Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Would you club a baby seal?

I was playing in the $1/2 NLHE game during the weekend at the Goldstrike Casino. A guy joined the table and bought in for $100. I could tell immediately he was a newbie. He didn't understand how blinds worked. He didn't know that if you tossed in a red bird ($5 chip) for a $2 bet that it was just a call. Eventually the dealer corrected him on some point and he stated it was his first time to play in a casino. No kidding.

On one hand, he kept calling bets including on the river. When he showed his hand, he had ace high! His elderly mother came to the table at a point when he had lost most of his buy-in. She gave him another $100 (in twenties) and he bought in again. Sad.

On another hand, a player with him was all-in, so the other guy turned over his hand: 10-10. The turn and river were dealt (an ace and a jack). The noobie mucked his hand (without showing) and left. The dealer whispered to the guy next to him that he had mucked an ace, meaning his pair of aces would have won the pot.

I love to win at poker. It's my job to take their money. I (basically) don't soft-play friends, and I don't expect them to soft-play me. A poker friend of mine named Mark says it well: "Just because I take your money doesn't mean I don't like you." On the other hand, taking money from this guy just didn't feel right. What do you think?

I didn't mind this hand though. A guy in middle position held: 8 8. There were some limpers for $2 and he limped as well. I was in the small blind and put in $1 to complete. Six of us saw a flop. That's the trouble with a $1/2 blind structure. Making it $1/3 makes a big difference. The pots are a little bigger even though fewer players limp.

The flop was J 8 4. I bet $10, a guy called and the middle set (8s) raised to $25. It folded to me and I moved all in. The next guy thought, but folded, and the guy with the set of 8s called. Unfortunately, he only had around $100 left because I turned over J J for top set.

Isn't poker suh-weet?


  1. Online you would never have had second thoughts about taking his money. He'd just be another fish in a big pond.

    Live, you get to see him fumble and generally act in a way that makes you sorry for him.

    So in the end, it's all in your head and stacking him is clearly the right move. Money on the table are there for the taking, online or live.

    Gosh, I'm such a cold hearted man...


  2. I have to agree with joxum. There's always some kind of human drama at a live table. If the guy was an obvious newbie but a real jerk, how would you feel then?

  3. @joxum: You're probably right, and, no, you're not cold hearted. The guy I stacked, btw, was another guy.

    @bastinptc: If he's a jerk, I don't feel bad about taking his money, and, in fact, would try my hardest to do so, ha.

  4. Interesting title to your post.. Yea thats why I like the live game so much better. Its all the personalities you get to meet. Always better to beat a jerk but I will take a nice guy/girls money too!!!

  5. I will take anyone's money at the table. If they choose to sit down, they're fair game. But if it's a newbie, I might be more polite about it.

  6. Money is the main reason to play. For me at least. And just taking it nicely and not being a tool about it is all you can ask of yourself. Afterall, IF he knew any better he would rob you every hand if he could.

  7. I kinda feel sorry for him (and his *backer* mom), but I still wouldn't have a problem taking his money. If he was crazy enough to put his money on the table without even having the simple ability to know if his hand was good or not at showdown, then you really can't feel too sorry for him, right? You just shake your head and stack his chips.

  8. I kind of agree with the others.

    One time at Ballys Las Vegas, I sat next to a guy who was a pretty good player, but then started drinking too much. Suddenly, the mountain of chips he won dwindled as he was making stupid plays. He seemed like a nice guy, and after watching his stack take another big hit (I scored a decent amount of his chips), I suggested to him that maybe he should take a break. However, he just decided to carry on playing, and at that point I certainly felt that it might as well be me taking the chips as long as he was going to piss them all away anyhow.