Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Grump is no chump

When I go online each day, the first thing I do is get my poker fix by checking out the Poker Grump. He moved to Las Vegas a year or two ago to be a dealer. While waiting for a job opening, he began playing poker and discovered he could pay the bills. His blog is the account of his adventures.

At the top of the Grump's blog, it says:

All the things I hate about the game I love.

From this, one would think that he is a curmudgeonly type who is grouchy and complains all the time. Not so. His blog actually is upbeat and covers a wide array of topics.

Many bloggers can write about poker hands.The grump loves to go play poker then recount people -- his blogs are full of vignettes that are quite charming. Do you know who the Duke is? He's quite a legend in Las Vegas and you can read about him here.

Most poker bloggers are careless with spelling, grammar, and syntax. Not the Grump. You won't have to read very long to see that he gives a heavy measure of care to his craft, albeit tempered with some practicality.

Most poker bloggers love to brag about their great plays. Not the Grump. Oh sure, he'll mention something good that he did now and then, just to surprise you, but he is also self-confident enough to tell about his goofs. There was one incident recently in which he didn't notice he had a straight and accidently won a pot. You can read about that if you look for a section that says "A mistake that worked out nicely" after you click here.

During one of the WSOP telecasts recently, ESPN had this factoid as a teaser before it went to a commercial: "Poker Fact: There are 19,600 possible flops in Texas Hold'em." Did you see that and just assume it was true? Not the Grump. He got out his calculator and found that the answer they gave was wrong and you can read about that here. That was two weeks ago. It turns out that ESPN did the same thing the next week (had a factoid with an incorrect answer), and then again yesterday! ESPN should learn that shoddy work won't get past the eagle eyes of the Grump.

Have you noticed that many blogs are mostly writing and hence can get boring fairly quickly? Not the Grump. He has photos, links to card tricks, links to movies that have poker themes, etc. It is quite the eclectic blog.

So, check out the Grump. If you don't find something there you like, you aren't looking hard enough. I'm just sayin'.


  1. I've been wondering how your bridge background affects your poker game. I would imagine that, from an experience and strategy aspect, bridge has been very helpful. But I wonder if there is a downside to making the transition from bridge to poker...

  2. Last July, I interviewed Phil Gordon. You know him as a poker player and author, but he's a terrific bridge player too. I asked him to compare bridge and poker. Here's what I wrote then:
    When asked to compare bridge against poker,Gordon says, “There is a large cross-over between the two. Both reward aggressive play that is tempered by patience. At bridge, the players who preempt, or the Meckwells who bid game on 23points, put tremendous pressure on their opponents. It’s the same at poker.” He believes that you should take what the opponents give you and that “table feel” is extremely important for poker and bridge alike.

    Also, experience is important at each game. Both are what Gordon calls, "case-based games." What this means, according to Gordon, is that when you are faced with a decision, you can search your past for situations (or cases) that you've been exposed to that are similar —- with more information to draw on, you are more likely to make your best decision.

    When you sit down to play a session of bridge or poker, you will have hundreds of decisions to make. Most of them can be solved by the application of rules that you’ve learned. You will encounter situations, however, that are not covered by the rules. That’s when the recall of past similar cases (experiences) will allow you to choose the best option.
    You can read the entire story I wrote here on page 1, then after a jump to page 5.