Sunday, June 3, 2007

Annie Duke Backs Me Up!

Annie Duke is the most successful female poker player ever and, it turns out, a fascinating interview. I spoke to her for more than an hour yesterday a variety of venues including Vegas Magazine, the Boston Globe and "The Strip" podcast. The chat will go up on the show near the end of June.

But given the grief I got for the post in which I wondered why people watch live poker (they're known as "railbirds"), I wanted to blog this.

FRIESS: I have to ask. I understand why people poker on TV because you can see the hole cards and all of that. But the railbirds, the people who watch live poker…

DUKE: That confuses me. It baffles me. I can’t do it. Erik Seidel a couple of years ago won a bracelet at the World Series and I was in the audience to support him. And it was excruciating. You can’t see any of the hole cards! What makes poker really fascinating is that you know what your hole cards are and you’re trying to figure out what the other people’s hole cards are. So you have some of the information. It’s decision-making under relatively extreme circumstances of uncertainty. When you’re watching, you have zero information. You can’t figure out anything out.

For the record, I've now asked this question of Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem, Jamie Gold and Duke. And they all professed similar curiosity. (Hear "The Strip" episodes with each of those WSOP champs by clicking on their names or right-click to save the file to your computer.)

Anyone out there who does this want to explain it to me? Really. What are you watching?!?