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Grumpy Old Woman

by Lucy Rokach |  Published: Mar 01, 2008


My New Year's resolution is to whine at every opportunity about asinine rules, poor management decisions, disgraceful structures of big tournaments, flat payouts, boorish behaviour of poker players, and, well, just about anything else in the poker world that gets my goat up. However, you well-behaved punters can rest easy, as there's no way on this planet that I'm going to belittle you or your play.

Let's start with "smart alecs". Just the other day, I was plonking away online and losing, when one of the aforementioned (I'm being polite because I don't think my preferred terminology would pass the Card Player censors!) piped up, "Who's going to get his money next?"

This twit didn't know that he was dealing with a grumpy old woman, so even though I was hot to trot and had just pulled up more cash to distribute, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I instantly pulled out of the game. The problem is that he was probably too thick to make the connection between his comment and my withdrawal; still, I hope the other recipients of my largesse enlightened him in a manner he could understand.

Next, I'm going to petition all cardrooms for a supply of earplugs and blinkers so that we can blank off players who petition the Almighty for a favourable flop with a promise of future good deeds if they win. Give me a break. These players are even more offensive than the ubiquitous loudmouthed variety who you know suffer from a vast unbridgeable chasm between the ears, and therefore can't help themselves.

Just as unpalatable are those ungracious winners who've just fluked a monster pot and then want to see your losing hand. Drop them over the side of a cliff so that they can be eliminated from the gene pool, I say, and while we're at it, let's do the same to those equally ill-mannered winners commonly known as "slow-rollers."

Well, maybe inasmuch as we've just had the season of goodwill, we'll allow them to forfeit the pot instead. And what fitting punishment can we apply to those players who need to pose for the camera? Either every decision is agonising and takes an age (if they are at a TV table) or they do triple somersaults whilst ranting and raving so that the roaming cameras will zoom in on them. A gag and a brown paper bag should do the trick, but other suggestions are welcome. How about a "name and shame" website devoted to all of those badly behaved players, cheats, and stroke merchants, with appropriate mug shots?

And while we're on the subject, why not publish a list of all those cardrooms that are not fit for human habitation. They should have to sign a contract guaranteeing an ambient working temperature. I've sat at a poker table where it's 105 degrees outside and sub-arctic under the air-conditioning units, and, what's more, I've paid a buy-in for the privilege of freezing my a-- off!

Squeezed like sardines, a shortage of side tables to put drinks on (when you can find a waitress, that is), poor lighting, dreadful couldn't -care-less dealers with a personality bypass … why do we allow them to get away with it? And as for some of the food on offer, I think pigswill would be a more accurate description. I know it's free, but does that mean it has to be inedible? How about some decent bread, cheese, and a bit of greenery or fruit? It's simple, easy, and unlikely to have you running to the nearest bathroom.

There's nothing quite like getting on your hobbyhorse and putting the world to rights; it's so satisfying, and I've only scratched the surface. Maybe if we all were to "grump" (I'm sure the word doesn't exist, but it should) about what's unacceptable in our poker world, in time it might become a much more enjoyable place to inhabit. And all of you players guilty of any or all of the aforementioned sins could do worse than copy the really great players amongst us. They're always cool.

Lucy has been playing poker for 20 years and has won more than $1 million in tournament prize money all over the world. She prefers playing pot-limit Omaha and pot-limit seven-card stud eight-or-better.