Saturday, November 23, 2013

Show A Little Class

Bad beats!!  We've all had them.  Sometimes it seems they come in bunches.  A couple of weeks ago I had aces cracked in an all-in situation two hands in a row.  I went from chipped up to rail sitting in a $350 tournament in two hands.  Beaten by a flush both times.  The first hand we got all in after the flop.  I was up against a made flush.  Bad read on my part.  The second time it happened, I was all in before the flop against A8 offsuit.  All this occurred in less than five minutes.

We all have it happen to us seemingly again and again.  The only way to stop it is to quit getting it all in ahead.  If you're always behind when you get it in, you'll never suffer a bad beat.  Doesn't sound like a very good plan does it?

Yet we all know the guy who (if you believe him) never loses a hand unless it's to a bad beat.  And he never actually lays a bad beat on anyone else.  He ALWAYS gets it in good.  I sure wish I were that good at poker.  Imagine what it's like to never make a bad read on the other guy.  To never make a mistake.

Now, if you'll admit it you actually lay a bad beat on somebody else from time to time.  I know I do.  And believe it or not, I actually feel bad about it when that happens.  I'm sure most people won't believe me but I'd rather take a bad beat than give one.  I'm not really saying I feel sympathy for the unlucky guy that just suffered the bad beat that I laid on him.  Nor am I saying that I am not happy that I'm still in the tournament as a result of the bad beat.  The reality is that I'm embarrassed that I moved on as a result of poor judgement on my part--that I benefited from my own mistake.  I'm feeling both embarrassed and guilty.  It feels a bit like I cheated.  The guy outplayed me and I'm the one still standing.

Now to be fair, the better you are at poker the less often you lay a bad beat on someone and the more often you suffer a bad beat.  I'm sure that's why the guy mentioned above makes it sound as though he is ALWAYS the victim of the bad beat.  He usually is the victim because he usually gets it in good.  Just remember that the opposite side of that equation is equally true---the poor player gives more bad beats than he receives because he usually gets it in bad.

Now here is the question:  Do you (we) want the poor player to keep playing?  Do we want him at our table?  I certainly do.  I can't imagine anyone disagreeing with me on this point.

Now, if he just put a bad beat on you and he's feeling a bit embarrassed (or possibly guilty) do you really think it's good long term strategy to add to his embarrassment or guilt?  To put him down?  To point out how you actually played better than him and were somehow cheated by the poker gods?  Think about it.  Not only is it poor long term strategy for all of us to put the guy down but it is classless on your part.

If the bad beat didn't eliminate you, say something like "nice hand, sir" and leave it at that.  If the bad beat eliminated you, pick up your belongings, wish the guys at the table "good luck" and move on.  You're the better player here.  Be the bigger man, too.

Show a little class.

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