|The banter and chit chat at the poker table is definitely one of the things that makes this wonderful game unique. It is probably the only place where you can have police men and gangsters, models and brain surgeons, all sitting together, and while they sit there they are all relatively equal, the tags they carry that define them in their everyday life are removed and for a few hours at least they share the same hopes and intentions and are just poker players. Poker embraces every walk of life, and it is this eclectic mix of personalities and professions that gives the game one of its most interesting facets, it ensures that every time you play you will be able to mix with all kinds of people, people you may never meet otherwise and though we all play poker to win money this aspect of the game is certainly an added bonus.
|There is a downside however. Due to the very fact that these people are thrown together at random, in order to compete against each other, can inevitably lead to what could politely be termed a clash of personalities. Poker can be painful and when someone outdraws you it is horrible and a surge of dislike for your lucky opponent is only natural but the thing I hate to see most at the table is when this dislike is vocalized. Outdraws are part of the game. And when people moan that someone has played badly its even worse. Do they want to always play with the best? I doubt it because their chances of winning would slip from middling to slim! We all get outdrawn and we all do our fair share of outdrawing and it is this that needs to be remembered. If the best hand always won poker would be just like any other card game but this element of luck is actually one of the things that makes poker so uniquely thrilling. Unfortunately not everyone is as philosophical about this as I am. We have all had the unfortunate experience of being on a table with an obnoxious know’it’all. Someone who constantly berates his opponents for, what he deems to be, their bad play and gloats insufferably when he wins. We all like winning and hate losing but if we all behaved like egotistical maniacs I really don't think it would be all that popular. If I am playing I enjoy teasing and light hearted competitive banter its fun and part of the game and should be encouraged but I really do object to the downright rude and nasty way that some people seem to think is a reasonable way to behave.
To give an example let me tell you about something which happened to a friend of mine. He was playing in a beginner’s tournament in his local casino and was pretty new to the game. He has potential to be a great player but is still only learning. A hand came along and his hand is k 9 and he flops trip nines. There is plenty of action and on the turn it all goes in. His opponent turns over 9 10 and he proudly turns over k 6. No that is not a typo he just genuinely thought his hand was k9 having misread it, something which at one time or another we have all done. He explained his mistake and instead of his opponent graciously accepting his money and being grateful that he didn't have the hand he thought he had as then they would have lost, they launched an absolute tirade about how bad this play was and that until my friend can read their cards perhaps they should stay at home. After 10 minutes of being told how bad he was and losing the last few chips the said pot had left him, he decided to call it a day and not rebuy simply because the experience had left him feeling like an early night and not much like carrying on in present company.
This is just an example of how bad behaviour at the table that can leave an unpleasant taste in all our mouths. Bullying at the poker table with your chipstack and style of play is fine and should be done. But verbal bullying is, in my opinion, not acceptable. Most people would never dream of speaking to an absolute stranger in this way and so why do it at the table. I could list hundreds of examples, as could we all, of times when we have had the misfortune to be at a table with a vitriolic bully and all wished doubly as hard than we usually do, for them to go broke and leave the table. This leads me to my next point. It is always more satisfying to take money from someone who you dislike; but don't ever get personal at the poker table. Don't chase players that you dislike or try to beat players that have horribly outdrawn you. Once you start doing this your emotions will start to govern your actions and this is not profitable. If someone is behaving badly try not to let them get under your skin If you do then they have a big edge over you. If you find that you are unable to stop your insides burning then maybe it would be worthwhile wearing an ipod. This will drown irritants out and enable you to concentrate without having your judgement clouded by emotion.
Unfortunately we cannot rid ourselves of rude abrasive idiots at the table anymore than we can in other areas of our life but we can try and avoid letting them ruin our enjoyment of the game and worse still effecting our judgement. In general I would rarely confront people like this as they will be argumentative and you will waste so much energy in rowing with them and nothing you say will make a blind bit of difference! Let them be what they are but if you really feel you have to say something the just ask them to show a little class and even the smartest alec will struggle to find an answer to that!!