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playing poker and teaching science: September 2008

playing poker and teaching science

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. I also try to give back a little by volunteering for a month or so each summer at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Horse Is A Horse

Sunday was a beautiful day. The kind of day when you want to jump on that iron horse and ride.

Ride with no destination or purpose.

Ride with no timetable.

Ride with no place to go and no moment to be back.

Ride with the wind and see where it blows you.

“I don’t know where I’m going or when I’ll be back, baby!” doesn’t fly vary far with The Wife however and any loving husband with two brain cells to rub together and the desire to NOT wake from a peaceful night’s slumber to find one appendage superglued to another will have an answer when asked where he’s going and when he’ll be back.

Where to go?

I had received in the mail a $5 coupon, so with my $5 of free slot play coupon in hand I rode to Hoosier Park to take a few free slot pulls, drink any icy cold Bud Light, my beer of choice, and enjoy the day. The day was still about The Ride, but now I had a true destination. I had designed a win-win situation that was good for everyone because if I’ve learned only one thing from the women I’ve known in my life it’s this: Women understand coupons…

The back roads of Central Indiana are a great place to ride as autumn moves in. The leaves have only the tiniest hint of color, but the soybeans are harvested giving broad expanses of open space, and the corn has that faint aroma that all true Hoosiers associate with fall.

I pulled into Hoosier Park and walked into the new digs that have been constructed for the slot-playing sheep desperate for Lady Luck to cast her graces their way.

It is nice to see a face finally associated with Lady Luck. She’s a raven-haired vixen with copious mammary proportions who continually glances your way, giving you the smallest, most discreet of winks. She motions you to the game, reassuring you that she’s there for you and you only. If you sit down and play, you’ll walk away a winner.

She can be found any time in a continuous loop at the video blackjack table.

I wasn’t looking to fulfill my video lust-wishes however and instead ordered a beverage and found a seat at a video poker machine to waste the $5 Coupon that was burning a hole in my pocket.

Machine play is pretty funny. They always seem to give you a little play before raking your entire stack. I hit quads at one point to bring my machine total to more than $28 before it slowly drained away to my original $5.

I know I’ll always waste that last $5 again too. Who wants to cash out a Coupon for $3.75 and go looking for a place to turn it into actual cash?

Men and women see coupons in vastly different ways!

With a fresh beverage in hand I strolled to the horse racing side of Hoosier Park to check out the thoroughbreds.

Sidebar: I used to really enjoy watching the standard breds race at Hoosier Park. My ex-wife’s brother was the best sulky driver they had in the first three years of the park’s existence. He even won the very first race Hoosier Park had. When he was driving to the track one day a paint delivery boy tried to beat a light change and hit his truck broadside. My brother-in-law was killed instantly leaving two young children in his wake. It was all way beyond sad. I don’t go there often as a result.

When I went to the track I had a knack for picking horses. Poker playing is about numbers and patterns. A lot of things in life deal with numbers and patterns. I think you can be a good poker player if you’re only good at numbers, but you’re a better player if you’re dialed into the patterns as well.

Patterns tell a story and I also have a knack for picking up patterns. I sat in the stands as they brought out the horses for the next race and I saw a pattern. The way the horses acted around one another, the way the odds looked to me, even the type of day it was and the way the track looked factored into the pattern.

Horse number three was going to win. I was sure of it. It went against the odds but I bet him anyway.

Okay… I wasn’t so sure that I dropped a couple of yards on his nose, only $2, but at 36:1 that's a $75 payday.

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re in the wrong line of work?