PCA 2015: The squatter's right
By now most of us have become familiar with "What Johnny Lodden Thinks," the prop-betting game that frequently turns up as a hub around which entertaining table talk can revolve. Especially on Day 1s of Super High Rollers, when both the stacks and players' pockets are often deep.
Funny thing about the game, which involves guessing what a person would do or think or say about something -- quantified as a number. It has a way of making the abstract into something concrete. What starts out as pure speculation turns into something real, something tangible.
Like a poker player doing hundreds of air squats beside his chair while his opponents are playing hands.
Let's back up just a bit.
Coming back from the first break of Day 1, a game of "WJLT" at the feature table saw guesses regarding how many air squats Igor Kurganov could do in an hour. A guess by Mike McDonald about Kurganov then led to talk of how many he might do.
From there came a proposal from Bill Perkins -- $10,000 for McDonald if he could do 300 during the 60 minutes of Level 3. McDonald's accepted the challenge without hesitation.
As they began the level, McDonald tweeted to his followers with the confidence of a player holding the unbeatable nuts who just watched his opponent check-raise.
Alas for the home viewers, the live stream didn't crank up until a little later -- it's on now -- but that fact hardly lessened McDonald's energy as he quickly began work to reach the 300-squat target.
The player nicknamed "Timex" began knocking out roughly one per second (or two) in groups of 25. Scott Seiver, sitting to McDonald's left, played the role of spotter ensuring the integrity of each of McDonald's squats, with Igor Kurganov also serving as a contest judge.
It look less than half and hour for McDonald to sit down and rise up from his imaginary chair 200 times. "I'm getting tired," he grinned as Seiver offered a fist bump for his having achieved the milestone.
In between more games of "What Johnny Lodden Thinks" progressed. For how much would McDonald shave off his eyebrows for life? The line reached only $551,000, when the answer was in fact $2.5 million. (Dan Colman was the only one with the over.)
How much did McDonald think the dealer would require to go a year-and-a-half without brushing his teeth? The line was better this time -- $421,000 -- not too far under McDonald's answer of $600K. (This time all missed with the under.)
Thankfully it appears both of those proposals will forever remain abstract, not realized.
After folding for most of the level, McDonald had to interrupt his workout to play a hand. But it was a short one, and soon he was back at it, and with 25 minutes left in the level he was already approaching 300. He readily agreed to do an extra 20 for good measure, just to makeup for any less-than-perfect squats.
He hit 300 with 23:30 left in the level, then just over a minute later hit 320, which comes out to $31.25 per squat. He'd been right about the $10,000 being easy money.
"I might have lost 500," he said, retaking his seat. "I'm pretty tired right now." He admitted as well that all that physical exertion wasn't necessarily ideal for concentrating on poker.
"I'm pretty tired," he said again, the repetition of the phrase mimicking the repetitive down-and-up, down-and-up, down-and-up he'd just endured while also perhaps confirming his point about how doing 320 squats in less than 40 minutes might possibly slow one's wit just a tad.
"Okay, let's try this," said Perkins with a smile. "But not about money this time." He thought just a moment, then his eyes grew wide. "However you define 'the beach,'" he said to McDonald, leaning forward in his chair.
"How many grains of sand are there?"
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.