Four Nines. Four Jacks.
As you all know there is a dearth of quality television programming during the summer; for those of us not particularly into baseball, the upcoming 2003-4 NFL football season can't come fast enough (for some reason, I feel this pull moreso this year).

In that light, I have suddenly and unexpectedly become a fan of ESPN's coverage of the 2003 World Series of Poker, which runs two hours tonight. Seeing as how I'm stuck in a hotel room in NJ, and I've spent most of the day reading/writing/working out/sitting by the pool, I'm ready for some table drama.

There are championships for all kinds of poker, like 7-card stud and Omaha, but ever since 1972 the game used in the World Series is Texas Hold 'em with a No-Limit variation (basically meaning you can raise as often and as much as you like). It's a pretty simple format:
    In hold’em, players receive two downcards as their personal hand (holecards), after which there is a round of betting. Three boardcards are turned simultaneously (called the “flop”) and another round of betting occurs. The next two boardcards are turned one at a time, with a round of betting after each card. The boardcards are community cards, and a player may use any five-card combination from among the board and personal cards.

Of course, there are several betting rounds involved, and that's where the real action starts. ESPN has cameras in front of the players' cards, so you get to watch the masters of the game try to out fox, out bid, and out bluff each other. There is psychological table talk, all-or-nothing "all-in" bets done on a shoestring, and players just plain intimidated out of a hand because of an intense glare from The Professor.

Of course, I'll be watching intermittently after 9pm, for during that hour is an excellent episode from last season of Buffy. Now there's a gal I miss.

PS. The two quotes are kinda obscure, but not from an obscure movie.
PPS. Yes, I know the event took place in May. Here are the final results. I didn't peek so don't tell me!

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