Life & poker: evaluation in progress

Prop Tales

By Bill Patty

In poker, as in life, we must always evaluate and reevaluate our situation. Do we like where we are now? Do we want to invest more in our current situation or get out? Even if we like where we are now, what does the future hold? Would it be wise to aggressively pursue a better opportunity or wait patiently, knowing things will work out?

Patience has always been my strong suit, and I have had to learn how to be aggressive when it is prudent. The problem for me is, I will use a word like “prudent” instead of “right” or “necessary,” which seem more clear.

In poker and life things are often not very clear, just better or worse. We make the best decision we have, with the information we have gathered, and sometimes we successfully call down a pre-flop raiser with pocket deuces.

Sometimes we fold top pair and feel like a donk when the winner of the hand turns over a worse hand. How many times have you, within a half hour, said to yourself, “Dang, I am a good player,” and, “What a terrible player I turned out to be!”

If you have, you know exactly what I am talking about and are still reading this column. If you don’t, please go back to playing that stupid game on your cell phone. (Oh wait, you already are!)

This leads me to a mini rant. Is it just me, or are poker players getting more annoying? I DO NOT want to listen to your phone conversation. I DO NOT want to hear your explanation for playing bad. If you suck at poker and just play for fun and excitement, that is okay! You DO NOT have to rationalize your bad play.

To me, there is nothing worse than getting my pocket aces snapped off by a player who called a three-bet with Q-2 offsuit, and then having to listen to them explain why they did it.

I actually gave a small lecture to the pot-limit Omaha players a few weeks back. This was not like me, but I snapped! Playing $1/3 PLO, I called a raise from the big blind with A-Q of hearts and Q-10 of clubs. The flop came J-10-4 rainbow. I had both backdoor flush draws as well as my over pair and nut straight draw.

I led for half the pot and one person folded while two players called. The turn was the queen of diamonds. I bet three-quarters of the pot and got one caller. The river paired the four. God Bless America!

I pushed in my remaining chips and got called by a smaller full house. But, what followed is where I, as a prop, stepped slightly over the line. I spread my cards out carefully, about an inch apart in front of me, and said loud enough for everyone to hear me, “If you read an article on Pot Limit Omaha, this is the type of hand you might see.”

I am laughing as I write this, mostly because nobody said anything. There was just an assorted chorus of muffled chuckles and scoffs. This comment was not directed at any one person, nor was it meant to ridicule anyone. It was me and my intellectual self, being tired of hearing bad beat stories from PLO players who play seventy-five percent of the hands they are dealt, while I grind out a living in the minefield that is poker.

Yes, it is my decision to continue to be a prop. Do I have other options? Yes. Do I currently like the other options? No. Evaluation in progress.

People and Places

Recently, I had a few extra days off and was able to play a tournament at Club One Casino in Fresno. As you tournament players know, this is a great place for tournament action. Russ, the tournament director, did an excellent job of running the 60-plus player morning tournament, and one of the dealers, Andrea, was outstanding. These two, my former co-workers, and the rest of the staff made the experience a good one for all.

Until next time, enjoy your game and call me when I bet the river!