Saturday, January 08, 2005

Posted by Johnnymac 7:45 PM
The post I am about to write is more for me to blow off steam than for anything else - there is certainly no academic value to it. And really, I guess you could say it's somewhat therapeutic. So if you don't want to read anymore, you are dismissed. I will be quick about this.

To preface it all, something that is really annoying to me are people who are sticklers about the quality of shuffling and dealing in a self-dealt poker game. Ask Fro - if there is a misdeal somewhere, so long as no one has looked at the cards I am of the belief that it doesn't really matter in what order or how you deal the replacement cards. Similarly, I am not a stickler about cutting the cards because unless you are playing with absolute total strangers there should be at least a slight element of trust involved and the traditional cutting of cards is an expression if institutionalized distrust. If you are playing with people you consider to be your friends, or to be friends of your friends, I think that being afraid of cheating, or assuming someone else is cheating, should not be a big concern. I know that properly dealing and cutting the cards is a courtesy to the other players, but it shouldn't be hard and fast and automatic over which you should get especially upset or become otherwise discourteous unless you sincerely feel there is a reason to assume there is cheating going on. Fro and I have spoken on this on many occasions in the past and he doesn't feel as ambivalent as do I, and I understand exactly why the cards should be cut and dealt properly, I just don't think it's a big deal in the long run if you are playing with friends. If a player notices a discrapancy, by all means I think he should speak up about it, but immediately belligerance is not called for, at least in my opinion.

To illustrate my opinion, many of you know that one of my favorite things to say in a misdeal situation is, "we all went to college, we should all agree it's random unless someone looked at his cards". I sincerely mean this and anyone who disagrees on the grounds of "that was his card you gave to me" while the cards were still facedown is also someone who probably complains about how someone else's bad play at a Blackjack table affects their own success. It's the same concept and anyone who can sincerely disagree is ignorant.

The point is, I understand why it's done and why there are certain courtesies that should be extended to the other players, but none of it really makes a difference unless you are either ignorant of basic probability theory or suspicious that someone is cheating.

Anyway, in the poker tournament I played in this afternoon very soon after we had sat down at the final table, I mishandled a deck of cards that had been cut to me and another player at the table became very vocal that the deck should be shuffled again. And indeed, I do admit that I mishandled the desk, but only because this particular table was a small octagon table with no padding at all beneath a felt surface and with 8 people crowded around it was very hard to pick the cards up. Everyone was struggling with the cards and what I did was not out of the ordinary.

Now, if he had been a little nicer about it, perhaps along the lines of, "I know it's hard to pick up the cards, but could you try and be more careful next time?" or something a bit more courteous like that, I would have apologized and tried to be more careful the next time I handled the cards. Instead, there is no other way to describe what happened except to say that this guy was quite a *prick* in pointing out that I had screwed up the deck. His attitude caused me to react in kind and we entered into shouting match of curses and belligerance with me asking if he thought I was cheating and he insulting my intelligence for somehow not agreeing that I was incompetent and accusing me of being an "asshole" for taking exception to his taking exception to my deal. This got me rattled and caused me to misdeal two more times which only generated even more snide comments between us until another player at the table (my boss, actually) spoke up and told us both to cut it out. So I finally dealt the cards right and tried to forget about the incident. I thought he did to.

Unfortunately, barely 15 minutes later I was dealt AK and made a large preflop raise. He came over the top of my short stack in a move that I figured was more vengeful than smart, and as I was already shortstacked relative to the blinds I called and he turned over 88. I caught an Ace on the flop, which was nice, but an 8 came on the river and I was eliminated. I congratulated him and pushed him my chips at which point he commented, "of all the people here I am glad I did that to you especially."

I clinched my fist and wanted to punch him in the nose, but instead I only said, "nice hand" and thanked the host and left.

And now, an hour later, I still want to drive back over there and punch him in the nose. I fully agree that we were both equally to blame for the initial shouting match, but the comment at the end was out of line and not gentlemanly. I tried to be a gentleman and let the whole thing slide, but he clearly did not, and, coupled with his essentially accusing me of cheating, sincerely pisses me off.

But I'll get over it and maybe someday I will play cards with him again and I will humuliate him and not say a word out of line. That will be the best thing of all.

Like I said - talking is therapeutic. Rationally, I know that I am bigger person than to pick a fight over a card game, but irrationally, I am quite a testerone-driven caveman and always have been.

Anyway, it's over. On to the next game.

2 Comment(s):

Posted by Blogger Dr Fro, at 9:40 PM, January 09, 2005  

" but irrationally, I am quite a testerone-driven caveman and always have been. "

Personally, I always cut. Always. But I take no exception when others don't.

On misdeals, if it is easy enough to identify which cards need to be moved, I do. Not because I think it matters, but because those who are most likely to take exception (and are therefore stupid) are also more likely to make a big deal (no pun intended out of it) due to their small-mindedness.

I cater to the potentially loud dumb-dumbs, knowing that those who know better will understand and probably be silent.

Anyway, off the specific topic of misdeals and speaking more generally about people who act like asses at the table, I just hate it. It is inexcuseable. First of all it is a game. Second of all, if you are accusing me of cheating, don't you think I could come up with a better scam than f'ing up the deal in front of everybody. If you really take exception to what I have done and want a re-deal, fine. That is your right. But you should say so politely.

I understand, John


Posted by Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:33 PM, January 10, 2005  

I wouldnt of thought a second time about it, except that you misdealed last time we played at your house. i think this makes you a serial misdealer and therefore a potential mechanic. I prefer automatic shufflers, I get more flushes that way....


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