Okay, since I can't write about blogging, blogs, journals and why we are all so retarded (thanks, Matt!), I'll rant about something that is also near and dear to my heart and life. Plus it has to do with poker (which will no doubt disappoint some of you, since you can't play your way out of a frigging wet paper bag and the last thing you want to read about is poker, when your melodrama and soap operaish blogging wars are so much more important). Wow, did I just say that? No, I didn't. It was in parenthesis, that doesn't count. That means I just thought it, I didn't actually say it.
So there, I got that off of my chest, which is important, since I have no chest, hence I have nothing to hold up those rants, and need to get them off as quickly as possible.
Something very important in poker and life, is having backbone, having spine.
Going into a cardroom for the first time, alone, can be intimidating and overwhelming. Surely in the past three years things have gotten easier, but even today, lots of players are nervous when they enter. Yes, they assume that 1-5 Stud player sitting there with his dusty chips, nursing his pension are professionals and "sharks."
A full-time player is not necessarily a professional player. I certainly never was. I don't have the discipline and fortitude for it.
Okay, so going into a cardroom necessitates some spine. But that is just the first time spine is needed. It doesn't end, nor does it get easier from here. It's not like addiction, where admitting the problem is the first, and hardest hurdle, etc, and all of that other bleeding heart liberal tree hugging hippy Kumbaya stuff.
In fact, it gets tougher. So straighten up and be prepared to let your inner-dominatrix loose. If you're a guy, just play along, after all, the thought of a dominatrix is more sexy than a male dominant.
Okay, now that I have masturbated to my fantasies, we can continue.
The first time you walk in, pretend like you are walking into a tattoo parlor, or another place where both the patrons and employees think they are "too good" to talk to you or wait on you in a reasonable manner. For every business you've ever walked into that treated you like SHITE and had no customer service, assume this demeanor tenfold.
At random times during your live poker room experience, cup your balls in your hands while you are going off on someone. It doesn't matter if you don't have physical balls, I still do this, and it causes great confusion and passive behavior by both my opponents and cardroom employees alike. Showing the world your balls is always a good thing. It can never really have any negative effect, as it is both bold and dominant. My balls are huge, and I never miss an opportunity to make sure everyone knows it.
So once you have put your name on some lists, and made sure that you are on various lists of interest that didn't exist until YOU walked into the room (never, ever take no for an answer on this one), start scouting out the tables.
Keep your head very high, so that you are looking down your nose at both the tables and the players. Show your dominance at all times. Keep your spine straight!
Don't ever wear gangsta pants to the cardroom. It is a sign of low self esteem along with low pant esteem and plumbers buttcrack to be constantly pulling up your pants in front of 100 people. You must realize that you look like a fool, as well as act the fool, if you are wearing this attire.
On the same note, don't dress like a hooker! Only hookers need to dress like hookers. Anyone who emulates hooker dress, has to have low self confidence. You aren't there to pick up johns, you are there to play poker with some of the scummiest people in the world. You DON'T want to enter the cardroom dressed like a hooker UNLESS YOU ARE ONE!
It's cold in cardrooms, it's uncomfortable, and no one who has true confidence in her poker abilities wants the kind of attention that comes with looking like a prostitute. Just don't go there.
If the dealer is taking too much rake, speak up. IF YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO PLAY POKER, YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO PROTECT YOURSELF!!! I cannot stress this point too much. I cannot stress how stupid and reserved people remain in a business like poker, when at every turn someone is trying to take advantage of you, trying to take your money! Speak UP for god's sake!
If you do not know the rake, nor care, just leave now, and don't come back. No, I'm not talking about recreational players here, I'm talking about serious players, obviously (I didn't think that I needed to state that, but have been told that no, to some of my readers, it's just not obvious).
If you see marked cards, yet the dealer refuses to do anything about it, or the floor is called and refuses to change the deck, GET THE EFF UP AND LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! This doesn't count for cardrooms like Riverside which are just too cheap to get new decks, and the players aren't cheating, they are just stupid (I thought that one was obvious, too, but strike two for me).
If you see cheating going on, there are many ways to handle it. First off, the players might be playing low-limit monkey poker, are new to the poker scene, and have no idea they are cheating. You really need to speak up if you see this happening, because most dealers will not say anything, and will NOT protect you. It's up to you. It's not up to the floor, not up to the other players. No one is going to protect your money except YOU, so let the buck stop there, don't pass it on while making excuses (Glenn's M.O.). Take it upon yourself to do something. You can be kind and gentle with said cheaters, you don't have to be harsh. You can just make a comment about how they must be friends, and did they know that collusion/soft play/sharing hands was verboden in the poker world? They will usually take it well. I have had only one instance in which the cheating players took it badly. I have taken this approach probably 100 times, and only had one bad experience. So speak up. No one is going to rock you to sleep in the cardroom. Either protect yourself or get the EFF out of the poker scene.
