If you are a regular player of live poker then there is no doubt in my mind that you will have seen many of your opponents focussed on their iPad, iPhone or Android powered device, leaving it left and right; and seemingly stroking the screen upwards and downwards. They will have been playing the highly addictive video game Temple Run.
The game is very popular with poker players and is often used to pass the time in-between folding hand after hand at the felt. But could it be that the successful Imangi Studios production is actually very similar to playing poker? Surely not. Here are five ways in which playing poker is similar to playing Temple Run!
OK. This is a bit of a cop out because, as a general rule, you will get better at everything you do if you practice at it. I remember when I first started playing; I was terrible. Within a minute or so I was having to restart and try again but after months and months of practice I finally cracked it, the lightbulb moment happened - and I moved up to $0.05/$0.10! (Boom boom tish! I'm here all week!)
Temple Run is the same. When I first downloaded it onto my trusty iPad I was awful but if we fast forward to today I regularly hit 2 million points, which is nothing like the ridiculous 30m+ I have heard Roberto Romanello has as a high score but it is a start.
When playing Temple Run it is very tempting to try and pick up every single gem and power-up that appears on your screen, especially the Blue gems that are worth triple points! But sometimes it is better to simply run down the middle of the screen and concentrate on staying in one piece.
The same can be said for all forms of poker if you think of the gems as chips - see where we are heading here? We all want more chips than we currently have in front of us but trying to win them all at once and haul them all in as soon as they land on the felt is going to see you in serious trouble. Players will trap your hyper loose-aggressive style of play is going to see you busting out sooner rather than later.
Temple Run can be a cruel, cruel game when it decides to randomly set you up for failure. How often have you been flying through the endless level, racking up a huge points tally as you go only to turn the corner to face an impossible jump, or a tree trunk right after a jump or something equally as tilting? Well poker does the same.
All too often you will find yourself in situations where you are destined to go broke. It is almost like the
Temple Run Gods Poker Gods have a sick sense of humour and want you to fall flat on your face. vs on an flop blind-versus-blind; kings into aces 50bb deep and set-over-set are just a few scenarios you will find yourself in at the felt. I blame the demonic monkeys.
As you progress through a level of Temple Run - if there is such a thing - the pace of the game increase to such a speed where you are often left with mere fractions of a second in which to decided whether you should jump, slide or move to the left /right. Sometimes you will instinctively jump despite running along at what feels like Warp Factor 6 (I canny hold her together Captain. She's gonna blow). Poker needs some instinctive plays too.
Although a large number of poker decisions are mathematics based sometimes you just have to trust your instincts and go with them. How many times has your Spider-Sense started tingling when the crazy Russian has over-bet jammed a wet ace-high flop and you just know he is full of crap. Sometimes you need to take the maths away and trust your gut. You may be wrong but at least you had the conviction to act on what you thought was correct.
They say football is not a matter of life or death, it is much more important than that and judging by how some people take losing at poker you would think they feel the exact same way. Poker can be one of the most frustrating games on the planet but remember that it is actually only a game. Yes there can be huge sums of money involved and you may have travelled 2,500 miles to play in a tournament but you are sat there playing one of the best games ever invented. There's that word again but in plural, game.
If you search the internet you will see scores of damaged iPads and phones, smashed screens caused when they crash into the wall opposite after the aforementioned demonic monkeys catch up with them in a game of Temple Run. It is just a bloody game! By all means try to be the very best you can be at both poker and Temple Run but at the same time remember it should be a fun experience too.
*Image courtesy of www.droid-life.com
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