I love poker. I discovered it, or rather the Contrarian discovered Texas Holdem some years ago when they started showing games on TV. I became an avid fan, and started reading poker books by the score.
We signed up at one of the online casinos and placed $50 on deposit. I played at the micro limits (between 5¢-10¢ and 25¢-50¢) for about three years.
My intent was to make enough so that I could move up to the higher table levels. I dreamed of actually making real money.
This didn’t happen. I made money–a few hundred dollars, but hardly enough to move up. The problem was not that the books lied, they did not, but they were not written in view of the explosion of micro-level play.
Making money at poker depends on there being a couple of really awful players, a large middle ground of poor to mediocre players, and one and hopefully no more than two “good” players. Unfortunately at the micro level, there are thousands of people who can afford to lose say $40 a month playing. It’s pure entertainment. They want to play hands, and they don’t care about odds. They want to play.
When there are six people at the table who play this way–chasing every longshot, a good player gets eaten up. Let’s say it’s the difference between making say $85 on a good day, and instead making only $25. When you add in unlucky days, you end up making over time paltry amounts that don’t allow you to move up to higher tables, and when you do, finding the play hasn’t improved much.
See, I’m not a gambler. I don’t like to lose. So poker is a perfect game for me. While luck plays a part in poker, it’s a relatively small part. Poker is simply math. It used to be that old-time players intuitively learned that certain hands won more than others, certain “draws” won more often. With the advent of computers and all that computing power, this has been proved out mathematically. Millions of computer simulations have developed what are called “hand odds” and “pot odds.” Charts are developed that show you what hands to play in what position on the table.
Good players play odds. Over time, you win. Quite simple. Never draw to inside straights they say. This is true. If you have Jack, ten and what is on the table is eight and seven, you would have a straight with a nine. But there are only 4 nines out of the remaining 47 cards in the deck. The odds are not favorable. If somebody bets, you fold your hand, and live to see another hand.
Except the bad players never fold. They chase everything.
Odds being odds, bad players hit bad draws here and there. They call this luck. They call your careful, mathematical game which seems to win more than them, very lucky. They have no clue.
Bad players are called “fish”. You are there to hook ’em and take their money.
Telling a bad player that he is a bad player is called “tapping on the glass.” In other words, don’t disturb the stupid fish, I’m fishing. Tapping on the glass causes them to swim away.
So instead of yelling at the imbecile, “You jackass, don’t you know that you have only a 1 in 22 chance of catching that card?” you fold your beautiful two-pair Ace and King pairs, and smile, as the idiot rakes in all your chips and others because on the river his hand of 2’s found another two, giving him three of a kind. Worse, you don’t just smile, you say, “Nice hand!”
The fish grins, feeling and looking like he knows he’s the best poker player on the planet. He’s the worst of course.
So we are, us good players, mean liars who prey upon the stupid. We tell them they are smart, lucky, courageous and talented. Poker would not be poker unless there were fish, we know. Yet inside we are seething.
Except I don’t seeth well. I tap the glass.
I play internet free poker. I play the odds. Rarely do I even meet a player who knows what odds are let alone plays by them. They are there to have fun. It’s only “PLAY” money.
I tap the glass. And you would be surprised at just how many people do not like being told they are horses asses. Shocking I know, but they resent my “poker lessons.”
I, on the other hand, want it clearly understood, that I was playing correctly, and you may have beaten me on this hand, but it’s because you’re a JACKASS IDIOT!!!
You see, I am not suited to poker. My temperament is just not what it should be. I have always had trouble smiling and lying to stupid people. Fair warning: you are stupid and I am not. So if I take you to the cleaners, know that you were warned. I did not take advantage of you.
It’s such a dickish game. It encourages people to be dishonest. Fancy that in gambling! Hard to believe in such an honorable sport.
So if you are ever at a table in a casino somewhere, and you do something stupid, and an aging woman yells, “You IDIOT!” Well, it could be me.
**Mostly the Contrarian, I admit, but I play too–between us we have acquired some 10.7 million chips at an online gaming site. I have written to the site inquiring as to whether they might convert say $10 per million for transfer to their monied tables. They would get their money back in rake anyway. Sad to say, they have ignored me. And of course Americans are now barred from monied tables at most of the online sites because of pending law suits. So I continue to be the Phil Helmuth of free online poker (look it up! lol)
- How to play to your strengths in online poker (onlinepokerlowdown.com)
- Draw or Fold: Shut Out of Sites, U.S. Poker Pros Mull Move Abroad (time.com)
- The Tao of Poker (onlinepokerlowdown.com)