If he won a well played hand, there would be no sense of satisfaction- all business. But Corloene would win because Dean lacks any killer instinct.

  37. Thanks for the compliments
    Thanks for the compliments … I enjoyed writing this too! I want a column in Poker Player magazine, dammit.

    OK, of all Al Pacino’s characters, I think the only one that stands a chance against Michael Corleone is Richard III. But it would be fun to watch Scarface play.

    Kilgore, I think your points are well made. In fact, this is why I was careful to say that Dean could never win a poker game that didn’t involve clothing. If he were highly motivated … yes, he might have what it takes.

  38. Rubiao, a “smokey pabst
    Rubiao, a “smokey pabst filled history” – that’s quality time!

  39. I’m telling you, Levi, you
    I’m telling you, Levi, you need to send it to Playboy or Esquire. Well, I didn’t know there was a Poker magazine.

  40. Well well well … it’s
    Well well well … it’s interesting that I have been writing articles on important literary topics for years with barely a word from my family, but as soon as I mention poker, everybody starts showing up.

    You’re right, we weren’t actually playing for pizza — because the amount of money we were playing for wouldn’t have been enough to buy pizza! I need to play high stakes to bring out my best, and that’s as good an excuse as I’ve got for my terrible play. Anyway, good to see you finally show up here.

  41. Oh, come now, this has got to
    Oh, come now, this has got to be feigned bitterness. I often talk to you about Litkicks and your postings. The fact that I don’t choose to participate is — well, just that, my own choice.

    Anyway, here’s my offer to you — an offer you can’t refuse, by the way: the next time you’re in a casino poker room, pick up the complimentary current issues of every poker magazine you can find and bring them to me. At that point, with your permission, I will submit your original posting together with your Final Table posting to the Editor of each one – one magazine at a time, of course. I need the current issues so that I can get accurate Editors’ names. I can probably get this info online, but again I choose not to go that route.

    I agree with your Litkick buddies who think that this should be hard-copy published, and I feel that the poker mags are the way to go.

    Is it a deal?


  42. Well, yeah, I accept the
    Well, yeah, I accept the offer! You know I would submit to magazines much more often if I had the time and wasn’t so lazy about it.

    Also, this gives me an excuse to run off to Foxwoods … gotta pick up those magazines!

    Seriously, thanks for the vote of confidence, and let’s do it.

  43. a few others for the tablea
    a few others for the table

    a brilliant idea.
    this could be a great work if developed.
    a few others for your table…
    Jake Barnes (Hemingway’s alterego – Sun Also Rises)
    Raskolnikov (Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment)
    Proust (as himself)
    John Grady Cole (McCarthy’s mythical hero)
    what ya think?

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