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Miscellany From A Sunday Night

by Gavin Griffin |  Published: May 08, 2019


I had an interesting night at the casino this past Sunday. My usual Big O game was full with a board for the whole day Sunday, and I had to play no-limit for a few hours before a seat came open. The game wasn’t as good as the last few times I’ve played no-limit, so I got bored probably more easily than I usually do in no-limit.

After I got called for my Big O seat, one of the regulars in the no-limit hold’em game that I’m friendly with said something about how disappointed I look to be playing no-limit. It’s true, I just don’t find it to be as interesting or fun of a game anymore. There was a time when I spent almost all of my time learning about hold’em, both limit and no-limit. Even then, no-limit hold’em cash games weren’t really at the forefront of that. I just tend to prefer any other game for cash. I find it boring and less complex than the other games I usually play. Not to mention the fact that people are much better at it than they are at other games. I am not a social person by nature, so it’s not always easy for me to put on a smiling face while I play and it’s even harder when I’m playing a game that I don’t enjoy that much.

While I was playing that no-limit game, a situation came up where a player called my $130 river bet with one $5 chip. In most casinos, I would just show my hand, but in my home casino, they introduced a rule a few years ago that putting in one chip is not a call. The dealer said call, but I made sure with them before I showed my hand that it constituted a call in this situation.

Apparently, they had changed the rule in the last couple months and I wasn’t aware of it because the angling that was taking place as a result of that rule hadn’t really made it to the Big O game. The person who called my bet apparently thought I was slow rolling them and I explained myself because slow rolling isn’t something I do. I, in fact, make it a point to fast-roll as much as possible so we don’t go through showdown anxiety on every hand. I tried to make clear to the other player that I just wanted to make sure it was a call before showing my hand. I think he understood eventually, but I’m not entirely sure and he seemed a little upset at me for asking the question.

Speaking of upset, there’s a player in my regular Big O game that is usually pretty calm and in control when he loses. I think he’s been having a bad run lately, because he’s been losing some of that control. There was a brand-new player in the game who we had to help learn the rules about what constitutes a legal low (two cards from your hand and three from the board that are all eight or lower and unpaired). Even if this player were to turn into a winning player in the long run, it’s helpful to make sure he’s having a good time learning the game if we want him to continue playing. One of the things our game suffers from is a very shallow player pool and any addition to it is useful. Everyone in the game was helping him read his hand and showing him their hands carefully to let him see what made their hand a good one.

The regular that I referenced above, lost a medium-sized pot to a regular and then not long after lost another medium-sized pot to this new player. He started berating the guy’s play (it was totally reasonable by the way, he had nut low and two pair on the turn and called a bet), saying how he had the nuts on the turn, etc. It’s certainly a situation that he and any other regular of Big O or Omaha in general has run into on many occasions. You have a very good hand on the flop or turn and it’s trashed by the river. Equities fluctuate so much in Omaha that it’s sometimes hard to keep up to be honest. Anyway, a totally normal “bad beat” happens and he takes some time to sarcastically tell him about the hand and it didn’t quite make it long enough or mean enough for me to say something about it, but it was really poor form.

The thing that I gather from these three seemingly random anecdotes is this: It’s easy to get lost in your own feelings about a thing, especially if your mental game isn’t up to par at the moment. You can start to feel like your opinion is the only one that matters or that you know the rules as they stand in the moment or that everyone around you is an idiot because they’re not as good at poker as you are.

A better way to approach poker and life in general is with the idea that you and the person you’re playing against aren’t that different. You’re on a level playing field. Maybe you’re better at poker, but that doesn’t mean that you are a better person or that your opinions are more valid or that you aren’t ever wrong. And certainly, if you actually are better than them at poker, don’t let those differences get in the way of keeping them at the table with you. ♠

Gavin GriffinGavin Griffin was the first poker player to capture a World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour title and has amassed nearly $5 million in lifetime tournament winnings. Griffin is sponsored by You can follow him on Twitter @NHGG