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Poem: "Texas Foldem" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Texas Foldem"

This poem came out of the December 4, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from moonwolf1988.  It has been sponsored by technoshaman.  This poem belongs to the Schrodinger's Heroes  project, which you can explore further on its menu page.  You can read about the card game Texas Holdem, the geometry of a tesseract, and Crayola's colored pencils online. 


Texas Foldem


For a supergenius,
chess poses little challenge;
for two, it is downright pointless.
The same problem applies to poker.

One particularly boring Sunday afternoon,
Alex and Ash looked out at the pouring rain
and decided to do something about that.

They began by hacking open
a chess game on the computer
and cannibalizing its code.

Ash replicated chess boards
and fitted them together into a tesseract.
Alex hunted through color sets and ultimately decided
to use the 24-pack of Crayola colored pencils,
one for each board of the tesseract's many faces.

Game design went smoothly at first.
Each player would begin with one color --
the traditional white and black in a two-player game --
on randomly assigned faces of the tesseract.
From there they could advance to other faces,
chess moves lapping over the edges
where any two boards joined,
and the first player to enter each new face
gained control of that color.

They found it amusing to talk about
moving orange or aqua green or mahogany pieces.
Alex doodled on a napkin with her 24 pencils
while Ash twiddled with the code.

Control of a color could be transferred
by capturing its king.
The white and black kings --
or anyone's first king, in a game with more players --
could not be captured for control of their color,
and could only be killed after the other colors
were all claimed by an opponent.
Winning the game would require
capturing or killing every  king.

Trouble arose when they tried to decide
how to manipulate the tesseract itself,
which needed to rotate through different configurations
so that it could close off access to some colors
while opening access to others.

They were still arguing over options
when they wandered into the common room
and noticed that Chris had left
his poker cards on the table.

So they added a round of Texas Holdem
between turns to decide who would gain control
of reshaping the tesseract.

Alex and Ash felt certain
that Texas Foldem would be
the  hit at the quantum physics party
during the next Mensa convention.

When Chris wandered into the room
and innocently asked if they would deal him in,
Alex and Ash burst out laughing

and it took them an hour to explain why.

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Current Mood: busy busy

7 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
starcat_jewel From: starcat_jewel Date: December 7th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
In high school, I was really into topology and hyper-geometry, and I took the game Qubic and expanded it into what I (possibly wrongly) thought of as a 4-dimensional version. Unfolded into 3D, of course, and played in 2D on paper because I didn't have 4 boards.

The basic idea was to expand the 4x4x4 Qubic board into a 4x4x4x4 hypercube. To that end, 4 boards were placed in a row (which I drew out on paper); then any 4 levels in a straight line constituted a board for the order-3 game, play was on all 10 boards at once, 4 in a row on any board was a win. I had a friend in math class who was the only other person in my school who "got" this, and we played endless games over lunch... and also in math class, because we both always got 100% on the tests and the teacher was willing to indulge us. To this day, I remember some of the strategies we figured out.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 01:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

That is so awesome.

People at University High School did that sort of thing. The chess team would play with variants in the hallways, as well as traditional chess. I doubt many people realized how much that played into their ability to wipe the floor with most of the other teams in the country.
From: technoshaman Date: January 7th, 2013 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Played into, was a reflection of, or both? (I'm guessing the latter....)

*grins* I sponsored this just off the title because two of the guys in my cube-alley are always nattering about Texas Hold'em.. I'm afraid this version would hurt their brains. :) (The only reason it doesn't hurt *mine* is I'm content to sit and watch and try and wrap my brain around it *that* way rather than actually try and strategize in 4D... :)

(It's a habit I've had since I was a kid reading grownup magazines... if I didn't grok a word or couldn't figure it out from context, I just sorta bleeped over it and would come back to it later.. or not...)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>Played into, was a reflection of, or both? (I'm guessing the latter....)<<

Both. They were just that smart. It was an all-gifted school. The kids with strategic aptitude went into chess. Those of us with other talents had other pursuits. But we all kind of watched each other because it was nifty.

>>*grins* I sponsored this just off the title because two of the guys in my cube-alley are always nattering about Texas Hold'em.. I'm afraid this version would hurt their brains. :) <<

*laugh*

>> (The only reason it doesn't hurt *mine* is I'm content to sit and watch and try and wrap my brain around it *that* way rather than actually try and strategize in 4D... :) <<

Same here.

>> (It's a habit I've had since I was a kid reading grownup magazines... if I didn't grok a word or couldn't figure it out from context, I just sorta bleeped over it and would come back to it later.. or not...) <<

I'm flexible. I'll skip unfamiliar terms if necessary, especially if I'm in a hurry. But these days it's so rare for me to find one, it's a treasure, and I usually go look it up. When I was still learning, gosh, I think I quit doing this in grade school, I'd just sit with the dictionary in hand if I had to keep looking up words because a text had a lot of new terms in it. I think my habit of reading dictionaries cover-to-cover did away with needing that.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: December 8th, 2012 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Fun!

I've always had a fondness for four-dimensional geometry; my favorite object being the 120-cell. (See userpic.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Ooo...

I love your icon.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: December 9th, 2012 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Ooo...

Thanks. Feel free to copy -- I got it from Wikipedia. There are quite a few different views of it there now: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/120-cell
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