Blind-sided

June 1, 2008

Can you see?

Or perhaps of more relevance is….can you see your cards?

An even better question yet is…….do you want to?

Sometimes I want to, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes, if the mood strikes me right, I’ll give it a whirl and try playing blind.

Why?

Hell of a good question. It would seem pretty stupid. Why take away the seemingly essential part of playing cards…knowing what your cards actually are before betting or seeing a bet. Would it really be like trying to play an instrument for the Boston Pops without the notes in front of you? Would it be like trying to was your car without a hose? Would it be like….eh…you get the idea.

Well, there are a few reasons why I play blind, which I would guess are universal among casual home-game players.

1.) I’m losing. If I’m down a significant amount of money and I just have that “I can’t win” feeling on any given night, you start thinking you might do better if you don’t even know what you have. Basically you stop caring. You’re more apt to go all-in for no specific reason other than finish off your night, leave the bad taste at the table and head home….mostly sober.

I don’t usually resort to doing this, but it has happened. When I’m losing I tend to go through a crapload of emotions, from head-shaking frustrating to shoulder-shrugging apathy and everything in-between. Deciding to play blind usually comes into the picture somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. And it typically doesn’t help.

I don’t apologize for it, either. I think it’s reasonable and justifiable that if you feel helpless and non in control of your hand, that you’d opt to have even less control over your hand just to slide further down that extreme (if that makes sense).

2.) I don’t want others reading me. Usually this won’t involve playing blind the whole hand, perhaps just through the opening round of betting. Most of the time during home games, I’m not in company of wildly talented players who can identify tells and read facial ticks at the drop of a hat. But, every now and then I’ll come across a table where there’s that 1 guy who thinks he can…and even if he really can’t…it’s annoying as anything to see him take satisfaction from thinking he made a correct call base on his “skills” of reading people.

Therefore, I remove that from the equation. I’ll check or call the blinds without looking at my cards. Let him mess around with his little “reading” game on other people. Spares me the “I knew it” smirk at the end of the hand if he’s right. And, of course, if he’s wrong, he’ll still nod his head like he knew it all along. I used to play with one of these jokers in high school. Needless to say he wasn’t invited to my wedding.

Then, of course, there are those who actually can read you like a book. Usually they don’t pop up in a quarter-blind game (they’re looking for bigger fish to fry), but you never know. This keeps the advantage down, if only for a short time.

3.) I like surprises. Hey, who doesn’t! That’s actually one of the major reasons I enjoy playing midnight baseball. Nobody else knows what you have, but neither do you. Everyone gets to find out at the same time…how exhiliarating. Seriously, though, there’s nothing wrong with wanting that added spark or rush of adrenaline, or whatever you want to call it, when playing cards. The Texas Hold ‘Em flop, the wild card middle flop in criss cross, it all amounts to the same thing – surprise.

After all, that’s what you’re playing for, right? To have fun? Heh, yeah, right.

And sometimes you play blind just for the hell of it, just to switch things up a little. Variety is a necessity when you’re playing from 8 p.m. until the sun comes up anyway. Just like a nice quick game of Indian poker, playing blind offers some challenges, as well. Can you pick up on things you normally wouldn’t have if you had your own hand to think about, too?

Well, c’mon, answer…..don’t leave me in the dark.