by Frisco Del Rosario
The Psychic Hotline
There's a great scene in _House of Games_ where Joe Mantegna tells
Lindsay Crouse to hold a coin in one hand, and to hold her hands
out. Unerringly, the Mantegna character picks the hand with the
coin over and over. "You've got a tell," he says to her, "I can
do this all night." He explains to her that his poker opponent has
a similar "tell" and he knows he can win a big hand, but he needs
her to back him. Convinced by the hidden coin trick, the woman consents.
Winning poker players learn to read body language, and are always
on the lookout for such "tells." No matter how well an opponent
can keep a stone face, a tug at his collar or a sip of his drink
might be the unconscious tipping of his hand.
When your opponent successfully runs headquarters, and your hand
consists of safe cards and one agenda, do you have a tell? Do you
unconsciously disclose the location of the agenda in your hand?
I believe that I do, unfortunately. There have been HQ runs where
I have shuffled my cards, fanned them, and looked for the agenda
in my hand. I think that eye movement has given away an agenda or
Superstition? Coincidence? Maybe, but I don't think so. Your thoughts
influence your environment. If you believe black dogs are scary,
you will meet many scary black dogs. If you look for your agenda
in your hand, you will be thinking, "there is my agenda."
There are some runners who successfully run headquarters, then
rely on a die roll to select which card to access. Again, you can
call me a crazy voodoo Frisk, but I think those runners aren't taking
full advantage of their psychic abilities.
You might find the notion of reading the corporate player's body
language during HQ runs silly and farfetched. When you're playing
the corporation, though, how about the idea of being able to "suggest"
a safe card to the runner?
Consider the magician's device of "card forcing" -- fanning a
deck of cards in such a way that their audience members "randomly"
pick the card of the showman's choice. If you held one ambush node
in hand, wouldn't you love the ability to steer the runner towards
it? I believe that's a magic trick worth learning!