last update 03.09.2006 12:01
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Frisky's Corner

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 two.

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!


Frisky's Corner