Saturday, August 22, 2009

Poker Trash

Playing poker could be the most fun way to make money, or the most agonizing way to lose money. I don’t know if anyone has coined that phrase yet, but if no one has, I’m taking it. Poker is about 60% luck and 40% skill, or the other way around. The truth is it’s a crapshoot that you and only you can control. Figuring out how to control that crapshoot is half the battle, the other half is figuring out how to play the people at your table.

Fact is the other people at your table matter a whole lot more than you may think. Play with someone who knows what they’re doing, and if you know what you’re doing then odds are, you’ll have a good day. The problem is the people who DON’T know what they’re doing. They watch the WSOP on ESPN, or the WPT, or Poker After Dark, whatever it may be, and think “hey, I can play that!” because TV makes anything seem easier than it really is. Once upon a time, my freshman year in high school, I was that player. Call me a piggy-backer to the Chris Moneymaker generation, but through years of practice, whether its playing against roommates, friends, or complete strangers at the many places its available in Miami (Miccosukee, Miami Jai-alai, Dania Jai-alai, Seminole Hard Rock, any of the horse tracks or dog tracks), I think I’ve figured out what I have to do in order to win, what people to avoid playing against unless I have a very strong hand, and how to always come out on top.

The biggest problem I have, in all honesty, is the people that don’t know how to play. These guys have money to burn, how this money was gained is usually questionable (remember, I do live in Miami) but they have it. Because of this, they can just play with whatever hands they have, as compared to the more conservative play that I try to use that I base off knowing the rules of poker and what can beat what and how. Because of this, I’ve come up with a list of the people you want to avoid when playing poker, or as I call them, poker trash. Here’s how to spot them in the Miami area.

The rich preppy kid who you just KNOW plays with his trust fund money.

He’s rich, not self-made, hell, his high school GPA was a 1.4 and he only graduated because his dad made a gift out to the school (they’re ALWAYS private school kids, and before you start criticizing me, I’m a private school kid, Columbus High ’02) he didn’t even bother going to Miami-Dade because, well, he doesn’t have to, mommy and daddy are taking care of him. He drives a better car than you and is most likely the guy who will hit on your girlfriend when you leave her alone at a club.

This guy is most likely to call your raise or make a huge raise of his own with an Ace and anything. Meaning if he’s at your table and you have two kings and he calls you, you better pray that there’s no Ace coming. But it always comes, and you want to punch this guy in the face. Life sometimes just isn’t fair.

Note: When playing poker, I take on this persona based off of the private school experience, the fact that I knew guys like this in high school (didn’t everybody?) and the fact that it’s easy for me to pull off based off of my looks. Sometimes you HAVE to take on a persona while playing poker and I like this one because it bugs the crap out of everyone playing!

The wanna-be professional poker player

This guy always wears merchandise from one of the online poker websites as if he’s sponsored by them along with his sunglasses, even though he never got the memo that poker players wearing sunglasses peaked with the Chris Moneymaker era and since then we’ve all agreed that only douchebags do that. He always wants to give a running commentary on your game like he’s the second coming of Norman Chad, thinks he knows EVERYTHING, really knows nothing.

These are the guys that usually give you crap after you lose with your pair of Jacks because someone catches 2 pair with 2 crummy cards, like say, 5-8 off-suit. They swear that they’re so good, yet you’re absolutely sure that they’ve never won a WSOP bracelet, or even a Full Tilt Freeroll, hell, he’s probably never even won a MySpace poker tourney, and anyone who knows anything about poker can win one of those! It’s a pretty safe bet to say that they still live with their parents, and, surprise surprise; they don’t have a girlfriend in sight!

The whipped guy who’s wife comes to bug him every five minutes.

You’re at the tables, things are going well, but then someone can’t make a decision on whether to check, raise, or fold, not because of indecisiveness, but because his wife/girlfriend feels the need to come by to ask for money or whatever. He’s not really someone I hate, I actually feel sorry for the dude. Until I remember this cardinal rule: The girlfriends never ever ever (ever ever!) go to poker night. Just don’t bring her guys, tell her you want some alone time and that through poker, you might win something and she can go out and by something nice, and everything will be gravy!

The guy who gets too technical about the rules in poker and asks silly questions about a raise.

Usually this is the same guy we mentioned in number 2; with the only difference being that he’s using it to disrupt the rhythm of the table. I’m a firm believer that poker is as much about rhythm as it is about skill and luck. If you’re in a good rhythm, you want to continue, if you’re not, it might be wise to leave the table. Good rhythms come and go, but when you’re good and someone decides to disrupt your rhythm by questioning a move that you know very well is legal, then it’s just plain frustrating. Nothing is worse than waiting to play, and this dude knows it, and he’s usually not in the hand, by this time, so he’ll ask a question about it, making the game stop for upwards of 10 minutes at times to get things sorted out. Then, while you may win that game, odds are, you’re not winning another one the rest of the night, them are the breaks!

