The Grind

Stephen's Poker Blog

  1. 2008-02-01 17:41:45

    The Poker Gods (must read)


    Since the following is impossible for a human mind to comprehend without an implied linear timeline, I will structure the events as though they took place exclusively within the 4 dimensions you are accustomed to processing. Given these dimensional limitations I am therefore also forced to substitute the Divine Language for this crude written text, as well as portray the gods as having mortal-like interactions.
    Sorry. :(


    Outside of time and space as we know it, on a plane that intersects all dimensions there exists beings responsible for maintaining the natural laws of our universe. All of these laws are divided among great Houses according to category. The different Houses of Responsibility rarely communicate with each other, and are not usually open to outside scrutiny. But one such House, which we will call the House of Quanta, has been the subject of controversy since the Big Bang. Other Houses have accused them of "playing dice with the universe" and "gambling on sub-atomic probability waves." "You're just LAZY!" they would say. "Structure your work like the rest of the gods." "It's too small to matter," Quanta would retort. "Who's going to find out? The monkeys? Let us have our fun." But after the humans started observing this degeneracy, four of the gods were actually "fired" from their positions. This was only the second such termination in the entire history of Houses. But what of a god relieved of his duties? He is reassigned of course, and to a task that better fits his tendency to rebel. The House of Divine Intervention.

    A New House

    The House of Divine Intervention is the only House that specializes in breaking rules instead of enforcing them. They take their orders from The One and are subject to no other authority. To be more specific, they specialize in altering events that mortals perceive as random and chaotic. This allows their influence to remain hidden from the mortals, as required by The One, while still wielding the power to significantly alter the course of mortal destinies. With a House as large as this one, the workload must be separated into several demi-houses that only work together on occasion. One such demi-house, who's members rarely come out of their pit, is the House of Gambling. Widely regarded as a "bunch of useless hedonists," the House of Gambling's four newly assigned members specialize specifically in controlling the outcome of mortal games of chance when something of value, usually currency of some sort, is wagered. When called upon by The One, they will alter the outcome of the cards, the dice, or whatever mortal device is used in order to move the currency (or pride) into the hands of whomever The One has chosen. But, as there are usually more important mortal affairs to meddle in, the four gamblers are often left alone to decide the fate of players on a whim...providing they don't stray TOO far from the laws of probability"

    The Assignment

    "Hey Spades," said Clubs with dumb enthusiasm. "How do you get a sweet little old lady to say f*ck"?

    "Get another sweet little old lady to yell BINGO," answered Spades before Clubs could finish.

    "Damn. OK, a quantum joke then. Why won't Heisenberg's operators live in the suburbs"?


    "Because they don't commute! HAHA!".wait, what do you mean who? The human quantum physicist. The Uncertainty Principle?!"

    Spades was not impressed. "Human perception of quantum law has never interested me," he said dryly.

    Just then Diamonds entered the pit. "Tell another human gambling joke," she said with a smile.

    Spades jaw dropped. "Why would you do that"?

    Diamonds shrugged innocently. "What"?

    "You're encouraging him!"

    In every corner of the square pit there was a personal viewing table for each god. In the center, a larger common table shared by them all. From any of these tables each and every gambling action across all of mortal civilization could be viewed and manipulated"and not just humans. Though the humans seemed much more preoccupied with such pastimes than any of the other sentient mortals.

    "What is the difference between a poker player and a dog? Anybody? In about ten years the dog quits whining."

    "Wow, actually hadn't heard that one," said Hearts as he descended one of the four stairways leading to the room. He had just returned from a routine meeting with the Messengers of The One.

    Spades, hunching over the viewing table, muttered without looking away from the screen, "Assignments"?

    "Keep out of trouble. That was the gist of it. No assignments." Hearts looked bored. They all looked bored.

    Presently Spades sighed. He thought this would be a blast. It was the House of Divine Intervention! He would get to deal with more than just quarks and gluons" more than electrons and probability waves. He was actually affecting the lives of mortals. But it lacked a certain purpose when there were no assignments. They either just let the dice roll or decided the outcomes as they pleased. It was becoming meaningless. He closed his eyes. What purpose is there in the pursuit of pleasure? Do none of them feel it? The longing, that aching emptiness? The longing was turning into frustration, then anger, and then his eyes snapped opened in a determined scowl. "Clubs, you mentioned poker players."

    Sensing now that Spades' mood had soured, Clubs was wary. "I did? Oh, the joke. It was nothing."

    Hearts and Diamonds exchanged a quick glance in anticipation of an internal assignment from their unofficial but clearly dominant leader. At least most of this stuff required a great deal of skill. Honing those skills kept them going. Affecting the online world of gambling had become fairly easy. That was simply an issue of manipulating electromagnetism. Interrupt the flow of electrons in the right pattern and the humans" random number generators weren't so random anymore. Real life gambling was a completely different story. Sure, they could grasp the core particles of the dice, the cards, the ball, or anything they wanted to move. But that could arouse suspicion. Some humans were trained to be very observant of their physical surroundings, especially those employed by casinos. Besides, it wasn't enough of a challenge. They had tried directly moving the arms and hands of the humans involved, but that meant fighting against their muscles. This was also something they would notice. After a few early attempts, some mortals thought they were going insane. No, they had to delve much deeper into the inner workings of these humans. After all, their bodies were simply biological machines, with a brain as the central computer. But this was a hundred thousand times more difficult to successfully manipulate than a simple random number generator. And that was part of the appeal. Just like online gambling, this was all about electromagnetism, but this time they were interrupting the signals sent from the human brains on their way to the muscles. They would replace this signal with their own, and then send a corresponding signal back to the brain. The humans were completely unaware of the subtle manipulations being acted upon them. And all of this direct muscle manipulation was still within the boundaries of the Mortal Free Will Laws, since it was understood that the humans were choosing on their own to participate in a game of "chance." No one made them throw the dice. And so, through these methods the gods could determine a dice roll, the shuffle of card decks, and even the spin of a roulette wheel with incredible accuracy. What a stimulating challenge real life gambling was. You can imagine their dismay when Spades revealed his assignment.

