Poker's a beauty!

Mar 5, 2008 7:00 AM

Back in the Saddle by Johnny Hale | Carol, when I was a little boy, mother told me that "beauty is as beauty does" and that "beauty was in the eye of the beholder."

Well, honey, I behold beauty in you and my daughters – Sarah, Debbie, and Sheri. I also see beauty in so many other things like a flower, a baby, a woman, a cactus, the Grand Canyon, the forest, the trees, the birds.

It may seem a little bit strange to the folks but I think bridges are beautiful.

Yes, just look around you. This earth sure is a beautiful place. And it is so nice to be here in this world, which is the third rock from the sun.

Guess what? I see beauty in a poker hand.

Now unless you train your eye you cannot become a connoisseur of the arts. Dear, you will have great difficulty in recognizing a Rembrandt, Picasso, Degas, Michelangelo, Monet, Leonardo da Vinci or any of the other great old masters.

Honey, I know that we cannot buy works of art like Steve Wynn does and spend tens of millions of dollars to purchase a self-portrait of one of the great masters as Steve did when he recently purchased another masterpiece.

But, we can appreciate the beauty of the great masters’ works and go to the museums and art galleries to enjoy all the masterpieces that are on exhibit.

We were invited to come to the Aviation Club De France in Paris a few years ago to host the inaugural of "The Europa Seniors" (WCOP) World Championship of Poker.

Yes, I can see beauty in poker cards. Unless you train your eye you cannot see the beauty in the five of diamonds and the three of spades. It takes a very good eye to see the beauty in the little Okie cards.

Now, a lot of players can see the beauty of the ace of hearts and the ace of diamonds, especially when they see them side by side in their hands. There’s also beauty when the two aces are their two-hold cards when they are playing seven-card stud or hold’em poker.

I am not advising the folks or any serious students of poker to disregard the top 20 beautiful cards in the deck – The Aces, Monarchs (KK), Queens (QQ), the Jacks (JJ) or Squares (10s).

But, I do remember that I tell the story in my book of the little five of diamonds and the three of spades in the 30 Cadillac game. I will not tell the story again here for lack of space. If the folks want to email me at, I will be happy to make sure that they get the complete story.

I will share the beauty that I saw in those two little cards when they helped me win the most money that I have ever won in one pot in my life. There will be days when you will play poker for a long time and not see enough of the 20 beautiful cards to keep your money from drifting away.

There are days when you search for the beauty of the big cards, but never seem to find them. Then you must look for the beauty in the little baby cards or "Oklahoma Johnny Little Okie’s cards" — the little suit-connected cards like 6 and 7 along with 5 and 4.

You cannot paint a complete mural of poker unless learning to see the beauty in all the colors and the little cards in the deck.

To become a master poker player, you must learn to be a master painter. You need to be able to think of the three of diamonds as a masterpiece. Then you should think, as Descartes did when he said, "I think therefore I am."

Tip of the Week

When the dealing is done and you are counting the money, there are 32 cards in the deck not as big as 10s.

These little cards will play a large part in determining who wins a lot of the money.

Like mother said, "beauty is as beauty does" and sometimes you will lose your money when playing with the big beautiful cards. The beauty is that the little cards will win a lot of pots for you.