Can you believe I lost with this hand?

Allow me to recreate a fairly typical poker interaction.  This interaction may, in fact, seem too mundane to warrant further analysis; that said, I often feel that minor, forgettable actions tend to reveal more broad social trends on human nature in general, and poker players specifically. 

At a limit hold’em table, a middle-position player open raises.  Action folds around to the big-blind who calls.  The flop is 10-7-3.  The big-blind checks, and the original raiser bets.  The big-blind calls.  The turn is a 2.  The big-blind once again checks, and the original raiser once again bets.  Now, the big-blind, with absolute disgust and malice, throws his K-Q face-up on the table, folding his hand.  The big-blind obviously wanted to let everybody at the table know just how unlucky he is, losing with the monstrous K-Q.  Boy, he never hits anything.  Wow, what a victim.

I wanted to examine exactly why this player felt the need to show the table his completely uninteresting holding.  Clearly, his disgust was tantamount to saying, “Can you believe I lost with this hand?”  And no matter how you further analyze the situation, the reasonable answer to this question is always going to be, “Yes.  Of course I can believe it.  Please shut up.”  That said, I wanted to consider the possible thought-process within this player that led him to flash his cards to the rest of the table.  To do so, I thought it’d be wise to determine exactly which word he might emphasize while giving his pathetic declaration:

Can you believe I lost with this hand?

Yes.  People lose all the time.  In fact, in every hand, there’s eight losers to every one winner.  It happens.

Can you believe I lost with this hand?

This emphasis gets a little closer to the player’s true emotions, I think.  He feels, apparently, that he can never win with his “good” hands.  And look!  He got K-Q!  You know, the fiftieth best hand in hold’em.  And he lost again.  Yes, sir, we can believe you lost with K-Q.  It happens every day.  Several times.  It isn’t worth flashing in disgust.

Can you believe I lost with this hand?

Ah.  Here we go.  This, I believe, is the correct emphasis.  He can’t believe he lost again.  “Look,” he seems to be saying, “I am truly the unluckiest person in the world.  I can’t even win with this hand!  Everybody look at me and feel sorry for me.  Please!?!”

It seems to me that the only time it isn’t complete self-indulgent narcissism to show your losing cards to the table is when you took a particularly gross beat, or if you missed one-thousands outs.  Outside of that, every hand you show to the table is a pathetic cry for pity and sympathy.  Yes.  I can believe you lost with that hand.  Keep it to yourself, homie.

Wanna’ buy my book?  You should!

Twitter@ JayMindPoker

3 Responses to “Can you believe I lost with this hand?”

  1. Shari Williams Says:

    Omg – that is so true and so funny!!

  2. Eric Anderson Says:

    I love this — hey website guy, I think you should put a Facebook “share” button next to the “like” button on these pages…

  3. Bryan Mileski Says:

    We post it on facebook/mnpokermag as well, you can share from there