Posts Tagged ‘Shane Warne’

Poker: Of knowledge, pyschology and confidence

Posted: March 20, 2012 by The CouchExpert in Others, Poker
Tags: ,

Laurent Riley

Many people that play casino games feel that poker is a game of chance like blackjack, roulette, and craps.  In reality, poker is a mind game that requires a superior strategy in order to be successful in the long-term.  While short-term luck can play a factor in poker, those that develop a long-term strategy will be successful over time.  Let’s look at the three pieces that comprise great poker strategy.


The first piece of developing a successful strategy at the game requires knowledge.  That knowledge starts when a player learns what the best starting hands are and how to use their position at the poker table to their advantage.  Next, that knowledge continues as a player learns the concept of pot odds and hand odds.  This allows them to know what percentage of the time a hand will hit given a set of circumstance.  It will also help them determine whether to draw at a hand, or abandon it in lieu of a better spot. 

Cricketer Warne, known for his gambling instincts on the field, is now a keen Poker player


The next piece of a successful strategy is psychology.  Poker is not about having the best cards.  Sometimes, it is convincing the other player that you have the best cards or taking advantage of their fear of losing to make them fold.  This starts by a player learning how to evaluate his opponents and spotting their weaknesses.  Part of this is based on what the player shows down, but sometimes it can involve subtle hints called tells.  Tells are more than just a nervous tick.  Tells can also involve how a player bets when they have a hand or even the way they bet when they don’t.  It also can involve things as subtle as how willing a player looks to fold his hand.  


The third, and many times the most important piece of developing a strategy is confidence.  Confidence in knowing what type of play to make and having the confidence to pull off a play.  When a player is confident in his ability, it is reflective in his play and can even be intimidating to other players.  Inferior players will many times stay out of the way of a confident player unless they have strong hands.  They perceive that the player has exceptional skill and refuse to risk their bankroll to them. 

As you can see from above, developing a superior strategy in poker is not just about playing the best cards.  Unlike other games like video poker, the game also requires being able to evaluate and even manipulate the other players to achieve the results.  More times than not, the game is about playing the player more than the cards.  This makes poker less of a game of chance and more of a mind sport than any other casino or gambling game.


Goutham Chakravarthi

Just two days after Rajasthan Royals appointed Rahul Dravid as the captain for the fifth season of the IPL, Shilpa Shetty roped in Warne for a whopping $250,000 as the Royals’ bus driver.

In a press conference, Ms. Shetty said, “Warne, who has been integral to our successes over the first four seasons of the IPL was keen to be associated with the Royals for season 5, but not as a player. Of course he has famously quoted that cricket coaches are only bus drivers, but, let me make it clear that he will be just a bus driver and not a coach. That said, he is given full authority to do so as he likes whence the players are in the bus though.”

Shilpa Shetty announced Warne’s appointment as Royals’ official bus driver

When contacted, Warne said, “The role of a bus driver is highly underrated, especially in India. If anything they are crucial to any team’s mental state before a game. With me having driven the team bus during my playing days (in a race with Buchanan in New Zealand), I bring in a lot of experience. I can cut through signals and drive on the wrong side of the road which is key for success on the road and on the cricket ground.”

Asked how his bus driving was going to be different from the rest and why one should pay him a quarter million dollars when there could be more skillful drivers around and available at a fraction of the price he is contracted for, Warne said, “Sports psychologists insist that players should visualize success and practice it as part of their training program for them to be ready to be able to do so when they are really out in the middle. It becomes my responsibility to prepare them mentally and get them to that mental state before they get on to the ground. That’ll be high on my agenda when I’m driving them from the hotel to the ground.”

Warne gave insights into his methods further by comparing bus driving to sports psychologists and how this methods were better. He explained, “Visualization is not for all. It takes imagination and not all are blessed with it. Visualizing strategy and success are key for player preparation and on field performance. Quick bowlers need to stick to length and line or throw in those changers. I will get the bowlers to sit on the front row of the bus and give them a demonstration of driving the bus at 60kmph but then screech to a halt all of a sudden. Some will fall, others will be startled. But, it demonstrates how batsmen will be unprepared for such events and how change of pace can do the trick! Similarly for spinners, I might spin the bus at right angles to show how it is done or drive the bus through a very narrow lane at an angle to demonstrate how to sneak one through bat and pad!”

Warne also demonstrated how he intends to help the batsmen. He said, “Batting in T20 cricket is all about adventure and risk taking. It’s overs versus a certain number of runs. I intend to demonstrate how you drive 20 kms in peak Mumbai traffic in 10 minutes. You have to take that calculated risk. You jump a signal here or charge on the wrong side of the road when there is a traffic pile up. You take risks, but you know where you can jump signals and where you drive on the wrong side of the road. Sometimes you can honk your way out of trouble on Indian roads. You drive fast and keep honking, and because of the size of your vehicle the others make way out of sheer fear. It translates to intimidation on the cricket pitch.”

