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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The Back Room – Advise From A Loser

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The only mouse you’ll find in the back room of the Farm Barn is one that scurries away from the light and the sound of a poker game that runs late night once a week – no computers, no internet poker, no electronic gadgets allowed.

Clovis came into the office while I was doing accounts.

Clovis is the manager of the Farm Barn Siding and the guy I trade with periodically for things like bulk peanuts (unshelled and unsalted - which I’d done not long back). We also use a back room of one of his buildings for a poker room. Openly, however, Clovis  have no knowledge of that even though he plays with the group.  He’s one of those people that have ability far in excess of his position. That kind of person seems content in whatever circumstance they find themselves. In his case he hired on with the Farm Barn group young and rose from shoveling cow doo to site manager.

He’d been around the cooperate system on his way up and when he came to town as the Number 2 man, began turning down promotions. He’d found, and eventually inherited his position.

The weekly poker game in the back room had been going on longer than either of us had been around. Clovis inherited his position, and about the same time I won the keys to the back room from another, the departed brush, in a poker heads-up. That’s the way it worked.  I hope that when I feel the age I can find and select my inheritor as well as mine did me. Clovis and I get along fairly well – in fact, he’s probably my best friend in town.

I set out a big bowl of peanuts and got him a beer.

“You’ll have a small problem this week, Lum. We’ve had to store bagged grain in the back room.”

“Is there any space at all left?”

“Well. Yes. I’ve had the boys stack the bags high and tight. It took up about a third of the room.”

“We can work with that. A couple of the group has first night parental school meetings.”

“We’ll be playing short handed then?”

“Yes. I think we’ll do cash games Friday. It’s the first Friday and close to payday and all. I don’t think enough will show for a tournament. ”

“Short-handed and cash games?”

“Yep. You bringing any food?”

He laughs at me. “Are you thinking of raking the pots for expenses?”

“Hell no! That way is trouble. Guys would start to talk and rumor would spread.”

“Yeah, it works this way.”


“ Say, Lum, in these cash games. What do you do with the Big Blind?”

“How ‘do’ with the Big Blinds, Clovis. What are you asking?”

“Well, I’ve noticed when we’re short handed and I lose – which is usually, I lose about a multiple of the blinds.”

“Look, my friend. I’m not a poker instructor. I’m not even what you could call a very good poker player. In fact, if poker was golf, I’d be a duffer.”

“Drop some words on me.”

I sigh. “’K. You’re a rock, Clovis. You’re tight . . .”

He interrupts me: “Like what’s her name?”

I’d been squiring a nice lady across town and hadn’t mentioned her to anyone. Clovis was the last one I’d have told anyhow, but for him to know, let alone know what and how far the suit had gotten was an indication of him.

“Not fair, Dude. Not fair at all. Besides, it’s none of your business.”

“Loosen up, man. Loosen up.” He says. “It’s only in fun.”

“Yeah. I know,” I say, “but those are the very words that answer your question. Loosen up.”

“When you are in a short handed game, loosen up and widen your big blind hand range. A lot. That’s comparing to the small blind. I think you’ll find out that you won’t get re-raised off your hand as often. Try defending against early position attackers.”

“That it?” he wants to know.

“Na. There’s more about the big blind, but that’ll do for now.”

“Gotta run. Are you going to sit across from me?” floats over his shoulder as he makes the door.

“No, Clovis,” as the door closes on my words, “I’m going to sit on your immediate right.”

*Find the ongoing Back Room Tales in our Poker Wall Section - or type The Back Room in 'search.'  And for the sake of discussion, you'll find The Back Room tales in this thread in the forum.

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