Another Poker Post

Forgive me for yet another Poker Post (YAPP). But it’s so interesting comparing poker with general society – poker is, after all, the mastering of the study of human nature.

In any case, I played poker last night.  Great people.  I have no complaints about the company, or my host.  It was a very enjoyable evening.

But it was a crappy poker evening.  Why?

The bets were set too low for the clientele.  We were all experienced poker players, playing in a 300K+ (nobody there would experience a life changing event if they lost a thousand dollars, much less a hundred) house.  But we were playing very limited stakes.

Basically, this means we were playing for quarters, and dollars.  ALL of us could afford to lose quarters and dollars.

So every hand went to the River.  ANYONE with $3.00 could afford to stay in the game until the last card is dealt.

This isn’t even Texas Hold’em in my opinion.  Sure, it did keep anyone from losing much (I was the big loser, losing $60).  But it also kept people from playing poker.  It was fun, but it was not poker.

And even though I enjoyed the company – I won’t play this kind of poker again.  Taking the risk out of poker takes the fun out of poker.  It completely changes the game.  It takes the poker out of poker.

So if invited back – even though I enjoyed the evening a lot, and I really enjoyed the company – I won’t play this brand of poker again. It does not play to my strengths. It just isn’t poker.  It’s a fun evening shooting the shit with fun people – but it is not poker. Poker should be a game of risk – if there is no risk involved, it just isn’t poker.

It’s a social. 

I can do a social.  Or poker.  But they do not mix.


  1. Limit is a good way to learn discipline!
    If you find yourself losing a lot, because so many hands go to the showdown … it means you’re in too many of those hands yourself!
    Common sense dictates that if you’re losing .. you’re doing something wrong .. which in turn means … you need to adjust.
    It’s always smart to go AGAINST what most of the table does: If most players play to the showdown … which means they’re loose … you HAVE to tighten up. Just play those KK, AK and AA… You will STILL lose hands, but not in the long run.

  2. So you were playing limit?

    I did my best at limit in Vegas. I also noticed that limit games seemed to pull a good number of folks to the river but there was a strategy in the betting. Since the limit bet went up on the turn if you hit big on the flop you didn’t really want to raise the betting at that point because it tended to push out the most players. You waited till the turn where the limit bet was already higher. Then you either check-raised or raised depending on where you were in the betting. This seemed to get you the most money.

    But I think if you want to get play that puts more value on the chips then play mini-tournaments with the folks you are playing with. I find that they tend to play better when they know that only the top 2 or 3 will win any money. Of course, tournament play is different from straight cash games but it is fun none the less.

    But my Brother is still king/lord of poker as far as I’m concerned. He was in NY a couple of weeks ago and played in a $70 tournament. Ended up getting second and winning $1100.

  3. “A good poker player is the one that leaves with more chips than they came with”

    Until you understand the falsehood of that statement, you will never be a good poker player 😉

  4. @Bruce – if I was cranky it was because the game was a bit disorganized from the beginning – it took too long to decide what we were laying, and then we changed it ten times.

    I don’t have any issue with limit games – IF the limit is set high enough to make people really play poker. I disagree with you about how many hands were played to the River – I think by far, most of them were.

    @Paul – “Grasshoper – when you can take the poker chip from my hand”…

    A good poker player is the one that leaves with more chips than they came with. Period. :mrgreen:

  5. I once heard someone sum up the difference between mediocre and good poker players in a very compact (but true) statement:

    The mediocre player bases his decisions on possibilities.
    The good player bases his decisions on probabilities.

    Once you grasp the deep truth of this (and thus realize you MUST start to work on mastering odds calculations -and play accordingly-) AND when you relealize that the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT trait of a good poker player is PATIENCE, then you will see dramatic progress in your poker play in a fairly short time.

  6. Bruce Hughes says:

    I was in the game you wrote about. My observation is that you were a little cranky most of the night, and your play deteriorated as the game progressed. Contrary to your assertion that every hand went to the river, I saw a significant number (about what I would expect from a limit game) of hands decided by a lay-down before the river. I was in several hands with you, with better cards, in the last hour, and thanks to your staying in hoping for that 3 of spades, I won.

