The Quitter (a Poker Zoo story)

Dear reader: I wrote three Poker Zoo stories back when online poker was brand new and everyone was going crazy over it in some way or another.

When the Nimble Newt was growing up, he did not score well in school. It was the homework. Each night, Newt would start in on his homework just fine, but then he’d stop, long before completion, and not start again. One time when Newt was on his way from doing homework to elsewhere, his father stopped him and delivered some big advice: “Son, whatever you do, don’t be a quitter.”

Newt asked, “Are you saying that I should quit quitting?”

“Shut up and go do your homework,” said Newt’s father.

Typical of the rebellious, Newt set out to do whatever it was he wasn’t supposed to. You want me to not quit? I’ll show you. I shall become one of the greatest quitters of all time! And eventually, through his marriage to poker, he did. First Newt quit talking, then he quit playing when he shouldn’t, then he quit tilting, and then he quit losing.

The $10/20 no-limit game at the Poker Zoo had one seat open when the Nimble Newt showed up at midnight and took it. Three daytime regulars were still in the game: the Yammering Yak was way ahead and annoying the Tragic Trout who was stuck as usual and whining away at the Logical Llama who had just turned Yak’s volume all the way up by first cracking Yak’s pocket aces on the river, and second by saying, “Serves you right, for not betting the turn.”

Yak yipped, “Like you would have folded?”

“Well, actually, no,” said Llama. “As it turns out, you would have lost more had you bet the turn. But, it was still the correct play to do so, and you didn’t, so you deserved to lose. It’s called poker justice, my friend. Poker justice.”

The Yammering Yak sucked in a huge involuntary breath, revving up for a monster rant, but he inhaled so deeply that right at the top of it, he stopped, half-involuntarily, and the air instead of gushing out, seeped, as Yak said, “Forget it, Llama. You win the smartest idiot in the world award. Just take the pot.”

Newt took the open seat and unracked his chips. Trout said, “I’ll tell you about poker justice. Poker justice is when a hit-and-run artist gets hit-and-run-over.” Trout was staring at Newt.

Newt took the big blind. Somebody raised and Newt folded. Next hand, Newt had the small blind. This time nobody raised and Newt folded. Next hand, when Newt had the button, Trout limped in, and Newt raised. One of the blinds folded and the other one called. The pot was threeway with Newt last. The flop came something something something. The blind checked, Trout checked, Newt bet, and they both called. The turn was something. They checked, and Newt checked behind. The river was an ace. They checked, Newt bet, the blind folded, and Trout called. Newt turned over A-5, a pair of aces.

Trout waved pocket sixes at the universe and said, “Nice catch, nit. Do you want some empty racks right now? Or do you want to go ahead and fold a few more hands first.”

“Why don’t you just leave the guy alone,” said Yak. “He never bothers anybody.”

During the next hour, Newt saw a few flops and won a couple pots. On his next big blind, he stood up and said, “Open seat.”

“See what I mean!” Said Trout. “That’s a bunch of carp. They should make it so you have to play at least two hours if you’re winning.”

Snake said to the racking Newt, “See you later, bub. Come back sometime when you can stay awhile.”

Yak asked, “So where is it you have to run off to in such a hurry?”

Newt said, “I’m double-parked.”

After Newt was gone, Trout said, “I can’t believe I’m the only one here who gets pissed when he does that.”

“To be fair about it,” said the Logical Llama, “You should feel equally agitated when he quits after playing a couple hours without winning a single pot. I have seen him do that too.”

Several hours later, Newt was back at the Poker Zoo. The no-limit game was three-handed, with Trout doing very well against two passersby, a rare occurrence at the zoo.

Newt took a seat and the Tragic Trout moaned, “Oh. My. God. Not you again.”

The game went on for an hour with four players. Not much talking. A passerby busted out when Trout took a free card and made his hand and got paid off.

The game held together three-handed for another hour without much swings. Then the remaining passerby tried to run a triple-barrel bluff against Trout and bade good night. Trout had his lines for Newt prepared.

“Okay there, mister Newt the nit. Looks like it’s down to just you and me. How do you want to work this? I say we agree to play for at least two hours. Sound good to you?”

Newt replied, “How about if we agree that either one of us can quit anytime he wants to?”

Trout could taste the anticipation of putting some crazy headsup beats on Newt. With no hesitation he replied, “Okay! I agree!”

Newt stood up. “In that case, I quit.”



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.