Warne insisted that his position had great accountability. He said, “I take accountability for my actions. Next time a commentator says one of our batsmen is shifting through the gears swiftly you know who was responsible for it. Similarly, when they say a batsman cannot find that extra gear, you can rest assured that the batsman concerned will spend enough time with me on the bus learning to go through the gears well.”

Warne signed off by saying, “I have already helped Rahul Dravid find the fifth gear. He might slip into that mode on the Boxing Day at the MCG and smash a triple hundred on the morning session alone. And then you’ll know what I’m talking about!”

Goutham Chakravarthi

Steve Waugh found greatness when fighting with his back to the wall. He relished a fight and often got the best out of himself when he reduced a battle to that: individual fight with the opposition bowler. He thrived on it and often came out on top. He saved his career with that hundred against England. It gave him another year in the top flight cricket (he averaged 80 plus) and went out with a two month send off against the Indians the following Australian summer.

Now even Chappell and Benaud are calling for his head.

Now Ponting finds himself in a similar corner. Like Waugh, his greatness is not in question. His greatness is in front running and doing it like few others before him. Perhaps only Lara surpassed him among his contemporaries in doing it better.

A man of dazzling feet movement befitting the best of dancers, his gift was also in great shot selection. His ability to reduce the game to a fight and his immense desire to win made him a stand out. Few can claim to have dominated the best attacks of their time like Ponting has. Over the years, invariably, he has fallen, learnt, succeeded and failed like the rest of us. Very few can achieve the maximum of their abilities. Ponting did, and touched greatness. Of that, there is little doubt.

Not many would fault Ponting’s qualities as a batsman, but as a person he divides public opinion: considered short tempered, arrogant, loud mouthed by some, and as responsible, sharp man who understood his shortcomings and overcame them. Captaining Australia isn’t given to just any larrikin. It is a profile that is constantly scrutinized: by the public, media and even the prime minister. Shane Warne would count it among his top regrets not to captain Australia. Ponting did. His public acceptance to drinking problems as a young man and his switch to light beer showed him as man willing to learn and understand his position as an ambassador of his country. Soon, he was to become Australia’s finest batsman since Bradman and also its most successful captain.

Not that he has always been right. For that matter, no one is. He would lose temper on occasions and his ugly side would show up, not least in the Sydney test of 2008 against India. In a fiasco that defied belief, he would end up ruffling a full media contingent that questioned his team’s behavior and integrity. Not that the Indians were innocent in that Test either. That the incident propelled a huge fallout of the Australian team with the rest of the world did shake him up and his teammates to take a deep look at themselves.

Ponting’s attempts over the years of wanting to leave the game in a better shape than when he started playing is genuine. While gamesmanship may not be one of those, he feels strongly about over rates and substitutes. It has landed him in a quandary on a few occasions, especially in India where he has chosen the moral high ground over the push for a Test victory on more than one occasion . It didn’t go down well with many of his countrymen and former cricketers. That his lows as captain and as Test batsman should have come in India might be a personal regret. His successes far outweigh the inevitable failures.

Like with all great players, ability doesn’t last forever. What’s accumulated in the mind of a master batsman like him cannot be discounted for the waning of the physique. But the acceptance of falling from greatness has to come from within. Often, that is the hardest to accept. After all, Viv Richards didn’t wear a helmet just because his reflexes slowed down as he was reaching his end. He dusted it off as a dip in form and not of eroding ability. Some live in denial. Viv’s last three years had no Test hundreds. Kapil Dev’s last few years were a folly and so were Jayasuriya’s last many.

Now, Ponting is in danger of falling in that category. He has been found wanting playing the short ball over the last few seasons, yet he continues to play it. A signature shot, one that will always be associated with him, is suddenly a weakness. Falling over to straight deliveries and ending up in a walk to length deliveries are old problems now back to haunt him. Even stout Ponting supporters like Chappell and Benaud are calling for his head.

Ponting is still a mighty fine batsman. Perhaps he is hoping that there is a second wind for him like there was for Tendulkar and Dravid. Perhaps, being a good batsman is not enough for him. Once dipped and draped in greatness, it must be difficult to accept routine and the ordinary. Perhaps Wanderers will be his secret attempt at redemption; at greatness. A big innings would be most welcome for this struggling batsman and his tattered team. The end seems nearer than ever before, but may be, he can do a Waugh.

 Goutham Chakravarthi

 16 August 2011

Ian Botham has slammed the ICC for not giving England a fair opportunity to win the four match series 5-0. His request to let India bat twice again on the 4th and 5th days on a crumbling Edgbaston pitch so that England could showcase their supremacy over the highly overrated Indian batting line-up. ECB had sold any number of non-refundable tickets for the last day. He quibbled, “This Indian side is only interested in IPL cricket and the razzmatazz associated with it. The partying and cheer leaders can be very tempting! But ECB should rub their faces in the mud when they can so that I can walk with my head held high!”

