Dispatches from the Creation Wars

As the Poker Game Turns

The guys have decided, for the time being at least, to change the format of our weekly game. Instead of a cash game, they want to have a series of single table tournaments for $20 each. They figure we can do 3 a week, that way no one can lose more than $60 and it will attract more people. The reasoning is astonishingly stupid. They say the game has “gotten out of hand” because there are 2 or 3 players who come to the game with hundreds of dollars and they bet like crazy, so you can lose too much money. They say that by doing a tournament format, everyone starts the same so it’s more fair. Just to give you an idea how this conversation went:

Jeff: There’s too much money on the table, it’s gotten out of hand.
Me: That’s more money to be won.
Jeff: But Jan and Scott come with hundreds of dollars and they’ll keep betting like crazy and you can’t chase them out. They bet on nothing.
Me: Exactly. They bring a lot of money and they bet stupidly. So you beat them and take their money.
Jeff: but if you only buy in for $40 or $50, you can lose it and be out fast
Me: Yep. That’s true any week. The only difference here is that your chances of winning are increased because you have bad players with deep pockets at the table.
Jeff: But people are gonna stop coming because they risk losing so much money. If they knew they could only lose a certain amount, they’d be more likely to play.
Me: They risk losing as much money as they choose to put into the game. They have total control over how much they lose. Since we started playing this weekly game, I’ve lost 3 times. Twice I bought in for $40, lost it, and quit playing for the night. Once I bought in for $40, lost it, bought in for another $50 and lost that too. Every single other week, I’ve bought in for $40 or $50 and ended up winning money.
Jeff: That’s the other thing, you win money but you don’t bring it back into the game the next week. That’s not fair, it doesn’t give everyone else a chance to win their money back.
Me: (trying to stifle a laugh) Are you kidding me? You have a chance to win my money every single week, Jeff.
Jeff: But not the money I lost to you the week before.
Me: (no longer bothering to stifle the guffaw) That’s not my problem. I win, I do what I want with the money I win. I don’t have any moral obligation to let you try and win it back.
Jeff: I think you do, it’s a friendly game. You sit there every week and don’t drink, so you win our money but we don’t get a chance to win it back.
Me: (now laughing loudly) So don’t get drunk. You are an adult, capable of making choices, aren’t you?
Jeff: It’s supposed to be a friendly game. I’m there to have fun.
Me: It IS a friendly game. We’re all friends and we all have fun. While we’re having fun we’re also gambling and that means we each risk losing money every week. You have as much of a chance to win or lose as I do, every single week. I don’t drink and I still have fun. If you can’t have fun without getting drunk and betting badly, that’s not my problem.

And on and on like that. The hilarious thing about it is that Jeff is one of the guys who brings a lot of money and loses his ass every week. And if you asked the other two players like that, one of whom doesn’t drink but is just an aggressive player, they’d say they like it the way it is. It’s stupid. But oh well, I can beat them at a tournament as easily as I can in a live game, perhaps easier since most of them have never played tournaments. Full report tomorrow.


  1. #1 Lynn
    July 2, 2004

    I am sitting here laughing my widdle bitty butt of at this Ed LOL
    Dang Ed, why aren’t you getting drunk and making big bets on bad cards so Jeff can win his money back? LOL
    And BTW, I flat refuse to be a poker widow 3 days a week. LOL

  2. #2 Ed Brayton
    July 2, 2004

    LOL. It suddenly occurs to me that these posts about poker paint quite a psychological profile of Jeff, don’t they? But it’s an accurate one. Dealing with Jeff is like dealing with my brother Mike – the next time they’re wrong will be the first time they’re wrong as far as they’re concerned. In last week’s game, Jeff tried a string raise – where you make two moves toward the pot with your chips. The bet was $30 and he actually put out $30 in chips in front of him and said, “Okay, that’s $30” and then went back and started counting more chips. This is forbidden in poker, everywhere. The rule is that you either announce that you’re raising verbally, or you put in enough chips to make the raise in one movement. But if you push out enough chips to call without a verbal declaration that you’re raising, it’s a call. We told him he couldn’t raise after that and he threw a fit, then when he got beat he claimed that he wasn’t going to call at all, he was just counting his chips. Well a week later he’s STILL whining about that and claiming that he didn’t put the chips out in front of him, he was just counting them right next to his stack. I said, “Jeff, 9 other people saw the same thing and say that’s false. Every single person here says you’re wrong.” But no, Jeff can’t be wrong. He’ll still be bitching about that a month from now. Frankly, he drives me up the wall most of the time. But since he bears a close resemblance to an ATM machine while playing poker, I’m happy to have him around.

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