It’s the end of the line. Only two Worst Mistakes a Poker Player Can Make remain. These are, hands down, the worst of the worst. We’re not talking about decisions that are pretty darn stupid, or really stupid, or so stupid you just shake your head at how stupid it is. We’re talking so freaking stupid that it genuinely makes me feel bad for the human race for the fact that it’s even possible for people to be this damn stupid.
#2: Ordering alcoholic beverages at the table
This one is so high on the list because it really shouldn’t require any explanation to anyone who can legally play in the first place. Alcohol impairs judgment, lowers inhibitions, kills brain cells, and generally makes people more reckless and less alert. And it’s one of the safest bets in the world that everyone else at the table is going to know this. If you just want to play poker while drinking THAT badly, I say you should just go all the way with your stalwart commitment to being parted from your money. Wear a t-shirt that says “I’m not playing to win. I don’t WANT to win. Please take my money.” Because the moment the other players see you drinking alcohol at the table, metaphorically speaking, you already are wearing that t-shirt.
And so, we’re finally down to what I consider to be the hands-down dumbest, most vile, just why-the-hell-would-you-ever-do-that-EVER thing that I believe a poker player can possibly do. This goes way beyond a pet peeve for me. I believe that the poker world would be a better place if people would just NEVER DO THIS.
Without further ado…
#1: Playing “shove or fold” poker in the early stages of a tournament
If you were already familiar about my sheer despise for this practice, you might have been wondering why this little item hadn’t already shown up on this list. Well, now you know. I understand that I’ve talked about this before. I understand that there are people who disagree with me, particularly since this practice hardly ever shows up outside of freerolls or very low micro stakes.
I don’t give a single crap. This practice isn’t just stupid and luck reliant at face value. It reduces the entire table you use it on to playing something less than poker. It takes a game with a significant enough skill component to cause massive political debates on whether poker is even properly a game of chance or not and resolve the debate firmly in the favor of chance. It’s disrespectful to the other players at the table, as an attempt to invalidate any skill based play they might otherwise try to perform. It’s an insult to the game itself. It’s an insult to the person who even performs such an act, as they’re basically saying, “I don’t believe I can possibly win this game without relying completely on pure dumb luck.” Emphasis on dumb. And they take out this lack of belief in their own abilities on everyone else at the table.
That’s not just wrong, it’s SICK and wrong. If you’re one of these people, then I implore you–forget trying poker and just get a friendly BINGO game together if you want to play a game without being burdened with the slightest semblance of a strategic decision. Or hell, just make yourself a Facebook profile and get on one of their ten kajillion virtual slot machines. What I’m trying to say here is if you enjoy playing this way, you have better options than poker, far better, to derive your enjoyment from. And I would earnestly think the world of you, despite absolutely loathing you right now, if you’d do me the favor of being honest enough with yourself to realize this.
And as for the rest of you, those of you NOT holding a torch and pitchfork right now, I’d like to extend my personal gratitude for hearing me out on this. And I apologize if it really is annoying since I don’t really have any actual way to know.