Author page: Tommy Angelo

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

  Even as a big-eared little doofus, I knew there was something wrong with that phrase. “Practice makes perfect!” Sister Mary Malcolm shouted when she cracked my hand with a ruler if one of my fingers hit a white key instead of a black one. I will say. Her aim was perfect. She always hit

I Want to See That Hand

I Want to See That Hand

Dear reader, When I wrote this article in 2001, I wondered how long it would stay relevant. Answer: 16 years and counting. We have an old rule that is routinely abused and does not work. It’s time to put this dinosaur to rest. Players may demand to see called hands at the showdown. I’ll call

How to Tilt

How to Tilt

My mom used to tell me, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” This is such a profound and righteous philosophy. And I’ve stuck to it. For example, when I eat popcorn, I think it’s worth doing, so I do it well. With the fingertips of one hand, I can pick up a surprisingly

Good for the Game

Good for the Game

A good game requires a team effort among dealers and players. I’ve sat in all eleven seats and watched tensions simmer that could have been easily avoided or quickly calmed. Here are some simple precautions and courtesies that reduce confusion, spats, and delays. Entering a Game Players: When you join a game, tell the dealer

Time Is On My Side

Time Is On My Side

Playing poker for a living has leveled my perception of time. A once bumpy road is now paved, making for a smoother ride. Here’s a nifty word: cathemeral. It completes a trio of biological terms. Animals active at night are nocturnal. Daytime animals are diurnal. Animals that do not have a 24-hour cycle are called

Folding

Folding

I played poker for ten years before I discovered folding in 1984. That’s when I met Bobby. He had a big belly, a big beard, and a big laugh. Bobby was like Santa Claus, minus the giving. He just kept throwing his hand away, and he didn’t seem to mind. Then he would carry the

Enough Is Not Enough

Enough Is Not Enough

Gazing into the campfire – a fire in no jeopardy whatsoever of being underfed – it occurred to me that my relationship to firewood while camping is the same as my relationship to money while playing poker. I am deeply afraid of running out. The place I camp is Butano State Park. It is a

On the Origin of Tightness

On the Origin of Tightness

What is tightness? And where did it come from? To find the answers, we have to travel back in time, to the birth of poker. I wasn’t actually there, but I can imagine how it happened… Fred and Barney were playing cards for the very first time. “Let’s make up a game,” Fred said. “I’ll

Bad Beats Be Gone!

Bad Beats Be Gone!

Dear reader: Alfonzo and Charlie are characters in my book, Painless Poker. This story is not from the book. It comes after.   Alfonzo Calibri threw an aggressive question at Charlie. “What, precisely, is a bad beat?” Charlie replied in his usual non-combative tone. “A bad beat is when you lose with a hand that

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