    He tapped the viewscreen and it brought up the image of a very hairy human male sitting at his computer. "I've been watching this professional online poker player""

    The moans and groans and rolling eyes were an instant and unanimous reaction from the rest of the group.

    "Where"s the fun in that"? complained Clubs.

    "Why this guy"? asked Hearts.

    Diamonds crossed her arms. "This sounds about as engaging as putting on underwear""

    "Oh, shut up! All of you! Is a technical challenge all you seek"?

    The look on their faces expressed what Clubs was dumb enough to say out loud. "What else is there"?

    Another sigh, then Spades said, "Let me tell you something about this new breed of poker player. They don't overplay their "lucky" hands. They don"t even believe in luck. They have an overdeveloped sense that there is some sort of law of fairness in poker; that the laws of probability will protect them and ensure their financial success. They never go bust, because they always play within the limits of their soft and cushiony bankroll. Many of them don't even succumb to the normal vices that usually plague gambling addicts. Hell, most don"t even like to gamble! It"s not even gambling to them! They think they are in control! They practice healthy lifestyles to better their performance. They quit playing when they get too upset from losses. Some of them even strive towards emotional indifference regarding their wins and losses! They are arrogant, prideful, self-reliant little bastards, and they need to be taught a lesson!"

    The other three were taken aback. It was rare for an issue like poker to awaken such wrath within a god. Mortals were usually selected at random and just for fun. Some would run hot. Some would lose it all. There was no sense of justice in the gods" choices. But this was serious.

    "I take it we're not blessing this one with an acceleration to nosebleed stakes," said Diamonds with a crooked grin. "How bad do you want the damage"?

    Spades shrugged. "That's all up to him. The longer he takes to crack, the longer we will push him. Oh, and I want there to be a 'one-outer', preferably at the highest stakes he will play."

    Hearts looked up from the viewscreen with concern. "His file says he's had a couple of those relatively recently. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how rare."

    "I don't care!" interrupted Spades. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, then looked down at the image of the hairy human. "This is your challenge. You will not bust him. You will not end his poker career. We're just going to toy with him. We will give him small glimpses of hope before pounding him even further into submission. You may erase the last two months worth of his wages. They were sad months anyway. I want to take this calm, collected, complacent, arrogant, hairy monkey of a human, and have him screaming so loudly in frustration by the end that it will scare his cats, his wife, AND his neighbors! He'll be convinced the site is rigged before we are through!"

    A mixture of shock and awe invigorated them. Spades had set the mood. They were ready to meddle!

    Clubs clapped and rubbed his hands together. "Bring on the coolers, the bad beats, the failed bluffs, and the long, long stretches of completely dead cards!"

    Hearts and Clubs moved to their personal viewing tables. Diamonds was still looking at the file. "You know, he's not that bad." She gave Spades a sideways look, nodded thoughtfully. "If I were mortal, I'd do him."
    Spades shook his head and suppressed a smile. "Just get to work, quickly, before he wins another pot!"

    Posted by uzjedi at 2008-02-01 17:41:45

Comments on “The Poker Gods (must read)”

    • avatar for Jason M
    • Some comedian likes to post comments with my alias. I guess I'll have to start reverse look-ups on their IP and DNS and then block them :)

    • anonymous
    • said you'd do me and then you changed it! No fair, Mr. admin man.

      As for coming up with it...well, I ran like HELL at the poker tables. When I randomly mentioned poker gods in my last entry I decided to write a silly story about them. Then it sort of grew beyond my original vision. But it was fun. It was a better pastime than losing more money. :p Needed to take a break. I'm ready to get back in the game now.

    • avatar for Jason M
    • BTW, how do you come up with this?!

    • avatar for Jason M
    • I like the video. Professor Quanticle or whatever taught me a valuable lesson. Two slots are better than one. I need to go to Vegas. I hear there are a lot of slots in Vegas. Uhhh huh huh huh.

      But seriously, folks. If I read between the lines, all I can say is "ouch" yo. :/

    • avatar for WeezerMoo
    • Why's Diamonds gotta be the female? You think all women are materialistic and just want pretty rocks? Sexist!!!

      But seriously, your neighbors called and said your screaming broke three mirrors, a vase, and the shards from the vase stabbed their baby. Way to go.

    • avatar for Ethan
    • This HAS to be the reason I got more good hands in one hour than I have in an entire tournament but not a single flop. Thanks, I feel better now.

    • anonymous
    • You will pay for posting this...

    • anonymous
    • Sorry about the 'one-outer.' I tried to tell him...

    • anonymous
    • I never said...THAT!

    • anonymous
    • LOL! I'm funny.