Poker Etiquette

Dealing With Whiners and Crybabies

"A man has to be Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless. All a woman has to do is put you on hold." -- Marlo Thomas

I played only one WSOP tournament in 2006, the $5000 Omaha High-Low championship. Prior to the event I spoke with Bill Chen, who won a Limit Hold'em even a few days before. Bill was wondering about the quality of play that we might see that day, given that the tournament was starting at 2pm, and a $1500 Limit Hold'em tournament began at noon the same day. It would have seemed reasonable to guess that most of the weaker players would play the $1500 event rather than the $5000. But all I can say is, if that presumption was true, judging from the atrocious play of half the field, it would seem reasonable to guess that 2/3 of the people in the Hold'em event could not even be able to spell poker...

Poker EtiquetteDespite getting a kick out observing some of the worst poker I have ever seen, I went into a near coma from one of the most tedious runs of cards I ever had. I don't mean that I had good hands beat. To the contrary, I actually won a good share of hands I played. What I got was an unrelenting amount of Q974 hands -- absolutely worthless garbage that virtually no one would play, no matter how bad they played. I didn't even get an Ace until 55 minutes into the tournament. I did however last down to fifty people (out of 265) largely due to splitting pots in several all-in situations. We started with 5000 in chips, and I was never above 7000 or below 1700 until being eliminated in the 1000-2000 round, nine hours into the tournament.

Anyway, it seems the poker gods made me linger long enough so that I would see the following spectacle of immature goofballism. First, one player lost a pot and got all pouty at the dealer, which lead to him pushing his bets one millimeter forward, making the dealer reach to pull the bets into the pot. It was ridiculous, but at least silent. Then a second player won a 12,000 pot (remember, I've never had over 7000 in chips, and average pots are 12,000 at this point). The dealer (a different one than the one the first player was rude to) pushed the chips to the second player. The chip stack ended up about fourteen inches from the table rail. This second player was slovenly leaning back in her chair, which meant she could not extend her arms to get her 12,000 in chips. It meant she would have to actually lean forward to pull the stack next to the rest of her chips. Horrors, imagine that, having to lean forward!

This player then proceeded to delay the game by whining at and about the dealer. She had just WON a pot... from a player with a superior hand who had not won a pot since I sat at that table thirty minutes earlier, while she had won several. When she started whining and preventing the next hand from being played, I said "Let's move on", which apparently interrupted the flow of her gibberish-infested brain. She then told me not to talk and that it was none of my business. I told her that everything occurring in that tournament was my business, including her whining. She then began going a mile a minute about how awful the dealer was for, well, I'm not even sure what, because she even proceeded to put the stack of 12,000 back out in front of her. The floorman came over and told her to be quiet. She then proceeded to... keep talking, and talking, and talking. He warned her three times, and she just kept babbling over and over about her chips, how nobody could talk about it except her because they were her chips, and other drivel that I would have needed a translator who spoke nitwit to understand. Finally we played another hand, and I was mercifully eliminated when my AK33 on a K42 flop caught a 9 and Jack.

The point here is twofold. First, if I wanted to watch a bunch of sheep bleating idiotic nonsense I'd put on C-SPAN and watch Congress.

Second, it is no coincidence that this crazy talking person was also one of the poor players in the tournament. Most had been eliminated at this point, but she hung in for awhile longer (but didn't make the final 27 and the money). Live poker is filled with "change the deck" loonies as well as crybabies who think the world revolves around them and who will be miserable (especially to employees who can't "fight back") nearly every day they play to nearly everybody they come in contact with. If you are moving from online poker to casino poker play, it may be quite a rude awakening to encounter people like this. These same people type garbage in online chat boxes, and throw hissy fits at home when playing online, but their insanity is not as noticeable to the rest of us. We like to see no skill idiot players, but there are things more important than money (horrors, part two). You have to protect the quality of your life, that of semi-defenseless employees and the just-playing-for-fun weaker players at the table.

Poker is a game, not a gutter. Don't let miserable people make your experience miserable, or impact the profit that your time generates. Life is too short to let the whiners, crybabies and losers "win" at anything.

Also Poker Self-Control, When Mediocre Players Think They Are Superstars and Protocol for Post-Boom Players