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I received an email from a friend of mine who saw the draft of my recent article, A Short-Stack Story. John (not his real name) asked me, "How can you glorify short-stackers? "They're brainless sycophants. They're the dirty underbelly of poker winners. They should be sent to Hell." Now, John, don't hold back with your opinion.
I remember the first time I played poker in a casino. I was in Reno for the Mid-Winter Holiday Bridge Tournament. My friend, Paul Ford, suggested I play poker on New Year's Eve. "Everyone will be drunk, and you have enough card sense to triple your money. Just play tight, don't play to fourth street without a pair, a three-flush, or three-straight, and you'll be fine."
Over the last few weeks my good friend Aaron had been in a poker slump. Normally a big winner in any game he plays, his usual positive results have recently been lackluster at best. Yesterday he sat in a $2 - $5 blind no-limit hold 'em game that he described as "pretty good." In middle position, after two players limped, he raised to $35 with Jd-Jh. Earl, on the button, and the two limpers called. All the players started the hand with about $500.
I was playing in an online deep-stacked no-limit hold 'em tournament, and found myself looking at Jd-Jh in the big blind. A middle-position player raised to T70 when the blinds were T10-T20. He did this frequently in this very early portion of the tournament. I elected to call and then evaluate my hand on the flop.
We've all had days when we've woken up on the wrong side of the bed. I remember driving two hours to an important business meeting and realized I was wearing my running shoes. Oops...
This happens in poker, too. You have pocket aces and your opponent raises all-in before the flop with pocket kings. You happily call only to see a king as the door card on the flop.
I have a reputation as a tight player, but I'm not that tight. Yet there's a gentleman I've played against who is perhaps the tightest player I've ever met. I'm sure he leaves money on the tables, but I'm also certain that he never gets it in bad.
Let's call this man John. Gentleman John plays in the uncapped games in Las Vegas, but not the big games. Instead, he'll buy in for $10,000 in a $1-$2 no-limit hold 'em game. The next deepest stack, you ask? Well, that was me: I bought in for a measly $440.
I'm a fan of a good mystery. Blood and gore isn't my cup of tea but give me a psychological thriller and I'll be up all hours of the night. Mystery readers are always trying to solve the crime before the author lets you know who the real villain is. Recently I was re-reading Rex Stout's And Be A Villain. Stout's protagonists, Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, attempt to solve three murders. All the clues are laid out for you but it's likely you won't spot the solution until Stout tells you who the killer is.
About two months ago I wrote an article titled Getting Up, where I focused on why players should leave games. Something happened today that reinforced my views on the subject.
When I was growing up my mother told me to eat everything on my plate. "Remember the starving children in Czechoslovakia." I wasn't sure then what eating a lot had to do with children in Eastern Europe, and today I'm even less certain. My mother also told me, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." That's usually the right thing to do in poker, too.