You know your way around a poker table well enough to know what to expect from your opponents, but that doesn’t stop them getting on your nerves.
There will always be some foibles specific to just one or two people, as well as things which annoy you but don’t seem to bother other people as much, but then there’s that sweet spot where everyone’s annoyed with the exception of the person making the comment.
Ever wondered why so many players swear by those massive noise-cancelling headphones? It’s so they can avoid sayings like these…
- “That’s poker”
Generally accompanied by (a) a suckout and (b) a shrug, it is not made any better by either of these factors. You’re essentially being told poker is a game of luck when you’ve just got unlucky, and – shock horror – you’d probably already figured that out. It might be well-intentioned, but to you it just feels like being reminded that you’ve lost.
Strangely, you never see someone stroll up to a racing driver with broken limbs after a crash and tell them “that’s Formula 1”.
- “So sick”
Only two people should be allowed to use the phrase “so sick” – one is a patient explaining his symptoms to a doctor, and the second is mid-2000s singer-songwriter and Save the Last Dance II cast member (straight-to-DVD) Ne-Yo performing his 2006 hit ‘So Sick’. If you’re using it to describe your ace-queen losing to ace-jack it might be time to dial it down a bit.
As with many of these phrases, saying “so sick” is akin to dangling a fishing line into open water. You’re not aiming anywhere in particular, but you’re hoping for a bite from somewhere, anywhere, just so you can remain the centre of attention.
- “I knew you had that”
Why did you call, then, if you knew I had something you couldn’t beat? The motivation here is bizarre – there’s a suggestion that they’re trying to show off to their opponent by demonstrating their reading ability, but you’re sure to impress them more by not paying off their value-bet. And besides, any improvements you make to your image with your actual play are nullified by demonstrating you’re the kind of player prone to saying “I knew you had that”, so have you really gained anything?
Just once, we’d love to see someone pull out “I didn’t know you had that” with the exact same intonation, purely to see what the reaction would be.
- “I’ll give you a gamble”
This one’s generally preceded by five minutes of umming and aahing, to the point where you’d convinced yourself they were weighing up a decision with a baby pair or suited connectors. Instead it’s ace-king. Which obviously has you crushed. You’re too busy double-taking to even get properly angry.
It’s up there with “one time” as phrases which logically should have no bearing on the result of a hand, but which seem to be geared towards the opposite outcome to the one you want. Without exception.
- “Ship it”
There’s a reason poker players try to swear by the ‘get it quietly’ mantra. We’re not saying you can’t be happy to have won a pot, especially a big one, but there’s rarely any need to rub it in your opponent’s face. High five your pals on the sideline if you want, but a bit of class wouldn’t go amiss. It’s also worth remembering what goes around comes around, so when your big celebrations come back to bite you don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Okay, yeah, that last part was a lie. Broadly speaking there’s very little karma in poker, and the chances are you won’t be the one to benefit when they come crashing back down to earth.
- “It was suited”
‘Suited, was it? Why didn’t you say, my friend? You see, for a minute I was angry about you calling my all-in with five high and cracking my aces, but I hadn’t realised they were suited. That changes everything. Please carry on.’
- “I never win with aces”
This one’s a real gem. You’re guaranteed to hear this particular line just after – wait for it – the player in question has won a hand with aces. You’re probably noticing a pattern here.
Invariably, the line will be dropped when your opponent has three-bet all in for 100 big blinds and flipped their cards face-up, which in isolation is just amusing – you’ve got free info and avoided running into aces. However “I never win with aces” is never just “I never win with aces” – you know you’re in for a bad beat story and, aside from the person telling the story, not a single person will care.
It’s like the first season of Parks & Recreation – you know you’ll be rewarded eventually if you stay in your seat and wait it out, but the temptation to just cut your losses and walk away is overwhelming.
If you’re guilty of using more than one of the above phrases, it might be time to rethink your approach. Unless, of course, you’re doing it deliberately to wind up your friends in your home-game, in which case they’d have probably said something if they wanted you to stop.
Of course, we can’t stop you from doing any of the above in a competitive situation; we just want to give you a feel for what your opponents are thinking when you do it. By all means carry on, especially if you’re actively attempting to ruffle a few feathers, but don’t blame us when your opponents revel in your misfortune.
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- nataliya semenenko
- Sergey Senyutin
- Kristian Skaarnæs
- Aliaksandr Radzionau
- Filipp Vovnenko
- Oleg Ivanov
- Станислав Корякин
- Вячеслав Краснянский
- Anatolii Buhera
- Ilya Shagin
- Дмитрий Холодилин
- Roman Milaev
- Igor Kozhaykin
- Артем Алимгафаров