My emotions at the poker table fluctuate more by the caliber of surrounding human beings than by the draw of the cards. I’m not necessarily proud of this personal characteristic, but it’s a truth nonetheless. I don’t mind losing my money if I respect the person who’s taking it. On the other hand, when the clueless donkey scoops what should have been my pot, it really gets under my skin, particularly when he violently defends his own clueless play.
Take, for instance, this depressingly real hand I played a few days ago. I was under-the-gun with Pocket Kings. I raised. The guy immediately to my left three-bet it. (As it turned out, he had Pocket Queens). Action folded around to the big-blind, a confused and terrible player with only about nine small bets remaining in his stack. He called. I four-bet it, and both players called. The flop was 10-8-2, rainbow. The big-blind checked and I bet. Pocket Queens called as did the big-blind. The turn was an off-suit 6, and the same action ensued (leaving the big blind with eleven chips). The river was another 6. The big-blind checked, I bet, Pocket Queens called, and now the big-blind check-raised for three more chips to get himself all-in. We both called. He turned over Q-6 off-suit.
I simply said, “Wow. Nice flop.”
He had two immediately defensive responses to my annoyance, equal in their stupidity. One, “I was trying to get all-in”, and two, “What about that time you had K-2 and won?”
As to the first one, my retort would be, “You’re an idiot.” Your all-in strategy is to check-call with a drawless Queen-high? If you’re trying to get all-in, at least be the aggressor and try to get me to fold! You’re not going to win a showdown with Queen-high, chief.
As to the second one, my retort would be, “You’re an idiot.” Do you ever notice how dumbass players can’t differentiate bad hands from bad play? It’s somewhat remarkable stupidity, actually. The hand he was referring to found me limping with K-2 of diamonds on the button after numerous callers, only to flop a pair of twos and turn trip twos for the pot. He found this roughly equal to calling three-bets with Q-6 and then calling the flop of 10-8-2. Why are these hands equal in his mind? Because they’re both poor pre-flop hands. That’s as far as his dumbass brain will let him think. He seems to overlook the fact that he can choose how to play his cards as the hand progresses.
I digress. My point is this: I could’ve stomached the loss much easier if, instead of justifying his legendarily awful play with defensive gibberish, he would’ve said “Wow, that was really gross. I got super lucky there.” I realize the psychological defect is on my end; he doesn’t owe this to me as a courtesy. And he certainly doesn’t owe me anything if he simply hits a flush draw or one of his overcards. I reserve my expectation for Admission-of-Gross for really nasty hands, like the one I experienced a few days ago. Hands that bad, between civilized human beings, call for some sort of declaration or intellectual recognition of what’s been done. Of course, people with the social grace to recognize their grossness rarely perpetrate the grossness in the first place. It’s a Catch-22.
Sigh.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 email@example.com