Honestly, a lot of things irritate me at the poker table, and because I recently finished an especially annoying session, I thought it would be a good time to catalogue these irritations.
One may consider me a misanthrope anyway, but at the poker table, there should be some observed etiquette. Because our success, as poker players, hinges on taking other people’s money, the atmosphere is stressful to begin with, so the participants should be expected to act gentlemanly. Of course, this is rarely the case…
That said, these are the areas of particular annoyance to me:
Don’t try to talk to me, particularly when I’m wearing headphones.
What is it about a man wearing headphones that promotes inane discussion? If I’m wearing them, it means I’m going out of my way not to hear you, or your irritating chatter. Do not make me remove my earbud so you can ask me if I folded Jacks. I probably did, just shut up.
I couldn’t care less about your hand
I think it’s a problem of American men in general, but specifically poker players, to believe the world absolutely revolves around them. If I find myself in a rare conversation with a fellow poker player, discussing hands and situations, it is inevitable that a third party degenerate will pipe in with, “Yeah, my pocket nines have lost four times today.” Oh, did they? That’s interesting, because I don’t remember asking you or giving a crap. Keep it to yourself.
Don’t ever thank me
It is the peak of poor etiquette to offer a sarcastic “Thank you” to a player who helped you win a pot. I recently folded what would have been a chopped pot, answering an inquiry about what I had, revealing that half the chips that the gentleman to my left was stacking would have been mine, had I called the river bet. It happens, I wasn’t particularly concerned. But the winner of the pot looks to me and says, “Thanks for folding,” turning to the other players at the table for a response to what he thought was an absolutely hilarious jab. This is the same player who loves showing his bluffs to prove his superior poker skill. Please, just shut the hell up, sir.
I don’t want to hear your poor excuse for poker reasoning
Why is it that every awful rube at the table must explain why he made such a terrible play? I much prefer the gamblers who know they’re gamblers, and just want the action. The man who runs you down, hitting his only win on the river, that damn K of clubs, always has an excuse: “Well, I had Ace-King, how could I fold?” or, “I had outs,” or, “I had over-cards!” Please, sir, you are a bad player, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t veil your awfulness with “reasoning,” something us good card players actually use.
Don’t ever, ever, ever give me advice
You don’t hear the good poker players at the table handing out advice to all the schlubs. What is it about the awful players with a complete lack of understanding, that promotes sharing this “knowledge” with everybody else? You’re in for 8 racks, what the hell makes you think you can tell me how to play my hand? Yes, I folded A-K on the 6-7-8 flop, what a silly fold, right? I know you would have played it differently!
Side note: If I have to remove my headphones to hear your garbage advice, so help me God…
Act in turn!
I’m quiet at the table, and this seems to make it easier for players to my left to play their hands before I’ve acted. Mistakes happen, I understand. My frustration stems from the man who does it EVERY… SINGLE… HAND… And, lo and behold, it’s ALWAYS the same justification, “Oh, I didn’t see you had a hand.” No, sir, you didn’t look to see if I had a hand. Take some responsibility for your uselessness, sir. Observation is a very fundamental characteristic of a poker player. Oh, right, sorry… you’re not a poker player…
Well, there you have it. I suppose sitting in such close proximity to a bunch of strange sweaty men four nights a week will give rise to some irritations… obviously…Jacob "Jaymind" Westlin is a semi-professional limit hold'em player with a strong, sarcastic wit. Jaymind also frequently contributes to Minnesota Poker Magazine's monthly publication. Email Jaymind at firstname.lastname@example.org