Get your poker face
out of the ‘pogonip’

Dec 5, 2006 12:50 AM

Carol, it sure is cold today in Las Vegas: The grass is frozen on the lawn this morning.

I have seen just about every kind of weather here in the Las Vegas valley, even a "Pogonip," which is very rare in Las Vegas.

What’s that Carol? You want to know what in the world of weather is called pogonip?

Well, I showed you some pogonip on our last poker tour up near Portland, on our way to the Wild-Horse Fall Poker Round up.

You recall there was so much rain and humidity that one morning we could hardly see. It was almost like a whiteout in Kansas, which occurs when you turn your headlights on in the fog that contains frozen particles similar to those that form in the deep mountain valleys of the Western United States.

Well, the English speaking pioneers and settlers who encountered this unpleasant and sometimes scary phenomenon in the early 1800s needed a word for the fog. So they took the Indian Paiute word paginaappih for cloud and altered it to become "pogonip."

The word pogonip is also the name used for the wilderness area north of Santa Cruz, California, which very often is enveloped in deep fog.

Closer to home, sometimes I have seen poker players who were in a pogonip at the poker table, but fortunately now days smoke is not permitted to be added to the fog at the table.

Speaking of poker (both in and out of a fog), a few columns ago I posted a question: If you hold a 5 and a 10 for your two personal or "hole" cards in a hold’em poker game, what straight can you never make?

The answer is you can never make a 9-high straight because you hold the 10. If you used only the 5 it would be possible, but with both cards and following the rules you would hold a 10-high straight.

Now here is a new poker question. What two cards must you hold as your two personal cards when playing hold’em that, if you make a straight on the flop, will always be the master straight?

So you won’t have to wait a week, I will put the answer in my OK-J Poker Tip of the Week!

OK-J Poker Tip of the Week

When you hold the J-T (which is the answer to the poker question above), how many outs do you have to make a straight on the turn and the river if the flop is 8-7-2?

You must catch a 9 to make the straight, and there are four nines in the deck. And with the turn and river cards to come, you have two and you have two chances to catch the 9; this is called an inside belly buster straight.

Doing the math, subtract the five known cards (your hole cards and the flop) from the 52-card deck to get 47 cards in the "stub" of the deck.

Of the 47 cards, four are 9s and 43 are not. Thus, the chances of catching a 9 on the turn is 4/43 and on the river they drop to 4/42 (because there’s one less card in the stub).

At this point, I use the OK-J rule of thumb and call the odds 11-to-1 and roughly 5.5-to-1, or about 20% of the time, which is close enough for government work!

Until next time remember to stay lucky.