I’m not a big name tournament professional. I made $1188 in 2007 and the IRS would never bother me. But it’s important to establish your credibility and honesty. I will declare the $1188 on my 2007 tax return and establish myself as a tournament professional that keeps accurate records. When I make a big score I can write off losses against wins because I’ve established a history of filing as an honest person and I have credibility if they audit me.
This is the story of the Ideal Poker Player. The ideal poker player is not a hard person, nor a tough person, or a cold person, but rather a strong person.
The ideal poker player is made of cast iron. Stainless steel tubing runs through his body in place of veins and arteries. Solar batteries recharge from the sun and power a solar pump, which pumps antifreeze through the stainless steel tubing and cast iron body. And now let us join the ideal poker player in his weekly game with his fellow players, the sheep, the turkey, the wolf, and the fox.
Here are three things I do to stay off tilt. I can’t guarantee they will work for you but they work for me, so here they are.
The first thing I’ve done is to purchase a lined white writing tablet of fifty pages and a supply of number two pencils. I wrote the following, filling all fifty pages.
“There is no such thing as a bad beat. Each player receives two hole cards and the dealer spreads five community cards face up in the middle of the table. At the end of the hand the remaining players make the best hand from their hole cards and the community cards. The best hand receives the pot.”
This is going to be a short chapter. I really don’t feel the need to give a lot of advice because there is already much better advice out there than I could ever give. What little I will write about here is how it relates to my play and experience.
There isn’t really much to say about my play either. In a word I’m a rock. No one plays tighter than I do and no one probably ever has. In Phil Helmuth’s Black Belt poker course he categorizes players by five different animal types. I’m the little mouse trying to get the cheese out of the trap without getting caught. I play perfect textbook poker, and I can do that for hours at a time if necessary, until the blinds and antes get big enough that I’m forced to play. I could have played in the game T.J. Cloutier used to play in down in Dallas, where if a player had a baby pair it was Queens, and I would have been right at home. If everyone played like I do there would be two Hold-Em games in the entire United States, one on each coast.
I was really hesitant to include a chapter on bad beat stories in my diary. The main reason is I don’t want anyone to think I’m a whiner or complainer. Everyone gets bad beats and you should just take it like a man, or woman as the case may be. Having said that I manage to overhear a lot of conversations in whatever casino I happen to be in and what I hear are an awful lot of bad beat stories. I mean I never hear, “how’s your son the Neurosurgeon doing these days,” or anything similar. Having said that I’ll just give a few that have happened to me. They are not anything unique by any means. If anyone plays Hold-Em for three weeks or so I’m sure they will have a similar collection of stories to tell. So now I will grit my teeth and just get started.
This one happened to me at Harrah’s in Kansas City. I was UTG at the final table with Ace King. I wanted to get played with so I only raised two times the BB, 1600. The next player raised me 5000. Everyone else folded. I didn’t feel he was that strong so I re-raised all in. He thought for about a minute and called with Ace eight. The flop was four, five, and six. The turn was a blank, and the river was a seven, making him a straight. I collected my seventh place money and left for home.
The poker world can sometimes be a funny place, and that was my reaction to the Hawaiian Gardens Casino the first time I went there. I’ve been playing there exclusively recently because it’s a great place. But when I first walked in I had my doubts. First of all you have to know a few things about me to understand my reaction. I’m a 65-year-old Black Man who was born and raised in the Deep South in the forties, fifties, and early sixties. Back then they still had colored only restrooms, water fountains, and Jim Crow school systems. The only poker games available were the private games run by the local Cracker Boys, and the only Spades they wanted to see were the one’s in the deck. That meant that I never played poker until I went to CA. in the early seventies and the only place to play then was Gardena. The Jewish people weren’t as prejudiced as the Crackers, but they still didn’t care for Blacks. Gardena was a tough place to play. If they opened under the gun you knew they had trips. I had a tough time my first year before I wised up and learned to play. But they were nice to me, because I was a producer. After I started winning they weren’t nearly as nice. By then, in addition to learning how to play poker, I also learned to tolerate their shit. It just rolled off like water on a ducks back. I played part time for a number of years because I also went to law school and became an attorney.
This is my diary as a tournament poker player. The tournament results will be recorded as they happen. What you see will be the real time progression of my career as a tournament professional poker player and the failure or success thereof. Before we start there are three rules you must remember. There is no such thing as an investment, only speculation and degrees of risk. When I win its skill, if I lose its bad luck. To all who know no explanation is necessary, to those who don’t no explanation is possible.