Ravi “Tracer Bullet” Shastri accused Ian Botham of being jealous for not being involved in the IPL. He said, “Instead, we could have had 5 IPL games on the 4th and 5th days as skippers of Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils, Pune Warriors, Mumbai Indians were around. It would have proved only Indian teams can win IPL matches even in England and England cannot stomach that fact and India would still be world no. 1”. Sunil Gavaskar, nodded in approval even as the editor of the Outlook magazine was stealthily eavesdropping on the conversation in a Scooby Doo disguise but wearing his ID nonetheless.

Cook is to be rechristened as “Sir Mulish” by the Queen

ESPNStar, the Indian broadcaster of the India-England series, has sued Alastair Cook for a severe dip in their television ratings and their studies revealed that grown men preferred to watch soaps over cricket who have refused to switch the channel back on to cricket even a week later fearing that he would be leaving deliveries bowled by M.S. Dhoni whilst still batting on 401 after 70 hours at the batting crease.  They have sued his mentor, Graham Gooch, and his hair-transplant consultant who is rumored to be a distant cousin of Geoffrey Boycott for implanting these ethics into Gooch, and by extension, to Cook.

Indian fans who have travelled to England have been seen scampering at Kings Cross in the hope to find the platform 9¾ to escape to the magic world of Harry Potter. They were seen frantically performing the memory charm ‘Obliviate’ on each other in a vain attempt to erase the memories of Cook. ESPNStar has warned that another innings of Cook on similar lines at The Oval would further weaken the economics as they already have no advertisers or viewers till the time there is Cook.

BCCI has warned the cricket world of there being a great depression should Cook continue to be allowed to play any cricket at all. They have challenged Cook to settle scores with Praveen Kumar in a wrestling bout followed by a sweating contest with Rahul Dravid. Cook has agreed to the challenge but only after he is done with his batting practice that commenced 10 mins after the 3rd Test ended on Saturday afternoon. Two bowling machined have limped off with hamstring and shoulder injuries, but Cook’s practice shows no signs of abating.

Praveen Kumar is warming up to settle scores with Cook in a wrestling bout

On Sunday, with the Indian Embassy appealing to the Queen, the matter was forced into Scotland Yard’s hands. They have hired the services of the Indian minister and former cricketer Sidhu and former England captain Nasser “Jealous” Hussain to provide pitch-side distraction for Cook in his practice. Sidhu has apparently not let Hussain utter, “I have been paid to provide my opinion,” in 18 hours of Cook’s batting practice so far. With bowling machines worn out and all net bowlers doing their shoulders, Scotland Yard’s private detectives were seen plotting their strategy against Cook.

They hired the services of George and Fred Weasley who ran-up to bowl to Cook and cleverly disguised the use of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes’ new trick of developing five arms on the delivery stride and bowling them over-arm, under-arm, side-arm, a Shoaib chuck and a Sreesanth beamer simultaneously against Cook only for Cook to defend, block, leave, sway and duck at the same time to the five deliveries. The mesmerized Weasley twins were last heard arguing with J.K. Rowling that Harry Potter should now be rechristened Harry Cook.

The Queen has decided to take the matter in her own hands and it has been decided that Alastair Cook will be given knighthood on Thursday so as to ensure that he doesn’t play in The Oval test after the BCCI accused ECB for not playing in the spirit of the game. ECB, it is understood from our sources, have sent out a massive search for bowlers who specialize in bowling long hops and leg-stump half-volleys in order to restore interest among Indian batsmen and Indian spectators.

Not even the magic tricks of the Weasley twins could get Cook out.

The Queen has urged that normalcy be restored in cricket. She urged, “Alastair Cook henceforth will be known by the name Sir Mulish for his insane ability to resist a Sreesanth half-volley after two days of batting when he can see even the smallest of craters on the moon even in broad day light.” Sreesanth complained that he never felt this bad even when he was slapped. And Warne ended-up sending text messages to all nurses in the whole of England to beat boredom. All the while, Sir Geoffrey Boycott was seen admiring Cook and blowing kisses at him.

ESPNStar, meanwhile, has resorted to desperate measures to keep the Indian interest alive in the series. BCCI has arm-twisted ICC to decide the result of the final Test through online voting and text messaging. Viewers will be asked to vote on the following:

BCCI is working with PCB to see if they can spot-fix the Test last summer where Cook scored his career saving hundred. They are talking to have the umpire change his mind and give him out against Mohammed Aamir when Cook was on 2 so that England would drop him retrospectively and his Ashes and Edgbaston exploits be deemed void.