    I’ll miss you in the next limit game.

    “Patience, my ass! I’m gonna go out and kill something!”

  7. @Paul. As we discussed in our lenghty chat about this – I do realize that on a fundemental “poker sense” level – you are correct.

    And no, I don’t want to play poker for money. I also don’t want to play it for no money. I want the best of both world’s (of course!).

    I want to play a game where everyone involved can afford to lose, but they stakes are high enough that nobody wants to lose – to me, that is a pure poker scenario.

    But when everyone can afford to lose, or if even one person can’t (financially or emotionally) then that’s just not a game I want to be in anymore.

    I guess I am just arguing that I like balanced games – like a few weeks ago, when I had a goo night. I brought $200. That is what I was willing to spend for “entertainment”. I could lose it. I would miss it, but it wouldn’t cripple me. Others at the game that night could probably afford to lose more, but weren’t emotionally prepared to.

    My point is simply that my favorite game to be in is one where nobody is “tight” OR crazy loose – but everyone respects the chips.

    And being in a game where the chips on the table are worth less than most players spend on a lunch – that just removes a great deal of the fun. Because if you don’t have a real (need) or emotional attachment to your money, you aren’t betting your cards – or even mine. You are betting that you’ll get that 3 of Spades on the river. And if you don’t, so what – it cost you $3.00 to look.

    And that’s just not the kind of game I want to play. And that’s my point. I don’t play often enough to play in games I am not having fun with, and confortable being in.

    So barring me becoming a pro – I need to get better at choosing what games I join 😛


  8. Rob,

    In your previous post about poker you stated that you weren’t a very good poker player and that you even didn’t have any poker books.
    I’m sorry if this sounds extremely arrogant and condescending, but somehow I think our friendship can ‘take’ this: I think this post proves your point! (about not being a very good poker player).
    But then, I base my comment on experience, and believe me, I’ve been there!
    Here’s the SINGLE MOST BIGGEST AND SUREST WAY to lose a LOT of money: having played for a few years and thinking that you have become too good for low limit games.. that you outgrew them and that it’s not really poker. Seen and heard it many times. Experienced it.
    I can write a book (or two) about it. But let me just PROMISE you: if you move up to the $1000 buyins .. you’re going to get killed SO fast you have no idea what’s hitting you! People at THAT level are WAITING for people who think they outgrew the quarter and dime games!
    And getting rich off of it too!
    Sure! the structure and limits of the game are EXTREMELY important to how you play the game, but if you think it’s as simple as high limit players only play premium hands .. you’ll be bankrupt before you know what hit you!
    As for those $3 games? THOSE are the ones where you should be making a KILLING! If you’re only slightly good. The fact that you aren’t only means you should take a step BACK, not forward.
    Common sense dictates that in ANY sport (Poker not excluded): you have no hope of winning from people who are good, if you can’t even win from people who are worse than you! It’s THAT simple. Forget about all the ‘they call all the way’ nonsense! They DO? Cool! Then use it!
    As I said .. I have been there.
    I was doing VERY well with online poker. But EVERYTIME I tried to switch to a higher limit, I got slaughtered. Now… thanks to the US banning, practically, playing for real money .. I’m back to playing for ‘play’ money online. By many (me included, for a long time) regarded as NOT ‘real’ poker. But of course it is .. it’s just different: as I said, every ‘limit’ has its strategies… and thus, can be won.
    AGAIN… this is important: If you can’t beat the folks who are WORSE than you, you’re dreaming, when you think you can beat the better ones! Nevertheless… this ‘dream’ keeps costing people heaps of money that they can’t afford to lose.
    Here’s my challenge to you: start playing in the online ‘play’ money tournaments (pokerstars for instance)! They CAN get you into the money, btw! Start adjusting your game, such that you, on average, are in the top 10% by the 2nd hour (don’t try to get there by the first!).. and take it from there. Then try to WIN these tournaments… consistently! THEN and only THEN move up… and be prepared to adjust your game in ways that you have no clue about to begin with…
    As for having lost $60 .. I’m almost certain I can point out at LEAST two errors you made (and that you will refute): you drank alcohol and you were way too aggresive. 😉