Friday, November 03, 2006

A Boring Tennis Parallel

I was playing Tennis this morning and thought that I had found an interesting parallel: Playing against bad tennis players is similar to playing against bad poker players.

I try to play in a regular Friday morning game of tennis with about 8-12 different guys. Occasionally we have an odd number and two of us are stuck playing singles instead of doubles.

Today I played some singles with Tim N. Tim is not one of the better players in the group. I am probably 3rd or 4th best of the regulars.

When you play a bad player, the best strategy is to play boring tennis and hit everything back down the middle and wait for the opponent to hit the ball out or into the net.

Against bad poker players, your best strategy is to play tight conservative ABC poker and let the fish make the bad plays.

In tennis, it gets exceedingly frustrating when your bad opponent hits one off the frame and it goes into a spot where you can't reach it. Or they hit a shot off of the net cord and it trickles in. Their lack of consistency throws you off, because they never hit a shot the same way. A good player will consistently hit the ball back with a little pace. You can get into a groove and start worry more about placing your shots.

In poker, when you play with other good players it is easier to figure out where you are in the hand. You know that they know the basics of the game and are going to play stronger cards in early position and open up in later position. With bad players, their range of hands is so large that it's almost impossible to put them on a hand. You are forced to play your own cards and hope they hold up.

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