The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is the heart of a lion, the grace of an eagle and the impeccable memory of the afternoon poker news elephant in the room.
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Today in the 3-Bet we find a Hellmuthian-inspired take on the RNC, a fish in Vegas gets to his poker essence and the price of buying in with Edward Norton.
1) Trump = Jackal, Cruz = ?
Unsurprisingly, given the lead actor and cast of characters treading the boards, the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week became a gong show of epic proportions.
Animals apt for politics, too.
It reached its zenith last night with a terrifying, despotic address from Trump and a WWE-esque heel turn by former candidate Ted Cruz.
It will go down in political annals as one of the most bizarre nights in US history. So what better way to break it down than with Phil Hellmuth's epic strategy tome Play Poker Like the Pros?
If you've read it you'll remember Phil's simplified categorization of poker players into five animals - the lion, the mouse, the jackal, the elephant and the eagle.
Play Poker Like the Pros' failings as a complex guide to poker strategy are well documented but, as Wired.com's Jason Tanz explained, doesn't do the worst job explaining what's happening at the RNC.
According to Tanz, Trump is "a jackal—he always bets big, regardless of the hand he’s holding." He doesn't "abide by the rational rules of poker" which "makes it hard to tell" if he's bluffing.
Trump's opponents? They're mice - "fundamentally weak players who are too timid to take a risk on less-than-perfect cards and fold against a more aggressive player."
Cruz, who used "his prime-time speaking slot at last night’s convention to sabotage Trump ... before getting booed off the stage"? He's somewhere between a jackal and lion, says Tanz.
Crazy? Sure. But in a political world gone mad, it's as viable an explanation as any.
2) "A Sitdown with a Bunch of Shitfaced Strangers"
The "fish out of water" tale of the poker amateur dropped in among the sharks of Las Vegas is a bit of an old trope but, as dyed in the wool poker readers, one we still can't not read.
Vice Staff Writer Joe Bish dropped in on the WSOP in Vegas this summer for his take on it and, while a lot of the observations about stoic poker pros and clacking chips we've seen before, he does get to an essential truth about the game.
Perfect shoving ranges and hours of GTO-inspired tanking aren't for everyone.
Not everyone who sits down at a poker table cares about making the right decisions on every street and maximizing their ROI. Or discussing how they did or didn't for hours afterwards.
Most, like Bish, just want a "sitdown with a bunch of shitfaced strangers:"
"I felt I was part of an extended movie scene, the director's cut with all the good, gory bits kept in. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to keep throwing my cash at the dealer for more chips and laughs."
What he's not interested in?
"... becoming a boring fucking poker player silently checking my Instagram and WhatsApp while playing high-stakes games with other creeps. I want the carefree drunken nonsense ... and I want to replay it forever, again and again."
3) Pay That Man $120,000
How much would you pay to play some Texas Hold'em with one of the most memorable poker characters ever portrayed on screen?
If you roll in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous circles the going rate is apparently €110,000 - but you get Jonah Hill for good measure.
That was the price paid for a game of Texas Hold‘em with Edward Norton (aka Worm from Rounders) and Hill as part of Leonardo DiCaprio's auction in St. Tropez to benefit "pioneering individuals and organizations ... on the front lines of environmental conservation and climate advocacy."
Among the other items up for bid?
Tickets to the Victoria's Secret fashion show, Conan the Barbarian's sword and a trip to Kenya with Adrien Brody to check out elephants in the wild.
All pretty solid investments, sure. But the chance to base deal with one of poker cinema's greatest hustlers? That's gold. Enjoy this little bit of Rounders trivia c/o Matt Damon below: