I used to not feel guilty about playing with friends because they all thought they were such good poker players. Once they realized that I played the game on another level, I stopped playing with them. They used to play a regular game every Tuesday night at someone's house. Within a the first half hour I could tell which of them really knew something more about poker than which hand beat which. My friend Mark seemed to know the most, but in my opinion played the worst, or at least had a style that I knew would be easy for me to exploit. I didn't really care for the game, though. The problem with it was that they played with wild cards, which I really didn't like. Because I wasn't eager for the game, they assumed that I didn't like poker or that I wasn't very good at it without realizing that every time I had played with them I had won. When they did realize that I was winning they said that they didn't like the way I played. One day I heard them at the pool hall complaining about how all I did was fold until I got good cards and of course I won because I only played really good hands, like it wasn't fair.
There was also a game every Saturday night at the pool hall. That game was a little more serious. The stakes were higher and half of the people that showed up to play were guys we never saw at any other time. They played a mixed game, dealer's choice of Hold 'em, Omaha, RAZZ and 5 or 7 card stud. None of my friends had ever done well in this game. Mark played in it and lost $500. He warned me that if he lost, I shouldn't even try to play in it. I just rolled my eyes and walked away.
A few weeks later they were getting ready to start their Tuesday game when Mark made a comment that got under my skin. Someone asked if I had played at the pool hall the past weekend and how I did. I said I had done alright. Someone said they heard I won over $500. It was over $700 but I just let the $500 hang in the air. Mark said he didn't believe it, then made a remark to the effect that if I did so well in that game, I wouldn't be scared to play with them. That did it.
That night, I punished them. Worst than that, I talked shit the whole time. I was annoying and obnoxious to the point of belligerence. If someone said nice hand, I would be like "Just got lucky, you know I don't know how to play poker". I knew Mark bluffed a lot so I would stay in hands against him. He was the only one I would chase draws against. And I kept getting there. I would pick his bluffs off with mediocre hands and then be like "Nothing to be scared of after all". Then I would show a monster bluff and look right at Mark and tell him "That's how you bluff". The entire situation was made worse by my other buddy's girlfriend who was sitting over on the couch dying. She always thought Mark was too full of himself and she loved to see him sitting there pouting.
That was the last time I played with them. It's not like I was disinvited from the game. They just all seemed to quietly acknowledge the fact that I took poker more seriously than they did and played the game on another level. In fact I used to still show up for poker night. I just didn't play. I would sit and talk with my buddy's girlfriend and her friends. Women enjoy the attention of a man. Of course I thoroughly enjoy the attention of women. So everybody was happy.