The vast majority of my irritation at the poker table stems from stupidity and simple lack of self-awareness. Almost nothing sets me off more than rude unaware narcissism. What I will say, however, is that these traits are typically not displayed in a purposely malicious human being. In other words, the person displaying these incredibly annoying habits is not usually intentionally vindictive. They’re just dumb. There is, however, another, perhaps less sympathetic, irritation that until recently I hadn’t intellectualized.
What I’m beginning to find consistently true is that players who generally play a higher-limit game, say 15-30 or 30-60, treat players at lower-limit games with an unjustifiable arrogance and condescension. It seems to be subconscious economic discrimination. To be clear, I don’t believe every higher-limit player does this. But I do think that enough of them do it as to call attention to the problem. I don’t think that the guilty players even realize what they’re doing; but I do, and anybody paying objective attention to the mannerisms and attitudes of these players would as well.
I came to this realization today at the 6-12 table, as two 15-30 players joined the game. They sat down and immediately began discussing, purposely loudly, how lame it was to be at the 6-12 game. They’d raise and say things to each other like, “It’s only twelve dollars.” Well, excuse us, Donald Trump, but we were enjoying our game until you condescendingly needed to point out how pitiful our bankrolls were. Sorry to be wasting your time with these useless dollar amounts.
There is also a less tangible superiority complex displayed by these players. It’s difficult to explain with any convincing accuracy, but suffice it to say, these higher-limit players take every opportunity to tell another player that he’s stupid, or to deride his play with condescending remarks. If this higher-limit player loses, he will never chalk up his loss to bad play on his part or to good play on the part of his opponent. It’s always luck. After all, how could a lowly 6-12 player beat a seasoned 15-30 player? It must’ve been luck. Everybody at these games is stupid.
These things could perhaps be forgivable. But then a hand came up involving these specific players that really made me angry, despite not being involved myself. It was heads-up between a random player and one of the higher-limit guys. Random player bet the river with the flush he made on the turn, and the higher-limit player raised him when the board paired on the river. Random player called. Without turning over his hand, higher-limit player says, “Two-pair.” Random player turned over his flush for what he thought was the win, as higher-limit player then turned over quads. A classic slow-roll, and not only that, but a slow-roll using the fucking dumbest sixth-grade line of all time. Random player just smiled and kept quiet as higher-limit guy outwardly celebrated his victory with a scream and fist-pump. The problem is, players at lower-limit games are typically more casual and friendly, and this player would not (because of friendliness) or could not (because of lack of knowledge on etiquette) defend himself. His buddy just laughed at his friend’s clearly shitty maneuver. What is most infuriating is that this is something he’d never in a million years do to another 15-30 player. Why? Because he respects other 15-30 players. They, apparently, put up enough money to earn this asshole’s respect.
The two got up shortly thereafter to join the must-move 15-30 game, and as they got up, they had a very telling exchange that I think only I heard:
Guy one: “Hit and run. That was a funny little two-pair line there, buddy.”
Guy two: “Yeah, whatever. It’s only 6-12.”
“Only” 6-12, I suppose, implies that the people at this game are not worthy of his respect, and as such, do not need to be treated with the courtesy of a human being. It was such a disgusting line. It was as though these aristocrats were forced, against their will, to fraternize with the commoners for a few moments, and they couldn’t help but condescend the players and treat them with the same respect they’d treat their six year-old cousin in a game for nickels.
Dismissing somebody, without any evidence or justification, as stupid and unworthy of your respect is indeed a higher crime than simply being stupid.
Being a higher-limit player doesn’t necessarily make you a better player than your lower-limit counterpart, and it certainly doesn’t make you a better person. I was disgusted with the audacity I witnessed today, and simply wanted to voice my irritation. Please, don’t be a fuck-head to somebody simply because you place more dollar bills on a green piece of felt than they do.
TWITTER@ JayMindPokerJacob "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