Casino Scene: The psychological warfare of poker

2013-11-21T18:10:00Z Casino Scene: The psychological warfare of pokerJohn G. Brokopp / jbrokopp@comcast.net nwitimes.com
November 21, 2013 6:10 pm  • 

One definition of sport as a noun is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc”.

Given the fact a sport requires skill OR physical prowess, can anyone deny that poker deserves a rightful place among the activities included in the “etc.” portion of the definition?

The recent World Series of Poker Final Table in Las Vegas exemplified the combination of skill, strategy, and patience that is required of people who play the game successfully.

There are aspects of poker that make it similar to any arena of competition. The object is to eliminate the competition. In what manner the competition is eliminated often takes the form of a chess game. There’s a little give and take along the way. False expectations are manufactured; mind games and body language are rampant.

Ultimately, winning a poker tournament is the only thing, but along the way there has to be some losing to set the stage for the desired outcome.

Every hand that is dealt in a poker game or tournament is a competition all its own. Every hand has a beginning and an end. There is a winner and there are losers.

It is a combination of decisions during a hand which determine the ultimate decision, but because there are so many strategic layers involved in getting there, the correlation of poker to sport gets complicated.

The mechanics of the game create the tempo for the playing experience. The subtleties which revolve around timing and decision-making are what give it life as a sport.

In tournament poker, just as in team or individual sports competition, success seems to feed on success, or better yet, a position of strength.

`The bigger your stack of chips, the more daring you can be and the more gambles you can take. The damage created by mistakes is minimized by the cushion you enjoy over your opponents.

Conservative play, or playing with "scared money", dilutes the disciplined, tactical behavior that is required to succeed consistently under tournament conditions. One mistake can spell defeat.

Failure in poker feeds on impulsiveness and desperation. When you are compelled to gamble big on one hand to get back in the game, hoping that luck will be on your side instead of relying on skill and strategy, you set yourself up for defeat.

The general consensus of opinion among poker experts is that the biggest mistake players make is playing too many hands.

Waiting for the opportune moments and then striking while the iron is hot gives credence to the genuine philosophy behind winning poker: Patience… plus nerves of steel!

BONUS ROUND-UP:

BLUE CHIP: The casino’s poker room hosts ongoing promotions and tournament action that stack up to any venue of its kind in the Midwest. The Bad Beat Jackpot for Texas Hold’em games offers players of every competitive level the opportunity to win big. A player with a hand of aces full of kings or better must be beaten in order to qualify for the jackpot.

FOUR WINDS: Get ready for Dec. 6 when W Club members can win a new Jeep Wrangler and a share of $23,000 in cash or instant credit/free slot play. Six $1,000 winners will be selected at each of three drawings to be held at 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. There will be a $5,000 winner at the 9:00 p.m. drawing. The drawing for the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4X4 will take place at 10:00 p.m.

HORSESHOE: The $1Million Bank Roll promotion began on Nov. 15 and will continue every day through Jan. 26. Total Rewards player’s club members are invited to swipe their cards at the kiosks for one free entry per day. Additional entries may be earned for every 25 tier credits received based on play. The grand prize is $1 million in free casino play.

MAJESTIC STAR: The Heartland Poker Tour returns to the Gary property for a two-week run starting tomorrow (Fri. Nov. 22) and continuing through Dec. 9. Single-table satellites and multi-table qualifiers are scheduled every day through next Tuesday. The satellites will be held all day while the qualifiers are scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

RIVERS: The 3 Cars in 3 Days Giveaway will be held Nov. 28 through Nov. 30. Rush Rewards player’s club members earn entries based on play with 2-times entries offered on Nov. 28. Drawings will be held at 9:00 p.m. on Nov. 29, Nov. 30, and Dec. 1. Five finalists will be selected at each drawing. One finalist will be awarded a BMW X3. Each of the other four finalists will receive $500 cash.

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