«

»

Poker

I’m a devastating player (as I am at most games, my family refuses to play with me anymore and TMC is the closest thing to a threat I’ve experienced in decades) because I understand the rules and exploit them. Hey, where’s your sense of accomplishment if you suspect I’m not playing to win?

My abusive former brother-in-law (he only threatened me with a knife once, there was no violence on my part before or after that, I simply stopped seeing him except at family gatherings in front of witnesses) enjoyed, when he gained an insurmountable advantage, letting his victims linger. It is part of his pathology.

I don’t do that. The fairest thing is to defeat you as quickly as possible so we can get to the next game on an equal footing.

So my style might be defined as crushing which puts me at at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to Poker which is about deception and stealth.

If you want to make money at Poker you want opponents who are clearly weaker than you are, but don’t realize it. The longer you can keep them in the game rather than leaving in frustration the better off you are. You choose complicated low information games with lots of wild cards like Night Game Baseball and 5 Card Draw Hi-Lo with 3 twists.

Sigh, ok in Night Game 9s and 3s are wild and an exposed 4 allows you to draw an extra card. You are dealt 7 cards face down which you may not look at and play proceeds around the table with each player exposing cards until they beat the preceding best hand. Then there is a round of betting. Usually it takes a Flush or better to win, but people get all excited about their 3 of a Kinds.

In 5 Card Draw Hi-Lo the High remaining hand and the Low remaining hand split the pot. Most people don’t know how to make a low hand (9 High can win usually, the lowest is 7 High) so you’re pretty much a lock for that if you do. You bet, discard and replace, and then there’s another round of betting. With Twists you are allowed to purchase additional cards (crap, I drew an extra Deuce), up to 3. They never, ever help and since they’re exposed everyone can see them. Then there is a final round of betting.

Now if you compare these games to Texas Hold ’em (2 Down, the Flop, the Turn, and the River) you’ll see the contrast between low information and high. They suck people into the idea that their hands are potentially better than they are (if you can’t tell after 2 betting rounds that you’ve got a good Hold ’em hand or not, walk slowly away from the table and save what’s left of your money and dignity from people like me).

I’m what’s called a “tight” player and it works to my disadvantage with folks who recognize that in me. I don’t bluff much, I bet good hands and fold poor ones. I only misrepresent my strength when I can afford to against opponents who are easily deceived.

This is why I’m appealing for your sponsorship in a head to head match against The Donald.

Art of the Bluff: The Limits of Trump’s Negotiation Strategy
by Neil Irwin, The New York Times
APRIL 27, 2017

In 1987, the real estate developer Donald J. Trump wanted to buy an airplane. He sensed that the seller of the Boeing 727 was desperate, so he first offered a mere $5 million, “which was obviously ridiculously low,” he wrote in “Art of the Deal.” He boasts of buying the plane, worth $30 million new, for just $8 million.

This week, we saw the public policy equivalent of a $5 million offer for a $30 million plane.

The Trump administration demanded funding of its border wall as part of a deal to keep the government open, proposed a huge cut in taxes on businesses that would reduce government revenue by trillions, and leaked plans to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement to try to force Canada and Mexico to agree to better conditions.

It is an approach that has defined Mr. Trump’s deal-making career: Make some seemingly outlandish offer as a starting point for negotiations to try to shift the entire frame of reference for the haggling that will follow. This strategy can certainly work in some circumstances. It also has distinct limits in complex negotiations like those involved in public policy, as the administration’s experience this week shows.

“The benefit of starting aggressively is that if a deal is reached, it is likely to be more advantageous to you,” said Deepak Malhotra, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of “Negotiating the Impossible.” “But there are also many risks, and these risks are much greater in politics.”

In particular, staking out an extreme position can very well shut down any further negotiating. If you think your negotiation partner is fundamentally unreasonable, you might choose not to engage at all. Think of how you might respond if you were selling a house that you believed was worth $500,000, and somebody offered $100,000. You’d probably be unwilling to discuss a sale unless the bidder came back with a more plausible number.

“Aggressive offers make it hard for parties to save face or declare victory later in the negotiation process — and this is especially crucial in politics,” Mr. Malhotra said.

But in these policy issues, both the president and his negotiating partners have their public reputations on the line. If Democrats were to give in on funding the border wall, they might lose any hope of gaining seats in the midterms. If the extreme starting point on taxes prevents Democrats or deficit-hawk Republicans from even coming to the table for negotiations, that could make it harder for any tax deal to happen.

And this is even more true when there is some element of a bluff involved, as the Trump administration’s counterparties have clearly concluded.

Think of a bluff and a lowball offer as tools that are often used in tandem — any time someone makes an extreme offer but is either explicitly or implicitly lying about what will happen if it is not accepted.

The problem is that when deal-making is in the public sphere, it’s particularly hard to pull off an extreme bluff. For one thing, Mr. Trump’s reputation for using the technique precedes him. For another, on public issues like the budget or trade agreements, the other parties to the negotiation have a pretty good idea of what the Trump administration has to lose if no deal is struck.

On trade, for example, negotiators for Mexico and Canada are well aware of the economic damage that would befall the United States in the event Nafta were unwound. And they’re aware of the major industries and political leaders who would attack President Trump for letting it happen.

On funding the government this week, Democrats have been confident that the Trump administration would bear the blame for any government shutdown, and thus have been unwilling to entertain any major spending on a border wall.

Pairing an aggressive request with a bluff, in other words, works best when the other party is both in a desperate situation to make a deal and can’t know for sure whether your threat is real.

“In many years of teaching negotiations, I’ve seen many people becoming enthralled with the apparent power of making extreme first offers,” said Daniel Ames, a professor at Columbia Business School. “They sometimes get ‘anchoring fever,’ jumping at the chance to put the first offer on the table and making that number strain credulity. To be sure, it can work.”

But, Mr. Ames said: “When the proposal is overly brash, our counterparts don’t just blindly capitulate. Sometimes they come back with an outrageous offer in the other direction. And in a good share of cases, they simply walk away.”

Or you can be left sitting with a pair of Deuces at Showdown time and watch that pot go into someone else’s pocket.

1 comment

  1. ek hornbeck

    Vent Hole

Comments have been disabled.