Monday, March 03, 2008

Cats and Poker

Much has been written about dogs playing poker.

And by written, I of course mean painted.

But as far as I know, the artist C.M. Coolidge didn't paint any pictures of cats playing poker. It's a damn shame too because some cats play poker.

Mine do. Every so often we get out the chips and play a quick sit and go or small stakes cash game.

I'd rather not use their real names in case they read so lets just say that one of the cats, we'll name her the "Bengal" plays pretty poorly. Lots of questionable calls and desperate bluffs. She's one of those players you'd call down with ace high. The Bengal has horrible instincts and loses her stack quite often.

The other cat, lets call her the "Grey Cat" has a real solid poker game. She's tight aggressive. Every decision makes sense. She's often on the right side of positive expected value.

Bengal is real loose. Grey Cat is real tight. It carries over to their real lives.

If strangers come over to visit, the Bengal is there to greet them. Her critics say she meets too many people and plays too many hands. She likes to get herself into the middle of chaos. If you take a step, she's often under your foot.

Yet you could come to my house and never meet the Grey Cat. She's real good at hiding and not being noticed. Some call her the shadow. She picks her spots. And if she was previously hurt in anyway, physically or emotionally, she's a master at not repeating the specific behavior that caused her danger.

But where this whole "cats and poker" post just came to light was my taking the cats outside. With the arrival of warmer weather we suddenly have birds hanging out on the low branches in the trees in our backyard.

So I'm standing out there with the two of them and Grey Cat just went absolutely berserk chasing the birds. It was her one feline show interpretation of The Call of the Wild. I've never seen her that aggressive before.

But it makes perfect sense. She finally had the right opponent to get aggressive with. There's no need for her to get aggressive with things that are bigger like humans (or big stacks).

No. It's more logical to pick on the things in life that are smaller than you. Whether that means birds or small stacks. It's the bully approach. It works in nature. It works at the poker table.

Grey Cat was chasing a meal just inches away. She could see her reward in front of her and was salivating. Kind of like when they bring out all the cash to the final table in poker tournaments when you get two handed.

Unlike the Bengal, Grey Cat can switch up her game. She's not always the same at the poker table. She's passive at times. Yet also savvy with her aggression. She's only clawed me a couple of times ever, and yet each time I was annoying her and clearly deserved it.

If Grey Cat has her claws out there's definitely a good reason. She's not bluffing. The Bengal will sometimes claw you by accident. It's not strategy; She's just clumsy when she executes certain cat moves. But you gotta take this in account when you play a hand with her. People are always yelling at the Bengal when she sucks out on them.

An advanced item in the Grey Cat's poker arsenal is her ability to lay down a hand. If I'm pursuing her around the house she might run from me for a room or two but if I continue to follow her, she eventually stops and submits. Just gives up. She accepts that sometimes she's unable to hide. She understands that giving up and folding is okay. She doesn't try to win every pot.

Bengal of course plays a much different style. She never gives up. She stays and fights every battle.

When the cats were confronted by two large dogs, Grey Cat ran and hid behind the dryer. Not Bengal. No she stayed right where she was. She sat in the middle of the room. She didn't take a single step. She just looked at the dogs and hissed.

Bengal certainly wasn't folding (running). She wasn't raising (attacking). But she sure as hell was going to stay right there and call these dogs (bet) down.

I admire Bengal's heart. I admire her courage.

But I don't want to back her at the poker table.

I'd rather back the Grey Cat.

If Grey Cat is playing a hand, I know there's a damn good reason.


kurokitty said...

Very nice! All catz playz poker though. lol i can has check-raiseh?

BWoP said...

I am deathly allergic to cats, but I think Grey Cat and I would get along nicely.

Great post.