Many times when I am done playing Rush Poker I'll play a video game. But I found myself playing heads-up hold'em in a saloon during a session of Red Dead Redemption that was released today on the Xbox 360.
In that game, you play a character named John Marston, who ultimately is tasked with taking out the leader of a gang he used to run with. I found myself in the fictitious town of Armadillo, USA.
Wandering around, I found the town's map said there are several locations where you can play poker. I finally found one of them in the back room of the saloon.
I wasn't sure what game I would be faced with -- 5 card draw? stud?
But no, the game of choice was Texas Hold'Em. At first I thought this was funny because the game's setting was 1911. But apparently this poker variant was around in the early 1900s in Texas. So if Armadillo is part Texas, then I guess it's ok.
The blinds were $3/6 and it was no-limit. Quickly I guessed that the computer didn't have a good sense of hand weights so I started to raise heavily for value with decent holdings pre-flop for heads-up play.
In one hand I had 99 and he called my c-bet on a 2Q2 board. He raised me on the turn Q but since it was heads-up, I didn't have to be certain he had a Q hand. So I put him all in. The river was a three and the computer saloon player showed the AK.
In another hand I took his limp on the button and then c-bet with an AJQ board to be decent enough for me to call with my J8o in the big blind. The last two cards were blanks, he kept firing and he showed down 99 for the loss.
And then I finally busted Rufus Stanley, the computer character, with A8s, making a runner-runner flush vs his Kx straight on another hand.
Against unknown players you can play straightforward until you learn their pressure points. Here, the computer was showing down 92o, so it behooves you to raise and get chips in when you know you have the edge.
I'm sure the designers at Rockstar games (the makers of Grand Theft Auto) weren't looking to create an artificial interface that can hold its weight against someone who plays hundreds of thousands of poker hands. But the session was interesting enough to make me forget about the video game and think about actual real-life strategy.