Sunday, May 15, 2011

What “The Sting” can Teach us about Poker

What “The Sting” can Teach us about Poker   Home Best online poker games on EnglishDutchFrenchGermanItalianSpanish Search this site: HomeNewsPoker RoomsPoker RulesPoker Tips  Holdem RulesHoldem StrategyHoldem TipsPoker SchoolLive Tournaments  What “The Sting” can Teach us about Poker Published by Brian Cherry on Oct 13, 2010 The Sting image/jpeg iconTheSting.jpg

The Sting is NOT a poker movie. Any of the armies of live poker players and casino poker players can tell you that. The folks who play Texas holdem online probably have never heard of this film, and think Paul Newman is a guy who makes ranch dressing. Despite the fact that no Texas holdem is played in this movie, there is a lot that casino poker players and other live poker players can learn from this movie.

While I said this is not a film that focuses on casino poker or Texas holdem, there is one instance of live poker played in the film. In this scene, Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) prepares to for a high stakes game by gargling gin, emptying half the bottle, and pouring water in it. He follows this action by telling his protégé “Always drink gin with a mark, kid. They can never tell if it's cut.” While I don’t endorse stumbling into a home game or off to play some casino poker with a gin bottle in your hand, the theory is sound. He intended to look drunk so that he would be perceived as vulnerable. The other poker players would pick up on his weakness and try to take advantage of him. At that point he would take them to the cleaners. In short, in casino poker and other variations of live poker weakness equals action.

Another gem from this film comes when our protagonists are planning their con against the bad guy. They choose a strategy that hasn’t been seen in a decade; so long that just about everyone has forgotten about it. Texas holdem is a fast moving game, and strategy changes rapidly. While it is a very simple game, there are literally thousands of strategies for how to play it. Look over Texas Holdem articles and books from late 90’s and early 2000s. Chances are you will find live poker strategies that haven’t been dusted off in a while and may be potent against the sort of players who are now accustomed to a world where the 3 barrel bluff is commonplace.

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