Lately, my dreams most often relate to the game of poker
February 20, 2018 3:00 AM
by George Epstein
Everyone dreams. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a dream is a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep.
Why do we dream? This is one of behavioral sciences’ greatest unanswered questions. Researchers have suggested many theories – memory consolidation, emotional regulation, threat simulation.
Lately, my dreams most often relate to the game of poker. My most recent poker dream was almost unbelievable – but it could happen. Not only that, it also served to underline a significant issue we should all be aware of when playing the game. I’ll tell you about it.
Would you shout out if you were at a table where the board flopped three 4’s, and then the fourth 4 on the turn, for quad 4’s? Wow! And then to seal it all off, the river was the Ace of clubs. With four players in the hand, the dealer was about to divide the pot into four piles of equal size.
Just as he began, one of the remaining players shouted aloud: “Hey, I have the Ace of spades. It’s my pot!” At that point, the dealer hesitated; and then he looked up at that player with a smile: “Suits don’t count in this game.” End of dream. End of story. Well, not quite. There is more.
I could not get this dream out of my mind. It was so unique. Can you imagine the odds of such an occurrence? I won’t try to figure the probability of this hand occurring, nor even estimate it. Neither you nor I will probably ever encounter it during our poker lives. (Hopefully, we will enjoy many, many more years in the future).
The next day I went to Larry Flynt’s Hustler Casino to play my favorite Texas hold’em game of $4-$8 limit with a half-kill. While waiting for a seat, I went over to my favorite floorman, Cris. He is a gentleman whom I regard as one of the most knowledgeable persons in the poker world regarding the rules of the game, and the best in dealing with players’ issues and disputes – even when he and I disagree on resolving a problem. Larry Flynt’s casino is fortunate to have him on its staff.
I told Cris about my dream. He is a good listener. Yes, he agreed, that hand was extremely unusual; and, yes, he emphasized the suits do not matter in Texas hold’em games. Spades are no better than clubs.
Funny thing about it, though, that same evening one of the players at my poker table caught quad 4’s on the river. Can you guess what he had in the hole? It was the Ace of spades along with the 4 of spades. Not exactly identical to my dream, but close enough to make me wonder: Did I have a magic power to peer into the future while asleep? (I am only kidding, of course.)
Ultimately, I managed to make a small profit at the poker tables that evening. It wasn’t easy, but the Esther Bluff came to the rescue. Almost as enthralling as my dream was a “gambling riddle” I was told at the casino that evening by one of the most interesting poker personalities I have ever met.
I have previously written about Byron Ziman, including his thought-provoking concept about “tainted” poker outs – fascinating. To help me remember his riddle, Byron kindly wrote it out for me so I could share it with you. Here it is:
As concerns odds in gambling games, “why are they called ‘odds’ and not [called] ‘peculiars’?” That’s Byron’s riddle. The answer: “Because if they were called ‘peculiars,’ no one would ever take them.”