I'll kick off by saying I'm not perfect. In poker, life, love, balance, or just about any other area. If you dig around I'm sure you'll find someone who can attest to this quite happily. And that's OK. I'm not preaching from up on high, I'm just writing stuff. Were it not for me selling action on my trips then this blog and my opinions wouldn't exist, since I generally believe that's it's better to say less, and let the blowhards spout off to their heart's content. Good luck to them.
This concerns three occurrences a couple of days ago. The specifics of the events themselves are actually secondary in my mind, to the fact that the people perpetrating the acts actually saw zero wrong in what they were doing. I do, hence me pointing it out. Draw your own conclusions.
My poker playing outside of my advertised schedule is pretty minimal. Occasionally I might play a super sat for a big event, using my own money, not the budget for the trip. Of course, we're playing the event anyway and have already allocated the buyin, however for say, the Venetian $1600, they were running $300 mega satellites. If you win one effectively that's $1300 profit, and if you sat in say, a $1/$2 cash game with $300, then it would generally be a pretty amazing session for you to win $1300. So by this rationale, playing a satellite is a good shot for some extra cash.
We're chugging along, and a new player arrives at the table from a broken table. She is about to be the big blind when she sits down. Jokingly, as she arrives, I say "you should just walk round the room for a minute until the button passes you". To be clear, I'm joking. I mess about at a poker table, but the rules are the rules.
She looks at the table, looks at me, and says "actually, yes, I do need to use the restroom". And then goes to walk away from the table!
The floorman is standing right behind her, and isn't having any of it. He instructs her very politely to sit her ass down and play. We all have a good chuckle.
The second incident is a more sordid variation of the first. Later in the satellite we get another player joining us from a broken table. He walks over with his rack, and looks at the position of the button in relation to where he will sit. He will be in the big blind next hand, and by now the blinds are getting quite big.
He walks away from the table before sitting down, taking his rack of chips and seat card, and makes a phone call for a minute or so, or at least goes through the motions of doing it. Shortly after, he comes back to the table to take his seat as if he's just come from his broken table 30 seconds ago.
As said, I can skirt around the letter of the law in poker. I'll occasionally say something in a hand, or will use minor theatrics to get a call, a fold, or just generate action, or conversation. However, I don't cheat, and however you dress it up, people who do cheat are scumbags. And this is cheating. I have mentioned this to the dealer when the guy first arrives and leaves, and another player at the table confirms that is what happened. The dealer asks me "well, do you want me to tell the floor?" This is just inexperience on the part of the dealer, which I can overlook because some of them are new. There isn't any debate. Dodging the blinds is cheating and you get a penalty for it. So I tell him, absolutely yes, call the floor. When the guy sits down after a few minutes, the dealer calls the floor, and what happened is explained. The guy looks indignant, like it's an innocent mistake, and says he just made a phone call etc, etc. I point out he knows exactly what he did, and if you really want to make a call, then you put your chips down, and pay your blinds whilst you walk away and make your call. Of course no one would ever do that. He gets a 5 hand penalty for dodging the blinds and looks decidedly pissed about it, and at me for pointing out what he did. However, I don't give a shit. Cheating is cheating.
Episode three is later still in the event. One player has a lot of chips, and is raising pretty much every hand. Fine, it's his money, he has chips and can do what he likes. This of course is a satellite, so you don't need to win the thing, just survive to get a seat. This is a fairly common mindset for satellite play, but occasionally people don't play ball.
A short stack goes all-in when this guy raises yet again, and another player also calls the raise. The unspoken (well, it's rarely unspoken but in my opinion it should be) rule here is that the other players will check the hand down unless one of them has a monster, simply to bust the all-in player and advance everyone towards a seat. The big stack decides he doesn't want to do this, and now bets the flop. The third player now folds and is visibly frustrated by the bet, even more so when the cards go over, the bettor has second pair, and the all-in triples up with top pair when he wins the hand.
I'd like to say the other player simply tuts and moves on, however, they decide less than quietly to say that the big stack is an idiot (they actually said that), and he doesn't know how to play satellites, etc etc. Now all this might be true, but vocalising it, and berating the other player is just wrong. There is no debate. You are just wrong for doing it. I basically say as much to the player who complains, but after two minutes, it's obvious we aren't going to agree. Her rationale was that she can criticise what he did because his actions don't benefit her or the rest of the table, i.e: busting the all-in player and moving us all closer to a seat. So let me get this straight... it's only OK if what another player at the table does as long as it's beneficial to you? Right. For the record, if you want to be pedantic, the guy did play the hand "wrong", in my opinion. However I'm not going to get upset about it, point it out, or call him names for it. I wrap it up with one of my favourite lines "well, I could agree with you about it, but then we'd both be wrong", since any further discussion is clearly pointless.
Well that was a load of old waffle wasn't it?
However, the point of the post is not to lay out what happened or to name names and sling mud. The point is that in all 3 instances, the other party at no point whatsoever considered the fact that what they were doing might in fact be in any way wrong, or immoral, or rude, or unethical, or anything else for that matter. They do or say what they like, and they are only wrong if either they get caught, or are presented with the facts to prove they are wrong. And even then, they still believe they are right, because, well, people.
This is why I make no secret that my opinion of most poker players is pretty low. I don't care how big a name you are, how much money you have, how much you spout your opinion. The way you act towards others, and in poker, the way you conduct yourself on and off the table says everything. I've always maintained that poker does funny things to people, and makes them both say and do things that in other walks of life they'd never even consider. There are some I know who would shoot any angle possible right up to and including stealing if they could get away with it. Fine, that's them, it's not me, and if they sleep OK at night then good luck to them. Sadly, part of the tapestry of poker is that it's a myriad of different people, goals, mindsets, ethics, opinions, and attitudes. As said, i'm not saying mine is always right. It isn't. I am saying that some are most definitely wrong.