The guy who blames the dealer for his bad luck.

He went all in despite having 7-2 off suit with the flop showing two A’s and a 7. Of course the guy who put him all in had A-7 suited. The turn and the river came out and did nothing for either of them, but it wouldn’t have made a difference because the other guy had a full house on the flop. But yes, despite your stupidity, it’s the dealer’s fault you lost. Besides fucktard, 7-2 off is the Detroit Lions of hands, you’re never going to win betting on it unless you’re having one of those really lucky days.

6. The chick that’s still new to poker and tries to get the other guys at the table to help her out.

This rarely happens, after Nadia from American Pie became a poker pro, they put in the constitution a law that says that female poker players must look at least 20 years older than they actually are and must smoke 2 packs a day. But when it does happen, every guy on the table seems to go ga-ga. Why you may ask? Well, have you ever seen an old poker player? These are the guys that smoke Camels and continue to wear Member’s Only Jackets. Odds are they probably have a huge collection of porn. They haven’t seen a decent looking woman up close and in person since 1978, so when they see one, they start salivating, and it messes up their game. Younger guys though will try to help this chick out, even though she knows exactly what she’s doing, and it messes them up. These girls don’t bother me because, well, beautiful women don’t intimidate me (its kind of hard to do that when you’re best friend is as beautiful as she is, when that happens you feel like you can talk to any girl on the planet and have a chance, and it turns out, it’s true, all you need is swag, so thanks Diana for letting me borrow some swag) and because, I don’t go to play poker to meet chicks, I go to win money. Besides, usually these girls would rather be with the guy that won all the money then they guy that helped her out.

The middle-aged woman who can’t play to save her life.

It’s a good bet that this lady is a recent divorce’ so she doesn’t quite know what to do with her time. Meanwhile, her husband was an avid poker player, hell; it might be the reason why they got divorced to begin with. But she’s bored, so she figures she’ll try it out. Of course she’s hoping that its like that episode of The Simpsons where Homer buys Marge a Bowling Ball and Marge decides to use it and actually goes bowling and meets Jacques, whom she came really close to cheating on Homer with, but in reality, she’ll just go back home either broke, or with every guy at the table she was playing at hating her more than The Taliban, Nazi’s, and PeTA put together. She’s the type of woman who will hold on to crap and always catch it, even when you’re betting hard.

The guy who’s betting on the ponies while playing.

This is definitely on the list of “Top 10 Signs You Have a Gambling Problem” along side with “Do you have problems sleeping” and “are you stealing money from your family to pay off gambling debts. Look dude, you’re already gambling, do you REALLY need to put down money on the 5:00pm race at Gulfstream at the same time? What really irks me more is this is usually done when it’s his turn to decide, he’ll then look at his cards, for 2 seconds, call whatever raise it is, and goes back to work figuring out which horse to bet on. I really want to kill this guy.

The Guy Dressed Like a Drug Dealer.

He looks like he was an extra on the set of Scarface; he comes around with his flashy clothes, and his jailbird manners. He’ll bet on anything, he’ll call anything, he’s just a dumb player playing his cards because he can, he has the money to do it. He knocks you off when you have good cards because he ALWAYS does this pre-flop, just because he has an Ace or a King. In fact, he’ll go all in, but he has his re-buy in money out already because he knows he’s fucked, but he doesn’t care because he has more money to you. I love beating this guy just so that I can crack jokes like “you know what a hassa is? It’s a pig, that don’t fly straight!” Because, that’s what these guys remind me of.

The Drunken Belligerent guy who doesn’t know how to play.

Drunken gambling is just like Drunken Driving. You might not get hurt, but somebody will, so don’t do it! Usually these guys don’t know how to play poker, but always catch something. (I know, it’s a recurring theme here) If they don’t, it’s the dealer’s fault, and they get belligerent and might even throw their drink at the dealer. Yet somehow, they never get kicked out, and you see them there again the next week. I hate these guys but at the same time I love them, because when you’re on your A game, they’re the best, they’ll call anything you raise with anything, and then when they get all pissed off at you, you can just sit back, smile, and remember that, you’re the one with their chips, meaning they won’t have beer money for that night.

The sore loser poker player that writes 2100 word blogs about poker players they hate.

These guys are little wanna be’s that write out their feelings after a tough day at the tables, these guys…Hey, wait a minute, WHY I OUGHTTA…….

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