Saturday, May 30, 2009


I played a turbo last night. It was the point in the tournament where the starting pot was starting to be significant. The hand was raise-call preflop, and then smallish bet-call on the flop and then it checked the turn. The leader pre shoved into a KK389 board with JJ and was called by KT.

King Ten scooped the pot, and then it started.

King Ten: Nice one.
King Ten: Thank you.
King Ten: Bad bluff.
King Ten: Donkey.

Now, I am getting better at staying out of these things, but here I could not help myself. I mean, OK, you played the hand well. You got maximum value. Don't act like you're Doyle Brunson.

Julius Goat: Classy.
Julius Goat: You run laps around wheelchairs, too?

There was nothing for another hand, and then:

King Ten: Poker.
King Ten: Classy.
King Ten: Don't really see the connection.
Julius_Goat: OK, gotcha. Enjoy your personality.

After that he got positively florid, and informed me that he was going to "slow play [me] out of the game." That's fine, I don't mind getting jawed at, especially since it was me who stuck my oar in to begin with. The great thing is that he tightened way up and basically slow-played himself out of the game. I went on to cash for like $4.60, so we know who the real winner is, don't we?

Anyway, I couldn't help myself. I understand that poker is a game of edges, and sometimes you want a psychological edge. For example, on PokerStars I have seen a George W. Bush icon (or a Barack Obama) unhinge people. It's insta-tilt for some. A player called "WifeBeat" once tilted half his table in the first minute without saying a word. So, tilting a weaker player through chat works, and can be a valid part of the game.

But what of this suggestion that poker and good sportsmanship are mutually exclusive? Why do people actually think that's true? Further, why would they WANT that to be true? You can't win without acting like you're Phil Hellmuth when you back into trips and manage to extract value?

It makes me want to punch a penguin.

And that's the point, isn't it? Mr. King-Ten wouldn't think of trying out this so-called "mandatory" classless behavior if he was within choking reach of his victim. But on ipoker sites (and even e-poker sites) all across the World Wide Web of the Internets, people think nothing of the rudest comments. King Ten was safe from punching, so King Ten decided to show us his insecurities and needle a guy with no chips. And why not? It's just part of the game, right?

Poker is a game of choices. Poker is also like life. Poker also tastes like chicken. Poker also is a metaphor for society. Poker is . . . I'm sorry, I got lost in the cliche for a second. What was I saying?

Oh yes. Poker. Choices.

Like the choice to fold your Ace Ten offsuit to five all-ins ahead of you.

Or, believe it or not, the choice to conduct yourself with politeness and good sportsmanship. You do have a choice.

I'm not a saint. I've had my share of outbursts when I've just lost a gut-punch of a hand. But I know I had a choice to react otherwise. And I don't think I've ever rubbed it in on some poor shmuck who just got bounced to the curb.

My point?

Wait. I was supposed to have one of those?

Be excellent to each other.


1Queens Up1 said...

He was probably taking his real world struggles out on the virtual world.
After all, if I were 40 and
still living in my parents basement I also might act hostile to Internet avatars.

Riggstad said...

He acatually makes a good point.

There really is no correlation between the two. Take Mike Matasow for example, and countless others.

Off the table he's best of friends with those he has gotten into it with the most.

But the situation here is flamed by having to say something to someone who is already gone (I assume that JJ was out after that).

There really is no reason to rip someone if you actually win the hand.

Take his chips and STFU.

I think that's where your "classy" line is poignant. There's trash talking for future benefit, there is complaining because you lost a hand, and there is pure doucheslitbaggery as well.

In this case, he won the hand, so why even say anything at all? Especially if JJ is gone from the tourney?

But there's nothing like a little ripping when the tourney is on the line.

I rip because it's fun. Pure goldness. And I can't tell you how often (about 50%), where the target and myself get into a heated exchange for a while, but end up being rather nice to each other with congratulations, nh's, and gg's when it's all said and done.

Most get it.

and um... yeah, I do say those things live as well :)

Julius_Goat said...

Excellent comment, Riggs. A few points that I may have made better if I hadn't torn it off so quickly.

First, of course you act that way live. You're big, and also a total dick.

Second, it would be silly to suggest that un-classy behavior is not a part of poker, and a valid part to boot. It is. I just question the assertation he made, which was that classy behavior and poker were mutually exclusive. That is; you must act like an ass if you play poker. That's certainly a way to play, but it's not the way, any more that TAG is.

3) My entire problem with him was his grinding it in on a guy who had just lost. That's what rubbed me wrong. That's not strategic, it's just assholic.

4) My comment was in part meant to tilt him. It's impossible to know for sure, but I think it did. I got him to make a really dumb call (he was holding QT unimproved) ten minutes later for half his stack.

5) Go to lunch.