Peer Pressure

The drunk guy has to pee again. But each time he begins to stand, he gets dealt in, so he sits back down, and raises. This time he is in the small blind. Someone raises. Someone else reraises. Our hero caps it. The flop comes Qc Js 3h. He bets out. It gets raised and reraised and he caps the flop. The turn card is the king of clubs.

Quick as a downed shot, our hero folds. That’s right. He is first to act, there are over 40 bets in the pot, mostly because he raised at every chance, and without even checking, he pushes his cards toward the muck, and gets up to go go.

It’s like me to like puzzles. So what did he have? I’m guessing he started with two small hearts and that he liked the looks of the small heart on the flop, maybe more so because it was visually isolated by being spotted and red next to two cards painted and black. All he had to do was pick up a little something on the turn and the swollen pot would give him just cause to see the river. But when a black king fell, now he still needed two more cards to make a hand, with only one card to go. Bye bye! So what if nobody bet yet? They would. And the peer pressure made it an easy fold. He said deal-me-in as he hunchjogged away.

What happened next was good. Nothing. That’s what happened. Not only did no one remark on the curious play of our hero, I mean, we sure could have, with him being gone and all, but there wasn’t even an eyeroll, from anyone, even the dealer, who calmly mucked our hero’s hand as if it was common to raise raise raise and leave.

That hand ended and our hero was dealt in for the next hand. He was walking tall and relieved when he made it back in time to cap it on his button. Waitress!

Gear- change warning. End of light story. Begin heavy rant:

Poker writers complain about players who comment on the play of others at the table. I’m going to complain about the writers. Ridicule, derision, scorn, harsh critique, these are bad actions, they tell us. I agree. Further, they tell us that the main reason for behaving well should be profit, such as, “Do not criticize lesser players because it will cost you money if they start playing better or quit.” We are repeatedly taught this, and taught to repeat this. It is wrong. The best reason to not criticize others is because it is rude.

If we meet at a grocery store and you see me buying unhealthy food, would you speak up to criticize my buying decisions? No. Why not? Because as I select my items, I am in a decision-making bubble, and it is inappropriate for you to burst it.

Think of the millions of times that poker players refrain from harsh judgments of one another’s betting decisions. Is profit the motive behind all that good behavior? No. Good behavior needs no reason or defense.

Here is a silly sentence:

Do not hit people in the head with a hammer because you might break the hammer.

The advice seems reasonable enough — don’t go around hurting people — but the reason for it doesn’t jive with our social sensibilities, so the whole thing falls apart.

Here is an equally silly sentence that unfortunately passes as wisdom:

Do not criticize the betting decisions of lesser players than you at the poker table because it might sharpen them up or make them quit.

I’m thankful that so many of my opponents do not think of good behavior as a business decision. It allows everyone to be a hero.



2018 Coaching Update: I’m doing video coaching now on whatever ails you — from betting problems and tilt issues to bad quitting and no patience. For more details and to schedule a call, click here.


Add Comment