"To be ruthless a man must be Attila the Hun;
a woman just has to put you on hold."
-- Marlo Thomas
I don't play anywhere near as much poker as I used to, so it was interesting at the 2006 World Series of Poker to be reminded of some
important truths about poker.
I decided to only play one event this year, the $5000 Omaha HiLo championship. Prior to the event I spoke with
Bill Chen, who won a Limit Holdem even a few days
before. Bill was wondering about the quality of play that we might see that day, given that the tournament was starting at 2pm, and a
$1500 Limit Holdem tournament began at noon the same day. It would have seemed reasonable to guess that most of the weaker players
would play the $1500 event rather than the $5000. But all I can say is, if that presumption was true, judging from the atrocious play
of half the field, it would seem reasonable to guess that 2/3 of the people in the Holdem event could not even be able to spell poker...
Windows - Mac
Despite getting a kick out observing some of the worst poker I have ever seen, and being able to catch up with
Chris Ferguson and
Phil Ivey ("Watching Phil Ivey play Omaha
is like watching God print money") when I was sitting next to them, I went into a near coma from one of the most tedious runs of
cards I have had in years. I don't mean that I had good hands beat. To the contrary, I actually won a good share of hands I played.
What I got was an unrelenting amount of Q974 hands -- absolutely worthless garbage that virtually no one would play, no matter how bad
they played. I didn't even get an Ace until 55 minutes into the tournament. I did however last down to fifty people (out of 265) largely
due to splitting pots in several all-in situations. We started with 5000 in chips, and I was never above 7000 or below 1700 until being
eliminated in the 1000-2000 round, nine hours into the tournament.
Anyway, it seems the poker gods made me linger long enough so that I would see the following spectacle of
immature goofballism. First, one player lost a
pot and got all pouty at the dealer, which lead to him pushing his bets about one millimeter forward, making the dealer reach to pull
the bets into the pot. It was ridiculous, but at least silent. Then a second player won a 12,000 pot (remember, I've never had over
7000 in chips, and average pots are 12,000 at this point). The dealer (a different one than the one the first player was rude to)
pushed the chips to the second player. The chip stack ended up about fourteen inches from the table rail. This second player was
slovenly leaning back in her chair, which meant she could not extend her arms to get her 12,000 in chips. It meant she would have to
actually lean forward to pull the stack next to the rest of her chips. Horrors, imagine that, having to lean forward.
This player then proceeded to delay the game by whining at and about the dealer. She had just WON a pot, from a player with a superior
hand who had not won a pot since I sat at that table thirty minutes earlier, while she had won several. When she started whining and
preventing the next hand from being played, I said "Let's move on", which apparently interrupted the flow of her gibberish-infested
brain. She then told me not to talk and that it was none of my business. I told her that everything occurring in that tournament was
my business, including her whining. She then began going a mile a minute about how awful the dealer was for, well, I'm not even sure
what, because she even proceeded to put the stack of 12,000 back out in front of her. The floorman came over and told her to be quiet.
She then proceeded to... keep talking, and talking, and talking. He warned her three times, and she just kept babbling over and over
about her chips, how nobody could talk about it except her because they were her chips, and other drivel that I would have needed a
translator who spoke nitwit to understand. Finally we played another hand, and I was mercifully eliminated when my AK33 on a K42 flop
caught a 9 and Jack.
The point here
is twofold. First, if I wanted to watch a bunch of sheep bleating
idiotic nonsense I'd tune into CSPAN
and watch Congress.
Second, it is no coincidence that this crazy talking person was also one of the poor players in the tournament. Most had been
eliminated at this point, but she hung in for awhile longer (but didn't make the final 27 and the money). Live poker is filled with
"change the deck" loonies as well as crybabies who think the world revolves around them and who will be miserable (especially
to employees who can't "fight back") nearly every day they play to nearly everybody they come in contact with. If you are moving
from online poker play to casino poker play, it may be quite a rude awakening to encounter people like this. These same people type garbage
in online chat boxes, and throw hissy fits at home when playing online, but their insanity is not as noticeable to the rest of us. We
like to see no skill players players, but there are things more important than money (horrors, part two). You have to protect the
quality of your life, that of semi-defenseless employees and the just-playing-for-fun weaker players at the table.
Poker is a game, not a gutter. Don't let miserable people make your experience miserable, or impact the overall profit that your time
generates. Life is too short to let the whiners, crybabies and losers "win" at anything.