The Benefits of Going Broke

I’m in Vegas right now doing a three-day coaching program with a new client. At the end of day one, we went downstairs to the poker room at the Venetian to play some poker in the same game, for mutual observation. The plan is that I watch him and take notes on things he does and doesn’t do so that the next day, up in the room, we can talk about changes he could make that would make him more money. These changes range all the way from how he looks at his cards to what he says and doesn’t say to what he thinks and doesn’t think and more. The other reason we are there is so that he can observe me as I demonstrate behaviors and attitudes that build a strong aura of confidence and shamelessness thereby planting seeds of doubt and fear in the minds of the opponents while also making it more fun to play and increasing the percentage of A-game.

One of the areas where most everyone has room for improvement is going broke. And in this field of expertise, it would be dishonest for me to feign modesty. Maybe it’s because I have so much experience at it, but going busto is something I am very good at. So much so, that when I get felted, I consider it a positive EV situation for me. See that poor pitiful player over there stacking up all my chips? Little does he suspect that he just gave me an opportunity to flaunt my imperviousness. Touche! I think, while not wincing. Take that!

Last night, we played $2/5 no-limit hold’em, and I bought in for the minimum: $200. On the first significant hand I played, I lost all my chips. I was ready. I demonstrated perfect non-reaction to getting beat on the river after my money was in the middle and my cards were face up. I demonstrated perfect rebuy form with the chips I had in my pocket. I demonstrated perfect calm and tiltlessless during the following hands. In short, my client got a good show. And my solid image was solidified.

On break, I called my wife to get caught up on our days. She likes to know the score, and toward the end of the conversation, she asked, “How are we doing in the game?”

I told her about going broke early, for the minimum buy-in of $200, and that it was great because the client got a good lesson from it.

She said, “I’ve noticed that you often seem to go broke early on when you’re with a client, and then you always say that it was good that it happened, for the client’s sake.”

I said, “Yeah, I think you’re right, there’s a pattern here.”

She said, “I think you should raise your fee $200.”


  • karbyn Posted February 25, 2009 1:57 pm

    absolutely the funniest thing I’ve read today. keep ’em coming 🙂

  • PirateLawyer Posted February 25, 2009 4:32 pm

    Priceless. I laughed out loud.

  • phat mack Posted February 26, 2009 12:24 am

    A strong aura of shamelessness?

  • Lasse H Posted February 26, 2009 8:25 am

    haha, great!

  • Tommy Angelo Posted February 26, 2009 9:30 am


    “A strong aura of shamelessness?”

    I guess it would be a more accurate to say “A strong aura caused by shamelessness.”

  • jason Posted February 26, 2009 12:09 pm

    i laughed also, and i must demand more KAY more KAY;)

  • Alan Bostick Posted February 26, 2009 8:50 pm

    She’s right, you know.

  • Henri Posted February 28, 2009 7:36 am

    I want more!

  • Trackback: Anonymous’ Poker Blog; the poker philosopher/shrink. From beginner to … ? » Blog Archive » Shameless poker players
  • JJS Posted March 1, 2009 1:12 pm

    I’ll go along with the others and say “great article and funny too”.

    But now for my nit-pick – you aren’t “going busto”, you are “getting stacked”. “Busto” usually means losing everything, your entire bankroll, having nothing left. And since “enough is never enough” for you, I’d never expect you to ever go busto…

    • Tommy Angelo Posted March 1, 2009 5:11 pm


      But now for my nit-pick – you aren’t “going busto”, you are “getting stacked”. “Busto” usually means losing everything, your entire bankroll, having nothing left.

      You’re right. “Busto” is a throwback word to the ancient times — like, four years ago — before the phrase “getting stacked” existed. I need to modernize! It so happens that I am collecting words and phrases that have appeared since the poker boom for an article I’m working on. Not quite sure what angle the article will take. I just know it’ll be about our lingo. I have to write it because I already have a title: He Beat Me With a Club.

      I just added “getting stacked” in the file.


Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × four =