Shirley Rosario
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Poker Pet Peeves

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by Shirley Rosario

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Poker Pet PeevesI have so many pet peeves at the poker table that I could write four articles. Although there are many things that bother me while I play, I always remember to not let them consume me. Sometimes it is important to take a stand on some of the things that bother you, but more often you must let them roll off your back.

A few examples of when you should speak up are when a player discusses the hand while it is still in progress, the breaking of rules while on a table, and discussions about how bad a player played a hand. All three of these things have the potential to affect your bottom line earnings and anytime something or someone interferes with that, action must be taken because making money at poker isn't just about your cards.

Whenever a hand is being played, there should be no discussion about it from other players. I have been in games where a player lets out a sigh of disgust when the board would have hit their hand perfectly. For example, the flop reveals JJ6 and one player who is not involved in the hand let out the "sigh". The players that are still involved in the hand have information they should not have. It would be easy to deduce that the sighing player had at least a jack and the knowledge of that affects how the hand will be played out on future betting rounds. I have also heard players do more than just sigh. Some actually announce what they held in their hand. If the turn card was an eight, a player might say, "Damn, I folded pocket eights". Anytime I hear a player do this, I always remind them that there is still betting going on and their chatter is inappropriate.

Another thing that bothers me is when one player tells another how bad they play or how bad they played a particular hand. I can not speak for the whole poker community, but the worse a player plays the game, the more I like it. Poker on television is creating a new breed of poker players. Many of them play very bad. There will be a time when they realize their mistakes and play a better game, but why would anyone help them with their process. I have a story regarding this type of thing in my February 13th, 2004 online journal.

Anytime a player breaks a rule, we should be ready to speak up. I have had a few players get mad because I do this, but I believe it is my obligation to protect the integrity of the game. I have made a floorman give an opponent a time out during a tournament because he broke a rule. I was not involved in the hand, but all tournament rules are there for a reason and all rules must be enforced consistently. Another time, I was playing a live No Limit game and a player said, "I call and raise." I called a floorman over to the table so he could explain why the player could not do that. We tried to explain that announcing two actions at the same time was bad for the game. If he wanted to raise, he should have just announced "raise". The floorman explained further, "We have to enforce this rule because a player could say, 'I call' wait a minute until he got a read on the other players and then announce, 'and raise'. This rule prevents things like that from happening." I think the explanation might have fallen on deaf ears, but I feel like I did my part. String bets is another thing I always speak up about.

There are some things that players do that really get under my skin. I sometimes speak up about them, but most of the times I do not. I have to pick my battles and telling somebody that a deck change is stupid is not usually a battle I want to fight. Why do players ask for deck changes? The same fifty-two cards are in the new deck. Will a deck change make the player play better? I can not understand why players ask for new set-ups (unless there is a bad card in the deck), but I do understand that the players who ask are generally a lot worse than the players who do not. They tend to believe in superstitions and changing their luck. Understanding this has helped in letting it roll off my back.

I wish I could let two other things roll of my back as easily. Players that say, "I want to see that hand" or "I put you all-in" will sometimes get an earful from me. Most new players do not understand why the ability to see any called hand rule was originally implemented. They do not know the rule was made to prevent collusion and cheating, not to get a line on someone else's play. If you had reason to believe the player was cheating, you asked to see the hand. The rule was not there for you to gain insight into the play of your opponents. The higher the limit you play, the less likely you will hear players asking to see hands. Lastly, do not tell me or another player, "I put you all-in". You will not put anybody all-in unless they decide to make the call and put themselves all-in.

All players will have a thing or two (or like me, 15) that bother them at the poker table. It is important to separate what is important and what is not regarding the poker game. If it is not important, you need to let go. If you let everything get under your skin, you will only drive yourself crazy, and drive you own money away from you.