Poker: Hold The Lies

The ability to be less than truthful is the foundation of any quality poker player. That’s one reason playing poker is so gratifying. Even if you don’t have the winning hand, you can still lie and bluff to victory. Wins will be few and far between if you don’t occasionally make the others at the table think your pair of 2s is the nut flush.

A bluff is a necessary form of a lie at the poker table. On the other hand, there are other types of lies that are becoming more popular during online and live games but are unnecessary.

Be aware anytime you hear someone at the table say to you “good luck” or “sorry.” In a landscape of lies, those are the two most disingenuous phrases ever uttered at a poker table. It might be nerves or a feeling like they must act gentlemanly as if they are in some type of pistol duel during Revolutionary War times, but for whatever the reason, you don’t need to say these phrases at the poker table.

You’ve seen the scenario numerous times. Two players go all-in and stand over the table. One player lends his hand and says good luck to the other. Does the guy who puts entire chip stack at stake really wish good luck to the guy who could take that all away from him? Of course not. Deep down inside he is hoping to tear his opponent’s heart out.

Everybody at the table realizes this, so there is no reason to say anything in the first place. The best course of action is to quietly watch the cards play out.

The cringe factor rises when two people transparently wish each other good luck. An alternative and better form of sportsmanship is to stay calm following a win and forgo any tantrum if a painful loss results.

If the all-in results in someone’s departure, then hand shakes can be exchanged.

Another time to stay quiet instead of offering a clich?-ridden lie is the obligatory “sorry” when your opponent finds himself on the business end of a bad beat.

If you truly feel sorry when you give someone a bad beat, then you are playing the wrong game. Everyone sitting at the poker table is there to win chips and dollars in just about any legal way. Before a player sits down, he runs the risk of stepping on the landmine that doubles as a bad beat.

Saying “sorry” to someone is just like rubbing salt in their wounds. Once again, the best way to handle the fallout of a bad beat is to stay quiet and don’t gloat.

Allow the person who lost to handle the pain in his own way. Hearing an empty “sorry” from you won’t help.

There are many times you will find yourself in uncomfortable situations at a poker table. Rather than making a bold lie in the form of uttering “good luck” or “sorry,” think twice and handle the situation the right way by being a gracious winner or a noble loser.