A poker player’s wish list

Life in the Streets

By Vincent Olmos

For this holiday season, I’ve compiled my poker wish list that fellow players should enjoy. I have listed a little need, a little greed (okay, a lot of it), and even some warm mushy stuff. Feel free to add your wishes even after the festivities are complete.

Any player will tell you winning huge pots is where it’s at. That’s squarely top on my list. Smashing the flop with the bottom of my preflop range is electrifying. Winning fat, three-bet multiway pots with aces sure is pretty neat. Conversely, nothing beats blasting three streets with a total airball and somehow getting there. Our opponent gets both tilted and felted. Joy to the world indeed!

How about when a pot takes four complete pushes from a dealer? I’ll always take that with a smile. Chips won while getting it in either good or from way behind stack completely the same. Utterly owning your opponent with a pipped kicker certainly swells my happiness index. Heck, even having someone hero call my full house with ace high is sweet. Santa, bring me more big pots, I love them!

High up on any poker player’s wish list has to be a tournament deep run. People seem to respect tournament cashes, and we like to be celebrated. I’d like to run so hot and play so well that I’ll be a force to be reckoned with. I want to have a ludicrous chip stack of 300 big blinds at the final table. Even more, I desire to win. I want to hit that “one time!” on the 50/50 flip for all the chips. I’ll Rocky Balboa the competition and take down the trophy (it’s rightfully mine!). It doesn’t matter that no one will remember who won a year later, because I’ll be happy to remind them.

I would love to have meaningful interactions at the poker table. Poker is a social game; thus it should be welcoming to all players. Instead of slowly driving each other insane, how about we enjoy our time playing together. Each table can be our new favorite little community. Fun, open, and competitive action is the goal. Keep the toxicity and whining to a dull whimper. Lastly, it would be sensational if players could try their best to follow general poker guidelines. Santa, please bring me a table of players who can consistently act in turn. I promise you’ll get your cookies and Coca-Cola!

One of my top wishes comes from way out in left field. I would just love for total strangers to stop asking me how much money I make. Unless I’m mistaken, this is a huge faux pas in any other field of work. Yet somehow, it never stops anyone from inquiring. Yes, this is my only job. Yes, I work forty hours a week, sometimes plenty more. I do just fine folks, thanks for asking.

It’s also that time of year to count what I am grateful for. I’m exceedingly happy to have irreplaceable friends and a supportive family. Poker can be a lonely road; ups and downs are the norm. Even though we’re too stubborn to admit it, poker players should have a support system. A hand history/bad beat/tournament buddy would be an example. However, it can also be a significant other or family member who doesn’t play at all. Having a person to help bear the weight is powerful and having someone to support your dream is invaluable. Any person who has just one of these should be endlessly thankful.

I’m also grateful for the action. I love that I could be the biggest nit at the table, open under the gun, and still get re-raised by someone holding complete trash. I am thankful that after making a huge bet preflop, someone will still donk bet their top pair into me. I’m most appreciative for people that habitually chase four or less outs (even though I’m less grateful when they actually hit it.) Ultimately, I’m always appreciative that people never stop giving action. May the gamble never die.

Finally, I must analyze my “Auld Lang Syne (Days Gone By).” Looking back on the year’s wins/losses is necessary for any sort of growth. One can use a ledger, phone/tablet notes, or even a fancy graph. The method can be your variable, but I can’t stress the importance of documentation enough. If I’m a huge fish, I can work on changing that. If I’m crushin’ it, next year I’ll do even better. The most important thing is to be honest with myself and go from there.

Happy Holidays and New Year! May they be filled with your wildest dreams and most obscene bluff opportunities!