Another way to handle possible/probable cheats is to go to the floorman. If you suspect very experienced cheats, this is the way to go. If you approach them yourself, you might find a knife at your throat later in the parking lot. You MUST, however, follow up on this, and keep diligent. Make DANG sure that the supervisor comes over and tells one of the cheats to expose his hand when the action is over. That is the only way to know for sure, and it happens a lot, don't think you are living in some bubble, some Kumbaya perfect world. STAY ALERT and KEEP THOSE BALLS FORWARD!
If you get to showdown and have won a pot, keep your cards in your hands until the pot is pushed to you. Let me repeat this for the hearing/reading impaired, because this is the #1 mistake I see both rookies and experienced players alike make (read my post about mucking the winner at Wynn a couple of months ago, Doh!). KEEP YOUR CARDS IN YOUR HANDS UNTIL THE POT IS PUSHED TO YOU!!!!
But, but, but you say...you want to show me how I am so wrong about this. You want to bring up a situation where you don't need to keep your cards. Why? Because you are a moron and you are retarded enough to think I haven't seen EVERY situation known to man. You don't want to believe that it could happen to YOU, because you are so ABOVE those things, and so experienced.
Um, NO, you aren't. You're an idiot for even thinking it couldn't and wouldn't happen to you. So I'll post a situation that you are thinking of, just because I know you are a moron.
You are in a HU pot. The river is dealt. The opponent says, "Good hand, I missed" before seeing your cards. The dealer mucks the board. The pot starts to go to you so you muck. The opponent, the dealer or ANYONE at the table says, "But he never showed his hand! He doesn't even HAVE a live hand. The only LIVE hand is by the guy who supposedly 'missed!'"
Yes, they will say this. And yes, the pot will be pushed to the supposed "live" hand.
I could name a dozen other situations. I could provide examples of some very experienced, very diligent players who still got scammed and saw the pot eventually rewarded to the losing hand. But if you don't believe it, you probably never will. Most people don't...until it happens to THEM!
Go read some tourney reports, some very high buy-in events. Read all of the coverage that ends a situation with a line like, "...And then Phil Ivey's hand was mucked because..." And Phil saying, "JHC, it was no one's fault but my own. I wasn't paying enough attention!"
It happens to EVERYONE. We get tired, we are exhausted. No one is above having the best hand mucked accidentally.
So when a dealer is truly trying to PRY the cards from your hands, do NOT give them up until the pot is truly and securely in front of you, where it belongs. Unless the pot is in your stack, make them pry the cards from your COLD, DEAD FINGERS!!!
Okay, so maybe we have that one understood.
What is the common denominator in everything I've written so far? SPINE! You have to have it to play seriously. I cannot stress this enough.
If you would like to call it something else, feel free. Spine, balls, self-confidence, backbone, self-esteem. I don't care what you want to name it, just make sure you HAVE IT! If you don't, you know what? Losing is a sure thing in your future.
So when else is spine important in a cardroom? ALL THE TIME, that is when! Don't be an idiot, you moron (stolen from Howard Stern).
You want another one? Your name is next on the list, but the floor keeps passing you by to seat locals and/or "tippers?"
GO FRIGGING BALLISTIC and don't shut up until you make it very well known what is going on, and that you will not tolerate it.
The only time you don't speak up in certain situations is when it increases your win rate if you stay silent. For instance, a guy at your table clearly doesn't like women, so he keeps mumbling under his breath about how women shouldn't be allowed in the poker room. At the same time, you are stealing his blinds with impunity and getting him to cap it with you every round when you have a monster. So maybe here you keep your trap shut and bust him. Then go off, when he's walking away and you have his money.
"So women can't play, huh? Shouldn't be allowed in the cardroom, eh? Goodnight then, thanks for the chips!"
Unless he is the type who will be back tomorrow to donate more to your implant-fund.
Well, I think I've covered lots of crap today. Crap it is, ain't it? When we need this type of military defense just to play freaking poker!
If you are unable or unwilling to stick up for yourself in the cardroom, just go back home and play Shutes and Ladders for cripesake. You need balls to survive and thrive here. You need spine. If you don't have it, you are going to get taken to the cleaners. Play for pennies online, or just stop altogether. You don't have what it takes. Believe me, I DON'T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES, so I know! I have the balls, but not the discipline or personality to hack it full-time, professionally. And I have enough SPINE to admit it! So do the same. Take a deep look inside, and if you can't grab your ballsack and say what is going on, what is on your mind and what is wrong inside of the poker room, just GET OUT!
Love ya, hugs and kisses (smooch!),