Take My Advice, Be Nice

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As I was re-watching Rounders for the 100th time. Something caught my attention, it never stuck out before but it really struck me due to my actual circumstances.

You see, I live in Portugal, where right now I can’t play online poker until the regulations get sorted out, so I’ve turned to playing more live poker (“more” being going from maybe 3 sessions a year to playing live on a daily basis).  Despite not being even close to a “jaded live game pro”, I’m picking up on some things.

Somewhere in Rounders, Mike, ends up playing in a game with a bunch of policeman and says something like “Generally, the rule is: The nicer the guy, the poorer the poker player, and these guys, despite being cops, are real sweethearts”.  

Well, I disagree, and even with my short experience, i’m pretty sure it’s the other way around.

With live poker, win or lose, your foe is physically at the very same table as you.  It’s easy to insult someone via microphone when they’re on the other side of the planet, but when you do it in the same room you risk getting a beating in real life.

In poker, live and online, that rule is somehow forgotten, and 90% of the time by the people who should primarily LIVE by it: The pros. I’ve seen pros bashing randoms at the table because they got bad beat or chased a gutshot or played a hand they shouldn’t. I’ve seen ridiculous things like “pros” getting up because “they can’t play with someone who plays like this” and worse, i’ve seen the tourists leave because the way these idiots treat them.

I’ll give you an example, a couple days ago I’m playing a live cash game, it’s a thursday so it’s a slow night, a couple of randoms but nothing big. Then this guy arrives, glass in hand, asks for how much he can buy in for and gets sad when gets informed that “it’s a €500 max buy in, sir”.  

“All right, then get me change for €5k, I’m shoving every hand”, he says happily, dude was clearly there to have a good time. I immediately asked for a table change (I was at another table), but thought I’d never get it as that situation is a teenager’s wet dream. I was wrong.

He proceeds to do what he promised, 1st hand goes all in blind, 2 or 3 “pros” at the table start complaining, leave and I get the seat directly to his left. We ended up chatting for the rest of the night, he dropped around €4k, and had a blast, we went for drinks after the game and I got to know him.  It was his first time in this casino and now that he had fun, he said he would come back any chance he has, and if we’re around (me and the other guys who were nice to him), he wanted to play at the same table as us, because, big surprise, he’s there to have fun, not to get yelled at.

I’m not saying you should only be nice to people just to get them to lose money to you, however, if you’re genuinely nice, people feel better, they will have more fun and come back, and you will have more fun. Who cares if your aces didn’t hold up to his 93o or whatever? If you’re a better player, then it’s just a matter of time.  But one thing is for sure, if you yell fish off the table, then you won’t even have the chance to win your money back. Each personality attracts more of their own, if you’re nice, chances are that you’ll end up getting treated nice more often than not.  And if it fills up your pockets, all the better.

Luís Lebre




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