After running into a seriously miserable player at the Virgin Poker Festival Alun Bowden sends out a plea for live poker
Playing in the recent Virgin Poker Festival tournament I was sat at a table full of players there for a good time. Everyone was taking it seriously, but most people had come as much for the craic as a crack at the title. That was except for one guy…
He had one of the worst seats in the tournament with waitresses constantly banging into the back of him, so I will give him some leeway, but I’ve rarely seen a more miserable soul at a poker table in my life. He moaned from the minute I sat down to the minute I inevitably busted out with some fishy play. As he sat there scowling with iPod and sunglasses, only pausing to complain about the cards he was being dealt with soul crushing regularity, I wondered: ‘why does he bother?’
Live poker, in this format in particular, is supposed to be fun. If you want to win serious money you would be far better off playing online or attempting to qualify for a larger buy-in live event. If you are sitting down shutting the world out, scowling, whining and treating it as if the world owes you a favour you are savagely missing the point of the day.
Don’t worry, be happy
In my experience, however, he is far from alone in the live poker world. A lot of players have utterly unrealistic expectations from a poker tournament. The simple fact is 90% of the people there are going home with nothing. You are not going to get to the final table just by being good, you are going to have to get lucky too.
Embrace the unpredictable nature of tournaments. Sit down with the attitude of wanting to enjoy the day, play your best poker and leave any ideas of deserving to get good cards behind at home. But more important than that please try to remember that live poker is a social event and the people at the table deserve respect.
If you are nervous and want to block out tells then good luck to you, if you are trying to pretend to be some hotshot online poker genius who is here to crush the competition then give it up. You are fooling nobody with your hoodie, shades and iPod at a £100 freezeout. This is still the recreational end of the poker world, and people are here predominately to enjoy themselves. Anyone who is there simply to ignore their table mates isn’t really bringing a lot to the party.
Be a good winner
And please act with a bit of good grace at the table. Everyone accepts the bad loser – we all know how much it hurts. But remember there is such a thing as a bad winner. I’m as guilty of rub downs as anyone in office games, but there is a time and a place for that. And celebrating wildly when you suck-out has no place in poker.
Poker is a game played best with a degree of class and there is an etiquette everyone should follow. If that all seems a bit too much like hard work then don’t worry, there is always online poker. You can sit in your pants ranting at the screen and calling the world every name under the sun. Good luck to you. Just try and dress yourself and leave the attitude at home when playing live poker. Thanks.
Alun Bowden is a poker writer and Editor. One day he hopes to cash in a major tournament.
If you enjoyed this then you could try a digital copy of PokerPlayer magazine HERE