The Police – Regatta de Blanc (1979)
Poker, Parabolas, and The Police
What’s the best hand in poker?
It’s a good thing I don’t play too much hold ’em as I somehow thought it was Four-of-a-Kind.
Turns out, the elusive Royal Flush is the top hand, Four-of-a-Kind is actually ranked third.
In between, you have the straight flush (five consecutive cards in a single suit).
Over the years, I’ve acquired a straight flush of Police records. And from the sticker prices that remain on the covers, I’m pretty pleased with my return on investment!
My Police Poker hand:
Though unlike a poker straight flush (where the cards are organized in ascending order), the quality of Police records over their career makes more of a smile pattern.
They started strong (Outlandos D’Amour), dipped a bit in the middle (Zenyatta Mondatta) before closing in fine form (Synchronicity).
In Grade 10 Mathematics, students learn about the vertex form of a quadratic relation. To answer the question “when are we ever going to use this in life,” I propose the following equation for determining the quality of a Police record, given its chronological placement in their catalogue:
Let x represent the studio album number.
Let y represent the general awesomeness of the album.
y = 2.5(x-3)² + 80
(yes that is a pool noodle re-purposed as a parabola)
Note that the vertex is (3,80), meaning album #3 receives a score of 80. A score of 80 would be a career peak for many bands but represents the relative low point in the Police discography.
On either side of the axis of symmetry (x=3), the pattern is a mirror image (so it’s not just a clever name), with quality increasing both before and after Zenyatta Mondatta.
In fact, if they’d gone on to release studio album #6 (or somehow released an album #0), following the step pattern above, the awesomeness would be off the charts at 102.5! But alas, it wasn’t in the cards.
As a poker hand, the Police would likely also be a straight flush: not the absolute best in the business, but certainly in that very respectable second tier.
Much like the shape of a pool noodle parabola above, listening to Regatta de Blanc always makes me smile.